Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Wide World of "Sports"

So it wasn't enough for a bunch of old fucks to beat up on a 15-year-old Russian Olympic skater and make her cry on international TV; now we have a 29-year-old, dude-in-a-dress sexual deviant beating up on 10-17 year old girls at a skateboarding "competition". Jay Leno once was reported as saying that if God doesn't destroy Hollywood Boulevard, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. I'm going to expand that: If God doesn't destroy all of Western Civilization, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology and full pardon.

Friday, June 03, 2022

We Interrupt Our Regular Programming

In my last post, I was whinging about gas prices. I stated that the latest 20 cent increase hadn't found its way to northern Michigan. Yep, you guessed it. It's here. Less than 24 hours after I posted, gas here in the great white north jumped to $4.79/gallon. Based on past experience, I'm expecting $5/gallon once the fudgie season gets into full swing. 

Speaking of interruptions, Biden was on the boob tube last night yapping about bringing back the Clinton "assault weapons" ban and the ban on "high capacity" magazines. The problem I had with that law in the first place is that there is no such thing as an "assault weapon". There is absolutely no functional difference between an AR-15 and my dads .30-06 hunting rifle. Sure, cosmetically they are very different looking. The civilian AR-15 looks like the military version, but it does not function like one. The law was nick-named the "Ugly Gun Ban" by us NRA types who actually have some knowledge about how guns function. The list of banned weapons ended up being just that; an arbitrary list of ugly guns that looked frightening to pig ignorant congress-critters. 

Another "talking point" you will hear is how an AR-15 is sooooo powerful. When the original ban was being kicked around in congress, some Democrat dumb ass was going on about how an AR-15 couldn't be used for deer hunting because there wouldn't be anything left of the animal. Again, using my father's .30-06 as an example: with a 180 grain bullet, typical muzzle velocity is 2900 ft/sec and 3360 ft/lbs of energy, while an AR-15 (typically chambered for the .223) fires a 77 grain bullet at 3100 ft/sec, but only 1642 ft/lbs. In other words, yes, you are not allowed to hunt deer with an AR-15 not because it's "too powerful", but because it's too weak and would injure without killing the animal.

Then we get to "high capacity" magazines. What exactly is the magic number here? Two? Ten? Why is a 16-round magazine "high capacity" but a 15-round is not? Again, the law is completely arbitrary and not based on any definable principal.

But as usual, facts don't matter. It's all about the little Democrat snowflakes' feelings.

Wednesday, June 01, 2022

And the Beat Goes On

 

There are many things that are broken in modern "healthcare". This is a good summary of one of them. I have to admit, funny as that is, that I'm rather torn when it comes to healthcare. On the one hand, the pathetic response to the Covid pandemic was a classic case of the profit-above-all-else thinking that comes with a for-profit healthcare system. On the other hand, I'm pretty sure this joke was created by someone living under a nationalized healthcare system like you would find in England. From my experience in working for a couple large-ish hospital systems, all I can come up with as a solution is going back to the old system of smaller, localized hospitals run by doctors and nurses who had spent time on the floor, caring for patients. When I was growing up, there were at least a half dozen hospitals; some were supported by the Catholic church, some were supported by local tax dollars, some ran off endowments. None could really be said to be providing healthcare at a profit and all were run by people who had put in many long hours on the floor dealing with patients, instead of some know-nothing MBA who wouldn't know a stethoscope from a rectal thermometer.

We spent a few days down-state visiting family, which was nice. What wasn't nice was the price of gas. When we left, it was running between $4.57 and $4.59 per gallon all the way down. When we left for home, the price of gas had jumped 20 cents down-state. We were able to make it about two-thirds the way back on what we still had in the tank. It seems the price jump had not migrated this far north. I'm sure it will eventually. I gotta say, this sucks living on a fixed income. We were barely making it a year ago; now rent went up 7.5% and gas looks to be heading for $5/gallon or more. I might have to figure out how to ride a bicycle again. Or maybe we'll get one of these

The war in the Ukraine is playing out more-or-less how Putin wanted it to. It's taking longer than I think he originally thought it would due to some snafus on the Russian side, and more and better weapons (thanks to the American taxpayer) on the Ukrainian side. But the Russians are now in control of the majority of the Donbas and the southern seacoast, which is all of the Ukraine they want. The rest is just grifters and welfare queens. The US keeps trying to drag this thing out as long as possible in an attempt to create a Vietnam-style quagmire. I don't think it will work, but we'll just have to wait it out and see. Meanwhile, Ukrainian civilians are dying by the thousands. Kinda puts that whole bitchin'-about-gas-prices thing into perspective.

"President" Joe Biden continues to embarrass the nation as he wanders around in a dementia fog. I laugh every time I see speculation about him running for a second term. Not likely. Any halfway intelligent candidate could grind him into fine powder at the first debate. It wouldn't even be all that hard; just let him talk without interruption. He will quickly lose track of where he is and what he is doing. Maybe his handlers will bring back the Easter Bunny to keep him from wandering off the stage.

Speaking of living in a third-world country, one of the big nuke plants here in Michigan just went off-line due to cracks or corrosion or some such. Doesn't really matter why. What does matter is the rolling blackouts we've been promised on hot, windless days. I've been shopping Amazon for a large-ish key-start generator we can use here on the property.

Well, I should really try to get something done today. Debbie is off spending our life savings on a loaf of bread and a pound of bacon. Every time we see some rice or beans on the shelf, we grab some. Ya know; just in case. Later.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Fred Ain't Dead!

Several months ago, Fred Reed went radio silent. Given his age and health problems, I feared the worst. But instead of being dead, he had switched to a different platform. Woohoo! Fred is Back!

Friday, May 06, 2022

We're Here, We're Here, We're Here!!!

...and very little chance our little dust speck will get boiled. We are in Michigan and right now and it's a balmy 49 degrees. As I type this, I'm sitting in the cabin wrapped in blankets: my dust specks could certainly use a little boiling. The recent radio silence here was due to all the closing up of our Florida place and getting settled into my parents' cabin for the summer. It's amazing what you can forget in six months. The first couple days were just the two of us wandering around the cabin trying to find things we knew we had left here, but had no idea exactly where we had stashed them for the winter. 

Our sticker shock over food prices continues. Just when we think they cannot get any more absurd, they do. On our last foray into Sam's Club, we just cracked up laughing when we saw the packages of precooked bacon for nearly $18. And it wasn't even a full pound. It was some odd amount like 10.7 ounces. Like the stuff was some sort of rare and exotic meat harvested from the livers of new-born baby seals or some such. Incredible. Of course we stopped laughing a couple days later when gas jump 40 cents over night. It sure is a good thing this inflation is just transitory.

A while back I commented how the Federal Reserve had painted itself into a corner with near-zero interest rates (which means negative real rates when inflation gets factored in). If they left them where they were, inflation would keep screaming higher, but if they raised rates to tap the brakes on inflation, they would destroy all the various bubbles as well as crush anyone with large amounts of debt (which is pretty much everyone). Well, it looks like they chose door number 2 with a quick rate hike of .25 percent followed by another one for .5 percent just a few days ago. But that is just the opening act for another five or six more rate hikes by the end of the year. Anyone with a variable rate mortgage may want to start packing now and avoid the rush. 

It will be interesting to see just how much damage this will do to the economy. It will certainly bring an end to the huge bubble that's been blown in real estate. House starts have already taken a nose dive, and a similar crash in housing prices is sure to follow. We may also see more wild gyrations in auto sales. Higher rates may finally end the silly bidding wars that saw dealers getting thousands over sticker price, but may exacerbate the ridiculous prices in used cars, at least in the short term. That will likely end later in the year if the Fed follows through on its threat of even more rate hikes.

Not that any of this was unexpected or that getting interest rates back the something closer to sanity is a bad thing. Free money from the Fed is like pounding down a bottle of Jack Daniels. Sure it feels good for a short period of time, but then the puking starts and the fun is all over. Inflation clearing 8% with no end in site was our economy's response the to the alcohol poisoning of free money from the Fed. Next comes the long painful hangover of crashing prices in everything from stocks to houses, followed by a general contraction in economic activity as everyone resets to a lower standard of living.

One thing I love to watch is how gas prices going up over $4 dollars/gallon shoved Greta Thunberg and the rest of the merry band of climate change misfits right in the gutter. We're back to "Drill baby, drill!!" The Russia-Ukrainian war has caused huge price increases not just in oil, but natural gas and all the unpronounceable metals used in solar panels and windmills resulting in countries from Germany to Australia dusting off those old CO2-belching coal plants. It seems that when faced with the choices of freezing to death in the dark today vs. screwing up the climate 50 or 100 years from now, the world has decided to roll the dice on the second option. Not that solar panels and windmills were ever anything other than a technological gimmick to make a few high-income liberals feel a little less guilty about their own massive carbon footprint. I know I've said this before, but anytime you hear some rich dick helmet talking about reducing CO2, you need to chant the phrase, "CO2 is people!" over and over. And I mean that quite literally. Prior to humanity tapping into the earth's long-term carbon stores, there were maybe a billion people on the planet. Since we've started burning first coal, then oil and natural gas, that number has shot past 8 billion and looks to top 9 billion sometime in the next few decades, assuming the four horsemen stay in their stables. 

That currently looks to be a rather optimistic assumption. The red horse of war has, of course, been a regular feature of human history, but everyone is paying attention now that it involves white Europeans. Nobody gave a shit about refugees and dead children when they were just niggers, ragheads and coin slots (thank you Racial Slur Database; you really can find anything on the internets). But oh Good Lord have Mercy when it's white European refugees and dead children! The white horse paid us a recent visit with covid and the black horse looks to be stopping by this summer as world-wide food shortages start kicking in. Which means the pale horse won't be far behind and carbon emissions will fall. Isn't climate science fun? What was that faux-Chinese thing about living in interesting times?

Speaking of the red horse, can we stop already with the deification of Zelensky? He is absolutely not some Hero of Democracy. Even before the Russian invasion, he had placed the head of the opposition party under house arrest and had shut down and disappeared the heads of any media organization that dared to express even mild dissatisfaction with the Zelensky government. Imagine if Joe Biden put Trump under house arrest, shut down Fox News and had Suzanne Scott hauled off to some CIA black site. Not impossible, of course and the move would be wildly popular with our current crop of illiberal liberals. I mean, shit-damn-hell, Homeland Security just opened up a Ministry of Truth at the mere suggestion that Twitter's new owner, Elon Musk, may actually allow free speech. But regardless of likelihood, such a move could certainly not be seen as "defending democracy". Since the invasion, Zelensky has only gotten worse; outlawing all political parties other than his own and the Nazi parties, and nationalizing all the media. Why do Americans always have to paint every conflict as white hat vs. black hat? I mean, other than our general lack of intelligence and a collective memory that would embarrass a rather dull goldfish? There are no white hats here. Not us, not the Russians, not the Ukrainians, not NATO. And if we are so concerned for Ukrainian civilians, why are we doing everything we can to prolong the war? We are sending tens of billion of dollars in weapons and cash into a black hole. The Ukraine was a cesspool of corruption and grift before the war; why would everyone suddenly turn into angels? It's a safe assumption most of the weapons that manage to avoid being vaporized by Russian artillery or aircraft are going on the black market, not to front-line soldiers. And we already know from pallets of $100 bills disappearing in Afghanistan what happens to money in a war zone. All we are doing is giving false hope and guaranteeing even more (white) Ukrainians will get killed or be driven out of their homes. Stop the madness already.

Well, the sun's coming up which means I need to stop playing around here and get to work, work, work!