You Go To War With the Underwear you got on.

The title is a line I stole I THINK from Mark Alger. It hit me as ridiculously funny mostly because both mom and grandma were obsessed with the Clean Underwear in case you have an accident thing. So underwear to go to war is a very necessary thing, you’ll agree. And there’s a high chance of death. But I would say very few people die at war with clean underwear.

So, on where we are, what we do, and what comes out of the current upside down, sideways, tilt-a-whirl world?

There are things we know, and things we don’t know relating to the present situation.

We know there is a great break up of the status quo, partly because it no longer works.

Now, this is something we, children born in the sixties, were primed for in everything, from science fiction to serious courses.

But what we’re seeing, the break down of the status quo, is exactly the opposite of what we were told to expect by 90% of those teaching or entertaining us. Supposedly competition, and striving and individualism were on the way out, and soft, fluffy bunnies and unicorns perfect communism was on the way in.

Of course that was never going to work. I mean, we know that. But you have to remember guys, that back then they viewed the USSR as ruthlessly efficient. (It’s one of those. I’m caught between laughing and crying. They literally couldn’t feed themselves and the only way they could fool us into thinking they had nuclear parity was to drive around eighteen wheelers loaded with loooong tubes. But– image, yeah, and mass communication fooled us all.

Now, the “right” around the world admired the ruthless efficiency, but smelled something wrong, and therefore they wanted …. softer efficiency.

Which is how going on almost a century, the West sold its soul to socialism.

Socialism is of course not a different beast from communism. It was supposed to be a stage on the way to communism where the means of production were in individual hands (unless they were essential, like, you know, health) but the government controlled all. There was supposed to be some kind of clear dividing line.

The truth is that all this sh*t spewed from the diseased brain of Karl the mad, never made a whit of sense, and most of it boiled down to “That’s not how any of that ever worked.”

So, communism or socialism was often a matter of opinion, and you can tell how well any of them worked by the fact that both called themselves “democracies.” (It was naming by opposites day. It was a long day.)

But even the “free” or “capitalist” west was various forms of socialism. And I don’t mean just the ponzi scheme of social security. I mean crazy cakes stuff (a lot of the crazy started by FDR) that made the assumption the fargin feds had the right to decide how the money you earned should be distributed. And once that kind of disease gets in the brain, the government decides it owns the fruits of your labor, and only lets you keep some, which means you’re essentially a governmental slave. It’s bad crazy and it corrupts everything.

In the west this centralization of power and deferring of everything to increasingly larger governments and “rule of by experts.”

And everyone trusted the experts and the big government, and the increasingly more leftist narrative, because everyone got their news from central sources that supported (or were complicit) in all of that. And then the news got made into history. And if you dissented because — say — you were at the event, and knew the report was insane (every one I was at. Not even wrong. Just like… parallel world insane.) you were considered uninformed or some kind of crazy, because the news and knowledge came from the journalistic experts.

I don’t know when the wheels started coming off. We KNOW they started coming off, because even with Obama, they couldn’t continue selling him as the most important figure ever, or super smart. Oh, the sales job of the media still worked…. on the media, permanent captives of the federal government who live in DC, and celebrities. But the majority of the public wasn’t fully buying the story.

I mean, it really was a next-level sales job, but most of the Obama merchandise, from beach towels to cards seemed to age on the shelves.

And judging from the reaction to Hillary, I wonder how complete the sales on Clinton was.

And of course 2016 was a complete shock for the bastages. And 2022 arguably a bigger one, since they were sure they’d already frauded enough.

But it’s not just here where the internet explains it to some extent. In much of the rest of the world the net isn’t used for news as it is here, and yet the narrative is also falling apart. Despite a next-level snow job on COVID, complete with lock downs and punitive measures, if you look, there are demonstrations, resistance, riots, practically everywhere, and no one really believes “the thing” the establishment is pushing.

Yes, to an extent that includes Russia-Ukraine. No, I don’t support Russia. Yes, I hope they’re beat into flinders so they don’t go around attacking their neighbors. No, I don’t care that the Ukraine is equally corrupt. No, I don’t actually support the world going to war over this, and I think the US should stay the heck out of it.

And that, it seems, is confusing the powers that be around the world. I get a strong feeling they thought they could whip up a world war (probably with Putin’s cooperation) but there is no enthusiasm for it anywhere. So, the grand plan to shore up central governments by having a war that allowed them to stomp dissent fell apart.

And meanwhile Russia, who has been pumped up and pumped itself up as a co-equal if not superior power to the US has revealed itself a sclerotic, disorganized totalitarian mess in the deepest possible trouble, a nation that would probably lose a pillow fight against US kindergartners.

And China, like our local commies, is going insane in full view of the world.

So, that’s what we know. No, we don’t know how advanced the rebellion is or real numbers or anything, because the information is being suppressed at every possible level. And the only people who “get” a panoramic view of this are people like me who are crazy-addicted to news and look everywhere, not just the most common channels.

What we don’t know — you know, little factors that actually affect the outcome of things —

1- how many people are there in the world actually?

2- how many people in each country, and how many are at all educated to operate modern civilization (Mostly trades and stem graduates. People who do things, you know? Though you can count maybe people like me who can train/explain things.)

3- how many people are actually working?

4- how many people are working at needed things, and how many are cat rotators?

5- how big is the next generation, and how many are getting any education that makes sense?

6- how many people are immigrating to the US? Is the net migration even positive? (Not as crazy as it sounds, but would take a whole post to explain.)

7 – Ditto other countries of the world.

8 – How many people actually still believe in the shiboleths of big government and “experts”

9 – How many of the things we THINK we know are based on fake, irreproducible, stupid studies?

10 – How close are we to a major systemic collapse of government/organization/all professions?

That’s a hell of a list of known unknowns. And for each of them there is probably an equally long list of unknown unknowns.

So, you know, when trying to figure out what comes after our current collapse (and the status quo is already in collapse. Right now relatively slow motion) we have to work with all these things we don’t know. We’re making guesses from insufficient data.

Now it doesn’t mean the guesses are invalid. It just means that it’s a mighty shaky edifice, built on spindly foundations.

But that’s all we have. You go to war with the underwear you got on, even when it’s just a little scrap of satin or some really dirty bloomers. It’s what you got.

I’m going to start point out things that don’t fit the narrative and what I think they mean in future posts, to try to figure out where we land when we’re tossed in the pot.

Now, when you’re a mom you can guess the weirdest things from tiny clues. (Call it the mystery of the gallon of milk in the bathroom.)

But I’d still feel better if we had a lot more hard facts.

And some kevlar underoos.

296 thoughts on “You Go To War With the Underwear you got on.

    1. Thank you, Dorothy (and Sarah).

      But, being a scatterbrain, I don’t know. If memory serves (a dubious proposition at my advanced age), the quote from Dolly has not yet appeared in a novel. I believe it actually appeared on The Blog ( in reference to a quote from Don Rumsfeld crossed over by the constant carping from the harpies of the Left about scantily-clad females appearing on SFF book covers.

      Dolly is a tough American chick who kicks ass and chews gum (and she’s all out of gum), but she could also pass for an underwear model, and also knows and understands Heinlein’s dictum to keep your clothes and weapon where you can find them in the dark.

      Thus, you may be caught by surprise in a fight situation where ALL you have on — or near-to-hand — is underwear. I believe the full quote is something like, “Life doesn’t always give you a chance to armor up, so you just have to go to war in the underwear you have on.”

      1. I’d guess it might also have been inspired by the Lithuanian troops in A-stan who got into a fire-fight when their FOB was attacked. One of the guys was immortalized on film in body armor, helmet, and boxers. Priorities, you know.

        1. That would do it, Red, if I had ever seen or heard of that moment. Have to grinn at the image, but… can you picture that with a busty redhead instead of a hairy Lithuanian?

            1. Probably less if a problem when defending a fixed position instead of running around on patrol


              1. Presti is demonstrating the “fixed position” issue at the castle. (Webcomics, for those unfamiliar.)

                1. A quick search didn’t show a web comic named Presti, so I assume that’s a character or a place. What’s the comic?

                    1. How often do I reference webcomics?

                      Hmm… Not very often that I recall. Maybe once every few months, I think?

                      But when you do, it seems like it’s ALWAYS Rusty and Co. We know what you like, I guess. 🙂

        2. I remember that – bunch of progs were mocking him, every vet posting was “helmet, boots, armour, weapon, all check. Looks fine to me.”


      2. To steal from a kids’ show: “It was dark and I was in my towel when the ninjas attacked”. At least they got as far as underoos?

          1. Fairly Odd Parents. Kid had fairy God parents it was wierd. Theoretically that was supposed to be the opening line from a novel the fairy godmother was writing.

            1. Ah, I know that show. Never really watched it myself, but my cousin did when she was a young girl.

    2. > “I was Mark Alger!”

      I… never knew that about you, Dorothy. How’s the transition working out so far?

  1. Where the hell is the UN?

    Aren’t they supposed to do something about countries invading other countries? Like that was the whole purpose behind their existence or something? I mean, it’s not like they’re all a bunch of useless self-important windbags, right?

    Those who do not remember the lessons of history are doomed to repeat the mistakes. Those who do remember are doomed to watch everybody else repeat them.

    1. Well, damn, the first line was supposed to have a number in front of it. Gonna try something:

      11. This line should start with 11 and a period.

        1. Glad to give a little something back.

          For anybody interested, you can put a dot after a number by using the . HTML code. For some reason, the latest ‘upgrade’ (WPDE!) strips off any number-followed-by-a-period at the beginning of a line.

          1. Hmm… Testing a couple of things, ignore me:





            .> quote


            /> quote


            > quote


    2. That was back when Russia vetoed anything being done, using its Security Council seat. And then Ukraine pointed out that the USSR had a Security Council seat, based on the founding documents of the UN, but that Russia has no seat and it was never legal for it to have a seat.

      Which was a really good point, and a lot of smaller countries liked it. But nothing was done, and the non-legal veto continued to be treated as legal by the UN as a whole.

      1. ….and Russia is fully aware that the “everybody will pretend like there’s no problem” position is very fragile…and almost entirely based on “Russia might have a working nuke.”

        Which is also why they’ve tried to avoid confrontation in their power-grabs up to now, sticking to the sneaky stuff….

        Aaargh yeah WWII, the reboot, do not like!

    3. The UN, having ignored the last dozen or so US attacks on 3d world countries, has zero moral authority..So it sticks to money laundering and sex trafficking, with a minor in 3d world kleptocrats…

      1. To be fair, most of those attacks were with either UN blessing, or with enough countries onboard that the UN was irrelevant.

    4. Those who do not remember the lessons of history will get the dates wrong

    5. Can I assume that was rhetorical, since common knowledge says anyone in the UN is off somewhere with an underage “paramour”, and not doing anything even remotely productive or meaningful? The character in Griffin’s “Presidential Agent” series (“By Order of the President”?) seems to be the archetype.

  2. 10 – How close are we to a major systemic collapse of government/organization/all professions?

    Solid mental image of the coyote looking down and realizing he’s running on thin air.

        1. Right, in the Coyote’s Universe (Pretty much any Loony Tune, and much of the cartoon universe) Gravity is affected by the Uncertainty principle. So when Coyote looks down, bang, he collapses the wave form and sets off gravity. You’ll note that when the Road Runner does that kind of stuff it NEVER looks down, Everything is in an indeterminate state so the Road Runner just keeps on keepin’ on .

          1. This was further built upon in an episode of the “next generation” cartoon “Tiny Toon Adventures”, where the protagonists use it to escape off a cliff. (Heck if I can remember the episode or even season, though. 😦 )

              1. The premise of the show was the next generation was attending “Acme Looniversity”, being taught by the older cartoons (Bugs, Daffy, etc). The “ignore gravity” thing was a lesson recalled when they found themselves trapped.

                1. “The teaching staff’s been getting laughs since 1933!”


          1. Yeah, I noticed that Looney Tunes and Hitchhiker’s Guide have similar rules for defying gravity.

  3. “cat rotators?”

    Had a psych professor who had an undergraduate job as a rat stirrer.

    Someone wanted to test tired rats, so dumped them in individual vats of water so they’d swim and get tired. Rats decided swimming was too much work, and they’d take a breath and go rest on the bottom of the vat, coming up occasionally for air.

    Rat stirrer took a broomstick and bugged those resting rats into swimming.

    Lots of comfortably numb folks, left and right, who could use some stirring.

    1. And that comment is why I read the comments.. Rat stirrer. The very name makes me chuckle, the description makes me laugh out loud. Thank you for sharing.

    2. As far as I know my feline companions are self rotating getting up every 1.5-2 hours to stretch, rotate and lie back down (unless the sunlight has moved then there is a relocation step). Cat rotating could be very dangerous, my observation is that cats have a spin property. Two cats of differing spin (say clockwise and anticlockwise) can occupy adjacent spaces. However like electrons and orbitals two cats of same spin can NOT occupy the same space. Attempt to do so will result in an energetic interaction (resulting in emitting sound waves and perhaps a bit of fur) and then either the ejection of one of the cats, or the change of one of the cats to the proper spin state. I’d apply for a grant for further investigation but currently the NSF is uninterested in anything not dealing with race or transgenderism. My cats won’t cross dress (although one is Black but they say that doesn’t count) so so much for that income source.

    3. My wife once had a literal chicken shit job. Worked in a small lab where for one job, they analyzed chicken shit, to see if the farmers were feeding them the right amount of supplements. If too much it would come out the other end without absorption, so they were wasting their money.

      Grad students get the best jobs. Brains in blenders was one that won the professor a nobel prize, but was only achieved due to grad students liquefying thousands of cow’s brains, so he had enough material to isolate the chemical he was seeking. I’ll have to add rat stirrer to my brains in blenders file. Thanks JohnS!

    4. > “Rats decided swimming was too much work, and they’d take a breath and go rest on the bottom of the vat, coming up occasionally for air.”

      I had to do something like that myself once. As a very little kid I slipped and fell into a creek and wasn’t enough of a swimmer to get myself out. Fortunately it wasn’t that deep and I realized that if I stayed calm and let myself sink to the bottom I could launch myself at the surface, get my head briefly above water and get another gulp of air. Rinse and repeat until rescued.

      Credit to the rats for being smart enough to figure that one out.

      1. God job as a little kid! I recognized the rat behavior – and yours – as a kind of “drownproofing”, which see.

        Used to envy a neighbor; he’d come home from work and use the complex pool; he’d fall asleep floating on his back.

        Turns out I’m a ‘sinker’ and just barely float, vertically. Makes water activities too much work to be fun; frozen water – ice for ice skating and in drinks – is fine.

    5. Tim Pool semi-regularly brings up an experiment that sounds remarkably similar to the one you describe, talking about the power (and manipulation) of hope. As the study goes, rats dumped in the water and left there quickly give up and drown, but if you rescue them, let them rest, and then dump them back in the water they’ll keep trying, presumably in the hope of being rescued if they last just a bit longer.

      The story he tells does not involve a rat stirrer, but it doesn’t involve rats resting on the bottom between breaths, either.

  4. The ruthlessly efficient successor to the ruthlessly efficient KGB, the secret police of the ruthlessly efficient USSR, scored a major coup when they arrested a group of would-be Ukranian Nazi assassins!

    Items apparently recovered in the arrest (as shown in photos released by the FSB) included three copies of The Sims 3, and a shirt with a Nazi swastika that still had crease marks down the front of it. Speculation is that some FSB agent was told to get three SIMS (i.e. SIM cards) to plant at the scene of an obviously staged arrest, and the agent in question misunderstood the instructions.

      1. All indications are that the FSB really did announce it all, and release the photos at the link.


          1. The latest research from the excellent scholars at Russia Today indicates that Albert Einstein was a Nazi sympathizer, wanted the Holocaust to be completed, and lead an American conspiracy to help the Germans win the war.


            Seriously, in truth I don’t know anything for certain about what Russian official and propaganda sources are saying. From hearsay, the stuff they allegedly say is not a whole lot less absurd, risible, and self impeaching.

            A lot of the quality of modern American scholarship appears to be on the level of ‘believing’ junk like Nazi Einstein, then doing stunts like trying to ban the term ‘Einstein notation’.

            1. I saw that WA is eliminating the word “marijuana” from all official discourse because it’s racist. From the article I saw, the only mention of how it’s racist is because the politicians/bureaucrats that initially outlawed it used the word marijuana while also referring to blacks and hispanics using it. It’s supposedly of Mexican origin from the 1870s, from a pharmacological book. I’m not sure how that makes it racist exactly.

              1. Weed apparently comes from ‘Mexican Ditch Weed’.

                The old politicians could have merely been talking about the psychosis, without having words for it, and modern scholars would have no clue, and call it racist.

                It has been a talking point for decades that banning weed was racist against alien cultures who used it more frequently. Issue is, the perspective of an alien culture, outside looking in, might well be better at picking up that the pot users in a different culture might be pretty nuts.

                1. It has been a talking point for decades that banning weed was racist against alien cultures who used it more frequently

                  The prize-winner gal arguing that the term marijuana is racist says it is so because an early DEA guy pointed out it was mostly used by alien cultures.

                  …notably, the guy was hired in to the job because he’d spent years working in depth with those cultures….

              2. The federal marijuana ban was accomplished by dint of a moral panic helped along by a huge and hugely bigoted/racist propaganda campaign. That much is true.

                At least replacing that old dirty word with “cannabis” actually does make some sense (or at least doesn’t hurt anything), even if it’s for a stupid reason.

                1. It validates the idea that words have Original Sin. That in itself is harmful.

                  Does “marijuana” have racist origins? Maybe.
                  Can “marijuana” be used in a racist manner? Probably.
                  Is every use – or even most uses – of “marijuana” racist? Hell no, and anyone who believes that is a stuttering imbecile looking for a reason to look down on others.

                2. Also, Prohibition had just been repealed and the government needed something for all those soon-to-be unemployed Revnooers to do, otherwise they’d have to go find honest work. Much more politically palatable to send ’em after something that was largely (at the time) used mainly by ‘marginalized’ communities . . .

          2. I’m still amused by the idea of their “Ukraine specialists,” being told to go forth and suborn mayors and military in preparation for war and deciding, “there’s not going to be a war, everyone knows that,” and pocketing the money.

          3. I KNEW that I recognized the mess that is going on in Eastern Europe.
            They’re restaging The Producers.
            This time with real casualties.

        2. If Russia loses the war, at least their intelligence agents have a secure future as fact-checkers for Western media.

    1. Don’t forget the signed dedication on Mein Kampf from “Signature unclear” (written as precisely that)

      1. So, several explanations.

        Obviously, incompetence, too scared to think, and willful disobedience by obeying the letter of the instructions.

        Another possibility that the people giving the orders are so addicted of totalitarian house of lies stuff, that they see obviously fake evidence as a power move of some sort.

        1. Actually it may be that “Подпись Неразборчива” (signature unclear) is a Russian language in-joke. Not being Russian I don’t know, but there are some more tweets saying that it is the nickname/pseudonym of a rightwing anti-Putin Russian author.

          But it is still odd, and the “SIM” cards are still funny.

          My guess is that some FSB agent decided to play deliberately dumb to make clear that this was disinformation

          1. Perhaps he’s their equivalent of Col. Flagg from MAS*H.
            I used to wonder if Flagg was deliberately left in the field as a distraction for the competent agents.

  5. In re., your #9. No one knows nothin.

    I do like your question about net immigration. I’ve thought about that myself. Don’t have an answer and the data are crap.

    In the short run, the biggest question in the world is just how much of China’s resource stockpile is already gone, I think the answer to that might go a long way toward answering your number 10. I’m thinking it’s almost all of it.

    For myself, I wonder whether it will be Canada or South Korea that launches the world’s next banking crisis. All the smart money seems to be on China right now, but I think Canada might go first. All the signs are there and China’s crash might well be preceded by a reduction in their foreign investment, which would mean a huge capital flow out of Canada. Canada has all the signs of an impending banking crisis anyway and the probability, based on past results, is over 50% in three years. Chinese cutting buying property in Vancouver could be a trigger.

    It’s good of you to ask these questions, I’d not asked how many people are actually working. I’m pretty comfortable with the US numbers since I know how they’re calculated and how and why they’re adjusted, but I’ve been reading about the Chinese labor market and, well, everything China says is a lie including and and the. Not that it matters, they’re doomed, it’s just a question of how long it takes and how much damage they do in the dying.

    One thing you might add to your parade of doom is pension liabilities. O.M.G.

    1. The way Troodeau is going, I’d wager a little bit more on Canada being the crisis instigator. But I could be giving him too much credit.

      1. G-d willing, his general uselessness extends to being useless at screwing things uo


        1. Oh, no. F’ing things up is Turd-o’s superpower. Has mini-Castro done ANYTHING right yet?
          ‘Progressives’ believe everybody else is even stupider than they are. This explains a lot.

          1. Guy couldn’t win an election right. He got a minority government and had to make an alliance with another far-left party to hold on. Now the Canadian electorate has to wait 3 more years to give him the heave-ho.

              1. Any lamp post you try to attach Mssr Trudeau to is going to run off screaming not wanting to have to put up with such ignominy…

                1. That’s why they are bolted to the ground


                  1. I don’t know usually Lamp posts are pretty strong and tough, but maybe the Canadian ones would hold still just to be polite?

          2. Competently fscking things up would be a superpower. Mini-Castro’s performance, OTOH…

      1. There isn’t really much bribery needed. The consequences for Quebec would be… extreme


    2. Nobody is talking about pension liabilities* in the faint hope that the problem will be put off until they themselves die, having extracted maximum profit from the enterprise. Sort of like tiptoeing and whispering around an unexploded bomb.

      *: If you are talking about it, you must be an unperson, not important, soon to be excised from polite society. Wait. I am getting a note. What’s this here? Elon Musk bought Twatter? begins hyperventilating

      1. I’m pretty miffed at our state’s investment people. When I started here, up through ’02, our state pension plans were over 100% funded. Even in ’08 it they were still over 92% funded. Since ’08 the stock market has more than doubled, but our funded liability is down to 68%. WTF have they been investing in during that time?

        1. Short term bonds, they’re required to hold a lot of short term bonds and yields are really low. I also suspect you’ll see that they’ve reduced their contributions.

          The name for this is Financial Repression. It’s been policy for the last thirty years, at least. I suspect that they didn’t steal from the poor, well working class, and give to the rich on purpose — in the US at least — but that’s been the effect of their actions.

            1. Then it’s probably the bonds. You’ll find that the pension rules require a certain amount in Short term bonds and cash, these went nowhere and inflation ate what little interest they paid. Remember that ST real interest rates have been negative since 2008.

              The next thing would be changes in the life expectancy of the pool. People live longer and the medical expenses have increased faster than even the markets. What these pensions are expected to pay and who is supposed to pay them has been fairly volatile.

              Pension math is fairly simple. Given a required payout sometime in the future and an expected return over that period, how much money has to be put in now, e ^-rt. Where it gets complicated is estimating the payout and the return. They seem to have underestimated the life span and the medical expenses and overestimated returns.

              It’s all a dog’s breakfast I’m afraid.

              1. Where it gets complicated is estimating the payout and the return. They seem to have underestimated the life span and the medical expenses and overestimated returns.

                Case in point. Mom’s PERS retirement is modest $7k/year. She is not on the PERS insurance. At 87, and counting, she has way outlived the estimated PERS payout for her.

        2. Very extreme conservative investment distribution requirements. I don’t know the rules.

          Hubby was on the single employer retirement and 401(k) board, from the union side (also single employer), for 25+ years. Employer was a “Not for Profit” entity. Note, not the same as “non-profit”. Pension board members were three union, non-management, and 3 company board members (used the not-for-profit services, not management), and two from the investment firm used. Hubby learned a lot over this time. While the pension and 401(k) funds earned more dollar amounts overall, the percentage increases weren’t that great. Once we had full control over 401(k) funds, hubby has continuously earned a higher percentage annually than either the group 401(k) or pension funds ever did. He doesn’t day trade. He has a very specific strategy that limits our losses short of an Oct. 29, 1929 Black Friday that wipes out both the stock market and the banks. He learned the strategy from talking with the rotating investment professionals, assigned to the board, and the guest speakers brought in. It isn’t that the strategies he uses weren’t used by the board, but they were limited on what percentage were allowed against the funds. Which holds down earnings, which affects funded percentages.

          The pension board was limited to only the 401(k) funds when the single employer pension was forced to find a multi-employer pension. One minute they are in compliance, the next minute they weren’t, because rules changed. Two rules changed were the percentage funded required for single employer pension fund and percentage allowed to be “company stock”. Since investment of either in “company stock was 0%” (not-for-profit means company stock doesn’t exist), it was the former.

          The other item that affect funding is the pension amount per year service promised, does it apply for every year, or does it vary based on years of service (’70 – ’75 $X/year, ’75 -’80, $Y/ year, ’80 – ’90 $Z/year, ’90+ $A/year, or is it $XYZ/year regardless), and whether that applies to already retired employees (do they get a raise too). This changes the funding percentage. Since pensions do not have to be fully funded, when pension funding percentage get to higher than required, this can happen to bring the percentage funded back down (happened a few times). The other funding percentage problem is big losses, this is always bad.

          You’d have to research why your state investment team has had the funding percentage drop from 100%+ to what it is now. It may be for a good reason (pension raises) or a not-so-good reason (losses or lousy earnings).

          1. Oh. Also. Other than the professionals. No one got paid for being on the Pension Board. Which may or may not apply to other Pension Boards.

        3. Speaking of state investment people…

          A few days ago DeSantis was talking about Florida suing Twitter’s board for refusing Musk’s offer. Apparently Florida owns some shares to help fund its pension plan, so the state counts as an injured party.

          I wonder: can still be sued, or is the issue considered moot now? I wouldn’t mind seeing them punished.

      2. > “What’s this here? Elon Musk bought Twatter? begins hyperventilating”

        This should be good. You’re not the only one hyperventilating:

        There are a handful of people I follow that I’ve been wishing I could respond to. If Twitter drops the requirement to give a phone number I’d be happy to sign up now.

    3. I think a similar question applies to US resources and the very shaky US banking system..Oil production is down significantly, as fracking production has declined sharply since 2018..We are dependent on China for rare earths, and Russia, China and the Ukraine for other key minerals, and much of our fertilizer..The US doesn’t make screens or advanced chips any more…etc..

      1. The Hairball Foursome are self-rotating cats. Especially Nastycat. He has been known to rotate himself at high speed until he falls over, then spring back up and look around to see if anyone else saw him trip over his own paws.

        The others follow the ritual of once around before laying down. But I tend to think Doofus is just copying the other two. Poor Doofus of the all fluff and no brain managed to trap himself inside the wash bucket the other day. I only noticed when I heard a strangely echoing meow as I passed the shed.

        Othercat rotates people. He twines around their legs and they turn around to face him, then he winds around again. I am convinced he does this on purposed, just to mess with folks.

        Neighborcat contents himself with rotating windows. When the sunbeam moves, and he wakes up to notice the warm is gone, he picks another window to sun in. Neighborcat is solar powered.

        1. One of our not-quite-still-kittens likes to run around the carpeted pole of the cat tree, lying on his side and using the vertical pole as the “floor”.

          1. My suspicion is that cats are like like Larry Niven’s outsiders, they derive energy from being thermocouples, thus they are often found with parts of their bodies in shade, part in sun. My Wife thinks they’re just photosynthesizing naughtiness.

            1. I haven’t read any of Niven’s stuff outside of the Ringworld books, so I don’t think I’m familiar with his outsiders. But Isn’t thermocoupling a poor way to generate energy? I seem to recall it makes for a poor source of electricity, anyway.

              1. Well the Outsiders are doing it at like 20 Kelvin as they like places like Nereid (which they rent from the U.N.) so perhaps it works better at very cold temperatures. Of course solar flux on Nereid is limited. If you read Ringworld they get a mention as the Puppeters apparently have a Starseed lure that they used to bring the Outsiders to We Made It (could be wrong colony its been a while) and the outsiders sold Hyperdrive I drive to Humans allowing them to bring the Human-Kzin war to an abrupt end. Speaker To Animals hears this and gets VERY annoyed.

        2. Nasty cat sounds so much like our late Euclid. I’ll point out our house has been FAR less pissy since he’s gone. Litter box was a notional concept for him.

          1. Nastycat is probably about a year old black cat with white socks (that are always dirty) and a white bowtie looking patch on his chest. I call him the crazy cat because of his habit of rolling in rotting leaves, or muddy patches of ground, or (used to) the cooking oil runoff from the restaurant around the corner.

            He is spastic and still acts very kitten like at times. Nobody claims him that I can tell. I made sure he had his shots and has a place to come inside when it is too cold out. He makes sure that the surfaces in the house are clean of things that can be knocked over when he visits.

            Very much an outdoorsy cat, he also knows the litter box as an idea that is not necessarily for him. He very much wants to fit in with the other three. Wants to play a lot, which the older cats tolerate only occasionally.

            All four are various sorts of special needs furrballs. Nastycat is insane. Doofus is dumb. Othercat is standoffish- only tolerates certain people. Neighborcat is a cat of the old school. He has his routine, and neither snow nor hail nor four alarm fire will cause him to deviate from it. Neighborcat is the reason there are any cats left in the neighborhood, too.

            Once upon a time there was a pack of wild dogs roaming the hills up the street. Housecats that stayed outside started going missing. Complaints were made. But no one caught sight of the pack preying on pets.

            That is, until the day the pack chased one yearling black kitty cat down the street and under a porch. Young Neighborcat stayed there, hissing up a storm while the dogcatchers were called. Sadly, four outdoor cats never returned after the pack was corralled.

            Neighborcat is officially the neighbor’s cat. They also have four dogs. Neighborcat spends his days camped out on my porch since the kidlets grew up and went to college this past year, I think.

            He brings me a mouse a day, every day, for going on two years now. Sometimes the daily catch is supplemented by a snake. Or a frog. Or a bird. Or a mole. No other critters are tolerated on Neighborcat’s domain save the other three cats.

            I find the arrangement works out well for us. I don’t have mice busily trying to get at my preserves. Neighborcat gets his sunbeams and the occasional lap to nap in. He visits in the mornings while I’m writing, and offers his commentary in the form of kitty yawns. One cannot maintain excessive ego whilst in the presence of a cat of such stature.

  6. Canada has gone bat-guano crazy.
    Saw a report there are demonstrations in France. For so e reason, some folks seem to think Macron’s win was rigged…

      1. I believe that the last honest election anywhere involved all voters dipping a finger in purple ink, or so I recall.

        1. I would ink. Just sayin’. I would totally be down for inkyfingerstain. More secure elections is more secure elections.

          Buuuuut… I still think we need poll watchers. That don’t meekly trundle out of the poll room when they start blocking all the windows.

          1. Right, they call in the armed response squads who will enforce compliance. Or if they meet too much resistance, pull back and fire incendiaries into the polling/counting place until the electoral fraudsters and their foulness are cleansed from this world in a purifying blaze.

            1. Or they just lean against the wall saying “nah, I can stick around ”


        2. Just because you finger is dipped in purple, it doesn’t mean that a Buick’s trunk full of ballots can’t be found after hours.

          I put NOTHING past these people.


      2. I may need to borrow Our Hostesses shocked face… To paraphrase Mssr. Renault, “I’m shocked shocked that voting fraud is going on here…”

    1. I’m so naive and trusting.

      I thought that Macron might have won honestly, and didn’t think any further.

      1. It is possible, since Le Pen has been turned into a pretty effective bogey(wo)man. Everyone hates Macron. But the run-off system there always ends up matching Le Pen against whoever the establishment candidate is.

        1. I think Macron probably won legitimately there may have been fraud around the edges but I don’t think there was nearly enough to make a difference. If they were going to fraud the thing they’d want him to do better than 2017 not significantly worse.

          The Le Pen vote has increased steadily from under 20% in 2012 to ~30% in 2017 to 42% in 2022. That’s not a good thing for the French elites and they are legitimately scared. I don’t think she’ll stand again but I imagine she’ll dig out a successor (who won’t be her niece) who will, presuming careful vetting, be highly likely to win in 2027 or earlier if Macron crashes and burns

          Personally I have mixed feelings. If Le Pen had tried to implement her stated policies it would be a catastrophe for France and the EU – and while I want the EU to collapse I don’t want France to. Unfortunately Macron is only slightly better and has delivered on absolutely none of his 2017 campaign promises.

            1. Agreed, fraud is a concern. But the French press has done a pretty effective job of villifying both Le Pens. So there’s a fair chance that fraud isn’t deciding the presidential elections.


            2. Folks on Gab indicated a couple of oddities. One, was the classic “1 million votes for Le Pen disappearing on TV”, while another seemed to be an exploit of an election integrity measure that had a weakness.

              The latter (assuming I understood it correctly), was a measure where marked ballots were to be transported/stored in sealed bags before counting. The weakness is that if the bags were torn, the entire contents were considered spoiled and the ballots would be discarded. Do that it a Le Pen leaning district and you can eliminate some votes.

              Not sure if any of this was sufficient to have changed the outcome (the TV stuff could be anything), and with Le Pen conceding the race, ’tis moot. OTOH, Macron will have a hard time claiming the mandate from heaven…

        2. I think it was Rasmussen(?) that had a breakdown of the vote by age. Apparently it’s age based. Everyone under a certain age hates Macron, but above that age, they break as hard for him as the people below break for Le Pen.

          It could be fingers on the scale, or could be the last gasps of a major cross generation conflict.

          1. Ace was noting that they don’t really like him above that age, either. But the French presidential election has a run-off system between the top two candidates, and the voters’ fears about Le Pen outweigh their dislike of Macron. Having said that, Macron did reportedly get more votes than any other candidate during the first round of votes. If you wanted to look for a finger on the scale, that’s where I’d check first as it wouldn’t take as much work to make sure he has a respectable tally at the end of that round

        3. Macron was opposed by youth because they think he’s going to install a draft for the “European Army.”

  7. As I noted in one of the other comment sections earlier today, COVID cases have been reported in Beijing. Supermarket shelves have been cleared out as people panic over the possible government response.

    I’m thinking that it might be more problematic for Xi if there’s a total lockdown of the single most important city in the PRC, so I don’t know whether they’ll go through with it. But if they don’t, there’s going to be a lot of resentment building up among the residents of the single richest city in the PRC (i.e. Shanghai) outside of Hong Kong.

  8. Regarding your #8, How many people actually still believe in the shiboleths of big government and “experts”, I’m afraid the answer might be “way too many”. As an example, I have a buddy I got to know from two former jobs (I followed him to the second one). Since he and I share a lot of interests in common but no longer work for the same company, we meet once a month or so for breakfast on a Saturday to catch up. He knows that I read a lot of news (both mainstream and non-mainstream) and that I ascribe to what some might call “conspiracy theories”. He and I had talked about Covid many times before and after the lockdown started, and I had told him that I didn’t believe the official story was anywhere close to accurate. He and his family caught Covid in December 2020, and recovered (he described his experience as “a bad flu”.) Despite all of the above, when the “vaccine” became readily available in 2021, he got himself, his wife, and his two teenage daughters vaccinated. When he told me this I couldn’t help but blurt out “Why?” His answer was just that the government recommended it so he thought it would be best. Oh, and he didn’t want to get Covid again. shakes head

    I didn’t tell him my thoughts on his actions. For myself, I’m still unvaccinated, still haven’t had Covid (if the five times I’ve been tested resulted in anything like accurate results), and I’m still waiting to hear if the company that I work for will accept my request for an accommodation to allow me to continue to work from home, since they are not allowing unvaxxed employees to enter their offices. I figure my explanation that I am refusing the “vaccine” on religious grounds will mark me to be “downsized”, but they may have to wait a while until the project I am working on reaches a point where they can afford to get rid of me. Time will tell.

    1. I don’t know how many, and neither do you.
      Because some people make mouth-noises because they’re afraid.
      With COVID the weird thing is WHO bought into it crossed party lines all over.

      1. Yes. I sometimes worry that my sample pool is tainted because, while I live in Texas, I’m not far from Austin. Plus, the company I work for is an actual Silicon Valley tech company. The amount of left-wing bullsh!ttery that I see flung about every day as if it’s common knowledge is downright depressing.

      2. Looking at the post-mandate mask wearers (yeah, mostly very senior people, but still a cohort in their 20s-40s), it’s about 2-5% of the people drinking the COVID Kool-aid in this very red county.

        It’s few enough so that it’s jarring to see somebody in their 20s wearing one or two masks outside the medical facility mask-gulag. Even in the latter case, there seems to be some mask fatigue. Certain places don’t bug the unmasked in the waiting room…

  9. I’m working!

    Well, technically, not for another couple of months. But given that they expected the “seasonal” aspect of my job to kick in three months ago, and not actually today, this is still more work than I expected. And while my job isn’t critical, it has tangible output, which is nice.

  10. Another question is just how high is the current death rate?
    In my small town, the local funeral home has done 16 funerals as of last Saturday. 16 funerals in 23 days is not usual. I’m told the age range on the departed is fairly evenly divided among young and old.

    1. Note, not an argument.

      More a random noticed thing.

      That said– how many of the funerals were for recently departed?

      I know that I’ve heard of a lot of folks who put off funerals for going on years now, mostly via family drama over my cousins not doing that for a son who died of liver cancer.

      1. Don’t know. Know of two recent deaths, both very understandable. One was an over-80, the other was a poor guy who broke his neck jumping off a tractor that had started to roll over.
        Could very well be a random noticed thing.

        1. Certainly my Father in Laws funeral was postponed several months. He died in April ’20 (of Covid, was 80+ and in pretty bad shape to start with in a nursing home) and was not interred until October. Part of that was that he was being interred in one of the VA’s Military Cemeteries. They were having NO funerals until September of ’20 and then the backlog was about 30 days so not until October. Many of those funerals had also been postponed

    2. For one definition, the limit approaches one, as t approaches infinity.

      1. As a point of curiosity (and just fly on by if it’s too personal) how long do you spend mulling over your comments before you hit enter?

        1. Anywhere from ‘typing takes the most time, by far’ to significant fractions of a day.

          Some thoughts are simpler to sort out than others, and my mental ability is not constant.

          A lot of the decision making is impulse, whim, and intuition. Sometimes I get a simple thing, and leave it. Sometimes I make several decisions to expand a simple thing. Sometimes the shape of a big complex comment is my first inspiration, and there is a bit to work to fill things out so that they feel correct.

          For this comment, I had several ‘say more or post’ decision points, as well as a few moments of ‘is this nonsense enough that I stop, delete, and forget about replying?’. Stuff I actually post is not everything I start trying to write.

          1. I’ve been wondering for a while if our brains work the same way. It seems they might, which is either scary or exhilarating.

    3. The real question is, how many died of COVID, and how many died with COVID? Quite a bit of info is appearing on that subject, and should result in, at the very least, loss of jobs and pensions for the perps. OTOH, “a la lantern” or a new round of .45 tests would not be amiss for some (yes, Fauxi, I’m looking at you).

  11. In re: how many people.

    I trust the numbers for developed island nations (Ireland, UK, Australia, NZ, Japan). I trust the numbers are mostly right for Scandinavia and Switzerland. I somewhat trust the numbers for the rest of N Europe (France, Benelux, Germany, Visegrad 4, Baltics) – that means I think they’ll be accurate plus or minus 10% or so.

    I have no confidence in the reported numbers for anywhere else being anything other than in the right order of magnitude. I.e. I believe that China has >1 Billion but whether that is 1.00001 Billion or 1.5 Billion I do not know, ditto India. etc.

      1. LOL. I think you’ll find if you do a deep dive most of them no longer can. Maybe Japan, as they appear COMPULSIVELY honest as part of culture. (Seriously guys, you don’t need to pay me 50c royalties.) But the others? Bah.
        Remember Scandinavia and Northern Europe now have Muslim populations which will be averse to being counted and likely to fraud.

        1. With respect to compulsive honest, there was a bit of “creative” behavior in the mid ’70s in tech. As I was told by an American company, they sent a semiconductor tester to Japan. The tester had an onboard minicomputer, complete with a filled board of 4 K RAM ICs (that’s kilobits, or 4096 bits, and quite expensive, get off my lawn.)

          The Japanese company decided to return the tester, but the memory board was empty upon receipt. OTOH, this was in a period when the Japanese were really trying hard to break into the big mainframe/supercomputer business. Fast static RAM would have been useful… Hmm, does Cray computer still exist? [Looks it up, now owned by HP-Enterprise, so “sort of”.]

    1. Peter Zeihan has an interesting breakdown of the Chinese population numbers. There are the official numbers, of course, but when you look at secondary indicators like wage inflation and school enrollment, the best guess is that China’s population peaked in 2017 and will shrink by half by 2050. He’s quite frank that he’s not terribly worried about China conducting wars of expansion. His worry is Chinese civil war as the system comes crashing down. Personally, I think he’s a bit optimistic; I see a strong possibility that a war of expansion like attacking Taiwan may kick off the kind of societal breakdown that turns into a civil war. That’s what I think we’re seeing with Russia in Ukraine right now. Whatever else you want to say about Putin, and there’s plenty, he is keeping the country together. After him? Le deluge.

      1. Whatever else you want to say about Putin, and there’s plenty, he is keeping the country together. After him? Le deluge.

        I’ll put it another way around. It could be better for the world if Russia (and the PRC for that matter) collapse into civil war. It’s tough on the Russians (and the Chinese) but the rest of the world should be able to get n fie without them.. In other words we should be explicitly working towards the defeat of Russia and then working towards it breaking up into a mess of successor states.

        Aside from anything else I’d like to know whether the Russian nukes work (or not) and I’d prefer them not to nuke anywhere I care about to test that hypothesis. If Russia breaks up the chances are high that one part of the current Russia will attempt to nuke another part and we’ll see if the bombs go boom, fizz or sit there doing nothing

        1. “The Great Conjunction is the end of the world! Or the beginning. Beginning, end, all the same. Sometimes good, sometimes bad.” — Aughra, “The Dark Crystal”

          As our dear Hostess likes to point out when people talk about tearing down the institutions in this country, you don’t know what will replace them. I agree that Russia is headed for a collapse, between its impoverished and shrinking population, technological backwardness, and clear lack of military capacity. But “let’s help it break up faster” is the same kind of thinking that prompted the Kaiser to send Vladimir Lenin to Russia in 1917. That didn’t turn out too well, all things considered.

        2. Given Russian maintenance of things they thought they were gonna use, my guess is that most of their nukes aren’t any better maintained and will sit in the silos doing nothing. Or maybe just blow up there, hopefully without any fission/fusion reaction with it.

          1. Really, really unlikely an implosion device could be set off by an exterior explosion. Too many things have to happen in the right order in a few microseconds. That doesn’t mean radioactive material would not be spread over a large area but no fission.

            Maintenance is very important. Deuterium, tritium and lithium in an “H” bomb have to be replaced periodically to insure enough light elements for the second — fusion — stage. If the second stage fizzles, the material in the third stage would make an explosion very dirty. Since the first stage could inject material into the upper atmosphere, the fallout could be carried quite far before returning to Earth. Normally this is a good thing since it lets the really hot isotopes decay before reaching ground level again. In a fizzle scenario the fallout would contain mostly longer lived isotopes. Not as bad as a cobalt tamper but nothing to be taken lightly.

            Disclaimer: I am not a nuclear weapons designer but I have shared drinks and barbecue with a few.

            1. Just a note: From everything I’ve read, making a nuke actually go off is not a trivial issue; the damned things don’t want to explode, and require really sophisticated techniques and equipment. A gun-type, like the Hiroshima bomb, is relatively easy (assuming you have the required uranium), but an implosion plutonium bomb is not; the Kryton switches alone, required for sufficiently-simultaneous detonation of the implosion charges, are at the edge of technical capability of most nations, especially of the Third-World type. And as you note, thermonukes require periodic maintenance, especially tritium replacement, or they are just low-yield fission bombs. Bad enough, to be sure, but not world-killers.

              Disclaimer: I’m not a nuke engineer, nor do I play one on TV. But the info is readily available, on-line and elsewhere.

                1. We did indeed. And if I’m not mistaken, every thermonuke was/is triggered by an implosion bomb. If you want to use plutonium you have no other choice; as I understand it (but see the disclaimer above) a gun-type bomb cannot use plutonium since it would melt from the reaction heat before it could fully assemble into a supercrit mass.

                  1. That could be. I think they use lithium-6 deuteride in modern weapons and I honestly don’t know how stable it is. The lithium-6 is converted to tritium by neutron bombardment and it fuses with the deuterium.

                    Sorry, I was bit sloppy in my post.

                  2. In the Richard Rhodes A-bomb book, (AFAIK, pretty accurate, though I’m not a nuclear physicist), he made the same point about plutonium being unsuitable for the gun design, for that reason.

                    His H-bomb book gets into the lithium connection.

                    Didn’t know that the Li was in a deuteride compound. Deuterium is stable, while tritium has a 12.3 year half-life. Plenty of room for an oops with sloppy bombkeeping.

            2. The hydrogen variants yes, but lithium is stable. Li-6 should be the thermonuke isotope, but both it and Li-7 don’t decay. The other isotopes are quite unstable, with the slowest having a half-life of 0.8 seconds. Others are modeled to values like 5 x 10E-23 seconds.

              1. (crap! Put hin under the wrong comment)

                That could be. I think they use lithium-6 deuteride in modern weapons and I honestly don’t know how stable it is. The lithium-6 is converted to tritium by neutron bombardment and it fuses with the deuterium.

                Sorry, I was bit sloppy in my post.

        3. While I am skeptical about the viability of Russia’s nuclear armament, it only takes one nuke popping off in your back yard to really ruin your day.

          They have something like 7K warheads (vague recollection, too lazy to look it up 😛 ), and a lesser but still significant number of ICBMs, so even if 1% of them still work as designed the odds aren’t completely terrible for someone receiving some Instant Sunshine if some dumbass pushes The Button… and ICBMs are terrible for targeting their own launching country, but not so much targeting other countries.

      2. In Japan, I believe MITI has planned for a population decline, given the expectation of a food crisis in the next ten years…Japan imports a lot of its food…

        1. Japan imports less food than it used to. And it is basically self-sufficient on the basic carb, veggie and protein (if you count Japanese fishing boats more than half way across the Pacific to South America as local not import).

          Lots of out of season fruits and veggies are imported. Lots of cheap beef and pork is imported from Aus and US. Japan could survive without a lot of this and not starve. The diet might be monotonous and lower in some nutrients but it’s not “OMG we’re gonna starve next winter” the way it is in Arabia right now.

          If I had a spare billion dollars I’d work on Japan robotocizing more of its farming so that fewer people could grow the same amount or perhaps more crops. Japan has plenty of formerly cultivated land that is now overgrown with kudzu, bamboo and other similar weeds that could be cleared with a bit of robotic effort and once cleared it will be extremely fertile. Southern Japan (as in anywhere west and S of Tokyo basically) can grow two crops of rice/grain a year but generally doesn’t do it on a lot of land – though many farmers round here do 1 crop rice, 1 crop soba or 1 crop winter wheat, 1 crop rice per year on some of their land as part of a crop rotation strategy

  12. I don’t know.

    Honestly, I don’t.

    I’m too busy trying to keep myself afloat, hoping that I’ll get my degree in a month or two without too much stress. Deciding if I’ll hit the local cons for Memorial Day. Working a month then getting my act together to get onto Covered California for my medical. Going back to the gym and getting back into shape. Trying to figure out how to cold-call enough customers to get our office busy enough so that we can turn my “full time” job into a full time job. And without giving myself headaches from eye strain.

  13. For everyone’s listening pleasure, inspired by the blog title.
    Caution, might be marginally unsafe for work.

    1. Sorry, did not realize this was flagged on YouTube. It’s not terrible, just a bit naughty, but if you take it down it won’t hurt my feelings.
      Anyone cares it’s Nashville songstress Casey Jones rendition of “Down to my Christmas underwear.”

  14. This all has me thinking about propaganda BS detector vs confirmation bias. We all lament the curse of confirmation bias, but it is just the opposite side of the coin from the sniffer for BS. Use it to open your eyes, not close them, but remember it serves a real purpose for us and others.

  15. I’m not extremely worried about the Federal Government collapsing, simply because we are a federation of states. Lose the whole top level, and the individual states will take over quickly. For some definition of quickly. But the mechanisms of government already exist, and a lot of the physical necessities are present in each state.

    All it will take is the central states all agreeing to hang together and keep the roads open. Food and fuel getting delivered, and all the bordering states will join in. Mind you, in the mean time all the blue cities will be . . . hopefully short of cannibalism.

    1. Southwest supplies fuel, Midwest supplies meat and grain, Southeast supplies poultry, textiles, and seafood. Blue cities, coastal West, and New England can pound sand because that will be all they have.

        1. Much more of the rural land in New England was once farmed, rather than forested. It became uneconomic due the competitive advantage conveyed upon the Midwest, South, and Mid-Atlantic states by the more temperate climate and more fertile lands. With some ramp up time they could be farmed once again, even if the Greens would be busy squawking “Oh, no, will nobody think of the poor trees!”

          1. Much of that ramp up would consist of pulling stumps and picking rocks, both quite labor intensive. And the result would be small fields with poor soil not at all suited to modern industrial farming.
            And I would guess three to five years before the yields would be much above subsistence level.

    2. For that matter, the mechanisms of federal government exist in each state– it would be like trying to shatter water.

  16. …unless you go to war wearing a kilt then they’re nothing worn underneath. Everything is in perfect working order. 😉

      1. When at war and under attack, you grab your weaponry first, your clothes after. So you may, at any time, find yourself without underwear.

      1. I dinnae know where ya been Laddie but I see ya won First Prize !

        a lovely song 🙂

    1. If you want to know just how badly things have been rigged against us, just check out the wails of anguish from certain quarters about the prospect of a social media platform allowing free speech.

      1. It is apparently my turn to go doomer again.

        I think this Twitter purchase is overhyped. My argument for that is “Maybe the Democrats will generally self destruct, well before he does anything specific at Twitter.”

        1. “Doomer”? Let’s see… Alternative 1, Musk does something to allow real free speech, instead of the ersatz variety pushed by the lefties. Alternative 2, before he can do anything substantive, the Dems self-destruct and make the issue moot.

          OK, so I’m waiting for the downside alternative… 🙂

      2. Also notice that Twitter has been trying to burn its records and the billows of smoke betray all. Suddenly people are seeing other people’s tweets and gaining followers.

  17. On a completely different tangent, been reading the Wheel of Time books. They’re good, but I find myself wondering, did anyone else find themselves constantly wanting to blink the boys’ heads together?

    I’m wondering if this is a function of my own age, reading the prequel first and coming in actually knowing the older characters, or just the absolute black-hole density bone-headedness they seem to exhibit?

    1. My son’s were the same age as the characters in question when I was reading the books.

      It seemed all too real as far as characterization goes.

      Talk about boneheads.

      And yet. And yet, they have gone on to raise families and become productive members of society. I don’t know if men generally realize how stupid they are at certain ages until they see their sons at that age.

      I’d gloat but girls that age are even dumber.

      Good thing too or we’d have died out as Species long ago.

      1. From the girls perspective. I agree.

        I’ve said this before.

        Scout — “How come the scout leaders know what we are going to do before we do?”
        Me — “Because pretty sure they were once 11 – 18 year old scouts.” Who are not allowed to share some stories from when they were scouts. Giving current scouts ideas is soooo not allowed.

        1. Soooo much this. (Though I will admit that my son’s troop is pretty well under control, because the adults encourage hyper-scheduling on the part of the leading scouts. And if they’re having fun doing sanctioned activities, they’re usually too busy to figure out unsanctioned activities.)

          1. “if they’re having fun doing sanctioned activities, they’re usually too busy to figure out unsanctioned activities”

            FIFY – Gotta put the proper emphasis where it belongs.

            After all, all it takes is a Left turn when all they have to do is make a circle to the Right … Only this case it was something the adult leadership didn’t expect, and it was the scout top leadership making the mistake. It was a mistake, not planned. Second mistake, once realized they made the first one, was to stay put. OTOH despite disagreement, they stayed together and got out of being lost, together. Note, not a new campsite. This area is the go-to-first-campout short of going to camp baker for the first spring camp out for new cub to BSA.

            Intent to give junior leadership experience. Adult leadership keeping new scout parents busy. Plus give top scout leadership some independence, in a safe known location with a campfire tale to tell (spying on camp setups). Back fired spectacularly. Came out okay. But the scoutmaster had a panic attack later in the week. Didn’t help me any either. An outing I wasn’t on. Hubby (dad) was. Emergency protocol was triggered, but resolved before SAR could mobilize out of town, let alone onsite (an area where SAR was mobilized 13 years prior, not scouts, the outcome was not good). The call I got? “Troop has 5 boys missing and yours is one of them. M says: Do. Not. Drive. Out.” The ONLY camp out that was cut short. And no, the 3 of the 5 who made Eagle, got to hear about it as part of their scouting history. By then everyone was laughing about it. But at the time, it was soooo not funny.

            Scouts are just too inventive. No matter how over scheduled they are, they will figure something out.

            Honestly, based on some of the units we’ve crossed backpacking on trails? I’m surprised scouts aren’t in the news more often. Prepared? I guess. But they sure didn’t know the distance they were covering. It is the little stuff that counts.

            1. I’m a Hiking merit badge instructor, and I’m doing the badge with another instructor… who happens to be former firefighter and backcountry medical type.

              I know the horror stories, and I know why they happened, and, well, there’s a certain amount of initiative for planning hikes that gets shot down. “Nope, we’re not doing that one. That’s in summer.”

              1. They 5 did NOT get credit for the unscheduled 10 mile hike into the wrong drainage. They walked to the nearest road, found the first driveway and house. Knocked. Owner knew exactly (Eagle Scout from area) where they were suppose to be. Drove them there. Picked up the adults on the ridge above the camp posted to keep council and troop home contact informed (cell coverage non-existent as camp sits in a hole, in an area where coverage is spotty at best). Oh, pouring down rain. Not only did the 5 stick together, they were 100% dry, under the wet rain gear.

                I don’t know the timing, but I think the entire process went from “Oh crap, make the call.” Once they’d figured out what had to have happened. To solved, in < 45 minutes. At least two adult leaders, my husband included, remembered this was the area where the 12 year old from the rancher family doing fall round up had gotten lost, and ended with a bad outcome. My hubby and I because it happened when our son was only 4 months, and when I started back to work 5 months after that, the company I went to work for, still participated in looking for him (timber field personnel).

                I know the horror stories, and I know why they happened

                Exactly. This was NOT suppose to be a hike. It was suppose to be skulking around in the meadow, around brush, to spy on camp setup. A tale for campfire. They could not get lost! I mean, one of my responses to the emergency contact caller was “How in the hell did they do that?” (Rational response? No. Point?) I’d been in that camp before. Multiple times. Well okay, if they took a left over the ridge (no climbing needed for “scouting mission”) and into the trees … Well dang it, just exactly what they did.

      2. There is a tremendous amount of story fodder based around boys being girl-dumb and girls being boy-crazy, and each fuming about how the others’ are being morons, isn’t there?

        I’m also reminded of how Athos ends up looking different from the perspective of different ages and genders too.

      3. I was musing today that I’d rather teach in an all-boys school than an all-girls school. Boys are a bit more predictable in terms of conflicts and mischief. And mellower about letting go after a fight.

  18. Known knowns, 1) corrupt, incompetent, dishonest politicians and government officials must go; 2) devolution, decentralization, and incrementalism are the way ahead. Side note, plant a vegetable garden, use a clothes line on sunny, dry days.

  19. We just got back from a Bourbon Tour in the Lexington area. Everyone is drinking bourbon, world wide, and Kentucky is booming. There are cranes at every skyline and 18-wheelers driving the leftover mash out to the cattle farms in convoys. Everyone was smiling, even the ladies who were dipping the bottle necks into the wax. Restaurants were packed. If the federal government stopped working tomorrow, the distillers would probably burst into chortles of glee.

    What if they threw a government collapse party and nobody came?

    1. I spent this last Sunday at the Great American Airshow at Randolph AFB – the first time they have had such an event in two years. There may have been half a million people getting to the base, to sit and watch the show or tour the static aircraft displays. They had the Budweiser Clydesdales there, the AF Thunderbirds put on a show at the end of a four-hour long airshow each day Saturday and Sunday – and in all of that crowd, I only saw maybe four people in masks. We were supposed to mask up for the shuttle bus rides between the parking area and the ramp where the event was staged, but no one did. It was a wonderful show, everyone seemed cheerful and festive, and I would guess that at least another half a million were watching it from roadsides, parking lots and yards outside the base. Such a nice change to normal!

          1. The high-tech stuff is impressive, but B-17s and P-51s…those are wonderful. Thanks!

    2. So booming they built a Buc-ee’s just south of Lexington, which I believe opened up last week. I am so stopping there the next time I’m down that way!

  20. I know things are crazy in China, but this is beyond words:

    And then this:

    But I had a thought. What if…. What if they’re dealing with a new strain? They don’t want to admit it, but it would explain why they are so crazy. Of course, setting provincial officials an impossible task (stopping a respiratory virus) with a set deadline, would do the same thing.

    1. Just remember, everything is deadlier in China. When your nutrition is lousy and breathing the air is the equivalent of a pack a day, anything respiratory will *suck*

      1. OH.

        Slight tangent, but there was a report which came out yesterday that a particular drug reduced the impact of COVID up to 2/3, and it is a common pharmaceutical. Which my husband takes regularly for his asthma. (To avoid getting this flagged, it’s commonly known as being very close to the word singular.)

        He’s pretty sure we all got a COVID strain last year at some point before the vaccines became available, and because of his impaired lung function, he was worried—but it’s entirely possible that we got it, and it was the stuff he was taking for his impaired lung function that kept it from being more than two weeks of dragging along tired.

        1. yeah. That helped get me off continuous asthma attacks. OTOH I have the extreme side effect of horrible suicidal depression. It only hits like 0.02% of people, but of course it hit me.

        2. Is that OTC now? I used to take it in the ’90s. I’ve seen the other one “F*” on the shelf, but haven’t needed either for a long time.

          $SPOUSE and I seemed to have gotten the coof in March 2020. PCR tests weren’t available to Deplorable counties at the time, but the symptoms and after effects are consistent with it.

          We used acetaminophen for the temps and Kirkland mucus tabs (guaifenesin, not time released a’la Mucenix) to get the crud out. Two weeks or so–the curve flattened us, but we did OK, eventually.

          (Glances at paste acquired at the farm and ranch store, just in case…)

    2. I would be willing to bet you dollars to donuts that this is just stupidity. The god emperor has said there will be no WuFlu so no WuFlu will there be. he’s willing to burn the whole thing down rather than change his view.

      It is “interesting” that the part of Beijing that is being locked down is where the wealthy live. Much like Shanghai, the potential opposition to god emperor Xi is the wealthy princelings and he’s managing to suppress them fairly well. If I have the time,I’m going to try and map the lockdown pattern to a map of the different faction’s power base. I think it would be revealing.

      Oh, they’re building warehouses on the outskirts of all the major cities to make sure there will be no interruptions of supply. I guess it’ll replace all the warehouses and grain silos that have burned down recently just before they were to be inspected.

      1. Back in the day people used to call it a friction fire, meaning the mortgage papers and the insurance papers rubbed too hard together. (Or Jewish lightning.) I wonder what the Chinese term is for “strange accident just before Inspector General arrives to check the books”?

      2. While I’m not opposed to burning the PRC down, especially if the ChiComs do it to themselves, I’d feel bad about the collateral damage and the innocents caught in the mix.

    3. In a communist regime in ordinary times, everything is lies but sometimes there is a pattern from which information can be extracted.

      When the officials are panicked enough with fear of regime collapse, it is also all lies, but extracting anything rationally from the mess is random chance, not anything reliable.

      For the past some number of years, I’ve classified the PRC as being in that category, at least when my memory is work.

  21. Headline of the day: Google down one Twitter. GOOG missed revenue expectations, badly.

    There’s a rumor, just a rumor and a wild@ss one at that, that they smashed TSLA today to force a margin call on Musk. Oh, and Moody’s has TWTR on watch for downgrade. Exactly what is supposed to have happened to cause that is interesting but do remember that Moody’s is an extension of the FRB and a key part of the borg.

    They’re not even pretending anymore

  22. So, is Kindle Unlimited about to become “Kindle limited to people with the right views”:

      1. Better money elsewhere, I hope?

        We like Sarah having money. Secure Sarah is writing Sarah…

        1. No. KU is paying less and less, and I think I know why. The reads are getting lousier, tot he point even in fan fic, I’ve been having to buy. I’m not sure why.
          BUT anyway, I might be about to go wide.

          1. I was only briefly tempted with maybe one book or two, for a month or two – to go with KU. It didn’t seem to me to really pay, not when I had a bunch of reader fans who weren’t on kindle, and Amazon’s terms were KU-only.

            1. Several writers of episodic fic (mostly litRPGs) from SH and RR have gone through Patreon and KU. From what I’ve been able to gather from that end, if you already have a dedicated audience you can, maybe, bring some of them to KU.

              Metrics average (from a stupidly small sample size, so take it with a whole shaker of salt) are 1 patreon to 100-500 follows and a similar proportion buys the book from Amazon. Those with around a hundred thousand follows can do even better than that ratio, too.

              Patreon is not a safe option for those who hold opinions that cause REEEE from the usual suspects. I don’t know the throughput for Subscribestar or Paypal donations from the bigger grossing authors, but a few (like, 3) of the top authors are pulling in low six figures a month between Patreon and KU.

              That isn’t likely for low midlisters in niche genres (like the one I’m still scribbling at). Like, at all. There’s an audience for episodic fiction out there, as Kindle Vela indicates and existing Patreon authors prove. Brandon Sanderson’s big Kickstarter splash wasn’t the first book I’d seen there (and backed), but I think it lit a fire under a lot of bottoms.

              Anybody think we can get Elon Musk to buy out Amazon once it starts to tank? The platform itself ain’t bad, but the politics and the nutjobs will sink it before too long if things keep going the way they have been lately.

            2. While I have an Amazon account (duh), I am not on KU. I have the Kindle PC and Phone Apps. I do not Buy much on Kindle. The Bookbub “Free” options. I broke down and bought the DragonSong 3 book series. I am on Nook.

            3. I got out of the public library habit when I moved to California–the libraries in San Jose sucked raw eggs, and my own collection on some topics seriously outweighed SJ Main’s. Shame, since I lived at our suburban town’s village’s (TPTB insisted on that designation, no idea why) library for several years as a kid. So, no inclination to join KU.

              If a book strikes me as interesting, I’ll buy. At times, I’ll buy the series before getting into the first book. Ebooks make voracious reading less expensive, though I’ve pushed it at times… OTOH, I have a hard limit of $9.99, with a preference of $4.99.

              1. I do the same. I’ll look up the $.99 or free first of series. If I can then get a bundle for < $10. I might bite. As far as single ebook purchases, I’ve gotten really, really, picky. A few long term series, some coming to an end soon over next few years, I sigh and fork over. Just because I read a series doesn’t guaranty I’ll get into another series of the author. I have almost 1800 book in my Nook collection alone; less than a dozen Kindle. I re-read, a lot.

          2. Going wide helps protect against Amazon. And boosts other venues so they are better alternatives.

      2. From KU specifically or Amazon in general.

        I meant in general more than KU specifically…the discussion is their lack of control over the content of self-published books.

            1. I think they do. What they’re doing is more and more people are going wide, and eventually the power will move.
              Look, it’s not even political. Their calculation of pages was always somewhat opaque, but now it pays bloody nothing.
              I went KU because I got about half the price of a book for reads. This worked, because some people would try me/read because I was there. This means when I had a new release, I’d make half in sales and half in reads.
              I started noticing this changing with Rhodes. I made – I think. Haven’t checked recently, 14k in sales, and $140 in reads. Same number of reads as previous books.
              I can make that from B & N and Kobo and Apple (I’ll go draft to Digital) and I don’t need to be exclusive.
              The effect of this is felt as a reader. I was telling Dan we should cancel KU membership, because I realized part of the reason I’ve been reading only fanfic, more or less, is that it’s the ONLY decent reads anymore.
              I mean, there will be a few that are still decent under KU, but 90% of it is what used to be under “free” or 99c reads on Amazon.
              So, I’m going to take my books out of KU sometime in May, and run sales.
              (I will run sales before the time runs out, so I get full share.) And then I’ll run sales Nov. Dec. for people who can’t afford the full price.
              Because I suspect KU is canibalizing sales, and not paying me.
              Now as everything that is in publishing, KU will still work for some genres and subgenres. If I get the Austen fan fic factory going again (Back when I did an average of a short novel a month, for relaxation ;)) that will be KU. And Dark Sarah will remain KU.
              And I’ve seen the backlash agains

              1. Thanks for posting this; I’d gotten the feeling KU returns were going sharply downhill, but I’ve been too busy trying to make rent and groceries to crunch the numbers the way you have.

                Noting to get out of KU and do the research on other places to publish. Thud Why does everything have to happen when I’m already up to my eyeballs in trouble and tired….

            2. Remind me to blog on this at MGC tomorrow (I’m taking Kate’s turn till she can come back. But I have forgotten several weeks. Life has been interesting.)

    1. So my wife follows a lot of independent romance & erotica writers, because she is working to become one. A lot of the established ones, and not-so-established ones, have taken their works “wide” because Amazon is so capricious with what content is allowed and what isn’t. A single mis-step on the author’s part can get not only one work but all of their catalog banned from Amazon. Facing that threat, going wide is only sensible.

    2. I think they’re messing with the algorithms. This Matt Walsh thing is only the tip of the iceberg, I think. I dropped out of KU again, last month. Now, most of my recommendations are kindle unlimited books.

  23. Huh. Funny.

    I just now managed to make a weird format comment in ‘eating our seed corn’.

    1. WDPE is up to its usual tricks again. We’re having to learn all the new goblins they’ve put into the system with the automatic conversion of certain symbols and suchlike. Formatting randomly getting strange does not surprise me too much, considering.

  24. Occurs to me that one way to get semi-decent data for number of children would be from school districts.

    They have no more than so many students per teacher, right? And also no fewer than so many? So you could get an estimate within those limits for your district based on how many fifth grade teachers you have, and figuring that home schoolers make up a hidden up-to-twenty-percent more, you’d have a fair floor for population.

    I don’t know the numbers, but let’s say they’re allowed twenty-five to thirty-five students. If you’ve got five fifth grade teachers, than you have at least 125 fifth graders, and no more than 175 in that district. We know 125 is low, because there are surely some home schoolers around, but we can be pretty sure that there are no fewer than 125 fifth graders in your district. You might be able to add in private schools’ numbers as well.

    1. It is a good way to check numbers. And they keep track of who is homeschooling too. At least in SD the school board has to issue an exemption. They MUST issue an exemption and no exceptions allowed. But they know, for the most part, who is out there.

      So. One reason I know that the supposedly high numbers of people are moving into our area are not on the up and up. Our school district numbers are flat AND the numbers of homeschooling students are rising slightly but not that much. We don’t expect a greater need for student computers next year.

      Not compared to all the new construction going on. So it must be all vacation homes and investment properties.

      People are freaking out about all the new people moving in but I haven’t seen any. Just new housing with no one actually living in them.

  25. Odd news regarding Transnistria. Moldova is a tiny country on Romania’s eastern border. It was part of Romania in 1940, when the USSR demanded the country be handed over. Or else. When the USSR collapsed, Moldova went it’s own way, and started strengthening it’s ties with Romania. It would be unsurprising if Romania ended up peacefully absorbing the smaller country.

    However, the eastern sliver of Moldova is an autonomous region called Transnistria. There are more Russian speakers here than elsewhere in the country, though they are still a minority. The autonomous government is close to Russia, and backed by Putin’s government.

    News lately is that someone has been conducting various attacks on Transnistria government buildings and infrastructure. No one has been hurt so far, but the government has been announcing that the attacks are being conducted by Ukrainian saboteurs. Usually using Russian (and also Transnistrian) weapons, no less. One attack (this time supposedly with NATO mines dropped by drones) just happened to take place while a pro-Russian blogger was present to document the attack.

    Further, a Russian general just reportedly gave a speech in which he talked about the second phase of the war with Ukraine, in which a land bridge would be created to allow Russian troops to support Transnistria (Ukraine is between Russia and the autonomous region). One key problem with this, of course, is that Russia’s attempt to create this land bridge isn’t going smoothly. So why bring it up?

    Another issue, though, is that my attempts to find a primary source on this speech came up empty. Admittedly, I didn’t look that hard. But when a blog post links to the Washington Post, which quotes from the speech without identifying the Post’s source, I start to wonder a bit. I doubt a Russian general would be sending transcripts to the Washington Post.

    So what’s going on? Are the quotes accurate? And if so, why bring it up when the war with Ukraine is still not doing so well?

    1. Putin recently made some kind of speech about how Moldova better watch out, because how dare they say nice things about Ukraine.

      Transnistria is also spelled “Transdniestria,” because it’s the area “across the Dniester.” (Not exactly the most romantic naming pattern, I know….)

      1. Makes sense since that’s pretty much what it is. It’s the part of Moldova that’s across the Dniester from the rest of the country.

      2. Like the similarly-lyrical Transleithania, which also falls so trippingly from the tongue.

          1. Time to revisit Scott Adams’s policy of nuking countries with hard-to-pronounce names out of existence to make discussing world events easier?

    2. I will be utterly unsurprised if we see columns of Russophone Transnistrians being sent across Ukraine and dumped somewhere in Russia. Though I also suspect we’ll see a ton of Russophone Transnistrians busily learning Romanian and saying they want to be part of Moldova as it rejoins Romania.

      We may well see the same in/from Crimea BTW. I don’t think Russia is going to be able to keep it either.

      1. I suspect that if Russia believes it seriously might lose Crimea, it’s going to go into panic mode. That’s their base for the Black Sea Fleet.

        1. Yep. And Sevastopol is a mere 200 miles as the missile flies from Odessa and probably not that defensible on the land side. If Ukraine decides they want it after they have defeated the Russian army in the Donbas and around the Sea of Azov they can probably get it. Not to hard to besiege a la Mariupol.

      1. It’s a dummy comment, just so somebody can check the little ‘Notify me of new comments via email.’ box at the bottom. They can be annoying AF when you think there’s a new comment and it’s just ‘c4c’. Why can’t they do that in the course of posting a real comment?

          1. I post a C4C as soon as I read the blogpost, then read the comments already there. That way I am sure not to miss anything.

        1. In my case it’s because I use a separate email for subscriptions than I do for posting here and I don’t want my avatar changed when I make actual comments. I figure keeping the same avatar makes me easier to recognize.

          As for why I use separate emails, it’s because I was posting here long before I started using subscriptions.

  26. One statistic I’d like to see is the male/female imbalance, per country and in the world. China is unbalanced toward men, so is India I think. Muslim countries too? The only place I’ve heard to be unbalanced toward women is Russia.

    1. Population pyramids would show that…

      Not sure how accurate this site is, but they do have numbers:

      Ouch, because Russia does have more women…but they’re like 50 and over, and are listed as balanced for reproductive age.

      The site guesses men as more common up until 45, then about 65 women become more common… USA ties up at 35….

      Oooh, down at the bottom on the World page, they’ve got a link to “sex ratio at birth,” you can mouse over countries to see, and lists it at the bottom. Lowest listed rate for a country is 102 boys born for every girl, and China, Azerbaijan, Armenia, India, Vietnam and Georgia are all over 110 per 100 girls born.

      For what it’s worth, it’s know that women carrying male offspring miscarry more often than those carrying female offspring, and that rate goes up with stress or health issues, and male infants are much more likely to have health issues. (The NICU near you would really like some boy themed blankets and clothes, I’ll bet. I know ours has tons of cute pink stuff, and very little blue, red, orange, or green.)

      Boys are also infamously more likely to get themselves killed, especially once they become teens and there’s a cute girl watching.

      If you DID find some place that has more female children born, than male ones? Look for MASSIVE disasters going on.

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