Fog Blind

When our older son was interviewing with medschools, on the night of his return from one, his plane was diverted to Denver because of fog.

Normally when this sort of thing happens, the fog is at a high enough level that it doesn’t affect people on the ground, or not much beyond the airport, which, in customary fashion is at one end of the city.

And normally we’d have waited till the morning, since the airline would get him home sooner or later.  Actually, if he hadn’t had a test the next morning, we’d have told him to take a taxi to the embassy suites we stayed in when they were little, and which is consistently cheaper than the others by half (old decor) and if the airline proved difficult we’d either pick him up or get a shuttle for him.

Unfortunately these were booked at the same time as finals and the next morning at nine thirty am Robert had a final with one of those professors who won’t postpone.  (Younger son has one of these, and we’re going to have to leave TVIW earlyish, so that he can make it to a final on Thursday morning.)

So… With Robert arriving just as DIA was closing, and knowing how strange the airport gets in the night, Dan and I drove, through the fog to Denver.

The Highway actually does have several places, for those who aren’t familiar with the area, where there’s a narrow berm, a metal guardrail, and then a fall of several hundred feet.

Normally there is no danger at all in those sections.

I’ve been in fog before, even driven in it.  For those who know the region, I used to live in Manitou Springs.  Sometimes in the morning, I walked through clouds taking the kid sto school.  Or looked down from a crest on the road and saw what you see from an airplane window.

This fog was worse than that, worse than the fogs in my childhood which came out of the downs and made everything past about a palm a vaguely discernible shape.  You couldn’t even discern shapes.  We were driving, most of the time at 75 — because what if someone came up behind — on a twisty mountain highway, in blank whiteness.  We couldn’t tell were the road ended and the mountain side begun on either side.

I half joke that if the universe’s set up is universes where each thing plays out, in most of those we are dead.

Our saving grace was that there were tail lights ahead of us.  We followed those tail lights, so dimly perceived through the fog we didn’t know if we were following a bus, a truck, or a car, or indeed a phantom.  The lights had that vague quality that they might very well hve been wishful illusions.

We made it there and fortunately on the way back, the fog was still there but had lifted some, and I think our son doesn’t believe how bad it was going up.

Which brings us to right now.

Not only have I not been myself, lately, but people I know, friends, acquaintances, people whose judgement I trust, don’t seem to me to be themselves either.

It’s the little things, the everyday life.  People do and say things that lead me to quirk an eyebrow and say “We all have gone a little crazy, apparently.”

And yesterday night I realized why, at least for me.

We all have to make decisions, every day, that involve assumptions about the future.  And some of those will be absolutely wrong.

They range from the trivial, like when I buy some food thinking we’ll need it/the guys will like it, and the poor thing goes bad in the freezer because no one, not even me, feels like it.

To the serious:  If I’d known 20 years ago how indie would play out, I’d have written a book for submitting and one for the drawer all along and been prepared when indie hit.

And there will always be things you don’t know about.  Like indie.  Impossible to foresee.

But for the more mundane decisions, we rely on what we read in the news a lot more than you might think.  We rely also on a sense of where the economy is.  Before you buy that house or that car, you consult your gut feeling of what your income will be.

Sure, you might be in an accident tomorrow and incapacitated the rest of your life. Or you might win the lottery.  But neither of those is the way to bet, and you tend to decide based on what you hear from your neighbors and friends/what you see around you/and yes, what the news and the government tell you.

Our official sources and their numbers were so sure we were in a recovery, they raised the rates. I don’t even know if newspapers are still proclaiming Summer (winter, spring) of recovery, because I rarely look at them anymore.

I do know the rate raising removed the one prop from the stock market.  We haven’t lost much, because we’ve never had much to invest or even to put away for retirement, but we know people who have.

And then there’s this and this and this and this.  And more.  Talk of banks collapsing.  Talk of an imploding Europe.  Talk.

I can no longer visit zero hedge because son threatened to make me call a suicide hotline if he caught me on it again.  He said it was the psychological equivalent of finding your granddad who has PTSD standing in the bathtub with the cord of the plugged in toaster wrapped around his neck.

He’s right to the extent that I only troll zero hedge when I’m profoundly depressed and uneasy.  When I have a feeling that the step I see clearly won’t be there when I lower my foot to step down. I know zero hedge is as nuts as the blogger that shall not be named for anything but finance, but for finance they’re sounding if anything conservative.

But I think that even people who don’t read blogs are feeling this.  There’s such a chasm between the happy talk of the government and their house organs (and you know what organs) and what we see and sense all around us.  It’s crazy making.  Some of us are buying houses.  All of us are counting on jobs.  Many of us run businesses.  All of us could get ill and need help tomorrow.  (And what one of my friends is going through with health insurance and the unaffordable care act is mind bending and terrifying, and I’m sure he’s not alone.)

I think it makes everyone a little crazy.  A lot on edge.

We’re all driving down a foggy road at night.  The next turn could take us down the mountain to our death, but none of our means of mass information will or perhaps can show a true picture.

The people who can (I know a few) are hunkering down in a defensible position; are bolstering their preparations; are taking no risks.

For some of us, with kids still in college, this is not possible.  We must forge on.

In the fog.  Not sure the lights we follow are not a phantom.

And then there’s the elections, where at least half of our countrymen seem determined to steer us off the cliff now, and end the suspense.

May G-d have mercy on our souls. May we come safely to the end of the journey.  And may our children find their journey easier, and in daylight, so they can see their way.

In the end, we win, they lose.  It’s inevitable, because we align with reality.  But let it happen without first destroying the world and civilization.  And in our life time, still.


333 thoughts on “Fog Blind

  1. Thoughts:

    1) As far as I can tell, the existence of DIA is 90% attributable to payoffs to Pena’s cronies. Putting an airport in the middle of nowhere, where we get dangerous windsheer on pretty much every summer afternoon…grrr.

    2) The story of following the tail lights in the fog reminds me a bit of the story of the will’o’wisps who would lead travelers to drown in the swamp. If there were such things, how easy would it have been for them to lead someone on a narrow mountain road off a cliff? And yet, even if those things existed and were a possibility, might you have followed the tail lights anyway? When the situation is desperate enough, you’ll take any lead.

    As for the main point of the post…yeah, I got nothing. The world is depressing these days. I’m tempted to just grab my books and move in with Kit and Athena for a while until things get better here.

    1. When Horror Writers of America was giving something for the membership fee — the right to submit to exclusive anthologies for HWA members only — one of the anthologies was set in a thin fictional version of DIA. It was easier to believe the location was because of Indian curses than to believe the official story. “Horror Writers of America Presents Deathport.”

      1. You could always have it built over “an ancient Indian burial ground.” And make them Indians from the Subcontinent . . . Kali at the Baggage Claim, anyone?

        1. Kali would probably be best suited for a mechanic. Finally, the ability to hold and the bits and pieces, and use the tools, at the same time!

    2. I thought there also was some kind of secret government/alien base underneath DIA too…….. 🙂

      1. No, that’s Cheyenne Mountain. The most popular fable: young officer is leading visitor to one of the lover levels, gets distracted talking to visitor, and visitor notices that the elevator has passed its lowest number and is still going lower. Elevator stops, door opens, and there are strange panels at which bipedal lizards are working. Young officer slams the door shut and goes to correct floor, opens the elevator door and says, “Uh, let’s forget we saw that, shall we?”

    3. And yet, even if those things existed and were a possibility, might you have followed the tail lights anyway? When the situation is desperate enough, you’ll take any lead.

      In one of the Peter Wimsey stories, they’re in a peat bog that gets fog just like that, quite regularly.

      The one advantage of following lights is that you’re not going in circles.

      1. “The one advantage of following lights is that you’re not going in circles.”

        Yes, but I have followed them off an offramp before, without realizing it in the fog. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it worse than when I was riding with my dad one time, though, we were on a logging road, and the fog was so bad that we were following the roadbank on the passenger side, because you couldn’t see the road itself. We made a circle, twice,because it was so foggy that we didn’t see the intersections in the road, and kept following the roadbank around, not realizing that we were making right hand turns, until suddenly realizing that we have already been here.

        1. “The one advantage of following lights is that you’re not going in circles.”

          That might not be all that useful if the lights you end up following don’t happen to be what you thought they were.

          Shortly after getting my driver’s license (at 21 … I was more interested in learning to fly than drive, so I got a late start there) and my first car, I drove some friends up above Los Angeles to Mt. Wilson. Well, driving my Dad’s VW, since my new one was in the body shop. Not my fault; it’s a long story involving an angry drunk leaving a neighborhood party and driving off in his car, taking out in the process 1 front lawn, sideswiping 9 cars and two telephone poles before the cars front suspension failed, the car swerved into our cul de sac and concertina’d my brand new VW between a large Dodge and a Plymouth. Awakened at 3:30 am, I went out to the front yard in time to hear the driver of the car announcing loudly to a police office that “I’m a *good* driver!”

          So, coming back down the mountain in the dark, I was following an old station wagon, lost it for a moment on a turn, then caught it again a moment later and tried to catch up. Except the old station wagon had turned off the road and I was trying to keep up with a slightly harder-driven Porsche 911.

          Spun out, ended up stopped in the other lane, facing up hill. No damage, nobody hurt. Did *not* tell Dad what happened for several weeks. Did learn to exercise a bit more caution, though, so it wasn’t all bad.

      2. “…not going in circles” – no, but in at least one case I know of, the follower ended up in someone else’s driveway.
        Me, I’ve driven home on I-5 in fog dense enough I had to open the driver’s side door and look down at the centerline to avoid freezing up in panic. It was my passenger’s job to keep checking the rearview mirror for possible headlights…

  2. Well, I’m no longer confident that it will end without a separation of our country into separate polities (I still hope this will be non-violent). We’re past the point where compromise would be acceptable to many of us on the individualist side of the ledger, even if those on the collectivist side were willing to compromise. They’re not, of course; they’re insistent on the total acceptance of their philosophy and the extinguishing of ours.

    If and when the separation comes, I predict that (if non-violent) their portion of the country will rapidly devolve into dictatorship and penury. I wouldn’t be surprised if they then decide they have to war on the rest of us–that would fit the pattern of leftist totalitarian regimes throughout history.

    1. Pretty much.
      I’ve been predicting a civil war becoming inevitable for over two decades. I wish people would stop trying to prove me right. I’d much prefer to be wrong.

    2. There isn’t going to be a separation for two reasons. First, there’s no clear geographic delineation. Unlike the US Civil War, there aren’t conservative states and progressive states. Most red states have significant blue enclaves, and blue states have large red areas. There’s no way to effectively split the country.

      Secondly, and far more important, the Progs know that they need the productive class. If they were to ever consent to a separation, most of the capital would leave their side and they would have nothing to buy off their constituents with.

      Most likely we’ll see the political process lurch and hobble along like it has the past 20 years until the government goes bankrupt. The takers will riot when the checks stop, and once the riots are put down the Democrats as we know them will no longer have a power base. Slightly less likely is the Democrats lose nearly all political power and the government avoids bankruptcy. There will still be riots when the checks stop, but they’ll be much smaller and will be put down faster. The least likely scenario is the Democrats manage to retake political power, which will likely end in a second American revolution.

      We’ve got heavy seas ahead, but keep your powder dry and keep voting and we’ll come out OK. Most of us.

      1. You’re assuming that the separation has to occur along state lines. It wouldn’t. And as for the Progs consenting to let the rest of us go, who says they’d have a choice in the matter? If this separation happens, I have no doubt it would be over the shrieks of the collectivists that we can’t leave, they control/own/govern us!

        1. But that’s the thing, you can’t draw any lines that split the red from the blue, we’re too intermingled. If you color a map of the US red and blue based on Republican and Democrat votes, most of the country is varying shades of purple.

          1. And again, you’re assuming any separation would have to be clean. It wouldn’t. There would be some amount of voting by feet, I’m sure. But if 60-70% of the populace in an area was solidly on one side or the other, it’s pretty likely that area would go with the majority side.

            1. There aren’t that many places that are 60% anything, and most of those are surrounded by a lot of the others.

                1. Have you seen the US map showing Red vs. Blue by county? Mostly red save for the coasts NM and big cities.

                  1. But Jeff’s position was that there aren’t many places where the population is 60% or more for any political or philosophical position. I’m not at all sure that’s accurate. In fact, I suspect it isn’t.

                    1. It is even more revealing when you dig into the “by precinct” maps.

                      BTW: Undercover Video Shows Why New Hampshire Needs Stronger Voter-ID Laws
                      The video shows poll workers advising Project Veritas journalists how to skirt the rules in order to vote as non-residents. Bernie Sanders campaign staffers are shown encouraging undercover journalists to claim false addresses in order to vote in the primary. (No matter how easy the undercover journalists found it would be to cast an illegal ballot, they stopped short of actually doing so.)

                      “The problem is that without identification and confirmation, someone could vote with a made-up name and address, and by the time the state found the fraud, the vote would have been long counted with no way to correct the wrong,” O’Keefe notes in his video. He demonstrates by showing a Nashua poll worker named Susan telling an undercover journalist posing as a non-voter to make up a story that “sounds like it’s true” so that she could qualify to vote.

                      “I’m not living here, I am just trying to vote here,” the undercover journalist asserts, saying she did not plan to remain in the state “indefinitely,” as required under New Hampshire law.

                      “If you want to vote today, you might want to tell them that you’re staying with a friend. And you’re here indefinitely, because it sounds like it’s true,” the poll worker advises.

                      “Okay, yeah. Not 100 percent true though,” the undercover journalist responds.

                      “Right, but you’re here indefinitely, and you’re staying at your friend’s house, and you’ll be about to vote,” Susan says. “Otherwise, I don’t know.”
                      — — —
                      Lots more, reported by John Fund, National Review Online.

              1. Look at the voting patterns for West Texas/Eastern NM counties. Most are in the 75% to 95% conservative range. Even in the large cities of WT you have to get to the El Paso area before you start to see a more even division or more lib voters than conservative.

          2. Not really. The urban is deep blue, the rural is deep red, and it’s the transitions from one to the other that are purple.

            Wall the cities to keep the craziness contained, and the battle is all but won. (And if we’re clever, we can get them to do it themselves.)

            1. Don’t even have to wall the cities. Just put a couple of riflemen on overwatch at each road and/or waterway leading in and out.

              1. Er there’s at least one problem with this. With if somebody needs to use a big airport? Those are usually in big cities. The itty bitty airports can only handle (so far as I know. IANAP) itty bitty airplanes. I think the travel time from Dallas to LA would be about 12 hours not counting a stop to refuel. Still the fastest way to get there. Driving would take at least 2 days.

                If this is all a joke, well I don’t recognize some jokes well.

                1. It was said facetiously, and I’m not seriously advocating anyone actually do it (last thing I need is a bunch of Bundy wannabes thinking it’s a good idea) but that said it did stem from a serious online blog post/discussion I read a while back (Mad Mike Williamson may have been involved, don’t remember for sure) about a theoretical societal breakdown/New Civil War, and the topic of how to effectively blockade/lay siege to a city came up at some point.

                  I know, I hang out on some crazy-@$$ blogs and forums.

                  1. Mad Mike and Kratman are Baen authors. We don’t consider any place they hang out particularly crazy.

                2. Re. airports. You’d be surprised how many podunk airports, especially in the Midwest, can handle biiiiigggggg airplanes. All those WWII bomber training bases, old SAC emergency strips . . . If you ever wonder why rural Bugbumble County has a crop-duster’s strip that’s 10,000′ long and 200′ wide, there’s your answer. They can’t take as many at once as JFK or D/FW, but on 9/11 there were airliners in some really unusual places. And they got back out, loaded.

                  1. Yep, and then I had friends that lived on an old world war two air base out on the pacific coast. Out in the middle of BFE is this subdivision (for lack of a better term for a dozen houses on five acre lots surrounded by woods) with perfectly straight, 200′ wide, concrete streets. You could still land b52’s there; but you would have to truck fuel in.

                  2. I well recall when Air Force One got stuck in the mud at Willard Airport in Champaign, Illinois. This was just about when the Monica Lewinsky thing broke, as I recall. Mind, the University of Illinois does have an Institute of Aviation which trains pilots, so they need an airport that can handle the big planes.

                    1. ??? Why would they go to Willard?? Chanute AFB is now a muni airport and more than capable of handling any airplane.

                3. The interstate highway system will work in a pinch. Besides many new airports are far away from the city. DIA for instance.

                  1. Parts of it will. The original design required emergency-landing straight sections every so often – then the design got compromised to fit funding and construction schedule. Or so I’ve heard…

                4. Few of the big airports are actually in big cities anymore. They’re in suburbs. Technically, O’Hare Airport is in the City of Chicago. It’s connected to the city by a very thin isthmus of land that doesn’t even follow a road. At least not from the maps I can find.

                5. IAAP (if not currently active), and except for the very largest aircraft, you can fit medium to small airliners into a lot more airports than you’d think.

                  For example, Brainerd, MN (pop. ~14,000) has an airport out of town that is served by 50-passenger capacity jets. (Delta Connection and Sun Country.)

                  Salinas, Hollister, and Santa Rosa, CA, have airports near them that were originally built to train bomber crews during WW2; there are a lot of old fields still in use like that all over the country outside major metro areas. They just don’t currently support a lot of traffic. Take out the Class B and C airports, and they could take up a lot of the slack.

              1. Pittsburgh would be stupid-easy. Just block the tunnels and drop the bridges. Though there is a fair amount of river traffic. Not sure how best to thwart that.

                1. River traffic is self-correcting for most varieties of stupid. Just monitor for large groups taking advantage of limited competence (e.g., pilots taken hostage.)

            2. It does tend to hold true in much of the west and the south, and portions of the rest of the country, but it isn’t totally true everywhere. For example, take a look at the states bordering the Mississippi River over the last 5 cycles and you’ll see they’re far more mixed than that.

              This goes back a long time. For instance, those states on the upper Mississippi were at the heart of late 19th century Progressivism. That came from rural farmers upset at railroad freight rates. Many of them wanted government regulation or outright ownership of the railroads, so that they could be sure railroad rates were more advantageous to them.

        2. “You didn’t build that.”

          Look into what Stanley Kurtz has been saying about the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing initiative being pushed by this administration’s minions at HUD. They’re yoking the yokels to them with chains of gold.

          Gold is a spectacularly malleable metal.

            1. I think I’d less surprised by just about anything including finding alien bodies in a government locker in Roswell than I would be by seeing an actual cabinet department eliminated.

              Hell, I expect to go to Jurassic Park first.

              1. Yeah, much as I like Cruz for president I doubt it will be easy to eliminate pretty much any federal bureaucracy.

                1. It literally would take an act of Congress repealing all of the civil service “protections” our ‘crats currently have. Too many Congresscritters on both sides are too vested in the current setup for it to happen in the next 4 years.

                  1. Perhaps if they simply zero out the funding and transfer all bureaucrats to other departments.

                    I think a lot could be done by decertifying the federal employee unions, rewriting the salary scales and pension funding and relocating their offices to the “provinces.” Justify it as using unoccupied office space. Imagine the financial benefits such employees could enjoy from selling their pricey DC-area housing and purchasing new homes in E. St. Louis?

                  2. To fire the bureaucrats, sure. But if you just eliminate the bureaucracy they work for, that’s not exactly the same as firing them, is it?

                    1. Instead of firing them perhaps we could stone them?

                      I would consider it acceptable to retain them without allowing them to implement a single idea. Let them surf the internet watching [smut] — they’ll cost less than when we allow them to make policy. Surely we could find some innocuous tasks they could perform, such as counting the number of hits for a selection of Google searches?

                    2. RES: So, like having an incompetent (or worse) President play golf as much as possible? A seeming waste of time and money, but better then having him Do Stuff that is actually damaging? Yes, while I think little of golf, and not of Obama, I am in favor of Obama playing a lot of golf for the next several months.

                  3. Just move all the administrative offices for HUD and DoEd to Nome Alaska and plenty of lifer clerks will self-deport.

                  4. Yes, lets get rid of civil service protections and return to the patronage system – it can’t be any worse. Uh, that sounded more sarcastic when I was thinking it in my mind. I was being sarcastic, wasn’t I? Not sure anymore.

                    1. Patronage system’s main fault was loss of continuity of knowledge and consistency of rules across administrations; Civil service “fixed” that by having too much of it. Maybe administrative term limits? with overlap for training? Or, kinda like patronage but with a limit to the percentage of employees, at least in critical services, that can be RIF’d in any administrative turnover. Gotta be something that would be better…

                  1. Encouragement to destroy his presidency. Anyone who tries to pare down the bureaucracy is going to have war to the knife, knife to the hilt. The entrenched masses there will do everything in their considerable power to preserve their phoney-baloney jobs. I endorse that war, but it’s going to be lengthy and unpleasant. I suspect we’ve quite a bit of political and cultural preparation to do before anyone can safely fire the opening salvo.

                    1. They’re going to do their best to do that anyway, just as Lois Lerner knew what to do about the T.E.A. party without having to be given any instruction. Might as well follow Reagan’s example — HUD bureaucrats are less indispensable than air traffic controllers.

                    2. A far bigger difference is that the air traffic control agency was established with a law that provided Reagan a mechanism to do what he did once PATCO met the triggering conditions. HUD, EPA, etc. were established without such a triggering mechanism, and while a President might try anyway, either the courts or the Congress can block it.

                    3. First you’ve got to really rev up private sector jobs. _Then_ you can start encouraging government workers to quit. A hiring freeze, consolidation or relocation of departments (as discussed below) and you’ve got a chance to actually shrink government.

                    4. Transfer certain functions to private industry, encourage ’em to hire from gov’t departments that did that function. Most private-industry unions aren’t actually quite as powerful and wasteful as the gov’t ones, and are shrinking anyway.

                2. No need to abruptly disband departments. My nefarious plan : In the interest of ‘fairness’ and ‘spreading the wealth’, at least 50% of federal workers GS-15 and above (including the Senior Executive Service) will be geographically dispersed a minimum of 200 miles from DC. For example, EPA offices will be relocated to Minot, ND. , HUD offices will be relocated to East St. Louis, etc. Once you move senior bureaucrats from the DC/NoVA area to either (1) the ‘flyovers states’ they despise or (2) the urban cesspits they have created, we will either get fewer bureaucrats or more ‘enlightened’ ones.

                  1. I like that! And the offices shouldn’t be relocated lock, stock, and barrel, but broken up so that subgroups would be at least one state apart. EPA in Minot, Lawrenceville, KS, Cheyenne, WY, and Moab, UT (at the least). Similar for other bureaucracies. And travel budgets severely curtailed; teleconferencing is just fine…

                    1. No – travel budgets will be left alone. They will simply have to take Amtrak instead of flying. After all, Washington has been extolling the wonders of trains for over 40 years.

                    2. hey….. what did I every do to you.
                      I live just south of Lawrence, ks. and I/we really don’t want their kind out here. (I will admit the people of Lawrence, being librial may, but the rest of don’t)

                    3. Sorry! I just picked some cities pretty much at random (I knew Lawrence was a leftist place, though). But if they were nearby, you could mess with them. Mightn’t that be worth the annoyance otherwise?

                    4. I would prefer the geographical center of the state of Alaska.

                      Of course, improving this region would have an undue ecological imprint, so they will simply have to get by with what is there.

                      This is a feature, not a bug.

                  2. This is all in the interests of safety – wouldn’t want all those hard-working bureaucrats wiped out in case of a wmd strike in DC.
                    (Wait a minute, what am I SAYING???

            2. Remember that even Reagan only managed to eliminate three federal departments. It’s hard to get rid of even the most insignificant ones. Getting rid of the well-known ones simply isn’t going to happen at this point in time (though it can make for a good soundbite).

              1. I’d be willing to keep them on the payroll as long as they were assigned to just sit in an empty room and surf the internet. The cost of paying those people is large, but I significant compared to the cost of their various regulations, meddling, and other schemes. Free paycheck, free porn, lifetime employment on the sole condition that they do NOTHING ELSE.

                1. Heh. I can see the administrative hearing: “We’re firing him because we caught him rewriting a regulation. Sure, it was only for grammar but that’s how we got into this mess in the first place.”

      2. Slightly less likely is the Democrats lose nearly all political power and the government avoids bankruptcy.

        The problem is while that is still a necessary event it is no longer in and of itself a sufficient event.

        Just having the GOP win significant political power will not shrink the government even to par levels where we could ride out the debt over a decade much less enough to have a surplus to retire a good portion of it or admit the truth of social security, cover everyone about 50 or older, and let the rest of us fend for ourselves (as everyone under 60 should have been doing).

        Biggest screw up of the Obama era…to shave a little off interest now we haven’t been selling long term Treasures what would lock into the rates of the past five years to at least 2023 and beyond for the most part which will bite us in the ass as soon as next year at this rate.

        1. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the global economy will crash this year pushing US bonds into negative interest territory, then President Cruz can stop issuing 3-year bills and offer 100-year bonds at face value. It won’t do much for future deficits, but it will give us breathing room on the $19 trillion we’ve already racked up.

          1. Actually, it will do a lot for future deficits in that any budget projection right now has to assume a return to mean of interest rates and the replacement of all debt with that rate within 3 years of the reversion. Almost all of that difference will wind up as new debt at least the first year or two even assuming the most responsible Congression possible.

            I think our biggest advantage now compared to say the first Obama term in the late 70s is we have the strongest currency around (which if it wasn’t so serious would be hysterically funny) and call sell dollar debt more easily than other nations can in their own currency.

        2. to shave a little off interest now we haven’t been selling long term Treasures

          That was going on in the Clinton regency, too, as I recall. As the Russian Roulette player observed: Nothing happened the first five tries with this revolver, I’m pretty confident nothing will happen on a sixth.

          1. Yes, but the Clinton years had moderately above trend line interest rates so it was somewhat defensible (I think it was poorly thought out…within one sigma lock in for the medium term for predictability). We are at several decades lows which is when you bite the bullet and take the spread between 10 year and 30 year debt to lock in rates long term not pinch a tiny fraction extract by going to 3 year debt.

      3. Slightly less likely is the Democrats lose nearly all political power and the government avoids bankruptcy. There will still be riots when the checks stop, but they’ll be much smaller and will be put down faster.

        Rerun the videos of Wisconsin protests over Scott Walker “attacks” on unions. Walker surviving their efforts at recall and denial of reelection are the best sign of how this may play out. YMMV in certain areas, such as Illinois, New York and California where the rot is particularly entrenched.

        Be confident that as people forget how bad things were under conservative governance there will be strong push-back against those reforms and frequent relapses. (See NY City under deBlasio.)

        1. I expect to see bloodshed in places like Chicago, LA, and New York. I don’t expect it to spread much beyond the first ring of suburbs.

          1. I don’t know Chitown or NewYawk, but in LA there’s really not a suburb ring – if you start at LAX and go in any direction, it’s a crazy quilt of somewhat reasonable places, industrial stuff, and places-you-don’t-go across the main LA basin, up until you start to hit the hills to the north and east. And once you get over into more suburb-ey areas towards Northridge or the San Bernardino County line, you still have bad areas intermingled, though the distribution shifts as you get further away from LAX. Going south there’s not even any defensible hills between LA and Orange County, which again has good and bad intermixed. And there’s housing everywere, right up all the hills. True the richer areas have buffers of less rich areas between them and the poorest areas, but not as much as you’d think.

            In the Rodney King LA riots, there were gangs commuting into the better areas by car to try and take advantage of the chaos, and they really didn’t have to go far (there are stories from moview-industry folks who were manning makeshift roadblocks into their tonier neighborhoods that watched cars full of bangers stop a ways up the street when they saw them, sit there a while discussing matters, and then drive off elsewhere).

            1. I should have expanded to include California simply ceasing to exist as a political entity. We’ll probably get a dozen or so mini-states before things start to settle down and coalesce.

              1. It might all be San Andreas’ fault.

                Especially if we do some carefully sited, much-needed, underground testing of a new generation of nukes.

                1. LA and Frisco (they HATE being called that) are moving northwest. LA will eventually be across the bay from Oakland.

                1. The one good thing about my mom getting sick is that it got her out of California. I spent quite a lot of time thinking about how I would get her out if that state went pear-shaped.

            2. They would not have even stopped to discuss it the folks manning the barricades had been openly armed like the Korean shopkeepers were.

              1. yes, but the people in such tony neighborhoods suddenly discovered there was a fifteen day waiting period to buy firearms. They complained to their legislators, and it was lowered all the way down to ten!

      4. Come on. Proggy wisdom is that all those red areas are just bumpkins living large off the largess of the blue area tax revenues.

        Never mind what percentage of those areas are ag, or restrained from use by gov regulations. Or just that maybe people attempt to live away from the city but have to work in it…or at least have the money they spend funneled thru there.

        1. So when the separation comes, they expect all those rural areas to collapse because they won’t have the government money from the urban and suburban areas? Sure…it’s amazing what people can convince themselves of once they get thoroughly insulated from reality.

          1. They frequently dismiss “red” states as net tax recipients (Daniel Moynihan used to rail for years about NY state “only” receiving $0.92 for every $1 it sent to Washington*.) Aside from the fundamental error of distinguishing between a dollar produced by activity in, say, Kansas, and a dollar measured (and thus taxed) in the Chicago or NY commodities market, these calculations typically ignored the expenditures of tax dollars consisting of military bases in red states — as if the only purpose of such states was redistribution of wealth.

            *Yes, obviously sending money to Washington to be reallocated would entail some attrition and not every state could “enjoy” a greater than 100% return, but Moynihan’s rants were boob bait for the home state masses, not intended as sound economic analysis.

          2. Rural areas collapse? Ha. Unless the government goes all Pol Pot and sends the urban dwellers out for fresh air and healthy exercise. Now that would mess with the rural areas.

            1. … sends the urban dwellers out for fresh air and healthy exercise.

              Might not be too bad so long as they don’t set an inappropriate bag limit.

            2. In a post apocalyptic novel I scanned, the hero goes to Seattle as the best place to start picking up the pieces.

            3. Just a itty bitty blockade. The rural states may not have money pumps of tech and finance but let the cities eat cash…I can get a cow

        2. Los Angeles will have a serious problem when the red area north of it turns off the water pumps.

          1. I’m just waiting for the first person to figure out that if they blow a hole in the side of the water channel headed to LA, they’ll be able to water the orchards and such that are producing huge amounts even with “water uncertainty.”

              1. I am quite sure that there are already people siphoning water off– the difference is that right now, there’s the ditch control to keep it intact, so it can’t be too very much.

                When the risk outweighs the paycheck? Not gonna work.

              2. I used to work (mid-1970s) with a fellow who grew up in the late 30s and early 40s in the Owens Valley on the east side of the Sierra Nevada.

                First time I’d ever heard about L.A. Water Department equipment being blown up by disgruntled locals back then.

      5. That fact – that there’s “no clear geographic delineation” – is why I’ve long thought that when – not “if;” the divisions have grown too deep and bitter – we have Civil War II, it’ll look a lot like the old Missouri-Kansas Border War did. Except that this time, all fifty states will get to play. And there’ll be more than two sides to the thing. Perhaps a lot more. And it’ll be fought with twenty-first century weaponry.

        1. Yes, pretty much. There was a whole secondary civil war going on in the Texas Hill country – between Unionists and anti-slavery advocates and Texas Confederates. It got very, very ugly.

          1. There have always been and will always be people aplenty who will take advantage of a public fight to settle some private grudges. There are also a significant number eager to “hold coats” (and rifle pockets) while others fight.

  3. A friend commented that one of her children asked her what the future was going to be like. She started to mentally list the things. Then realized that almost none of them were on the horizon when she was his age … so she told him that she honestly did not know.

    1. I’ve been reading SF for fifty years and have read most of a century’s worth of speculation by some of humanity’s smartest, best informed people. I can tell you what the future will be like: it will be like nothing anybody expected.

      1. I think one of the many ideas referred to as “Sturgeon’s Rule” states that any SF writer could come up with the automobile, only a few very good ones could come up with the drive-in theater, only a tiny handful of inspired masters could guess the change in sexual customs that would result.

  4. Driving on a dangerous road at night is an apt analogy for the current elections. Yes I remember the roads of Colorado, both in the Springs area and Denver

    1. I am unfamiliar with the area. What came to mind was a winter time trip home after visiting Daddy. It had been unusually warm, so we choose to take a somewhat out of our way, but far more scenic route home, thereby skipping the I-95 corridor which at the time was in permanent rebuild between Philadelphia and Petersburg. We headed south- west and then proceeded to come down the northern section of the Blue Ridge Parkway. The Spouse was driving when a shift in the weather occurred and an ice fog settled over us.

    2. I drive very, very carefully these days. My driving karma is very skewed from young me, which includes the time I passed 4 semi trucks in a row around a mountain curve…

  5. I’m always a bit startled when things that I’m perceiving are picked up by other people, esp those who don’t seem to be plugged into the same things as I am. My “a-ha” moment was probably a year ago when a co-worker (50s, female) asked me to explain the unemployment rate because what she was seeing/feeling didn’t match what she saw. I turned to … Abbott & Costello. So, I forwarded her the transcript of “Abbott and Costello explain unemployment,” and she told me later that was the best explanation she’d ever seen.

    Here’s the transcript (yes, the video is great, but you need to read the transcript to see just how insane things really are):

    COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
    ABBOTT: Good “subject”. Terrible “times”. It’s about 9%.
    COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
    ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.
    COSTELLO: You just said 9%.
    ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.
    COSTELLO: Right, 9% out of work.
    ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.
    COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 16% unemployed.
    ABBOTT: No, that’s 9%…
    COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?
    ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.
    COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.
    ABBOTT: No, you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.
    COSTELLO: But … they are out of work!
    ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.
    COSTELLO: What point?
    ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.
    COSTELLO: To who?
    ABBOTT: The unemployed.
    COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.
    ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work…Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
    COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment rolls, that would count as less unemployment?
    ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
    COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?
    ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don’t want to read about 16% unemployment do ya?
    COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
    ABBOTT: Absolutely.
    COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there’s two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
    ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
    COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
    ABBOTT: Correct.
    COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
    ABBOTT: Bingo.
    COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
    ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an economist.
    COSTELLO: I don’t even know what the hell I just said!
    ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like a politician.

    1. The sad thing is there are legitimate reasons to look at the two different classes of people. For one, not all work age adults out of the labor force are out involuntarily (students, stay at home parents, early retirees, etc).

      In a normal recovery unemployment goes up before going down. That portion of the ‘out of the labor force’ population who wants to be working will return to the labor force faster than jobs are created at the beginning of the recovery and raise both labor participation and unemployment initially before unemployment went down. Instead both went down during the “recovery”.

      It screws up how people who used unemployment to measure economic risks look at things.

      1. I really don’t see a legitimate reason to use the U-3 number. I think it’s better to use U-6 and just understand that there is always going to be a “DC offset” of people who for various reasons aren’t working. The absolute number isn’t as important as the trend.

        1. While you might have an argument when it comes to newspaper statistics in terms of people doing economic modeling day in and day out for actual businesses U-3 is a lot more useful. There are wide variety of well tested economic models for things like credit card default and mortgage pre-payment that use U-3 which has tracked better than U-6 in them.

          1. The issue with that distinction is that the numbers are only “checked” when they do the phone survey. Otherwise it’s all imputed (read, made up).

            The last time I was laid off I was on the official rolls for a number of months (worse times than now so I got an extension or two) during which I was continuously looks and applying and putting in resumes, etc. Then the California official numbers didn’t get any worse for enough months in a row, so the extensions dried up, and unless I signed up for retraining I was going to be out. At that point I was actually interviewing for a position which I ended up not getting, so I didn’t sign up for the retraining, and as a result I was officially off the rolls, and assumed to have given up.

            That was about a year and half before I actually landed the job I have now.

            And I never, ever, not once got a phone survey call to verify if I was looking or not.

            Which is not surprising: Dropping me off incrementally improved the numbers that were reported loudly each week – why would they try to make their bureaucracy look worse than it already did?

            1. Polling data. I just do not trust polling data. Then there are people like my wife. She gave up looking because, laws or no, it is hard to find work at 67. In a booming economy she would no longer be “overqualified”.

              1. Depends on the design and purpose of the poll.

                Public opinion polls for the news media…depends but mostly meh.

                Well designed surveys for people who are deciding how to spend billions? Generally well designed and well done for the same reason bank economic models are better than academic climate models*.

                Historically the U-* numbers and other government and quasi-government numbers (the various M and Q from the Fed for example) have been the later. I see no reason to distrust the final, revised labor numbers although the shift to first Friday regardless of date (used to be if it was the third or earlier we went to second Friday) for the first pass bugs me but again that’s a media issue. Yes, they are extrapolated from surveys but as I said, they have provided a number that consistently correctly indicate real world behavior when run through models built using it.

                The problem isn’t the numbers or the methodology. It is that reporters who I’m sometimes surprised they can read numbers spin them to advance an agenda. They don’t lose money misrepresenting them like we would when presenting projections. They don’t feel obligated to explain they are first pass and follow up with the final numbers. Hell, I wouldn’t even report the first pass numbers (which I suspect are 40% released for media consumption).

                * If we screw up and the bank loses $$$ we’re on our butts in the street. If academics are wrong they just requrest another government grant.

                1. Oh, don’t get me started on the initial numbers vs. the months-later revsion, which UNEXPECTEDLY always shows a worse number than the original heavily reported data.

                  1. When the folks on Fox Business’s morning news started laughing on camera at the initial unemployment numbers last spring, you know the last bit of polish had come off the cow-pat.

                  2. That is very unfair of you! I noticed that the initial numbers were often very bad or just so-so and later revised upward … during the Bush Administration.

            2. I think that I have been officially unemployed since about 2007, when I was formally fired from the full-time office job. (I didn’t get on with the senior sales rep, so bite me.) I was officially drawing unemployment benefits for a couple of months, then I had a part-time secretarial job, then another part-time secretarial job, and then … oh, wait – I did work one solid year for a call center before I quit to in 2009 or so to work full-time on writing, and to take up a partnership in the Teeny Publishing Bidness. All this is upheld by a military retirement pension anyway – but as far as I can remember, no one has ever included me in a survey of those employed or un – . I’m flying below the official score-keepers in this matter, I guess.

          2. I think a big problem with the way “journalists” using the U-3 rating is when the Labor Participation rate is variable,

            If Labor Participation is steady, then comparing the U-3 to a past U-3 is apples to apples.

            If it drops because more people are no longer even trying to find a job, then you’re no longer really comparing the same thing.

  6. To spread the gloom: You are right that they lose. That does not however mean that we win. Reality can be a bitch and when the gods “with terror and slaughter return” they do not care that it was not your fault.

  7. I half joke that if the universe’s set up is universes where each thing plays out, in most of those we are dead.

    I’ve gone through the occasional $INCIDENT (or $THING_THAT_NARROWLY_AVOIDED_INCIDENTHOOD) and had the thought, “I died back there, didn’t I?” I suppose this isn’t so much cross-world deja vu or such, but more the old, ooold core brain circuits lighting up with, “Alright, that goes on the DO NOT DO THIS list.”

    1. So, things which are in the, “First you say it, then you do it* ” category?

      *In case that is an unfamiliar phrase to anyone, “it” refers to, “oh SHIT!”

        1. I guess it depends on how strong your innards are, because when I spun a 540 in the snow on the Interstate Highway, that definitely counted for me.

  8. I find myself very confident of the taillight I follow, but increasingly less sure of the fog through which I travel.

  9. Sometimes I feel like my biological mother must have kicked a cranky old Chinese gypsy lady when she was pregnant with me.

    Curse of interesting times indeed.

    1. That sounds like a character out of Kung-Fu Hustle (which was probably the funniest film I’ve seen in far too long. I’m not certain there’s a single trope/character/stereotype they missed.)

  10. If the only way to know reality is through your perceptions, anything that alters your perceptions also alters your reality.
    Faerie waits in the mists.

    1. IIRC Larry Niven had a short story where “foggy nights” were seen as dangerous because you could accidently leave your world and find yourself in an alternate earth.

      I think the title was “For a Foggy Night”.

      1. I can believe it. I have an idea where stories about holes in time likely came from.

        Momma and I went from Philadelphia out to the Jersey shore to take a walk on the beach New Year’s day. Driving back in the dark through the interminable pineys in the fog — time seemed to fall to the wayside. I would not have been half surprised if at that any moment we had taken a rise and come upon an encampment of Revolutionary war soldiers.

        1. The first Twilight Zone episode I can recall seeing (back before they were re-runs) was of a Tank unit involved in war games in the Dakotas, finding themselves following the route of one of Custer’s units heading toward the Little Big Horn. First their tank broke down, forcing them to proceed on foot, and then …

          Final scene was modern day forces trying to figure what had happened to that tank’s crew, and spotting their names on the monument. Like all good troops, they had run to the sound of the guns.

          Illusio, tempus est. Time is an illusion.

        1. For SOME reason, though, I always keep associating that story with Heinlein, until I read it again, or have some reason to look it up, like now. No idea why, except it’s kind of similar to his style of story.

        1. That’s the ultimate complement for an old SF short story, I think. I thought “Memento Homo,” AKA “Death of a Spaceman” was written by Heinlein, in spite of the strong Catholic themes, but I couldn’t find it in any list of Heinlein stories. Eventually ran across it in a Miller collection.

  11. I think we’re definitely entering the ‘Crazy Years’ as RAH predicted. I just often wonder how he was so spot on about it.
    I myself want to move to a more defensible and supportable place, but my SO just got a good job here in Cal (literally as soon as it was announced by the company that bought their old one that everyone would be fired, their old boss called and offered them a new one on the spot).

    The two things that bug me the most are 1) the blatant propaganda the government is putting out these days about how everything is wonderful economically (when it obviously isn’t) and 2) the way the government and the non-producers want to systematically punish those people who make things work.

    Pretty soon, this country isn’t going to be able to feed itself. If this policy is intentional, it says some pretty bad things about the people in charge. If it’s not intentional, it says even worse things! But it’s still government policy, just like the new gas cans we’ve all had forced on us, that don’t work, and make the problem then were supposed to fix ten times worse.

    I still believe war is coming, and it’s coming faster everyday. I’m just not sure what kind of war it’s going to be. When I predicted America was going to be attacked by air, after shutting down all air defenses under Clinton, I had no idea that it would be by such a small radical group.

    Now I see Americans all being forced into separate group identities, many of whom are becoming dissatisfied, and violent, with even more violent people being shipped into the country by the hundreds of thousands and I wonder just what is going to happen, and just how will it play out.

    And I do see groups trying to fight against this rising tide, mostly at the level of the states, because the feds are definitely the ones pushing the problems. But until someone does something to take the power away from the people causing these issues, it isn’t going to get better.

    1. The new gas cans work just fine. You just take the spout off.

      As far as the growing balkanization…I don’t know the answer to that.

      1. I recently worked a stint in the accounting department of a company manufacturing small gasoline engine products (lawnmowers, leaf blowers, tillers, etc.) The cost of those EPA compliant gas tank caps is ridiculous amazing. So much $$$ to prevent a gasp of fumes escaping into the wild!

          1. Wasn’t part of the cost analysis (at least, not directly) but the assemblage of small precisely fitted pieces was shipped from overseas, so make your own best guess.

            It isn’t as if the EPA is concerned about global carbon footprint, after all, merely the expansion of their footprint in the US economy.

            1. I would argue that when it comes to those gas caps, It’s large poorly designed, poorly toleranced imprecise parts that fail quickly and in the wrong way, Stupid and something only a bureaucrat who doesn’t mow their own gas or use any small motors would love. I wonder if any of those product safety peoples actually use appliances.

              1. I wonder if any of those product safety peoples actually use appliances.

                They have illegal undocumented immigrants for that.

              2. This. I look at those, and wonder… none of the engineers of my acquaintance would be able to sleep knowing they put such a poorly designed and implemented *thing* out in the wild…

                1. Check out the Department of Interior report discussing how EPA engineering expertise contributed to the Gold King Mine blow out.

        1. I can’t say for the ones on small engines but for the ones on gas cans I definitely can. Going from one piece plastic and an Oring to a whole spring assy will explode cost.

          1. The caps with the spring assembly explode more than just the cost. Well, the caps self-dissassmble even without any ignition source. Bloody useless gadgets.

        2. Small engines? I suspect that cap is a rounding error compared to what it takes to make them handle ethanol blends.

        3. For many years, my daily driver was a 66 Ford Mustang with no carbon canister to trap fumes from the gas tank. I could truthfully tell my co-workers that it caused more air pollution with the engine off than a modern car did while running.

        1. Just remember to put a cork in it when you’re not pouring.

          I remember a do it yourself article in a car magazine back in the early sixties. How to dig and prepare a backyard used oil disposal sump. I also remember my dad ranting the the car engine wouldn’t run right once we removed the crankcase breather tube and installed the PCV valve on the ’60 Chevy Biscayne. I grew up in a different universe.

        2. I drilled a larger hole and used one of those metal bolt-through tire valve stems. It helps if you bend a wire to feed the step up from inside the can… the nonsense in the spout I just removed with pliers.

          Still, the rigid spout makes it nearly impossible to fuel certain equipment. When I get around to it I’ll make an adapter on the lathe so I can use a piece of rubber hose as a spout.

          1. I just use one of the ten or so 20L NATO-standard POL cans I bought years ago. Although correctly made spouts for those are becoming a problem… What’s funny is that the same type cans were used as water cans. The difference was they had an enamel liner in them.

    2. We know this nation experienced the ‘Gay Nineties,’ the ‘Jazz Age,’ the ‘Sixties’ and other periods of cultural insanity.

      The question would seem to be whether the ‘Crazy Years’ are a recurring phenomenon, like solar cycles, or they are an effect of reaching a certain age, at which one can see more accurately the disparities between what makes sense and what the world believes important.

    3. “I think we’re definitely entering the ‘Crazy Years’ as RAH predicted. I just often wonder how he was so spot on about it.”

      Entering? Good Lord, man… We’ve been in them since at least the 1980s, so far as I can tell. That’s when the essential insanity of our situation first became brutally apparent–I mean, for the love of God, we elected Ronald Reagan, who we were assured was the antithesis of all that was good, and now, thirty-plus years later, all the same people who were telling us then that he was the senile Anti-Christ are looking back at what a good job he did… And, running for office claiming to be his second coming, with straight faces–Or, did you forget that aspect of Obama’s campaign?

      They’ve been gaslighting us since at least 1980, that I can tell, and I suspect it goes back even further. Like, to the establishment of the Republic. The insanity of every era seems particularly egregious, as you live through it, but the fact is, by the time you’ve lived out your life, you’ve lived through so many different periods that people describe as insane that you’ve become quite jaded about it all. Today isn’t any different than 1979, and the zeitgeist is more-or-less the same as it always was–Out of touch with reality. Reality will have its vote, and we will adapt.

      Thing is, a lot of people don’t pay attention to things. As far back as ’94, people in the intelligence/security community were predicting something like what eventually happened in 2001, based on actions taken by the Clinton Administration. 9/11 did not come out of the clear blue sky–The warning tocsins had been sounded, multiple times, but Mr. and Mrs. America rolled over, hit “Sleep”, and went right back to the delicious snooze-fest that was the 1990s. The same thing is happening right now, and people are simply ignoring it. And, they’ll look back at whatever happens to break the spell, and say then that it was all completely unforeseeable…

      These things are cyclic. With the current generation’s fascination with socialism, I expect that the next one will be sick and tired of government interference in their lives, based on what’s going on now. The progressives had best enjoy the fruits of their labor quickly, because the whole mess is going to evaporate in a blur of broken promises. And, in twenty years, we’ll do it all over again, because there’s nothing quite so forgettable as history.

      1. We periodically get someone into power who tries to clear the fog. Reagan began well but gradually lost control after being shot and the early stages of Alzheimer’s. Gingrich had a god three years before being run out of DC. Clinton’s press corps did a great job of giving Bill all of the glory. Our next hope to clear the fog is Cruz. Everyone else is arguing between the cliff and the wall.

      2. > 9/11 did not come out of the clear blue sky

        I put a large amount of blame for that on Jimmy Carter rolling over for Iranian terrorists. And with Clinton for sending Madeline Albright as his representative to countries in the Middle East.

        We’ll be paying for those for a long time.

    4. Agreed.
      I believe that in the future people will look back at our time and wonder how we didn’t realize we were in the opening years of the World War and try to do something to avoid it..

      1. My wife is a big Charlie Chan fan, so I watched “Charlie Chan in Paris” with her one night. There were Nazis wandering around, and people talking about “the coming war.”

        According to Wikipedia, the movie was released in January 1935, so it was actually made in 1934. The Third Reich had begun in January 1933.

        I also have a stack of old “Popular Mechanics” and “Popular Science” magazines from the 1930s. Almost every issue has something about the preparation for war in Europe.

        Many history books make it sound like things suddenly started when the Germans went out a-viking, but there was no question in most people’s minds as to what was coming. The same books like to make it seem like the US was caught flat-footed by Pearl Harbor, but we had started a major arms build-up as early as 1936.

        Reading contemporary accounts, as opposed to history books, gives a very different view of things… it was like some generic horror movie where everyone knew what was going to happen next but was powerless to change the plot.

        1. Yep – most people sensed that bad news was coming down the pike in the Thirties – in Europe from the Germans and in China from the expansionist Japanese. I did a long research history project when I was in college – reading the daily issues of a certain big-city conservative newspaper (The Chicago Tribute, which was quite anti-Roosevelt) from 1935 to 1945. It was fascinating, seeing historical events unfold, day, by day as contemporary readers experienced it. Kind of like looking at the Sistine Chapel ceiling through the tube from a paper towel roll.

        2. Chesterton talked about how the next war was coming and probably going to start on the Polish border, years before it happened. His End of the Armistace is a collection of his essays on the outbreak of WWII — a fair stunt when he died in 1936.

    5. on the gas cans, check youtube there is a video showing how to install valve sems as vents. Works great, but I’ve found that gas deteriorates the cheap rubber valve stems they show using, so I went to steel valve stems, problem solved. And I could ge 10 steel valve stems of bay for $10 so they wee as cheap as the Walmart el cheapo rubber ones.

  12. I think most people recognize the feeling of being a stranger in your own country. It comes and goes. I suspect the feeling will become more constant and pervasive with time.

    1. I’m not quite at the “stranger in my own country” yet, but I do feel like this is no longer the country I was born in. And I was born in ’88, btw.

  13. I’m 68 and can’t walk all that far. If things get really nasty with no supply in retail outlets and fighting my plan is to die a little early. If people ‘bother’ us I can choose WHICH eye to shoot them through at 100 meters so at least a few of them won’t be bothering the rest of you.
    If things are just disrupted and suddenly your money is toilet paper I’m a little better off – we owe nothing – own our home and cars outright.
    If the sun doesn’t wake up soon we may all be so busy moving to the gulf coast we won’t have time to fight.

    1. “If the sun doesn’t wake up soon we may all be so busy moving to the gulf coast we won’t have time to fight.”

      A few years ago (2008? 2009?) a Leftard columnist wrote an article in Salon, Slate, maybe the NYT, proposing that the Left should agree with those mouthbreathing Science Deniers and stop trying to stop global warming…. while preparing the legal environment so that when the seas started to rise and the ice caps melted, they could legally seize their guns and take away their voting rights as the “price” for allowing them to evacuate to higher ground and live as the servants of their betters who had been proven right.

      Volkerwanderungs triggered off by things like Little Ice Ages are about as nasty a fight as you’re likely to have… a point myself and thousands of others were not slow to remind him about.

      1. Brilliant plan. The only thing more brilliant would have been to sell their beachfront property to climate change deniers and *really* stick it to them. Of course, being as competent at economics as they are at science, they did the opposite…

        1. This. Which set of meme-holders lives right on the beach, and who lives away from the metroplexes way up there in that “safer” increased elevation acreage again?

      2. Hmmm. Just who do they think would carry out the gun seizure and denial of voting rights for them? I’m sure they didn’t intend to dirty their own hands by doing it themselves. Somehow I don’t believe the idea was thought all the way through. 😀

        1. No seize power leftist fantasy in this country ever is.

          I had an not very conservative friend who used to remind liberals of all stripes who owned the guns and that they should plan and speak accordingly.

          Then again, he was one of the few pro-Second Amendment libs I knew.

          1. They’re just darned lucky that most of us not on the left have a fundamentally “leave me alone!” attitude toward their meddling. If we were more confrontational or aggressive, they’d never survive.

            1. General consensus amongst my gun toting buddies is that if we were a tenth as evil as the lefty progs say we are they all would have quietly disappeared a long time ago.
              Flyover country is full of abandoned mine shafts, hog farms, flooded gravel pits, and all sorts of other convenient disposal sites.

              1. Do you have any basis for thinking lefty progs are constrained by reality in any way? Facts and logic are tools of the cisnormative hetereonormative patriarchy! Lefty progs garner knowledge by intuitive communication with the spirit of the Deep Reality.

        2. Somehow I don’t believe the idea was thought all the way through.

          That accurately sums up pretty much all of their ideas.

            1. What’s wrong with common sense gun control? If you get all fumbly fingered with ’em, the least bad thing I can think of is slide bite. Ya gotta hold ’em proper to hit what you’re aiming at…

              1. Gun control means tight groupings. What, you mean they’re talking about trying to disarm the people? That’s what tight groupings are for…

      3. The sunspot minimum is a priceless opportunity, that we will probably squander. A 50-60 year minimum would provide the time to get a foothold in space during a time when the risks of solar flares would be very low. Down here, just put another log on the fire.

      4. Yeah, sea levels rising 4″ over the course of a century is something we’re really going to have to run from. It’s almost as if Progs are unable or unwilling to actually read.

        1. Not so much that as situational incomprehension of anything that doesn’t match their predetermined “narrative” dogma (in the religious sense of the word “dogma”).

        2. Are you kidding? Don’t you realize that is almost a half-inch a year? That’s 0.04 inches per month, nearly 1/100th of an inch a week? How ever will we escape such creeping doom?!?!

          1. Just wait until that causes the land to all tip over, as was predicted to first happen to various pacific islands by our betters a few years back. That’ll show us.

            1. Guam was only going to tip over because of all the Marines.

              That’s another advantage of drafting women into the military. Put them into the Marines, and with the lower mean body weight, you can put more onto an island before it tips over.

              1. It is not widely known, but that is why the Marines still teach close order drill – they have to maneuver en masse quite precisely to avoid tipping over various islands.

        3. Jeff, I think the answer is probably and yes. I suspect their actual literacy is rather low (the public Progs, not the making-policy Progs) and that they do not like reading, especially things that require concentrated thought and attention. They need much faster gratification.

      1. One of the most egregious inclusions ever. Those receiving those swag bags already have staff for doing that: kiss-kiss

  14. Zero Hedge? lately it’s been Bloomberg and CNBC. I don’t want to keep writing those economic collapse posts but I can’t make the bad go away. I think that even Tyler is probably scared at this point.

      1. This?
        On fog, I’m reminded by this of the drive I had across the Louisiana Bayou on my way to Texas. It was late and the fog came up over the road, which was on a bridge. I was trying to get to a Motel just across the border that night. Mile after mile I was the only person on the road and there was no place else that I could go. Sometimes you just have to drive through the fog and hope for the best.

          1. Would that not be a relief? “Capitalism as we know it” is more like socialism with none of it’s virtues. Not that true capitalism is a panacea, but it still works better than every other economic system that’s been invented.

            Zero hedge is great but it is *not* a perfect indicator, even on the economic articles. The other stuff is the source of much comedic fodder. I’ve added the phrase “tin-foil underpants” to my personal lexicon as a result of some of them.

            I’d place more stock in the CNBC proclamation that the Economic Meteor of Death is incoming. That channel is wrong 95% of the time. The only better negative indicator I know of is the cover of Baron’s.

              1. Some people have been yacking about the “end of capitalism” for as long as I can remember. Longer than that is what I’ve read is correct. Somehow, in the end capitalism and liberty win out when they get a chance. And the left has nothing but a huge house cards on the brink of collapse. They are weak and impotent right now, not strong. Look who they run for president. A creaky old power mad witch and a crazy old jerk. These are the people to lead us forward? Is there a link to that article? I want to see it?

                1. All the youngsters hear is the evils of capitalism. That it is NOT FAIR!. And fairness is so important to toddlers and the children of helicopter parents. These twenty-something children think of the kindly government as their parents parents. So, who is better to lead us than that kindly old grandpa type Bernie. He promises to spoil his kids by stealing from the rich like Robin Hood.

                  What could possibly go wrong?

                  1. Fair is very important- it’s the yearning that will, if properly trained, turn into a desire for justice.

                    But the very word “justice” has been perverted so much that most won’t even use it, and couldn’t defend what they mean because they were never taught the foundations they need.

                    But fair…. fair, they’ll allow us.

      2. Back in 1969 a guy named Eric Berne wrote a pop-psych book called “Games People Play.” He grouped types of social behavior as “games”, which tended to follow certain patterns.

        One of the games was “Ain’t It Awful,” where, for lack of anything actually interesting to say, people will try to trump each other with bad-luck stories. It wasn’t all that long after the book came out that I read it, so it’s fairly hazy now… but I did notice that a lot of people behaved in ways that could be predicted with his outlines.

        In the case of hitting those web sites… you *know* that even if they’re not lying outright, they’re working from unreliable data. That’s probably the “slamming your face into the wall” game…

  15. One caveat:
    Something like half the country is trying to take the car over the cliff into socialism.
    And something like a third of the remainder is actively choosing to hit the rock wall of despotism on the other side of the road, rather than go over that cliff. (And if it comes down to one or the other, I’m joining them.)

    1. Not only am I joining but I’ll enjoy the schadenfreude of watching them get the right-wing government they always said was around the corner (if we “win”) or being shot as too dangerous to the revolution (if they win).

  16. Yeah you never quite know what is around the corner. 3 weeks ago on Monday I finally realized just how sick I was and went to the emergency room where the promptly stuck me in the hospital for 7 days and drained liters and liters of water out of me. Now I’m trying to build up my endurance so I can go back to work and pay off the $4,000+ out of pocket I still had on my deductible. ::sigh::

    I didn’t predict that 4 weeks ago.

  17. I get the sense, the distant sense, that a lot of the voters are increasingly aware that the government is too wrapped up in exciting social engneerng projects to attend to boring matters like keeping the roads from returning,to gravel.

    What they’ll choose to DO about that in the voting booth is anybody’s guess.

  18. We had 6 jobs between the two of us last year and 3 forms of outside income, counting the writing as one, and it felt like we got through the year by the skin of our teeth. We’re down to a job each and the writing (and publishing and designing and…) only to find out we owe this year.

    We’re not panicking yet but if either of us takes a cut in hours, we’re well and truly off the cliff.

    And I’ve driven those roads in fog, snow, missing a contact and as a stupid teenager. You have my permission to call me to rescue the kid (or spouse or friend) from the airport if there’s a need in the future. I used to drive for a living and an airport run is not the worst reason to be called at night.

  19. I heard a trader say he doesn’t understand what is going on in the market he trades. That scared me…understanding it is his job. If he doesn’t how can he hedge the asset he is responsible he hedges?

    1. Very few traders – even commodity traders – hedge. Most are day trading speculators – and I don’t say that as a bad thing; speculators provide liquidity and most of them don’t make much money. Think of them as the grease in the wheels of the market.

      To circle back around to the topic: Hedging is not seeing the future. Hedging is locking in a known price over a fairly long time span for planning purposes. It may be an awful price (e.g. years in advance fuel hedging just before the price of oil plummeted) but the point is a known/predicable price, not a good price. Someone who hedges must be prepared to lose at least as much as he saves. Stability matters.

      The speculator has a different time-frame (an open position overnight is very rare; even good-till-cancel orders are rare) and a different goal: Make a bit of money off as few ticks as possible (the number of ticks required depends mostly upon per-trade fees). High frequency trading systems are basically computerized, kindergarten-smart speculators.

      1. Hedging is evil, it says so in the SJW-Hillary-Bern handbook.

        So, when you switch to a new credit card to lock in a low interest rate, or refinance your home mortgage you are engaging in hedging against risk and are being very very very naughty.

  20. Oh, I have had that “driving in heavy fog on a precipitous mountain road” feeling for some years now – and honestly, I think that anyone with finely-tuned antennae can feel it, as well.

    My refuge is writing — especially one of the current books; The Chronicles of Luna City … just a nice, fluffy trifle about a small town and the eccentric inhabitants therein.

    In the depths of the great depression, people flocked in to light, fluffy amusements in the movie theater, just for an escape from that grim reality outside in the streets.

    1. That’s the spirit!
      It’s the reason I keep plugging away in my band.
      No matter what comes, all most of us can do is what the “little people” throughout history have always done in such times, hunker down and survive as best we can.

      1. Yep – the last two members of the commune, holding out. They’re also nudists, as well …
        I still have to write a scene where the woman tends her bees, clad in nothing more than a huge hat with a veil that goes all the way down to the ground.

        1. What is the point of nudity? It sounds like a mental affliction to me. Especially not wearing protective clothes when necessary.

          1. What can you expect? They’re Hippies so they let “everything hang out”. 😈 😈 😈 😈

              1. I’ve noticed that nudists (“naturists” in the Commonwealth) tend to practice their open air lifestyle in places without lots of mosquitoes, fire ants, wait-a-minute bush, poison [plant], wild roses, and other hmmm, “clothing positive” natives.

          2. Yes – well, that’s the comic part of this; the last pair of serious organic-devoted and earnest nudists at the commune are die-hard believers … although the husband part of the team is not above smuggling in massive quantities of effective insecticides … it’s part of my subtle japing of this particular mind-set, see?

  21. I’ve been there. For me, it wasn’t fog, it was snow.

    When I left active duty in the Marine Corps, I bought an old beat-up VW Bus and decided to drive across the states to “get my head together”. I was stationed at El Toro Marine Air Base (no longer existing), so I was in Southern California, and decided to take the Northern route so I could stop in and visit someone I knew in Las Vegas on the way through (as well as family in Denver). Little did I know that a blizzard was brewing in the mountains.

    Driving through horrible snow with almost no visibility (and no heat either, it was, after all, a VW Bus). Wind blowing me all over the road. I was sure that if I stopped, there was no way I was going to survive. So I kept going. When I would see a big rig in the rear view, I would get as far over to the right as I dared. I wasn’t even sure where the road was at that point. Then, when the truck would pass, I would scoop in behind it and put the accelerator to the floor until the truck would pull out of sight and then go back to waiting for the next truck. There was no way I was keeping up for long.

    Eventually, I came to a truck stop. I could swear some of those trucks looked familiar (the back side of them anyway). I found an out-of-the-way place in the back of the truck parking area to park where I didn’t think I would get run over, went into the back and climbed into my sleeping bag.

    When I woke the next morning, the blizzard was over, but the snow was piled up almost to the windows of the bus. I had no idea how I was getting out of there. Then I heard one of the truck horns and saw that the truck stop had a guy out there with a tractor that had a scoop. A truck would sound it’s horn, and the guy on the tractor would go over and scoop the snow out from in front of the truck. I thought, might as well, and fired up the little bus (a little astonished that it started).

    “Beep Beep”

    The guy looked over and almost fell of his tractor laughing. He came and scooped me out and away I went. Good trip that. I ended up in Central Florida… eventually…

    1. That’s hilarious 🙂 I did a number of cross-country trips by car– first one was moving from Seattle to Maine my senior year of high school with my drivers’s license *literally* hot off the press. (A friend of the family took me to the DMV as the moving van pulled up). I learned to watch the truckers in bad weather. If those guys were slowing down for no reason I could see, there was probably ice ahead they’d heard about over the radio.

      And fog…my favorite is still the sea fog that creeps in on the ground like a Horta. Complete cotton-wool knee-height and down, crystal clear above. Plays merry hob with locating the road, though…

  22. The thing to remember about the global economy is that we are in another Great Depression. Just like the last one it was triggered by an accumulation of too much debt and exacerbated by idiotic Progressive policies. The good news that the economy will get better once the idiots leave it alone – that’s why we started to see some improvement when Republicans took over the House. The other good news is that Obama hasn’t built nearly the national cult of personality FDR did, and he’s term limited.

  23. “I can no longer visit zero hedge because son threatened to make me call a suicide hotline if he caught me on it again.” <—– Good 'ol belly laugh. I know exactly what he means and how you/we feel.

  24. I can remember driving back to Texas from Denver mumble years ago. I got into the mountains just south of Denver and the fog closed in. I could see the white line down the middle of the highway but not much else. There was no place to turn off and stop; so, all I could do was soldier on. Go too fast and I would run off the road or into the vehicle in front of me. Go too slow and I would be hit by some idiot behind me, I made it without incident, but a was tense for a while.

    1. One reason Carol and I just left the mountains south of Denver was precisely that: The driving, when it got hideous, was borderline fatal hideous. (And for a regrettable number of people actually *was* fatal hideous.) We now live someplace flat, warm, and dry. Sarah and Dan were practically neighbors and we already miss them. Miss those icy bridges on I-25? No chance.

    1. Personally I’ve been enjoying it. I loved the fog in Sacramento, and it’s all too rare here in the high desert. This isn’t the gorgeous pea soup we used to get, but better than nothing for me. Lots of rain, snow, and fog this year; it’s been great. I’m a wet weather sort of mollusc, so I am.

      1. Send some east, please. We just had our first major grass fire of the season and it is looking warm, dry, and windy for at least the next week. That’s how the last drought started, and I’m already getting twitchy. Doesn’t help that the big water supply pipeline is being repaired so we are on (voluntary) restriction.

        1. I’d like to send this snow down to you. I’ve had quite enough of winter weather at this point – and its been a mild winter!

          1. send some up my way, Please. 60 degree weather in February is ridiculous. My yard is brown, and it should be white for at least another month.

    1. Been eyeing that. Not sure how much I can budget at the moment, but then again the right thing to do may be getting a Vz. 58 and getting comfy with more 7.62×39.

  25. Somehow, I ran into the Generational Dynamics blog a few years ago:
    It’s sobering and informative, needing a grain or three of salt.

    The quick explanation is after a serious crisis (neighbor-killing-neighbor, like the American Civil War or WW-II), there’s a bit of peace, because the survivors will do anything to keep the horrors away. As generations progress, the survivors die off, then the young-uns build into the next crisis. He picks 75 years as the interval… (If you think ZH needs a suicide hotline number, be cautious about GD. He’ll use Zero Hedge as a source, too.)

    His theory is only partially baked, in that (IMHO) he underestimates black swan events and loose cannon actors. Still, I’ve found it to be a good first approximation, and useful for planning purposes. He thinks the Dow will crash until we see a P/E ratio down, and that WW-III will start as Sunni-Shia, with China on the Sunni side (pun unintentional) and US and Russia with the Shiites. (Not sure I agree on the lineup, see loose cannons.) On the gripping hand, we have no debt, we live in a defensible area, and we’re outside of fallout plumes, etc…

    My tail light story is from family history. I was a toddler in the 50s when we’d drive from Detroit to visit family in Chicago. One Thanksgiving, there was a whiteout near South Bend from lake effect snow. People were following via tail lights, with the result that when the leader went off the road, he had a lot of company in the ditch. We holed up in a hotel, and the next morning, the roads were perfectly clear 5 miles further west. There’s a moral to that story somewhere, but it escapes me. ]grin].

    1. That sounds similar to the theories of William Strauss and Neil Howe:

      zzzzthe Strauss–Howe generational theory identifies a recurring generational cycle in American history. Strauss and Howe lay the groundwork for the theory in their 1991 book Generations, which retells the history of America as a series of generational biographies going back to 1584. In their 1997 book The Fourth Turning, the authors expanded the theory to focus on a fourfold cycle of generational types and recurring mood eras in American history.
      At the heart of Strauss & Howe’s ideas is a basic alternation between two different types of eras, Crises and Awakenings. Both of these are defining eras in which people observe that historic events are radically altering their social environment. Crises are periods marked by major secular upheaval, when society focuses on reorganizing the outer world of institutions and public behavior (the last American Crisis was the period spanning the Great Depression and World War II). Awakenings are periods marked by cultural or religious renewal, when society focuses on changing the inner world of values and private behavior (the last American Awakening was the “Consciousness Revolution” of the 1960s and 1970s). During Crises, great peril provokes a societal consensus, an ethic of personal sacrifice, and strong institutional order. During Awakenings, an ethic of individualism emerges, and the institutional order is attacked by new social ideals and spiritual agendas. According to the authors, about every eighty to ninety years—the length of a long human life—a national Crisis occurs in American society. Roughly halfway to the next Crisis, a cultural Awakening occurs (historically, these have often been called Great Awakenings).

      I know Rush Limbaugh has claimed to be influenced by their writings, although his thinking may have changed since I heard/read his mentioning of them.

      1. It looks like he was building on the Strauss-Howe theory, with some additions. He’s a bit too in love with the theory for me to take it all in at face value, and I think he’s overlooking the potential effects of the Mule. OTOH, he’s learning. Syria wasn’t supposed to be a Generational Crisis war, but other folks had other ideas. I keep the site in my daily rotation.

    2. WWIII has already started. Actually, it started in or around 610 AD, well before the United States started, so it should be called World War Prime. It’s been hot and cold, but thanks to numerous idiot decisions by people like Jimmy Carter, and the current WH occupant and his former Secretary of State, it’s hot and getting hotter.

      I don’t think it’s possible to contain it anymore. The Shah, the Kemalists, Saddam, and secular rulers in Egypt, Syria and Jordan kept it contained for quite a while. And, our enlightened foreign policy has driven all the secularists from power except, so far, in Jordan. And the monarchy’s power there is fading.

      1. Don’t count the Jordanians out – yes the royal family has problems, but nothing compared with the House of Saud in the same neighborhood, and they’ve lined up some steady alliances, both on and off the books, that should give them a chance.

        On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to be Erdogan right now in Turkey. He’s dug a nice hole and just keeps digging. Erdogan is fully deserving of what’s about to happen, but his citizens are not, and they will be the ones paying the price. Well, them and the rest of us.

        1. Yesterday, he came out with a statement that NATO / EU could send him money or he’d open the migrant spigot all the way.

        2. Yeah, Watch for the ordains and the Israelis to stand together if push ever comes to serious shove. I lived in Jordan for a few years and they don’t fool around when the religious zealots come out to play.

  26. I was driving home up the mountain to Big Bear Lake one foggy Friday night. I caught the tail of a 10 mph group of tourists on the ‘arctic circle’, a 8 mile stretch of curvy mountain road. Suddenly we slowed down to 5 mph as our slow group caught up to a slower group. I was a Big Bear local and knew the road. I finally grew too frustrated and started passing everyone at a blazing fast 15 mph. Drivers kept pulling behind my group. I must have had a 20 car train when we crossed the dam into clear skies. A very tense but satisfying drive.

    1. The most frustrated I’ve ever seen my Dad in a car was in the mountains between Taos and Angel Fire, back in the mid 1980s, when we got behind an overloaded car with Nebraska plates. It couldn’t climb up hill and the driver was terrified of going down hill and rode the brakes. Was the first time I’d heard him use “flat lander!” as a curse word.

      1. Part of the route from the SF Bay area to Yosemite gives a choice: take the long and twisty easy grade main road or the direct but steep (and mildly twisty) Old Priest’s Grade. I’d take the grade in my Celica, but one time I got behind a fully loaded VW Rabbit. As it was a diesel, the priest was rather old by the time we got to the top.

        Another part of the trip involved going through the central valley, where the December tule fogs meant you wanted to drive 10 mph with a window open, since you’d hear an oncoming car long before you’d see it. Lots of fun just after sunrise.

      2. Wow. I heard that word ALL the time, going between Globe and Phoenix, Globe and Tucson, Globe and Payson… Actually, come to think of it, between Globe and just about everywhere.

        Didn’t last all that long, though. Since both parents were used to passing the ore and acid haulers on those roads (who couldn’t help their speed), passing three or four “flatties” was not a problem for all that long.

        (Ironically, both parents were born and raised in north central Kansas. They were very adaptable, apparently.)

        1. Dad Red’s from a low, flat state and we lived in flat states before moving to Texas (still in the flat bit). But he learned how to drive in mountains, probably while stationed at Bremerton.

      3. Was the first time I’d heard him use “flat lander!” as a curse word.

        In our area of the country this epithet is frequently used when one is stuck on a mountain road behind Florida plates, particularly Florida plates on a Winnebago …

  27. Driving east across southern Kansas one evening in January. Snow on the ground and a warm-front during the day. Yes, you can guess what happened – fog began forming and I decided to push on so I wouldn’t have as far to go the next AM. I almost rammed into a little trailer because the dim red lights were a distant car, instead of a badly jerry-rigged car trailer. But the fog stopped about 5′ up, so the semis could see just fine as the cars crept along doing 15 in a 45-50. It was a very long 4 hours to Wichita, where the cold air came back in and the fog disappeared.

  28. I’ve driven in those conditions far too many times (although not exactly the same – snowstorms in New Hampshire, fog in New Hampshire and Arizona, monsoon cloudbursts and dust storms in Arizona). Absolutely the worst experiences ever on the road.

    But – I have fortunately never had the experience that was shown on one episode of the new Tim Allen show (set in Colorado, BTW). He came driving out of a fog, and barely ten yards away, there was a HUGE sinkhole in the highway. Brrr.

    Now I’m wondering if the writer of that scene was thinking along lines similar to our hostess.

  29. “In the end, we win, they lose.”

    I think this is because they are the “little darlings” of the liberal ruling class. They have sold their birthright for a mess of pottage. And the result is that they lose the resilience that you need to survive in this world. The working class used to be the little darlings of the liberals. Now look at them. African Americans are the little darlings of the liberals. Now look at them.

    Don’t become the little darlings of the liberals. Because one day they will dump for for something younger, firmer, cooler. They don’t care about you; they only care about your vote.

    1. Don’t become the little darlings of the liberals.

      This is unlikely to ever be a problem faced by conservatives.

  30. I’ve driven through lake effect from Ft. Drum to Syracuse where I followed the truck in front of me who was following the truck in front of him who was following… My thoughts were if the back end of the truck started to tilt to the right- go left, and vice versa. On local roads late at night I’ve run into lake effect bands where I’ve slowed down to 5 MPH, opened the driver side window and stuck my head out, because I could see better that way then out the windshield.

    In dense fog, I’ve missed the turn for my street and ended up in town and had to turn around. haven’t has a fog like that in years. And that was before GPS. Now, if a fog like that descends, I’ll count on it to warn me my turn is coming up.

  31. Canada hit the wall during the 80’s. It was a good 15 years before all the silliness was worked out of the system. What changed was the inability for governments to borrow for their chicaneries, and their hard realization that money wasted meant not buying influence but the end of their political career. They could see revenues change in real time as they adjusted regulatory emphasis, or in response to some cost imposed. They would increase taxes and see revenues decrease. It was tough times, bad decisions led to bad consequences. Some silly editor with a political axe to grind would cost scarce revenues and not have a job.

    Reality intrudes like a fresh winter wind.

    Oddly though, with exceptions competence and hard work were rewarded.

    1. ” It was a good 15 years before all the silliness was worked out of the system.”

      Really? You think all the silliness is out of the system, in Canada?

        1. You know that urge you get when you’re on a long straight stretch of road, there’s no other traffic about and you say to yourself, “Hey! I can take my hands off the wheel and scratch that itch.” …

  32. And then there’s the elections, where at least half of our countrymen seem determined to steer us off the cliff now, and end the suspense.

    May G-d have mercy on our souls. May we come safely to the end of the journey. And may our children find their journey easier, and in daylight, so they can see their way.

    In the end, we win, they lose. It’s inevitable, because we align with reality. But let it happen without first destroying the world and civilization. And in our life time, still.


  33. On driving – again being in Jordan my wife and I would go for drives when I was back at the embassy. Took the SUV up to Ma’an( not a good place for white eyes) one time and out the back we climbed up to a plateau ~ 2500′ per GPS(say what!!??) or so. Down at the bottom of the cliff/gorge was a dam so we drove off the plateau and down to the dam. Going down (no guard rails, narrow two lane road on the outside edge of the cliff) not too bad, I’m on the inside lane wife is against the wall.
    Hellofa view. Over the dam; not much water in the reservoir.
    Oh heck, now we got to go back up the other side. Now we’re in the outside lane of a road that might be even more narrow than the one we just came down – and no guard rails. Did I mention that my wife doesn’t do well with heights – and now she’s on the outside? OTOH when we got to the top, the rest of the road was through the inner “hills” and down to the Dead Sea. A really nice drive.
    And a GPS stops working when you get ~ 120′ below sea level…

  34. My father and his friends had a deer hunting cabin in the mountains of NE PA, near the NY border. A couple cars of us were heading there, I think for off-season property maintenance, after sundown, about 1965. Very heavy fog, so reflective that we were running without headlites. I was hanging out the passenger window shining a flashlite at the white stripe/edge of the pavement for guidance, as we were creeping along. The line disappeared, although the pavement continued. We stopped, due to a comment by one of them that there were a couple of bad turns somewhere ahead of us. We had a discussion about where they thought we actually were (we had been dealing with fog for quite a while), and while we were standing around the cars, the fog blew away. The road made a sharp left turn, and the outside of the turn was paved, and may have been intended as a turnout. No guardrail, and we were only a few car lengths from driving over the edge, which had the typical near vertical fall for many hundreds of feet.

    That trip is one of the factors that keeps me very cautious when moving in fog. That, and the trip when I got caught at night in fog on Hiway#1 on a motorcycle, north of San Louis Obispo, around ’79. Spent the night in my sleeping bag, under a tree. A cold, wet night. (When you get to a corner, your headlite is pointing the wrong direction, and that road is anything but straight. I’m sure I looked like a drunk, weaving all around, trying to stay on the pavement.)

  35. Crap. Pardon my mild French.

    Coming out of lurker mode briefly: I think we can now add black ice on the road to the fog – SC Justice Scalia was just found dead of natural causes in West Texas.

    1. don’t `forget the part about “a pillow over his face and unwrinkled bed clothes”. That’ll keep the conspiracy buffs going for years.

  36. The stakes just went all the way up in this whole election year game, methinks. Look for the knives to come all the way out, now.

    (Bemused: my Gravatar image is showing something weird here, rather than the avatar pic I have uploaded to it.)

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