Sunday, October 31, 2021

What every young man needs to know about women, Part II

"Why the long face, Bunkie?" Fred asked Owen.

Owen had been walking on Cloud Nine lately. He had a 'whip' and a girl.

"Me and Mary Jean had a fight" Owen said, morosely.

Ahhh! Mary Jean Kyleigh. Owen and Mary Jean had been dating and as much as Fred loved his grandson, he though Mary Jean was just a bit out of Owen's league.

Not that Mary Jean was uppity or anything. Far from it.

Fred had been watching the swarm of kids Owen's age since Owen was in Kindergarten. Mary Jean stood out even then.

Mary Jean didn't have a particular posse. Rather, she floated like a butterfly between them.

She would shoot baskets with the boys even during those awkward 6th-through-8th grade years.

For a while, Mary Jean hung out with some girls with major issues but she seemed to sail along without being damaged by the association. Some kids trip over a shadow and break both wrists. Mary Jean seemed to be able to sail through a volcanic eruption and leave with a bikini wax.

Her complexion looked like pure Ivory Soap. Her figure was not lushly feminine but tightly braided whip-cord. Fred had no doubts that the curves would arrive in due time.

Fred's wife was in favor of the two going together because Mary Jean had a cross hanging from the rearview mirror of the ancient Plymouth Duster she drove.

It was a mystery to Fred why Mary Jean picked Owen but he knew better than to stand in the way of young love. Better men than he had been trampled before.

"What did you and Mary Jean fight about?" Fred asked.

"She got mad when she caught me looking at another girl" Owen said.

" '...looking...'what does that mean?" Fred asked. You couldn't go to high school without "looking" at two hundred girls a day.

"Did you know that Mary Jean's cousin goes to Hoover Academy on the other side of town?" Owen said.

"Boy cousin or girl cousin?" Fred asked. He already had a pretty good idea of the answer.

"Girl cousin" Owen said.

"Hoover Academy? So she is high school?" Fred asked.

"She is a cheer-leader there" Owen said. "And I am telling you, she is a 'biscuit'."

Fred was not sure what a 'biscuit' was but based on Owen's expression, it probably meant that Mary Jean's cousin was very attractive.

"So you looked at Mary Jean's cousin?" Fred asked.

"Its not like we are married" Owen said, defensively.

"Hmmm..." Fred verbalized non-judgmentally.

"All I did was ask for her number and put it in my phone" Owen said, justifying his innocence.

"Remember when I told you men and women were different, and it wasn't just the plumbing?" Fred asked.

"Yeah" Owen said.

"That is one of the differences" Fred said.

"You play a game of pick-up basketball at the park you don't much care who is on your team as long as you have a decent chance of winning. Probably, from day-to-day the team changes a lot."

"Women are not wired that way" Fred said.

"Whaddya mean?" Owen asked.

"I can only tell you about women worth keeping" Fred said. "I don't know much about these 'modern' girls. Maybe guys are 'accessories' like a purse with rhinestones on it for them. They pull out a fancy purse or a fancy guy when they want to go out on the town and don't really care which one it is. They are too busy living their-best-life."

"Things haven't changed that much since caveman days" Fred said.

"Someday, your woman will be be as big-as-a-house pregnant and maybe have two...three young-uns to boot. She needs a man who is a damned-big-hero. One who will stand between the sabre-toothed tiger and her and the young-uns and not be off sweet-talking some pretty young thing."

"You are trying to keep on foot on the dock and the other in the canoe. That just isn't going to work. You are going to go swimming and end up with neither."

"Mary Jean is safe. She is the dock. Mary Jean's cousin is the canoe. Likely, she is using you to make Mary Jean feel unattractive. It is a game some cousins play."

"If you want the cousin, break-up with Mary Jean and delete her phone number from your phone. You owe it to both girls."

"If you really like Mary Jean, delete the cousin's number and if you meet again, be polite but not friendly."

"You have a chance here to be a damned-big-hero or be a player. Which ever path you start down, realize that it gets harder and harder to change direction as you go along. If you pick the hero's path you end up with a girl worth having. Choose the path of a player and you get....I don't know what you get."

"What is it going to be? Hero? Player?:

Supplement to post on Vitamin D blood levels

Scribe lines added to project Race-ethnicity (smoke-stacks on right) to scale. Source

Quantifying Mr B's comment.

If 50ng/ml is the bogey, then the median white non-Hispanic is 40% over bogey and the median black non-Hispanic is 20% below bogey.

Vitamin D blood levels and Covid risk


Quintiles, Vitamin D blood levels in senior citizens by various regions. Source
Quintiles hold 20% of the tested population.

This paper suggests that blood Vitamin D levels over 50 ng/ml have a VERY high level of protection against Covid morality mortality. VERY high meaning "close to zero morality", a term rarely used by statisticians or doctors.

One of the nagging question addressed by this paper is the question "Do low Vitamin D levels imply risk or does Covid reduce Vitamin D levels?" It is a chicken-or-egg question. This study attempted to resolve that question by focusing on Vitamin D levels "...preinfection or on the day of hospital admission..."


Regression suggested a theoretical point of zero mortality at approximately 50 ng/mL D3.

The datasets provide strong evidence that low D3 is a predictor rather than just a side effect of the infection. Despite ongoing vaccinations, we recommend raising serum 25(OH)D levels to above 50 ng/mL to prevent or mitigate new outbreaks due to escape mutations or decreasing antibody activity.  Emphasis mine.

The red line added to the table of numbers shows how many quintiles have fewer than 50 ng/ml.

ESTHER is a German study of about 10,000 people

Tromso is a Norwegian study of 37,000

MONICA/KORA is a study out of Bavaria of 13,000 participants

SENECA is a numerically small study (2000 participants) that included residents of Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Norway and Greece.

HAPIEE is from Eastern Europe and the data is from Czechoslovakia, Poland and Lithuania. The non-normal looking data between quintiles for the countries on the Baltic may be due to non-fish-eaters and fish-eaters.

NHANES is from the United States and had approximately 30,000 participants.


Approximately 20% of US citizens between the ages of 50 and 79 have Vitamin D titers that put them in the at-risk category for Covid mortality.

Between 40% and 100% of that age group in Europe is in the at-risk category. Data from Europe shows a high degree of regional variability.

Vitamin D is available as an inexpensive, dietary supplement.

Hat-tip CoyoteKen

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Spartans 37, Obese Weasels 33


Nothing profound. Just a happy song.

I don't really follow college sports anymore but I still enjoy seeing the Spartans edge out those rascals from A^2

I include the next video for those who are not familiar with the Obese Weasels

What every young man needs to know about women

It was an unseasonably warm day in late fall when Fred heard the heap clatter its way up his driveway.

Fred considered himself a moderately competent shade-tree mechanic. He could tell by the sounds that the vehicle was an old-school, rear-wheel-drive V-8. He didn't know exactly how he could tell, but he could.

Prying himself out of his recliner, he looked out the window that had been opened to let a little bit of breeze through the house. Damned if it wasn't a '78 Chevy pickup.

"Its just like yours, Granpop!" Owen exclaimed. Owen was Fred's sixteen-year-old grandson.

Well, really, it wasn't. But Fred was not going to rain on his parade.

"Let's see whatchya got" Fred said as he slowly walked around the heap.

Owen knew Granpop wasn't much of a talker so he stepped out of Fred's way and kept his lip zipped.

Fred walked around the heap twice, noting chalky paint and sun-crazed tires. At least it hadn't been hot-rodded by a least not recently. Still, an engine that had been sitting had its own issues.

"Pop the hood and start it up" Fred commanded.

Owen hastily complied.

The engine radiated a cacophony of complaints.

Fred grunted and frowned. Then he stepped a bit closer.

Fred had firm opinions about trucks. He believed that anybody who owned a truck had an obligation to maintain it to a certain, minimum level. In his mind, that minimum level was that the owner should be able to hook up to a 4000 pound trailer at a moment's notice and drag it from San Diego-to-Caribou and only have to add gas.

Leaning over the engine, Fred saw that mice had been in the compartment and that every rubber part needed replacing.

"Get the stick" Fred commanded.

Owen dashed into the garage and brought back the hockey stick, i.e. the Canuck Stethoscope. With the precision of a thoracic surgeon, Fred held the paddle against his left ear (his good one) and the tip of the handle against various parts of the engine.

It was excruciating for Owen to watch.

Looking over, Fred noticed that Owen's face mirrored his own. Owen frowned when Fred frowned. Looked surprised when Fred looked surprised and so on. The germ of an idea sprouted in Fred's head.

Then Fred beckoned Owen to step up to the fender of the truck. Fred handed Owen the paddle end and then Fred touched the engine in more than a dozen places.

Finishing, Fred told Owen "Shut it down."

"What did you hear?" Fred asked. Fred was a big believer in the Socratic method. Knowledge is not what you put into your head but what you can pull out of it.

"I dunno" Owen said. He was clearly less happy than when he first pulled in.

"Sort of a rattling in the front cover. I guess that is the timing chain cover" Owen said.

"Lots of ticking from the valve covers, especially in the back, and grinding sounds from the A/C compressor" Owen concluded.

"Start it back up" Fred commanded.

"What else do you hear?" Fred asked.

Owen shot him a sideways glance. Owen looked confused.

"Forget about the stick for a minute. What do you hear right now that doesn't sound right?" Fred asked.

Owen listened for a minute. "Whistling?" he ventured.

Fred reached out and put a thumb beneath a hose to a cruise-control actuator and the whistling stopped. "Leak in the vacuum hose" Fred informed him.

What would make the timing chain cover rattle?" Fred asked.

"A stretched timing chain" Owen said. He was on firm footing here.

"How about the ticking from the valve covers" Fred asked.

"Collapsed lifters or worn tappets" Owen said.

Fred nodded his approval.

"You know, once you get this pile of junk running half-way decent you can take girls out on dates" Fred said.

The grin that split Owen's face suggested that the thought had already occurred to him.

"Something you gotta know" Fred said "is that girls and boys are different, and I don't just mean the plumbing."

Owen looked confused by the switch from talking about engines to talking about girls.

"Ever notice how Granma talks a heap more than I do?" Fred asked.

"Yeah" Owen said.

"There is a reason for that. Just like I kept listening in a bunch of different places on that engine, 'talking' is how wimmin figure out what makes people, men, tick. Just like when we were probing and poking at that engine for twenty minutes. "

"You are gonna find it frustrating until you learn all you gotta do is watch their face and smile when they smile and frown when they frown...just like you were when I was checking out that engine." Fred said.

"That all?" Owen asked.

"Nope. You gotta know when you are in trouble and when you actually gotta tune into what they are saying. Most of the time they aren't asking for your help or 'splaining. They just want you to sorta listen." Fred said.

"They talk because that is how they feel 'bonded'."

"The other thing is that just because you have a problem doesn't mean you gotta get rid of them. Like those lifters that are ticking. First thing we are gonna do is change the oil and replace it with high-detergent oil. Then we are going to run it until it is hot. Then change it again. Two, maybe three changes of oil is cheaper than gaskets and a lot safer than cracking open an engine if we don't have to."

"Same deal with your girl. Whatever hurt her feelings might be simple to fix and you might as well try that first."

Washington Post is blatantly racist

"Democracy Dies in the Darkness" is a tagline closely associated with the Washington Post.

"...Darkness..." is a neo-Liberals' dog-whistle, a sly innuendo that certainly refers to peoples-of-color.

The editors (under the guidance of the owner of the Washington Post) are clearly equating peoples-of-color with Death. They are blaming peoples-of-color for the decline of Western Civilization and are stoking racial animus.

As one of the nation's flagship journals, the editors and owner must be held to a higher standard than a high school student working on the school newspaper. Blatant racism is not tolerated in high schools. 

The reckless irresponsibility of racism should not be "celebrated" at the Washington Post.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Buyers' Remorse

I was in-line at Horrocks yesterday. I was buying end-of-season ornamental pepper plants and chives. 

Horrocks is a combination gardening store, high-end grocery store, beer/wine store and florist. It is Lansing's interpretation of yuppie chic.

I was making the usual chit-chat to make the wait go faster.

When it was my turn I asked the lady behind the register "How is your day going?"

She replied. "Pretty good. Better than the weekend anyhow."

My curiosity piqued I asked "What happened on the weekend?"

"I had several customers get very angry over prices" she said "Bat-shit crazy mad."

Buyers' remorse

There is a certain genius in the Parliamentary system that we rarely recognize in the United States.

The Parliamentarian system allows the electorate to exercise buyers' remorse.

Biden and the fools who currently head the Executive Branch probably would be broomed about now if we operated under the Parliamentary system. The GOP hates him. The uber-progressives despise him. Moderate Democrats (the Ivory Billed Woodpeckers of D.C.) know his entire administration is a rudderless, hot-mess of buzz-words.

Conventional wisdom in politics is to take your pain early so voters can forget.

That might work for some things but it does not work for inflation. The math that describes inflation is identical to the math that describes compound interest.

The fact that Biden's administration floated the idea of giving every family separated at the border $450,000 per person (Two million per family?) while yuppie-puke, core Democrat constituents are having melt-downs at the grocery store is emblematic of how spastic and confused this administration is.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Facebook rebranding

Considering Facebook's rapidly aging demographics, the new name is appropriate.


The last time I saw mom was Oct 4. Since then the home has had one Covid positive patient after the other. They shut-down for two week with each patient. Then, when the shut-down is within a few days of expiring, they announce another resident tested positive.

Stealing a page from Reltney McFee, I called the receptionist today. I asked if I could drop off something for my mom. 

She said "Fine. You can hand it off in the airlock."

It worked like clockwork. "The two lemon jellyrolls are for mom and her room-mate. The other eight rolls are for the people working the floor. I would consider it a great favor if the CNAs (Certified Nursing Assistants, the heavy lifters in the home) assigned Mom's room got first dibs on the rolls."

That got me a big smile from the receptionist. "I know how to make that happen" she assured me.

Custard filled, chocolate frosted long-johns, glazed twists, cherry donuts, maple-frosted cinnamon rolls.

Even if the CNAs are health fanatic the will appreciate the fact that I recognized they exist. Karma happens. Caring enough about your mom to make sure her CNAs are happy sends a message.

Presented without comment


Wednesday, October 27, 2021

More Walnuts and Deer Hunting


Putting food in the pantry brings me joy. How odd it took me 62 years to have this hit home.

The plan to have a bin for nuts is on hold. I can dehusk and dry 20 gallons of nuts-in-the-husk. That yields 10 gallons of de-husked Drake or 4 of Sparks 147. A gallon of Sparks 147 is "fluffy" due to the kite-tail on the nut. I am up to 60 gallons of nuts from my biggest tree of Drake and it looks like I have another 20 on the ground.

Drake has been the star of 2021 for black walnut production and ease-of-processing.

---Added later: Twenty gallons of Drake black walnuts, dehusked but still in-shell, dried on the racks with a 150W light bulb and forced air for 30 hours yielded 31 pounds of nuts (meats + shells).

Speculate that cracked nuts that have not released their 1/4 could be put in container and air under pressure (30psi?) added. Then rapidly release pressure with quarter-turn valve. Air trapped between shells and meats might pop meats out---

Now I need to fabricate some wire baskets (with lids) out of poultry netting. The picture in my head is that I will hang them from the rafters in the garage.

Deer hunting

Sprite's grandson is about twenty and he likes hunting.

"T" as he shall be known, has a mother who is very protective. Now that T is an adult, there is nothing to stop him from driving from Okemos out to Eaton Rapids and throwing arrows at deer.

The Captain, Sprite's husband, died about three years ago. The Captain's understanding of animals was without parallel. He could see the scratches around an opening in a tree where a raccoon's claws had scratched the bark. He could see it from 200 yards away while driving 60 miles per hour. Sadly, the Captain is not available to take T in hand and show him how to hunt.

Sprite tries, but she is fidgety. T is an optimist and has been taking long shots, two wounded, none recovered.

From a distance, one of T's failings is that he is flogging a single deer stand that looks over an  open food-plot. No surprise, the deer stopped coming to the food plot during the daylight hours.

This morning, I made Sprite a deal. I "suggested" that T set up a ground-blind on the fence-line between our two properties and that he hunt the ground-blind when the wind is out of the north-ish.

We walked around and found a place where there are three deer trails within 30 yards of the fence-line. I suggested a Primos fawn bleat can to stop the deer so T can have a set shot.

Time will tell if the young man listens.

Animal husbandry and slow progress toward goals

I once worked with Rod Couling, a gentleman who raised Tumbler pigeons. He was also appreciated fine horses.

One day, in passing, I mentioned that I thought it would be very cool to have partial ownership in a horse sired by Secretariat.

Rod's reply surprised me. "I would rather have a horse from the same cross."

Rod's thinking was formed by the fact that animal breeding does not always progress in the forward direction. The combination of Secretariat's sire and dame had the potential to combine very well. One cannot extrapolate that Secretariat's genetics would combine as favorably with any other mare.

Consider a box filled with a thousand small pyramids. Each face of the pyramid is painted. The faces of some pyramids are painted all the same colors. Other pyramids have different colors on different faces.  Every time you shake the box the faces of a hundred different pyramids are visible. The best you can do is see three of the four faces. Often, you will only be able to see just one face. Bear in mind that there are multiple layers of pyramids that are not visible.

Every time you shake the box is a new generation. After you have shaken the box you can remove the pyramids that have colors you do not like. That is similar to culling individuals from the gene pool.

Scientific breeding has been defined as "Breed the best to the best and cull the rest."

But then you have to mix the contents of your box with somebody else's box and then you each get half the combined pyramids.

Progress can be very, very  slow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Nothing new under the sun


The 6.5 Creedmore is the latest offering being flogged by the manufacturers. Supposedly the best thing since guilt-free sex.

May I submit that the 6.5 Creedmore is nothing more than a hotted-up .250-3000 Savage with Kardashian hips.

And you cannot get the 6.5 Creedmore in this beauty, a take-down Model 99 (1899) Savage

Frankly, any cartridge packing more than 22 grains of powder (.44 Mag, for instance) and loaded with bullets that are appropriate for the expected impact velocity will do 99% of what most hunters need done. The 30-30 Winchester is still a very fine cartridge and it holds a nominal 30 grains of powder.

Plans for the day went sideways


Kubota's friends, the ones who said they would take a bullet for him told him to pound sand when he needed a place to stay. 

Surprised? Not me.

I am sure I don't have the whole story but reading between the lines one friend suggested he could stay if they made a baby together. Kubota declined.

He has been sleeping in the cab of his truck for the last few nights.

SO...the back of my truck has a cap on it and now it is very literally a "man-cave". I ran an extension cord out to the truck so he has light, a heat lamp and a way to charge his cell phone. At least he can sleep lying down and in a safe place.

Kubota's new job starts Monday. I assume he will not see a paycheck for a couple of weeks after that.

He is about to get a crash course in tough-sledding.

A few fall pictures


Tomatoes waiting to be squished for seeds.

Drake black walnut. The three quarters that were out-of-shell weighed 5 grams. That is about a hundred nuts to the pound of nutmeat. That weight would drop a little bit as they dried.

GoldRush apples before being carried down to the rootcellar

The crop of insecticide

I gave one of the German Shepherds a bath. One is smart and stays in the house when it is muddy. This was the other dog.
A tree frog looking through the window. Winter is coming.

Monday, October 25, 2021

Persephone's Seeds

Persephone was a character in ancient Greek mythology. Her mother was Demeter, the goddess of summer.

Persephone was kidnapped by Hades, the god of death and the underworld and while she was held hostage her mother grieved and the world withered. Also, while Persephone was hostage, she did not eat anything except for five pomegranate seeds.

As part of settlement for the hostage situation, Hades demanded that Persephone be returned to the underworld for five months of the year as payment for the five pomegranate seeds.

Doing business with or accepting funding from the Government is the equivalent of Persephone's seeds. 

Kubota update

Kubota left Casa ERJ on Thursday.

The departure was amicable.

I changed out all of the exterior door locks and today I work on hardening all of the unofficial entries to the house. Kubota sometimes forgot his keys and developed a host of ways to enter the house.

My main concern is not Kubota but rather his friends. His friends are not the brightest stars in the constellation of Eaton Rapids intellects.

Sometimes they drink a twelve-pack or three. Then they are REALLY stupid.

Several of them undoubtedly know of Kubota's unofficial paths.

After imbibing some of them are likely to "remember" something Kubota owes them and they might decide to enter our house to recover it.

It is my not-expert opinion that more than half of the home break-ins locally are by people who are known to the home owners. The people breaking in know the lay-out of the home and know where "the good stuff" is stored. They can also offer lame, half-assed excuses like "Hey, I thought Kubota still lived here..."

Ex-girl friends, kids of ex-wives, shit-tailed* cousins, former drinking buddies...

They are all a risk.

Hurricane film is an adhesive backed film made from PET, the same plastic used in pop-bottles. The film is applied by cleaning the window, spraying with soapy water, floating the film into position and then squeegie-ing the soapy water from beneath the film.

The windows will get spacers to limit them to opening six inches. Shims will be placed above them so they cannot be lifted out of the track. I will order hurricane film today.

*Yes, I know the conventional term is "shirt-tail" but my fingers thought otherwise. I liked the typo so much I left it.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Presented without comment


Hanging the armorer out to dry...

Has a list of the names of the chain-of-command that resulted in the hire of the not-so-qualified armorer been made public?

Have they been placed on leave, and all of their interactions with the movie/TV industry frozen pending the investigation into the death of the woman on the movie set?

If a full investigation of the event reveals that the armorer played a major role in the death, will they be permanently black-listed in Hollywood and the mainstream media industry?

Of course the industry wants one, neat scapegoat to hang all of the responsibility on but the armorer did not hire herself.

My impression of Hollywood is that it is primarily motivated by factors other than competence. Physical appearance, whose your daddy, intersectional victimology score, where you went to school and so on. This event is a reminder that competence matters. It should also be a reminder that management is also responsible for outcomes that result from not making competence their foremost criterion.

It is called "An Object Lesson"

Civil Wars: Is there anything we can learn from Northern Ireland?


Northern Ireland. Death rate of civilians per 1000
Gardencountry, one of my readers, called my attention to an interesting essay written by Samuel Culper. The topic is the civil war (The Troubles) in Northern Ireland. This is one of the templates suggested for the unwinding that MIGHT happen here.

The map shown above is at the "Ward" level. Each ward is approximately 4000 people. Wards are smaller in cities and larger in rural areas.

The first observation, one that is very important, is that almost 25% of the area or 15% of the population had ZERO civilian deaths during The Troubles. Another 25%/15% had deaths at a level that was 10% of the highest rate Wards.


As might be expected, the very highest rates occurred in cities. But even there, there were many Wards with ZERO or extremely low civilian death rates.



The areas that are circled in red are anomalies in that they are rural areas (i.e. large Wards in land area indicate low population density.

Religious composition by Ward. Green means more Catholic. Orange means more Protestant.
The general belief is that most of the violence was Catholic-on-Protestant. The anomalous areas had Catholic majorities and bordered (nominally Catholic) "Southern" Ireland.

A few possible hypothesis:
-Ethnic Cleansing. The case against is why THESE Wards and not the others with similar C/P ratios?
-Strategic importance. Presumably, these are Wards where weapons were entering the country and potentially being cached.
-Toxic relationship between Police State and residents. This hypothesis is not necessarily in competition with strategic importance hypothesis.

At this point, I strongly lean toward the "Strategic Importance" hypothesis for those Wards that have exceptionally high civilian death rates. That is also true for urban Wards.

The fact that a neighborhood might have high strategic importance means that there are many soft or exceptionally lucrative targets. Shipping, warehousing and tourism tend to be located in choke-points and be of historical, strategic importance.

Mapping that observation back to the United States, 2021...legacy cities like Chicago, New York, St Louis, New Orleans, L.A.-Long Beach and Washington D.C. have historically been of high, strategic importance and would be good places to avoid. For that matter, Orlando and Las Vegas would be good places to not-be due to the tourist angle.

Analogs to the circled Wards are harder to identify but borders that are porous to people are porous to weapons. The Rio Grande valley and the counties in N.M., AZ and CA bordering Mexico could turn into hell-holes.

Saturday, October 23, 2021

I went to the Urgent Care today

I have an ear infection. I have not had one in at least twenty years. It is possibly due to slight swelling from the wisdom teeth extraction reducing the eustachian tubes' ability to drain.

The first Urgent Care facility I went to kicked me out of the reception room and told me to sit in my vehicle and register via my phone.  Yeah, that did not work so well for me. The instructions said I had to take pictures of my driver's license and insurance card and text them to the reception desk. With what?

Mrs ERJ said it was almost like they were trying to kill off people who do not carry smart-phones, that is, old fogies.

We drove back to Eaton Rapids and I went to the Emergency Room and was seen lickity-split, even though I got there right at shift change.

Eaton Rapids Medical Center gets a big two-thumbs up.

Riddle me this....


Headline from Zerohedge

Riddle me this, Joker: The people in Government tell us we should trust them because they are smarter, more altruistic and just plain better people than we are. Furthermore, the Feds are supposedly more perfect than the State governments who in turn are more perfect than local governments.

If the Feds are so much better than everybody else, then why do they need Unions to protect them from other Government people? Or is it a matter of power corrupting and absolute power corrupting on an absolute basis?

Murder, Suicide, Cutting link

Riddle me this, Joker: If murder and suicide are joined-at-the-hip* because they are both forms of homicide; and if "cutting" and other forms of intentional harm to one's body is the same as suicide but varies only by degree of damage; and transitioning to "trans-gender" is a statement of self-hatred and a form of "cutting" then why are we NOT treating people who express a desire to go-trans as a threat to their own and our safety?

Yeah, I know it is hard for some people to hold more than one thought in their head at a time. Let me try again.

People who hates themselves enough to commit suicide are a clear threat to others. The tragedy is that nobody addresses that self-loathing when somebody clearly announces "I want to kill my male (or female) self. Maybe I will be happy as anything else." That person demonstrates that they have enough hate to breach otherwise sacrosanct bounds to human behavior. The prohibition on homicide is one of those sacred barriers.

Could they announce their self-hatred, anger, depression and lack of self-control any more clearly?

* Psychology Today reports that five percent of all murder victims are from murder-suicides.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Drying rack, Mark II


20" box-fan pushing up from the bottom. Ducting in the back from some recycled paneling. Grocery bags stuffed into the leaks.

It is not moving as much air as I would like. The reason to "push" rather than pull is that the heat from the motor adds to the drying power in "push" mode. Not a big thing but every little bit helps.

One thing at a time.

Corn or Potatoes?

 Reader Jonathan H asked:

"Is corn ahead of potatoes for total calories?

I've heard the claim that potatoes are the only crop that can feed a family of 4 from an acre of ground. Is this accurate?"

First, lets look at modern yields of potatoes and corn and then guestimate what might be likely under post-Apocalypse conditions.

Starting with virus-free seed potatoes, irrigating and fertilizing with 200 pounds of Nitrogen per acre, good weed and insect control, yields of 40,000 pounds of potatoes are very possible. Many of those will be too big or two small or too knobby to be salable but that is not a concern if you are just trying to fill your belly.

If you choose "high specific gravity" varieties then 15% of that weight (6000 pounds). If an adult needs 2500 Calories a day, then 40,000 lbs of potatoes will feed 4 adults for 1,200 days. If you can find fuel to cook them.

Modern yields of hybrid corn in the Corn Belt can easily produce 200 bushels/acre without irrigation. They require the same 200 pounds of Nitrogen, weed control and so on. In my experience, corn is more forgiving regarding insects and weeds than potatoes.

A bushel of corn weighs 56 pounds and 50 pounds are a guess at the digestible portion. 50 pounds/bushel * 200 bushels =10,000 pounds or 2000 days feeding a family of four adults.

Pre-fertilizer/pre-hybrid corn farmers were happy to get 40 bu/acre but even a little bit of fertilizer and stress-tolerant hybrids could hit 80 or 100 bu/acre.

Potato yields are likely to sag more as they are sensitive to the soil drying out, virus, insects and weeds. Let's guess 10,000 pounds/acre as an achievable target.

Of the two choices, potatoes come closer meeting a human's nutritional needs. It seems likely that families would supplement with greens, beans, dairy and whatever meat they can harvest.

Coming back to your question: "Is it true?", it depends on how restrictively you want to interpret the question. I think both have a place in the p-A garden. The corn is more resilient to less-than-optimal conditions and stores better while the potatoes can help avoid diet fatigue and have vitamin C.

The smart money would probably plant a quarter acre patch of each (35 paces square).

Regarding the specific claim regarding potatoes being the only... That claim is usually made to explain the population over-shoot problem in Ireland and the resulting famine in 1847-49. Ireland has reliable rainfall making it potato (and Late-blight) friendly and is cool making it unfriendly to corn. In the context of the crops widely available in Ireland in 1847, the statement is 100% true. In the wider context it is not.

Circle-back to Cognitive Dissonance

Just a quick note on how thoroughly the control-freaks are mucking up their push to vaccinate people.

There are a three caveats to Cognitive Dissonance. As a reminder, Cognitive Dissonance is the name for the bending of values and beliefs to bring them into harmony with the person's actions.

Those three exceptions are actions that are coerced, under threat or done to obtain a payment.

If you look at the strategies the control-freaks are using, you can see that all three "exceptions" hold.

Actions that COULD be perceived as "we care" are unmasked as being driven by rage that everybody does not conform to the control-freaks' fantasies.

They are sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Dry rubs, Storing Walnuts and post-Apocalypse Agriculture


I originally bought this as a joke.

I really like it. It is very aromatic and I cannot identify the spice(s). If any of you masters-of-barbecue are familiar with the blend and can identify the top-notes, I will be forever in your debt.

Pallets vs barrels

A plastic barrel will hold approximately 60 gallons or about 8 cubic feet.

A crib fabricated of 42", square pallets will hold between 33 and 43 cubic feet depending on construction details.

Pallets can be had in many places for the asking. Barrels start at $10 each.

Mrs ERJ gave me permission to fabricate a crib to hold black walnuts.

Bottlenecks and limiting factors

A big part of "engineering" is to "normalize" problems. That is, to divide variables-of-interest by constants to create more meaningful, more intuitive variables.

An example from canning involves BTU/hour of various burners. Not very useful until you can turn them into "time" to bring a full kettle "to heat".

In vehicles, the size of the gas tank is of less interest than the number of miles you might comfortably squeeze out of a full tank. That would involve multiplying the nominal tank capacity by the miles/gallon.

Looking at production and throughput constraints, the two most common limiting factors in the post-Apocalypse homestead will be minutes of management attention and square-feet of land intercepting sunlight and/or rainfall.

Data from 1917. Before you yell at me, consider that newbies might be hard-pressed to match these yields. Also, I am going to look at relative differences rather than absolute values.

Corn (maize) trounces every other crop for Calories/acre.

Soybeans beat every other crop for protein/acre.

The comparisons of meat/dairy are interesting. "Milk" produces about four times as much protein/acre as beef and five-and-a-half times as many Calories/acre.

Poultry produce almost twice as much protein in the form of eggs as they do when managed for meat.

Mixed animal husbandry

It is my informed-but-amateur opinion that the production level for beef/milk per acre can be increased by about a factor-of-three (compared to continuous grazing) through the use of Management Intensive Grazing techniques and by managing the pasture to provide an optimal ratio of improved grasses and clover/alfalfa.

Additionally, if the homesteader puts most of his poker-chips on dairy, he can still produce veal, old-cow stewmeat/hamburger. He can follow the dairy cow(s) with sheep in the rotation. Furthermore, he can follow both with chickens that will tear apart the cow-flops and eat the fly larvae.

In much of the humid East, a combination of cattle and sheep is better than sheep alone. Sheep are vulnerable to internal parasites and cattle help break the cycle. Cattle do not benefit from the arrangement as much as the sheep do.

Sheep are much harder to manage with electric fences because of their wool. While there are "hair sheep" that do not have wool, one must wonder what advantage they offer over beef. This is a no-brainer decision if the distaff side of the household enjoys fiber-arts.

Hogs rip the snot out of pastures. On the plus side they can be fattened on skim milk and cheese-making waste as well as other crop and kitchen waste. That makes them more of an ancillary enterprise like a garbage disposal rather than a money-maker.

Confinement dairy is management, labor and equipment intensive compared to rotational grazing.

Lesson from the Laundrie saga

If you can ditch your electronic tethers and keep a low profile, you can elude detection from scores of the finest Law Enforcement Officers in the United States as long as you have somebody willing to let you live beneath their front porch and is willing to feed you.

That porch could be 400 meters from where they are looking for you...and they still will not find you.

Drying rack for nuts


I have no idea what the graffiti is supposed to mean. The live traps stick out a little bit. The green bucket is intended to divert rain-water.

The drying rack is a work in progress.

The box is a salvaged unit that looks like a unit that cuts of meat were defrosted in.

The nuts are in live-traps to keep them away from squirrels.

My intention is to use cardboard to duct incoming air down the back and a box fan to push it back up. Then I can close the door and have it both squirrel-proof and fairly effective at drying.

The weather guessers think the relative humidity will stagger around between 65% and 90% over the next week. Not a lot of drying power but it will be plenty if I can keep moving fresh air through the nuts.

How far would you walk for 2.2 pounds of lard?

At 9 Calories per gram 2.2 pounds of lard or butter would net 9000 Calories. Walking on level ground uses roughly 100 Calories per mile so a first order approximation indicates that 90 miles would be a "wash" from an energy standpoint. Of course, every person uses slightly different amounts of energy.

A second order approximation might bring in wear-and-tear on boots and clothing and other difficult-to-replace items as well as "opportunity costs". A third order approximation might attempt to weigh the security risks to the traveler and the homestead that an extended absence might cause.

The 2000 Calories-per-hour rule-of-thumb suggests that you let the opportunity pass if you cannot complete the round-trip in 4.5 hours or less. For most people, that suggests that if the 2.2 pounds of lard are more than 6 miles away (12 mile round trip) it might be prudent to pass on the opportunity unless you can ride a bike.

Walnuts have about 6.5 Calories-per-gram. 

A minor tragedy

Several of my neighbors are farmers.

Earlier this year, the farmer took about four passes around his field before he noticed that the grain bin was not filling up.

It was all spitting out the back-end.

It took him weeks to get it fixed, at which point he finished harvesting the field.

The corn that spit out the back-end is now sprouting, which is how I was able to piece together the reason for his delayed harvest.

That was an expensive mistake.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

A few thoughts on various payout structures

One of the key features of Capitalism and the Late Industrial Revolution was the standard of living it afforded to even those people who exhibited modest amounts of talent.

As long as the employee could perform at the minimum level required to keep up with the assembly line and showed up for work every day then he could acquire the trappings of a lower-middle-class life.

Conspicuous Consumption

There is another way to motivate people and that is via the "Tournament Payout Structure".

This is the payout structure for the 2019 US Open Golf Tournament
This chart shows the premium or increase associated with finishing one step closer to the top

Several factors come into play that make this payoff structure work.

One factor is the credible belief that large jumps in ranking are accessible to the player. He has to believe that but for a stray breeze, a clump of grass and a smudge of grass stain on the face of his driver he could have finished in the top four.

Another venue that has a "Tournament payout structure" is the distribution of illegal drugs on the street.

The king-pin driving around with bling and babes and an Escalade with gold-plated spinners is required. The punk on the street corner NEEDS to see the conspicuous consumption so he can be sustained by the fantasy that someday it will be him driving the Caddy.

Another factor is the interplay of randomness and attrition. The punk on the corner COULD end up in the Caddy given the attrition rate in the profession. The chain-of-command is in-and-out of prison, murdered and over-dose. If the stars aligned, the punk could end up Scarface in a few years.

The life of the street-punk is otherwise a bleak existence. He makes less than minimum wage and is likely to live with his mother or a baby-mama. He gets his medical and dental care when he is in jail. He is also likely to gain body-weight before being decanted.

Regular incarceration of the "customer service" end of the retail network is a part of the "business model" of externalizing costs. 

Totalitarian regimes

Totalitarian regimes, be they Marxist, NAZI, Theocracies or Woke, have more in common with the organizational structure of illegal drug dealers than they do with the structures seen in the Late Industrial Revolution.

The question is: How will they externalize those costs after they burn through the accumulated assets of the Late Industrial Revolution.


So far the recovery from having my upper wisdom-teeth yanked has been anticlimactic.

Mrs ERJ managed the timing of the swapping out of gauze pads.

The "prescription pain-meds" are plain, old, ibuprofen (aka, Breakfast of Champions).

The doc was in a jovial mood before the procedure. I think it was as uncomplicated as wisdom teeth extraction can be. They were not impacted. The gums were not infected. Large amounts of the teeth were exposed to grip with tools.

I requested sedation and they obliged me.

The dental tech was an exotic beauty who is remodeling the old house she and her husband moved into.

Heavy lifting

The instructions say that I am prohibited from heavy-lifting, spitting, smoking and sucking.

They do not define "heavy lifting". I suspect it varies from person-to-person.

The good news is that I cannot go dancing because I suck at it.


Zinc and Vitamin D are a couple of things that have been listed as reducing the severity of Covid-19.

There is a very wide range of "acceptable" levels of zinc and vitamin D in the diet but some people are "mega-dosing" thinking more is always better.

Mrs ERJ asked me to look into issues around zinc toxicity. The biggest issue is that long-term mega-dosing can lead to copper deficiencies. In humans, zinc competes with copper for the same pathways into the body. Increasing zinc in the diet reduces copper up-take.

One solution is to alternate two-days of zinc supplements with two-days of no zinc supplements. That gives your guts time to fill with low-zinc...materials...and your body to absorb the copper it needs.

I am not a doctor. Consider this portion of the post to be "recreational reading". Do your own research and make your own decisions.

Deer in rut

Drive carefully.

Sprite's grandson shot a buck but we were not able to recover it.

It seems likely that the shot was overly-long. These new cross-bows are pretty cool but optimism is no substitute for patience and knowing your tools' limits.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

I am not a dangerous man

I am not a dangerous man.

Quiet and meek, in the back of the crowd, never seeking attention nor more than my due.

I am not a dangerous man.

Surely, I have killed: Mosquitoes by the bushels and flies by the peck but

I am not a dangerous man.

Weeds in the garden, death from steely edge and ripped asunder by hand. Potato bugs, corpulent larvae and pin-striped adult I killed by the thousands

For my family has to eat and

I am not a dangerous man.

Squirrels in the nut tree, rabbits in the cabbage, raccoon in the cherry tree, possum in the henhouse and mice in the pantry; all have met their fate whether by lead and steel, trap and poison but

I am not a dangerous man.

Steers and hogs for the freezer, stately stag in the glen and a faithful dog who hurt too much for that final trip to the vet. All have fallen by my hand but

I am not a dangerous man.

I could never kill a human, a Homo sapiens with a soul, for I am not a dangerous man.

The thought worms and tickles as I stand in the back of the crowd, so mild and meek:

Do Joe, Ho and Nance with four mortgages on their soul…Can they claim to be human?

If I don’t own my house with the note-at-the-bank then how can Joe, Ho and Nance own their souls? They sold them for Power and Mammon, Thrill and Acceptance as did their minions by the million.

No human need fear me as I stand at the back of the crowd for

I am not a dangerous man.

(Please feel free to share)

Walnuts, Cattle, Electric Fences and Salad Bars


Heading out yesterday morning

Less than an hour later. I am GUESSING 75 pounds of nuts. For the record, Sparrow, Emma Kay, Drake, a few Hay and one seedling.

The walnut business is on pause for a couple of reasons. One is that I am having my upper wisdom teeth removed. I cunningly used the scheduler to launch this post even as it happens. The other reason is that the tub I used to dehull the nuts burst and I need a replacement.

"Honey, where is the roll of duct tape?"

Like a flood of molassas

Time to get serious about drying racks. Make-shift solutions are OK for stop-gap measures but I have only harvested about 25% of the walnuts that I hope to get put away. This is about half of what I hauled in the sled.

These nuts are from named cultivars so they might average 30% nutmeat from the dried nut sans the hulls. I might get three or four pounds of nut meats from this load.

That is very high-end foraging. Three pounds of nuts is about 12,000 Calories. My back-of-envelope calculations are that a "subsistence" farmer/forager needs to average about 2000 net Calories per-hour-of-production. 

That is a very crude number that makes a passing nod to the need to do other chores (like firewood, construction), the fact that their will be some people in the household who cannot do "field work". There will be times when the weather prevents being outside.

In a famine situation, any task that generates net Calories is worth doing even if it is far less than the threshold. The trick is to figure out which task(s) offer the highest net return.

While you can rightfully point out that getting them out of the shells is time consuming and is not considered in the one-hour, that can be done while it is dark outside and other chores cannot be done. Furthermore, the named cultivars were selected for smooth inner-shells that release the nut meats without resorting to having to mine it out of every convoluted sinus.

Black Walnut Resource

You can click on the names of the individual cultivars and they will show you a cross-section through the nut to give you a feeling for the nut-to-husk ratio, the nutmeat-to-shell ratio and the degree of convolutions in the inside of the shell. I think it would have been more useful to section them perpendicular to the suture lines, but what do I know?

I have a replacement but it is full of water out in the back paddock.

I moved the cattle to a fresh paddock and filled all of my "watering tanks" so they can be out there a week if needed. I will reclaim one of those watering tanks to use in the walnut enterprise as soon as I am feeling whippy.

I got nipped by the fence while filling the tanks and it was not a very impressive nip. That means I had a short somewhere. I get a lot of them when the bucks are in rut as deer of both sexes run into the fence.

Well lookie-here. The tie that held this to the ceramic insulator broke.

Wire-to-metal-post is a hard short. It is a testament to the charger that I got buzzed at all.

While repairing the short I got bumped again. I forgot that the spark can jump. I had a knee on the wet ground and the jolt was more than a tickle. You know you are a farmer when you are happy when you get whacked by your electric fence.

Incidentally, if you happen to encounter one of these in your travels, the typical way to check them is to have a traveling companion go over it first. 

If your traveling companion refuses, the other way to check it is to take a green grass stem or weed-stem that is about two feet long. Hold one end and touch the other end to the hot-wire. Then slowly slide the stem to shorten the distance between your hand and the wire. "Slowly" means about four-inches-a-second.


Read the sign and then look at the merchandise.

Fine Art Tuesday


In the Dentist's Chair by Kurt Ard

Dentist Office by Lee Dubin

Blogging might be light over the next few days.

Monday, October 18, 2021

For the bass fishermen


Ten minute run-time. All you need are the first six minutes.

Turn off the sound and watch the video. Watch how the Japanese are rigging rubber worms to make them swim like snakes.

Hat-tip, the fine folks at 24hourcampfire