Thursday, March 31, 2022 a rented mule...

A crack-ho is rented equipment. Your spouse is one you have ownership in.

The "cool kids" are talking about owning nothing and sharing or renting everything. Uber is held up as an example of the "new economy" and how the younger generations are going to thrive in an era of growing scarcity.

I think they are crazy.

Perverse incentives

Back when I was younger and even more naive than I am now, I was give a job supervising a production group in a large factory with a unionized workforce. Manpower turnover was a constant challenge.

This factory operated on the "team" concept and everybody rotated. The advantage of rotation was that it reduced the rate of repetitive motion injuries like Carpal Tunnel inflammation because it varied the parts of the body that were most challenged. You might have two jobs that kicked your ass, two that were moderate in difficulty and two that were a walk-in-the-park. A typical sequence was to have a moderate-ass kicker-recovery sequence.

In my naivite I suggested that we train "the new guy" on the easiest jobs first because he could pick them up more quickly and engage in a larger percentage of the rotation early in his training cycle.

The team looked at me like I had lost my marbles.

An old grizzled guy named Chuck Bogart took me aside and explained the facts of life to me. "We will get stuck with that yahoo if he learns two jobs (a contractual fact). If he starts on the two easiest jobs he has no incentive to learn any of the harder ones and the people who already earned their way in will have to rotate over their recovery job."

"You gotta start him on he hardest jobs. If he can't learn those, throw him back and get another."

The "metric" my boss had given me was to get the new team member into full rotation as quickly as possible. It had never occurred to me that an adult would stop trying short of that goal.

Like I said, I was naive.

Back to the rental economy

HUD, the Federal Department for Housing and Urban Development projects that carpets in rental units have a life expectancy of 5 years before they need to be replaced.

I asked the lovely and frugal Mrs ERJ how many times we have replaced our living room rug in the past 30 years. She informed me that this is our second rug.

We live on a dirt road and have a gravel driveway. I garden. We walk through the garage to enter the house. We have large dogs. We had four children. In terms of potential, we can really challenge floor-coverings. And ours lasted at least three times as long as HUD says it should have lasted.

Why do you suppose that is?

Maybe it is because that as home-owners, the cost of replacing the floor covering comes directly out of our pockets. If we buy new carpet then we must go without something else we want. We cannot spend the same dollar twice.


May I humbly suggest that the shared/loaner/rental economy will not produce the results that the naive planners believe it will? The shared economy dilutes responsibility for upkeep and will enable wastrels to access and destroy resources they would otherwise not be able to access.

And, for lack of a more solid data-point, may I suggest that the average lifespan of a rental anything will be about 1/3 of a piece of equipment that is privately owned. Of course, it will be much shorter in actual calendar time because it will not spend nearly as much time in the garage. Rather, it will get turned around and re-rented when it is in demand (like a rototiller) and then parked outside the shed in the weather during the off-season.

That is not a robust way to extend resources in times of scarcity.

There will be exceptions. Some rental managers will be drill sergeants on maintenance and docking damage deposits of bad renters. But those people will be the exceptions.

Grease or oil? Blondes or Brunettes? Chevy or Ford?


I hesitate to offer this information because everybody has their own ideas about lubricating dental drills, sewing machines, cordless drills and other fine machinery.

One old rule-of-thumb was oil for rotating shafts and cams, grease for sliding interfaces and parts that experience intermittent motion. Grease is also recommended for parts that are typically not in contact as there is no capillary effect to retain liquids like oil.

I fully expect to get excommunicated by half of my readers for even suggesting that grease might be appropriate in some situation.

 However, there is a very good deal on Aeroshell 22 on eBay at this time. Minus 65 Canadian is pretty danged cold and 14 ounces will keep your dental drill humming along for a very long time.

A busy time of year


Pots with elderberry cuttings in them.
This is a go-go time of year for gardeners.

Blogging takes a back-burner.

Dock (Rumex) aka Sorrel aka Sour Grass

Footprints filled with water in lower-left of photo.

A skunk cabbage growing next to a dock plant.
Michigan Flora lists 14 species of Rumex in Michigan. Six are listed as Native and eight are listed as not-native.

As a gardener who has an abiding interest in making challenging plots produce food, the interesting thing about Rumex is that four of the fourteen species are listed as being wetland plants. Rumex is a member of the Buckwheat family and both young leaves and seeds are edible.

Rumex verticillatus (This link is a good commentary on Dock in general) Mainer Merritt Fernald, who was the Harvard wunderkind of botany from around 1900 to 1950, said all of the 17 native Rumex species in North America were edible. He completely failed to mention most of them are so bitter it would take days of boiling to make them palatable, if ever.

Rumex verticillatus is considered one of the "bitter" dock.

Rumex orbiculatus Moist to very wet ground or shallow water of peatlands, river margins, marshes, ponds, swales, and ditches.

One of our most distinctive species in its very late fruiting, often extremely large stature in wet places, raised position of the grain on the tepals, and absence of a swelling at the joint in the pedicel....The basal leaves may be over a meter long. (!)

Rumex occidentalis Plants can contain quite high levels of oxalic acid, which is what gives the leaves of many members of this genus an acid-lemon flavour. Perfectly alright in small quantities, the leaves should not be eaten in large amounts since the oxalic acid can lock-up other nutrients in the food, especially calcium, thus causing mineral deficiencies. The oxalic acid content will be reduced if the plant is cooked. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition

Rumex conglomeratus  Non-native. "Rumex conglomeratus is a plant that finds various uses both in the food, medicinal and in the field of dyes.
Both seeds, leaves and roots are used.
The roots are harvested in early spring and dried for later use.
The leaves are eaten cooked while the seeds can be eaten both cooked and raw; they can be ground to make flours to add to other preparations.
Leaves are rich in oxalic acid and can cause issue with calcium absorption
The root is used only in the medicinal field and from this infusions are prepared used both externally and internally.


Scrap yards

The price of #1, Bright Copper jumped from $4.75 a week ago to $6 yesterday.

I was at Shroyer Scrapyard and just looking around. One of the items they had for sale was this bit of art work. They wanted more than scrap prices.

Employment situation

Both Belladonna and Kubota have been looking for work.

Bella interviewed at two places. I have not been given permission to share any details so you will not get any. That one place pressured her to make a commitment as soon as they tendered an offer. She told them she needed a few weeks. The other place told her they typically took two or three weeks after the interview before tendering offers. They made an offer two business days after the interview.

Bella has to make some decisions. The job offers vary in geographic area and the new-employee career-pathing within the organization. My perception is that Bella's job offers have been within pennies/hour of each other in spite of significant differences in cost of living in their respective cities.

Kubota has been working for a couple of months at one place. Thought his bosses were stupid and went looking for another job.

He told me that his future boss said "I knew you would fit in the moment I saw you". Kubota got a job offer with a 60% pay bump over his current job.

The thing that convinced the boss that Kubota was the right man for the team? Kubota interviewed after working a full-day at his current job. He showed up in battered work-boots and his hands were scuffed up. Everything about Kubota screamed "I am a WORKING man"

I do admire the fact that Kubota is supremely indifferent to heat, cold, precipitation, smoke, noise and long-hours. That is a rare bird in these modern times.

Dogs, a genetic map of various breeds and how they are related


Genomic analysis of dog breeds.

Most hunting breeds are tightly clustered. Retrievers all share a similar pool of ancestors. Ditto for spaniels and scent hounds.

There are a few breeds that are genetic islands and are not closely affiliated with any major clusters of breeds: Basenji, Samoyed, Finish Spitz, Tibetan Terrier, Pumi and Puli are examples of those islands.

The Poodles, Chihuahuas and Shih Tzu are distant from most European breeds which may be why Poodle, Chihuahua and Shih Tzu crosses are cornerstones of boutique breeds. They are distant enough to minimize the chances of reinforcing recessive, genetic defects.

A pretty picture

The analysis uncovered some potential breeder hanky-panky. Cane Corso, a rare, large breed of dog was "polluted" with Rottweiler DNA in the US but not in Italy, its country of origin. One can only guess that an unscrupulous breed was pawning off Rotty-crosses as full blooded Cane Corso.

This is a very readable academic paper. Sample:

Dogs have been in the Americas for more than 10,000 years, likely traveling from East Asia with the first humans (Wang et al., 2016). However, studies of mitochondrial DNA suggest that the original New World dogs were almost entirely replaced through European contact (Castroviejo-Fisher et al., 2011, Wayne and Ostrander, 1999, Witt et al., 2014) and additional Asian migrations (Brown et al., 2015). As colonists came to the Americas from the 16th to the 19th centuries, they brought Old World livestock, and therefore the dogs required to manage and tend the livestock, to the New World (Crosby, 1972). Many of the newly introduced animals outcompeted the native animals, which may explain the surprising and very strong herding dog signature in the native hairless breeds of South and Central America that were not developed to herd. In this analysis, we observe that the ancient hairless breeds show extensive hybridization with herding dogs from Europe and, to a lesser extent, with each other. We also identify two additional clades of New World breeds, the American terriers and the American toys (Figures 2I and 2J), two monophyletic clades of small-sized breeds from North/Central America, which include a set of related terriers, and the Chihuahua and Chinese crested. Written records state that the terriers trace their ancestry to the feists, a North American landrace dog bred for hunting...

Wednesday, March 30, 2022

First tomato seeds of the season planted


Sweet Aperitif: 80 Days. This fresh new tomato might be the sweetest cherry you'll ever eat! Bright red fruits have exceptional flavor and very high levels of sugar - up to a Brix of 13 - even sweeter than Sungold and SunSugar! - that are perfectly balanced with just the right amount of acid to give this tomato a deliciously, refreshing, tangy flavor. Plants have a multi-branching habit and are completely covered with bite-sized, 1/2 oz. fruits. Indeterminate.

Principe Borghese: 70-75 days. Determinate. The Italian heirloom that is famous for sun drying. Small 1-to 2-oz, grape-shaped fruit is very dry and has few seeds. It has a rich tomato taste that is wonderful for sauces. Vines yield clusters of fruit in abundance, perfect for selling in fresh markets and making specialty products.

Neither of these are large tomatoes but they should be great for drying. Cut them in half and dry them with cut-side up.

I am working on my to-do list.

I mailed cuttings of Steuben grape, Marge elderberry, some black currants and Claribel quince to a nice lady in southwestern Missouri.

I "stuck" my cuttings of Marge elderberries.

I bought a yard of compost. I had to shovel it into the back of the truck because I have a cap on it that I have been too lazy to take off. Compost is MUCH heavier than wood-chips. A wet yard of compost might weigh as much as 1500 pounds. I don't feel so bad about running out of gas while shoveling it.

I am moving dirt from our burn-pit to raise the areas next to our foundation where the fill subsided. I put black plastic over the dirt on the north side and then 16", concrete slabs. My thinking is that plants don't want to grow there anyway, so why try to push a rope?

Automotive maintenance

The vehicles are showing their age.

Mrs ERJ's minivan is scheduled to visit the shop next week for an oil cooler line leak and then to Holt Auto Alignment for front-end work in May. Mrs ERJ will be in Florida with Southern Belle in May so that is a good time to have it in the shop.

My very tiny part was to search and eliminate some of the annoying squeaks. One of them was the crucifix (cross) that hangs from her rear-view mirror. I used multi-strand wire for hanging pictures to hang the cross. It is sturdy and easy to adjust. The crucifix emitted squeals when it swung from side-to-side. A half drop of diffy-lube administered with a cut soda straw quieted it down.

The other squeak was from the back of the minivan. It turned out to be the hard, plastic trim "itching" against the lift-gate inner. I had damaged the Christmas trees removing the hard trim because folks would push her out of the ditch and push large dents into the liftgate. I would remove the trim and push the dents out. Eventually, I gave up.

The tiniest bit of grease on the bright, shiny metal where the trim had eaten through the paint magically made the squeaks back there disappear.

The S-10 is also schedule to have its front-end looked at. Pele is driving that while he looks for his dream car.

Solar Flares

It looks like we have a major solar flare heading our way over the next day or two. This might be a good time to unplug your equipment from the recharger or the wall socket unless it really, really need it.

Today's Headlines with commentary

 All headlines are from the Daily Mail

And they vow to never put pineapple on pizza in the future

Because Parole boards never make mistakes.

The truth will set you seek employment elsewher

Note to self: Never date a food blogger

Discipline both of them. They both played a part.

I suppose Parole Boards in California can point to the exemplary performance in bail-setting in other Soros colonies

The largest pay disparity is in the Metro area where Buttigeig (Mr Biden's very progressive Transportation Secretary) was mayor.

A long, long history of negligent discharges...

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Things that make you go "Hmmmm!"

So if a man can have a little surgery and some hits of estrogen and compete as a woman in swimming, can he also compete if:

  • The entrance to his windpipe is routed to the back of his head so he does not need to turn his head to breath
  • The top of his skull is streamlined like a duck's bill
  • His thighs and shins shortened
  • His knees made to bend both ways
  • His ankles turned downward 90 degrees
  • His metatarsals split apart and extended with bone taken from his thighs
  • Toes extended with finger bones. He has ten fingers, surely he doesn't need that many
  • Flesh and skin stretched to give him webbed feet
  • Shoulder blades pulled inward, upper ribs and clavicle shortened to taper upper body
  • Fatty tissue moved around to create a torpedo shape
Photoshop mock-up of the changes. Projected swimming speed of 12 miles per hour

Universal Basic Income

If UBI is implemented, does that mean that men will no longer need to make child-support payments?

Her voice is not what I expected

Jackie Evancho singing a song written by her uncle, Matthew Evancho; To Believe

Miss Evancho was about 11 when this was recorded.

And from the vaults

Not a message you hear today. I wonder why.

Trial run?

According to Trent Telenko on Twitter, much of Russia's failure to execute in Ukraine can be laid at the feet of poor logistical support. That, in turn, is due to problems with tires, equipment uptime, gaps in leadership and motivational issues of drivers.

Systemic failure occured when the tattered supply chain was unable to sustain the tempo of the line and the operational demands beat the few, functioning bits to pieces. Russian forces were unable to press their initial advantage and dislodge Ukrainian forces that are peppering their troops and equipment.

Before we cheer "Yeah Team West!" we should pause and look at the domestic supply chain. We are seeing shortages of repair parts. The leadership in both Canada and the US seem to be targeting drivers and mechanics and favoring consumers and snowflakes. Diesel prices are bankrupting operators.

My philosophy is that the best way to stay up-beat and positive is to take positive actions. For example, one failure of the Russians is that they are shipping raw potatoes and turnips to the front-lines. That is inefficient in terms of space utilization and it pulls fighters off the line because the rations are not ready-to-eat.

Look around your area-of-operation. Are there local materials that you can use instead of purchased materials shipped in from China? Are there any items that are still readily available that are space efficient and easy to prepare? Dried spaghetti, for instance, is rapidly prepared and very compact compared to almost every other food. Vegetable oils and other shortening, ditto.

The new Tic-Tok challenge


If you cannot find a certified Celeb in your area, you can video yourself slapping a passive-aggressive or an influencer-wannabe or a snowflake.

You only get one free slap, so make it count.

Cooking with low-quality, or small amounts of meat

I reached out to Andrew Walters, a professional chef who lives in the Napa Valley and asked the following questions:

"My question to you is...If you were to purchase spices and flavorings to tuck away for a rainy day...and if you expected meat to be scarce and of low quality; what spices and flavors would you select.

  • Long shelf-life is a MAJOR plus.
  • Leveraging or magnifying umami is awesome.
  • Modest price per flavor impact is a good point.
  • Compactness can come into play for things like soy sauce. Can you get dehydrated and rehydrate with water and vinegar?
  • Some spices are switch hitters. Ginger, for instance.
  • Some are so easy to grow (like garlic) that small amounts could be included with the expectation local resupply will happen."

I was surprised and delighted when he responded.

Fascinating. Hadn't thought of some of this.

Whole spices are preferable, since you can lightly toast them and grind them as needed to wake them up.

Vacuum sealers and those moisture absorbing packets will be vital.

You can get all manner of liquids in dehydrated form thanks to the usage of maltodextrin. Can do it yourself but you can find literally dehydrated soy sauce on Amazon even. Spice Lab makes a lot of good stuff.

Those powdered liquids do NOT enjoy humidity at all, they'll clump and harden fast. Again vacuum sealing small quantities is the way to go. (Mason jars with the packets works, but isn't as compact.)

Dried mushrooms are a great source for the umami angle too.

What spices to keep is kind of a personal angle I guess, but for low quality meats, I'd opt for the more potent warm spice like clove, cinnamon, star anise... Makes for a great stew. (We use those for our bourguignon)

Vinegars can be made from just leftover alcohol even (if there is any). Collecting the end of a bottle of wine, or brew a malty beer just to let acetobacter turn it to vinegar over time. Won't go bad. 

Stews are probably easiest to start with. You have me thinking about availability of things I take for granted now. I'd want to go red wine and tomato heavy for the stew base. Tomato is straightforward enough to save for the winter, and the wine can be switched for whatever is brewing (a malty beer would probably do the trick). Beyond that it's basic root vegetables or whatever is on hand for the season. Small amounts of spices go a long way, star anise and cinnamon are powerful in a stew or braise.

I asked about rabbit. Rabbit is a staple in French cooking. One reason is that you can be dirt poor and still keep rabbits. An invading army can carry off your cattle and pigs and eat all of your chickens and it will be years before you recover. If you can trap a few wild (European) rabbits then you can be producing meat in a very short time because they reach breeding age quickly.

Thinking on the wild game aspect... I don't suppose you have any interest in butter making. Or know people who do. I'm currently making about 30# of cultured butter a week, and that gives an astonishing amount of buttermilk as a byproduct. More than one would typically need. Great for baking (cakes, breads, biscuits), ice cream (because we all have ice cream churns in the apocalypse), and fantastic to use as a brine for meat. Fairly high acidity, combine with a small amount of salt and some other flavorings (Wild thyme, foraged garlic kind of stuff). It can tame the "Game" flavor and also help keep the meat from drying out during cooking, which rabbit in particular is prone to because they're just so dang tiny.

Editorial note: The lactic acid in buttermilk is useful in preserved meats like summer sausage where it can lower the pH to reduce the likelihood of botulism growing. The organism that generates the toxin that causes Botulism, Clostridium botulinum, was named after sausages, botulus being Latin for sausage since cured sausages were a very common host for the bacteria.

In this dystopian future, the lack of reliable electricity and the loss of inexpensive fuel means that people will not have leisure time and the time required to walk or bike to a restaurant or return home for lunch will be a non-starter. The idea of "cold cuts" for quick or transportable meals is great. (Joe replying to Chef Walters)

So I would be inclined to suggest a rabbit confit. Pieces salt cured and cooked in fat (probably duck fat to be honest, can be strained and re used) but the finished product can be stored anaerobically under the fat in the traditional french method. Dig out when needed. The meat can be picked, could be fried up in whole pieces or used in stews, or even whipped with a bit of fat and made into "potted" meat, topped with a cap of fat to seal out the air. (Rielletes! That's the word. Took me a min here at the bar to find the word ) This works great as long as ambient temperatures are low or some form of refrigeration (ice) is available.

Chef Walters patiently replied to my off-the-wall questions. If this post seems a little bit disjoint, it is my fault. It is pieced together from a few different emails. Chef Walters was graciously responding but it was after working a long shift.

Fine Art Tuesday


Bears Dancing. Perhaps Beard's most famous painting

William Holbrook Beard born 1824 in Ohio. Died 1900.

Beard produced many paintings that were eagerly sought as reproductions. Most of them were humorous and involved animals (usually bears) engaging in human activities. 

William Holbrook Beard was the uncle of Daniel Carter Beard, author of The American Boy's Handy Book.

Santa, 1864

Santa's sleigh has gotten bigger in recent years.

Bulls and Bears.

They are still at it.

Witch's Ride
Making Game of the Hunter

Monday, March 28, 2022

Blogging will be light today

Today Mrs ERJ and I are celebrating 35 years of wedded bliss.

Blogging will take a back-seat today.


Being married to Mrs ERJ has been GREAT. It was the single best thing I ever did.

I realize that luck, or God's Grace had a huge hand in it. Prospective spouses take great pains to photo-shop who they are. Many change after the ceremony.

In retrospect, the single best signal I had with regard to Mrs ERJ's quality was from the men in her life. I am talking about brothers, uncles and cousins. I am talking about the husbands of her women friends. A very high percentage of them told me that they would cheerfully break every bone in my body if I hurt her in any way.

The implicit message was not that she was a "bum-magnet" but that she threw herself into life without reservation, that she loved deeply, was loyal to a fault and still trusted men.

I can think of no higher recommendation for a future wife.

Sunday, March 27, 2022

ERJ gives a pedicure

Sometimes it is good to be preemptive in your story telling.

Yes, it is true that I went over to Sprite's place and applied a set of false toe-nails.

No, Mrs ERJ did not go with me.

Yes, she knew and approved.

No, those are not my nails in the photo.

The real story

Sprite sells eggs.

She has a rooster. In recent weeks the rooster had become very aggressive toward her.

The other day she dropped her bucket of eggs as she left the chicken coop because the rooster waits for her to have her back turned and to be stepping out, over the threshold of the sliding door.

After reviewing the options, Sprite decided to super-glue lengths of rubber fuel-hose to the rooster's spurs. His "toe nails" if you prefer.

She needed an extra set of hands to ensure the job was done safely and done well.

The 5/16", rubber fuel-hose was a little bit small but splitting length-wise up one side for a bit fixed that problem.

Gorilla Glue, gel, super-glue was recommended for gluing rubber. The thing about super-glue is that you get one shot at pushing the false nails on and you better be quick about it.

After installation, I trimmed the hose so the points of his spurs were buried about 1/4".

The rooster looked like a cowboy checking out a new set of cowboy boots after we tossed him back into the coop with the girls. The girls looked impressed.

If they stay on, it will be a major win.

I just wanted to tell my side of the story before word gets out that I was super-gluing random items to the neighbor's C-word and that chickens were involved. You know how people like to gossip.

Nigerian Billionaire? Really?


Next you will tell me that the Tooth Fairy made illegal contributions to Lindsay Graham's campaign.

Emerging trends: Whose ox gets gored

Cognitive dissonance is a mental filter that prevents us from being overwhelmed by conflicting data.

Some people are completely debilitated by any data that disrupts their "narrative". Other people seem to be supremely robust with regard to the fact that shit happens.

The way to drill through the filtering effect of cognitive dissonance is to overwhelm it. A filter that becomes completely clogged blows-out. Think about a the oil-filter on your vehicle. What happens if it, and the pressure blow-off valve become clogged? The paper element ruptures and much of the clog enters the lubricating system.

There are some clouds looming on the horizon that might overload the snowflakes.

Dudes competing in women's sports

A mediocre dude crushes the competition in the NCAA Women's swim events.

Popular media promotes the idea that T-O-A-S actresses can brawl with five violent men at once and prevail. This is a fantasy that can only survive in sterile environments like "Hollywood" and social media.

Resource scarcity

This relationship is likely to totally blindside most young-wyms*.

The value of women's labor is equal to the amount of work she can accomplish in a day. The effect of inexpensive power, electrical motors and automation is to equalize the amount of labor John Henry (The Steel-driving Man) and Rosita (the 105 pound, 40 year-old woman) can do in a day.

Rosita can also drive a semi thanks to power steering.

The exponential growth of knowledge-work has been a boon to women in the work place. Unfortunately for them, knowledge-work is pretty easy to automate. The first occupation to be mowed down were the secretaries. In the 1980s, everybody got word-processors and email and BAM! They was gone!

"Ah" you respond "But wyms are much better with emotions."

Prove it. Seriously, they TELL us they are better at emotions but can it be proven? I thought gender was a social construct and there was no difference between us.

Viewed from a different perspective, many behaviors that are labeled "emotional dysfunctions"  are currently addressed in kinder, gentler, sometimes less-effective but almost always more resource intensive ways then were used 70 years ago.

If we are in an environment that has scarce resources then the knuckle-heads will get Louisville-slugger therapy or denied food, fired or voted off the island. If that doesn't work then consequences will escalate quickly.

Pschology Today lists 220 providers of Mental Health services in Okemos, Michigan (population 21,000). It lists 15 in Charlotte, Michigan which provides service to the 31,000 people in Charlotte and the surrounding townships.

Energy and automation create free-time and opportunities for recreation. If it suddenly takes two adults 16 hours a day, each, to put food on the table and a fire in the furnace...who has time to go to therapy (or cart the problem child there)? Where does the transportation come from? Will it be safe to go across town to the upscale suburb where the head-shrinkers all have their offices?

Not that emotional problems will diminish. But they will be dealt with in traditional ways. A three day, drunken wake after a loved-one dies. Then we all put it behind us and march forward. We might feel hollow inside but the younguns are hungry and they are crying.

The crazy thing is the ones who are most strident about shutting down energy and going "Green" are the wyms. How do you run your laundry after dark? That becomes a non-starter in an energy system with solar as the heavy-lifter. That means you will not be able to run 4 different loads based on colors, fabric and delicateness.

And while we are at it, you might want to get used to the idea of terrazzo** floors instead of carpets. A pair of slippers might weigh 10 ounces while 1000 square-feet of low-end "utility" carpet and pad weighs 1500 pounds. You will go through five pairs of slippers in a year (3.2 pounds) in the five years (according to HUD) that carpets last in rental apartments. That is 500 times more resources sunk into carpet. 500 times more if the snowflakes really cared about that.


Pet peeve here. We have appliances we paid extra for (not that we have a choice) that use almost no water. Sounds great until you use one. They also don't clean clothes. Our washing machine without the agitator will not take simple, not-greasy dirt out of the hem or knees of a pair of jeans.

Dishwashers are similar. They brag about how little water they use. What is next? Dishwashers that sand-blast dishes and silverware with compostable media?

Resource scarcity

It is about far more than energy.


It is also about the headlong rush to embrace Communism, the economic system that catapulted North Korea's standard-of-living past that of Japan and South Korea, that caused the USSR/Russian economy to eclipse Western Europe's and to improve the per-capita wealth of Cuba to dwarf that of the United States. (Note: I could not find my sarcasm font)

*The most militant feminists enraged when they must identify themselves with a noun that has the word "" in it.

**Terrazzo: Ornamental concrete that has been ground smooth and sealed. The base concrete is often died dyed and sometimes glass or glitter is added to the surface layer before the concrete sets and is ground for visual interest.

Saturday, March 26, 2022

Hedgerow, progress report


Looking up the strip of land that is being converted to hedgerow

"Astro" Arugula was seeded last fall.

Multiplier onions were planted near the damp end. Strawberry plants near the dry end.

I found my horde of South Dakota plum seeds. These are from fruit that might have been pollinated by red-leafed, ornamental plums. You can see that some of the seeds are pushing roots.

These were most likely pollinated by P. nigra. One or two peach pits may have snuck into the bag.

These are assorted plum pits from grocery-store fruit. All those pits are planted.

Dock, aka Sorrel aka Rumex is one of our earliest edible greens. The leaves are about two inches long. Slim pickings for foraged foods.

To date, I have the peach pits, the plum pits, the black currants, persimmon seedlings, hazelnuts, gooseberries, strawberries and multiplier onions planted into the hedgerow.

A fellow fruit-growing enthusiast graciously donated some elite selections of P. angustifolia or Chickasaw plum. Those will be propagated and thrown into the scrum.

For reference, many pear seedlings are very thorny and will remain thorny if you keep them juvenile by cutting them down. The species P. betulifolia stays very thorny longer than other species. P. bet is a commonly available rootstock.

Hawthorns (Crataegus monogyna and C. laevigata) are the foundation of European hedgerows, perhaps because those species propagate easily from cuttings and are thorny.

North America is home to many species of hawthorns. C. mollis is probably the pick-of-the-litter for edible northern species while C. opaca and C. aestivalis are good choices for the south. Opaca and aestivalis are typically identified as "Mayhaws" in the south. C. mollis is not available in the trade but one of its hybrids, Arnold Hawthorn can be found in older, city parks and the fruit tastes decent enough to make pies with. Brown sugar and cinnamon can work miracles.

Bonus image

The calves gnawed the bark off these Black Locust branches. Black Locust retains thorns even as the branches grow. Some of those mouthfuls were prickly.

Embarrassing moments while entertaining


Have you ever had one of those moments when you had house-guests and they wanted to see a high-tech, solar-powered, dental drill. You found a dental-drill for them to play with. The group went to  a place where it is safe to test dental-drills. That is when you found out the unit was missing one of the parts.

An important part.

Things happen. Dental-drills need cleaning and lubrication. Soaking parts in kerosene is a time-honored way of cleaning some models. The best way to not lose other parts is to button it back up.

The weather is getting nicer outside. It might be a good time to function-test all of your dental drills.

You don't want to find out that any of your tool(s) are in-op or the batteries are weak when you are in the middle of performing a dozen root-canals.

"Physical Fitness" as a right-wing dog-whistle

Yeah, right. Tell me another story
Like many leftist screeds, there is a kernel of near-truth buried in the essay.

(Far right extremists) championed (physical fitness) as a tool to help fight (survive) the “coming race war” and the street battles that will precede it. Recruits are encouraged to link individual moral virtues such as willpower, decisiveness and courage, with desired collective traits such as virility and manliness.
The article is worth deconstructing if only for the purpose of entertainment.

Essays are like tents. Tents are held up by tent-poles that are not visible from the outside. Let's speculate about the tent-poles (assumptions) the author used to hold up her essay.

She is angry about physical disparities between men and women

She singles out MALE physical fitness.

She is anti-Second Amendment

Her argument only makes sense in a universe where firearms and other weapons do not exist.

A 78-year-old woman in a wheelchair who carries and is proficient with a handgun can beat Mike Tyson.

She is married to the idea that "WORDS" are the only thing that matters

There is an old saying, "Every problem looks like a nail when your only tool is a hammer.

Give the devil her due. Looking at her bio, she is undoubtedly brilliant with words. She is brilliant at using them to manipulate people around her and to advance herself. 

She is using them to "imagine" and advance a world where every problem is a nail. She either turns it into a nail or she disparages the people who can use screwdrivers and welders and other tools.

She is an elitist who is protecting her turf

Like the Pharaohs of Ancient Eygpt, modern elitists want a moat around their status. The Pharaohs did it by claiming to be gods. The modern elitists do it by kicking away all of the ladders that lead to the tree-house.

The most robust ladder to becoming elite is intelligent practice and the best way to inculcate that is through physical fitness training.

A humble example

Pelé, my oldest son was anxious about 7th grade phys-ed because they benchmarked the number of push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups at the start of the year. His classmates had been needling him about his spaghetti-thin arms.

Mid-summer, Pelé asked me "What can I do so I can do more push-ups?"

"Well, Pelé, how many push-ups CAN you do?"

"I dunno"

"Let's find out."

It turned out he could do five...barely...with rotten form. He was sway-backed and shaky.

"Here is the plan" I told him. "First thing in the morning you will do two push-ups. Then you will brush your teeth and then do two more. Then after you get dressed for the day you will do two more. That will be three sets of half your maximum."

"You will do the same thing at lunch time and dinner time and just before you go to bed."

Of course I got an argument. "What good will that do? I mean, two push-ups just isn't going to cut it."

He wanted words. He wanted guarantees. I could not give him any.

"Practice leads to perfection. There is no way to prove it with words. You have to run with the plan and your body will tell you if it is working."

Mid-week we did another max-rep test and we adjusted the number of push-ups per set to half the max. Pelé cut me out of the process once he understood the process: Test for max-reps twice a week. Adjust the number of reps-per-set. He was VERY self-conscious about his weak arms and chest.

Later, Pelé told me that the gym teacher told him he could stop cranking out push-ups as he hit twenty. Pelee did another ten to rub the other kids' noses in the fact before he quit.

It was a glorious day for Pelé.

The point of sharing the story is that physical fitness is the single most concrete way to demonstrate (to children) that intelligent practice is the ONLY way to rapidly improve. You cannot "think" yourself into perfection. You cannot "talk" your way into perfection (unless you are an antiquated, Leftist spewing words). Practice is the only way.


A tip of the hat to 70sTarheel

Friday, March 25, 2022

And about that perfect, suburban lawn...

Lawns are one of United State's most intensively irrigated, fertilized and carpet-bombed-with-chemicals crop.

How many people could be fed if the United States stopped fertilizing grass?

That is a tough question because fertilizer recommendations for turf vary wildly.

Turf that must be immaculate and a deep-green will be irrigated, mowed very frequently and the clippings will be removed because they are considered unsightly. Current recommendations are for five, monthly applications of 40 pounds of Nitrogen each or a total of 200 pounds of N per year.

The recommendation for professionally managed turf where the clippings are left in place is for half that amount. Examples include sports fields, school yards, parks and grassy areas around shopping malls.

Additionally, large areas of lawn are not professionally managed and might never see fertilizer for periods spanning years. "Why fertilize it? It just means I will have to mow it more often"

An educated guess is that on average, turf gets 50 pounds of Nitrogen fertilizer per year. That is 1/4 the maximum and half the "otherwise recommended" amount. 

At 40 million acres of turf, 50 pounds of Nitrogen per acre and an incremental corn yield of 1 bushel-per-pound of N, that equates to an opportunity cost of 2,000,000,000 bushels of corn. Seven bushels of corn can supply 2000 Calories a day for a year.

That means that the fertilizer lavished on lawns in the United States could be directed to farmer's fields and produce enough food to keep 280 million additional people alive.

I know including all of the numbers in the essay makes your eyes roll back in your heads but the final number is mind-boggling and I want to leave enough bread-crumbs on the ground for the mathematically-inclined to double-check my work.

A house divided cannot stand

Bleak thoughts

For those of you who are new to this, this is Matt Bracken's Civil War II Cube. Mr Bracken identifies three primary fracture planes that are likely to come into-play during social disintegration.

It is a tidy thought-tool. Perhaps too tidy. It suggests that the fracture planes can be avoided geographically. That is unlikely to be the case.

There is a fourth fracture plane that needs to be taken into consideration: Young/Old


...snowflakes live in their own sheltered echo chambers in which opposing opinions are quelled rather than debated. Snowflakes are also overly self-entitled, averse to any form of criticism and holding the belief that their emotions take precedent over discussion.   (Source)

Additionally, snowflakes believe emotions take precedents over facts and that they are not accountable for secondary effects (WHAT! You mean I have to pay back my loans?)

Young correlates to Poor-Urban-Dark in the CW2. Consequently they affiliate with that corner even if they are otherwise Rich-Rural-White. After all, they wanna be cool and edgy.

We cannot escape the young: 

  • Younger family members
  • Food service people
  • Delivery drivers
  • Certified Nursing Assistants 

Many/most are envious. Many/most have been brainwashed into believing that private property is evil. Many/most will feel righteous about taking what they feel should be theirs.

Food security

Food is power. Food can be a weapon when there are chronic shortages. If you have food, hungry people will give up autonomy to feed their kids. They will let you mine their minerals and debase your currency.

Any reasonable first-order approximation suggests that Americans will never go hungry. We have too much great farmland. We have very productive farmers and good infrastructure.

What the first-order approximation misses is the food-as-a-weapon angle. If we are the swing-producer and our volume/quality can set prices the way Saudi oil used to set prices on the oil market, then the United States and Canada become the dominant players on the world stage without firing a shot.

The logical implications is that meat will become very, very expensive as meat is a calorie sink. There are 16 million cattle in feed-lots at any given moment. They average 40 pounds of feed a day and half of that (20 pounds) is grain. The beef cattle in feedlots are consuming enough grain and beans to feed 320,000,000 people.

There are about 9 million dairy cows in the United States and they are fed enough concentrate to feed another 225 million people.

Neither of the two previous paragraphs considers the grain fed to younger cattle.

Hogs and chickens are more efficient at converting grain to meat but every link in the food chain has losses. 

Reread the story of the Prodigal Son. "He longed to eat the pods (beans/peas) that he fed the hogs". Most modern readers miss the implications of how dire the Prodigal Son's circumstances were and just how desperate he was. Remember, pigs are "unclean" to the Jews and it was unthinkable to consider eating the same food they ate. A modern re-write might read "...he changed diapers at an old-folks home and longed to eat the undigested kernels of sweet-corn in the dirty diapers."

Given the evidence we currently have of the deep-state, is there any doubt in your mind that they will guide events and make half-a-billion people their slaves?

Socially, look for every publication and news show suddenly discovering "Health risks of Keto and Paleo diets". Expect meat taxes and the draconian enforcement of "humanitarian" and pollution regulations to choke producers. Also expect additional crushing of meat processing plants. "Knock, knock...Immigration calling"

It is already baked into the cake. Count on it. If meat is an important part of your diet then you are screwed. Buy ahead. Freeze it. Have a plan to transition to "lentils" because your body will punish you if you change over cold-turkey.

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Facebook Algorithms


The extended ERJ family may have been bitten by Facebook algorithms.

Belladonna informed me that there was a major kerfuffle going on between one of my brothers and one of my nephews.

What dragged me into it was that the nephew claimed I had done something that had not happened. Or so Bella informed me.

Skipping over all the garbage in the middle, the kerfuffle transpired 15 months ago and my nephew somehow omitted the fact (15 months ago)  that the activity I shared with him happened at a public park and not on Mom's property.

Mulling it over in my mind, it occurred to me that Facebook exists to sell "eyeballs". Most of their revenue comes from advertising. They undoubtedly resurrect threads on a regular basis based on various metrics.

One metric would be Reaction Score. How many viewers, as a percentage, comment on the thread. Another metric might be how often viewers open a given thread and review the latest comments. Stickiness, how long do viewers remain interested in a given thread.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Threads associated with your high school winning a state title in basketball, for instance. Facebook might notice the bright-spot in their significant-metrics index and resurrect those threads on the one-year anniversary of when those threads peaked. Most people who viewed or commented would be pleased.

The dark-side is that those same metrics will plow the scar-tissue back to the surface for petty drama.

The take-home is that anybody who still plugs into Facebook should always look at the dates of the comments that get put in front of their eyes. We should also coach the Belladonnas of the world to do the same.

There is enough real pain heading our way. We do not need the distractions of phantom targets painted by social media algorithms.

Iterative methods for eigenvector searches

For those of you with a pathological, mathematical bent: The social-media algorithms are very similar to the iterative methods used to find eigenvectors. Multiply a matrix by a vector and you get a new rotated-and-magnified vector. Normalize the new vector and cross the matrix by the new, normalized vector.

The vector rotates into the dominant eigenvector and the other eigenvectors can be found by taking the difference between the last two iterations and enforcing orthoganality with previously found eigenvectors.

Marketing clinics are similar. Take the comments and observations from an earlier focus group and feed them into the new focus group.

As Bob Little once said "Actually, it is rocket-science. But don't panic. We are engineers."