Monday, 16 June 2014

09:05 – Marcy picked up Barbara at 7:15 for their week’s driving trip up the Parkway. Colin wasn’t entirely sure what was happening, but he’ll figure it out this evening when Barbara doesn’t return.

Mary and Paul weren’t available yesterday, so Barbara and I did a Costco run by ourselves. I went prepared with Amazon Prime Pantry prices for some stuff I wanted to buy for our food storage program, and took along a small notebook to record Costco prices on other items for later comparison with Amazon. As it turns out, Amazon is considerably higher than Costco on all of the items I checked.

For example, Amazon Pantry sells a 16-ounce can of Bush’s Baked Beans for $1.48 plus about $0.16 shipping. I was thinking that Costco charged about $12 for a case of eight cans, but when I checked yesterday they were $8.49 per case of eight, or about $1.06/can. Also, the Costco cans were 16.5 ounces rather than 16. So Amazon was about 55% higher on that. Same thing on vanilla extract. Amazon had either McCormick or Kirkland (Costco) branded vanilla extract in 16-ounce bottles for $9.99. Costco sold their own brand for $6.99, so Amazon was about 42% higher on that. Costco had canned corn at $0.67/can. Amazon was $1.04. And so on. If Costco carries something, we’ll get it there.

But there are a lot of things that we want to stock up on that Costco doesn’t carry, or at least our Costco doesn’t. So just out of curiosity, I went over to the Sam’s Club website. As it turns out, unlike Costco, the Sam’s Club site lists store-only items, including prices, and they carry a lot of stuff that Costco doesn’t, including Campbell’s canned soups by the case. Barbara’s going to check with her sister to find out if they still have a membership at Sam’s Club. If not, we may join just for the better prices on a lot of items we want to stock up on.

15:42 – When Barbara travels, she’s often pretty much off-the-grid. But this time she took her laptop with her. I tried to get her to let me install Skype, but she didn’t want it. At the moment, she has no cell service, but at least she can email me. I emailed her earlier to say that Colin is still afraid that I’ll forget to feed him, and wants to know when she’ll be home. I got the following response a little while ago.

Tell him I will be home Friday afternoon.

We arrived at Peaks of Otter about 2pm. On the drive up we saw a fawn and her mom. The fawn was about the size of Colin at six months. We also saw a wild turkey and a ground hog.

We got off the Parkway and drove to the little town of Stewardsville, VA outside of Bedford for lunch at a little diner. Homemade food; she cooked and served.

After we checked in we were going for a walk around the lake but Marcy wanted to move the truck to a different parking area so we drove over to the lodge to see if we needed reservations for dinner and check out the gift shop. Good thing we waited we are having a thunderstorm.

No cell service. Had no problem connecting to the wifi. They give you a room map with the password.

Give Colin a hug.

27 thoughts on “Monday, 16 June 2014”

  1. We ended up with a Prime membership after purchasing a Kindle Fire. We figured while we have it, we may as well use it for the free shipping. However, we’ve found that on grocery items, Sam’s/Walmart can beat every price we’ve compared so far. The only advantage we’ve found with Amazon is the wider selection. Our local Sam’s Club and Walmart stores (and Home Depot and Lowes and…) stock a very limited selection compared to other places we’ve lived, and are frequently out of stock of what they do carry. (A trip to Walmart Sunday morning found long sections of several isles completely bare). So we use Amazon only to fill the holes after we’ve done our run to Sam’s and Walmart.

  2. Yeah, I figure if Barbara’s sister doesn’t have a Sam’s Club membership we’ll just get one of their basic ones along with our Costco Executive membership. With Sam’s, Costco, and the LDS store, I can get nearly everything I want in the way of grocery items for storage.

    Barbara also mentioned that her law firm may have a deal with Sam’s Club for free or discounted memberships.

  3. You’re not calculating in the mental anguish cost of going to Walmart/Sam’s and being surrounded by that clientele. That’s got to be worth quite a chunk of change. $1.06 + Having to Go to Walmart/Sam’s -or- $1.48 + Not Having to Leave the House. I’m going to have to go with the $1.48. 🙂

  4. The $1.06 is actually Costco, which I have no problem visiting. Sam’s Club will pre-package an order for pickup, so I wouldn’t actually have to wander up and down the aisles.

  5. Besides which, I really do intend to purchase in bulk. Yesterday at Costco, for example, I bought four cases of eight of the Bush’s Baked Beans. I’d probably have bought 10 or 12 cases, but our cart was already getting full. (My tentative goal for that item is 200 cans or 25 cases.) Anyway, my experience is that once you get more than about 200 or 250 pounds in one of the Costco shopping carts it gets very hard to steer, not to mention to stop. I almost ran down a woman once.

  6. “I almost ran down a woman once.”

    Good. Scare one of them for a change. I’ve almost been run into by crazed dames wheeling their carts around inside stores like it’s the Daytona 500 of shopping many times over the decades. I’m pretty hard to miss, yet there they are, flying around corners blindly, running straight at me, and acting like I’m the asshole in their way.

    We’ll have to make a Costco run up here, I guess; haven’t been in a while. As for the Wall-Mutt clientele, ours isn’t as bad as the stuff you see on the innernet; mainly just regular folks from around here and the weirdos are les Quebecois who come down, dressed outlandishly and chattering away in the middle of the aisles in their bastardized French.

    A second gorgeous day here; off for dump run and more house projects.

  7. We had this caper go down last year at my job sites similarly to this:

    Visa workers from India and Mexico, though I am still baffled by how they managed to replace my team of four who did mostly hands-on stuff in four large data centers. We were told by other long-time employees that management basically believes that any moron can be hauled in off the street to do our jobs and thus the burgeoning market in visa and temp/contractor staff in this country. Somebody should be able to walk in the door and learn the gig in about two weeks, tops, and off we go! Of course if this is true, why not just take unemployed American riff-raff off the streets and give them our jobs? No, they’re always going for the cheapest possible labor; if slavery was still extant, they’d use slaves. It must piss them off they can’t do that.

    Just watched another parade strolling down the street under my window here; kids and staff from the “special needs” school up the road; they bring the kids down and around the bend behind us to the town park for b-ball, fishing, stuff like that. About two-dozen female staff and a dozen guys. I’d say that at least half of the women were morbidly, grossly obese, and none of the guys. And of the eight or nine women who live in the nearby subsidized housing only one is not. Pretty much the same deal when I hit the stores in the area; is this true of where all youse guys live in this land of the twee and home of the knaves?

  8. Reminds me of the old Scottish toast:

    “Here’s to us. Who’s like us?
    Damned few, and they’re all dead.”

    I remain considerably more sanguine than OFD regarding the country’s future. Yes, government is a leech, and yes, it’s bleeding its host, and yes, the effects are starting to show. But we still have a metric shitload of competent, hardworking people who will do what’s needed to keep things from getting nearly as bad as you expect. And there are more coming along all the time. Are a lot of kids worthless and feeling entitled? Sure, but there are a lot more that are smart, hardworking, and competent, and those are the ones that ultimately matter. I’m frequently impressed by the young people I encounter.

    The real problem is the disappearing middle class, which is a result of the decline in manufacturing jobs. (Not a decline in manufacturing; we make more than we ever did, but we do it with many fewer employees and those employees don’t need the high skills that many manufacturing jobs used to require.) There was an article in the paper this morning about just this. The used a couple in Reading, PA as an example. In 2008, they were doing very well. They both bought new vehicles, and expected things to continue as they had been. He was making $22/hour in a manufacturing job, she $18/hour, also in manufacturing. Now they’re both struggling to find full-time jobs, and they’re both earning less than half of what they used to.

    That’s never going to change for the vast majority of people in their situation. Manufacturing productivity in terms of labor input needed is improving by leaps and bounds every year. A manufacturing job is no longer an entrĂ©e to the middle class, and never will be again. We’re just seeing a re-run of what happened with farm jobs. Those used to employ a vast majority of the population, just as did the manufacturing jobs that replaced them. But there’s nothing on the horizon to replace manufacturing jobs, and there never will be other than make-work jobs, which of course are economically null at best.

    That’s why, as much as I’m against the idea philosophically, I expect that the US will soon move to a basic income scheme where every adult citizen gets a government check every month, probably about the same amount as someone earns now working a full-time minimum wage job. That Basic Income check goes to everyone. No means testing. No reductions for those who have outside jobs. Every adult from those who are destitute to Bill Gates gets that same monthly amount. And that check replaces everything. No more social security, no more pensions, no more welfare, no more nothing. The Basic Income check is it as far as government payments. (Well, that and free alcohol and drugs for those who want them…)

    Of course, that means that those of us who choose to work will pay higher income taxes, but there’s no other real alternative. A society in which the top 10% are wealthy and the bottom 90% are poor is inherently unstable.

  9. The society is rapidly moving to the top 1% being fabulously wealthy and the bottom 99% with nothing. Like some South American banana republic of old, where they live behind guarded and gated mansion walls and the rest of us are in favelas, scrabbling for scraps. Extremely unstable. I don’t think there is enough time left for it to get to a point where the State simply issues basic checks to everyone, not with the debt climbing into the tens of trillions and national Default on the horizon. And they will have long since totally looted all of social security, Medicare/Medicaid, all our pensions and retirements, etc. in their desperate greedy grunting and grasping at any and all cash they can get their lunch hooks on.

    This is likely to breed successive waves of mass panic and violence, which they will put down with increasing ferocity. There is a lot of anger out here and hundreds of millions of firearms and people who know how to use them.

    I hope we can somehow finagle and muddle through all this if there are indeed enough able and willing folks to stand up and deal with it all, but from what I can see, the prognosis is not good. The resulting upheaval is likely to be orders of magnitude greater worldwide than the transition from farming to industrialization and it is the globalists who run governments that will exacerbate the chaos.

  10. I don’t believe any of that is going to happen. Total US debt, including unfunded liabilities, at the federal, state, city, corporate, and personal level is probably something north of $200 trillion. Call it $600,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US. But the federal government can create money (inflate the currency) at will. It can also outright default at will, either selectively (say, all foreign holdings) or across the board.

    Those who are going to get screwed are those holding bonds–government or corporate–and those holding cash or equivalents. That’s why I want to convert most of our assets into hard assets–real estate, food, guns, lab equipment and chemicals, and so on. The value of cash, bonds, checking & savings accounts, and other dollar-denominated instruments decreases daily. The value of hard assets stays the same, which is to say their price in dollars constantly increases.

  11. Here’s a Twitchy link to the VA “tweet” of the day. Basically, fuck you vets, the climate is more important than you fucks. Die already.

    Let’s vote for “basic income” and get it over with already.

  12. My son has figured out the scam on the co2 cap and trade program. Basically my son thinks thinks that the 1% are going to be allowed to invest in co2 credits. And then to resell them to industries for tremendous profits.

  13. Agreed on the hard assets but we’ll still need to pay our mortgages, rents, utility bills, phones, innnert, etc.

    I see ex-Marine Montel Williams also tweeted an appropriate response, thanks, bro.

    Don’t Forget: Fuck the Vet.

  14. Happy Father’s Day from Chicago:

    Finally as Fathers Day Sunday wrapped up two had been killed and the grand total of those shot had climbed to 25. One of those shot was just 17. The second to die this weekend was a 28-year-old man.

    I wonder if Obummer even gives a shit. I wonder how many look like “his son.”

  15. They’ll look like Obugger’s son only if they were shot by a white(-ish) man.

  16. Gee, isn’t Chicago the home base of the Obummer Machine? With his handpicked boy in charge of the place for quite a while now, with some of the most restrictive gun laws in the country?? Whoops, my bad!

    Today’s Tax Corner With OFD:

    Hi kids,

    Welcome to Tax Corner, with me, OFD, your far northeastern correspondent.

    Today I’d like to relate a short anecdote from the day’s mail.

    We owed the Infernal Robbery Service $xx, xxx.xx and have been making agreed-upon monthly payments of $xxx.xx for several months now. Imagine my ecstasy when opening today’s mail and finding the reminder for next month’s installment payment: Despite several payments, we now owe $xxx.xx MORE than what we owed several months ago.

    This, children, is the beauty of the IRS concepts of Penalties and Interest.

    More on that with our next Tax Corner, as in ‘feeling cornered,’ with OFD.

    Bye for now!

  17. As it turns out, unlike Costco, the Sam’s Club site lists store-only items, including prices, and they carry a lot of stuff that Costco doesn’t, including Campbell’s canned soups by the case.

    The Costco here in central Houston has soups by the case, either Progresso or their Kirkland house brand. The Kirkland soup was marked as being made by Campbell’s.

    I have a brother that has a vending machine business and he had to swallow his convictions and join Sam’s Club, since they have vending packs of chips and candy, and Costco doesn’t.

  18. “…The fawn was about the size of Colin at six months. We also saw a wild turkey and a ground hog.”

    Lawdy Miz Clawdy; we can saunter up the street here and see deer of all ages, large flocks of wild turkeys and groundhogs, squirrels, skunks, possums, raccoons, and any number of various birds, including large raptors. If we go the other direction and start splashing, we’ll see lotsa fish.

    Colin must not have much confidence in you or your abilities…

  19. We have herds of turkeys running through our back yard any time of year except deadest of winter. (Yah, I realize that they’re usually called flocks, but some of those suckers are big.) We see deer from our sunroom window from time to time, raccoons, rodents large and small, and what may have been a greyish fox. Our house is in a development which until recently was a forest, a lot of animals still haven’t really gotten used to the new reality, and the forest came to within about 20 feet of the back of our house until I cut it back two winters ago.

    On the other hand, I can’t look out my window and see a gen-u-ine prehistoric monster swimming by. (OFD, did you ever get around to making a gen-u-ine monster from tires and plywood?)

  20. Home developments in what was once forest….check. …in what was once Indian burial grounds….check. (See “Poltergeist.”) …on top of what was, and still is, Eastern Diamondback slither trail to and from their den…check. Saw a story many years ago about the latter; kids would be playing in their back yards and one of these big fat buggers would come sliding through. Not too good. So homeowners wanted to know where the den was so they could dynamite it, but the local yokels said nothin’ doin.’ They wouldn’t tell.

    I’ve got the tires and the plywood but haven’t yet got around to building the monster; it’s a fun project and I got no time fer fun here lately.

    Looks like IBM is gonna sell out its semiconductor operations here and in NY and ship that part of the infrastructure to Singapore. Buyers don’t want the hardware, only the intellectual property, so they can be big boys on the world semiconductor markets. I’m still harboring dwindling hopes I can hang on with them for the end game for a year or two while I transition into something else, but more doubtful each day now.

    Mrs. OFD and I are fed up with the Infernal Robbery Service and will likely be hiring a tax lawyer this summer. We tried to be good do-bees and play by the rules but they’re screwing us badly now; at this rate we’ll never get out from under. Pay a monthly nut and the principal gets bigger? Fuck that.

  21. lol Odumbshit is sending 275 troops to protect our embassy in Baghdad. He should be sending s MEF. Anybody comes within a mile is obliterated. The guy is just the weakest CinC we’ve ever had. Watch this escalate as chickenhawk Obummer grabs his remaining testicle and shouts charge.

  22. Who said he any testicles at all? I think the Mooch carries those around, judging by the constant bulge under “her” dress in the suspect location.

    There was a book out years ago with the title “Chickenhawk” but it was the memoirs of a ‘Nam chopper pilot. A classic, too.

    As for the embassy, which was built at a cost in excess of a billion, IIRC, and which we are now abandoning, apparently, I heard that the Green Zone was evacuated already anyway; so the REMFs gotta get their steaks and ice cream elsewhere and not any longer put poor Army and Marine grunts at risk of IEDs on the supply routes.

    Both Bush regimes sucked, but this asshole takes the cake; on his watch, and HILLARY’s, we’ve seen the “Arab Spring” spread from Tunisia through Tripoli and Benghazi and through Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, a total massive clusterfuck of epic proportions. The blowback from all this will haunt us and our kids and grandkids for many, many decades to come. Thanks, Barry, George, George, Dick, and Billy…and the neocon cabal that has run foreign policy here for Likud and with the connivance of Israel’s amen corner in the U.S. Congress.

    Four warships over there now, that they admit to, who knows how many subs and aircraft.

    Like giving drunken chimps the keys to the gun cabinet or like those funny militia guys in the Congo or wherever the hell it was, saw the vid on the net, who gave a loaded AK to a chimpanzee, who promptly began spraying the landscape and caused them to bail in all directions…that’s what we have in Mordor directing events, with the ghost of Madeline Not-Too-Bright exhorting us to stuff Moloch’s gaping bloody jaws with more of our fine troops.

  23. “Yes, government is a leech, and yes, it’s bleeding its host, and yes, the effects are starting to show. But we still have a metric shitload of competent, hardworking people who will do what’s needed to keep things from getting nearly as bad as you expect.”

    Leeches drop off when they get full. Government is more like a cancer: as long as the body is still halfway healthy, it just means that the cancer can get bigger.

    Even here, where I regard the government as somewhat healthier, there are always tax increases but never decreases. Temporary levies for special purposes are always extended for some other special purpose, or just made permanent. There is simply no incentive for government to not get larger; there is almost never the kind of housecleaning that cleans out obsolete programs and unnecessary bureaucrats.

    I don’t believe you will ever see “basic income”. The secondary reason is that it wouldn’t work, but the primary reason is that you are talking about eliminating a bunch of programs. That would end a bunch of agencies, turn off the spigot for a bunch of SES and appointee types, and put a bunch of bureaucrats out of work. Won’t happen, see above. In the best (worst?) case, you’ll get your basic income on top of the existing programs, in some horribly complex configuration that requires a whole new agency to coordinate it.

    I have no words for the Middle East. The reasons are undoubtedly complex, but entire region has gone off the rails, and the US interventions in so many countries were certain a big contributor. Certain politicos should have to go live where they shat.

  24. Brad, I like your suggestion: haul all of the living US presidents and ex-presidents, their spouses, their children*, and their advisors off to the Middle East to live. No SS or other bodyguards.

    I don’t want them back at all, but we can tell them they can return in five years. Won’t make any difference, as I can’t imagine, say Moochelle surviving five years even in the US without 24/7 protection.

    * Specifically Chelsea Bitch Clinton-or-whatever-name-she’s-using and Jeb Bush. GWB’s daughters and Amy Carter haven’t been shoving their faces in the cameras and otherwise acting like princesses on a mission.

  25. The junior Bush should have to go, too, although he’s also kept a pretty low profile (shame?) since he left office. Amy is more than made up for by her constantly gallivanting idiot daddy.

  26. Thanks to the federal government’s efforts, particularly during the 70’s, most people now misunderstand inflation. The real definition is quite simple: an increase in the money supply. Unfortunately, most people now believe inflation is a price phenomenon, quantified by how much prices increase, when in fact that’s actually a related but separate phenomenon called price inflation. For the last several years, price inflation (as bad as it’s been) has been lagging true inflation significantly.

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