Saturday, 30 August 2014

08:27 – We ended up getting 20 kit orders yesterday–including one custom order for 30 sets of six chemicals that aren’t stock items–and shipping 14 kits. We’ll ship three of the outstanding six orders today, plus whatever orders come in today that we have in stock, but the others will have to wait until Tuesday.

We’re down to two each of the CK01A and CK01B chemistry kits and the FK01A forensic kits, one of the FK01C forensic kits, and zero of the FK01B forensic kits. Fortunately, we still have 30 or so BK01 biology kits in stock. At least we have the next three days available to build up stocks before Tuesday.

We probably won’t quite match August 2013 revenues this month, but even so we’re running well over last year’s YTD revenues through August. As of now, we’re only a few thousand dollars short of matching total 2013 revenues, with a full third of the year remaining.


11:15 – This is the time of year when our usually-reliable inventory system descends into OMGWO! (OH MY GOD WE’RE OUT!).

The most recent incident took place a few minutes ago when I went down to get a bunch of 24-well reaction plates. I thought we had 10 or 15 10-packs left in stock, but the shelf was bare. OMGWO! Fortunately, after my pulse fell back into the double figures, I noticed the large box at my feet that I’d almost tripped over. Turns out it contains 15 10-packs of the reaction plates. I’d put the box there when the shelf space for the reaction plates was full so that I’d remember I had more. So much for remembering.

So I just issued an $1,800 PO to one of our vendors for stuff we’re running short of. They’ll get it Tuesday and probably ship Wednesday or Thursday, which means I should have the stuff by early the following week.

Oh, I forgot to mention. When we were at Costco last Sunday, one of the attorneys from Barbara’s firm saw us in the parking lot. She asked Barbara if those were our kids with us. Barbara told her that they were our friends, Mary and Paul. I told Barbara she missed an opportunity. I would have said something like, “That was our son Paul and our daughter-in-law Mary. Or was it our daughter Mary and our son-in-law Paul?”

Paul and Mary are half a generation younger than we are, so I suppose it’s remotely possible that I could be their parents, assuming I’d started fathering children when I was in my mid-teens. But the one Barbara and I still laugh about happened soon after Barbara and I were married. I was 31 years old. We were out to dinner with our friend Vicky Epley, who was 27 years old. Barbara ordered a glass of wine, as did Vicky. The waiter turned to me and asked if it was okay to serve Vicky. Mistaken at age 31 for the father of a 27-year-old woman. Geez.

71 thoughts on “Saturday, 30 August 2014”

  1. That’s a very nice run of the business to date, Dr. Bob; hats off!

    Pahtly sunny here so fah today and windy; hope it clears the air a bit; sorta like a fall day, and now more so when ya see leaves turning all over the place.

    Mrs. OFD, Princess and MIL wending their way back up from central Maffachufetts, a five-hour trip, and one which I am glad I’m not on; imagine: three females in the cah with ya, chattering NONSTOP for the whole five hours. With frequent intervals of loud “world” music. We have to get Princess back up to Montreal on Monday and I may go along for that ride or drive it, as it’s only about 75 minutes, and mainly to grab some nice Italian cheeses and sausages at the huge downtown farmers market.

    Ol’ OFD can certainly use this three-day weekend to rest his tired bones and aching joints and raggedy-ass spiritual malaise (ain’t dat a great word, brought into general circulation by the great international humanitarian and philosopher and former nuclear scientist, James Earl Carter, a man of the South.) Hey, remember when he had the Allman Brothers over to the Governor’s mansion? How hip is that?

    This old bugger had the unmitigated gall to sleep in this morning; alarm went off at 9 and I shut it off and dozed for another whole half-hour; sinful! What sloth! The half hour was abruptly curtailed when the rubbish truck roared up our little street to pick up one of the dumpsters; doing it on Saturday mornings now, apparently.

    And our local post office hath decreed that it will stay open here just as it was, no changes contemplated anymore; The People Have Spoken. And the little village may now be rezoned as, well, a Village; Saint Albans Bay Village. Plus the Feds are throwing us $47 million to help clean up the algae/phosphorus mess in the Bay and the local “save the bay” organization got a $5,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor to buy another of them weeding machines, which dredge the resulting weed growth outta the wottuh. The algae blooms, which are toxic, blow into shore and stink, causing people to avoid the park in back of us; we barely notice it and it’s drowned out frequently by the farm manure odors. And it’s the area farms which cause about 95% of the phosphorous run-off into the lake. Most are trying to ameliorate this but a few die-hard holdouts evidently don’t wanna play or don’t care. As one result, the high holy status of farmers here has taken a significant hit.

    It’s not like every day stinks around here but it picks up somewhat for a few weeks in the spring and then again in late summer.

  2. You could have said Mary was your second wife and Paul your slaveboy.

    When I was almost 16 I was out somewhere with my then 24 year old sister. She bumped in to an old pal, who glanced at me and asked “this is your husband?”

    Another crazy thing happened when I was visiting the US in 2003. I was buying some wine at a Giant supermarket in Fairfax County, Virginia, and was asked for proof of my age. I was 45 at the time, and although many people have said I look 6-8 years younger than my real age that was just too silly.

  3. @OFD – I can’t imagine that you forgot to mention the pit stops. Usually mentioned just after you have passed a rest area or an exit that has visible businesses at it.

  4. I’ve been carded when I was in my 40’s and 50’s. Some stores take a better-safe-than-sorry approach and card everyone regardless of their apparent age.

    Speaking of which, I remember going to a state store (liquor store) in Pennsylvania when I was a senior in college in the autumn of 1974. I’d turned 21 the previous June, and my girlfriend at the time, Karen Taylor, was a few months older than I was.

    So, we walked up to the store clerk, and the conversation went something like this:

    Karen: “Do you have vodka?”
    Clerk: “Yep. What kind do you want?”
    Karen: “What’s the cheapest?”
    Clerk: “Wolfschmidt’s. What size do you want?”
    Karen: “What sizes does it come in?”
    Clerk: “Half gallon, quart, fifth, and pint.”
    Karen: “Is a pint bigger than a fifth?”
    Clerk: “No, a fifth is a fifth of a gallon and a pint an eighth.”
    Karen: “So the pint is cheapest?”
    Clerk: “Yep.”
    Karen: “I’ll take a pint.”

    So the clerk puts a pint of Wolfschmidt’s on the counter and rings it up. Karen pulls out her change purse and starts counting out small change. Says the clerk, “Okay, that’s it. I’m gonna have to card you.”

  5. Incidentally, the Karen E. Taylor who was my girlfriend was not the same Karen E. Taylor who is our age and who also graduated from Grove City College with an English major. That Karen E. Taylor is a well-known author of vampire novels. Or at least I don’t think they’re the same person. I haven’t seen Karen since 1976, so I don’t know for sure.

  6. “Princess hasn’t got a cahr?”

    That’s “cah.” There is no “ah.” (the letter “R”) We put that letter in other words instead.

    “I can’t imagine that you forgot to mention the pit stops.”

    If you mean the fems as they drive back up here for five hours, yeah, I forgot about that until earlier today; I was told last night they were gonna get an early staht and I busted out laughing right there. If that ever happens with them I’ll have a stroke and haht attack on the spot instantly. So supposedly they were gonna leave at 08:00 this morning; I usually just add two or three hours to that in my head; and then, as you mention, the pit stops; for the usual bathroom breaks, buying stuff at stores, and eating; lately Princess is greatly concerned that she might miss a meal on these long drives. Believe me, she hasn’t missed many meals. So if they actually left at 08:00 they’d be in the driveway right NOW and unloading the cah. Clearly they’re not. So I figure they probably didn’t leave until 11:00 and won’t get here until dahk, per usual SOP. What would take me or my brothers 4.5 or 5 hours, tops, with zero stops, takes them half again as long, minimum. What would take me an hour each way to Montreal takes them three times as long. Funny how that works out and I can count on it.

    Just ran some errands but skipped the dump run; not worth the gallon of gas to get to it. Mail had piled up, because neither one of us is home now to get it during their hours of operation. Junk, bills and IRS demands and threats, despite our installment agreement and regular payments; they’re now coming up with more thousands that we allegedly owe and the monthly principal never goes down, always up. We gotta get a lawyer; this is insane; we’ll never get out from under these bastards at this rate. And I see on the Sovereign Man emails that they go after technically Murkan citizens who’ve lived all their lives overseas, in places like the Canal Zone; decades later, after the person has been working and living there without ever setting foot or rarely back here, the IRS goes after them for huge sums they claim are owed. And they threaten foreign banks holding those Murkan accounts, too. The banks usually cave. Good to know.

    We’ll concentrate on hard assets we possess right here, period.

  7. Hmmm. With the zombie apocalypse you expect to happen relatively soon, are you not concerned about that megalopolis so few miles north of you just up the interstate, not to mention those other population centers in Vermont and elsewhere in New England? If I were you, I’d be scoping out the bridges and other choke points at least 15 miles or so in all directions from St. Albans.

  8. Ah, now I get it. Princess needs to stop for food every half hour because she’s on a rabbit food diet.

  9. Took me quite a while to get used to vodka. At first I hated it, then it was okay mixed with orange juice. Now I can drink it straight, but usually have it with OJ.

  10. “…that megalopolis so few miles north of you just up the interstate, not to mention those other population centers in Vermont and elsewhere in New England?”

    Yes, I have some concern about the Montreal megalopolis but it’s separated from us by about 75 miles of what is tundra during the cold months, pretty bleak, and criss-crossed by irrigation ditches, streams, and rivers, not to mention bogs. In the summer it’s pretty bleak, too; and there are towns and villages between us and there that would get hit first. Mostly descendants of fleeing Loyalists during our Revolution and of course les Quebecois, mostly farmers.

    The biggest population centers in Nova Anglia closest to us are Burlington, VT and Manchester, NH, both with about 50k for populations. Other than that, Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Hartford and Providence; I doubt fleeing zombie cannibals will be heading north, esp. in winter. If a total dystopia happens, all those places will be deathtraps anyway, ditto the suburbs. No food after three days, no power, and at some point, no potable wottuh. With mass die-offs, disease. And more die-offs. Any remnants who somehow end up getting across the state lines and heading up this way would all be shot to shit before they got very fah.

    “f I were you, I’d be scoping out the bridges and other choke points at least 15 miles or so in all directions from St. Albans.”

    Consider it mostly done or in-progress; I know half a dozen I’d blow within three miles of here. Plus the interstate and state highways. Prudent preppers might do well to stockpile blasting caps and the associated materials accordingly.

    But we also have a fairly substantial Fed presence in the area, between Border Patrol and Customs and Immigration, and several small airfields besides the bigger “international” airport down in Burlington, also home to the Green Mountain Boys, the fighter squadron that’s eventually replacing its F16s with F35s, you know, those jets we need to fight alien invaders from Alpha Centauri or somewhere, ’cause ain’t no one on the planet we can use these against unless we dig shooting fish in a barrel.

    “Princess needs to stop for food every half hour because she’s on a rabbit food diet.”

    That’s about the size of it, but the portions she gobbles down from that rabbit food diet are enormous. Think: Flemish Giant mutated to ten times its normal size.

    “Took me quite a while to get used to vodka. At first I hated it, then it was okay mixed with orange juice. Now I can drink it straight, but usually have it with OJ.”

    Yup, that was my drink, for the last few years I drank; cheap vodka and fruit juice, usually cranberry and lemonade. In 50-50 proportion, about six to eight tumblers per afternoon/evening. Three gallons a week. Been off all that for nearly five years now but I saw enough peeps at the few AA meetings I went to that I know it don’t mean much; guys who’d been off for 15 or 20 years got on it again.

    No booze lectures from me; I do remember it was a nice buzz when done in moderation, Cape Codders and Sea Breezes. Two or three on a fine summuh day at the beach with a nice Thai spliff….

  11. Junk, bills and IRS demands and threats, despite our installment agreement and regular payments; they’re now coming up with more thousands that we allegedly owe and the monthly principal never goes down, always up. We gotta get a lawyer; this is insane; we’ll never get out from under these bastards at this rate.

    Dude, what did you use to do your taxes back then? Billy Bob’s tax program?

    I’ve been using TurboTax for two decades now without a problem. And I have COMPLICATED taxes. 25% ownership of a S Corp small business. A commercial property with several tenants. Etc.

  12. “Dude, what did you use to do your taxes back then? Billy Bob’s tax program?”

    Nothing. We used nothing. We didn’t file them at all. For ten years. Long story.

    We’ve now been using Turbo Tax for the past three years or so but our problems were so compounded that even that was a trial; we also got burned on the sale of our former house because one of the lawyers involved didn’t do their job and there was missing paperwork and bad numbers. At one point the IRS claimed we owed them around a quarter-million. It’s now down to less than a tenth of that, but they keep trying to add to it again, it seems.

    And we’re way late again on last years’ tax return, even with the extension, thanks to Mrs. OFD rarely being here for the past six months to go through all her receipts and forms from her job and just lots and lots of other stuff to do, apparently. I’m just a wage drone so my stuff has always been pretty simple, but hers has always been complicated, due to kids in college, house sales, tax status, etc., etc. The year 2004 return was a frigging nightmare; took us over a year just to get it finally approved; they sent it back to us half a dozen times.

    I classify it in the: Things You Learn AFTER You’re Married Department. She won’t open any bills or other mail from banks, insurance companies or the state and Fed tax people; actually she rarely opens any mail at all. I’ve found mail from years ago stuffed in trash bags. And of course I wasn’t paying attention and just assumed she’d be filing our taxes all that time, while I also didn’t pay attention to a few other things. Now of course, we have seen the errors of our ways, and apparently are going to be punished for them in perpetuity.

  13. buying some wine at a Giant supermarket in Fairfax County, Virginia, and was asked for proof of my age

    Fairly common here in TN. Too many places have been stung by not checking ID. Easier just to have a policy that everyone gets checked. Even you are a shrived up old prune. I can see why because I have seen some girls that looked 25 but were several years shy of 21. Maybe I am just a pervert.

  14. “I can see why because I have seen some girls that looked 25 but were several years shy of 21. Maybe I am just a pervert.”

    Well that’s a gimme, but let’s not sweat the small stuff.

    Actually the grrls seem to mature faster and at a younger age nowadays and too many of them also tart themselves up to look like their tee-vee and movie and “music” idols or like old-school Times Square hookers. And we’ve all seen the pre-pubescent girls dressed up by their parents to look like dollymops and trollops and put in shows that as far as I’m concerned, genuine perverts organize and flock to see.

    I don’t get carded ’cause I don’t buy booze anymore, and I didn’t get carded when I was 15 and 16 buying it when the age was 21 back in Maffachufetts; I used to hit the packies at near closing time, dressed in jeans, boots, a black leather jacket I borrowed from a ‘Nam vet boyfriend of the chick we used to babysit for so they could go out once in a while, sunglasses and smoking a ciggie. Nobody ever questioned me; of course I was also over six feet tall. I had shoulder-length hair I used to slick back; they probably pissed their pants when I walked in.

    All the hair came off the first week of boot camp and when I came outta the barbershop chair on base our DI told me “Now you look like a fucking human being!”

  15. Consider it mostly done or in-progress; I know half a dozen I’d blow within three miles of here. Plus the interstate and state highways. Prudent preppers might do well to stockpile blasting caps and the associated materials accordingly.

    No, no, no. Don’t break something you might need/want later. I’d hate to take down a bridge with no way to rebuild it. Better just to park it full of old vehicles, each with two or three tires/wheels removed to make them impossible to push with anything short of an MBT. And, depending on the situation, set an overwatch on your side.

  16. they probably pissed their pants when I walked in.

    Probably glad you did not rob them and paid for your booze. No need to spoil a good situation with something as silly as an ID.

    All the hair came off the first week of boot camp

    Had a few of those when I went through boot camp. Remarkable change in appearance. What pissed me off was they charged you for the experience, I think it was $0.65 or something like that. On an hourly rate the barbers did well as they could do 50 in the space of 60 minutes.

    After that they marched you through to get your uniforms that did not fit well, then through one of the base exchange stores that carried nothing but what you needed. Toothpaste, toothbrush, soap, razor and blades, shaving cream and that utterly stupid flashlight with a cone on the front. (Remember “Road Guards Out”?) That was a job I never got. I laid low and kept my mouth shut as I did not want the DI to take a particular liking to me.

  17. “I’d hate to take down a bridge with no way to rebuild it.”

    A scary percentage of the bridges and dams here in New England and over in the northern Vampire State are in crummy enough condition already, anyway; and sooner or later we’ll have to learn how to rebuild stuff. But point well taken; for the early times, better to just block them off. As for overwatch we may be coming sooner than we think to re-establishing night watches and constables.

    “Probably glad you did not rob them and paid for your booze.”

    Indeed. Robbery never crossed my mind, though. Even I had my limits.

    “…that utterly stupid flashlight with a cone on the front. (Remember “Road Guards Out”?) That was a job I never got. I laid low and kept my mouth shut as I did not want the DI to take a particular liking to me.”

    I’d forgotten about that flashlight and the road guards; I never got that job, either, nor did I ever become a “squad leader” in the barracks; the DI’s knew I was a troublesome bastard. Probably damned lucky I never got sent to the “Motivation Flight,” remember those poor bastards? Or the “Fat Boy Flight;” used to see those poor dumb fat guys jogging endlessly in that Texas heat and being on special diets and all that stuff. And the Motivation Flight victims may as well have been in the stockade, or as the AF called it, “correctional custody.”

    Lucky for me they sent me across the base to the Air Police training (became Security Police while I was in it) but first, a week of KP alternating with forced labor details, like unloading trucks all day of 100-pound bags of potatoes. Still, preferable to the KP; that sucked rocks, no matter where they put you. I thought “Salads” was gonna be a step up and some slack time after Pots and Pans but holy chit, it was murderous, and we had a staff sergeant lifer maggot riding us mercilessly all day.

    After that, the police training thing was like unto heaven on earth; all the weapons in the Air Force small arms arsenal to play with, and nights swilling beer at the bowling alley, and weekends in San Antone.

  18. My dad used to talk about going through basic, and how the Quartermaster only stocked two sizes: too big and too small. And there saw some poor dumb bastard in his platoon that got issued size 12 boots, the largest they had on hand that day, for his size 14 feet. On the third morning, at √reveille, this guy threw his boots down in front of the DI and “Court martial me, motherfucker, I ain’t wearing these boots no more.” The DI’s eyes were drawn to the chewed up feet on the kid, and he didn’t reflexively start beating on the recruit. Instead, the DI sent the kid to the hospital, then marched the rest of the platoon to the Quartermaster’s office, whereupon he made everyone turn in every piece of gear they had and draw new ones, even if what they had fit. Then he proceeded to give the platoon a proper Army lesson in how to curse someone.

  19. a week of KP alternating with forced labor details, like unloading trucks all day of 100-pound bags of potatoes.

    I spent two in what they called “casual”, basically a holding area where you waited for your orders. It was generally for people that were skipping tech school and heading directly for their first duty assignment. I had taken some special tests while in basic training that showed them I did not need tech school.

    In my time in casual I did many jobs. One of them was called “Elbows and Assholes” where you policed (picked up trash) on that big parade ground. Never understood how all the cigarette butts arrived there since you were not allowed on the parade ground and smoking was never allowed on that space. I think the DI’s dumped their butts at night. Did that job about 5 times.

    Another job was installing window air conditioners in the foreign officer quarters. Tedious work but not difficult. I can tell you that a window A/C will not survive a drop from the second floor.

    Another job was servicing fire extinguishers that were used in those old wooden barracks. Basically removing worn parts and replacing the chemicals. That was a terrible job.

    My squad did get KP duty a couple of times in the foreign mess hall. Those people and their diets were just weird. I basically avoided the rush to the front of the line as those did so thought they would get a choice job. The mess sergeant was wise to that and instead picked from the back of the line. I got an easy job that was basically just bussing the tables as those foreign officers were too damn lazy to do their own table.

    When I was there the DI’s were not allowed to strike you. But they damn sure got in your face and spewed all manner of foul language after having eaten the nastiest smelling food they could find.

    I got chewed badly once by some officer that thought he was king of the hill. I was pulling dorm guard duty one day and an officer (I think he was a full bird) strolled up to the barracks and demanded to be let in. He was not on the authorized nor were any of his cronies. I stood my ground and said no. He continued to harass me threatening to court martial me. I still stood my ground and told him no. About that time the DI shows up and wants to know what is going on. The colonel explains he wanted to inspect that barracks and that this shit faced moron with an asshole for a brain would not let him in and unless I let him in I would be severely disciplined for not following orders. The DI asked if me if the colonel was on the list. I said no figuring I was going to get thrown out of the USAF. The DI turned to the colonel and told the colonel that I was following orders and the colonel was not authorized to be in the barracks. The colonel, the DI and the colonels minions all headed to the base commander’s office. Later the DI came back and told what I had done was proper and the colonel would not be visiting again.

    There was also that joke of an obstacle course. Being from a farming background the obstacle was almost what I did daily on the farm even crawling under barbed wire. The tear gas chamber was different but the rest of the running, jumping, climbing, swinging on ropes etc. was trivially easy.

    I was housed in the old wooden barracks from WWII. No A/C, just window fans. Steel framed bunks with crappy mattresses. Linoleum floor that you never walked down the center aisle and that had 384,000 coats of wax over it’s lifetime. Lack of A/C was a blessing as it helped with the San Antonio heat in July and August. Lackland was in the process of converting to the new pods as the old barracks were slated for demolition.

    And as side note I was issued the last serial number ever issued by the USAF. I was inducted in Portland on June 30, 1969. Next induction day would be after July 1 when the USAF was converting to SSN numbers. I still know that number even though I only had it for a day, 1896952. Got my picture taken for the AF Times and what other historical purpose they wanted. Left that day for my first plane ride on a B-727 to Lackland.

    After I had been at my duty station for three months I got sent to Sheppard AFB for advanced schooling. I still had my first stripe that you automatically got when you left basic training. Went into one mess hall and some sergeant gets up and starts yelling at me to get out of the permanent party mess halls. Transient serfs were not allowed in this mess hall. The mess sergeant heard the commotion and came over and asked what I was doing in this mess hall. I said nothing but showed him my orders. I was TDY, not a pipeline student. The mess sergeant threw the other guy out and apologized to me.

    Another experience that stands out when I was assigned to Langley. I had made a day trip to Washington DC and was waiting at Andrews for a plane back. A two star general was heading to Langley and asked flight services if anyone needed a ride. The desk clerk pointed to me and the general offered me a ride in his plane which I accepted. Upon arriving at Langley the pilot had radioed that he had a general with a passenger. When we deplaned two staff cars were waiting. One staff car started to leave and the general halted the departure and told the driver to take me anywhere on base I needed to go on the general’s order. Nice guy and a reason he was a general.

  20. they go after technically Murkan citizens who’ve lived all their lives overseas, in places like the Canal Zone

    There’s at least one case where they went after someone who was born in the US while the parents were on vacation – so technically a US citizen – even though that person left with his/her parents and had never lived or worked in the US. The advice abroad is simple nowadays: if you’ve got US citizenship, get rid of it unless you’ve got a good reason to keep it.

    My two sons still have theirs, on my advice to keep their options open, but they haven’t yet earned enough to have to pay taxes. When they do, or when their bank notices their citizenship and closes their accounts, they’ll likely hand in their passports. The only way a US adult here can have a bank account is if you sign the FATCA agreement which sends all of your financial info to the US, and relieves the US of any responsibility for keeping that data private.

  21. Re: the back taxes issue, we desperately need to change tax laws to stop this yearly insanity of having to file tax returns. In Germany, they go to extremes to make sure your withholding matches exactly what you will owe, and at the end of the tax year, you don’t have to do a thing. There are refund issues that — if you file a return — you might be eligible for money back. But 90% of Germans who qualify for that, pass on it, precisely because the forms are backbreaking work to fill out.

    We should do the same regarding withholding, so no one has to fill out forms every year.

    I think mandatory whippings for everyone serving in Congress should be instituted whenever the approval rating falls below something like 94%.

  22. I think mandatory whippings for everyone serving in Congress should be instituted whenever the approval rating falls below something like 94%.

    Nope. No one should be allowed to serve in Congress who has already served once. I’ve had it with incumbents.

  23. We should do the same regarding withholding, so no one has to fill out forms every year.

    Yes, we should have a flat tax in the USA. 10% of the first dollar you make and 10% of the last dollar you make.

    BTW, if you own any kind of income producing property with multiple tenants, predicting your net and gross income is difficult. You just do not know what is going to happen if a tenant leaves or if you need to fix something (like a water well) on a emergency basis.

  24. If you’re self-employed, working on a contract or piecework basis or getting royalties which vary every month, predicting income is difficult. Even when I owned a corporation and the corporation payed me a straight salary, filing the damned tax forms was still difficult because I owned a business.

    At the federal level, I support a head tax. Everyone within US borders has to pay $X every month. Possibly extend that to everyone with US citizenship who lives abroad. No other personal or corporate taxes at the federal level. This reduction in income will hack the federal government back to something resembling Constitutional activities.

    Let the states monkey with income and property and sales taxes, and let the states monkey with entitlements and social engineering and preferred industries. What works best will sort itself out soon enough.

  25. I want to hack Leviathan down to Articles of Confederation size; Dr. Bob would probably go further, and I am open to negotiation on that.

    But one thing most, if not all of us agree on here is that the current felonious system of confiscation at both virtual and literal gunpoint is not sustainable and morally repugnant on multiple levels.

  26. Head tax was the way of Merrye Oldye Englande and there is enough in their literature to turn me off that. Also, I am too much of a hippie and Lakota to believe other that it should be possible to live free and off the land. If I own property and a stream or river runs through it, and I make no demands on government but am completely self-sustaining, I should be able to live free and fish in my stream, raise, kill, and butcher mine or wild animals, build a structure to live in — all without permits, licenses, or tax. So a head tax will not do.

    If I leave my property and expect a road to drive a horse-drawn wagon on, then I need to be paying government. But not until then.

  27. “muh roads, muh roads…” A typical pro-libertarian mocking of those who mock libertarians, as in “Who will build my roads?” See Professor Walter Block’s excellent book on that; he teaches at Loyola. Also a FaceCrack friend of mine.

    What if the local village or town builds that road communally, with your voluntary participation, and it then connects to other roads in the region and nay-shun, etc.?

    Volunteer fire department? Who pays for the equipment and the medical treatment when one or more of them are injured on the job?

    Security for your property? Great, if you can do it. What if you’re greatly aged and/or disabled?

    You may be a wonderful hippie-Lakota-survivalist prepper, but how will that work with 300 million?

    Etc. Just playin’ Devil’s Advocate here….

  28. I agree with both Chuck and OFD. It ought to be possible/allowed to live “off grid” and not have the government come bother you. At the same time, some services do make sense as joint efforts, and as soon as the number of people involved rises above “a few”, this become a government in anything but name.

    All of which has nothing to do with the leviathans that we call governments. Jointly organized community services have little to do with FDA SWAT teams. The “services” provided are often unwanted by anyone except the people organizing them, and are imposed on the communities they are supposedly serving.

  29. Exactly! There it is.

    I favor a very loose confederation of groups of former states and regions, with possibly some provision for a common defense and that’s about it. Within each region the local cultural, political, economic, ethnic and geographic factors dictate how it will be run; clearly as different as night from day between New England, the Deep South, and the Midwest. For that matter, northern New England from southern New England, which has more in common with NY, NJ, etc. And northern Vampire State from southern, likewise.

    I can also attest that things run differently in genuinely rural northern New England and the Maritimes than they do in the region’s cities and large towns.

    The Nine Nations of North America run under the original Articles of Confederation as it devolves into a nearly starved and vanishing Leviathan, which then disappears forever. Never again Empire.

  30. The Nine Nations of North America run under the original Articles of Confederation as it devolves into a nearly starved and vanishing Leviathan, which then disappears forever. Never again Empire.

    Not gonna happen. I just got through reading “Terms of Enlistment” by Marko Cloos, a German immigrant to the USA.
    http://www.amazon.com/Terms-Enlistment-Frontlines-Marko-Kloos/dp/1477809783/

    His version of the future of North America is set 100 years up and has one billion inhabitants mostly living in huge public residential clusters of 50+ stories each. There are 50+ million people living in Boston, Detroit, New York City, etc each. Each person on welfare is issued a 2,000 calorie MRE daily (a basic nutritional allowance). The air is terrible and the public complexes are horrible, soul sucking and violent monoliths. The citizens are constantly revolting which is put down hard by the TA (Terrestrial Army). Crew served weapons on both sides are prevalent.

    In space, the North American Commonwealth has a couple of dozen spaceships that use the new FTL drive. There are about twenty colony worlds, harsh places full of death and danger. And then we meet the aliens.

    Very much patterned after Heinlein’s “Starship Troopers”. You will feel right at home if you are a fan of that great work.

  31. Cloos’s version ain’t gonna happen, either; there is no way in hell this continent could support metropoles like that. The existing cities will be deathtraps and then ruins, with cannibalism rife and toxic air, wottuh and soil. Many of today’s morbidly obese will end up going for top barter prices before they end up on homemade spits in slag-heap back-alley urban hellscapes.

    We are realistically looking at 80% mass die-off over the next century, with or without aliens, which I would not be too surprised to discover have been here for a very long time already.

    Brings to mind some quotes from the late William S. Burroughs:

    “After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say ‘I want to see the manager.”
    ― William S. Burroughs, The Adding Machine: Selected Essays

    “what a horrible loutish planet this is. the dominant species consists of sadistic morons, faces bearing the hideous lineaments of spiritual famine swollen with stupid hate. hopeless rubbish.”
    ― William S. Burroughs, My Education: A Book of Dreams

    “This is a war universe. War all the time. That is its nature. There may be other universes based on all sorts of other principles, but ours seems to be based on war and games. All games are basically hostile. Winners and losers. We see them all around us: the winners and the losers. The losers can oftentimes become winners, and the winners can very easily become losers. ”

    “After a shooting spree, they always want to take the guns away from the people who didn’t do it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want to live in a society where the only people allowed guns are the police and the military.”

    “The people in power will not disappear voluntarily, giving flowers to the cops just isn’t going to work. This thinking is fostered by the establishment; they like nothing better than love and nonviolence. The only way I like to see cops given flowers is in a flower pot from a high window.”

    He had another one which I’ve never been able to find again, something about warning off visiting space aliens to this country, ’cause they’re liable to run across some nut on his porch with a shotgun. That would be me.

  32. Thanks for the book link Mr. Lynn. Think I’ll check it out. Just finished a Dane & Bones novella.

  33. Lynn can’t spell. The author’s name is Kloos, not Cloos. And he has three billion people living in the North American Commonwealth in 2108, not just one billion. This is what happens when society just muddles through life rather than planning it. And, we here in North American are just muddling down the road.

  34. “And he has three billion people living in the North American Commonwealth in 2108, not just one billion.”

    Not possible or plausible. The current 330 million is stretching the limits. Not enough wottuh, and soon, not enough cheap fossil energy; neither is in infinite supply.

    Sure, we’ll muddle, and over the next century I expect the population to decline faster and more drastically than Russia’s has over the last fifty years; from the current figure to probably around 70-80 million, which is sustainable if there are enough knowledgeable people around still to rebuild.

  35. Not possible or plausible. The current 330 million is stretching the limits. Not enough wottuh, and soon, not enough cheap fossil energy; neither is in infinite supply.

    We use a LOT of water now per person. I wonder how much for lawns? Price it up from $3 per 1000 gallons to $5 or $6 and people will cut back significantly. The price of water from the Gulf of Mexico (desalinated) is $6 per 1000 gal?

    We have plenty of natural gas. We are now flaring over half of the natural gas produced in Texas and South Dakota since we have no means of storing it or reinjecting it. We have at least enough natural gas to convert all the trucks and locomotives and cut our diesel / gasoline usage by at least half. Maybe 2/3rds. We have enough natural gas to last at least 200 years at this point with today’s technology.

    We will muddle into a billion people in North America (we have 400 million now) in the next 100 years. We muddle into a lot more if we do not start forcing people to stop having multitudinous babies. I do not even want to think about the open borders that many of the Democrats want so badly.

  36. We muddle into a lot more if we do not start forcing people to stop having multitudinous babies.

    Cut the welfare increases for each additional child so the births are no longer considered a pay raise.

  37. Muddling into slow dystopia, miserable though it will be, is probably preferable to what may happen in the event of cataclysmic incidents, of which there are many possibilities in this day and age. Any one or two of those could throw off any such muddling slowly stuff so that we slide down that toilet chute a lot faster.

  38. My view is that big is reaching the end of the growth tree. As a result, it will start breaking down slowly. The interesting thing will be to see how Bain handles Clear Channel. Clear Channel has not made enough money to even pay the interest on the loans they got to take over that enormous chain of broadcast properties and billboards. That conglomerate came about in 2008, so that is now 6 years that they have not made enough to pay the interest, let alone any principal paydown. This will be happening to others, as they finally cross the line of a doable transaction into one that assumes increases that will no longer happen.

    Already we see it beginning. With wind and solar, who needs a grid? Just as there no longer is any such thing as wired ‘long lines’ at the telephone company anymore, but things are arranged in ‘cells’ and connection is via these cells being grouped in smaller scale and communicating with each other, that is how I also see society headed.

    The end of big is near. Whether Russia can annex Ukraine and get bigger, will be just as interesting as how Clear Channel will deal with not being able to sustain big.

  39. Cut the welfare increases for each additional child so the births are no longer considered a pay raise.

    But, the children will starve! Do it for the children!

    I really like the idea of issuing 2,000 calorie/day MRE’s for people on food stamps instead of debit cards. That way I can buy them on ebay for $2 each.

  40. the children will starve!

    Contrary to what the media would lead people to believe and those on the public dole would like us to believe, no single person in this country has to go hungry. There are enough free food sources from the private and non-profit organizations to feed everyone that wants food. I even suspect that if I saw a mother with children outside the grocery store wanting food (not money) I would take her inside and purchase some food. I believe that is true of most others except those on the public dole who are inherently selfish people anyway.

    issuing 2,000 calorie/day MRE’s for people on food stamps

    I also believe that is an excellent idea. I would also put people that are living in public housing on the public dole in tents, military style tents, the good ones. A shared toilet and shower, a single community TV with OTA (no cable). If it is good enough for soldiers that are risking their lives for society, it is more than adequate for those who contribute nothing to society.

  41. “if I saw a mother with children outside the grocery store wanting food”

    Been there, done that. It’s very unusual. Normally, if I offer to buy someone food, they say “can’t I just have the money”. Nope, bye…

    My son actually carries around (entirely his own initiative) gift cards for the one chain of grocery stores here (pretty widespread) that does not carry any tobacco or alcohol. He hands a card out every 2-3 months. He has also had people refuse to take one, because they really want money for ciggies or alcohol.

    I like Ray’s idea of tents and communal living, climate permitting. The catch is always, where do you draw the line. Someone permanently on the dole, yes. Someone having a temporary run of shitty luck who’ll be back on their feet shortly – it’s probably better to help them keep the home they have.

  42. My son actually carries around (entirely his own initiative) gift cards for the one chain of grocery stores here (pretty widespread) that does not carry any tobacco or alcohol. He hands a card out every 2-3 months. He has also had people refuse to take one, because they really want money for ciggies or alcohol.

    Destitute U S Citizens are much more resourceful. They take the card that has replaced foodstamps and can’t be used for alcohol or cigarettes and offer to buy someone with cash $100 in groceries for $50 in cash.

  43. Destitute U S Citizens are much more resourceful. They take the card that has replaced foodstamps and can’t be used for alcohol or cigarettes and offer to buy someone with cash $100 in groceries for $50 in cash.

    I dated a woman whose sister was on food stamps (EBT). When she was hard up for cash she would do that. She’d go to the store with one of her siblings, pay for their groceries with her food stamps, and then they’d pay her back in cash. She did it almost monthly.

    Before the EBT card version of Food Stamps they would scam it by just buying very cheap stuff. If the change was less than a dollar then the change was given in cash (coin) rather than food stamps. So, they would be a 25¢ pack of gum on 5 separate transactions using a $1 food stamp and then take their change and go buy a pack of cigarettes. Seems horribly tedious to us, but they never blinked an eye while doing it.

    Scamming as much money out of the system as possible and finding loopholes and workarounds to increase the scope of how that money can be used is thoroughly ingrained in the culture of people on the dole. Get near a group of them discussing the topic, eavesdrop, and you would be shocked at how much they know about the ins and outs of the system and how to scam it. If they dedicated a fraction of that effort to making better decisions and bettering their lot in life, then they wouldn’t need social services at all.

    One of the biggest scams around here lately is them taking advantage of the fact that the government agencies don’t share information very well. So, scammers tell the food stamp people that they’re separated from their spouse (which they’re not) and that gives them a huge bump in how much they receive. The food stamp folks never verify a legal separation is in place.

  44. One of the biggest scams around here lately is them taking advantage of the fact that the government agencies don’t share information very well.

    Hmmm…that makes me rethink my position locally. Until now, I have always found it ridiculous that my local town is responsible for paying out welfare to anyone in the town who needs it. The welfare amounts are determined by the Canton (state), but they are paid out of town taxes.

    The reason I have objected to this is that this – together with other required programs means that the town actually controls only about 10% of its own budget – everything else is dictated to it from the canton.

    However, with your comment above, I see this in a different light. The town has a huge motivation to make sure that no fraud occurs, because they sure could use that money elsewhere. Which means that they do everything they can to avoid paying welfare, and they regularly check that the people aren’t cheating. It’s probably different in the big cities, but I can pretty much guarantee that no one in our little town gets away with any sort of fraud.

  45. Scamming as much money out of the system as possible….is thoroughly ingrained in the culture of people on the dole.

    Indeed it is. When TN was talking about restricting the amount they would pay for healthcare for people on the dole I overhead a lady talking at a recent football game. She was leaning against the fence and I was on the sidelines.

    She was complaining that the state was considering reducing the number of emergency room visits to six per month and reducing prescriptions to 10 a month. The lady was complaining that she could not survive on those minimums and the state was effectively killing her. Of course she was smoking while she was talking, appeared to have visited the feeding trough too many times a day for years.

    She then started talking about her cell phone bill for her and her three little monsters. She was paying over $600.00 a month for cell phone charges and was concerned that her oldest daughter had broken her third phone in one year. It was an iPhone and Applecare+ only covers two accidental damages. So the lady had paid a minimum of about $1200 in cell phone costs not including the wireless charges. I don’t know what she spent on the other little rug rats.

    Her daughter was a cheerleader and that required some expensive outlay for uniforms for what is basically a useless function at any sporting event.

    She is on the dole and has that kind of money to spend on frivolous items.

  46. Ours is tiered. For residential use, very light users (0 to 300 cubic feet/month where one CF = about 7.48 gallons = about 30 liters) pay $1.905 per 100 CF. Light residential users (301 to 600 CF/month) pay $2.784 per 100 CF. Typical residential users (601 to 900 CF/month) pay $2.832 per 100 CF. Heavy residential users (901 – 20,000 CF/month) pay $3.151 per 100 CF. Extraordinarily heavy residential users (20,001+ CF/month) pay only $1.758 per 100 CF. Then there’s a monthly meter charge that ranges from about $5/month to $444/month, depending on the size of the feed pipe. And then we get billed separately for sewage at $2.708 per 100 CF, not to mention a surcharge based on the size of our property, which in theory drains polluted water into our lakes and streams and storm sewers.

    I figure Barbara and I probably average a ten-minute shower per day each at 3.5 GPM, for 70 gallons/day. Then maybe 10 toilet flushes at 3.5 gallons each, for another 35 gallons per day. With dishwashing, laundry, etc. we probably average 125 gallons per day or 3,750 gallons per month. That’s 500 CF/month, which puts us in the $2.784 per 100 CF range, or about $14/month for water and another $14 or so per month for sewer. I’m guessing our feed pipe is 1″, which adds another $9 per month, so maybe $37/month total, not counting the run-off tax.

  47. She is on the dole and has that kind of money to spend on frivolous items.

    It is going to get worse. Far worse. Just wait until they start building the Public Residential Complexes (PRC) with a million inhabitants per complex surrounding all the major cities.

  48. For residential use, very light users (0 to 300 cubic feet/month where one CF = about 7.48 gallons = about 30 liters) pay $1.905 per 100 CF.

    Do you really get billed in ft3 of water? If so … how odd. I would imagine the Aussies get billed in m3 though.

    I support AM3 (actual cubic meters), M3 NTP, M3 STP and M3 API in my software in addition to the other variants on volumetric quantities.

  49. Yep. It’s per 100 CF. In fact, of the places I’ve lived since college I think all of them billed for water per 100 CF. Maybe it’s an East Coast thing.

  50. Billed the same way here in California. Just a hell of a lot higher. Used to be billed flat rate at about $70 per month but California is requiring all water companies to use meters. No average about $125 in summer and $75 in winter. Yeah I have a pool and a yard but I’m watering a lot less. Private water company so have to pay sewer on tax bill to sanitation district.

    You’re damn lucky.

  51. My water bill is about $80.00 a month. $25 is for water, $50 for sewer. Then they tack on a fuel service charge of $6.00 that is not part of the rate because it is fixed charge. Also pay $8.00 a month for once a week trash pickup (no choice). I don’t know actual consumption. I also have a pool but don’t need to fill at all and never water the yard.

  52. “Get near a group of them discussing the topic, eavesdrop, and you would be shocked at how much they know about the ins and outs of the system and how to scam it.”

    Back when I had an old-school scanner that could pick up cordless phone calls and baby monitors I used to hear plenty of people discussing how to rip off the local, state and Fed systems, in MA and NJ. They were bona-fide experts at it, too. At one point a bunch of them, probably three-dozen or so, got arrested for fraud in central NJ and I heard them talking about that, too. Then we heard local contractor types, the guys who repair and paint stuff at houses, brag to each other about ordering two to three times as much material, like paint, as they needed, and using it on other jobs or re-selling it for cash. Also heard lesbian biker gangs having some very interesting conversations…that would make your hair stand on end….

  53. High humidity and rain?

    Rain. Several times during the season I have to pump to waste to get the water level down to where the skimmer will work. I generally use that time to backwash the sand filter.

    I have been informed by the city that I can no longer drain the excess via a siphon onto my property. Doing so is considered illegal discharge of hazardous waste. My pool water is probably cleaner than city water. I know for a fact that my chlorine levels are much better maintained than the city. So now I must pump to the sewer system, which adds flow to them that must be processed, that was never billed on my water bill because the water came from the sky. Brilliant. I cannot drain my gutters, which contain the same rain into the sewer, but the water that wound up in the pool is OK.

  54. More brilliance from gummint drones. Perfect. A major reason why the country is so fucked. “Hey, we got us a big passel of troubles to fix but let’s bust on ol’ Ray there, make his life harder and less sensible…”

    Like they do with “gun control.” Nothing to control the tiny minority of hardcore perps, the gangbangers or their own agencies smuggling guns in to blame subsequent carnage on us legit owners, but plenty of time, money, resources and malice to bust on us relentlessly.

    No shortage of wottuh here, by the way, which I believe I’ve mentioned before; tonight we have t-storms in progress and a flash-flood watch out for the whole northern third of the state until 00:30. I was gonna mow the lawn, too; now it’ll be a friggin’ jungle out there by the time I get to it this week.

  55. OFD wrote:

    “Also heard lesbian biker gangs having some very interesting conversations…that would make your hair stand on end….”

    Oh dear, David…

    Did you find their conversations, ah, titillating?

  56. Ray wrote:

    “I have been informed by the city that I can no longer drain the excess via a siphon onto my property. Doing so is considered illegal discharge of hazardous waste.”

    Um, don’t tell them…

  57. Um, don’t tell them…

    That is the plan now. I liked using the siphon as I could start it, set the hose at the level I wanted the water and walk away. When the pool dropped to the level I set the siphon would suck air and stop. With the pump I have to watch the level although it is considerably faster.

    Does not matter to me. I don’t get charged for pumping the rain water from the pool into their system as they have no way of knowing how much I am pumping. Probably quite a bit when you consider 30 inches of rain over a 18×38 surface. Probably not entirely that amount as some has been lost to evaporation, but close.

  58. Just got my water and sewage bill for my 550 m2 suburban property…

    For about 2.5 months I have to pay $479.47, which is divided as follows:

    Water $247.04. Consumed 62 kL.

    (first 24.66 kL at $2.26 per kL, remaining 37.34 kL at $3.23)

    (Do you like the dis-economies of scale?)

    There’s also a fixed supply charge of $70.70.

    The sewage is charged at $222.43 based on my property value of $700k. (31.775 cents per $1k of property value.) Apparently because I live in an upscale neighborhood my pee and poo is more costly to process… 🙁

    There’s also a $10 “Save The Murray” levy. Fortunately for my blood pressure there isn’t a “Port Stanvac Desalination Plant Fuckup Levy” listed, it’s probably factored in to the rest of the bill.

    The previous owners (an elderly couple) averaged about 250 litres a day in 2011 and 2012, going up to about 270 litres a day in 2013. I’m using about 770 litres a day, which I think is fairly modest. I really don’t understand how two people can use only 250 litres a day. Didn’t they shower or use the dunnie? The garden was in very good condition when I moved in.

  59. Lynn wrote:

    “Do you really get billed in ft3 of water? If so … how odd. I would imagine the Aussies get billed in m3 though.”

    We get billed in kL so you’re basically right.

    Water here is regarded as one of the most sacred cash cows. In Canberra about 15 years ago they tacked on a “water abstraction charge”, charged per kL. I don’t know why they didn’t just factor it in to the water price. Of course the WAC rose above inflation over the years. I never found out what the WAC actually was for, except as a revenue raising measure.

    I think I’m paying a bit less for water here in Adelaide than in Canberra, but the electricity is 33% higher. Why?

    When Sir Thomas Playford (premier 1938-1965) ran this state we had cheap water, cheap electricity. My parents were charged 4c/1000 gallons in 1970 for water. (And those are *real* gallons, not emaciated US gallons.) I hope we have a cool summer because I’m afraid to turn on the air conditioner.

    A few years ago much of Australia, especially South Australia, was in severe drought. There was a recommendation to turn a dis-used oil refinery into a desalination plant. Whatever the proposed output was the government of the day decided to double the capacity, without doing the requisite studies. So now not a single litre comes out of the plant (the drought broke a couple of years ago) but we are locked in to a contract to pay big bickies in compensation to the owners. Guess who’s ultimately paying that?

  60. As I said, Barbara and I probably average 125 gallons/day. Call it 500 liters/day. When I asked her last night she said my estimate had been close. Our water/sewer bill arrives every two months and is usually for $70 to $75, including the run-off surcharge. It’s a bit higher in the drier months when Barbara occasionally waters the lawn and flowers. We don’t have a pool, but otherwise we make no particular attempts to conserve water.

    As I said to Barbara, I consider $35 to $38 per month a pretty good deal for municipal water and sewage service.

  61. For about 2.5 months I have to pay $479.47, which is divided as follows:

    Water $247.04. Consumed 62 kL.

    1 Australian Dollar equals 0.93 US Dollar.

    You are paying about the same as me ($150/month) but I use 20 kgal/month (three people, pool and lawn irrigation twice per week). And my garbage / recycling is $16/month of that total.

  62. Oh, and fun fact: the “chlorine” smell of a swimming pool isn’t the chlorine, per se. The sharp smell is caused by chloramines, which also cause eye burning and the other irritations of swimming in a pool. And the chloramines are formed by the reaction of chlorine with, shall we say, stuff from people. Stuff like sweat and urine. So, if you notice a sharp smell around the pool, you might want to stay out of the water. Especially if there’ve been a lot of little kids in the pool.

  63. but we don’t get no stinkin’ wottuh bills here.

    You know, stealing water from the neighbors spigot is considered bad form.

    So, how do you pay for fresh water, hauling off black water and hauling off your trash?

  64. We don’t pay for fresh wottuh; we have a well. The state is saturated anyway, even they wouldn’t have the ballz to charge us for wottuh. Also, we’re about 100 feet from the sixth-largest freshwater lake in the U.S.

Comments are closed.