Work, Arbeit, Traballho

So, #derpcats are fed (why is it no one but me knows how to pour dry food?) and #derpfish is fed (he’s happier now in his bigger aquarium, and not hiding behind the heater looking like a sardine all the time, but he’s not making bubbles yet, so maybe not fully acclimated. If he doesn’t start making bubbles soon, I’ll do half a water change) #derpsarah is caffeinated and has had two ibuprofens, so it’s time to tackle the paint tray again…
This is a short post so you guys know I’m not dead. Mind you, death would be way easier, but not dead, no.
Yesterday I worked 12 1/2 hours on the house. Before you yell at me about doing too much, if I just do a couple of hours a day we’re going to completely miss the Colorado selling season this year, and I really, really, really don’t want to pay mortgage and rent for another year if I can help it.
Not that there’s guarantee it of course, but I feel due diligence I should try to have it up by mid-month and give it at last two and a half months to sell.
The big stuff is done, except for the living room.  Today is a lot of moving stuff around, waxing floors, touching up woodwork, and staging.  Oh, and a run to the dumpster.

Yesterday, when I came home at the end of a grueling day I realize we’ve forgotten what work is — those of us who don’t engage in manual labor as a rule.

What made the day grueling is that I was hammering down porch boards that had come loose/cupped (the Colorado sun is a b*tch) for most of the day.  To be effective the hammer has to be heavy…

Despite my weight — as soon as the house sells and we have money for copays, I need to go see an endo, because my weight makes no sense whatsoever — I’m in fairly good shape.  On normal days, walking three miles doesn’t even break a sweat, and I can carry at least half what the boys can carry over time — and mind, that’s not bad for a fifty two year old woman.

However the rhythmic effort of raising and dropping a heavy hammer over and over again (we have two heavy hammers and two “wimp hammers”  which are not effective, because heavy allows gravity to help you, and that’s good.  The boys named the two lighter hammers, btw.  “Oh, man, do I have to use a wimp hammer?)) just about did me in.  I have blisters on my blisters.  My thumb and the middle finger of my right hand are now two very large blisters.

And then I had to suck it up and go finish painting the hallway.

And just when I was feeling sorry for myself, I thought of grandma who, at eighty, could clean a two floor house and wax all of the floors in an afternoon.  And she could and did take care of a small backyard farm, look after “the creation” (rabbits, chickens and for a while pigeons) and the dog, and generally have the kind of day I had yesterday over and over again, at way older than I am.

Glenn Reynolds is fond of saying that if they could sell the effects of exercise in a pill, we’d all take it.  He’s probably right.  But here’s the thing: even those of us who exercise are nowhere at the level of “normal activity” for our ancestors.

Once we buy next (and possibly real) permanent-house, I intend to have a treadmill desk.  My office here is at the bottom of narrow stairs and it’s not feasible to bring the treadmill down.  But even with treadmill desk, I won’t be near the level of activity of my ancestors, which also involved lifting heavy stuff and scrubbing and hammering heavy stuff and…

What is this in the name of?

Well, we often wonder about the singularity.  Or at least the transhumanists do.  I think they should be talking about a SECOND singularity.  Our way of life, say, since the mid 20th century on is completely unfathomable to anyone in history to the point they wouldn’t get it.

The majority of humanity in Western countries doing sit down work?  Gettoutofhere.  You only need so much writing and documents.

The reason we didn’t notice is that it happened so gradually. It took most of the twentieth century to change over.

But we are in a space that is completely incomprehensible to most of our ancestors.

Is it good for us?  Who knows?  It’s changing us.  Some people don’t do well with ease.  I’ve realized sometime ago a lot of the neurosis (“I want meaning”  “Stop suffering in the world” etc.) in our young only attacked the young of the very rich before.  I’ve also realized Heinlein was right.  Humans thrive on strife.  We might not have enough strife.  This would seem to be reflected in the birth rates of Western countries, and the sort of bored wandering away from civilization and belief in noble savages on an epic scale.

I have no idea what is on the other side of this transition.  If we don’t manage to make it all collapse in the meantime.  (Yes, I’ve seen the news about the stock market, United and the WSJ.  And the Chinese stock market.  And Greece.  I’m working while listening to Black Tide Rising, which is appropriate, but I’ve stopped myself from humming “this is the end of the world as we know it.”  It might be.  Or not.  We are an ingenuous animal and we thrive on strife.  And I’d bet the US against just about anything, including treason from within.  Maybe I’ll hum “we shall overcome” or the battle hymn of the republic.)

There was a joke, when I was growing up that you could tell the different places “work” occupied in Germany and Portugal because Arbeit is a serious word with weight to it while Trabalho, or as often referred to “trabalhinho” isn’t.  I don’t know.  I met people who worked hard and laid back people who spoke both languages.

But whatever you call it, it is clear we’re each year more distant from work as our ancestors knew it.  We are the lilies of the field.

What will that do to us?

I don’t know.

It will be interesting to see, though.

And incidentally, after this stint, sitting at a desk and writing, even for 12 hours a day seems like it will be a walk in the park.  😉

378 responses to “Work, Arbeit, Traballho

  1. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    My brother-in-law was a factory worker (he’s retired now) and never considered “office work” real work. [Smile]

    I wonder if a 1890’s factory worker would have thought of my brother-in-law’s job as “real work”. [Evil Grin]

  2. Christopher M. Chupik

    I wonder if the collapse of the Chinese economy has prompted the wave of Chinese hacks of American data in recent weeks?

  3. The majority of humanity in Western countries doing sit down work? Gettoutofhere. You only need so much writing and documents.

    I wonder what things are relatively tiny aspects of a job– “organizing where things go when you’ve made them”– will explode into such a major labor cost next?

  4. I would observe that most of those ancestors pre industrial age died of old age in their late 40s to 50s. Some of that due to better health care, living conditions, and a stable food supply, but still and all it could be said that they worked themselves to death.
    My other thought for the day is that I do agree, this is in fact the end of the world as we know it, just as yesterday was and tomorrow will be. We now live in a world of constant change. Someone once observed that a peasant farmer of 1000 AD brought to a farm of 1800 would feel quite at home. A few improvements of course, but fundamentally the same lifestyle. A person from 1935 brought forward to today, a leap of 80 years rather than 800, not so much. The changes in technology that permeate our lifestyles mandate constant change and seem to be doing so at an ever accelerating rate.

    • you wrote:
      ” A person from 1935 brought forward to today, a leap of 80 years”
      what about a sf reader?

      • Probably a mixture of wonder and terrible disappointment.
        In 1935 television was a laboratory novelty, the REA was just starting to electrify the hinterlands of the U.S., the few computers that existed were analog and huge. Air transport was a novelty for the rich. Trains were still the common means of long distance transportation. We had not yet left the Earth. Disease was still a major concern, and Malthus theories were treated as fact.
        Sure, the SF reader knew about rockets and ray guns and wonders of biological advances conceived in the minds of golden age writers, but today we still don’t have space colonies, teleportation, true artificial intelligence, or affordable and practical flying cars dad gum it.

        • Yes, the 1935 sf reader would be very disappointed in what they saw. “All this wealth and you can’t do any better”? Also, on the old age and work. The retirement age of 55 was a good one for physical laborers. By that age they were truly ‘worn out’.

    • A farmer from 1935 who had mechanized, and yes, many were starting to mechanize even during the depression, would be familiar with a farm of today. Most of the machinery would be familiar, just more advanced and more reliable. I’ve been looking into all the rural school closings in West Texas over the last 80 years and all were due to farm mechanization reducing the need for farm workers. Now, a farmer from 1915 would be lost and amazed…..

      • On some of the farms they’re still using the tractors from the 30s. A lot of the other tech makes sense as an advancement, too– my laptop is a fancy typewriter, for example, and cellphones are a cross between the radio and a phone.

        I think your 100 year jump works better, yeah.

          • Seen a slide ruler? Good heavens, when I ran into one mentioned in a scifi story, I thought it was part of his scifi setting! (I think it was a Heinlein story, a kid wakes up being healed by aliens and they re-created his room– the slide rule was actually part of the “desk.”)

            • I remember that vignette, can’t place the rest of the story or the title, author, etc.

              My grandfather has a bunch of outdated tools mounted on a wall; crank drill, wooden bow saw, and two slide rules he used as an engineer in the 50’s.

              • Outdated? I still use mine (not the slide rule)

              • William O. B'Livion

                Some would say that any drill I use is a crank’s drill.

              • When I visited Mystic Seaport, the display that impressed me most was the almost mirror image of wood working tools from the 19th century and modern day, with the caption explaining that was why the workshop we could see had such modern tools. The basic difference was that the old tools were darker.

              • Feather Blade

                crank drill

                Ah, the original cordless tool.

            • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

              Sounds like RAH’s _Have Space Suit, Will Travel_.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                Yep, I looked it up. It was a mock-up of Kip’s room.

                Of course, RAH “missed” things like hand calculators.

                • Well, “hand calculators” had a very short run all in all – the first I ever saw was sometime in the 70s, and they pretty much been in the same museum case as the slide rules for te past 10 years or so, though I have a cheap solar powered one that I use all the time instead of getting my phone. Future tech historians may well count them as a technological fad, though as an analog I can see colonies producing cheap handheld computer gizmos for the period before they are able to build up the infrastructure to have everything in the local cloud like back home.

                  But re RAH, missing a piece of tech that’s only in use for 25-30 years in a future history spanning thousands of years does not seem that bad of a miss.

                  • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                    I wasn’t “blaming” him for missing them. Just stating a fact. [Smile]

                  • Don’t think Calculators have quite made it to museum stage. I use a pair at work, nearly every work day. One is a scientific type that will stay on until shut off, the other is basically a “disposable plus” that one could change batteries on but likely will break from abuse before that occurs.
                    Yeah, sure, I got one in my phones, but it is not convenient when sorting out the solids adjustments in a batch, and both mine are the oldest in the shop, with both having suffered being wet down and various chemicals sprayed onto them. Tough things. The Foam guys are so abusive of them they got those really cheap ones,
                    Even a strong calc will not take running over with a fork lift.
                    Neither will a phone. (I got my work cell once … oops).

                • Asimov once said something about “SF writers wrote of planet-sized computers but failed to think of the pocket calculator.”

                  I don’t know when Asimov wrote it; I’m fairly sure he was wrong, but pocket calculators were certainly less common than planet-sized computers.

                  I still have a couple of trig slide rules. Eventually I’ll get one of them framed and whip up a little brass hammer on the lathe to hang from a chain; “IN CASE OF EMERGENCY BREAK GLASS.”

                  • I saw a slide rule once. My calculus teacher brought it to the high school so we could see one.

                    • So you’re bragging, just because all your hair is the same color?

                    • Well, actually — it isn’t.

                    • Sorry, you just made me feel old. Guess I was a little snippy this morning.

                    • *crosses eyes, looks at streaks showing up in her hair* Even the “youth vote” doesn’t have hair all the same color these days, without dying.

                    • And then there was my brother, who in the late 1990s would take slide rules to math contests and array them on his desk just because they were cool/to weird out the competition.

                  • I still have a few slide rules, including my favorite K&E. Don’t have any circular ones, unfortunately.

                    The last time I can *remember* seeing someone else with a slide rule, it was at a con years ago – someone entered the costume contest wearing a Michelin Man costume and carrying one of the very large slide rules that used to hang in front of some classrooms (and, boy! I’d love to have one of them to hang on the wall).

                    He was, of course, indentified as The Ringworm Engineer.

              • What Drak said. I read it about 2 months ago, and realized I had never read it before. It was in my Heinlein box, an old PB, and I just presumed I had read it. I laughed at the first para of Chapter 4: “I said “space ship,” not “rocket ship.” It made no noise but a whoosh, and there were no flaming jets–it seemed to move by clean living and righteous thoughts.”

                • Don’t know why, but this reminds me of an engineer who convinced his purchasing department he needed a new desk dictionary by presenting them with the following definition from the old one on his desk: “spaceship- an imaginary vehicle..”

                  Of course, you tell a kid today to look something up in a dictionary or encyclopedia, and you’ll get a vacant stare in return.

                  • A lot of the Internet resources are called “dictionary” or “encyclopedia” or “thesaurus.” They just may not realize it’s a general term.

                  • Not my kids! They may ask if you want them to use the Oxford or the Websters, and adjust whine accordingly (The Websters is a one-volume-monster, the Oxford is a two-volume monster: if you can read either without a magnifier you don’t need glasses). Or they may complain that the last reader left the relevant volume of the encyclopedia out. (Encyclopedia: series of books intended to distract children for two hours from what they were looking up with fascinating articles describing topics beginning with the same letter.)

                    I really don’t understand how people raise children to be so helpless. It’s not like it’s hard to get them to be competent.

                    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                      Chuckle Chuckle.

                      Growing up we had an encyclopedia and there were always problems with “where’d that volume get off to” and “why did you put it back in the wrong order”.

                      It was published in the late 1950’s and was full of interesting information. [Smile]

                    • I really don’t understand how people raise children to be so helpless. It’s not like it’s hard to get them to be competent.

                      Opposite, really– I have to fight my daughter off of my phone since I showed her the image search. (She likes her coloring to be ACCURATE.)

            • I have a nice one. Haven’t used it in years. I wonder if the batteries are dead?

              • How badly do you need it? If you don’t need it right now, the batteries are fine; if you really need it to work right this second, they’re depleted, swollen, and leaking.

                • someone (mostly my co-worker who does surfactant work with me) has left mine on so long that even with a small solar panel to charge it, the battery has died, so I went and got another (one of those little 3.5 volt hearing aid style ones), and damned if it doesn’t look like I am going to need another, soon, but it doesn’t get left on near as often now. I keep the thing sitting atop a cabinet so it can get as much light as possible (even on weekends, it is under a skylight).

                • Schrodinger’s battery.

            • Good story. Have Spacesuit, Will Travel.

            • Shame on you all! I last read the book probably 40 years ago, and remember the section Foxfier is referring to immediately on her reference. (Of course, you might say that Heinlein *was* a big influence on my life.)

              • I mostly remember it was right after I read “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress” and was in the middle of reading everything our library had– or I wouldn’t even remember the author. (Especially with writers like him, it’s almost more like living the story than reading it– so names don’t stick.)

              • I remembered. :o) Me too.
                He had to defend humanity in interstellar court. As an introvert, I was horrified.

        • “On some of the farms they’re still using the tractors from the 30s”

          This is true. And barns built in the 1800s and kept in repair. I’ve noticed that the more financially stable farmers buy new only when they have to. They buy a lot of stuff at auction from farmers who couldn’t make the payments on the new stuff.

          • or from family farms not set up as a small corp and the owner dies, then the relatives sell off to cover the taxes (because taxing the dead is a great way to make money)

        • See Fords that age, the other makes with proprietary implements mostly show up in parades. Of course, Fords are thinner on the ground than twenty years ago, before that outfit in Kansas decided to buy them all up and ship them to poor farmers in Africa.

        • If my maternal Granddad were still alive, he’d still be farming and using his old 1941 Massey-Ferguson tractor. He was still using it the day he was killed in an accident in 1974.

    • And there are some arguments that just the sheer number of changes is a significant stressor.

  5. Derpfish Lives! Yeah, the choice was buy yet more equipment to automatically feed Derpfish during Liberty Con (Dan said something like, we’ve already spent several hundred dollars on a five dollar fish) or rely on Uncle Charles to cross town and feed him. Uncle Charles’s only previous experience with (live non-edible) fish was the one in the two-dollar bowl who went tango-uniform after a week fifty years ago.

    • Congratulations. (I had an aquarium for years. It’s a lot easier when you have lots of similar looking fish, and keep buying new similar looking ones periodically. Won’t necessarily even notice when some die, especially if their mates have a tendency to eat them… 😀 )

  6. #derpcats. Oh yeah. Right now Athena T. Cat is convinced that if she stays affixed to my person, she won’t be sent back to the boarding kennel. (Where she managed to scratch her back raw, so she’s in a figure-of-eight harness until it heals.)

    When we were dependent on solar energy – in the form of wood and plant materials – for energy, labor was very hard. Animals helped, but they still ran on sunlight derivatives, and tend to get sick and die at inopportune times (Ask John Q Farmer about draft horses and “black-water”) Once we humans figured out how to use water and wind, things improved markedly for those lucky souls living in the right places. Then came coal and you no longer had to be on the water. Oil and electricity? Oh wow, we don’t need animal power! We can live anywhere, do things so much faster, and at any time of the day, and make machines to make other machines to do stuff we don’t want to do ourselves.

    Unless the government intervenes . . . like Albania, parts of Romania, parts of China during the Great Leaps Forward. It’s like we are our own worst enemy . . . (Unless there is some alien species that introduced Communism as a way to check the human population, since we don’t have obvious predators and our prey no longer suffers population collapses due to population booms and busts. Hmmmmm . . .)

    • Java, our sinister black cat, is recuperating in the front bathroom right now. He had a.kitty breakdown when we brought a (neutered) male rescue into the house, licked himself half bald (and he was a HAIRY beast) and stopped eating. Now that he has a private suite his hair is growing back, he’s eating about half a Chinese dissident a day and we’re gradually reintroducing him to the rest of the house.

      As for the strife, it’s coming, be patient. The Gods of the Copybook are not mocked forever.

    • I would say that things changed most radically in the West from one end of the 19th century to the other. In the early 1800s – power for industry and farming came from wind, water, and draft animals, although steam power was being experimented with. Light at night came from candles and oil lamps. Letters from the west coast might take as much as a year to get to the east. Six weeks to two months to cross the Atlantic. And by the end of the 1800s? Steam powered trains and packet boats: a week to cross the country and a week to cross the Atlantic. Electricity powering lights, we went from items made one by one, in small workshops, to factory mass production. My .02, for what it’s worth.

      • Once frequent criticism of conservatives by Progs is they say we want to repeal the 20th century. Like so many things Progs say, it’s projection. The Progressive ideology has always been about repealing the 19th century.

        • Have any of you guys read the r/K theory of evolutionary psychology?
          Just got it. Wolves and rabbits, or sheep if you prefer.

          • I read part of the link you shared, but it was beyond the “respond” point– I couldn’t get past the issues with the author’s notion of what animals were like as contrasted to what I’ve seen them actually be like. (Rams and male lions are both rather possessive of their females, for example– not what I’d consider accepting of promiscuity.)

            It’s more like they have a theory of human interaction and tried to make it fit animals, which works as a metaphor, but….

      • Ah, those were the days.

        Think how long it would take the trolls to find you, and how many would die along the way.

      • On a visit to the Mercer Museum (in Eastern PA), I saw a lovely exhibit of lighting technology from the earliest days up to just-before-electric-lighting. The fascinating thing was this: there was more improvement over the final 20 years than had taken place over the previous thousands of years.


        P.S. The Mercer Museum is a must-visit place for anyone who geeks out over technology. Their collection specializes in home and farm tech prior to the arrival of heavy steam power, tractors, and electricity. It’s F-ing AMAZING!

    • Isabeau the Clumsy is currently eating portion of my breakfast orange. Allie Alvarado is interested only because someone is getting something she didn’t (because she does not eat odd things like Isabeau) Annie does this:

      when I try to leave the house.
      Cats are insane. It is in the job description.

  7. MadRocketSci

    The majority of humanity in Western countries doing sit down work?

    How much of this sit-down work actually has a real productive point, and how much of it is actually parasitic on a productive enterprise (but has been mandated/perverse-incentivized somehow anyway)?

    There is actual thought-work that actually produces efficient decisions or involves the design or planning of a product. And then there’s the Chematix safety inspector who makes it his job to make it someone else’s additional duty to ensure all the MSDS’s are loaded into a mandatory database (through a bug ridden interface that doesn’t actually work) that no one but the Chematix safety inspector actually has access to (even though it supposedly informs fire departments of what might be burning in a burning building.)

    I suspect that a large percentage of work in the modern world is actually parasitic deadweight. The crazy thing is that you’ll have people who will straight-up defend that as ‘necessary’, because otherwise the people working deadweight jobs would have ‘no purpose’, when an efficiently organized economy could easily provide 1/(1-deadweight) times more wealth for everyone if they were doing something that was actually in demand!

    • MadRocketSci

      PS: Not questioning actual market decisions here, and not criticizing “superfluous luxury” like a dour puritan or marxist. If people have the unprecedented surplus to buy art or spend their attention making things pleasant, great! Something is going wildly right.

      If, on the other hand, people are punished for changing out their own lightbulbs because you are taking the bread out of the mouth of the lightbulb inspector …. well … If you have a college educated six figure bureaucrat whose job it is to go around making sure you don’t have contraband fire extinguishers in your place of business, when you couldn’t afford to hire someone at minimum wage because it actually costs five times his salary in government overhead -> Here you have a society who has an amazing unprecedented amount of surplus that is doing no one any good, because it is basically being carted off to the capitols of the world to be burned in anti-productive friction-producing “work”.

      • I think we’ve found MRS’ soapbox. Preach it, sir! :o)
        Good points all. When is it lamp-post time?

      • How about the guy who the bus system here pays to drive around in a beautiful, big pickup… to empty the little trash cans at the bus stop. The ones the size of a coffee can.

        I don’t know how often he does that, but I can’t help thinking it’d make more sense to have someone ride the @#$# bus and jump off to empty ’em, in gas savings alone.

        • I was surprised by the amount of litter people drop in parks in Paris, France. Well, the state pays for workers to spend all day picking it up, so why not? The guide we had was thrilled with the system and how French Social Democracy works and couldn’t imagine being forced to live where the government didn’t do so much. So what if food costs 4X as much as in the States – it’s French, from special locations and rich with traditions!

          • *camera cuts to the plate; there’s a wilted asparagus stalk next to something that might be tofu, egg white or really odd cheese, and four lines of differently colored dressings*

            • Yeah, well, if you look at “French” food that the immigrants brought with them, a substantial amount of it seems to be “We’re starving; let’s scrape a fraction of an ounce of meat here and there, and pretend it’s a fancy new dish.”

              How starving do you have to be to eat snails?

              • Truth.

                I’ve tried French farm food and– well, it deserves the reputation for awesome that French cooking has. (A French trained chef in Japan– lots of cream based dishes…I felt like I should roll out of the building.)

                • Ohh, country French cooking — none better. But, yes — how hungry do you have to be to give snails a go? And yes, I’ve eaten snails … TDY in a local restaurant. Proof positive that if you put enough melted butter, garlic and parsley on ANYTHING, it will be edible.
                  My own reminiscence, at the Inn of the Golden Something-or-other, in Blois in the mid-1980s.

                  • All haute cuisine starts as peasant cuisine: “Dammit, we have to eat SOMETHING!”

                    Over the course of years and as a culture hopefully grows and enriches itself, those who can begin to self-select the evolution of a cuisine: “We can grow wheat/rice/maize, we don’t need to grub for those crappy roots, shoots, leaves, whatever…”

                    As a culture begins to evolve social classes, those classes begin to self-select for particular preferred food: “Oh, we don’t eat unshelled rice in THIS family; WE can have all the meat we want; WE can eat beef instead of venison, etc.”

                    As at least the upper classes begin to develop the wealth to indulge in luxuries, the search begins for varieties in food: particular kinds of vegetables and meats, from particular locations; experiments begin with spices and seasonings.

                    As the cuisine evolves further away from its peasant roots it begins to grow decadent along with its consumers, and you start getting oddities like Romans stuffing songbirds into ravens into pheasants, or fifteen hundred dollar hamburgers in Manhattan…

              • As long as they are drenched in garlic butter, you can be stuffed to the bursting point and still eat them.

          • Randy Wilde

            Well, the state pays for workers to spend all day picking it up, so why not?

            Don’t we see the same thing in the US with conservative/ libertarian vs progressive gatherings? TEA Party demonstrations might end up cleaner than when they started; after the Occupiers finally got cleared out of Los Angeles the workers were wearing hazmat suits to clean up after them.

          • I had culture shock in the late 90’s on a visit to Britain. A a dutifully trained child, I never liter, and always place trash in the can. Here I am at a British Train Station, and there are no trashcans anywhere. Seems the IRA had a habit of blowing them up, so England removed them and paid people to pick up the trash you threw under your seat.

            • …Wow, that sounds weird. I mean, it’s an understandable decision if people are dropping bombs in them, but the absence would still be weird.

            • Birthday girl

              “I never liter”

              So you’re all about Imperial measures?

              • Dog years all the way!

              • Actually yes. I consider the proper measurement of mass to be the slug.

                • Whole lot easier to keep straight than the lb-m.

                • In the metric system every unit must be generated and approved by committee, and rigidly defined in powers of ten, whether it makes any sense or not.

                  In the free world we define units of measure as we need them. Which is why the guys at Los Alamos defined the “shake.” Or if you’re doing user interface programming you might run into the “mickey.”

                  • Not to mention sheds and barns. Knew a fella once who calculated his gas mileage so many miles to the megaparsec-barn.

                    • Ah, I’m used to the barn that is a measure of (microscopic) cross-section. Without looking up the etymology, I’m half-convinced it was named such from the “couldn’t hit the broad side of” reference.

                      The other cutely-named unit of measure I remember from my days as a Navy nuke is the mickey-mike.

        • A couple of dozen of those can fill a 50-gallon bag pretty quickly, so putting them on the bus might be a problem, if there’s no dump site on the route. The better solution, of course, would be to put in larger cans, and send a guy with a cheap pickup to get them once a week or so. Or just pay the garbage company to do it.

          • Drop them off at the bus station– it’d only take two bus seats to have two 50 gallon bags.

            They use to have real sized garbages, but people dumped their household stuff in. So now they have ones where you have to fold a hamburger carton to fit it in.

    • Hard to tell what’s dead weight and what isn’t– yeah, the MSDS things are waaaaaay over done, but there does have to be a system to keep me from getting killed by Idiot New Guy– along with a dozen of my closest coworkers– mixing a cleaner with bleach into a cleaner with ammonia. (Or, more likely, less obvious screwups.)

      Even modern-day “small” cattle operations require a lot of paperwork, because memory alone won’t keep track of the bloodlines for 300 animals going back ten generations, and that’s before the vaccination needs that (no matter what some folks wish) are required when there’s that large of a population of animals going so very many places.

      A lot of fences need to be cleaned up and taken down, but too many folks want to remove all of them, even though that would strengthen the “build more fences” side when Bad Stuff happened.

      • MSDS is so last year. It is all GHS now … Global Harmonized System.
        Some of our stuff got relabeled and looked really scary, so our EHS guy has me in Tyvek (it is that or rubber apron and arm guards … think rubber baby diaper covers and the associated rash and a close fitting face mask because one such got labeled “Possibly causes Cancer!”
        The Cancer is stomach cancer …. from ingestion …. of Isoprpyl Alcohol … you know, Rubbing Alcohol … in quantities that will kill you from poisoning long before the cancer can even develop.
        “This one says ‘Wear Protective Clothing!” (yeah, natural fibers … a white cotton lab coat is considered Protective Clothing for that product)
        Of course, the biggest problem is our stupid workers who do stuff no right thinking person would. 3 nearly full open head buckets of caustic soda on a pallet lifted by fork truck to 15 feet high and driven across the room … that stupid.
        and stupid methodology
        Worker got a soap product in his eyes, he is short, and was putting a “stinger” into the 330 gallon tote to pump out the stuff, then when done lifting it out. He’s short enough the stupidly designed scales we have put the opening he needs to use at forehead height, and removing the stinger he had some drip off and get between his forehead and “safety glasses” (I bet he had his personal glasses on as he sees poorly) and into his eye. Solution, of course was full goggles, and oh, ALL product Must come out the top of the tote.
        Not me. I refuse. Acetic acid isn’t that bad but I aint putting it over my head, thankyouverymuch
        Oddly, I have found no one in our management that will admit who came up with that policy or why then it is how it must be done.
        I think if he had on his correct glasses it would not have happened, but then again the new gear we wear does not prevent some of the more vile stuff from getting on your clothes or skin. Especially if you have to put dripping hoses above your head. So all that gear does little more for you when playing with the Formaldehyde/Phosphoric acid blended biocide than being in street clothes with safety glasses. (one of the few items they should wear a bit extra PPE for)
        I do got stuff I mess with I need the gear for, but not, say, Deionized Water, or Propylene Glycol (that stuff in Mio energy drink), yeah, keep it out of the eyes (orange juice would be worse) but if you ingest some it might (might is the official MSDS wording) cause upset stomach.

        I could rant on and on (well, more than I already have …. don’t get me started!)

      • Yes, but ALL substances are toxic according to the MSDS. Unless you’re up on all the doublespeak it’s hard to tell the relative difference between sulfuric acid and cooking vinegar.

        The MSDS have no practical use. By the time you’re knowlegeable enough to tell whether rubbing alcohol is likely to melt the flesh from your bones while your thrash in convulsions, you don’t need the MSDS in the first place.

        “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” strongly applies here. There’s no need to look *anything* up in the MSDS; I can pretty much tell you what it’s going to say without even knowing what you’re looking up.

        • To paraphrase: when everything is an emergency, nothing is.

          I suspect that some of the Darwin Award stuff we see is a result of that effect….

          That said, it does give you some kind of a clue about how it’s dangerous, if not how actually dangerous it is.

    • 1/1-dw You are MAD, rocket scientist!

      • MadRocketSci

        That’s before you throw in Keynsian multipliers. Keynsians love to use their downstream-effect multipliers when they talk about government spending stimulating an economy. They are always strangely silent about them when talking about taxation and compliance costs removing wealth from an economy. If that million were never removed from $BIGBUSINESS, it would instead be spent on $SUBCONTRACTORS, who would spend it on $EMPLOYEES, who would spend it on $SERVICES, etc, etc.

    • The crazy thing is that you’ll have people who will straight-up defend that as ‘necessary’, because otherwise the people working deadweight jobs would have ‘no purpose’,

      You should ask them why not have the deadweight make their own paper and ink. Think of all the employment THAT would produce.

      More labor theory of value malarky.

    • Where’s the B-Ark when you need it?

      • It landed in Russia around 1920. The infection has been spreading ever since.

        • Actually, think Otto von Bismark, and go back to about the late 1860’s. A lot of the roots come from his economic and social policies – specifically the ones to “spread” the risk of things like industrial accidents and retirement pensions instead of dealing with things like the causes.
          There had been a ground swell of classical liberal thought in Prussia and the other German states, especially by the conservative and junkers class, that did not really want the government telling them what to do. Bismark and his government quashed it as part of building the empire. Part of it was by buying off the industrialists.

    • I had to fix some problems with my car registration here caused by needing to wait to pass smog because i needed a $17 part. Anyway, I couldn’t actually complete my registration… i got a temp one and thew actual registration will be sent to me from Sacramento.. ETA: ‘a couple of weeks’

      A couple of weeks for a single printed sheet and a sticker that would ordinarily be dropped in my hand by an automated kiosk in the DMV lobby? Even if the kiosk doesn’t have that particular month’s sticker anymore, the individual DMVs still should have them. And the central office should be able to print the registration and pick up a st9oicker, drop both in an envelope, and have it in the mail by the end of the day, not in ‘a couple of weeks’

      (This is the same state, btw, that has no ability to print an actual drivers license at your local DMV and you have to wait for them to be printed and shipped to you from Sacramento)

      My guess is they have to somehow keep those people at the central office in Sacramento employed… That’s the real reason the state of CA is bankrupt- dead weight jobs that should have been eliminated thirty years ago.

      • Texas has the same system; the official explanation is that it prevents someone whose license has been revoked from paying off the local official to issue a new one.

        Because those incorruptibles in Austin would never stoop so low. /sarc

      • Feather Blade

        that has no ability to print an actual drivers license at your local DMV

        I asked about this the last time I got my drivers license renewed…apparently the machines they used to create the drivers licenses in-house-same-day could be purchased for cheap via the interwebs.

        Getting them printed at the DMV central office in Boise is supposed to cut down on the creation of fake IDs.

      • The People’s Democratic Republic of California is *infamous* in the IT industry. Their efforts to computerize and update their DMV go back at least thirty years; generations of bureaucrats have gone down in flames over it on the one side, and even IBM bailed on the other.

        Here in Arkansas we used typewriters, and everything was done at the local DMV offices. About ten years ago all the Selectrics sported their snazzy vinyl covers (who saved them? Or did they buy new ones?) and computer terminals popped up at each clerk’s station. A couple of years later the Selectrics quietly vanished. And everything is still done at the local office; they hand you your papers, your plate, or your still-warm holographic driver’s license and you walk out the door.

        They’re still dead slow, though. Sometimes it can take more than fifteen minutes of waiting before you get to see a clerk.

  8. Manual Labor

    I hate that Mexican….

  9. I’ve oft pondered the vast history of humanity looking at us in utter disbelief.
    “Agricultural OVERproduction? Problem? Come on.”
    “Wait, you’re seriously trying to tell me that the biggest health issue is that people have TOO MUCH to eat?!”
    “You have means to _prevent_ diseases that have been curses through all history and some don’t want to use them?!? Can I trade places with one of those idiots, PLEASE!”

    • Peter has noted before that many, many tribal Africans would cheerfully commit mass murder for the opportunity to live in the worst welfare slums we have.

      • Maybe that’s what ozero is up to with all the refugees.

      • Clean running water, four walls and a roof, electric light-heat-cooling, in walking distance (or a not crowded by rest-of-world standards bus ride away) from really cheap and plentiful food, without the kinds of insects that kill people, and no four-footed predators that can kill you . . . Seriously, that would be paradise for 99.999999% of humanity going back to the first generation.

        • Fewer poisonous reptiles in our towns, too. Except politicians.

          • The Other Sean

            Please stop insulting the poisonous reptiles.

            • Indeed. One is a slimy, scaly creature of disgust. The other is a snake.

              • Snakes eat rodents. Bullsnakes eat rattlesnakes. Politicians? I’ll take the snakes, thanks. (Anyone want the spiders trying to keep me from using the front door and front porch? Those can go – any home, good, bad, indifferent.)

                • I thought you were going to tell us what kind of snakes eat politicians.

                • Personally, I’m in favor of a program to genetically engineer a predator that will find politicians not only tasty, but nutritious. I’m not sure what we should use as a starting point, but I am certain that whatever it is, it should not be anything that relies on neural tissue for sustenance.

                  If only we could train the grizzlies and wolves they’re trying to re-introduce here in the intermountain West to feed exclusively on the politicos back East, I’d be completely at ease with the re-introduction. Problem is, the habitats aren’t close enough to each other…

                  • Take the politicians hiking.

                  • William O. B'Livion

                    I think Ringo wrote a book that sort of creature.

                  • Some guy named Lovecraft was working on that…. I think he called it a shoggoth? 😎

                  • There is a slight issue with the wolf reintro in Michigan.
                    All the wolves wearing radio tracking collars tend to end up dead, the collars cut off and floated down the nearest river or stream.
                    Seems these are well traveled and oft relocated lupines. They tend to be the ones that learned that easy food is to be had at places with houses and barns. Didn’t help the DNR lied about A: bringing wolves back, and B: also lied about some of them being these “Problem Wolves” once they were forced to admit Wolves were back in the U.P. The other lies of the DNR sure don’t help either. (There are no Cougars, There are no Moose, WE wouldn’t lie to you … often)

                    • Bureaucracy is the definition of fail.

                    • NYSDEC says there are no wolves in our area. Everyone in my family has seen one, and yes, we know the difference between wolves, coyote, and large dogs. Haven’t seen the cougars the NYSDEC denies the existence of, but several friends of mine have seen them. Occasionally, a non-existent bear is spotted by someone.

                      Either that, or we’re all suffering some sort of mass hallucination from the water supply or something.

                      We have fox in our yard. Across the street they have coyote. You have one or the other, not both. Same ecological niche. NYSDEC doesn’t deny they exist.

                      NYSDEC has admitted to reintroducing rattlesnake in our area, but refuses to divulge exactly where, for fear that some ignorant people like me would deliberately hunt them down and wipe them out again. Which is exactly what would happen. There are non-poisonous snakes perfectly willing to fill the rattlesnakes ecological niche.

                    • In Michigan the cats came of their own Accord (they drive Hondas!), but for years the DNR said there were none. But now they A: have trail cams and those caught several (like the Illegal Alien monitoring trail cams left by the Border Security advocates have snagged a Jaguar crossing from Mexico to Arizona) and B: The numbers went up about the time they brought in the wolves for some reason. The informant who blew the wolf whistle said that there was no program for bringing them in, and denied them himself for years until he personally saw sign, then an actual animal all within a month’s time. within the last two years I think the local paper had one reporter get several shots of a female and two cubs stalking turkeys in a field. Got a bit hard for the DNR then to deny the things were lurking about.
                      One is on or around my Uncle’s camp, and another uncle saw one back in the 70’s, he estimates about 75 pounds. DNR tried to tell him it was just a bobcat, but he had a bobcat/housecat mix that weighed 35 pounds or so, and the tail of the cougar was what caught his attention.
                      I stayed in Kanawah state park in WV and the Ranger there told me there were no big cats there … then pulled his iPhone out and showed me a pic from about a mile up the valley. A hunter climbed into his stand and after an hour or so noticed there was a cougar in the next big tree, watching him watch his deer trail. It let him take a picture and then climbed down.

                    • Advantage to rattlesnakes: they tend to announce themselves just fine, and are pretty easy to hide for the “shovel” aspect of the same.

                  • it’d help if I completed a thought before posting …
                    We could instead trap and train those problem lupine, and until they are fully train, put the collars on politicians.

        • That’s one of the reasons why I find the “I’ll never vote for any politicians who would even consider an amnesty” faction so tiring. We have millions of illegal immigrants already in this country. We aren’t going to deport them all – thanks to the Israelis the skill set for moving large numbers of people against their will has pretty much died out, and there’s no way Americans will tolerate the kinds of conditions here that would make moving back to a Latin American craphole look like a good idea. So our choices are either allow a near-permanent underclass that will fester with division, resentment, and criminality. or we can issue another amnesty and start assimilating the people who have proven that they REALLY want to be here.

          Of course, there’s no reason why we can’t have some onerous conditions, like an actual secure border, before we grant the amnesty. We tried this dance before and Reagan got hoodwinked, so I think it’s incumbent upon the pro-amnesty side to prove their bona fides.

          • Just imagine the first five ten twenty minutes of the nightly networks newscasts if we actually tried to deport the umpty-million aliens in this country illegally.

            You thought the daily body-counts from Iraq were over-the-top?

            Then think about the comedians’ monologues every evening, ripe with jokes about how America has been made safer today as another thirty-thousand gardeners and maids were deported.

            We need to focus on the possible. Tighten border controls — it is a national security matter. If one Al Qaeda operative gets through with every thousand Mexicans, that’s way too many.

            Establish work permits for those willing to step up and abide by our laws. Not green cards, but a slightly lower quality permit, something that will establish their permission to be here and will allow them to move back and forth across the border, no longer trapping them here. Anybody not seeking this “blue card” by the end of a reasonable registration period, say — three years — is subject to immediate deportation after that time.

            No citizenship, no voting rights, with possible exceptions for honorable military or civilian service (e.g., fire fighters) and no-BS actual fines, plus keeping their record clean for a significant period of time — decades, not years.

            NO criminal offenses — Spit on the sidewalk and you’re outta here.

            Jail terms ONLY for the serious crimes — in comparison to where many of these come from our jails are a step up.

            Once a new normal is established we can talk about what requirements are needed to even consider a path to citizenship.

            This is not intended as a comprehensive plan, merely an outline of what steps might be taken. Clearly there need to be penalties for any American employers using non-qualified workers (avoid the “illegal alien” term at all costs; we need to come up with a term like “line-jumpers” for them) faces severe penalties, such as payment to Social Security at the rate that they would have faced if hiring legally qualified workers, or perhaps some multiple thereof. Forfeiture of privileges of bidding for government contracts. Civil fines. Jail time if using these people in truly egregious working conditions.

          • amnesty is not the cure, see the 80’s for that, but actually enforcing it when you find it does wonders. Just secure the damned borders and step up enforcement a bit will slow things, and make it less an issue. It will never go away, yet it will reduce. But those really pushing for amnesty are also dead set against border enforcement. They want and need an underclass to lord over and as cheap labor, plus for a political point of contention.
            Leftoid hero Cesar Chavez had to be talked into supporting amnesty the first time, and the left conveniently forgets he decided afterwards that is was a bigger mistake than he thought it might be before they cajoled him into support.

            • Actually if the Latin immigration pattern holds, a “permit to work till retirement” might be more prized than a citizenship. At least the goal of Portuguese immigrants was always “return and build the biggest house in the village and be very very rich with what is normal retirement in a wealthier country.”

              • One reasons the Mexican gov’t hates our “persecution” of illegals is all the money they send home. Why fix your own nation’s economy and gov’t when your disaffected will send someone else’s money home to you. I’m sure they’d fully back such a plan.
                Meanwhile, try being an illegal in Mexico. I suppose it is easier than here … right?

              • Exactly.

                Most of the issues we have are with the people who are here as a “get rich quick” theory– quick being relative to “home.” And since they’re not staying, they don’t care what damage they do to here.

                Making it so it’s not EASY to stay here, send money home, eat like a king (again, relative to home) and even have someone else watch your kids…. Make it at least as hard to be an illegal as it is to be a home-breaker, for heaven’s sakes. No, the laws won’t STOP it entirely, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to abandon it.

          • You know, Kirk, for someone who seems to keep up with the news, you must have missed the fact that the Obama economy isn’t producing very many jobs, and that has induced illegals to self-deport.

            Start reducing the incentive to hire illegals by mandating verification of citizenship or employers go to jail, cut off any and ALL access to benefits by illegals and family members, and watch it happen even more — no cattle cars needed.

            Of course, that might mean that Democrats won’t have votes, and GOPe’s won’t have lawn care…..

            • Wasn’t Kirk. And yes, while the lackluster economy has caused some to leave, not all of them will. Being a libertarian, I’m reluctant to allow the government even more intrusion into my employment process (OK, I’m a federal employee, so it’s moot for me right now. But the principle stands) and there’s the issue that no law enforcement process is 100% effective, so there will be an population of illegal immigrants – almost all of whom will be related to American citizens (thanks 14th Amendment). Those immigrants will still be willing to work for lower wages under the table and commit identity fraud to stay here.

              And of course, once the economy picks up again many of those self-deporters will come back.

              The problem with doing deportations now is the sheer scale. The American people aren’t going to stand for millions of people being forced out of the country. The few hundred or thousand that would sneak past a secure border won’t clear the Kardashian threshold in the public consciousness. We need a secure border, and the promise of an amnesty is our bargaining chip to get it.

              • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

                We’ve “played that game before”.

                “Support the Amnesty and we’ll support a Stronger Border. Get the Amnesty and the Border remains the same.”

                Oh, this game has had several rounds and we still don’t have a stronger border. [Frown]

                • Which is why we need to make it clear that the other side needs to prove their bona fides and secure the border before there is an amnesty.

                  • OK, lets game this one out. Boehner promises what you want. Now what?

                    • The smart play would be for a comprehensive border plan with security funding and an amnesty, but the amnesty clause doesn’t trigger until 2/3 of both houses of Congress and the President concur that the border is secure. I would expect the Democrats to kill that bill, which would allow Republicans to run as the party of solutions when it came to immigration, while the Democrats played politics with people’s lives.

                      In the end, you have to look at the legislation before deciding whether or not to support it.

                  • Eh… the thing is, what I’d expect to happen is they agree, meet none of the conditions but instead continue making the problem worse, and then trot out all the same arguments about heartlessness and the impracticality of enforcement, with the added force of having previously gotten official agreement on said arguments in principle.

                    • That’s why I would require a supermajority across the branches. Sure, they could just pass a bill that grants amnesty with a simple majority, but if it were that easy they would have done it already. Giving those that a truly pro-amnesty – as opposed to those who only support the issue as a political football – a reasonable path forward would sever the “compassionate” wing from the cynical wing, weakening the pro-amnesty forces.

                    • Nah, see, then they just come back with how if the conditions haven’t been met, obviously they’re unreasonable and insuperable, and you already agreed that it was impractical and heartless and racist to keep trying to enforce the law, so obviously it’s the same to keep withholding the amnesty just because some other heartless, arbitrary, and impractical conditions haven’t been met, and so on and on and on.

                    • Remember that the purpose of the exercise isn’t to convince the Progs, that’s impossible. It’s to convince the vast middle who don’t see things like a border fence or deporting criminals as arbitrary or heartless.

                    • I didn’t think you were trying to convince the progs/politicians. I do think you are underestimating their ability to convince people by incessant whining, especially if we start by conceding that it is impossible and/or mean to enforce the laws with regard to people who already broke them.

                    • Except that it is impossible to enforce the laws for the people already here. There are just too many of them. Conceding reality doesn’t cost us anything. Pointing out that an amnesty without border security would only encourage more people to come here illegally is a powerful counter-argument.

                    • Declaring it impossible to enforce the law against the criminals who have already broken it loses everything. If it’s a foregone conclusion that they’re going to get away with it, then the other side just has to wait and has no incentive to give anything up.

                    • They already know they’re going to get it, they can read the political landscape.

                      Right now neither the amnesty nor secure borders side has a clear majority, so things muddle along in the status quo. Eventually things will be brought to a crisis, and the amnesty side is going to be able to pick up a huge chunk of the middle because they’re going to be seen as “nice” and the border security side is going to be seen as mean. A comprehensive bill that predicates amnesty on securing the border would swing a huge number of the undecideds over to supporting border security. It would make securing the border the “nice” thing to do. That’s why the Democrats would kill any such bill, but that would force the Democrats to be not nice, to take away people’s chances at living the American Dream.

                      Politics is a game of chess, not checkers.

                    • But that assumes they would kill it. I think they’d “grudgingly” compromise with the mean ol’ Republicans to get a conditional promise of amnesty and then just push endlessly to modify the conditions until they become irrelevant because, you know, the Republicans already admitted that enforcing the law would be cruel and impossible, and obviously the same goes for unfairly trying to keep more people from breaking it.

                    • They might try, but I don’t think they’d be successful. If the “Amnesty opponents are meeeeaaan!” ploy worked, we’d already have an amnesty. The bulk of the bell curve between Democrats and Republicans doesn’t want to be mean, but they also realize that an unconditional amnesty will just encourage others to come here illegally. By offering amnesty, but placing conditions on it, we can maximize the number of people supporting border security.

                • Patrick Chester

                  …and Charlie Brown still tries to kick the football. :-/

              • The thing you’re arguing against isn’t supported by anybody here– or even anybody I’ve ever heard, which is kinda impressive given the hardliners I’ve met!

                E-Verify isn’t giving the feds more power over employment; it’s the same power they’ve got right now, but brought into spitting range of this century, while also protecting the people who’ve been victimized by the fed’s stupid policies up to now.

                “It’s not possible to deport everyone and we wouldn’t stand for it anyways” doesn’t matter when what people are actually saying is “fight tax fraud, fight identity theft, and stop playing catch-and-release with imported criminals.” Part of that would be securing the border, but another part of it is not letting San Fran decide they don’t have to pay attention to deportation holds, and not letting the Feds burden the states with the jail costs for the illegals they keep letting back in.

                Maybe we could get people to support basic “at least enforce the law when they FALL INTO YOUR LAP” if someone would point out it’s a great way to improve our test scores.

                • You should check out the comments section at PJMedia when someone mentions Perry, Cruz, or Rubio running for President.

                  I’m not saying that granting amnesty right now is a good idea, there are plenty of other steps we need to take before we consider it. I’m just saying we cannot dismiss the idea out of hand.

                  • We not only can, but should dismiss the idea out of hand.

                    It’s a bad idea, and was the last several times it was proposed.

                    That it could, in theory, be alright at some future point– is irrelevant. It should not even be on the table until all the prerequisites have actually been fulfilled.

                    You should check out the comments section at PJMedia when someone mentions Perry, Cruz, or Rubio running for President.

                    There’s a reason I phrased what I said the way I did. Between people going for the simplified form in comments, and people trolling, I can see no reason to treat PJMedia’s comment section as a valid source of information on folks’ view.

                    • Then you’re advocating for a permanent underclass of millions. Permanent, that is, until the Democrats use it to tar Republicans as evil and heartless and gain enough power to implement amnesty without giving us anything.

                    • Don’t pin the results of your policies on the side who said it wouldn’t work in the first place.

                      The “but we’ll do it right this time!” theme gets really dang old, as does pretending that this group of criminals is somehow magically different than every other group, and doesn’t have any personal will.

                      People break laws to gain things they are not entitled to because they think the risk is worth the reward; lower the reward even a bit, and it’s much less enticing.
                      Make it a pain in the neck to gain what’s not theirs, and at the same time making it easier for those who are entitled and cutting the amount of work needed by the government should be a no-brainer, unless someone opposes the whole thing on philosophical grounds– in which case it’s an assumption, not an argument.

                    • Meanwhile, in the real world, there are millions of people who are here illegally and they aren’t going back. You can make all the categorical statements in the world, that doesn’t actually say anything about what is going to happen to them. People have this nasty habit of not fitting into your prescribed categories.

                    • Meanwhile, in the real world, there are millions of people who are here illegally and they aren’t going back.

                      As was already pointed out, yes, they are– because they are human beings responding to a change in the situation. No matter how much you want to make all the categorical statements in the world, that doesn’t actually say anything about what is going to happen to them— or that the solutions you demand made the problem worse, and the people in question aren’t behaving the way you insist they “should.” Either the Illegals or the people who oppose illegal immigration.

                      Why? Because, as you said: People have this nasty habit of not fitting into your prescribed categories.

                    • Some left, yes, but not all or even most. And now that the economy has started to route around the damage Obama caused they’re going to start coming back. Because no matter how shitty we think things are here is America, they’re a bloody paradise compared to the crapholes in Latin America. Plus there are the people who have made lives here, who have borne children who are US citizens. THEY are not going to go away. THEY are going to have to be dealt with one way or another.

                    • Some left, yes, but

                      Nothing matters after the “but.” That it worked on accident shows your assumptions are incorrect.

                      Your flailing accusations up to now, along with other things, made it quite clear that it’s not worth talking to you about this. You can’t be reasoned out of a starting assumption.

                    • You haven’t reasoned at all. You ignore the fact that illegal immigrants are a body of individuals with separate motives and values, so the fact that a few people made a choice based on their economics doesn’t mean that millions of others will make the same choice. To think otherwise is idiocy worthy of a Progressive.

                    • I have been under the impression that “a permanent underclass of millions” is an essential feature (not a bug) of all Proglodyte economic and social strategy?

                      So, either way, we’re gonna have that and its elimination should not be a strategic concern. The real question becomes: how do we use that tactically to our political advantage in order to establish policies that might eventually drain that abscess?

                    • Well the way to not do it is to attack anyone who contemplates a possible set of conditions whereby an amnesty would be possible. Doing that just lets the progs paint you as an unthinking extremist.

                    • “hen you’re advocating for a permanent underclass of millions. Permanent, that is, until the Democrats use it to tar Republicans as evil and heartless and gain enough power to implement amnesty without giving us anything.”

                      At which point, the system crashes and we have that civil war no one wants.

                • part of it is not letting San Fran decide they don’t have to pay attention to deportation holds

                  An appalling amount of the reporting on this has been utter crap. San Francisco reportedly requested transfer of Sanchez for trial under an outstanding drug charge. That much has been reported by the MSM and Fox News. Overlooked is that the drug charge was an outstanding warrant for trivial possession of pot, something for which SF has sentenced NOBODY to jail in decades. So SF Police requested transfer for trial on a charge that THEY KNEW would NOT result in a conviction. Then SF released Sanchez.

                  Sounds like criminal conspiracy to break Sanchez out of jail.

                  But (as the saying goes) it gets worse: the Obama DHS has been essentially acting to undercut all detention holds in all jurisdictions. I direct your attention to this blog post at Power Line:

                  In fact, the Obama administration which Clinton served for four long years is responsible for destroying the system whereby federal authorities request that state agencies detain illegal immigrants. The relevant law is not at all ambiguous.
                  The campaign to undermine the use of detainers gained substantial momentum in February 2014, when Dan Ragsdale, then acting head of ICE, advised in response to an inquiry from a group of members of Congress on behalf of confused local law enforcement agencies, that “While immigration detainers are an important part of ICE’s effort to remove criminal aliens who are in federal, state, or local custody, they are not mandatory as a matter of law. As such, ICE relies on the cooperation of its law enforcement partners in this effort to promote public safety.” (Emphasis added.)

                  Ragsdale’s assertion, which was backed by no legal rationale whatever, was momentous. Reportedly, staff in both the operations and legal divisions of ICE had put forth a different legal opinion, consistent with ICE’s long-established position that it expected other law enforcement agencies to honor and comply with its detainers, which Ragsdale overrode in formulating his letter. Their objections to his response were founded not just on institutional needs and policy, but also on federal regulation: 8 CFR 287.7(d), which says:
                  Ragsdale’s move did not go unnoticed, including by jurists in the course of civil lawsuits filed by aliens and their pro bono attorneys at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and elsewhere, against ICE and against those state and local law enforcement agencies who honor the detainers. The federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that detainers were voluntary (overruling a district judge’s finding prior to Ragsdale’s policy change), thus permitting a civil suit against a county jail to go forward.

                  More telling is how ICE treated its “law enforcement partner” in this instance. It settled with the plaintiffs and deserted the jailer and sheriff’s offices, declining even to file an amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) brief, although the fundamental error in the case — filing a detainer against a citizen — originated with ICE itself. Nor was this the first time that ICE engaged in a strategy of “cut and run” from one of its erstwhile law enforcement partners. The same thing happened in Tennessee in 2012 and just recently in Oregon, where a federal magistrate ruled the Clackamas County jail’s strict compliance with an ICE detainer was unconstitutional because, it said, compliance with such detainers is voluntary.

                  Read the whole thing:

                  Essentially, Obama’s minions undermined the law by misrepresenting what it said, then using those misrepresentations to re-write the judicial interpretation of the law (gee — have they ever done that anywhere else?) and leaving their law enforcement “partners” hung out to dry for relying on the Obama Administrations to act in support.

              • And unless the open borders types are willing to START from the simple fact that we no longer have a mass-labor economy or open frontier to support unlimited immigration, all we are doing is insuring that the actual citizens will be out of work. Simple economics: unlimited demand is gone, so unlimited supply is a Bad Thing.

                • Unlimited demand has never existed. From an economic standpoint, if there’s no difference between American labor and foreign labor, then if foreign labor is unable to come to America, American capital will go to the foreign labor. If there is a difference between foreign labor and American labor, there’s no economic harm – and a great deal of economic benefit – in allowing foreign labor to come here. There is no economic case against open borders. If you think there is, you just don’t understand economics that well.

                  There are, on the other hand, a whole slew of non-economic reasons to control who is coming into the country and for how long.

                  I would also point out that surplus is not a symptom of increasing supply in a properly functioning market. It’s not foreign workers that would drive Americans out of work, it’s economic restrictions that prevent entrepreneurs from taking advantage of the reduction in the price of labor that result in unemployment. Fix those restrictions and we won’t care how many foreigners come here to work.

                  • I understand economics just fine, thank you. What you seem unable to understand is that putting your citizens out of work in favor of a foreign slave labor force is bad public policy.

                    One more example of how utopians make wars inevitable.

            • I didn’t comment about immigration, legal or illegal.

              But, I will play this game…

              Make me president, or put me in charge, and I’ll solve this problem permanently, and in such a way that the Mexican government does it for us, and I’ll do it completely humanely and with zero cost to the US.

              How, you ask? Quite simple: The illegal Mexican/Central American immigrant problem is entirely because of two things: First, the Mexican oligarchy is patently incompetent, and uninterested in running their country to the benefit of its citizens. Two, they’ve been using us as a completely consequence-free sink to get rid of their malcontents and economic problems, plus leach off our economy and government benefits.

              I have nothing but respect and sympathy for the average Mexican or Central American citizen fleeing north–Most of them are hard workers, who had the misfortune to be born in totally screwed up countries. I get why they come here. At the same time, we can’t tolerate this whole “open border” fiasco, not least because it enables their exploitation here in the US, along with the screwing over of the native US citizen blue-collar worker. So, there has to be a simple solution, and I have it.

              Put me in charge. Day one, I get on TV and address the nation. I make two simple observations: One, that we have an awful lot of Mexican citizens here in the US, and that two, Mexico has poorly managed its national territory and resources, necessitating those people coming here. My solution? Well, we have, for example (not sure of actual stats, but I think I’m pretty close) about a third to half of Chihuahua’s citizens currently in the US. So, that being the case, I submit that the Mexican government has signally failed in its duties towards those people, with the following consequence: We’re annexing Chihuahua, and bringing it into the US as a territory, with pending statehood. We’ve already got a significant fraction of the population, so we’re just recognizing that fact by taking over the administration of the land they came from.

              About the time the Mexican government realizes I’m totally serious, they’re going to be building that wall on the border themselves, and begging Mexican citizens to return to Mexico. Once the Mexicans who are here realize that I’m totally serious, and intending to be utterly fair about the annexation, I think we’re going to see some significant changes in Mexican governance. I’d strip the oligarchy of their assets, offer full civil rights under the Constitution to the new territories, and, hell… Give them citizenship and the vote, along with it. Watch what happens next, which won’t be an annexation, but a terrified realization on the part of the Mexican government that we’re basically offering to do their job for them, but better. They either clean up their act, or we get some new states and a bunch of new citizens.

              Two can play at this game of reconquista. By now, many Mexicans have been to the US, and have gained an appreciation for our government. That’s why they’re here, no? So, offer it to them at home… See what happens. I estimate that the mass crapping of pants in Mexico City will probably take years to clean up, but we’ve got time. I figure we’ll start with the border Mexican states, offer them a path to statehood, and see how long it takes before we’ve got the US border down to about the Panama canal. I mean, hell–These people want to be US citizens so badly they’ll walk up the length of Central America. Why not save them the time, and take the border to them? It’s going to happen, anyway.

              The Mexican oligarchy isn’t going to like what happens once all the Americanized campesinos head home, anyway–That’s the deal with the autodefensa organizations, anyway. We offer them the 2nd Amendment, and the right to govern themselves without the oligarchy, and those “primitive campesinos” are going to figure it out, real quick. Why go to Kansas, when you can have America at home?

              Watching the reaction of the Mexican oligarchy will be highly entertaining, and half the reason I’d follow this course of action. It’d also improve life at home for the Mexican people, who I happen to respect and like.

            • That, and a lot of them are continuing northward into Canada. Apparently the benefit package is better there.

      • And if you want to make a SJW have vapors, point out that the chief beneficiaries of slavery in this country are the descendants of slaves.

    • I still remember raising my hand in high school history class about the New Deal.

      “You mean to tell me that in a massive depression where millions are out of work one of the first things FDR does is make food more expensive.”

      I was apparently the only one in the classroom – including the teacher – to find this puzzling.

      • Probably the only one that put two and two together.
        Their shock was from, “You mean we’re supposed to think about this stuff?”

  10. I have the muscles… but not the energy *sigh

  11. I believe I have mentioned before … I am in much the same boat health-wise. Given my inclination to distrust modern medicine and the bandaid approach taken to most health issues, I’ve forged my own way through much reading and research to find natural ways – diet, lifestyle, supplements – to deal with my nearly-comatose metabolism, flagging thyroid and adrenal function, leaky gut, and wackadoodle hormone balance, including some weird form of insulin resistance. I’m making some strides, but it has been frustratingly slow. Four years ago, I was nearly bed-ridden and gaining weight no matter what I did. Now I am slowly losing some fat, getting stronger, and am able to function normally.

    • Excellent!! You are what you eat! ;o)

      • Active culture yogurt keeps the bad side-effects of two of my medications away. Unfortunately, it does leave a slime on your teeth.

        • Many medications kill all your intestinal biota(?).
          Mia makes milk keifer and makes us all drink it. Curiously, it doesn’t bother my lactose intolerance. Can’t say I care for it though.

          • Yogurt and cheese were both pre-historic methods of consuming milk for lactose intolerant. Keifer is probably the same (plus at least for cheese, it takes much longer to spoil). Sometime after arriving in Europe, the locals developed both the genes for lactose digestion and alcohol digestion.

            • Quite early on — as soon as she was more than a year old, my daughter had the most awful reaction to ordinary dairy milk. The pediatrician recommended that she have goat milk, which worked very well until she was two years old and we were sent to an assignment in Greece – where there was goat milk available …if I had wanted to go out to local farms and milk it myself. So – the Daughter Unit consumed local yoghurt, and cheese – and even ice cream – which worked out OK, pretty much.

              • My mother was totally lactose intolerant, no milk of any sort. Then solution-Beer- properly brewed beer and no she did not live to be alcholic rather the contrary.

                • Since I developed eczema when I was weaned and mom had vaguely heard somewhere about lactose intolerance, she decided milk caused me to break out. I was not allowed milk until I was an exchange student and had all the milk I wanted without breaking out. Turns out my trigger is sugars and carbs. I’m still paying for being bad at Liberty con!

                  • because people hear ‘allergic’ and think ‘itchy skin’ …

                    • yep. As far as I can tell, that’s exactly it. So I started drinking coffee — black — at three. Apparently that affects your adult height, which apparently explains the boys both being a head taller than my husband and I. BUT it was another of those logical things. YOU MUST drink something with your breakfast bread. Herbal teas are medicine. Mom wasn’t going to give me medicine for breakfast, natch, so she gave me weak coffee.

            • Kefir is uppity yogurt! But the really uppity yogurt is that Mongolian fermented mare’s milk thing….

            • Yes, we were dairying for a millennium before the lactose tolerance gene showed up. And then it spread like crazy, leaving scientists scratching their heads because making yogurt is easy, so why was this so beneficial?

              • William O. B'Livion

                Because while it’s easy to make yoghurt when you have nice clean kitchens, I also suspect that it’s easy to wind up using precious resources and winding up with not-yoghurt.

                • You take the milk, you put it in a bowl, and you leave it hanging about for a few hours. Really. Certainly in the area where the lactose tolerance gene appeared.

            • No lactose tolerance here. And though “they” claim it’s a wholly different thing, no cheese tolerance either.

              Entire national cuisines seem to be based on slathering things with milk, cheese, or both. They might as well pour bleach or drain cleaner on the food.

    • William O. B'Livion

      So basically you’re saying you utterly reject western science?

  12. Not enough strife? I hear our college students absolutely abhor strife, to the point of not tolerating anything that might remind them of strife (“trigger warnings”: LOOK OUT! Here comes Roy Rogers on TRIGGER!11!!!!!)
    Raise the Carp Shields! Carp shields UP, Cap’n!

  13. MadRocketSci

    Ancient farming: Using extremely primitive muscle-powered tools to manage unfathomably advanced solar powered self-replicating nanotechnology to keep us all alive. 😛

    We do a million times better with chemical-reaction-powered tools managing unfathomably advanced solar powered self-replicating nanotechnology. What happens when we have direct control over the nanotechnology?

    Nuclear-electric powered tools managed by and constructed with nuclear-electric powered nanotechnology? 😛

  14. RealityObserver

    One of the best classes I ever had in high school was Ancient History (taught by an old-school Vassar grad, not the SJWs they’re pushing out these days…).

    First day of class, she took us down to a flat patch of ground by the creek – then told us that it was ours to farm – ten percent of our grade was a collective one that depended on how much we managed to raise.

    Oh – there were a lot of rocks and sticks for tools, once we figured out how to shape them, bind them, and use them (she was kind enough to provide us with seeds, I suppose since it would have taken us a few hundred years to breed the local grasses up to something edible…)

  15. Whenever people talk about the Singularity, especially the migration of human intelligence to computers, I remember how Asimov’s was running WAY too many of those stories, and I wrote a poem about how it would be a disaster for mankind. I submitted it, and of course, they didn’t buy it.

    You can read it here:

    • Good job. I don’t like that singularity nonsense too. Can’t put my finger on why, but reading about it, even as a theory makes my stomach churn.

    • MadRocketSci

      Nice poem!

      I understand what you mean about the singularity stuff sitting wrong. I probably need to churn out a mini essay on why I don’t like that stuff either, exactly.

      • Basically, it’s a dead end for humanity. If we turn ourselves into simulations, where everything we take in, and everything we put out is fake, what are we? We’d be replacing ourselves with a glorified version of Second Life. And we would be forever bounded by the limits of the system.

        • Add one anti-social hacker, or a fanatic of some kind who believes that human-computer melding is an abomination to [deity], or someone who thinks that computer-human melding traps people and prevents them from reaching nirvana or having the opportunity to reincarnate, and . . .

        • Evolution in action. The future belongs to the crackpot few who prefer reality.

        • Is this where the Local Maximum problem comes in? The blind mountain climber wants to get to the top of the tallest mountain, but picks only one mountain, and once up that one, doesn’t know there are other options?

      • Please do write that essay. I’d very much like to read it.

    • My question is, how do we know it didn’t already happen?

      And, I say that in all seriousness–Hologrammatic universe? All the odd things about how everything about this place is “just so”, for life? All the odd little “coincidences” that make our history what it is? What better all-answering theory than that we’re already living in a lotus-eating machine designed by someone else? I mean, for the love of Mike, how is it that we appear to be alone in the universe, when the basis of life seems to be both so simple, and so pervasive on our world?

      I think a good case could be made that the Singularity already happened, and we’re the result. Which makes me wonder what happens when/if we ever figure that out… How do we escape the substrate?

      • You have to find Morpheus.

      • “I mean, for the love of Mike, how is it that we appear to be alone in the universe, when the basis of life seems to be both so simple, and so pervasive on our world?”

        There was zero communication between the Americas and Eurasia for ten thousand years after the end of the last Ice Age. People on both landmasses had no idea the other existed until Columbus. As far as they knew they were alone.

        Fun fact: The ratio between the average size of a star and the average distance between stars is smaller than the ration between the size of a person and the size of the Earth. In other words, if people had the same proportional population density as stars, there would be one human being on the entire planet.

      • You’re real, but every single person around you is actually a robot! You’re in a Truman show! You’re a Brain in a bottle! Solipsism writ large!

        It’s a common fantasy, but when you get too far into it and start believing in it, that’s when the mass killings start….

  16. Eh, my peasant ancestors are all standing around in ghostly form and alternately saying, “Ooo, you’ve got it good, kid!”, “Schauen sie an die wunderbarische Blinkenlichte!“, and “Look, we HAD to store every spare calorie that didn’t run away fast enough or we would never have survived the wars! Sorry about that genetic inheritance thing….”

    I would further like to complain that as soon as I figure out ONE thing about what has been referred to elsewhere as a “stupid beta meat sack”, it CHANGES on me and I have to start over again. And no documentation. I mean, I whine about not getting a proper spec from the developers at work but THIS is ridiculous. Where is the user’s manual? With the maintenance schedule and the parts list with serial numbers?

    I have to sit to do my job. I need my job because I have a mortgage. Some people at work have standing desks, but that won’t work very well for me because my feet start hurting because I need to lose weight because I sit too much… (and so on). When I am disgustingly rich, however, watch out!

    • ‘S OK, I’m discovering that my parents didn’t get the extended warranty. And I don’t even get to have cool stories to go with the damage.

    • William O. B'Livion

      So get a standing desk with a stool or an architect/draftman’s chair.

      Or a “uppy/downy” desk so you can move back and forth between sitting and standing.

      • I recommend better shoes, too, that often helps. (I used a standing desk for a few years at the last job, and got to watch others acclimatize. The acclimatization is kinda rough, and the greatest danger of draftsman chairs / stools is that it’s so much easier to sit instead of getting acclimatized. I only got one when I rolled my ankle at work.)

  17. Sara, Sara, Sara you just got to learn to multitask. I see Mac has a one hand typing keyboard app, hence you can hammer nails with one hand, get your exercise, and still type, with the other hand, up 3 or 4 novels a week all at the same time!

    • I can’t have a Mac. My kids would disown me and my husband would leave.

      • & the downside is?

        OK, maybe you wanna keep the husband but, there is even a bright side to -not moving to the mac world and getting a one hand keyboard and thus getting rich and slim beyond your wildest dreams- and instead, keeping the kids, & I’m speaking from experience; The first fifty years of raising them is the hardest, trust me, it gets easier after that.

        Actually I left the Apple world (In which I lived since the advent of the Apple II Plus.) myself and moved to Linux about 3 years ago.

      • All you need is a one-hand Dvorak keyboard…

  18. “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” Yes, no matter WHAT happens, our world will change – for better, for worse, for neutral, or some mix of all of these. The only worlds that don’t change are the primitive “nasty, brutish and short” ones.

    We make the world; not the one that WE want, but some mixture of what we want and what everybody else wants.

  19. Working in the fields as a kid convinced me just fine to stay in school, go to college, and look for a sit-down job.

    Then I discovered I get really bored with sit-down jobs, and vastly prefer working with my hands. Fortunately, our new shiny modern world has a LOT more options than returning to the fields!

  20. In re: Heinlein novels, how many people here have seen the inspiration for Double Star, I Was Monty’s Double? I guess Turner Classic Movies still shows it every once in a while, but it doesn’t seem to be on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime, alas. Heinlein didn’t steal everything, and he definitely made up plenty of his own stutf… but it’s the closest thing we have to a film of Double Star!

    In real life, David Niven actually recruited the actor who “played” Montgomery.

    Anyway, they do have the themesong up on YouTube.

      • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

        OK, this talk of “Doubles” got me thinking. (Dangerous I know).

        There was a novel set in WW2, the plot involved a daring attempt by the Germans to assassinate Churchill.

        The climatic scene is the German Army officer confronting Churchill in this manor house and something (don’t remember what) happens to prevent the officer from killing Churchill.

        However, the twist is that the man the German is confronting is not Churchill. He was Churchill’s double who was covering for Churchill while Churchill was meeting outside of England with Roosevelt. Oh, the person telling the story commented that Churchill’s double had showed great courage by not breaking down & trying to convince the German that he wasn’t the real Churchill.

        The fun is that I can’t remember the author or title of the book. [Smile]

        • “The Eagle has Landed,” Jack Higgens. From my childhood, I remember yet another SF novel on the plot from 1947, “Doppelganger,” by H. F. Heard. Author of “A Taste for Honey,” the best killer bee novel ever. One of those guys only I seem to have read.

      • Ooh! I am grabbing it!

  21. It’s weird.

    I’m a “generalist” IT consultant for small businesses.

    Yes, most days, I sit a lot – though I drive or walk to a lot to get to clients/etc..

    That said, I often find myself in the position of having to crawl or reach into confined spaces, working with connections I can’t see, something only 12 years in subs prepared me for.

    And a lot of other days I’m spending hours walking and moving equipment in the heat to set up a wifi lot, or getting offices set up, or wiirng up network racks and patching in hundreds of cables.

    Even with the occasional day that involves work, and my lawn work, taking care of the car, and household repairs, it’s not the same as the typical day in refit on a boat. But then most underway days weren’t either.

    • c4c – stupid checkbox

    • My dad managed a textile plant, but if you had to talk to him during the day you were likely to find him tinkering with one of the machines, meeting with the pattern guys, etc, over a massive, wide-spread plant. Eh.

    • It’s amazing how much sleeping in your own bed – or even a hotel bed – every night helps.

  22. I don’t know how you guys are brave enough to do the comment for comment thing. Or even how the people who make comments check the box. I only did that ONCE on ATH, and my inbox exploded. There’s, what, 140 comments on this post?
    But on a totally unrelated thought which something above prompted, I am trying to build up enough resolve to move against the death penalty because it costs too much, and because I have decreasing faith in the state to be able to to take a life except under conditions of declared war or emergency action (like police shoot-outs). I’m not fond of the life without parole sentence, either, though.

    • Check the box? Don’t check the box! Never, ever, on your life check the box. It’s a trap, don’t you know? We just pretend to check the box to lure in the unsuspecting.

      must be late

    • Write 50 times: “I will never check the comments box on ATH again.”
      I thought I was safe when comments topped 140. They are now at 267.
      Cannot check the box and expect to get anything else accomplished……
      I still don’t like capital punishment and sentences of life without parole.
      And I think marijuana ought to be legalized and regulated and taxed.
      If I’m gonna have to check 100 plus emails, I wanna throw that into there.

  23. Are you saying that SJWs are an autoimmune disorder, like lupus?

    Many of us have noted their reaction to the suggestion of work [insert Maynard G. Krebs soundbite] and suspected as much. I am sure our (and the Greeks’) ancestors would look at the modern work week and snort in derision.

  24. That works. More like a flesh eating virus though.

  25. > battle hymn of the republic

    “You rang?”

    [click, click]

    It is 1993, and an eccentric Finnish cover band is staging the largest concert ever held in Finland. They’re alternating between Russian folk music and American music, mostly ’60s rock, though they slid “Battle Hymn of the Republic” in there too.

    The band? The Leningrad Cowboys, Finns despite the name. And they hired a backup band. Because they had Western hard currency and much of the former Soviet military hadn’t been paid in a while, they hired the Red Army as their backup band. Well, 160 of them, anyway.

    Watch the Red Army performing the Battle Hymn of the Republic: [advance to 1:36]

    And the Cowboys and Red Army doing their most famous cut; from a different concert: Yes, that’s the Red Army belting out “Sweet Home Alabama.” [watch the soldiers in the back rows, who are *jammin’*]

    And finally, the Wikipedia entry for “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, which has a strange and disputed history:

    P.S. – Oh, and the Cowboys’ strange shoes and hairstyles? That’s from the movie; “Leningrad Cowboys Go America” from 1989, about a fictional *Soviet* band working their way from New York to Mexico and their adventures on the way. The movie came and went, and the collection of musicians and actors just kept on going.

    Why, yes. I have all their movies and albums… what prompted you to ask?

    • Okay, despite the cat wanting to sit on me, I am sitting, FASCINATED!!!! in front of the monitor, watching this certain final, no really, final final final sign that Russian Communism is gone away.
      And I’m imagining Simo Hayha sitting in a box seat, and thinking, “I don’t often tolerate Red Army soldiers in my homeland, but when I do, they sing rock and roll.”

      • If I was any good with Photoshop I’d make a poster of that…

        The literally dozens of other people who’d recognize Simo Hayha’s face would be impressed.

        For reasons I won’t get into at the moment, I have a bust of Lenin in my computer room. Granted, it’s a late-Soviet-era Lenin, stylized and streamlined from a bald pudgy guy into something only generally Lenin-like. A couple of people have asked who it was; I told them it was a Romulan warrior from an obscure Trek episode. After sorting through the TOS, TNG, DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, the animated series, and the movies, they go, “yeah, okay” and change the subject, unwilling to admit they’ve been stumped. (did I mention ‘stylized’? It looks way more like a Romulan than Peter Ilych Ulyanov!)

          • But then I thought, the question mark may have applied to the reference. Simo Hayha was a Finnish Sniper during the Winter Way when the USSR invaded Finland. He is credited with 505 kills, using a bolt action 5 shot rifle.
            But then again, unless you clicked on the links TRX posted, it won’t make any sense.

            • Hayha averaged 5 kills per day for about a hundred days until he took a bullet himself. He eventually recovered and lived until 2002 at the age of 96.

              He was born before the October Revolution, outlived the entire lifespan of the Soviet Union, and since the Leningrad Cowboys had been touring for twenty years before his death and Finland is a small country, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility he could have seen them perform.

              The Russians didn’t know Simo Hayha by name, just by his results. “Come visit beautiful Finland. And die.”


              Speaking of Finland, I imagine most of the people here know of “Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning”, riotously funny Finnish Trek fan film. This link has multiple subtitle options, including Portuguese! (and English; the film is in Finnish)

              I haven’t been able to get any of my local friends to watch the movie; their attention spans are too short to deal with subtitles.

              Linus Torvalds, the Leningrad Cowboys, Samuli Torssonnen, and Simo Hayha… Finland must be a wild and crazy place.

  26. And I will never, ever, ever check the comments box on ATH again.

  27. The Nazi motto “Arbeit macht frei” never made much sense to me. It wasn’t until I went on a low-carb diet that permitted carb consumption only so long as I managed enough exercise to retard the blood glucose uptake that I appreciated the significance and understood that, in truth, “Work makes fries” meant that I could eat french fries if I did enough time on the exercycle (and, wouldn’t you know, by that time I had lost the appetite for them.)

  28. Some people don’t do well with ease. I’ve realized sometime ago a lot of the neurosis (“I want meaning” “Stop suffering in the world” etc.) in our young only attacked the young of the very rich before. I’ve also realized Heinlein was right. Humans thrive on strife. We might not have enough strife.

  29. It would appear that sitting is very unhealthy, according to this site:

    Hmm, treadmill desk,…