Keep Your Feet

I doubt it will surprise any of my readers that I was a fairly…. unusual — let’s go with unusual — child. Not only was one of my favorite pastimes during recess from middle-school on balancing on the edge of a flower bed, but when I started going to middle school, which was out of the village, I had to take a combination of buses that looked like the one above and legacy “trolley cars” that looked like this (without the advertisement. They were a chaste yellow):

Now often both of them were filled to the gills (usually if it was raining) and it will tell you something that mom saw it fit to tell me that I should not under any circumstances grab on and hold to the back, like the street boys did, because it was dangerous.

When the bus was full, the biggest danger was pervs performing frottage, which is why grandma gave me the world’s largest hat pin and told me where to stick it if some guy was rubbing against me. It wasn’t an if, but a when and (once I went to high school downtown where the buses, and sometimes the trains were packed at the hours I used them) about once a month I made some perv scream like a little girl. (And in the bus the conductor would stop the bus, come out back and punch him out of the bus. Note far from being traumatized by this, I’m still very cheered at the conductors’ decisive actions.)

But not that particular route and on the morning schedule (Portuguese schools have morning and afternoon schedules, no lunch period and no homeroom/study hall.) Mostly they were completely empty.

And yet, most of the time, instead of sitting, I stood in the isle and balanced. I tried to do it without holding on to the seats on either side. And it was harder than it sounds, since Portuguese traffic is slightly less (yes, I know what I typed!) sane than Italian traffic, so sudden stops and take offs at speed were completely normal.

Why did I pride myself on being able to keep my feet? I don’t know. Maybe because I was just starting to grow out of a prolonged period of clumsiness.

Or maybe because I couldn’t read — or I’d go past my stop. No, trust me on this — and I got very bored.

Anyway, I got pretty good at it. One of the drivers was our neighbor and a family friend, and sometimes I’d catch him looking at me in the rear view mirror and grinning. (Since I babysat/half raised his kid, who was the same type of kid I was (so much so it’s hard to believe he’s not a blood relation) I assume there was a pretty good chance the neighbor had been that kind of kid as well, and knew what I was doing.)

This image came to mind when I was thinking of what to write.

It’s something like this: we were, before this branch covidian nonsense came about already in a period of crazy rate of change. I know that publishing was not only upside down, sideways and tilt-a-whirl, but changed every two or three years, so that some of the things that made you insanely high earning, suddenly, over night became a liability.

I want to write, not to follow statistics and charts, so you know, mostly I try to keep an eye out on what other people say is working, and if my indie income falls through the floor, I go investigate by asking my more connected friends.

BUT the point is that things were already changing at a crazy clip.

The problem with that is that when things change very fast humans get froggy. Don’t believe me? Go look at time lines of technological change actually affecting the daily life of most people and track it with periods of great disruption: wars, revolutions, etc. (The etc normally being “stupid sh*t governments do.”)

Look, I’m a fan of innovation and change. It’s highly doubtful I’d have survived my first year if we were still hunter-gatherers. But our back brain is at odds with our curious-ape ability to transform the environment around us.

Our back brain mostly wants tomorrow to be exactly like today, only slightly better, but not enough better that we can’t keep our footing and don’t know where tomorrow’s meals are going to come from: even if they’re better and delivered right to the door.

Humans, being great apes are incredibly status conscious too. So, you know, we really need to know that this thing we trained really hard for is still going to give us status. We need to know what we learned in our 20 years in x field will have some value.

Unfortunately in the early twenty first century we were already all at risk of the fate of the lamp lighters, the buggy whip makers, etc.

Because, see? when I went through school, learning to touch type was guaranteed money forever. I don’t think this is true any longer.

I know, in the fields I work in or have friends in that things were completely different. And also that people take really long to catch on — hence people still longing for traditional publication. Trust me, not worth it — so that they don’t fully realize what’s going on, certainly not what’s going on in other fields.

I know translation has gone a long way towards being automated. I know that my friend who manages retail says that she expects what she does will go away, anyway, in 10 years.

And I have in the past predicted that …. well, most of the fields taken over by the left were on the way out. This was only partly because of innovation, mind.

I mean, look, humans also resist change, with both feet and possibly by tying themselves to the masts of their ships and stuffing their ears with wax.

So, would books have gone to ebook format if it weren’t for the fact that paper books had fallen victim to a double blow of the publishing houses being taken over by glitterati preaching Marx and bookstores falling victim to “efficiency schemes” (“the computer says we should order to the net”)?

I don’t know.

Sure ebooks are a much more efficient and cost effective way to distribute story. But I expect it would have taken decades to get even halfway accepted, because people are creatures of habit. Only because the offerings were so thoroughly unpalatable in paper, it pushed the move to ebooks.

So, I was predicting a lot of problems with the industries that, like mine, had forgotten they were supposed to cater to their customers.

However, then the covidiocy hit. And it nudged a lot of other changes for which the tech existed, but which, in fact, had still been making their buggy whips and might be making them in perpetuity… if not for the left’s attempt to drag us back to the 1930s.

For instance, the tech has been there for my husband to work from home since the mid 90s. In fact, he’s done so since the mid-nineties on occasion, like when he was sick, or there was too much snow on the ground.

But the expectation, up to last year was that he would still need to go in to the office at least three days a week. And sometimes every day. Because that’s what people did.

Until — they didn’t. Until most people with desk jobs realized they could in fact work from home. Oh, and they could teach their kids at home and do a better job than the schools (which arguably is damning with faint praise.)

As the post from Chef K showed yesterday, this has set a second order wave of disruption.

You see, the left doesn’t get second (or third) order effects at all. They’re playing a game they played at other times, with other measures. The homeless invasion of our great cities, the crazed lockdowns, all of this is to make what they believe is great real-estate available for their buddies.

I shouldn’t laugh. Because in publishing the disruption is well in motion, covidiocy is the coup the grace and yet publishers and distributors are dancing the pavane on the beach as the impending tsunami has drawn the waters way back.

So how could they possibly foresee what they’ve done to the cities by applying the butt-kick of covidiocy to society and causing us to actually use remote-work technology.

The funny thing is some of them must get it. Because I’ve started seeing articles here and there stompy foot stompy foot insisting that by gum the cities are too coming back and that only about 2% of workers can work remotely. If they said 20% it would have a little more credibility, certainly, but it’s the 2% and the hysterical tone of the articles that make me giggle, because they are so much like the stuff I was reading even 10 years ago, the whistling past the graveyard articles of traditional publishing screaming “just wait, they’ll come back crawling.”

As I said, 20% is probably closer to the mark for “can work anywhere” — though it might be higher as I’m hearing of people working remotely in professions I wouldn’t think would be ready for it — but there are the “support professions” that will follow those, all the faster since the left has taken 2020 and 2021 to destroy everything that made it worthwhile to live in a big city.

Sure, okay, retail workers can’t work in small cities the same as in large, but only yesterday I found a new company doing grocery delivery — just delivery — even to very small towns (where the nearest grocery store might be half an hour away.) And I’m sure there are other such things starting up.

Point is, except for manufacturing (and particularly with the crazy stuff this administration is imposing on all employers, from minimum wage to unionization to who knows what? that is increasingly more automated factories with very few workers. And can be located — as we discussed here the other day — anywhere train lines reach…. which is far outside big cities. (Where it’s often impossible to build these days)) the hands on professions were in the cities because that’s where people had to be to do all the jobs.

I think that’s coming to an end. And no, I don’t have any idea what things like restaurants will look like. I’m going to guess if they have to serve five or six small towns, instead of a concentrated population, we’re going to see a lot more of “prepared food delivery” probably refrigerated to re-heat at home. (And yes, I do know that all the chefs just screamed. And yet, these things tend to follow necessity.)

Universities I expect to be distributed, with perhaps concentrated teaching “workshops” for things that must be hands on.

The museums, the symphonies, all of those might very well remain in cities, or at least in cities that successfully transition to “touristic destinations” which won’t be all of them. The mayors killing their cities and betting they will return are engaged in a fool’s game.

When they say “normal” isn’t coming back, they are right. But the future that’s taking shape is not what they think it is. They think the future will be with them in control of our every breath, of everyone’s movements and what everyone is allowed to do.

The state they aspire to is that of Louis XIV, standing for his portrait and declaring “L’etat c’est moi.”

But that was the nascent state of the industrial age (not yet in full bloom, and its full hit would consume Louis’ descendant.) the machine, and the gear, and everything in its place.

This is not where we live now. We are entering a distributed age, where civilization is where we are and where you can work in a city thousands of miles away from your home.

Oh, and those who think that will be a global state are ignorant innocents who don’t understand the importance of culture and shared law. If the covidiocy didn’t teach them these lessons, nothing will.

But even in China, the clockwork state is in trouble. In fact, their latest exploits are a sign that they are in trouble and fighting to keep the mandate of heaven.

As for our own idiots… I’m interested in how their every spasm, their every attempt to stay mounted makes is more and more certain they will fall. And the longer they hold on, the harder the fall will be.

They don’t even understand the forces they’ve unleashed.

To be fair, I’m pretty good at divining the near future, and even I don’t see clearly what this future will look like, except for distributed, more individual, and in some ways smaller (but probably not poorer, once we’re past the socialist death spasms.)

But ah, the socialist death spasms lie ahead. We didn’t pay for the socialist folly in the nineties, and we should have. There should have been trials and executions, and there weren’t. And now–

I’m still praying the butcher’s bill passes us by. But I’m not expecting it.

Mind you, like everything else, the unrest and the violence will be localized, both in time and space, while around it life will go on.

But even past that turbulence, things will change very fast. Once that little trolley car is careening down a street with a 45 degree incline, it just gathers speed.

So, what can you do? How can you ensure you continue to survive, maybe even thrive in this insanity?

Ah, well, I can give you some lessons from my riding the buses, standing and without holding on to anything:

Stay alert. Look ahead. You don’t have to look very far ahead, just enough to see if the car ahead is braking. Or in this case, take a deep breath, and look month by month, sometimes week by week, to see what’s changing, and what might cause a drastic change in your life, your profession, your family. Month by month, week by week, even day by day.

Stay flexible: keep your knees loose, and be ready to keep your knees flexible for that sudden stop or start. Or, in this case: stay flexible in skills and how you use those skills. Think of other ways you could do your job, other ways you could sell your products, other things you can do to get by. Day by day.

And, because the government is a great big perv, in this case one that got onboard without paying his ticket, and at any minute is going to come up behind you and take liberties, keep that big hat pin handy. And make sure you know where to stick it. Hopefully you won’t need it, but better be prepared.

And just in case, make sure you have a few friendly drivers handy to remove the nuisance from your immediate vicinity, or at least stop it pleasuring itself at your expense. That is, make sure you have networks, and people who will come to your aid in a sticky situation. Or before the situation becomes sticky.

It’s only going to get crazier. But you can stand.

Be not afraid.

Keep your balance.

529 thoughts on “Keep Your Feet

  1. Recently my employer has had staff filling out a spreadsheet, as to about how much of their work could be done remotely, how much the employee would want to do remotely, and how “self-directed” the employee thinks they are and sending it up to their supervisor.

    Said supervisors then would agree with, or send back to the employee with suggestions before sending the information on to the higher-ups. Which, to my mind, says my employer is looking very seriously into changing the existing policy (or at least pushing to get it changed to the higher-higher-ups) of no more than 1 day a week of remote work.

    Not overly surprising to me, when I did the spreadsheet, I can do 100% of my work without every stepping foot in the office again, except for hardware refreshes and getting new login tokens every couple of years.

    So absolutely the work world is changing. I’d bet my wifes’ employer, even if going back to the office is greenlit by the state, will probably look at selling the building they’re in (or leasing it out,) and moving into a much smaller space, just enough for maybe a few offices and the mailroom equipment.
    And that is the sort of thing that will be, as you said, the death knell of cities. Why should anyone choose to live in the city proper, or even the suburbs, if they don’t need to commute to work? Prestige? What prestige, you mean the homeless bum that takes their morning crap outside my condos’ front door? The muggings?
    Screw prestige, plus I can get 4 times the space on a nice lot for 1/10 the price by living further out.

    It’s going to be “interesting,” and likely not in a fun way, to watch the death throes of “city-culture.” As the businesses move out, or stop requiring employees to come in, businesses refusing to open new locations in the cities (think groceries, restaurants, and big business) despite massive tax breaks, and the cash flow the cities need slow to a trickle, and the infrastructure (sewer, water, gas, roads, mass-transit) get worse and worse. And the lefties / libs start demanding more and more money from the state and fed to “fix the problem.”

    Which will only serve to drive people even further away, to states that aren’t throwing money at the cities, because after all, if I can do my job remotely, why shouldn’t I move to another state?

    1. Screw prestige, plus I can get 4 times the space on a nice lot for 1/10 the price by living further out.

      That will only be true for the first wave. Supply and demand will eventually hit rural as growth outpaces infrastructure, especially internet (unless Elon sends up a lot more Starlink).

      1. True. Even now, here, I’m watching home values and they’re going up. Saw a headline for an article on one of the local news sites commenting about how “low home inventory is driving prices up.” No shit Sherlock, it’s called supply-and-demand, and the supply is getting thin.

        Heck, about 2yrs ago I started tracking what a couple of the major online realty sites estimated our home value at, and since then it’s gone up ~$20k Granted, these estimates are to be taken with a grain of salt, but looking a couple of recently (as in this year recent) sales in my neighborhood, I’d say the estimates aren’t far off.

        AND we’re far enough from the nearest major metro that there’s less chance of any “mostly peaceful” protests making their way out here.

        1. Here in Seattle, raw unbuilt land in the medium-distance hinterland has gone from ~$10K/acre to ~$40K/acre in the last year.

          And that’s on top of the Seattle real estate market not only not cratering, but increasing at the second highest rate nationally (according to my old real estate agent’s newsletter).

          1. How’s the process of getting a general contractor with time and attention to spare? Buying land is the easy part, after all, and building a house is a cornucopia of headaches.

            1. I haven’t really looked specifically, because buying raw property is only a semi-serious long-term plan anyway and if I did buy something I wouldn’t be planning to build on it right away (except for a shed for emergencies like The Big One).

              I know contractors everywhere have been slammed all year, so I expect it’s hard to get one.

            2. I like how Larry Correia described building his Mountain Lair: “It wasn’t so much building a house on an empty lot; we had to spend two years building the empty lot first.”

        2. A few years ago the county reappraised our house and adjusted our real estate tax to match. Supposedly, from one year to the next, the house and property increased 500% in value. I got them to back off, but I expect they’ll try it again. Talking to other people, it seems to be a nationwide scam – the county collects more tax, and the property holders are thrilled that their property has “increased in value.” It’s a win for everyone… except for people who aren’t planning to sell.

          1. For the last two years, the Iowa state accessor has been on the warpath against several different county accessors who started doing property taxes based off of realistic measures, rather than “it’s in the same county as a resort that adds an extra zero to the price” assessment. And accepted “look, it literally sold for this price!” as a reason to change the assessment if an owner protested a jumped up rate.

            It did dire damage to the state budget, which counted on the resort-houses and their spiraling up as a baseline, and keeps wanting to tax farms like resorts.

            1. I can think of a simple way to address this: when the city appraises a property for purpose of taxes, the property owner has the option of selling the property to the city at the assessed value. As there are clear problems with a city owning large quantities of its building stock the city then has a limited period – say, six months – to sell the property to a private owner.

          2. My father-in-law does distressed properties rentals… for about the last decade, he’s been contesting the taxes on a couple of properties a year, and winning every time, because the values are so completely out of whack. (Like, a decade or more of neglect baseline is some of it, but it’s crazy even beyond that.) Some assessors will come look at the property and agree… some will insist their calculations are sacrosanct and insist he take them to court. But when you only do one thing repeatedly it’s easy to pro se it, and in any case once you got to discovery both sides would bring in appraisals almost the same as each other. (That is, FIL will immediately stipulate the opposing party’s appraisal and they’ll settle.)

            …well. Except the one time the town got sick of losing and decided they wouldn’t buy an appraisal this time. That one went all the way to trial, and sticks in my memory as one of the most hilarious events of my life, because apparently the judge thought that was just about as legitimate a tactic as we did. >.>

            (The town’s testimony wound up being, in total, “My name is [name], and I’m [town]’s sole appointed assessor.” Everything else was successfully objected, even when the judge had to lean over the table and stare to make the objection happen. >.> Yeah, he got costs.)

            I… don’t know if they’re bothering anymoee now that we’re in the Age of Non-fiction. I think they’re trying to get out as fast as possible. But I do always smile at the thought of my ornery senior citizen father-in-law taking all the town’s to court to make the numbers right through sheer orneriness.

            1. For folks considering contesting–
              they ain’t gonna raise it.
              I was freaked out, we bought and contested because assessment was…. a LOT more than we paid.

              The accessor came in, with like six folks and I was flippin’, and herding a half dozen hobbits.

              They accessed the dirt at as-was, and the house at like two thirds of prior, because look I like it but no, really.

              The way Iowa is set up, we paid for prior owners (look, his mom was dying, I don’t blame him) having not contested for two years- but it’s a valid option that I have not YET heard of it hurting, beyond a few really crazy gaming the system cases. (Crazy and gaming tye system edges towards my family. ^.^)

            2. …”age of non-fiction” is “age of non-eviction”. Helpful elf. Very drunk.

          3. Oregon doesn’t have this problem, right now. Thanks to Prop 5 in 1992, limiting the tax per $1k allowed to tax. Then in 1998, along came Prop 50 which limits how much property value can be raised year to year (3%).

            Click to access 303-405-1.pdf

            This means that, currently, the taxable value real (estimated) value. Especially for long term properties. New properties the values are equal. Technically if values drop the taxable value also drops, but one would have to fight to get it (proof of purchased at lower value). IDK we’ve owned our home since ’88. In addition the current tax can’t be more than +3% over the prior year, with some locally voted on imposed special short term tax bonds exempted. Note, there is a 3rd tax limitation related to funding schools to ensure even “funding” per student across all locals and demographics. Rich areas can’t vote themselves a huge school financial advantage over poor areas.

            Key words are “for now”. Our lovely legislature, has put together a bill called HJR 13, which allows increase of property value to 75% of real value. Which will hurt, badly.

            This bill amends Oregon Constitution increasing ad valorem property taxation to 75% of the real market value.

            Fiscal Responsibility
            The bill exempts from ad valorem property taxes lesser of first $25,000 or first 25 percent of real market value of each homestead and requires the legislature to enact laws for administration of exemption, including adjusting $25,000 for inflation. This means that property taxes would no longer be capped at three percent annually and could raise it 30-60%. They are only required to lag behind market value. The legislative revenue office has not done any analysis on what dollar amount this will raise, but it has to be significant, and will grow over the years.

            FYI. Unlike CA. This applies even if property is sold for real value or higher. Base value is not reset to recently sold value. Exception is new property build. Even there not sure if the cost is the actual build cost or the sold cost, if one is able to act as own contractor.

            Then there is SJR 3 to dismantle the state constitution 3% limit. Not sure this is legal. But …

            Senate Joint Resolution 3 would dismantle the protections homeowners have on the rate of increase of their property taxes on their home. Currently those taxes based on the assessed value of your home are capped at 3%. This 3% limit was enacted by voters in 1997 (Measure 50) and placed into the Oregon constitution. SJR 3 aims to remove it — which could hit homeowners with thousands in higher property tax bills.

            Fellow Oregonians on the list who also own your home … Are we screaming yet? Least the renters are going “dodged that bullet” … can you imagine what this is going to do to your rent? Or even the ability to have a rental?

            Right now one of the things that is keeping us from moving is how badly it will affect property taxes.

          4. That is what created the support for California’s Prop 13 back in 1978, blocking annual reappraisal generated tax increases. It is also credited with helping propel Ronald Reagan to the White House.

            Of course, Jimmy Carter had a little something to do with the rise of Reagan.

            1. Of course, the Democrats have been trying to eliminate Proposition 13 ever since. Every election in Kalifornia features at least one proposition they try to sneak through by obfuscating its real nature and purpose. So far, they have all failed spectacularly, but THEY KEEP TRYING. The fact that 80% of the people are against them means nothing to them.
              I used to live on a farm. I know what bullshit smells like.

              1. Trying to eliminate here in Oregon by Legislature. Not sure they can without taking it out for a vote. It is part of the Oregon Constitution. I’d like to believe the left voters would say no. But with vote by Fraud mail, who knows.

        3. My daughter is doing courses (via Zoom) to get her real estate license, and this is what all the instructors are saying – that here in Texas, we’re in a sellers’ boom market.
          I look around where I live, on what was the outskirts of San Antonio, and all around me there are new developments, of single-family houses on teeny lots, and apartment houses.

          1. Oregon is in a Sellers Market too. But, the kicker is … getting listings. Plenty of buyers. Listings? Nope. We, mom, and other long term owners, are regularly getting flyers, calls, texts, on how good the market is to sell. Sure selling is great. Buying OTOH not so much. Rent is outrageously expensive, if that is even an option. With 3 cats (and a Service Dog), it is worse. Renting isn’t an option. (We’ve lucked out twice renting in the last 42 years. After owning for the last almost 32 years, not holding my breath for a third miracle.)

        4. My sister and brother have been trying to find a house in Utah and the market is insane.

      2. (unless Elon sends up a lot more Starlink).

        Since the plan is to continuously send up more and better Starlink, *forever*, I’m going to say yes.

      3. Government willing (Not forbidding) Elon will/is sending up a lot more Starlink. If things go as planned the service will soon be available even up here on top of the world, Alaska.

        1. HarrisBiden have already started to harass Elon by imposing delays and sending waves of “inspectors” to make Elon jump through hoops in an effort to compel him to dance to the Democratic Party tune. They are punishing him because he refuses to fall into lockstep with Democratic Party orthodoxy.

          1. Like all of their other schemes this is not going to work the way they hope.

            Elon is a hero to much of the left, even when factoring in his badthink.

              1. Even worse from their point-of-view, he’s also moving a lot of his big operations OUT of California to Texas to cut costs.

                1. Even worse, Texas is likely to encourage lots of bad think, planting ideas like “the government which governs least, governs best: in his mind, and promoting ideas like “getting permits should only take weeks, not moths and certainly not years – nor should abundant bribes be required.”

          2. I think SpaceX is being attacked more because they’re making NASA and its boondoggle SLS look like idiots/sandbaggers. The NASA deep state had been longing to take a whack at SpaceX but their deep need to get off Russian hardware and Boeing’s fumbling (let alone SLS/Orion which just seems to be a jobs program) made SpaceX their only choice. In addition the previous administration had restrained them somewhat. Now with Harris Biden they’re whacking at Starship to slow it down as it shows likelyhood of going orbital before even a test SLS item launches let alone a functional one.
            That and perhaps just because SpaceX has not ben respecting FAA’s “Authoritah”.

            1. Elon’s latest public guess, which admittedly is scaled in “Elon Time” and thus likely vastly optimistic, is targeting orbital flight of the full Starship stack by this July.

              They will still be test flights to prove everything works and specifically vehicle structure works for orbital-velocity reentry, with appropriate margins for interplanetary velocity reentry later, but still.


              Slices of the Federal bureaucratic overlord complex are going after Elon because he is D.D. Harriman, and as such is rapidly and irreversably overtipping various apple carts.

              1. D.D. Harriman is exactly who I think of although Elon has set his sights on Mars. Hopefully it will end better for him than it did for Harriman…

            2. SLS/Orion which just seems to be a jobs program

              I’d strike “seems to be”. SLS was explicitly structured to allocate jobs around to the voting Senate committee members’ home States to gain and sustain approval. The idea of using “proven” (i.e. “half-century-old 1970s tech”) shuttle main engines to save development time was negated by the decision to do fancy-shmancy tank builds that took forever, and the decision to use SRBs again on a manned vehicle with much higher safety mandates required a simply huge escape tower design on Orion, which also locked in the same unsurvivable-failure-mode if the escape tower fails to jettison that Apollo had.

              From the outside, it’s a complete dog’s breakfast of a program.

              Arguably Orion itself is somewhat defensible (re-using the Apollo command module mold line meant they could re-use the Apollo hypersonics research data for reentry control logic, which is why the crap Boeing Starliner CRS design uses it), but Orion is still a tiny capsule in which to spend months – which they’ve finally admitted, stating more hab space will be required for deep space missions.

              But SLS is a budget-busting nightmare of a booster that has been a huge waste of money to date, and if it worked would be a crazy sink of budget for a flight rate of once every couple of years. When SLS is inevitably canceled it will be a great day for NASA.

              1. SLS will not die easily. It (and Constellation its ancestor have been around in other forms since Bush the Younger’s administration essentially 20 years. As noted it has intentionally been spread across many districts and states so it is nearly impossible to kill. And as for the engines from the shuttle, they were meant to be reused so IMMENSELY expensive. SLS throws them away which is a part (albeit a small one) of its ludicrous cost. Both SpaceX and Blue Origin created all new engines (I think SpaceX has three new designs) in the same time period. NASA needs to be like NACA was for aviation and get out of the business of creating hardware.

            3. NASA and SLS have been doing a fine job of that all on their own. Elon is just making it impossible for them to declare, “We’re doing the best that can be done!”

      4. unless Elon sends up a lot more Starlink

        Off the top of my head the current licensed Starlink constellation is twelve thousand sats, eventually all using the laser cross link to keep latency down and bandwidth up, and that’s including some fraction in polar orbits. Filings talk about a million user terminals in the US under the grant for rural connectivity, but I recall seeing something a lot higher for the user limit based on 12k sats. And if they need more to meet demand they can easily increase the polar orbit sats and get plenty of continuously happy connection geometries worldwide.

        Starlink is a really disruptive system. I am certain only a few of the traditional connectivity providers grok just how disruptive it will be.

      5. We moved to central Tn when my store closed. We thought would be able to buy quickly and would have time to look around. The area is booming. Number one child has gone into real estate an there are slim pickings. Full price offers within 24 hrs of listing. Property outside of the urban area going up even lots and acreage. Son thinks, and there are some troubling signs of a coming foreclosure debacle driven in part from government covid response with rentals.

        Move soon and be part of the first wave. Plus no blue city can be considered safe.

    2. That said, I suspect the day my employer admits we’re never going back to the office is the day we start planning a move to College Station so I can watch the little ones grow up.

    3. I suspect that the “work at home” movement will continue until two things happen-

      1-Many of the “deep blue” Democrat city/urban areas realize that they can only export rioters and politics (and the support infrastructure for the same). And, those don’t make the big politicians money and clout for future higher office runs.
      2-A major change in management techniques that want to do things along the lines of “organic collaboration” and the ilk, and having people out of the office doesn’t make that possible.

      I also suspect that we won’t see the death of the large city any time soon. Even if it does fall quite a bit into disrepair. It’s too useful to collect people together that are of the various Weird types together. There might only be a half dozen or so in your suburb/small town but the same percentage of people in San Francisco or Portland or Boston or New York is an actual community.

      And, to be frank, I wouldn’t want some kinds of things to be online-only. I know that taking college classes by Zoom has drive me to distraction in several dozen different ways. The only thing worse is trying to handle large-scale meetings by Google Hangouts (according to a friend that works now for Google). For all of it’s sins, a well-run university is a place that should be a good intellectual melting pot. And a place to meet people and establish connections.

      (You may now laugh in French about “well-run universities,” especially these days.)

      I want to actually go to a convention. Even if I have to deal with people with terrible hygiene skills. I miss people, misanthrope that I am. I want to buy stuff-and not have it show up on my credit card bill or get push ads for a one-off purchase on Amazon or Google.

      For the urban areas, the problem is establishing the things that they need to get people wanting to come back to the cities. Those big things are security and cost/benefit ratios-and how are you going to get those these days? Security is going to be difficult-to-impossible because nobody wants to see how the sausage is made in keeping the urban criminal underclass under control. Mostly because the video makes for great materials for the grist mills at CNN or MSNBC on how America is a terribly racist/sexist/bigoted/homophobic place. And, the various social “organizers” are dependent upon outrage to get them money from the wealthy trying to pay indulgences for their guilt.

      The cost/benefit ratio is another big one-and big cities are massively failing this right now unless you live in a fairly narrow set of niches. I adore San Francisco and I would have loved to have lived there in the ’90s. I’d have to be making at least $96,000+ for me to even think of moving into San Francisco or the Bay Area in general. And, for $96K? If I didn’t have to live in SF? I’d be living in Marin or along the 101 north of SF, because there isn’t a good public transit option like BART or similar. The Golden Gate holds off quite a bit of the worst of people out there.

      But, it’s Crazy Years right now. We’re in that slot and time era. Stay cool and loose, keep the cars in good shape and topped off, your food and ammo fresh, and be ready for when things go bad. Good advise at any time, great advice now.

      1. It will be hard for companies to keep the cube farms. Remember, the goat pens won out because of cost, not because they were really better than offices.

        Requiring money to add more pens, or, shudder, more floor space, is going to be anathema to Corporate.

          1. I’ve had to deal with open office, and hate it. It’s annoying, there’s no privacy, and everyone who walks past is a distraction. But there are certain types of jobs – generally creative jobs – that do better with it.

        1. This. It’s the savings that will make a difference. It’s why Dan now ONLY has an office in house. Paying the penalty to get out of the 10 year contract was easier and cheaper.
          If I had the money RIGHT NOW I’d invest in a SMALL building in a “downtown” (or close) location and start a remailing service. There aren’t enough of those that make sense for people working from home.
          MEANWHILE I think — and remember I’ve been doing this for 30 years — the synergy of odds works just as well OR BETTER via zoom, skype, etc.
          Now, are there skills you have to learn in person, etc.? Sure. I for one cannot learn either art or languages on my own. CANNOT. And it’s hard over the online interfaces BUT– but — I expect that’s the “future of conferences” — people fly or drive in for x weeks for this thing that absolutely must be learned hand on (or can be, if people are willing to pay.) All the rest is online.

          As for “Organic group work…” I might have groaned so hard the neighbors up the street heard me. (That’s the Mexican cop who just put out a betsy ross flag, like mine. Um…)
          The left has had this image in their heads my entire life. “The future is group work.” “We’ll work so much better in a group.” “the synergy…”
          Rand wept. No, seriously. I’m not a Randian, but most group work seems designed to hide that most of these people are worthless, and one is carrying the whole thing. As the one who — except when I was very ill — was carrying the whole thing, not only no, but hell no.
          And stuff that requires REAL group work — having delivered the comics script, I’m fascinated by the queries sent by the artist asking ow to do this or that, or what this and that looks like — most of it is a collaboration between individuals with such different avocations/specialties, it works pretty well at a distance.

          1. If I had the money RIGHT NOW I’d invest in a SMALL building in a “downtown” (or close) location and start a remailing service. There aren’t enough of those that make sense for people working from home.


            Messengers are going to be more important.

            1. nope. Look, if the government doesn’t completely f*ck up the gig work…. do you want your home address online? Because I don’t. And if they don’t completely f*ck it up, a lot of us are going gig.
              TRUST me, we need a place that collects things and mails it to you once a week and/or calls you if you get something from an address flagged “important.”
              We have that, but office-ish has decided to go “tiny offices” which I think is the equivalent of NOW deciding to go into, oh, international travel in a big way. And it’s raised our cost 10x for what we actually need, to give us something we don’t want.
              We spent three months looking. Bizarrely, still the best deal around. Which means there’s a lack.

              1. I’m talking about the stuff that in the beforetimes would move around the corporate office building and can’t be replaced with email.

              2. I have a UPS service center box for official Teeny Publishing Bidness, in a place about three blocks away from my house. Costs me about 85$ a quarter, but the people who run it are absolutely stalwart. They will not reveal anything to anybody about my real identity or whereabouts. Even when I sort of wish that they would have, for a paying client who actually came looking for us, with a MS that he wanted to pay is good money for editing and formatting …

              3. OK, retired, so our mail needs are different than many, but we’ve been using a mail drop for 13 years now. Small company; they do storage on a couple of lots, but the shipping and receiving store takes up a moderate sized storefront in a strip mall (and they own the strip mall…)

                AFAIK, the only way the feds would know our home address would be if they went after one or two of the state databases, or the county records. Even the FCC only has my mailing address, and it can be confused for an apartment in town. (Gives innocent look…)

                Anything that UPS/USPS/FedEx or the handful of smaller delivery companies can come and go from there. Costs us $100-ish a year, and because we are longstanding customers at a place with low turnover, if we need something special (like a phone call saying “X order just came in.”), we can get it. Mounted snow tires from Tire Rack? No problem. Once, they sat for a day. The next time, I showed up the same time UPS delivered, so they never saw the inside of the store. Tracking comes in handy. 🙂

                Not sure if they’re still around, but Mail Boxes Etc was the go-to in the ’90s, then they got bought by UPS. None of them are in town, but this is one of at least two independents that I know of. It’s really handy, and judging by the crowd in peak shipping season and more outside boxes, it’s profitable.

                I suspect a remailing service would tie in nicely with a drop. OTOH, our favorite taqueria is three doors down, so it’s part of the weekly shopping trip. I’m pretty sure the taqueria will stay in business.

                1. Yes. UPS Stores are great. We (also retired) have no need for one. Definitely would use one if we were rural. Grandparents used the US Postal Office for 60 years. Bonus of the UPS Stores, they are also an Amazon return drop store for most returns, free, don’t have to (normally) box or otherwise package. Drop off, scan and run, refund processed email before get home, we’re only two miles away.

                2. The new ones make you give them your address. As in your LEGAL address. Part of the reason we didn’t move.
                  AND when we move it will be even more fun, because we don’t want the drop to be in same state.

                  1. As far as our county is concerned, our *legal* address is the mail drop. (Income taxes, not an issue.) County records have both because of property tax and title records (our own residence is taxed differently than if we didn’t live there), and the building department knows we have a connection to a physical address, but they don’t know (or much care) if it’s our actual residence.

                    Unfortunately, one commonly used record in the state has both addresses. I know of one other, and that one is for a new well. Not sure how septic systems are handled, but would expect the state to have both mailing and physical for the relevant tests/approvals.

                    The independent mail drop doesn’t know our physical address, at least not officially.

                  2. There is a quick and easy way to find out how secure your mail *really* is.

                    Order one of those Wish “airsoft” Glock autosears to the address.

                    It has not yet been determined with certainty whether not owning a dog will get you charged with constructive intent to protect yourself from an ATF raid.

                  3. One option may be to use one of the RV / live aboard remailing services (St Brendans Isle, Earth Class Mail); I have had good luck on some difficult to ship items when deployed or stationed overseas with (and wish I had been creative enough to recognize their market niche…) Could you set up a trust, with the trust address being your lawyers office, and use that as the address on file for vehicle registrations,etc?

          2. Yeah. The only reason I’m probably going to start going back in regularly once the company opens back up is lunch at the gray beards table, because they have such awesome stories about why things are done the way they are, things that went hilariously wrong, or otherwise cool stuff, that its about the only thing I really miss from the office.

            On the other hand, I wonder how long it will be before the wokescolds burn that to the ground too…

            1. Which is why you can always have that lunch virtually….
              I know, I know, most of you will go “nooooo” BUT you know what/ We writers are so thin on the ground we’ve had to do things like this for years.

              1. I had not thought of that, and the company is using Zoom meetings, and may go to a different camera meeting.

                I’ll bounce it off one of the principles there and see if it’s something people would be interested.

                And I’ll need to get a camera set up and the insane diorama started 🙂

          3. I think companies requiring “organic group work” will find they have a hard time getting/keeping employees, at last the good ones…

          4. There’s a mixture. I’m just finding Zoom/Skype/Hangout to be irritating, and I am trying to think of how I’d do my old job this way…and I can’t, not really.

            I know a lot of the “group” meeting work is just an excuse for pontificate and donuts and lectures. I was usually the one that did a lot of the “work” in group work, which frustrated me as well.

            For me, I need the separation space. Working at “home” for me isn’t working well because there isn’t a place for me to really work. I’m looking at some of those portable office pods, but I have to figure out how to justify it and make it work where I am.

            I don’t miss office work. I don’t miss commuting. I miss…work? The separation?

              1. It most likely is my home situation.

                I can either use my room (which has no space for a desk for any place for me to really work) or I can use the living room (which puts a TV playing CNN, The View, or other such programming just off to my right side and loud enough that even with headphones I can often make it out).

                I’ve been looking at the various external pods and such, but considering that getting a new computer desk alone has been an uphill battle (I found a desk I’d love-Mom thinks it looks too industrial and around and around the circle goes…), it’s hard.

                I hope to figure out some other options for getting some more psychic separation.

                  1. I don’t want to sound ungrateful. I know that if I wasn’t where I am now, I’d be in a much worse place both mentally and physically and emotionally.

                    I just…don’t know what I want to do. Not really. Even the marketing/advertising certificate is more along the lines of “it’s better than working at Whole Foods right now.” I think I’m just going stir crazy and won’t have a chance to get away for a while until late May/early June when classes are done.

                    I do know that I’m going to get the computer table at some point soon, the one I have has been with me for nearly sixteen years and it’s just tired. Mom is just going to have to live with it.

                    (The planned table- )

                    1. I know I don’t, it’s the whole confidence and paranoia thing in action again.

                      I love my family. However frustrating they are at times. I also know that if I win the lottery or get a job that lets me get a place…vapor trails as I break the land speed record to set up my own place.

            1. Peter would like a separate space, even if it’s a shed in the backyard, to give him a mental break between home and work. Also, so he can try to type without Ashbutt leaping onto him and headbutting his reading glasses askew so he can’t be ignored and must be petted. Because Cat.

                1. You mean, without shutting the bedroom door and shoving a chair under the knob, and getting a night full of howling from the other side that he’s been left out in the dark and the cold?

                    1. Cats know other cats and slaves. All humans are slaves. It is just the Cats reward for being Cats.

          5. Well, there’s group work and then there’s group work. The project my team worked on a few years ago (converting an existing web app from custom to Angular) came in on time with no heroic overtime at the end because we spent the first month in a conference room drawing lines and arrows and yelling at each other finalizing the architecture. 😀 Online in Zoom that couldn’t have happened.

            1. you can. I co-wrote a story — my first collaboration — over AIM.
              Zoom lets you share white board and you could certainly yell at each other 😉
              It’s honestly a matter of mental adjustment.

            2. I dislike Zoom because I am not photogenic, and do not look good in webcam. When on conference call with people who clearly spent a lot of time and posing to be pretty talking heads, I find it deeply annoying. (Which is why I’m “video unavailable.” I’m not going to play the game I can’t win.)

          6. I think the people who push “group work” as being a wonderful, so teamworky thing, never had to do a group project in high school / college / university…

            You know the ones, where 1 or 2 or 3 people do all the work and everyone on the team gets the same grade regardless of how much effort they put in?

            1. It’s pretty clear that they push this “group” bullshit as a toehold for communism. I’ve never seen the groups work anyway except that one or two people do all the work and the rest coast.

            2. do all the work and everyone on the team gets the same grade regardless of how much effort they put in?

              Wags hands. I’ve done group projects for two very different type of degrees, two different universities. Every group project had two grades associated with it. One group grade, one individual grade. Granted, most the time the two grades were identical for everyone in the group. But I know of instances where they were not, other groups, as well as one I participated in. The individual grade, every time was based on the individual characterization of personal participation, what features or parts personally worked on in the project, how and why decisions were made, and group relationships. The one I love was the “A” group grade, but only one person got an “A” individual grade (me). I expected a “C”. Here is the gist:

              Only worked on, maybe 20% of the pieces of the projects. Had a lot of input on structure and pieces of to start project but little on assignments or tweaks. (List of pieces directly contributed to.) I accepted assignments pieced out during the Tuesday, Thursday, and after 6 PM evening on campus, meetings. I work 10 hours Tuesday and Thursday, the group was appraised of this and refused to budge. I live off-off Campus and take the Park ‘N Ride to and from campus, which stops the campus run at 6 PM. While that didn’t stop ability to commute (do have a car), parking and walking across campus in the dark was not going to happen. The group was also appraised of this. Last I’m *pregnant (which they were informed of). I’ll take what ever grade is deemed appropriate.

              Note, I may have been the only over 30 female to have the problem in the class. I wasn’t the only over 30 classmate. Funny how the 4 of us, + one “youngster” (22), ended up working on the big final project together. We even met evenings (everyone’s work schedule messed with days) … BUT we met at my house (parking).

              * Yep. True. Shameless. I was not happy with that assigned group. I might have learned in the 15 years since I had originally started my original degree to speak up. Might be the difference between being 17 and 31.

      2. Many of the “deep blue” Democrat city/urban areas realize that they can only export rioters and politics (and the support infrastructure for the same). And, those don’t make the big politicians money and clout for future higher office runs.

        You gotta look at the entrepreneurial opportunities those exports create:

        HT: The Federalist

      3. For all of it’s sins, a well-run university is a place that should be a good intellectual melting pot.

        That assumes a definition of “well-run” that does not appear to be currently in effect.

        Being an “intellectual melting pot” seems the last thing they want to be, else they would permit ideologically diverse representatives to appear on campus to give lectures rather than facilitating hecklers’ veto. Nor would they impose departmental conformity on topics that are other than settled.

        1. And, which is why I suggested that you laugh at the idea in French, because the French (and especially Paris) ruins everything…would it have been so bad if the Germans had leveled it at some point?

    4. Husband averages about one day a week when he absolutely must be in the office.

      And when he got “is it the cold or hayfever?” on one of those days, it was still do-able, with folks who do have to be there for physical custody stuff shifting over. It just required asking of others, which we hate to do.

      Now he works from home on days he has physical therapy as well, if they have openings that don’t require him to take an hour of leave-time near our house rather than near work. (Which will do more to shift healthcare demands out of the city.)

      1. Look, people with littles? I can work from home with littles. Well, Dan can too, because he has the hyper concentration thing. BUT most people can’t.
        IF I were one of those people I’d look at a moveable camper to work in. BUT at least where we are I’d not — no way, no how — be driving to the center city.

          1. See my 10:14 PM post, which I won’t duplicate here. My productivity was essentially zero when I had to work from home for a while last year, but went right back to normal once I was no longer working in close proximity to a two-year-old. 🙂

        1. *waves hand*

          Our second son was born last April, and I took four weeks off for paternity leave. By the time I was ready to go back to work in May, the building where my office is located was locked down, nobody allowed in. (My employer isn’t the owner of the building, we just rent office space there, and the owner had made that call.) I entirely failed to work from home for six weeks, because our two-year-old just could not comprehend the idea that although Daddy was home, Daddy has to work and can’t read him a book. So in mid-June, when the building owner said “Well, maybe we’ll let a few people back into the building if you’re really, really careful”, most of my colleagues continued to work from home but I started going back to the office every day. Which was just as social-distanced as working from home, because I was the only person on our half of the floor; all the rest of my colleagues were still working from home. But I just had zero productivity between early May and mid-June, and my productivity picked right back up once I was not working in close proximity to a toddler.

          1. My sister and her husband childcare the grandchildren, a 2nd grader and a two year old. Daughter works at home, SIL goes into office (vehicle loan fiance manager, needs to be face to face, still/for-now anyway).

            Grandpa loves it. He was the one not home when they had the littles. Grandma was home until oldest was 10, and youngest was 3 (when mom/grandma retired). IDK what it’d cost to have 4 kids in daycare and after school care if sis had wanted to work. All her teaching salary would have paid for childcare. This was the ’90s. It hasn’t gotten better.

      2. There is considerable evidence that proximity to an urgent care=type center is often the most significant factor in survival of stroke, heart attack, or even a severe fall. Distributed health provision is something we should have been doing long since. Neighborhood clinics, where initial treatment can be administered, is also a way of limiting swamping of health care services as it reduces risk of spread and offers greater potential for quick, short-term expansion of capacity.

    5. The fly in that ointment is likely to be medical care. Telemedicine has its’ limitations, as we’ve seen.

      1. Yeah. We moved a year ago and I still haven’t acquired a new doctor because lots of the offices were locked down and I didn’t see the point in a Zoom call. I’ve personally diagnosed all the major issues I’ve had in my life, up to and including a fertility issue that I found out about in a usenet usegroup before we even used www.

      2. There’s surprisingly good hospitals in far flung areas, usually serving five or six tiny towns, with an “intake” in each of them and helicopters.
        I know from son’s rotations. And right now when we’re looking to escape to free America we’re paying attention as, given my tendency to throw wobblers for unknown reasons like 5 years ago, when I had to be “stabilized” because…. I was low on salt? And we still don’t understnad why, I’d prefer to be near the big place people get flown to.

        1. Thee previous iteration for the county/regional hospital (only one for a long way, especially east of the Cascades) *had* a bad reputation, but they seem to be doing all right now. If things go sideways or are beyond what they can do, patients can be flown to hospitals that have the right/advanced specialists (eye/heart==60=80 miles west, moderately severe trauma==140 miles north, OMG trauma==Portland–that’s 300ish miles, but it happens often enough.)

      3. Though we may see rapid improvements. (I know a woman who was quite impressed on what they could do over the phone for her husband with Parkinson’s.

      4. Doctor, speaking to hypochondriac, via telemedicine: “Do you think you may be running a fever.”

        Hypochondriac: “I am almost sure of it, Doctor. Should I come in to the office so you can check?”

        Doctor: “That is not necessary, With all of the advances we’ve made in telemedicine all I need you to do is take your phone and shove it up your butt.”

    6. The interesting part will be watching the massive cultural clash as urban provincials encounter better-traveled country folk.

      On the other hand, a city that was on the ball (yes, it’s a fantasy) could let the exodus lower real estate prices; clean out the drunks, druggies, and so forth; lift the regulatory jackboot…and sell the convenience of urban life. Of having places to go and things to do in close proximity. Not everybody really wants to live on a 40-acre farm.

      1. 5-10 acres with an acceptable house is the unicorn here. We looked at a 10 acre parcel last year, but cleanup of trees and brush was going to be horrible, and it’s zoned “Exclusive farm use”). Besides, water issues made it too iffy.

      2. On the other hand, a city that was on the ball …

        Any buddy willing to bet on whether New York City uses this opportunity to eliminate rent control or to expand it? I’ll lay 7:3 on them expanding it.

        1. I have a half-serious view that NYC rent control ought to be struck down as a violation of the 3rd Amendment. It was originally implemented during WWII so that solders and sailors passing through could find places to stay, at which time it met the “in time of war” and “in a manner to be prescribed by law” provisions. But once WWII ended and we were “in time of peace” then it was flatly prohibited.

    7. Some things which initially seem to require facilities have changed. For example, many businesses now scan all documents and work from those images. So simple document processing, such as coding invoices, can be done remotely.

      Moreover, workers will naturally shift to patterns of greatest efficiency because their compensation will be based on productivity rather than ability to look busy. If that means three hours of intense concentration followed by a hour nap … well, why not? it ain’t as if the snoring will irk fellow workers.

      People will have to develop new habits, but homo sap is a remarkably adaptable animal when not forced into somebody else’s design.

      1. A year ago when we needed to do the closing on our house after the shutdowns had started it was an issue because laws and regulation required in-person signing of various mortgage and deed papers. “What do you mean we can’t sign the papers online? What is this, the twentieth century??”

        But they were all trying as hard as possible to get that changed because they wanted to keep things moving and make money. So I imagine a lot of that has changed now too.

        1. There are ancient reasons in English legal tradition for “in-person” signing of documents transferring real property. It was well-covered in my Accounting Law classes which, having taken them almost forty years ago, I have forgotten the underlying details.

          Apparently there was some tradition of declaring “So-and-so sold his property to me” without So-and-so having been present or free of duress, or alive) when the agreement was struck.

      2. I’m somewhat annoyed that e-filing requires use of an offical tax preparation package, at least for the state. I’d love to email the pdf forms. OTOH, with paper forms, the state has an opportunity to lose the federal tax return and charge me taxes on the things that are deducted.

        Curious how the errors always end up costing me more money. Got that one fixed, now there’s a cover letter and the stuff is stapled together. If they try it again, I’ll print them a scroll.

        1. We efile Feds. Oregon State gets paper. Everything stapled together with multiple staples. With the 1090s this year, even thou they aren’t supposedly required. But they were rude asking for them last year. Honestly I think they didn’t believe our taxable income dropped by half. I mean anyone with half a brain would know why. Sure our taxable income dropped in half, but the SS doubled. Idiots. We filed in February, early. Fed refund is back. State? WTHKs?

          1. $ELDEST_BROTHER (the tax accountant) considers it to be at least a minor sin to get a large tax refund. I run the numbers a second time each year, with guesses for $CURRENT_YEAR income so we can keep the quarterly payments all right. Works fine unless helicopter money falls out of the sky, like 2020, or if expected income doesn’t show up. Both things happened for 2020. Sigh.

            For reasons, we delayed taking the first round of TrumpCheck money until we filed for taxes. That over balanced the smaller income we got elsewhere, so we had a largeish overpayment (I didn’t tell $ELDEST 🙂 ). OTOH, a chunk went to estimated taxes for next year.

            Last I looked, TurboTax wouldn’t work on Linux systems, and the sole Win 10 machine we had is now running bleeding edge Slackware Linux. So our taxes get done by hand. (Filled out pdf forms, to make them human readable. I can’t read my own handwriting many days.)

            Actually, OR has been nice enough to send a check when I didn’t notice the kicker-refund line item, though that was years *after* I sent them a barely polite letter with the Form 1040 they “lost”.

            1. BIL uses the Free TurboTax option, for theirs and their daughters filings, which I think is online. May look into that. We use the purchased version because of son’s filing requirements. Works out to < $20/filing (ours, son's, and mom's). Mom had to file to get the second stimulus.

  2. All I can say, Sarah, is you have very clear sight… And may the LORD be merciful and spare us from what our idolatry and infanticide have earned us…

  3. new and interesting hobbies
    I got metal tubes and drill bits coming to add to my machining collection. inherited a standing drill press, belt sander, band saw, and whatnot. Also inherited some mechanisms, 2 I had useful items already to hand for the care and feeding, and have been slowly adding more even though pricing on feed items has jumped. Some scrap metal has been acquired as well, and soon hope to start forming it into useful devices.

    1. Are these things that your Dad was using? Any newly acquired skill or hobby is a real gift for a lifetime.

      1. Yes, and one item was supposed to be my Grandpa’s, but he passed before it came in, it lurked about for a time then Dad was given it to replace the one he had gotten at the time, and found why it was having repeatability issues and fixed them. I almost bought one just before Thanksgiving.

    2. Scrap metal; rebar, leaf springs and old power lawnmower blades are treasures, if you have a way to heat them to straw color and a hard thing and a hammer to bank them between.

      1. and copper, brass, some lead, a small lathe (would like a bigger one, but need the space for it first) welders . . . I do need better torches than the current ones. Plumbing quality only, atm.

          1. You have to out of the gourd – it’s too dark inside the gourd to paint.

      1. I’m writing novels. And growing herbs in pots. You, on the other hand, also have this blog. It’s a great hobby, this blog. Very useful to others!

      2. I have only vague ideas about what to do with a sheep, but once the fleece is off the sheep I have the hobbies necessary to get it to a finished product, knitted, crocheted, or woven.

        I have a purse/satchel I got off of cafe press. It says, “I don’t have ‘hobbies’. I’m building a robust, post-apocalyptic skill set.”

        1. Well, I am told a fella can have a lot of fun with a sheep.

          I am told that about a century ago they were even deployed as “groundskeepers” by a Major League Baseball team.

          And no, I do not deign to put up a clip of Gene Wilder and his sheep.

      3. I only have vague ideas about what to do with a sheep, but once the wool is off the critter I have the skills to get to a useable end-product, knitted, crocheted, or woven.

        I have a purse/satchel I bought off of cafe-press that says, “I don’t have ‘hobbies’. I’m building a robust, post-apocalyptic skill set.”

  4. We traveled to Wyoming this past weekend and ate at the One Eyed Buffalo in Thermopolis. The restaurant was such a joy. No masks, no social distancing, and the place was packed. The beer was brewed by the owners, and the menu was simple but fresh and delicious. Our communist government tried to shut down and murder our restaurant industry over the past year. I think they failed. You can’t stop people who love to cook, just like you can’t stop people who love to write.

  5. Gosh, I wish I could get a bead on what the (actual) book industry’s doing. There are so many people publishing now, and so many niche genres, that it’s getting hard to tell what’s going on.

    1. You and me both. ATM I just plan to write what I can and try to find where people are who want to read it. *Headdesks*

      Worldbuilding book in second run of straight edits. Hoping to finish that in the next 2 weeks, then it’s try to format time….

      1. Well, every single one of your published books so far, I’ve first read through Kindle Unlimited and then bought, so that you get a share of the KU money pool *and* the money from my purchase. (Deliberately in that order, since I suspect that if I tried to check out an already-purchased book from KU, Amazon’s system would say “Hey, you already own that, you don’t need to get it from KU” and wouldn’t count it.) And I wish I could pay you for Embers as well. But at least I can tell you how much I enjoyed it.

        And not that you need more plot bunnies, but… when I watched the first season of Legend of Korra, I was shocked by how quickly they wrapped up the first season’s plot. I was expecting that antagonist to be the antagonist for the entire show, not just a finished-in-twelve-episodes plotline. And that got me thinking, “I wonder what Vathara would have done with that plotline?” Seriously, They Wasted A Perfectly Good Plot, and I for one would love to see you do it since I know you’d do it better. (My wife and I both agree that Embers was better than the original, and since Avatar: the Last Airbender was a nearly-perfect show, that’s high praise indeed. Korra had so many problems compared to AtLA, so it wouldn’t be all that hard to do better than the Korra writers did.)

    2. Speaking of interesting writing stories, there was a lovely article in the most recent Texas Monthly, about John R. Erickson, the creator and author of the “Hank the Cowdog” series.
      It seems that Mr. Erickson, from a small town in Texas, got accepted to a prestigious uni writing program, from which he eventually bailed, but still spent a decade and a half trying to get trad publishing deal. Until he borrowed some money in the early 1980s, set up his own publishing company … and published his book of essays and reminiscences – including a short piece about a ranch dog. He hand-sold that first book, got inspired to write about the ranch dog – Hank the Cowdog, and seventy books later …
      It’s a fascinating article – which includes a bit about him shooting a rattlesnake under the porch of his office cabin … and offering the carcass of the snake to the article writer.
      Me, I never went to a prestigious university offering an acclaimed course for those pursuing the life literary, so I only wasted two years looking to get traditionally published before bailing on that plan. Seriously, this article should inspire or re-inspire all us indy writers. And I am for certain going to purchase Hank the Cowdog books for my imminent grandson.

      1. Folks, if you have kids, get these books.

        Hank is…. well, Hank. Not a twerp because he doesn’t have the introspection for it.

        I have loved him since I was six, my kids all love him.

        And Mr. Erickson’s voicing of the character is awesome. I highly suggest the story about the Buzzard on Christmas, can’t remember the name. But get it and you get a “feel” for the whole series.

    1. I find it amusing to envision a lovely young lady confronting a frottageur* by loudly exclaiming, “Hey buddy, if that’s all you’ve got go rub it elsewhere! I’m not a size queen but I’m not interested in a roll of dimes.”

      *frottagist? frottagent?

    1. 2021 is totally blending with 2020, I feel like 2019 was still last year.

      In other news, Ontario is going to have -another- lockdown now. A four-week “pause” to “flatten the curve”. Oh joy, and rapture.

        1. NBC– “Pfizer says its vaccine will confer at least 6 months immunity”. Six. months. Whatever happened to once and done for life?

          1. Never actually true. Now that globulin tests are becoming more common we’re finding out that 10+ years means some people will need boosters — tetanus was known for that all along.

            1. *nods*

              Just by that time, you aren’t being funneled into a mass infection vector of a school, you’ve got basic resistance to everything, and only stuff like the flu does enough damage for folks to justify everybody else get sick for a day or three, rather than just not going to work while sick….

              *kicks the soap box* Dang it, how’d this thing show up again?

        1. It’s been March 2020 for 12 months here at Chez Phantom, heading into month 13 today on April 1st.

          Today’s April Fools joke from Mother Nature is snow. It’s f-ing snowing this afternoon, after 2 weeks of 60+F temps. Got so warm all the frogs and mosquitoes and friggin’ TICKS came out. The little bastiges are face-planting hard today, I’ll tell you. >:D

              1. It’s Denver. We get “shovel the sidewalk” kind of snow once or twice per year. This time it was about four inches and it was all melted by noon – no point in shoveling it.

  6. It’s not my feet I worry about.

    At least once a day I mentally prep for the things fat old men with diabetes and a bad heart who still have a fighting spirit can be useful for if it comes to shooting. I doubt I’d have been much of an infantryman when I was young but now forget it.

    I don’t like those thoughts, but you have to mentally prep to do things and those are the things that will be both necessary and that I can do.

    Might explain why I’m the angriest I’ve been in 20 years.

        1. From one Libra to another, I just gotta say “*That’s* the way to blow out the candles on a Birthday Cake!”
          With an effin’ FAL to boot. 😀

      1. I’m 62, probably 60 lbs I can do without. I can do patrols of a couple or 5 of miles still. 7 to 10 or more will require a down day afterwards until I can work myself up to them.

  7. On the COVID idiocy, every day my employer is sending out “no, really, get the vaccine” emails.

    I guess between public health officials “changing their minds” every 20 minutes, the Dems saying vaccines developed in a year aren’t safe if Trump is president (Hi, Camel Toe), and the revelation that vaccines don’t make you safe via announcements that you still need masks and to social distance, once you’ve had them and people without the vaccine can kill you even if you’d had it (seen vaccine passports and requirements to entry) have lots of people saying, “nah, it’ll be fine to not take it”.

    Then again, why do I hear more about the vaccine and D.I.E initiatives from a major financial institution than I do about finance, money, the Fed, etc?

    1. My company is German-owned. They started a vaccination incentive, where if we get vaccinated and show the card to HR, we will be given 16 hours paid leave. I think about it every now and then. 2 more days off with pay is tempting at times.

      1. I’ll definitely get the vax, not because of any haranguing by public health “experts” or two-faced-both-masked politicians, but because I believe in vaccines and immunity as basic disease science, and I know for certain that anti-vax idiots are idiots.

        But after I can get the shot(s), unless forced, I will not mask. It simply does not work that way: None of this works that way.

        1. , but because I believe in vaccines and immunity as basic disease science, and I know for certain that anti-vax idiots are idiots

          Well, *rude statement here* you, because you’re too f’ing bit-in-the-teeth to realize that vaccines are just an attempt to fool your system into thinking you had the virus.

          Which, for a virus that is the gold standard of “Changes too much to work for a vaccine,” does bum F for immunity unless you are so isolated you never had that flavor of virus before.

          That is basic disease science.

          1. And as they carefully don’t mention, it’s not a freaking vaccine! Real vaccines(tm) don’t work with mRNA. I don’t recall the mechanism, but the tech was tried for SARs, with spectacular results, on the order of Challenger’s last flight.

            No thanks. We think we got it last year–too late to look for antibodies, but I trust my T-cells more than Pfizer.

          2. Oh, sure – if there was a test that would tell me that an entire year after I may have had it.

            Since that’s not the case I’ll get the vax – just like I get the seasonal influenza vax every year, and got the tetanus vax and pneumovax and Shingrix for shingles. I like my immune system to be fully educated.

            1. But that’s also why I’m not playing any games to cut in line on the priority lists. As of today they just dropped it to 50+ so I’m now generically approved, and when the opportunity presents itself I’ll get it, but I’m not doing the crazy “write a new app to desperately find a shot slot” thing.

                1. Hypothesis:

                  So much of the ‘information’ about it is information warfare that falsehood dominates, and the ‘known mutation rate’ is mostly an artifact of when the campaign needs it to mutate.

                2. It was deliberately mutated in that Wuhan virus lab, so it’s amost out of mutations.

                  Hey, that makes as much sense as anything our ‘Publick Health Officials’ are telling us!

                3. One alternative hypothesis, epidemiology may have noisy enough modeling that a small amount of fraud/panic adds a huge so far undetected error bar to the mutation rare estimate.

                4. Because the changes made to it by the CCP resulted in it mutating more slowly in exchange for doing things that natural coronaviruses simply don’t do?

                  Seriously-coronaviruses do NOT cause cardiovascular issues. They simply don’t. Not in nature.

                  I suspect the lab release was accidental because the CCP would want to restore rapid mutation to the virus along with upping its lethality before intentionally releasing it, that is unless they could not get the mutations to maintain or increase severity rather than decrease it.

                  1. Er…. the cardiovascular issues are the same that any respiratory virus causes.
                    Having survived near-lethal pneumonia, I keep hearing all these things and going “Yep, happened to me 25 years ago.”
                    Not arguing it was engineered. Just not very well, because China.

                    1. I’ve seen so many alarmist headlines of the type “OMG teh Covid causes long-term blah blah blah”, and my thought every time has been: Have they even *looked* to see if flus can cause the same type of issues? Because I’d put money on “no”. There have always been people who are still feeling low months after a bout of flu, and there have always been people who ended up with pneumonia after getting the flu. At this point I have absolutely no trust that any of this covid alarmism has anything to it at all.

                    2. When I talked to a good friend a few days ago, she told me that ‘Rona pneumonia was different than regular ol’ deadly pneumonia because ‘Rona pneumonia turns your lungs into concrete.

                      I love my friend and I am so mad. She’s… 78 now, and not dumb.

                    3. Oh it was awful. I hadn’t talked to her in a year plus, and we’re having this great time talking. Then she drops that bomb.

                      I can’t afford to lose her as a friend. I choked back a “WTF!” and ended the call shortly thereafter.

                    4. Hah! For a second I thought you meant those symptoms, and depression, came from sufficiently bad URLs. And it made perfect sense. 😛

                    5. Responding to Spero at April 1, 2021 at 2:37 pm ( (For some reason I cannot find the reply button, so went up until one was visible to me —sorry): ““OMG teh Covid causes long-term blah blah blah”, and my thought every time has been: Have they even *looked* to see if flus can cause the same type of issues?”

                      I have three different varieties of Chronic Fatigue — very common because once you have the first one it lowers resistance to everything else coming down the pike — and Long Covid looks exactly like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) with possibly a few extra features.

                      The latest thinking about CFS is that *for some reason in some people at some point* the immune system forgets to reset to normal after something (mostly a minor infection, but could also be severe stress, long term stress, chemotherapy, other). Then after the immune system goes flat out for three years it partially burns out, no longer producing all the T-cell types, if I recall correctly. Nobody knows why this happens, nor how it happens, nor even how many people it happens to, nor why some people get it much worse than others, nor why sometimes in the first three years it suddenly resets to normal for no apparent or consistent reason… because we only hear about the worst cases where previously extremely vital people are suddenly sleeping 16-20 hours a day for no apparent reason. It has become a faddish thing from time to time — in the late 1980s they were calling it the Yuppie Flu, and then it was supposed to be an Epstein-Barr infection because so many CFS patients showed signs of previous infection or current low grade infection (but then they discovered that about 80% of the general population showed signs of previous Epstein-Barr infection, too). And before that there are newspaper stories of clusters of patients with conditions described like CFS in various parts of the world going back to Victorian times.

                      At any rate, from my particular bunker it looks like Long Covid is the same screwed up immune response that society hasn’t really cared about until now, visible as a group only because so many have been exposed to SARS-2 all at once. So I am hopeful that my group, too, will benefit from the burst of research about what they’re calling Long Covid.

                  2. *Waggles hand*

                    They don’t do it any differently than any other infection you don’t even notice.

                    When you’re looking hard enough, with a big enough sample, you get teh Law Of Really Big Numbers coming in.

                    1. Exactly! ‘One chance in a million’ means there will be about 330 instances of whatever it is in the United States alone. More than a hundred people drown in their bathtubs every year, for example.

                      No matter how weird something is, if there are enough people it will happen to somebody.

                  3. Seriously-coronaviruses do NOT cause cardiovascular issues. They simply don’t. Not in nature.

                    And when was the last time a flu had everyone looking for every 0.0001% event associated with it?

                1. “One in 45 of the ones we looked at didn’t work, we think the T-cells will recognize most of them, and we’re carefully not comparing it to non-SARS-CoV-2 CD8+.”

                  This is when we knew from about a year ago that normal cold COVID t-cell response was active for this COVID variant.

                  Your immune system responds does not equal you have immunity, or there wouldn’t BE a yearly flu vaccine.

                  1. Yep – so immunity still works the same.

                    I’m basically in the “can’t hurt” camp here – I might get the flu-like-symptoms “reaction” of immune System Activation if I in fact did have it, especially to the second shot if I can’t get a line on a J&J vax, but absent low probability disaster my immune system will end up fully edumacated on this bug.

                    I’m not looking for an immortality shot here – those won’t be out for a decade or so – I’m just looking to have a bat with which to beat mask karens about the face and neck if I get any crap for being out in the world behind enemy lines here in Gavins Glorious Bear Flag People’s Republic, SF Bay quadrant, while un-bagged.

                    1. Yep – so immunity still works the same.

                      Which is exactly the problem I pointed out in the first place.

                      Cold viruses are like the flu, but worse.

                      I’m just looking to have a bat with which to beat mask karens about the face and neck

                      Except they know that, too, and a month + ago went “oh, but vaccine doesn’t mean you can unmask.”

                    2. I’m not looking for an immortality shot here – those won’t be out for a decade or so …

                      It won’t be available to the general public until world population is down by 80% … But I wouldn’t put money on it being unavailable to The Select as we type. The only question is how they are transferring assets to “newly” discovered twenty-something relatives.

                      Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.

    2. One thing we can all agree on (as long as we take the time to actually think about it) is that everything the government is telling us about COVID is a lie. If the vaccines work, there is no need for social distancing or masking. IF we’re required to social distance and mask, then the vaccines are useless and we shouldn’t get them. If kids are largely immune, and young to middle aged adults get it asymptomatically, and all the vulnerable elder population and immune compromised have had the shots; there’s no reason why we can resume normal schooling, normal worshiping, and normal mass entertainment.

      1. Yep.

        If you boil down a lot of what is being peddled by “public health experts” and made them sign it, they would be expelled from their profession and their licenses (if they have any – see Los Angeles) revoked. I’m not a “consensus science” kinda guy, but when you are effectively insisting disease immunity is not what it has been established to be since immunity was figured out, you’re really contradicting basic proven science, and unless you have science to prove that assertion, doing so should have professional consequences.

        But it won’t.

        1. As a friend put it:
          If you can be immune to it, why do people who had it need the vaccine? If you can’t be immune to it, what’s the point of a vaccine?

          1. There actually *is* an answer to that one, which is that the testing has been so badly screwed up that we don’t actually know which people had it, so it’s better to vaccinate people who may turn out not to need the vaccine than to skip a bunch of people whose positive test were false positives and aren’t actually immune.

            But to give that answer would require admitting to the vast number of false positives, so you’ll never hear that from the Democratic political machine.

            1. Yeah. I’m pretty sure I had it, but as far as I know there are no tests for T-cell immunity, so no way to be absolutely certain. I have had no concern about getting covid through this entire mess, so at least I was spared that anxiety. But my gullible offspring worried for us, unfortunately. I really wish they would have let *us* make the decision about that.

          2. This! This! Besides, the odds for this becoming a perpetual jab session are going up al the time.

            1. It makes money. I still don’t understand why I should be scared of something with a 95.5% survival rate IF YOU EVER HAVE SYMPTOMS, which you’re not likely to.

        2. Well, strictly speaking, at this point medical professionals, legal professionals, and engineering professionals are going to be eating an adjustment in public trust. But not the same as the deserved specific reprisal.

          1. Aside from negligently designing public health offices which fail to prevent public health “professionals” from getting out or talking to government officials and the press, what did engineers do?

            1. Bradford Jay Raffensperger, the 35 year PE still licensed by Georgia in civil and structural, has not been disciplined for making statements to the public that would fall under the discipline of Electrical.

              He must have known better than to make that/those statements.

              If the State Boards never discipline him, when the full repercussions of those statements play out, the public is going to want PEs on a shorter leash.

              The lawyers are going to be eating the cost of the law school deans making that letter that creates the appearance of promising to discriminate against Republicans wanting to file suit about electoral irregularities.

              Strictly speaking, it does not arise from the covid aspects of the scandal.

      2. Akshully, I am contrarian jerk enough to disagree with a statement, simply because I can do so and get away with it.

        The government’s assertions include the claim that a thing called a virus can exist. That claim, in isolation, is not false.

        Hypothetically, it is possible that a government spokesman was not lying when making such portions of statements. Certainly, it seems possible that Trump counted as a spokesman, and was speaking his true thoughts.

        1. Ah, not sure what you’re saying there Bob.
          A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism. We’ve been able actually see the buggers, so they do exist.

          1. Sarah has a point.

            Explaining anyway:

            Virus do exist. Saying that they exist is a true statement, not a false statement.

            Lying is knowingly stating a falsehood.

            Some of these government spokesmen are twisted up enough in the head that they may manage to lie during the course of making a true statement of fact.

            Even so, in the vast volume of official lies about COVID, there were tiny slivers of statement that were not lies.

    3. … vaccine passports and requirements to entry

      I keep wondering how a vaccine passport is not a HIPPA violation.

      1. Because it helps leftists.

        Law is to be interpreted in the way that most aids leftists. Just ask Chief Justice Roberts.

  8. I think we _will_ get poorer–excepting the lucky and the well-connected, of course.

    What will that reveal about our characters?

    One frightening bumpersticker read “Prosperity is my birthright.” I don’t want to be anywhere near that woman when her life takes a little downswing.

  9. I’ve found touch-typing to be a *very* useful skill, and not one I could have picked up on my own, so I’m really glad I took that personal typing course back in High School. But not even then did I get a sense of it being “guaranteed money forever.” It’s just that I’m on the far keyboard end of the keyboard-stylus spectrum.

    (Ask about my horrible handwriting. Better yet, DON’T ask about my horrible handwriting.)

    1. It messes with peoples’ minds when I look up from the computer, answer their question, and keep typing. I learned touch-typing and still do it when I’m really in a zone (or messing with people).

        1. I find myself typing the first letter of the next word right now. Probably has to do with the laptop on my chest and stuck two-fingering it. OTOH, on the laptop when I touchtype with one hand off a key, it’s almost amusing.

    2. I did pick it up on my own. As in, first summer after marriage I grabbed Dan’s high school typing manual and practiced 10 hours a day for three months. At the end of it I typed 160 words per minute. which is REALLY useful for a professional writer, but….

    3. I took typing in high school — I was the only honors-classes kid in with all the dropouts and ne’er-do-wells — because I knew I was going to college the next year and would have to type a lot of papers, and also my mother was a legal secretary and I knew how valuable that level of typewriter skill was.

      Also, my handwriting is bad enough that sometimes I have trouble reading it. It wasn’t so bad back in high school, but writing longhand has never been particularly pleasant for me.

      1. You might know folks old enough to appreciate this– my mom took typing after taking shorthand for two years, and only passing because while she had no skill, she did absolutely everything they asked.

        She still has the book– actually, I may have the book, it’s been a rough bunch of years– and think it’d be an awesome code language.

        1. I kept work notes in Gregg, long ago. I told nosy cow-orkers that it was Minbari or Romulan script.

          For all that most people would recognize Gregg, it might as well be…

          I bet there’s some web doohickey where you could just point your phone at it and get a translation, but the “web” was only a curiosity then, and phones were the size of bricks and didn’t do anything except voice. Which they did *much* better than modern digital phones…

      2. I lasted for about a week in HS typing class – had a conflict with a science class that I really, really needed and got reassigned to. But Mom bought a chart, and I practiced at home, and got really good – good enough to qualify in Basic Training for the military broadcaster course, which required a certain speed at touch typing.
        Yes, my handwriting was bloody awful, and stuff that I wrote by hand as a teenager is still mostly illegible, even to me.

      3. I knew I was going to college the next year and would have to type a lot of papers

        Well, you could always have paid somebody to type them up – when I attended there were plenty of folks willing to do that, and for a pretty nice fee.

        OTOH, attending college has rarely been a lucrative occupation and it is better to save money typing up your own papers than to pay somebody to type it for you. Even better to have people pay you to type up their papers which has two benefits that rarely coincide: a) learning something useful and/or interesting from the paper typed or b) getting an eyeful of how weak – or strong – your competition’s writing really is.

        1. Having somebody else type my papers would have required me to have them done more than four hours before they were due. 🙂 Plus they would have had to read my handwriting, which was already difficult, if not to the level of illegibility it is now.

          (And I was not well off and had very little spending money anyway.)

    4. My dad was in the Navy. When they found out he knew how to type, “You’re a Yeoman!” Whether he wanted to be or not.

      I also took typing class in high school. It’s been very useful for programming, documentation, and posting nonsense on the internet. 😛

    5. Reminded me of what I was going to say–
      touch typing won’t get you a good income now, but it is not-quite-but-largely-needed to get a good income, now.

      Kind of like a driver’s license.

      There ARE other options, but they’re limited.

      1. Hubby two finger types. Mom started us kids touch typing on grandma’s old typewriter, sometime around grade 6. Also had typing class in HS. Didn’t get really good at typing until computers and programming. Now my typing, even when I correct as I catch them, is way, way, better now, when typing my own stuff, like comments here, or programming code and comments written on the fly. If I’m copying from pre written script? For-get-about-it.

    6. I taught myself using a typing manual after I graduated college (I could type earlier but slowly) because it was considered a fallback skill. Then I was hired as a temporary typist and broke an IBM Selectric on my first (and last) day. So much for that career.

        1. David Drake is the master of keyboard breakage. I think the secret is that keyboard breakers use their large arm muscles instead of their small finger muscles.

          1. I used to routinely break my manual typewriter by typing with too much force. Then several keyboards….
            weirdly this stopped 10 years ago (last keyboard lasted me 10 years) and I only realized now.

        2. I misspent many years of my life fixing IBM Selectric typewriters, so I can assure you that they are not indestructible. Dropping one on the floor almost always results in breakage 🙂 Now the old typebar models — those were serious boat anchors.

          I don’t think I’ve seen a Selectric in years though.

          1. For a long time, I would often see one tucked away in a corner of an office, for filling out federal forms, or order forms from some supplier or other with ancient triplicate quote forms, or something like that. It’s probably been fifteen years since I’ve seen one, though.

        3. I think I somehow broke the type ball. It was around 1978 so my memory is very fuzzy.
          The job was typing up a union contract and part of my problem was I kept getting too interested in reading it.

      1. For folks who break keyboards-
        try the “gaming keyboards”. The ones with neon light looking LEDs in teh background.
        They’re tough.

    7. Oh, yes. that semester of Typing I took in high school was useful in 1980…and became priceless once we got computers.

    8. I learned touch-typing from typing tutor software rather than a school course with an instructor, but the same principles apply: I wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. On my own, I had learned to type with four fingers, two on each hand, and was “fast enough” (I thought). My father insisted I learn to touch type because it would be valuable to me in my computer career (it was already obvious by the time I was ten what kind of career I would have), and bought me that software. He was quite right, and I’m very grateful he did. I really was kind of fast typing with two fingers of each hand, and yet I doubled my speed (at least) once I learned to touch type.

    9. A lot (I mean a LOT) of these stories echo mine. I graduated HS in 1982. I was the science/math/nerd/geek/whatever who was going to college for engineering degree from my small high school. Several teachers recommended that I take typing for the “you won’t have to pay for someone to type a thesis” reason. We had a one-semester “personal typing” course and a one-year “Typing I” course. Not being predisposed to half-measures, I took the one-year version. It helped to have that extra year. We also were given the choice of electric vs manual, and I picked manual; why, I don’t remember. But I got to 55 wpm at the end on that big battleship-gray Royal manual. Then I bought a refurb Royal manual just like it to take to college with me. It was quite handy for doing reports, etc. Then PCs became available in PC labs, with word processors…
      Just like for TXRed, nowadays, if freaks folks out when they come ask me a question, and I keep typing while answering their question. To be fair, that only works if the typing is mundane and does not require much focus.
      As an EE I write a lot (proposals, code, email), so being able to touch-type at speed is a definite time saver. And being able to do it mostly without looking at the keyboard continues to amaze a surprising amount of people. I still type like I’m banging away at a manual, though. In one job where we were in cubes, folks came and swapped out my older mechanical IBM-style keyboard for a mushy modern one, because I was clacking on it too loud 🙂

  10. Interesting thoughts, Mrs. Sarah A. Hoyt! I’ll add that full-bore, all-out A.G.I. (artificial general intelligence) isn’t strictly necessary for effective remote outsourcing of physical activities such as cooking, driving road cleaning machines, guarding banks, etc. It’s only necessary that the robots possess enough “intelligence” to smooth out momentary glitches in human control. Boston Dynamics has already taken major steps towards this sort of real-time control. We’ve all seen those videos of their dancing robots, directed by live-action motion capture but controlled substantially by sophisticated algorithms. Home-care attendants controlled from other states? I recall a marvelous science fiction story of recent vintage based on that exact concept. Apologies for not remembering the title, author, or publication. -_-

    1. On the Boston Dogs front:
      I see stories they are now stacking and sorting boxes at rather high rates in a warehouse situation.
      woof beep blip

    2. Yeah… but they were showing essentially the same equipment fifteen years ago. That’s a tremendously long time for not-much-progress.

      1. Work from home was essentially possible 20 years ago.

        My uncle the Electrician Bard went to LED lightling 20-25 years ago– but only fairly recently did that same equipment get cheap enough that I could do it.

        There were smart-tractors 25-30 years ago, but they are still getting figured out enough to actually work outside of early adopters.
        The progress isn’t the new ideas, it’s the how-cheap-can-we-make-changing-to-new-idea.

          1. ….if you ignore those jobs for which it was never away from home.

            *looks at Agriculture*

            My folks were ALWAYS work from home.

            1. Oh, yeah. That.
              In a way this is going back to the old way of doing things,you know?
              My dad was the only one who didn’t work from home, growing up. Grandma, mom and grandad (carpenter) all did. And all had businesses.
              Part of the reason that “trying to kill gig economy” is insane.
              What the left considers the norm is mass industrial society, which actually is a very short blip in human history.

        1. I worked from home for A Very Big Company starting in 1996. But it was expensive. This was pre-broadband so I had an ISDN line at $830 per month (they paid for it — it was cheaper than office space). I worked remotely for them for 6 or 7 years before being abruptly laid off because some third line manager decided he didn’t like remote employees. I’ve mostly worked remotely (as a computer programmer) since then with about 5 or 6 years off doing editing and working for the local exploitive university.

        2. >> “My uncle the Electrician Bard went to LED lightling 20-25 years ago”


          “Electrician BARD?

          Is this a prestige class I need to be aware of?

    3. Oh, don’t worry, they’ve already thought up the fix for that one: a “robot tax” that charges a yearly fee equal to the welfare costs of the displaced workers.

  11. At the auto parts store where I am currently employed, about 1/4 of the complaints/returns we encounter are generated by our on-line catalog not ‘handshaking’ with the actual store inventory/catalog.

    “I want an alternator for my (vehicle).”

    “OK, we have a basic model in stock for that at $139.99 with a $40.00 core charge, or we can order the premium model for $179.99 and it should be here in two days.”

    “But your website says you have an alternator for my wheels in stock at $79.99.”

    “Really? What’s the part number our website gave you?”

    (Gives part number.)

    (Prints picture of actual alternator for (vehicle), then looks up web part number and prints picture of that as well.) “Okay. As you can see from the pictures, the alternator for your ride has the mounting lugs on the side, a six-groove flat belt pulley, and puts out 130 Amps. The one on the website has the mounting lugs directly opposite each other, has a v-groove pulley, and puts out 90 Amps. Not to mention that the connectors are different, and we are out of stock on the web alternator and so we will have to special order it as well. I suppose a master mechanic could kludge your eighty-dollar alternator to run on your automobile, but the labor costs would defeat the price differential and it wouldn’t work adequately for your purposes.”

    “So why does your website show this as an alternative for my buggy in stock?”


    Or better, customers actually buy parts on-line and have them shipped to their residences, then come tearing into the store demanding money back because ‘we’ sent them the ‘wrong part’.

    Until that sort of problem is fixed, actual retail will still be a thing. Not that the stumbling blocks are insurmountable, but at least so far my employer has not seen fit to devote the resources necessary to the task.

    1. To be fair, back when I was working on my own cars a trip to the part store was usually a crap shoot unless I brought the old part in and visually checked it against what they tried to give me. I have even had a guy at one parts store argue with me that a part was right, when it obviously wasn’t (I don’t go to that store anymore.)

      Not saying all part stores are crap, but a few of the ones around my area are… or at least were… I don’t do all that much work on cars anymore. I gave up on the idea of driving an “old classic car” with the intent to “fix it up.” Um… nope… I won’t “fix it up”, because I’m not a mechanic, and I don’t have the time/money/energy for that. It was both freeing and depressing to realize that about myself. I still love old cars, but now it’s more like enjoying “other people’s babies”. When they fill a diaper (or spring an oil leak, throw a valve through a cylinder head, etc.) totally not my problem! AND I find myself stranded on the side of the highway MUCH MUCH less often.

      1. Back when my dad was still farming, he’d regularly take the broken part in to the parts store so he could show them what he needed. I remember many trips to town with a greasy piece of metal wrapped in newspaper sitting on the floorboards.

        1. When I worked in airport maintenance, the maintenance guys quickly learned that the fastest way to get the right new part was to bring the broken/burnt/shattered old bit to me. I am quite nearsighted, which is often a handicap in life… but when handed a burnt part, holding it under bright light and puzzling out most of the faint part number still there in 4-point font, and then able to find that across the parts catalogs and help make sure the requisition order was perfect, it became a very specialized superpower.

          1. I was in and out of the world of aircraft parts for years. Headaches from the IPLs, material certifications, superseding parts, airworthiness directives, etc. It’s miraculous more planes don’t fall out of the sky.

            1. I built airplanes for about three years…it’s a TOTAL miracle they don’t fall out of the sky (not because of me, but what I saw…)

              1. The Huns are not a large group of people, and yet they seem to include one or more careers (or partial careers) in just about every job and hobby in aviation: aerospace engineers, airplane builders, airplane mechanics, flight instructors, sport pilots, airline pilots, fighter pilots, test pilots, aerobatic competition pilots, glider pilots, Alaskan bush pilots, parachutists, aviation historians, and probably more. (Balloonists — do we have any balloonists?)
                For a group not explicitly focused on aviation, this seems remarkable. Perhaps the common factor is that in aviation you are never very far from real-world consequences of your actions. In today’s world, this puts aviators firmly on the political right. Wokies can blather nonsense for years with no adverse consequences, and sometimes even achieve fame and fortune by inventing popular new forms of nonsense. Not so in aviation, as many of us are reminded by a roster of “absent friends”.

              2. +1 – Working at an airline, we received some new B-737-800s straight from Renton (in transition from operating B-727-200s). It turned out that it took an average of two weeks per plane after receiving them to fix all the gigs that showed up upon arrival.

                As the saying goes, “There is no such thing as a perfectly good aircraft.”

      2. I’ll admit that there can be a *steep* learning curve on knowing which parts go where (in many senses of the term), especially if you’re not that familiar with automotive maintenance. In my case, at least, it is (the good Lord be thanked) starting to level off.

        1. Me, having once been an autoparts sales guy, orders part, part somes in and is wrong, me “What did I do?”
          only once was it the sellers fault, or in some cases I am intentionally buying the wrong part and kludging it on (metal egr vacuum control valve for my Nissan is cheaper, and lasts longer that the plastic one, but doesn’t fit the bracket. Cue Binky!)

    2. I submit it’s more a matter of the websites being more explicit and having cautions.
      I know, because for the things I repair (mostly appliances) it’s sometimes a guessing game to figure out if it’s the right part from the descriptions.
      HOWEVER calling the employee is not the same as coming in to shop, which will be difficult if we’re more distributed.
      I didn’t say retail will go away. It’s just… changing. Like fiction writing did.

      1. I didn’t say retail will go away. It’s just… changing. Like fiction writing did.

        After all this time we still stalk wild animals and kill them for food.

        We even still drop plants in the ground and then eat the result a few months later.

    3. Back when CNC machining was new-ish, I was seeing a lot of articles predicting that auto parts stores would be able to stop keeping tens of thousands of parts (for hundreds of car models) in inventory, and just keep a bunch of steel and a CNC machine to build required parts on-demand. Any idea if those predictions came true even partially, or were they a complete flop?

      1. We’re certainly not there yet, and frankly I don’t see it ever. It’s still way cheaper to pay some Chinese plant to stamp out thousands of widgets for modern vehicles and ship them here than to put high-precision CNC machines in every store and supply them with raw materials. Not to mention things like batteries, light bulbs, etc., which aren’t just a hunka metal turned into a useful shape. Plus the time factor – usually if someone needs to replace their brake pads, they want them NOW, not waiting around for half an hour for your magical maker machine to pop out a part.

        Now where I could see something like 3D printing of parts is in the vintage aftermarket. I suspect that *nobody* carries brake shoes for, say, a 1932 Cord L-29 in stock. (I’ll have to check the computer today (if I have a free minute) and see. But having a reliable ‘one-off’ vendor for something like that would be pretty cool.

  12. I expect the Left’s attacks on the “Gig” job market is only phase 1 in their attempts to stick the cat back in the bottle as far as people working outside of easy government control. I have been have been a little worried that phase 2, or some future phase, might include an attempt to quash indie publication.

      1. Like when they decided to speed up “societal change” with a sledge hammer, and have slowly gotten folks to realize “oh… no, they’re really not nice. They’re literally screaming at a fluffy little bubble-head of a kid’s book author, who is a single mother, sweet as pie and incredibly generous, because she said girls exist”?

        1. because she said girls exist”?

          A clear anti-feminist who would go so far as to say that girls exist cannot be tolerated!


          1. *wry smile*

            Show it’s false, or different from the “not judging folks by believed ancestry is racism” shtick of a decade back.

            They aren’t even as honest as two plus two is five.

                1. What they want is to indoctrinate people to accept government thinking for them rather than learning how to think for themselves. Ignorance is Strength.

                  1. Have you been tracking public polling on trust in government agencies?

                    America divided: Why it’s dangerous that public distrust in civic institutions is growing
                    … All the while, trust in government and media has eroded — fewer than 1 in 3 Americans in the survey express any real trust in these entities. Most (57%) say we are failing to build confidence in our public institutions. Decline in religious affiliation and frustration with education, health care and the criminal justice system also have been well documented.

    1. It’s going to be around awhile; it’s far easier to extract bribescampaign contributions from a select number of large companies and unions than thousands of small proprietors.

    2. Go listen to the American Thought Leaders interview about HR1. It doesn’t just ensure crooked elections, it makes criticizing sitting politicians functionally impossible due to legal entanglements.

    1. I’m a native English speaker, and I had to look it up. I have mixed feelings about having added to my vocabulary with that precious specimen. -_-

      1. One of those words whose meaning we need to take back; it originally referred to making a copy of a relief by rubbing, using paper and charcoal.

        1. It’s more than that Fox, very few areas have public transportation where a too-young girl — I will point out I was 11 when I started having issues with this. I might have looked maybe 14? — will be too embarrassed toc complain, or even know for sure what’s happening.

          1. Here I’ll waggle my hand, because when I was 18 and complained about harassment, I got shut up.

            The harassment was female on female, thus protected.

            If she’d gone beyond mostly verbal and laid hands on me….well, there’d have been documentation.

            But there’s much reason I laugh in the face of those who talk about citations from military to give evidence for lack of same sex harassment. A guy who did the shit those gals did would have been dead.

          2. I cannot recall when I learned the word, but it was decades ago. OTOH, I am admittedly atypical.

            Some years back there were articles about this being a serious problem on Japanese transport, especially as the cultural conditioning of women there makes them highly unlikely to complain or retaliate. There was even talk of special “women only” cars on their trains, which apparently have been added. I’ve no idea about their stance on transexuals – hopefully they don’t watch CNN where people have completely lost track.

            The word itself is obviously French, so we have reason to believe the behaviour transcends culture. Of course, in America it was highly acceptable for a woman to resoundingly slap any man so engaged, but emphasis on the was.

            1. Oh, yeah, I remember reading from time to time about that phenomenon. I’ve developed a slight fixation on the weird and wacky world of Japanese culture. I’d thought of it as simply “groping” or, if you prefer, “grinding.” Not this fancy French word “frottage.” The French have swollen egos already and don’t need to be encouraged. 🙂

              Lemme see if I can’t find the episode of “Abroad in Japan” that covered this — amusing YouTube channel by a witty (if, sadly, mildly leftist) British expatriate. Hmmm … found another YouTube short that seems good enough. ^^;

          3. I understand it has always been a thing in Japan on the VERY crowed trains.

      1. Yes, it is – ran into it a couple of times. Once on a public bus when I was in college, and once on a crowded MAC charter flight, thanks to the perv sitting next to me.

  13. I’ve been out in the back yard digging new garden beds so they’ll be ready as soon as it gets warm enough that I can start planting. Between inflation and supply line disruptions, I’m foreseeing more trouble ahead, and the more I can grow myself, the better off we’ll be. Not to mention that all the work is helping me get back into shape after a year without a single convention (since loading and unloading merchandise is one of my biggest sources of physical activity).

    Given the uncertainty about the convention season (already had one convention roll over to next year for the second time), we’re already planning our spring yard sale. I’m figuring on going through the storage units to find stuff that will sell well to mundanes, and in the process, find more stuff we can get listed on eBay (although that is slooooooow going for us).

        1. I have an Online Sales page at The Starship Cat, my business site. However, one of the biggest problems is that so much of our merchandise simply doesn’t sell well online. Porcelains and figurines are fragile and have too high a breakage risk in shipment, and a lot of the little impulse-buy stuff would literally cost more to ship than the item itself. I tried to sell some of the t-shirts online for a while, but if there’s a market that’s willing to buy a t-shirt mail-order based on a photograph of the design, I can’t seem to tap into it. People seem to want to actually have the shirt in their hands and hold it up to themselves. And the few things I can manage to sell online (books in particular) sell very slowly.

          Most of the images on the website are really more to give convention jurying committees an idea of what we sell and how our setup will look in their vendor hall. Trying to transform those things into actual listings for online sales would probably end up being an exercise in busywork (and that’s excluding the items like the porcelains that are simply too fragile, or the Japanese bells and other little things that are so tiny and inexpensive that shipping is disproportionate).

  14. For prepared food, my bet is the expansion of the system chefs use called “mise en place” where major components are partially cooked and then chilled and held along with all the sauces and other meal fixins until an order comes in.

    If chef-directed kitchen staff were to do the mise en place, taking advantage of the restaurant supply chain and applying the expertise with the sauces that really set meals apart, and then that is all shipped out chilled via courier to customers homes along with detailed instructions on finishing, a somewhat competent home cook could end up with a really stunning meal.

    As long as stuff is prepped well the main thing distinguishing really high end are the sauces. Taking advantage of that along with new technology (maybe drone delivery?) seems like it would work as long as the added value generated a large enough market within reach.

    1. You’re likely right about that particular development. It strikes me as a logical progression. I’ve been watching with some interest the rise of so-called “ghost kitchens.” A few such services will undoubtedly try to arrange for an additional fee the ad hoc accompaniment of a reasonably skilled but not top-notch chef to complete the cooking in a home environment although I’m not certain of the legalities surrounding home visits, not to mention the arguably limited viability of this slightly higher-end market. I wonder if there’s working room for a niche that falls just short of full-scale catering and private chefs. Furthermore, It’s hard to shake the feeling that the gnomes at local health departments would find all kinds of ways to make obstructive nuisances of themselves. Don’t they always? -_-

      1. A few such services will undoubtedly try to arrange for an additional fee the ad hoc accompaniment of a reasonably skilled but not top-notch chef to complete the cooking in a home environment although I’m not certain of the legalities surrounding home visits, not to mention the arguably limited viability of this slightly higher-end market.

        Why not use the nurseline/teledoc/Peleton training model, and you can live video chat with the guy?

        Then all you need is like Homeparty or somethign like that, with a live video chat.

        1. Such processes occurred to me, so I am glad you mentioned them. They are certainly legal, as they are common in some affluent areas where it is customary to have catered events. Doing for a small family gathering seems likely to be exorbitant but for folk in upper income brackets it would not be overly indulgent.

          And bragging about it would be treasured by many.

    2. Blue Apron and its clones already do something like this, except the main ingredients are raw. For example, one recipe contained a little container of 1.5 ounces of creme fraiche to garnish whatever I don’t remember the main food was.

      Making creme fraiche is a bitch if you don’t do it a lot (I completely messed it up years later when I was a much better cook), and making 1.5 ounces is nearly impossible.

      I know Blue Apron wasn’t doing very well; does anyone know if it and the similar services have picked up during the late unpleasantness?

      1. I honestly think a lot of restaurants/meal supply places will be going to this – all-but-final-cooked elements dispatched in a box or ready-heat container to the home cook. Especially to customers who were in the habit of going out to restaurants regularly. One of our book clients has the Daughter Unit regularly house-sit for them, and they get her some meal-inna-box meals for her, regularly.

          1. Me too–and I’ve worked out a whole series of recipes that have a lot of commonality as far as fresh ingredients, so that we can have a varied diet without having to go to the store for ingredients every time we have a different meal. But there are an awful lot of people who don’t think that way, as evidenced by the enormous “prepared foods” sections of the grocery stores.

            1. I am terrible about fresh foods– and the last time we ate out was….uh….. I think we got take-out for Valentine’s Day.

              Canned foods, I love. Frozen, also love. We do frozen pizza for the kids pretty often, and shredded cabbage is teh same price as whole-head (or cheaper), and then there are apples and carrots. Everything else is preserved in some manner.

              Diced canned tomatoes are AWESOME!

              1. I prefer frozen veggies, due to the simplicity of keeping inventory. However, my spousal unit regularly brings home fresh produce which I am expected to process into something fit for consumption by the resident animals which are neither bovine nor porcine.

                So I’ve got a lot of Asian and Tex-Mex recipes that involve sauteing vegetables in animal fat.

                1. I confess: I like to pick up some broccoli or cauliflower, cut a bowl full of florets and toss it raw in a vinaigrette or sesame dressing, then eat it as is. I sometimes put aside a small bowl of florets for Beloved Spouse to eat with ranch dressing, put it’s a great meal.

                  Of course, tossing some cooking oil, garlic, ginger, hot peppers, onions, diced carrots, broccoli and/or cauliflower, some chicken and blanched almonds then a blend of corn starch, soy sauce, water and minced ginger is okay.

                  Yeah, I like my veggies. Meat is a great seasoning for them.

                  1. Salad is what food eats. In general, being lazy, I prefer to allow my food to process my vegetables for me.

      2. From the nice people at Cooks Illustrated (

        All About Crème Fraîche
        Here’s everything you should know about this buttery cultured cream and why it’s worth seeking out.

        Crème fraîche is harder to find and more expensive than sour cream. So it’s natural to wonder if you can just sub in sour cream when a recipe calls for it. While both products function in similar ways, adding tanginess and richness to food, the higher fat content of crème fraîche makes it far more versatile. Here’s everything you should know about this buttery cultured cream and why it’s worth seeking out.

        What it is: Crème fraîche is made by adding cultures to heavy cream with as much as 45 percent butterfat and fermenting it until it has a lush yet fluid consistency with subtle tang and complex, nutty notes. (In France, traditionally the bacteria present in unpasteurized cream naturally thicken and ferment the dairy.)

        How sour cream is different: Sour cream is made with lighter dairy that has just 15 to 20 percent butterfat, which means it breaks at high temperatures.

        How to make crème fraîche at home: This cultured dairy is expensive to buy but economical (and easy) to make yourself. Stir together 1 cup pasteurized heavy cream (avoid ultra-pasteurized) and 2 tablespoons buttermilk. Cover and place in warm location (75 to 80 degrees is ideal; lower temperatures will lengthen fermentation time) until thickened but still pourable, 12 to 24 hours.

        Favorite ways to use it—and use it up: Crème fraîche’s high fat content means that, unlike sour cream, it won’t curdle when exposed to high temperatures. You can substitute it in a 1:1 ratio in almost any application calling for heavy cream. We use it to boost creaminess in soups, pasta, pan sauces, scrambled eggs—even risotto. We also love it whipped into a lofty topping (it holds air as well as whipped cream) or dolloped directly on fruits and desserts.

        [Nota bene: Experiment shows this does not freeze well, but keeps beautifully in the refrigerator for about three weeks. Also, crème fraîche is just the French term for what English speakers call sour cream — but made with heavy cream instead of a lighter cream. The process and inoculants are the same. Finally, if you do not have 2 Tablespoons of fresh buttermilk, ½ cup sour cream/sour milk/yoghurt can be substituted. I use plain Greek yoghurt.]

        Sweetened Whipped Cream with Crème Frâiche
        1 cup heavy cream
        ⅓ cup crème fraîche
        3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, plus extra for dusting cake, if desired

        Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream and crème fraîche on low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Add sugar, increase speed to medium-high, and whip until soft peaks form, about 2 minutes.

        1. Oh nice. I love crème fraiche. One of the things I don’t like about our local grocery store is that they don’t have any kind of heavy cream except ultra-pasteurized and I prefer to avoid it. One of the things that I still remember about France in 1974 is that they had little pots of yogurt made from heavy cream. I got quite addicted to it, and when I got back to the states all I could find is the low/non-fat abominations. It’s still hard to find full-fat yogurt.

          1. Go to an Asian/Middle Eastern market, if there is one near to where you are. We lived in Greece for some years and adored the local thick and cream-rich yoghurt. There a couple of good Middle Eastern brands which replicate Greek-style yoghurt fairly well. That, or pour some good brand like White Mountain Bulgarian into a mesh sack and let drain.

  15. I suspect if I’d been around back in the day I’d lament the passing of the lamp lighters. Buggy whip makers, not quite so much.

    As we’re social animals, I don’t think, in the long run, zoom, etc., will replace face to face interactions. I often note in conversations that the phrase; “We’ve done it this way for generations, why change?” is a very valid query. Often change is justified but the pros and cons need by weighted and unintended consequences carefully considered (Almost any and all government actions, negative proof of that.).

    I suspect/hope, that after the Great Reset, you’ll own nothing and be happy, that our elite plans for us fails dismally we’ll move back toward local service, a greengrocer, local butcher, haberdasher, etc. a few blocks away, folks we deal with face to face. Amazon, Cosco, Sams, warehouse stores, could still operate as warehouses, jobbers, drones or folks, moving products to the local sellers, with whom we’ll deal face to face and learn to trust.

    Having said that, for such to happen, I think we really need to see how very far down the, you don’t own anything, pike we already are today and make corrections.

    You don’t own your house. You rent it from the local government, stop paying your rent, property taxes, and it’s gone.

    You don’t own you car, stop paying the licence fees and it’s a yard ornament.

    You’ve money in the bank? Let it sit inactive for a specified period of time and your money goes to the state.

    So far you do own your toilet and shower (as long as you pay the rent on your property at least) although it must be government approved and in line with their safety, water volume used, etc. rules.

    Yep, “We’ve done it this way for generations, why change?” is a good question but, “Why the heck have we been doing it this way?”, is a query that need be made as well.

    1. “Why the heck have we been doing it this way?”, is a query that need be made as well.

      The problem is when no one can answer the question and it’s only after the practice has been done away with that you realize why it was implemented.

      … though I suppose that asking the question makes it more likely that the answer will survive to be given before things break for lack of the way.

      1. Depends on how skilled your devil’s advocate is.

        …. guess how pissed I am by folks who brow-beat every devil’s advocate. -.-

    2. We need buggy whip makers. A good buggy whip is one of the best methods of chastising politicians.

        1. And nowadays we have the tech to put some pretty good stuff in the handle, connected to said threads…

  16. > (not yet in full bloom, and its full hit would consume Louis’ descendant.)

    I have often thought that our current self-appointed “elites” remind me of nothing so much as Ancien Régime French nobles, throwing fancy parties at Versailles, dripping contempt for the peasants and middle class all the while.

    And yes, that did not end well for them. At all.

      1. I remember that one! I loved that post. I knew some of it already but not that in depth. I’m still looking for the right time to add something similar to the hair-ship thing in a story. Haven’t found the right time though, most of my characters are much more down-to-earth, although I could maybe see high-class fairies doing something like that..

  17. So, two things:

    Democrat party hack Chris Hahn ‘raged at Tucker Carlson and Mercedes Schlapp for spreading conspiracy theories about vaccine passports’ — when half the Democrats are making the preparatory noises for introducing them. “Show me your papers, Comrade!”

    There’s a transcript of Lin Wood interviewing ‘Ryan Dark White’ (alias) about some Washington skulduggery that’s worse than you can imagine. Pederasty at least partially used as a control mechanism because they’ve all got dirt on each other so none can rat out the rest. Plots to use ‘extremist’ groups that are FBI puppets to assassinate certain inconvenient judges and blame it on ‘right-wing militias’. Mike Pence in it up to his eyeballs. If a tenth of it is true, two-thirds of the government should dangle from lamp-posts. Sanity check, anybody?
    Oh, no. You can’t-a fool me. There ain’t-a no Sanity Clause!

      1. AHA! That bit is what keeps breaking my page magnification! Even if I use ‘Click to Remove Element’ it is still rendered (and then suppressed) and instead of 150% I get maybe 100%… and it reads goofy,like 87%.

    1. I would take items on Pence with a grain of salt. If only because it would please a lot of people to make it impossible for him to pick up even partly where Trump left off.

      1. Pence? His political career is dead. The man to watch at this moment is Ron DeSantis. I don’t think Trump himself could beat DeSantis in the primaries – not by early 2024.

        1. Agree. Pence is lucky if he doesn’t get shot.

          Love DeSantis. Love Trump more because I love his personality. Both strike a blow for liberty almost every day, so lots of love to go around.

        2. Trump-DeSantis would be the unbeatable combination (well, absent totally fictional ballots) and that would set up DeSantis for 8 more years, and that much more chance to restabilize the nation (12 years would be long enough to get beyond most of the next brainwashed generation; 8 years is not). And would provide a distracting target at the top so DeSantis could do much of the real work in the background.

          I don’t think Pence was ever electable as President even at his most popular, and as VP functioned mostly as assassination insurance.

      2. There are some would shoot traitor pence if they got a clear field of view.

        1. I think that would even qualify as a Darwin Award.

          You have to be incredibly stupid to help push out Trump thinking you can win next time.

      3. Yeah, that’s where I quit reading, having decided this interview, while interesting, is probably mostly fictional. And starting to smell a bit like pissgate. It’s too focused on who needs taking down, and not on the facts of whatever happened. (Opposite of the Bender Affidavit, which just lays out a bunch of bald statements, and doesn’t steer conclusions, which is much of why I take it as factual.)

    2. Geeze – I wonder if Hahn has talked with Naomi Wolf recently? Her theories on this seem so outré that they make Trump being a Russian marionette seem tame.

      I would grant Hahn greater credibility on this issue if he would swear to oppose any such use … not that I would believe the lying sack’o’manure even if he swore on a stack of Das Kapitals.

  18. It may be that restaurants have to develop new recipes. It’s happened before. A lot of medieval recipes are uncookable today, at least without much time spent on searching out weird ingredients and waiting for them to arrive.

    “Strewe hyssop and seethe hym for five days”.

    “Where TF am I supposed to get hyssop (yeah, on Amazon, I get it, but you probably don’t have it in your spice rack)? And who has five days to ‘seethe’ something?”

      1. Any relation to the word ‘foetid’ (fetid) meaning “Damn, that stinks!”?

        1. DUH. I thought you were asking about Frottage. For some reason wordpress showed me this threaded wrong.Yes. that’s the precise origin, from fetor- stink.
          I haven’t lost my mind. WordPress just wants you to think I did.

          1. Frottage from the French frotter, to rub, which is from the Vulgar Latin *frictare and classical Latin frico, fricare, fricui, frictum (rarely fricatum) to rub or to chafe. The Latin gives us the English words friction and fray and the Spanish fregar for washing dishes. You find it in Galician with the same meaning but not it seems in Portuguese.

            The paraphilia is called frotteurism.

            I’m a word nerd.


            1. Thank you. I knew the near one was French, and didn’t go exploring deeper.
              For the record, the word for fying in Portuguese is Fritar, which makes me wonder.
              Eh. The region I come from speaks Galician at home, but the word does too exist in Portuguese, with a suffix: Esfregar. To scrub.

              1. Fritar ultimately from Frigo, frigere, frixi, frictum, to roast, parch or fry. Frigo also refers to the sound of little children and to squeaking, which seems to be the meaning from proto Indo-European which meant to crackle. Frigo also means to erect, which is too close to what started this whole thing for comfort.

        1. My son — the one who says he’s ADD but unlike me not “AF” — infected me with the historic cooking videos, because we’ll be chatting online, and he sends me one.
          I now have garum in the pantry, but not sure I should even try to find lavage….

          1. I ran into him just before his big viral spread, by a vid. I watched the Birthday cake one then his other 6 at the time, so he wasn’t a long binge for me.
            I can’t wait for Max to do more with Townsend’s and I’ve watched a few of his boyfriend’s “Ketchup With Max” vids (though Jose remains a disembodied voice) and they seem a lot like a Robin Williams/Nathan Lane, Bird Cage couple in the making, and the cat is a nutter too.

  19. Soooooo, about that idea of things getting sporty in a couple months… And also that a potential detonator could be a market crash……

    It seems that someone has figured out that Shitadel & Friends managed to short the Federal 10 year bond market over 100% as well.

    I hope the position of “Citadel is a small fish, they can’t touch that off” is true. I fear that Shitadel may be AZ-5.

    1. Generic superlative assertions about the future.


      (Yeah, yeah, it isn’t really funny. I may have fixed a health problem that was making me down, but I’m not really up to telling good jokes yet.)

    2. I’m short the 30 year with options. It’s a good bet … what with Biden spending money created out of thin air and all.

      I doubt very much if Citadel, or anyone else, shorted the 10 Year over 100%. The Treasury Bond market makes the entire US stock market look small.

      I stopped reading zero hedge when they started to be all BS all the time and then wanted you to pay for it. It’s a pity since I’d been reading them almost from their beginning on the old, old website. Their batting average was pretty poor and the Russian propaganda occasionally annoying but they had perspectives that no one else had. It was zero hedge that made me take a hard look at China, which has been a very profitable trade for me on the short side several times in the last 10 years.

      1. They’ve predicted 100 of the last 2 financial issues.
        Russian propaganda? I’ve noticed a congruence with another site, but never realized that was it.

        1. They were accused of it all the time during the Obama reign of error after the Sochi olympics. * Some of that is the guy who runs it is Bulgarian and all Slavs look the same (sarc). But some of it is quite real. Every once in a while there would be obvious Russian propaganda. It was so crude that I wanted to credit it to the CIA or FBI since even the Russians couldn’t be that bad but number 2 son, who is studying Russian and the Russians intensively said that, yes it could be that bad so there you go.

          It’s a pity since they were interestingly wrong when they were wrong and when they were right, which was often enough for me to read them daily for over 10 years, they were usually alone.

          *. I’m positive that Putin called Obama out on the whole bathhouse Barry thing when they met at Sochi. It was all reset BS before then, then a 180 degree turn.

        2. If I want to read Russian propaganda, I read the Saker. Always interesting and often informative, but I always come away thinking that the guy is a mole.

  20. I’m still praying the butcher’s bill passes us by. But I’m not expecting it.

    I am hoping to be shocked that folks suffer an attack of sanity before they physically attack folks– you know, the whole “what the heck am I doing?!?!” and stop.

    … I ain’t counting on it. It’s possible, I believe in natural law– those aspects of morality which can be figured out by just human figuring.

    The further butcher bill…. /sigh

    This is gonna hurt.

    1. … I ain’t counting on it. It’s possible, I believe in natural law– those aspects of morality which can be figured out by just human figuring.

      Problem is that one of the most basic mental technologies humans have developed is the override for that system. Wokeness is just the name for the most recent build.

      1. There’s a reason that CS Lewis and Chesterton both commented on how man’s fallen nature was the one part of theology they didn’t need to struggle with.

        1. I keep saying the world makes so much more sense if you believe in original sin.

  21. I hope my few years of being in the saddle of NYC subways help me keep my balance.

    Probably discussed before, but what ultimately becomes of empty places of business in the wake of working from home and creeping AI? Housing for illegal aliens, homeless?

    1. That’s what Cuomo has signaled “Oh, you can abandon NYC, we’ll fill it with illegals.” And I’m going “While the feds give you money, sure. After that? ….. sure.”

      1. The illegal immigrants at that point become the means of keeping the federal dollars rolling in. Votes. Real ones, fraudulent ones, votes of every description being manufactured. The cities turned into a giant vote farm. And the political machines playing kingmaker without even the necessity of soothing the wealthy folks who used to live there and pay most of the taxes.

    2. what ultimately becomes of empty places of business in the wake of working from home and creeping AI?

      In Vermont, at least, a closed Macy’s has been adapted for use as a High School. In High Point NC, near where I live, a failed shopping mall has been bought by a local college and used for classes.

  22. A thing on internet– Iowa may be a good place to look at for ideas.

    A lot of the fancy ag heavy areas have really good internet. Like, “the grandparents all went to their vacation homes or still live at the old farmhouse, and the kids for all of their kids are staying with them because mom and dad both work, and they’re all doing live video for classes, and it took us weeks to figure out it wasn’t one of the kids streaming something because the slowdown was that slight.”

    They didn’t use the town play-area because that’s too much driving and most of these grandparents have too many kids to drive them all at the same time, but the play-areas at an obvious “grandma’s house” are getting used, as are the public areas at the private housing developments. (Which I think is great, I am horrified at the idea of a kid with either no or only one sibling spending the last year basically alone– five cousins is MUCH better, five cousins and thirty sort of in the neighborhood kids under 18 is much better.)

    1. I am horrified at the idea of a kid with either no or only one sibling spending the last year basically alone

      Eh, eventually you stop being lonely. Mostly because it becomes so normal that you forget what loneliness is or that you used to feel it.

      1. That’s like saying you stop hurting, because it hits the baseline.

        Doesn’t work.

        You may not notice the pain anymore, but it’s still gnawing away, and you realize it when you suddenly aren’t hurting anymore.

        1. Well, yes, that is exactly what it is.

          But subjectively speaking — especially taking into account the memory warping of youth — it can take quite some time after it stops before you remember how painful it was to get there.

        2. And this also slams directly into one of the central definition arguments. “Pain” can be consciously felt pain, unconsciously felt pain, or even pain signals blocked by a chemical and not felt at all.

          1. Usually the last one only shows up as a term of art to describe the secondary effects of the bio-signals that communicate pain.

            The other two are why there are so dang many songs about how one has hurt so long you don’t even feel the pain anymore…… It’s a basic human thing.

            1. Yeah. I tend to slide into conditions where I have chronic pain but don’t realize it, because I “turned it off” years ago. Where it shows up? My sleep patterns.

      2. That’s so sad. I have four sisters and two brothers; I can’t imagine being alone and the sole focus of parental attention like that.

        1. It took a lot of arguments here before I realized (well first to even be aware of it happening) what the flash of rage when hearing certain situations described, followed by ranting things that I didn’t necessarily believe anymore was.

          Seems that envy is very subtle as seen from the inside. And a hell of a drug.

        2. It was great when I was little but in my tweens/teens I mostly stayed in my room with the door mostly closed and communicated in monosyllables. My mother always wanted to know how things were going at school and were there girls I liked and who were my friends — like I was going to tell her

            1. Could be. Seattle is one of the most child-free cities in the US.

              I grew up in Anchorage, where most of my friends’ families had 2.4 children. My daughter is an only, but not for lack of trying; but after two miscarriages, her mother getting into her late 30s, and several similar-age friends of ours giving birth to special needs kids, we gave up.

              1. The initial number I settled on wanting* was five, just based on gut reactions to different numbers. And then I realized that the downward pressure on the high end was from things that were rather malleable.

                * with the understanding that I am not qualified to have any opinions on this

            2. A society composed of onlys-of-onlys will be reduced by half with every generation. How long before Seattle shrivels up and disappears?

              Did I hear “Not long enough!”?

        3. We worked very hard to give the kid siblings. Heck odds were he was going to have a fraternal twin, either because of genetics (great-grandfather had a twin, and they had twin sisters), or the medication I was taking. We figured we got the lottery with one. Just not the super lottery. Didn’t get lucky enough for more. Cousins were important. As were buddies from school, sports, and scouts.

            1. Son had 3 classmates that were that way. Twelve to 15 years between older siblings and then. Two came as a pair (twins), but doesn’t change the fact that their older sister was married with her own child (at 20) before they were in Kindergarten.

              Little bit different than my Grandmother. Her oldest was having a baby when her youngest was a toddler. But there were 4 others between the oldest and youngest. Grandma raised 3 sets of similar age siblings. There is about 18 months between oldest, next oldest, then break of 6 years, then two more, again, < 24 months difference, a second break of about 8 years, two more about 30 months apart. Her last born when she was 42.

              Ditto with grandmother's great-grandmother, who had 12 kids in tow during the trek on the Oregon Trail, 1845, 13th born not long after arrival. At least another later. All survived infancy/toddler stage. Lost one on the Columbia with a cousin and an uncle, on the trek. But none of the 14 had gaps of many multiple years between prior and next one (no multiples either). Note, by today's standards, great-great-great-grandparents were very controlling … um, with 12 kids on a 2000+ mile trek, by wagon and horses? Um, no kidding?

              1. Time was when it was normal to be pregnant at your firstborn’s wedding. Though usually that meant a child every other year between.

                1. usually that meant a child every other year between.

                  Or less. Time was if there was multiple year gap between children (3 years) then likely there was a child’s conceived and lost, either due to miscarriage or infant death. There are societies where infants were not named, or maybe acknowledged outside immediate family, until they were two or 3.

                  1. My understanding is that it depended on how long mothers breastfed their children. In cultures and classes with long time before weaning, women commonly had babies every 3-4 years. With shorter times before weaning it might be every 2 years, and for women of a class who used wet-nurses, it often was even less.

                    1. And not one cried “But I’m still nursing!” (Grin) I had thought of this too. But as with all methods of Birth Control, short of abstinence, sometimes it isn’t.

                      Kind of like the call hubby took from a recently married friend. Hubby was kinda, sorta of, *sympathetic. The call. “(New Wife) is pregnant! We hadn’t planned on it this soon. She’s on Birth Control!” This on the day, which after the first 4 years of trying, I’d just gotten out of a two week of bed rest, a week of which was in the hospital, as I miscarried … we’d barely walked in the door when the phone rang.

                      * He made the sounds. Sympathetic? Not so much.

              2. Sister is 14 years older than me, brother 17. By the time I was old enough to be aware, he had already moved out. As I put it once, I didn’t have siblings, I had a babysitter.

                1. I had 3 parents.
                  And while brother was the “cool one” who thought I should wear make up at 12…. well, it was the early seventies, and he’s prone to follow the general fashion, you know?

                  1. Although I’d make a distinction between putting on makeup as part of a “playing grownup” episode and putting on makeup as a routine, everyday thing.

              3. My paternal grandmother, OTOH, had 10 surviving children (of 12 pregnancies) over a 22 year period. They had at least one grandchild before their last was born.

                1. Grandma’s wasn’t quite that close. Uncle Bill is just under 3 years older than oldest nephew, Mark.

                  A friend from k – 12, OTOH, had an Uncle her brother’s age, 2 years younger than her.

                  Another friend had older brothers, 11 and 12 years older. Unfortunately they died in a boating canoe accident on the Willamette River in ’63, when she was 6. One went into the river when canoe tipped. Other went in on water rescue. Both were certified lifeguards. Neither survived.

          1. Cousins *are* important; I have seventy-two myself who range from like another sibling to complete proglodyte. I don’t have children myself but I’m always happy to cheer people on in getting married and having fat babies.

            1. Ack. Comment went to wrong spot.

              Regarding Cousins. Yes. Cousins are important.

              I remember one scout camp. They were mixing different districts into different campsites. So, Lane County (me) is paired with a girl from Josephine County (my cousin). 🙂 Camp leadership couldn’t figure out why we were laughing so hard.

    2. My dad’s place in very rural SC is serviced (for electric) by an electric co-op. Given the existing infrastructure, they successfully deployed gigabit fiber to their service area. So when I’m there, my family has gigabit class access in a place where cellular typically requires stepping outside to a specific part of the yard, and the best DSL we could ever get was 1 Mbps on a good (dry) day.

  23. Looking back — it’s amusing that I couldn’t stand yesterday due to some real pain in the heel of my right foot. Symbolic? perhaps? It meant that I was in bed all yesterday and for a few hours today, resting that foot. Funny the pain isn’t completely gone, but I can stand and take my garbage out. So nowadays I don’t know when I got a foot attack. It was not gout this time — probably plantar fascitis.

  24. far from being traumatized by this, I’m still very cheered at the conductors’ decisive actions.

    This merely indicates the extent to which you had absorbed the false consciousness of the White Supremacist* Patriarchy. Instead of being cheered by violence exercised on your behalf by a man you should recognize that the equitable solution is for all men to be denied ridership.

    *I realize you grew up in a Latin Culture, which just shows the extent to which your natal society had been corrupted by colonialist whit men. Remember: the root of colonialism is colon!

    1. So is the root of this diatribe? I assume. Dear wallaby you’re getting so good at this the floppy camel is going to think you’re his comrade.
      I recommend you go take a shower. Tell beloved spouse I told her to help with the brush.

  25. The economy is undergoing a tectonic change, but there are also some issues that have yet to be addressed.

    One is training. An awful lot of professions involve significant on-the-job polishing. Mentoring. In flight test, it’s generally conceded that it takes three to five years to turn a newly hired engineer into a seasoned test professional. And while some of this can be done online, it’s hard to pop your head into the graybeard’s office and ask his counsel digitally. Especially when you would just as soon there NOT be an e-mail chain. And there are nuances that are tricky to convey with the written word.

    Another is how to deal with the difference in net pay caused by working at home. Yes, you can work in your bathrobe. You save on wardrobe, gas and time. But you also pay to have a home workspace. Purchase office supplies from your own pocket. What’s the net gain? And do employers pay a fixed premium for coming in to the office? And just how close ARE you expected to live TO that office?

    Fun and games await. 🙂

    1. A lot of students have discovered that they don’t learn well on-line, even with e-chats and some give and take. They need to be in a classroom, to handle books and pens and paper, to be able to easily ask questions (that won’t be recorded). Some projects and labs cannot be done on-line. And that’s not including wanting the presence of other students to bounce ideas off of, and just socialize with.

      1. That, too. Certainly the classes I’ve taught online had the problem that it was far more difficult as an instructor to read the student’s faces and figure out where I needed to slow down…and it’s harder for the students to ask questions.

        1. Yeah.

          I’m kinda a horrible teacher, generally.

          I found myself in a meeting, trying to do an orientation. Because a little uncomfortable with the software, I neglected to get the cameras going. Didn’t remember. I was surprised when I realized how much I was lost without the feedback.

          Some is teething pains, but the camera is a narrow slice of the information we can get from in person.

    2. 1. Lot is mentoring. The world is not full of positions where competent work can be done purely by working things out from textbooks from one’s raw intelligence. There’s many generations of accumulated tips and tricks that can be passed on by at least a decade working with experienced folks.
      2. Rarer the focus of what one is learning, the more valuable being able to bounce things off teachers and fellow students is.
      3. Costs of working from home are a bit higher where things like volunteer psychiatric nursing is concerned. Or being raised by an abusive jerk, or dating a rather horrible person, etc…
      4. With a lot of students, and learning as experience with hands on, mailing bits of kibble between locations is a little slow.

      And that is some with a major dislike for organized primary and secondary education, and some relatively minor reservations of the status quo of tertiary education.

      The functional bits of our educational stuff are of some value. Shifting so much online on impulse in order to back the current Democrat effort to seize power has not been without costs.

      1. Graduate School in STEM is in a lot of ways already similar to an apprenticeship.

      2. That could be a very positive change considering the indoctrination going on in universities right now.

      3. Funny, your timing:

        Why Liberal Arts Colleges Are Failing and How to Revive Them
        [SNIP] For a path forward, we need to look beyond the liberal university. The Harvard Business Review reminds us that solutions are often found in models outside of a particular industry. There is indeed a living, breathing, under-the-radar example of what our universities should be doing.

        It is called conservatory.

        Here is how a place such as the Juilliard School of Music or any similar kind of arts institution can inform the reorganizing of the American liberal arts college. They don’t follow the standard liberal arts prototype most Americans think of when conjuring up an academic and social image of college. That’s precisely why conservatories might be one of our best resources at this sink-or-swim moment in higher education.

        I went to college at a place like Juilliard, the Manhattan School of Music. I studied the development and practice of classical music during a four-year undergraduate program. At a conservatory there is a seamless weaving together of vocational training alongside a rigorous theoretical disciplinary immersion.

        The college experience at a conservatory has an exceptionally well-structured academic curriculum that combines the intensive study of a literature, such as the history of music, alongside interpretation and performance by students of that canon.

        Let’s start from the beginning to show how this model can offer an alternative approach to our sagging liberal arts formula. …
        [END EXCERPT]

    3. When I was managing a group I allocated time, hopefully every day but absolutely every week, for walking around, leaning on cube doorways and chatting up my team. Lots and lots and lots of “Ah, you’ll want to go look at this for that” got dispensed, or “You need to go talk to X”, or “Well, hm, you may want to consider instead looking at that this way.” And it also gave me a great feel for what was actually going on.

      Now that it’s all remote that’s a phone or vid call, which is a lot more of a thing than a manager wandering around and leaning in doorways.

      I once had a direct manager several states away and was very impressed by how they rigidly scheduled phone meetings and updates and kept up on my team from half a continent away. And current day job is fully distributed, with no one employee at the same physical location any other, but we’re all kinda experienced individual contributor lone wolf types.

      Were it required, I’m not sure I have the skills to perform my comfort-level of managing on a team under the new remote work paradigm. Which makes me wonder what failures-in-waiting are lurking off in the wings due to this compressed forced remote work transition.

    4. The year before COVID theater, I was contacted by an outfit that only hires work from home. They offered me 200K/year, which intrigued me. It was enough to compensate for the loss of paid time off and maybe even to set myself up, but they also wanted to include keystroke monitoring. Not the way I work. Software engineering is not piecework in a clothing factory, and I’ve even seen that done evilly.

      My current company has been very accommodating, including giving us the laptops and whatever essential equipment we need. They also just gave all 25,000 of us a $1250 bonus. I suspect it was paid for by the money they saved on facilities in the last year. Most offices still had the lights on and a security guard and receptionist to keep each other company, but that still didn’t cost what a fully up and running office must cost.

      Still a lot of the work I have to do requires my presence at a facility more secure than my home, so I’d have to do some gymnastics to work from home full-time. Many important changes are the ones unanticipated by the little dictators though as you point out.

      It also brought home to me the problems I’ll face in “retirement” when I start focusing on my writing career. Ain’t life interesting?

    5. e-mail chain…

      This eve I got an obvious “phishing” email telling me I had TEN pending messages at risk of deletion and I need to LOG IN NOW! to rescue them…. on the service I was already logged in to.

      Ox slow; Phishers *GLACIAL*.

      1. And I’m guessing that the stupid extended car warranty spammers must be making money somehow or they’d stop. You would think everybody with a phone in this country had already gotten several hundred of those calls. Where are they finding marks these days?

        I never listen all the way through. I assume they try to get you to send them money to “reactivate” the extended warranty?

        1. A mere spice packet I could ignore. A major component? NO.

          And I do occasionally answer and press the ‘interest’ button… to either MOO at them, or ask about how I can coverage on the ’43 Studebaker… Maybe I should start asking about a Maxwell?

  26. … when I went through school, learning to touch type was guaranteed money forever. I don’t think this is true any longer.

    Now the big money is in being to rapidly type with your thumbs.

  27. … people take really long to catch on — hence people still longing for traditional publication

    Your adult mind often has difficulty re-writing your childhood dreams. Reasoning with those dreams just doesn’t work.

  28. … the hands on professions were in the cities because that’s where people had to be to do all the jobs.

    I think the change here started with two factors (although I cannot recall* when they began: FedEx and Fax machines. Up into the Seventies, if you wanted to work in the Graphic Arts Trade (Comic strips, comic panels, comic books, book covers, national advertising, etc.) you had to live within routine commuting distance of New York. I recall reading of a NYC suburb in, IIRC, Connecticut, which was a haven for creators of the creators of newspaper comic strips, with a good dozen or so of them in the neighborhood. But with the advent of FedEx and Fax machines an artist could live almost anywhere, Fax in the roughs and FedEx the finished art. Regular trips into The City to meet with your editor were no longer necessary.

    The changes were not far-reaching because most creators were already settled and new artists breaking into the field were not so numerous as to matter. But it became easier to live and work from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago and elsewhere. Comic books began to be set in places other than NY and pseudo-cities such as Metropolis and Gotham became more varied.

    *Nor can I be arsed to look it up

  29. As for our own idiots… I’m interested in how their every spasm, their every attempt to stay mounted makes is more and more certain they will fall. And the longer they hold on, the harder the fall will be.

    I s’pose by now nearly everybody has seen AOC’s recent asinine tweet, about how using “surge” in regard to the border is white supremacist othering militarism (if you haven’t yet see it, go ahead, look it up. I’ll wait) Because “surge” is the root of “insurgency” or some such twaddle.

    In this AOC has scored an own goal by forgetting that the most common present use of “surge” is in dire warnings of a fourth wave of covidiocy, another surge endangering those who eschew the mask. Thanks to AOC’s insights heh we now realize that the masking is a White Supremacist effort to suppress individuality, to anonymize people, stripping them of identity to mold us into a single faceless mass.

    Thus rejecting masks is rejecting militarism.

  30. You don’t need fully prepared meals delivered. Companies like Home Chef can deliver packaged items for specific meals. Nowadays I can even find Home Chef kits at Kroger. The quality of these packaged meals has improved considerably since I first tried them about three years ago.

    1. Again, I don’t need it at all. I was always mostly “I’ll cook” but I was trying to imagine where restaurant owners/chefs should consider going.

    2. My problem with those is that they ALWAYS include something I *LOATHE* (e.g. peas) and refuse to pay for. “But you don’t HAVE to eat it!” Then I will ****NOT**** PAY for it!

      1. “But.. you get a pound of bread, a pound of ham, a pound of fish, and a pound of shit. You don’t have to eat the shit.” “Fine YOU pay for the pound of shit and YOU EAT IT!”

      2. A certain amount I’m willing to just throw out. E.g. the spice packets that come with corned beef I’ll just throw out and use my own choice of spices from my spice rack.

        But a larger amount of unwanted stuff… yeah, I don’t want to pay for that. In any case, I figure I’m not the target audience for those meal kits; I figure that they’re for people who cook sporadically and infrequently.

      3. Ox loathes peas? Ox very foolish! Peas are sweet, delicious morsels.

        Of course, real peas cannot be bought, they must be picked, fresh from garden and cooked within minutes. What is sold as peas are nothing of the sort, they are ex-peas whose sugars have already turned to starch with consequent loss (or worse) of flavor. Ex-peas included in shipped food are even worse, but words to describe them are not fit for typing in polite community (or even in <I<this, decidedly impolite, community).

        The only commonality they have with peas is being green, spherical and small. Do not eat ex-peas! They are imposter-peas, false-peas, pseudo-peas and as such are condemned.

        1. I totally resonate with the truthiness of this pea rant! My mother served *canned* peas when I was growing up. I still loathe canned peas. In lieu of fresh peas I will condescend to consume small frozen peas lightly cooked. I never order peas in a restaurant because they are generally inedible.

  31. “The museums, the symphonies, all of those might very well remain in cities, ”

    Remain? They died a year ago. The symphony here hasn’t played in a year because the lockdown restrictions won’t allow the capacity high enough, and even if it capacity returns, the mask mandate means some of us won’t go, and the “we have to be responsible” madness means the majority (who are liberals or old or both) won’t.

    The jazz club can’t survive with the capacity restrictions and the fear that spitting on people kills them. Singing is dead. No choir or chorale or musicals. Music and arts attendance was driven by libs who are petrified.

    Museums? How fun is it to go to the museum gala with your mask on? Or even walk around a museum? It isn’t, and culture and the past are deprecated. It’s all some *ist.

    What is likely to happen is a feudalism where what farm to table type restaurants exist are in small towns to support the enjoyment of the rich knowledge workers or now-retired version of same. Perhaps music will be again in homes, shared in small ensembles by people who trust each other. Same for poetry reading. No more public spaces. Private events in one’s living room.

    1. Have had similar thoughts, “Culture” may return to being mostly local, and the occasional traveling show.

      “and culture and the past are deprecated. It’s all some *ist.”

      …and easier to swap it out for something “modern” when no one is around to observe the desecration.

    2. [list of public areas dying]

      No more public spaces. Private events in one’s living room.

      Part of me is saying Good Riddance, y’all never needed that crap anyway.

      But I know that is the envy talking.

    3. What are you? One of them?
      No. Neo feudalism exists only in the heads of the left. It won’t work. It JUST won’t work. Knowledge workers still need to be fed, etc. And they’re escaping the cities at SPEED.
      Yeah, I know they died. I’ve been living here, too. I mean, how will they come back?
      I figure in the cities that become tourism destinations. That’s it.

      1. No, I’m not “one of them.” I think our best chance is to get to Mars.

        But I’m observant. Neo feudalism doesn’t work for whom? It is already here! I live on the edge of rural, and here’s there’s no industry with the end of energy production. There’s the small town whose money cycles through all hands, from farm to TSR to the school and mortgage and back again. Closed loop. New influx that supports the town otherwise comes from the neely immigrated rich knowledge worker who realized his family get 10 times the land and 100 times the security away from the high falutin coasts. It’s he and his cohort who have just enough money to support a restaurant and antique shop and a clothing store and keep the craft beer place open.

        It doesn’t “work” to create new industries. It doesn’t create exports. But it obviates the need for college, so that’s a win, too. And the small town may hate these carpet baggers, but they need them because they are paying for employment and being taxed enough to bring in improvements. It keeps the town alive and people get to know each other. They know what they can defend. They know who to trust.

        The arts aren’t coming back, so create something new. Art and music will “come back” when the people without fear find a way to work with the world they’ve got, not look at the structures destroyed. It wasn’t always like it was, anyway. . People didn’t always go to public spaces for artz they went to their cathedral. People didn’t always travel so the read extremely closely instead. science wasn’t always done in universities, it was done by gentlemen of deep conscientiousness.

        What’s coming is something else. Like I said, small ensembles. Singing at home. A ballroom in your own home for dancing and courting among young people. I don’t know,and that’s part of true art. It’s not what we predict. But we’re already at neo feudalism. Especially those of us who aren’t wearing masks and won’t be getting vaccine passports.

          1. My question is… who supports that Martian colony for the foreseeable future? what happens when the funding bill doesn’t pass in time, or at all?? Even if say Elon Musk gets there, and can afford to support a colony, what happens when he dies and his fortune gets nationalized (that’s coming) ??

            Cuz we’re a long long way from any such effort being self-sustaining, especially at a scale sufficient to keep a healthy gene pool. Not that we shouldn’t heave mightily in that direction on G.P., but would be folly to count on it for rescue.

            1. My point is that a) he’s buying all the left’s assumptions, including that once they get power it’s forever.
              b) Mars…. maybe my grandkids can live there. But yeah, it’s going to be a long time.
              c) for someone whose name is a transliteration of “griefer” he sure comes over to tell us to give up a lot.

              1. LOL. You don’t know me very well or understand. I guess I’m a bad writer. I fight at the mundane level of local politics and I fight in the transcendent plane with my prayers, for the Gates of Hell will not prevail, and Christ has already won .

                I honestly don’t get the hostility. We are all better off creating local communities of like minded folks who live free and can trust each other. Our local community has been fightong the good fight and adjusting. Kids have had live music practice and concerts all year. We’ve had open church. And no masks. We’ve started private local lending libraries. We’ve held homeschool science labs, birthday parties, holidays with friends. All under the radar, and we won’t stop.

                The old structures have decayed. Let the dead bury their dead. Build something new.

                1. The hostility is because you have been around for a while, but you don’t seem to process anything I’ve said.
                  THE LEFT CAN’T WIN. We can lose, but losing doesn’t look like their winning. It looks like some sort of weird dictatorship but definitely anti-communist.
                  Why can’t they win?
                  Get it through your head right now: every communist state has sponged off the US because we’re so RIDICULOUSLY productive.
                  Taking us down means communism goes down HARD.
                  China is a beautiful lacquered vase, all cracks underneath. Taking us down will destroy them. HARD.

            2. Yes, and it is folly to believe there is any rescue from PRC hegemony. Anyone with eyes to see Mars as a pipe dream surely has eyes to see that we’ve already entered the event horizon for After America, too. But we fight nonetheless.

              I think Musk and his cohort have the best chance of getting to Mars, funded by him and then the investment for future mining rights. But like early pioneers here and elsewhere, people would rather die trying for a taste of freedom, even if it was found to be unsustainable for the first few waves.

              The beauty of Mars is reality wins. It’s too dangerous for 2+2 to equal 5.

              1. What the PCR is paying you?
                There is a perfect rescue from PCR hegemony. The fact that the PCR can’t survive without us. Just because they’re stupid enough to think they can take us over and have us go on supporting them, we’re not obliged to believe it. In fact we can’t, if we’re even vaguely sane.

                1. I’m sorry, you’re not making any sense.

                  I”ve been telling people abut commie infiltration since Johnny Chung and Johnny Trie and the various mining deals Clinton made and Wen Ho Lee at LANL stealing miniaturized nuke warhead tech oin the 90s. I know how every single piece of tech innovation in our grad schools had been sent back to China for over 30 years now. I know that Chinese Americans here who want to be Americans are still blackmailed by the PRC into spying and stealing. And I’ve watched idiots raise their kids in Mandarin immersion schools in America and not get it was nothing but commie agitprop.

                  I’m not sure what makes you think I am the enemy. I find it weird you think that. I’ll leave off, since what I’m saying isn’t leading to anyone saying something new here. And yet that’s what we need on every front. So what I’m saying is, build anew. Create new ways of living to have the freedom you love. Stop looking back. Go forward.

                  1. Consider: China imports about 40% of its food from the U.S., and pays for it with its own junk exports (meaning it doesn’t pay a realistic cost, due to the fantastical markup when Chinese stuff crosses the ocean).

                    What happens to China if America stops having a food surplus to export, and no longer has the money to buy Chinese exports?

                    A: China implodes economically. It probably won’t go away as a nation, and the CCP might still be nominally in charge, but it falls apart as a world power just that fast. China’s starving peasants will be no worse off, but who feeds China’s cities? WE DO.

                    1. “ What happens to China if America stops having a food surplus to export, and no longer has the money to buy Chinese exports?”

                      40% of China’s population starves to death, starting with their old people and their less productive excess males.

                    2. Yeah. But before that the wheels come off. LONG before. They’re keeping a BARE veneer of modernity.
                      I invite you to contemplate that gutter oil is a thing there.

            3. That’s easy. First thing they do on arrival is create a Martian Federal Reserve and A Martian Mint. Then, thanks to the magic of Modern Monetary Theory (you know it’s good because it’s MODERN!) they just print money enough to pay for everything they need, from infrastructure to child care to medical insurance to atmospheric oxygen! It’s like having a genie except there’s no problem remembering where you left the lamp!

        1. I know of a symphony orchestra and semi-professional choir that are hanging in there, and are already getting ready for next season. But . . . this is in an area that is comparatively isolated, and has a tradition of self-entertainment. The art museum and galleries are also hanging in. There’s an element of “Who are you to tell ME I can’t go to a concert/sing-along/art show?!?”

          1. There’s an element of ‘Who are you to tell ME I can’t go to a concert/sing-along/art show?!?’

            The Masters of the Universe seem to believe there is no limit to how long they can keep this hammer down. I daily hear of dyed-in-the-wool Democrats who are fed up to their eye teeth with this lockdown theater and are one straw short of exploding.

            Meanwhile, one need not search far for tales of art galleries selling off (formerly) priceless works from their collections, whether to pay their bills or to “exchange” them for contemporary works of crap up-and-coming artists. That does not sound the sort of thing which will endear them to the public come the next bond issue.

            1. So the PRC Satraps are all:

              and even the Yellow Dog Democrats are hitting?:

        2. I’ve got a better idea — send all the Leftroids to Venus. 😀

          But don’t demand to be World Dictator…

  32. The New York publishers are now basically money laundering fronts for politicians; they’ll stay in business as long as they’re cost effective for that.

  33. To ensure Blue cities have access to your wallet, watch for;

    Remote Work taxes – start up taxing it to make it far too costly

    Remote Work regulations – same reasons.

    Laws that say remote workers must also pay the city tax where their company has its HQ and major branches. Physically work? Just the one.

    Metro tax districts – wherever you are, you are affiliated/annexed to a “proper” city. Pay.

    General “Investments” where big-time infrastructure and basic services get heavily subsidized by the Feds, paid for by taxes of everyone, so non-city folks pay cities. The cities, of course, now can divert their previous infrastructure/service money elsewhere. You pay for it, with no say in it.

    Import lots of folks who will see all that as a -big- improvement over their former homelands.

    You get the idea. The Party controls the cities, the cities control the voting, so they vote everyone else into serfdom.

    Where did I put that snake flag…..

    1. I think that paying the tax where the company is headquarted means companies relocate at speed of light. It’s just a small room, maybe with some servers.
      Again, this might be what they plan. I don’t think it will stick.

      1. I’m still paying NYC non resident tax. I think the argument is that NYC is my “duty station” and this is just temporary. It really doesn’t make that much difference money wise but I’d prefer not to pay them anything, ever.

        1. When I was on Jeopardy, the state of CA taxed my entire year’s income, not just what I won (or didn’t win) while working in the state. And dunned me again the next year, just because. I was Not Amused.

          1. My sister is unable to change her legal residency back to Montana (even tho nowadays she mostly lives here and works remotely) because per the company tax accountant (they’re big enough to have their own) if she does, because she’s a full partner in the business, CA dings her CA-based corporation some huge extra annual tax. And she’s close enough to retirement to just fling up her hands and say fine, I’ll pretend I still live there for a few more years.

    2. There was a case here between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. For a lot of people southern New Hampshire is a bedroom community for commuters to Boston (it’s 45-60 minutes to Boston with no traffic). Massachusetts had always required people who lived in NH and worked in MA to pay Massachusetts taxes. Then a bunch of them were suddenly working at home. Massachusetts tried to get away with requiring them to continue to pay Massachusetts taxes. Not sure where the case is now…

      1. Feds will impose it nationally as part of their “equity” and “environmental justice” schemes, using things like FHA housing policy and transportation to compel “rationalization”. They have been pushing since the Obama days to punish suburbs and to incorporate them into the cities so that the suburbs essentially become serfs for the leftist elite who rule the cities.

      2. We have a city tax in Philly. If you live in the city it’s 3.9% regardless of where you work. If you live outside of the city, but work in the city, it’s 3.5%. Then it gets even more fun because you have possibly three states involved as well (NJ, DE, PA). I’m not sure what happened when everybody started working from home.

  34. There are 2 roots of marxism. The French Revolution variety was kicked off by the envy of those “undeserving” shopkeepers and merchants who had the gall to be able to live well even though they weren’t entitled to it by birth.

    Karl’s version was related but he had the propaganda advantage of pointing to “soul-deadening” factory work (as if slopping hogs were more ennobling, but that’s how propaganda works). The new cultural marxism version has the great advantage of being irrefutable by facts. It all boils down to, “You’re not allowed to better yourself by your own efforts. You are what you were born, and that’s that.”

    I still remember a line from Catch-22 where a woman boasts that she is better than everyone else because her ancestors have never done anything for their money, “I understand the Hiltons still let rooms.” Quote is from memory, may be wrong in some details.

    1. Well, no one ever went deaf slopping hogs, that I know of; might have gotten eaten, but fresh air and exercise, eh?

      1. I thought I was the first one to comment on that novel word, frontage, now remarked upon by several others. I’d even come up with a movie quote from “Broken Arrow:” ‘I’m not sure what’s worse—that it happened or that it happens so often there’s a word for it.’ (The latter, I think.)

        1. Maybe I didn’t hit the button.

          (Which is all beside the point of the column; I get that, but new words are so shiny; even for repulsive concepts.)

      2. Word Pres (Delenda Est) ate one of mine today, on the Portugal page. I had posted from Byron York’s column this morning about the rat trap Delta’s CEO had dropped down his trousers (it appears not only did Delta have a role in crafting the bill, but sufficiently irked Goc. Kemp to draw this comment:

        Delta did engage in the legislative process, Kemp said, and “At no point did Delta share any opposition to expanding early voting, strengthening voter ID measures, increasing the use of secure drop boxes statewide, and making it easier for local election officials to administer elections — which is exactly what this bill does.” Just to stick it in a little, Kemp added, “The last time I flew Delta, I had to present my photo ID.”

        WP took it, refreshed but stopped at the top of the page and, when I scrolled down, the comment wasn’t there.

        Going back an arrow didn’t let me recover ad repost the comment, so I moved on. WP = Whattya Gona Do?

  35. Have to rant.

    Actually seen on Discord:

    Remember the vaccine doesn’t make you immune, it primarily keeps you from getting a severe case if you do get it
    [4:06 PM]
    So keep wearing a mask

    1. It’s clear these people are addicted to covid panic and really don’t want to give it up. I think they find their petty little lives so much more *interesting* with a pandemic to lean on.

      1. So I called him on it and this was the reply:

        Okay then let me clarify, because I updated my own understanding
        [10:07 AM]
        Yes it is a proper vaccine. But the key point is that we still aren’t 100% sure if people who have been vaccinated are incapable of still transmitting and spreading the virus
        [10:07 AM]
        The vaccine keeps it from making you sick but you could still potentially give it to others
        [10:07 AM]
        Therefore still wear a mask

        So, as long as one person is unvaccinated, the vaccine is meaningless in terms of freeing us from having to live in bubbles.

        I swear, between Dems saying they wouldn’t trust a “Trump vaccine” and these “the vaccine won’t allow us to stop masking” fools there has been more done to advance anti-vax causes than Jenny McCarthy did in two decades.

        1. Good grief. How is it possible to be that stupid and still remember not to put shoes on before socks?

          1. It’s worse….this is on a tabletop gaming discord, a hobby pretty much destroyed by COVID. Adventurer’s League D&D, Magic the Gathering open and tournament play, pretty much anything outside of private home place is gone. Plus, a lot of people are afraid to do private home play.

            As someone put it:

            Does anyone have any news on whether $GAMESTORE will open again or not? I deeply miss in-person gaming.

            As I keep saying, I’m not a big people person, but COVIDIOCY has made it worse by eliminating all my positive interactions with people outside of C and Z, but retaining (and ramping up) all the negative ones.

              1. Yeah, I thought that we didn’t do much with the kids as we homeschooled.

                Holy F, we were out of the house a lot…..

        2. This information war has been gas lighting and Lucy ball from the beginning.

          ‘Super deadly, but the vaccine will let us end lockdown’ gives people an out so that they will accept a temporary lockdown. But once the vaccine shows up, they are maybe invested enough that when you point out that the cold strain has a mutation rate that makes vaccinating against colds pointless, they are willing to continue tolerating lockdown.

          If had had been a cold based bioweapon, the vaccine would have a point. Vaccinating against the first, most virulent, strain of a bioweapon makes sense, will protect against that release, because the mutated strains will be less of a problem anyway.

          The effort to find a vaccine rapidly had a point, neutralized somewhat the Chinese threat of follow up releases, but distributing it and taking it is mostly pointless.

          The worst strain of the new cold probably spread and extinguished itself last winter.

          The current push may simply be an effort to discredit vaccines, so that the next release will have more chance of being effective.

          1. As I said, COVID politics around the vaccine (can’t do it, oh it’s Trump so it’s unsafe, it won’t end masks) has done more for anti-vax than anything else.

            What’s frightening about that is the Prius driving, Whole Foods shopping crowd is the core of anti-vax, media accounts blaming conservative Christians notwithstanding. Proximity to a Whole Foods is the single best indicator of a high vax exception request rate at a public school.

            That’s also the crowd most susceptible to COVIDIOCY and a core Democrat constituancy. I can see a needed payoff in a few years being broad vaccine exemptions as a cost of all of this.

      1. I know and you know and I suspect the owners of the game store know and even the PTB at WotC know.

        But the later two also know juries are designed to be made up of stupid and easily led people so don’t want to risk being charged with causing COVID deaths due to lack of masks (former) or having organized play (latter).

  36. Not sure where this goes but it seems relevant to certain recent topics:

    Bombshell report on NYC exodus should be required reading for mayoral wannabes
    Researchers at the federal mortgage giant Fannie Mae just came out with a study that should be required reading for all New York mayoral candidates.

    The dryly titled “housing insights” paper, “Covid-19 Led First-Time Homebuyers to Move Away from Highly Dense City Centers,” released Tuesday, includes a bombshell for Gotham: New York, along with San Francisco, are far and away the two national leaders of an exodus from high-cost big cities to “low-cost cheaper areas of the country.”

    What’s more, say Fannie’s economists, these younger households may not be coming back.

    Here’s why. The one-time Gotham renters are not just moving out — they’re buying homes elsewhere. The combination of the pandemic and ultra-low interest rates has created a wave of former city renters choosing to purchase houses.

    One-time renters in the New York as well as in San Francisco areas became first-time buyers at a higher rate than the national percentage. In fact, New York and San Francisco stood out for making up the largest portion of all moves from high- to low-density areas. There’s good reason to think the moves are permanent.

    Working from home, says Fannie, is a game-changer. So is fear of riding mass transit. New buyers are moving “from ZIP codes where the primary means of commuting is not driving to those where driving is the norm.”


    The Fannie Mae paper, in an understated, academic way, makes clear this change in preference could be permanent. “First-time buyers may have chosen to accelerate their moving timelines, from renting to owning, as a result of the pandemic.”

    What’s more, the “pandemic experience of working in a lower housing cost area likely appealed to many workers, and it may be a lifestyle benefit they plan to maintain, thereby attenuating any potential ‘return to the cities’ phenomenon.”

  37. }}} They were a chaste yellow

    Why were they being chased? Were they cute? Or rich?

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