Thursday, 13 February 2014

08:24 – It’s currently sleeting, on top of about six inches (15 cm) of snow. More frozen precipitation is forecast through this afternoon, shifting from sleet and freezing rain back to snow. There’s been zero traffic on our street since before we took Colin out last night.

Colin isn’t used to snow in significant amounts. When I took him out early this morning, he was obviously surprised when he stepped down off the porch and his legs sunk deep into snow. He tried making snow paws, but even that didn’t keep him on the surface of the snow. I just walked him halfway down the block and he kind of staggered at each step. As I just said to Barbara, we won’t yell at him if he has an accident in the house today. There’s enough snow on the ground that if he tries to squat he’ll be squatting his nethermost regions into the snow. Talk about freezing one’s testicles off.

All of the schools and many businesses are closed today, but Barbara’s law firm doesn’t close no matter what. So she’s taking a vacation day today, and will just watch TV and work on kit stuff.


09:29 – I just got email from someone who’d ordered some chemicals from Elemental Scientific. When they arrived, he found that the cap was cracked on a bottle of concentrated sulfuric acid, and wanted advice about how to proceed. So I replied to him and then carried a box of chemicals that arrived yesterday from Elemental Scientific down to my lab. I unpacked the stuff, including a couple liters each of reagent-grade concentrated hydrochloric, nitric, and sulfuric acids and 30% hydrogen peroxide. No leaks, thank goodness.

46 thoughts on “Thursday, 13 February 2014”

  1. Hi Bob,
    Just grab a shovel and scoop out an area where he can do his business. Just beware of the yellow snow later…

    Cheers, Rod

  2. No. I put my foot down, although Barbara and our vet, Sue Stephens (both of whom, I’ll note, are women) argued strenuouly in favor. The truth is that there are diseases such as testicular cancer that occur only in or are more common in unneutered male dogs, but the converse is also true. Lifetime morbidity and mortality are almost identical in neutered versus unneutered male dogs. I consider routine neutering of male dogs as similar to tail or ear docking. Yes, as Sue and Barbara point out, neutered male dogs are less likely to roam or to get in fights and are unable to breed litters, but I pointed out that the same is true for human males and that even radical feminists do not advocate routine neutering of human males.

  3. and that even radical feminists do not advocate routine neutering of human males.

    I am not so sure about that statement. I have had a high suspicion for quite a while now that neutering of human males is the next step in the War on Male Children. The ADD medicine is not achieving their goals quickly enough so the next step is …

  4. We are at 53 F now and climbing to 61 F here in the Land of Sugar. Not a cloud in the sky and 74 F predicted for tomorrow. I am sure that I will be turning on the air conditioners very soon. Living next to the world’s biggest hot tub does have some benefits.

  5. 31 here and no sign of snow yet, although the sky has that typical look of “Yeah mofos, it’s coming!” We laugh and proceed as usual; nothing closes. Mrs. OFD’s employers down in Mordor are closed, of course, though, which means between that and the Presidents Day holiday coming up they will screw up everybody’s pay checks again, which will then be very late, again. The least competent people are put in charge of payroll and accounting, evidently. And whenever one of them is sick or takes a vay-cay day, the shit grinds to a halt immediately and no one picks up the slack, ever.

    The weather liars have us at Weather Warning status and now calling for six inches to a foot of snow, after which we’ll have the usual howling Siberian winds to ice it all over very nicely and plunge the wind-chill temps down well below zero. Whatevuh.

  6. All of the schools and many businesses are closed today, but Barbara’s law firm doesn’t close no matter what.

    I’ve worked for a few companies like that. General opinion from management is that just because it’s bad weather where we live doesn’t mean it’s bad weather where our clients live and since they pay the bills we WILL be open. I even had one boss that would get in his 4×4 and go pick up anyone that didn’t want to drive in the snow/ice.

  7. That particular philosophy clearly does not fly with the Fed Leviathan.

    And one just has to laugh hysterically when Dear Leader includes some drivel in his SOTU speech about the huge gulf between rich and poor here right after he gets back from his extended Hawaiian vay-cay and the Mooch is spending $120k on a dress again that makes her look…no I won’t even go there.

    One then also has to realize that as wealthy as they are, clearing well over $12-million now since they entered the WH with only a couple of mill, they are still veritable paupers compared to the zillionaires and old money that runs this show.

  8. Yeah, Barbara’s firm is like that, which is actually reasonable given that they have something like 15 or 20 offices around the country. I think what Barbara resents is that the attorneys and paralegals can work from home but her job isn’t suited to that. So she has to take a vacation day.

    As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten a lot more cautious about driving under winter conditions. For a few years after we were married, we used to go out in my Jeep CJ7 and pick up doctors, nurses and other hospital staff on days they couldn’t get in to work themselves and deliver them to the hospital. Nowadays, there’s no way I’d risk that.

  9. even radical feminists do not advocate routine neutering of human males

    Probably true if you’re referring only to public forums. I suspect you are incorrect when it comes to private conversations among true believers.

    the Mooch is spending $120k on a dress again that makes her look…no I won’t even go there

    OK, I will.

    … like a wendigo in a dress?

    whenever one of them is sick or takes a vay-cay day

    I call it taking a vaca day when the stupid cows just bag on coming to work, don’t have anything set up to cover for their absence, and don’t care about who gets screwed over when something can’t get done.

    I also call it “spend the day looking for a new job”, but that’s just me.

  10. Hey Bob, you predicted this a while back, “Europe Considers Wholesale Savings Confiscation, Enforced Redistribution”:
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-02-12/europe-considers-wholesale-savings-confiscation-enforced-redistribution

    “”The Commission will ask the bloc’s insurance watchdog in the second half of this year for advice on a possible draft law “to mobilize more personal pension savings for long-term financing”, the document said.”

    “Mobilize, once again, is a more palatable word than, say, confiscate.”

    Why do I think that the so-called 1% have already protected themselves against this?

  11. Of course, broadcasting never has snow days, either. One year back in the ’70’s, we had a huge blizzard in Indy, but I got home before the brunt. Did not matter; the station sent a National Guard truck out to pick me up and deliver me to the station (one of those that has wheels on the front and treads in the back). Nobody was going anywhere for several days that time. Fortunately, there was a Holiday Inn 2 doors down from the station back then, but it is gone now. Not sure what they do in those instances nowadays. Our station was owned by Dun & Bradstreet at the time, which is (or was) such a super-cheap damned company that they made us pay for the rooms, then get reimbursed, instead of just setting up a direct company bill for the rooms—which the sales staff had, anyway.

    Part of the reason I am more concerned about driving these days, is that there is one whale of a lot more traffic out than there was back in the ’60’s/’70’s. When I was teaching my son to drive, I was concerned that we seemed to have too many close calls. But I realized that the reason I never had those, was because there was no traffic around back in the ’60’s when I first started driving. During the accompanied driver period, I went with him every day from Melrose to his summer job as an MDC lifeguard at the beach in Winchester, and that part of Boston has many routes that empty onto busy streets with no traffic lights, only stop signs. Tricky driving, even for the experienced, but dangerously so for a beginner. Our driver-ed cars at high school, had a brake pedal for the instructor, which also disengaged the accelerator. Wish I had had that on our car.

  12. It’s 11:19 February 14 in Beijing and about 19 degrees F. We went to the Great Wall yesterday. It was cold with blowing snow. It is so cold and dry here that the snow wasn’t slippery. We climbed up to several guard towers on the wall. It was cold, but amazing. The pollution here is astoundingly bad and has been for the past few days. Yesterday on the wall to the Wall it looked like it was foggy until our son pointed out that it was too dry for it to be fog. What we saw as fog was pollution.

    We head home Sunday. Non stop from Beijing to Vancouver and then a short, one hour flight to Portland. It’s been in the 50’s in Portland.

    Rick, currently in GMT +8

  13. 24 here in northwestern Vermont and snow falling steadily; weather liars now predicting ten to sixteen inches, total. We shall see.

    Happy Saint Valentine’s Day, y’all!

    Don’t forget yer honey! Or else…

  14. And people wonder why Switzerland doesn’t want to be part of the EU.

    The European Commission is a collection of fruitcakes. So far, at least, the EU Parliament has had more common sense than to listen to the Commission.

  15. Fruitcakes, yes, but also with a good sprinkling of Marxists and totalitarians.

    The EU has zero political legitmacy. When the citizens of a country vote not to join the EU, they just keep holding more referenda until they can arrange the vote to come out the way they want it. If an honest vote were held today, I suspect every current member of the EU, including Germany, would vote to withdraw.

    As I’ve been saying, one can delay the inevitable for a while if one is willing to pay the price. That price has become increasingly high, and the inevitable is nearing. The recent German court ruling made it abundantly clear that Germany isn’t going to pay the bills when they come due, nor is Germany going to allow the ECB to inflate the currency nor bail out sovereigns using German money. That castrates the ability of the ECB through OMT to stop the next market attack on the sovereign and bank debt of the Southern Tier, which means that the next crisis is very likely to be the last, resulting in a domino effect as more and more national economies collapse and nations leave the EU and the euro.

  16. “…which means that the next crisis is very likely to be the last, resulting in a domino effect as more and more national economies collapse and nations leave the EU and the euro.”

    And the dollar.

  17. I thought Switzerland didn’t want to join, as it would have to give back all that Nazi gold? 🙂

  18. The U.S. has a shit-load, still, of Nazi gold, tons of it, in fact, and the Germans want it back now; we’re stalling them off ’cause it’s already gone, of course.

  19. Well, that would explain why the US hasn’t joined either, then. I sort of expect it, with the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania being such a avowed Marxist.

  20. I’m still waiting for that FIRST country to back out of the EU. I’m going to win on this one. There will be no EU collapse; the euro is right now appreciating against the dollar and nearly every other world currency. Moreover, you are going to see a union between the US, Canada, and Mexico in our lifetimes.

  21. Moreover, you are going to see a union between the US, Canada, and Mexico in our lifetimes.

    Canada just balanced their budget so I do not see that happening. Mexico is a freaking disaster, even we, the USA, could not make it worse.

    On the other hand, this could be a trigger event for the Second North American civil war.

  22. Kanaduh ought to know better than to link up with us like that; in the sorta distant future, after the breakup of the whole North Murkan enchilada, there will be more formal political, economic and social links between various provinces and various neighboring states. Mexico? You gotta be kidding; a failed state, a disaster. Lynn lives right down near there and oughta know; Mrs. OFD has been to various towns along the border where she can look right across and see the wasteland squalor; not to mention all the reports of the narcotrafficantes running the country with ex-spec ops troops and ex-cops. We’d be far better off linking up with Chile and Uruguay. Only way we’d hook up with Mexico is if this country was in nearly the same shape and no one would notice the difference anymore.

  23. Mexico, USA and Canada have already made an arrangement called NAFTA. Isn’t it wonderful? 🙂

  24. Oh yeah, it sure is. That and its twin, GATT, have done so much for all of us. What makes some of my bile and gall rise, is that both Pat Buchanan and Bernie Sanders spoke out against this stuff back in the day and they were laughed at, blown off, and taken for imbeciles, who just didn’t GET how spiffy the New World Order and globalism would be for us. Anyone who wasn’t on board with it was a fool, and sure, some folks would be hurt by it, but hey, ya can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs, amirite?

  25. I live 300 miles away from the Mexican border, a little town called Brownsville. Haven’t been there in decades. However, as you drive down I-10 through El Paso, you can visibly see which side is Texas and which side is Mexico. The squalor is amazing in Juárez. El Paso is noticeably nicer, especially the west side of town. Actually a nice place to spend the night on the way to Kali.

    The Houston metropolitan area is approaching 30% Hispanic and should be over it soon. They are hard workers and do just about all manual labor jobs around here. Fort Bend county, where I live, is 19 percent Asian, 24 percent Hispanic, 21 percent black and 36 percent white in the 2010 census. I just hope all of the Mexico problems stay on that side of the border.

    We are getting a lot of wealthy Mexican immigrants moving to Houston in million plus dollar homes in gated communities. They can come here and buy a 12,000 ft2 home for just about 100 $/ft2. There are probably 50 to 100 of these homes within five miles of my house.

  26. Mrs. OFD is on her way back down there tomorrow, Edinburg for a week and then Harlingen. From temps in the teens and snowshoeing to balmy sun-drenched vistas.

  27. Yeah, stolen or load WWII money. right. Y’all may remember the drama and the huge settlement forced out of Swiss banks, when it was discovered that they still had lots of money in numbered accounts from the 1940s. The point that no one wanted to understand: The accounts still existed, and could have been claimed by anyone who could prove ownership. Thanks to the lawsuits, the money is now gone, into the pockets of lawyers and Jewish political organizations.

    This was never an issue in the US, for the simple reason that US banks are forced to hand over inactive accounts to the State government. There is some period of time where the money can still be claimed from the government; after that, it just goes into the general funds of the state.

    The main reason the Swiss don’t want to join the EU is simple: loss of sovereignty. There are various aspects here: differing tax laws, bank secrecy (what little is left) and political neutrality.

    Just as an example: in Switzerland, you are presumed to be honest. The tax authorities do not get information about your bank accounts unless they can show probable cause and get a warrant. Seems to me that’s the way it ought to be – why should the IRS have access to all of your financial details? We also don’t get reported to the police for depositing $10,000 (or, worse, for depositing $9000 twice).

  28. Brad, I was KIDDING!

    My favorite story of Swiss honesty. An American was traveling to Zurich, and noticed an sidewalk artist selling his wares outside the restaurant he was eating at with some locals. When he came out of the restaurant an hour later the artist was gone, but not his paintings, or the hat he left so people could leave payment. He expressed surprise that no-one simply took the money or paintings to his hosts, who replied “who would steal from an poor artist?”

  29. That’s the way it was in small-town USA when I was young. For example, the grocery store across from my grandmother’s house didn’t close when the owner went upstairs to have lunch. If there was no one at the counter when you went in, you just took what you wanted and left the money on the counter. I doubt any of the people from the neighborhood ever even thought about stealing from him.

  30. I know you were joking, no problem 🙂

    Like the US, honesty depends… Some say tax evasion is the Swiss national sport, but people cheat in small ways, but are honest in the big things. Except for the 1%, of course, who cheat massively but somehow legally.

    In that sense, the coming year will be interesting: 2014 is the first year where shareholders *must* approve executive compensation. I am thinking in particular of Novartis: the AG has voted every year against the executive compensation package, but this was only advisory. This year, it won’t be – same for banks and their bonus programs. I hope to see some rude awakenings 🙂

  31. That’s still the way it is in some small towns in Canada. I have a sister-in-law that lives in New Brunswick in a house that has been in her husband’s family for over 150 years. When she moved in she asked for the house key after realizing it wasn’t forthcoming. Her new husband just stared at her with a puzzled look and said “what key?” Sure enough, there wasn’t even a lock on the door. Not even a hook and eye on the inside. The only time you lock your car doors is when the zucchini crop is ready. If you don’t lock your doors, people will fill your car with zucchini!

  32. Then there was the bodhrán player who remembered that he had left his bodhrán in his unlocked car. Rushing back, he opened his car door to find two more bodhráns in the back seat.

  33. We also don’t get reported to the police for depositing $10,000 (or, worse, for depositing $9000 twice).

    Oh, it is worth than that. I worked for a large bank holding company in Texas when the laws were implemented. It was supposed to combat drug trafficking but I never bought that assertion. Only cash was required to be reported as any electronic or check transaction was OK. Even withdrawals of more than $10K in cash had to be reported even if that money had been legally deposited in the account.

    We, as in the holding company, got stung in that deal. Each one of our banks was considered separate as at that time Texas did not allow branch banks. Each bank had to stand on it’s own in terms of solvency. But the government decided that since the banks were part of a holding company we had to report cash transactions among all our banks that when totaled together exceed $10K. So if Brad had an account in San Antonio, and account in Houston and an account in Corpus Christi and deposited $3K in cash in each bank, that had to be reported to the IRS.

    This produced a very real problem as the files for each bank in the processing center were kept separate because they were separate banks as far as accounting. We had to extract information about each transaction which included the SS number and name. Then slog through that data and combine any transactions.

    As if that was not good enough this information also had to be aggregated among joint account holders. So if Brad deposited $6K in cash in Houston, and his wife who is joint on the account deposited $6K in cash in New Braunfels, those transactions had to be reported.

    It really was quite a problem matching people in accounts in different banks because we had to match on joint SS numbers if they existed, names if they did not. Since we were in south Texas people who were name Jose Gonzales got reported to the IRS a lot when they really should not have been reported. We had no choice because the penalties to the banks and the holding company were severe if we failed to report such transactions. It was better to report in error and let the feds sort it out.

  34. Ray wrote: “…even if that money had been legally deposited in the account.”

    How do you illegally deposit money? Do you have to break into the bank, first?

  35. How do you illegally deposit money? Do you have to break into the bank, first?

    Money that was from drug sales and money laundering was considered illegal deposits and as such could be seized by the FEDs. You have to prove you legally had the money to get it back. The FEDs did not have to prove it was illegal money.

    If you deposited $11K in cash, you got reported to the FEDs. The FEDs would then send you a form asking for the source of the money and some sort of proof of the source of the money. We had several accounts that were frozen because of questionable activity. Had one chap that found $23K in cash in his parents house when they died. His account got frozen for several months until he got it straightened out. Don’t know how he proved the money was his. He was pissed because his paycheck from him and his wife were deposited into that same account and the FEDs froze every dollar in that account although he had two more paychecks deposited until he got them stopped as deposits were not frozen. He had to get a small loan to cover his bills because of the loss of his paychecks.

    That is one reason the FEDs like large nationwide banks. With small local banks you can deposit less than $10k in each bank. With a large national bank such as BofA, any amount you deposit into any of their branches even in different states will get reported if the aggregate cash amount is $10K or more.

  36. Besides their purported reasons for seizing money and freezing accounts, they just want to have total control over ALL financials in the world, down to Jose Gonzalez and OFD and their extended families. They accuse us of whatever and then in a 180-degree reversal of what is supposed to be, we must prove our innocence to them.

    Re-reading the Gulag trilogy now and finding many parallels between then and Over There to Now and Over Here. And many Russians will tell you that we’re apparently going down the same road that they’ve already trod. Why is that, one wonders???

  37. Fewer people even bother to vote anymore, least not in state and national charades, why encourage the bastards? It is clear to more and more that it is a totally rigged and foolish game to play. It gives the rulers the semblance of legality and honesty, when in fact they are parasites, thieves and war criminals, not much different in moral fiber from those who ruled Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union or Red China. Voting here is pretty much the same as voting was/is in those places now, a joke. We pretend to vote and they pretend to care. As in the old Soviet Union; we pretend to work and they pretend to pay us, same deal. With camps being prepared and ammo being stockpiled and courts being packed.

    At this point it’s not voting that is required. I still vote, but only in the town elections in the brick building across the street here. While also remembering that it was/is local folks who burn us, who turn us in and dime us out, and who sometimes benefit from our troubles.

    This next year or two should make it all clearer, even for our friends in Kanaduh.

  38. Lynn wrote:

    “They can come here and buy a 12,000 ft2 home…”

    Geez, why do they want such a large place? My new place is enormous, about 2200 square feet. Is this from drug money?

  39. Geez, why do they want such a large place? My new place is enormous, about 2200 square feet. Is this from drug money?

    They are bringing their immediate family with them. There could be anywhere from 10 to 20+ people living there. Maybe 3, 4 or even 5 generations. Basically, the 1% is leaving Mexico. And I have no idea where the money is coming from.

  40. RBT wrote:

    “That’s the way it was in small-town USA when I was young. For example, the grocery store across from my grandmother’s house didn’t close when the owner went upstairs to have lunch. If there was no one at the counter when you went in, you just took what you wanted and left the money on the counter. I doubt any of the people from the neighborhood ever even thought about stealing from him.”

    That still happens in rural Australia. Some people leave a teapot and biscuits/cake out for visitors, and a note inviting them to help themselves if the hosts were out. A friend who lived just outside of Yass, a small town 50 km NW of Canberra, never locked up when he went out. I was incredulous.

    My father’s father was a grocer in our suburb of Adelaide. Most people were completely honest but one family cheated him of a few dollars, a considerable amount in the Depression. When they wouldn’t pay he ended up throwing a dead rat onto their front lawn.

  41. Dave, that’s just crap.

    If you don’t vote then you deserve whatever you get, good and hard.

    Bill isn’t often right but he is on this issue… 🙂

  42. Check your premise, Greg! You’re agreeing with me, and that should worry you as much as it does me! 🙂

  43. I see.

    If I vote, for one of the by-definition thieves, parasites and war criminals, then I will get it good and hard.

    If I do not vote, I will get it good and hard anyway.

    Lose-lose, I reckon.

    So I compromise by voting in the town stuff and hope they at least grease me first.

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