Thursday, 31 August 2017

08:23 – It was 64.3F (18C) when I took Colin out at 0620, dark and heavily overcast. The remnants of Harvey are to come through today and tomorrow, ending Saturday, dropping two or three inches (5 to 7.5 cm) of rain.

Barbara is off to Winston this morning for a haircut, a small Costco run, and lunch with a friend, returning this afternoon. Tomorrow and over the holiday weekend, we’ll be building more science kits.

Assuming we get no more kit orders today, August 2017 revenues totaled 133% of August 2016 revenues. The better August this year was enough to make up for the slower July, with combined revenues for July/August 2017 matching those for July/August 2016. Now to see what happens in September.

Email from Kathy. She and Mike, along with another like-minded couple that they’ve become friends with, are running a grid-down readiness exercise over the holiday weekend at Kathy’s house.

Well, kind of. They’re actually not going to turn off their main breaker, because they don’t want to run their generator all weekend to keep the refrigerator/freezer cold. So Kathy plans to duct-tape the refrigerator/freezer doors closed and feed everyone from dry and canned LTS food and stored water. They did decide to turn off the breaker to their well pump, so they’ll also be using stored water to do dishes, flush the toilets, and so on.

96 thoughts on “Thursday, 31 August 2017”

  1. Instead of duct-taping the fridge closed, how about being sneaky with it: Do the old trick of trapping a hair in the gasket, and then checking whether the hair is still there after the exercise is done.

  2. Oh, yeah. I forgot to include that Kathy had mentioned that one of Mike’s weekend projects a couple weekends ago was installing a small rain-catchment system on their four main downspouts. He bought four used 55-gallon food-grade plastic barrels, which Kathy insisted be painted to match the trim of the house, and built concrete block stands to keep them raised high enough to fit a 5-gallon jerry can under the faucets.

    They calculated that about a fifth of an inch (5 mm) of rain on their roof should suffice to fill the four barrels. They’ll use the catchment system routinely to provide water to their garden, but in an emergency it would also provide enough water for about 125 toilet flushes. That should be enough for the four of them for a couple of weeks. If they hit a long dry spell, they figure they can use their generator and well pump to refill the barrels with a minimum fuel expenditure.

    That won’t be an issue for their readiness exercise, because they’re expecting 2 to 4 inches of rain today through Saturday.

  3. Sunny day.

    More nonsense with the dam. Still some risk to us, and they are flooding people who hadn’t flooded naturally.

    another random datum, when we pulled food for the shelter, the fruit snacks in single plastic cups looked pretty rough. Faded and grayish fruit. The cups are convenient, but they are not good for years past expiry like cans. The stuff tastes ok, but looks bad and is very soft.

    The pest has destroyed about a dozen packages of stuff ,from pouch meat to cobbler mix. I include a 1 pound bag of flour with the corner nibbled off, as I tossed it. In real grid down, I would have salvaged some of that, and possible some of the other packages that just got nibbled on an edge. Dollar loss is low, maybe $25.

    I need to clean the exterior of dozens of cans though that were “downstream” of the pest.


  4. Overcast w/light rain here today, I guess.

    Third letter of recommendation sent out to the college from my VA case manager and I have a meeting/interview tomorrow AM down there and that should hopefully do it, and I can then focus on the classes and use my off days to do stuff here with the house and yard. (I’m only taking two courses this semester and if those go well, I may try a third next semester.) I’m behind on the reading in one because AMZ has yet to even ship the book, even though I ordered it a week ago. I’ll have to wing it, looks like. Or go early on Monday and see if there’s a copy at the college library.

    Off to dump run shortly, the vets group, and then picking up wife at MIL’s place later this afternoon; she should be back now from Kalifornia via the red-eye flight in first class to Newark and then up to Burlap. She’s gonna crash for a few hours and attempt to adjust to East Coast time again.

    Conflicting reports continue on whether tRump is a total loser and is being held captive now in the WH during an ongoing Deep State coup, or he is cleverly manipulating everybody and suckering not only the MSM but also the alt-right cucks, and really and genuinely MAGA after all. I guess we’ll find out.

    Meanwhile I’ll continue operating as though we have a small window of opportunity to get our ducks lined up as best I can here, given a small lot (under an acre, with not much sunlight, thanks to overhanging trees) and a compact square footage within a lakeside village. We seem to be surrounded by Normals and there are a LOT of fellow veterans in this AO and a LOT of firearms. So far the cops and related personnel seem to be on our side, but time and events will tell. I have been impressed by the straightforwardness and competency of the police chief, fire chief, town manager, town administrator, highway department guy, etc. Of course they’ve not been tested yet by any major SHTF-type events, such as Katrina, Harvey, active shooter, etc. Just the usual floods, blizzards and ice storms, with the occasional meth house bust.

    I gotta get cracking…

  5. Speaking of prepping rip-offs, here’s the worst one I’ve seen yet.

    For only $11.25, Amazon is selling a 22 mL (less than one fluid ounce) bottle of 5.25% sodium hypochlorite, i.e., generic chlorine bleach. IIRC, a gallon (3800 mL) of this stuff at the dollar store costs about $1.50, so Amazon is selling this stuff for only about 1,300 times what it should cost.

  6. A belated thanks for the shelf pics last week. With the hurricane and various protests in the news, I’m slowly ramping up the hints to my dad the we could begin ‘storing some stuff just in case.’ Without benefit of a basement or root cellar, I’m trying to figure out what might go where. Can anyone point me to any posts along those lines from RBT and/or others for LTS in a humid subtropical climate?

  7. “The pest has destroyed about a dozen packages of stuff”

    Your food storage is all in your garage, right? Every time you mention food going bad or being pillaged, I think about your storage conditions being responsible.

    Is there no way that you could get stuff into the house? I often exchange email with people who say they don’t have room in the house, but that usually turns out to be wrong. In one case, a woman said she had literally no storage space available, but as we exchanged email back and forth she ended up storing four person-years of LTS food indoors–under beds, behind and under sofas, at the back of closets, etc. etc.

    In all fairness to her, she did initially not have much free space, but one weekend she did a radical cleanout of her closets and other storage areas, discarding or donating scads of stuff they never used and had no need for.

  8. @SVJeff See my last comment

    Thanks. Those are helpful ideas. My real concern was more along the lines of anything that wouldn’t normally be thought to be a bad idea to have stored at room (or outdoor ambient) temp. We have a 2 car garage that’s mainly filled with 5-6 decades of accumulated clutter, so space isn’t as much of an issue as the lack of any non-electric cooler options during warmer months. I just didn’t know if there were any non-intuitive warnings like, ‘you don’t want XYZ sauce to be stored in a utility space.’

  9. SVJeff RE: climate controlled storage

    We live in the Memphis area (IE: HOT humid summers) and have little actual storage space inside our air-conditioned spaces. I am currently storing salt and water in the garage but almost everything else is inside under beds, back of closets etc. Like SVJeff, we would like some guidance on anything else we can safely store in a non-climate controlled environment.

  10. The pest has destroyed about a dozen packages of stuff ,from pouch meat to cobbler mix

    If it is a mouse I highly recommend these mouse traps.

    They work better than the regular snap traps. Much easier to set without worrying about your fingers. There is also a larger pad for the vermin to touch and trip the trap.

    We caught 19 mice (mouses, meeces) in our house over the period of about a week. The wooden traps were not sensitive enough and the mice would like off the bait (peanut butter) without tripping the trap. The mice were not able to do so on the above linked traps.

    Also tried sticky traps but one of the mice was smart enough to just move the sticky pads out of the way and avoided the pads. Boxes with trip doors were also avoided and a couple of those produced no results.

    It was also very easy to empty the above traps by pushing on the lever that sets the traps. It would release the mouse which I just dropped in the toilet and flushed. In addition the traps do not break the skin of the mouse as the wood traps tend to do and instead just capture and crush the mouse or make it so the mouse cannot breath.

    And a side note on mice. Had to drown one mouse that I was able to grab the tail with pliers. Who knew a mouse could hold it’s breath for two minutes. Need to keep them underwater for at least three minutes.

  11. @ RBT, Yes, my food is in the garage, it’s too hot, too damp, exposed to pests, but it’s where I can stack.


    My approach is “perfect is the enemy of good enough.”

    Stack it. Accept that there will be spoilage and that lifespan will be reduced.

    The food is cheap enough, esp if bought on sale, that my spoilage only brings it back up to retail pricing. Given that I still have (way down the use list, like in the feed to dogs or MZBs, food from Y2K) my spoilage has been within acceptable ranges (for me.)

    @RBT, I HAVE food in the house… and a secondary location that is conditioned, but still gets higher temps than I’d like because the cost difference between keeping it 80F and 90F is about $200/month for 6 months. I can buy a lot of replacement food if needed for $1200. I have ‘marital’ reasons why I can’t fill a closet in the house. attic is out, and no basement. Underbed storage is in use. Closets are full. Kids and kid stuff takes up a lot of space.

    WRT pests, this is the first year in 9 at this locale that I’ve had a pest. don’t know what changed.

    @SVJeff, for specific climate hints- initially I didn’t stock cans because they rust. As I extended my planning horizon past the useful life of pouch foods and shelf stable prepared foods, I added a lot more cans. I’ve lost a couple to rust. Not as many as I thought. What type of material they are sitting on matters, you don’t want it to hold moisture. You can also dip the ends of the cans in lacquer or varnish or some other sealer, but I haven’t. Plastic pouches don’t have the rust problem, but they don’t have as long expiry dates, and they degrade faster than canned food. Pastas and rice should be in plastic or bags inside the cardboard boxes. Cheaper foods typically don’t have inner liner bags and the humidity attacks the cardboard, and then the pasta inside. Not ruined, but can change the flavor. Bulk salt seems to draw in the moisture and the cardboard with change visibly. In my garage, coke cans will corrode and fail messily. Foreign sourced canned goods are in MUCH sturdier cans than the US mass market. Pull top cans seem to be less reliable for long term and should be avoided.

    Hope that helps. The main takeaway should be “GET STARTED”


  12. WRT garage storage:
    Have you considered insulating your garage and have a mini-split heat pump installed?

    I looked at that option awhile ago. I got a quote from the Lennox Dealer we have dealt with for 30+ years, I don’t remember the numbers but I do remember that it was reasonable and doable.

    BTW WRT discussions regarding Trane:
    IMHO and experience of many neighbors they are the worst systems ever. The dealers also seem to be lowest of the low. Everyone in my area has now gone with my Lennox guy. All the homes in my area originally were built with Trane or Rudd. Not one of those exist today. 100% Lennox. Say I should have received a cut for all those referrals. Well actually I did get a pretty good discount on my last system, second one in 30 years.

    And no way would I have a WiFi thermostat.

  13. “guidance on anything else we can safely store in a non-climate controlled environment.”

    Off the top of my head (I’ve never tested), one thing a lot of people store in quantity that should be safe in a warmer/humid space is white sugar (repackaged against air/humidity/rodents). Same thing with molasses in the original sealed jug, particularly if it’s glass. Salt lives forever regardless of storage temperature. Water may or may not be okay, depending on the container. Thin PET water bottles may degrade and eventually leak. In jerry cans, barrels, or similar heavy plastic containers, the water should remain safe for years, although it will eventually develop a flat or “off” taste. Some people are concerned about water leaching plasticizers out of the containers, but I’ve seen no studies to support that concern.

    Absolutely do not store leavening agents in a warm/humid space. Yeast is a living thing, and will degrade/die pretty quickly at elevated temperatures. Baking soda and particularly baking powder is heat-sensitive. Stored at room temperature, they’ll both remain usable for a long, long time. Stored in a 120 degree garage or shed, they’ll start to degrade immediately and will become unusable after a few months. Basically, the sodium bicarbonate when warmed is converted to sodium carbonate (washing soda), water vapor, and carbon dioxide gas.

  14. Which reminds me, the yeast in a dark glass jar from the garage produced a nice loaf yesterday. The foil packs, even those stored indoors, are dead.


    yeast was purchased for ebola scare outbreak.

  15. Yeast stored in less than ideal conditions probably degrades/dies on a Poisson Curve. There are zillions of individual yeasts in a packet, and an old/dead packet if used normally will yield a loaf that doesn’t rise (as I think you mentioned happening to you). One thing you can do if you have to use questionable yeast is “proof” it. Basically make up some sugar water, add the questionable yeast to it, and let it sit in the dark overnight. If there was even one yeast cell still alive in that packet, it will reproduce quickly. The evidence that that’s happening is bubbles in the sugar water and eventually it becoming cloudy. If that happens, just use the yeasty sugar water for part or all of liquid called for in your recipe and it will rise just fine.

  16. RE: Insulating & climate controlling a garage
    That may be possible for some good folk but not us.
    My wife “owns” two cats that live outside so she puts their food in the garage and insists that the garage door remain open at least 6 inches at all times so they (and every other varmit in the neighborhood) can eat.

  17. I have considered a mini-split. I’d like to be able to comfortably work in the garage year round. I didn’t insulate when I put the 1/2″ ply on the walls and I regret that decision. I did insulate the garage door and that made a noticeable difference.

    If I spend that money on the garage, wife will move my office out to the garage and return the home office to bedroom duty. Not a win for me.


  18. WRT the amazon ripoff,

    the product is actually supplied and sold by EZ Gifts 4 U.

    amazon is just a platform to connect these people to customers, just like ebay in this case.

    This is one of the things poisoning amazon currently. Their grey market and other shady 3rd parties, operating under the cloak of AMZ’s good will, instead of being on ebay are trashing that good will.


  19. If you have the time and energy, insulating something like a garage your self is an easy project. Just insulating, without adding any heating or cooling will still regulate temperatures to some degree; more if if the garage shares walls/ceilings/floors with a conditioned space (especially if you don’t insulate that wall).

    As for cats: put a cat door in the garage door. If you go step-by-step, it’s easy to teach the cats to use it: Wait until they’re nice and hungry. Open the cat door and push the cats through, with a treat on the other side. Then open the door for them so they can see and smell the treat, and have to go through by themselves. Then open the door only halfway. Then just a fraction. They get the idea pretty quickly. Bonus: a lot fewer neighborhood cats will get in.

  20. “If it is a mouse ”

    I keep saying pest, because I ‘m not sure.

    Droppings are small. Wife thinks she saw a big rat. We have LOTS of squirrels.

    Could even be possum, but that is the least likely.

    I set some mouse traps and the rat traps in the classic style. They were licked clean of PB, so this time I used cheese firmly attached. No result, but the cheese is still mostly there too. Pest may be gone, but I doubt it. I haven’t found more damage, but haven’t been thru everything (it’s pretty tight in the garage at the moment.) High on my list is a good review and restock. We may be hit again in a week…


  21. And no way would I have a WiFi thermostat.

    I assumed incorrectly that the “WiFi off” setting on the thermostat would work. That doesn’t seem to be the case for Trane ComfortLink.

    I also assumed incorrectly that the wiring would be standard and allow me to do an easy replacement down the road. To be fair, none of the manufacturers seem interested in establishing a multiplexing HVAC control standard reducing the wire counts.

    When our upstairs unit goes, I’m insisting that any quote leaves the existing non-WiFi Honeywell programmable thermostat in place. Adding an extra control wire with fish tape down 3 feet inside the wall would be extremely easy.

  22. “This is one of the things poisoning amazon currently.”

    Yes, and that’s been true for years. Amazon doesn’t care about fake/counterfeit products as long as they get their cut. I don’t even trust Amazon to supply real product on items they stock and ship themselves.

    And Amazon’s practice of not collecting sales tax on sales by third-party vendors is going to come back to haunt those vendors. I just read an article a couple weeks ago that Amazon is going to start reporting those sales RETROACTIVELY to the state taxing authorities, which means those vendors will owe sales tax to every state for which Amazon collects sales taxes, plus the state the vendor is located in if it’s not one of the Amazon states.

    Several of the states in question have declared an amnesty period to allow those 3rd party vendors to escape liability for prior-years taxes if they ‘fess up immediately. I wonder how many will do so.

    All of this is one of the reasons I’ve never even considered selling through Amazon. We collect state sales taxes on shipments to NC addresses only, although California has attempted to force us to pay their sales taxes even though we have no California nexus.

    I really wonder if eBay is next.

  23. Scanner has PD diligently trying to track down a missing persons report. They are looking for a vehicle. They know when it went down a block and are canvassing businesses along the street to review camera footage for a 10 minute window. They are sure they will at least be able to identify which direction it went. Hard workers.

    While listening to that, they alerted to some guys surveilling an armored (bank) truck. and then there was a report of a drive by shooting… at which time they all switched off the interop talkgroup and I lost track….


  24. Too early to be sure, but IRMA looks like it’s coming right for us, and is already cat2.

    Restock effort just went up a notch…


  25. To me, the way to think about LTS in conditioned space is to imagine the cubic volume as an invisible grid and think accordingly. There was a fellow who wrote “Engineered Houses” in the 50’s who pointed out that almost all household goods are less than a foot deep. He advocated, during house planning, using entire partition walls thickened to a foot as double sided storage.

    With existing space not subject to remodeling, imagination is the key. In smaller houses, the frequently not well utilized 3rd bedroom ( obviously depending on family size) can become a dedicated general storeroom / pantry. And it has its own closet too!

    The headboard wall in most bedrooms can be that magic foot deep storage wall of floor to ceiling shelving / cabinets pretty easily and inexpensively. There are other places in a typical Western house where you can steal a foot of linear floor space to make a wall to ceiling storage system and not dramatically affect the room’s nominal function.

    “House Beautiful” wouldn’t advocate plastic storage bins or banker boxes as end or coffee tables, but you could do that. Better is furniture that doubles as storage or storage that doubles as furniture, just probably not the typical overpriced cabinetry from a furniture store.

    The volume above a clothes closet door is useful only to lever objects up to the shelf above the hanging rods. Some or most of that space could have a single can’s depth shelf hidden away (or a 12 gauge gun rack). No soffit above the kitchen cabinets? Find some sort of suitable storage units for there.

    As an urban bachelor in an apartment, I can get away with the food grade zinc plated wire shelving units shown in some of the earlier posted pictures as a major part of my decor, to the tune of a couple dozen running feet. YMMV . They also make stainless fronted locker cabinets, intended for a garage, that is my canned good pantry. They are not wildly expensive and knock down to a comparatively tiny volume when I move house.

    More YMMV, but I sleep on a queen size futon sitting on 36 boxed cases of #10 food. No bed frame necessary. I spent the extra $10 for a suitable skirting material. If not for the master b/r, certainly suitable for the other room. My headboard is 2 Husky brand wheeled black plastic boxes intended for tool storage. A dozen cubic feet each.

    Salt, sugar and bucketed wheat, plastic ware, and paper products are not temperature sensitive. They can be stored in the unconditioned space en masse and make room in the house for high value foodstuff.

    I’m running down, so fire up the ol’ imagination from here.

  26. Too early to be sure, but IRMA looks like it’s coming right for us, and is already cat2.

    Keep an eye on it, but, this far out, nobody really knows where the storm will go.

    Watch the predictions on the Navy’s page. I’ve found the NRL’s page to be more reliable than the National Hurricane Center over the years.

  27. “IRMA looks like it’s coming right for us”

    I just don’t understand how in this day and age the government can get away with its racist Nazi practice of naming zheicanes with such racist Nazi gendered names.

  28. That’s interesting. I just checked my WP stats plug popup, and it says I had 31 users on-line simultaneously. I didn’t think I got that much traffic. Usually, I get maybe 700 to 900 unique visitors/day and maybe 2,500 to 4,000 page reads/day. That seems like a lot of simultaneous users.

  29. My storage / pantry shed has A/C. It’s a 12,000 BTU. Before I started storing food there, it had a Naturform incubator, a refrigerator AKA the beerrator, a large deep freezer and a medium deep freezer. Plus my version of a server.

    One summer, in an effort to lower the electric bill, I turned the A/C off. Opened the two windows with a fan blowing out. With no A/C, the electric bill went up $20 to $30 compared to the previous summer. Hot in the building, too. 100F outside, 95F inside….

    I run the A/C set at 82F. Digital controls. It turns the blower on once in a while to “sniff” the temperature. I leave it on year round just for air circulation and mud dauber nest prevention. The far end of the room is 78F to 83F. It the winter I use a space heater controlled by a 120V thermostat usually used for baseboard heaters. It’s set for 55F. Last winter during our cold spell of 18 to 25F, the room stayed around 60 to 65F. I never saw the heater running.

  30. OMG, that CNN article is exactly the kind of glib, facile nonsense from people with undisclosed fiscal interests that I’ve come to expect from the MSM.

    Almost every paragraph had me boiling with anger at the authors and editor.

    Conflation, un-named sources, speculation dressed as science, personal viewpoints expressed as consensus, lies of omission, and the list goes on.

    I feel dumber for having read that piece.

    “Why were there homes and businesses in the path of that released water?” HOUSTON is in the path of the releases. The dams were BUILT specifically because of that. They were build to slow the flooding, manage flows, and protect downtown from devastating FLASH floods. The dams are there because HOUSTON is there.

    Anyone coming on this comment later should look at this map, be sure “Channels” are check boxed.

    EVERY PLACE IN HOUSTON IS DOWNSTREAM of somewhere. We are the coastal swamp at the end of every watershed. They don’t call it the “Bayou City” ‘cuz of a cafe’ with that name.

    The freakin’ z-pop, cities are bad, we need more [of the kind of planning I thing is right] planning!!111!!!1 NO amount of “planning” can channel 50inches of rain in a couple days. Solid, planned, and BUILT infrastructure can, does, and DID, channel and control the water, much better than can be expected for a ‘once in a lifetime’ biblical level event. Fucking morons. Planning is ongoing, flood control structures are being built, have been built, and will be built. WTF does this jackass think two giant reservoirs are if not planned and built flood control infrastructure?

    Permeable surfaces? The soil here is CLAY. It doesn’t absorb runoff. I can flood the street with runoff from my SPRINKLERS if I let them run too long.

    Bah, CNN- reliably misleading the public for decades.


  31. @SVJeff, I should have mentioned that foods high in fat fare the worst in the increased heat.

    some other thoughts in general… I’ve watched FAR more local media coverage in the last week than in the previous 5 years. KHOU is truly in a league of it’s own for EXTREMELY BAD coverage. Their talking heads are empty of even basic understanding of the material they cover, with ZERO comprehension of the endless briefings they aired. They have broadcast rumor as fact, mix up locations, conflated 2 completely different dams that are 100 miles apart, caused a panic with a provocative and mistaken headline, and generally should shut their stupid faces and just run video without commentary. To put it provocatively, when a housewife sitting on the couch, armed only with an ipad and common sense, knows more about the current situation at the dams, and has a better situational awareness and appreciation of the engineering reality on the ground than their experts, THEY SUCK. Vast armies of fact checkers and layers of editors indeed.

    The stunning ignorance of the media in general, and their seemingly complete inability to LEARN from what they are told boggles the mind. Every day they start from zero.

    And when did the demographics of news presenters and reporters turn into such a fruit salad? This country and this city are still majority white with european ancestry. Not one pronounceable name in the whole bunch of ‘newscasters’.

    and cleavage! F me. I like boobs as much as the next guy, but FFS, they aren’t the only thing of interest. TV news and strip clubs must be the last bastion of the extreme boob job. All the rest of recorded media is featuring women with more natural appearances, but not TV news. After 5 days of disaster coverage, they’ve FINALLY toned down the wardrobe, raising necklines and lowering hemlines [and loosening the stretchwrapped dresses, and switching to more somber colors]. I’m not a prude but women with the fashion sense of strippers presenting tragedy just jars the senses.


  32. Tornado sirens just started wailing outside the office.
    So I am up in the top floor meeting room surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows.

  33. KHOU is truly in a league of it’s own for EXTREMELY BAD coverage

    Nope. Most local TV stations are that way. Visions of CNN dancing the reporters feeble brains. All hoping for air time on CNN or one of the major news networks such as CBS or ABC. Accurate reporting is out the window being replaced by tabloid journalism to grab that ever elusive spot on the evening news to get people to tune to their channel.

    Our local stations are running stories about people that have relatives that live in Houston, people the ever lived in Houston, or people that used to live in the area and have moved to Houston. Anything to align themselves with the events. None of the stations are ever ones to let a disaster go unexploited to attract viewers.

    Then after an event is over, especially a local event, I see short advertising segments from each station bragging how they were first on the scene, had the most reporters, had the longest reports. Whatever they can thing of to brag on themselves.

    KHOU is not unique and is in fact part of a national problem with incompetent on-air personalities. All hired for reasons other than brains.

  34. Re:Not running the generator.

    “They’re actually not going to turn off their main breaker, because they don’t want to run their generator all weekend to keep the refrigerator/freezer cold.”

    The usual advice is: “Train like you are going to fight”.

    I’ve seen, a number of times, reports of turning on the generator in an emergency – and having it not start or failing after a few minutes. Both private and institutional sites.

    If it’s dual fuel I’d even recommend running a number of hours on each.

    Full disclosure: I don’t actually *have* a generator myself, just a big 12V inverter. (I used to have a 12hp lawn tractor with a power take-off port, but gave it away when the deck and tranny failed).

  35. RE: Generator – good point …
    I run my generator about an hour every quarter just to ensure that the electric start battery and other systems are still working. I really need to run it on gasoline again just to ensure that the fuel feed is still in good shape. I love propane because of it’s simplicity and safety so I haven’t used gasoline in about a year.

  36. So it has always been, at least for the 60 years that I can remember. The year we got married, Don Henley wrote about the bubble-headed-bleach-blond. At least CNN back in the 70’s when it was still called WTBS had the Unknown Newsman with the paper bag over his head. Things have gone downhill ever since.

  37. BTW, apparently Fort Bend County has banned ALL drones for the duration of the emergency. Can they do this ?

    I passed an official drone crew taking video of the river on the way to work. There were four guys. One holding a fire extinguisher as they fueled the drone. One standing with the control box. One fueling the drone, I guess the drone has gasoline engines instead of electric. And the other one was supervising. Or had his thumb up his …

    EDIT: I know it was an official drone crew because they had a big yellow road sign stating so since they parked on the bridge and blocked one of the two lanes.

  38. The Brazos River has set an official new high record at the Richmond gauge, 55.07 ft. The previous official high record is 54.7 ft. We are supposedly on our way to 56 ft tomorrow at noon.

    We got very lucky and Harvey went south of Houston instead of north of Houston. We are blessed.

    Reputedly, the Brazos went to 61 ft in December 1913 but no one wants to talk about it. That was before we had an official gauge at Richmond.

    EDIT: The downstream gauge at Rosharon reflects that 1913 flood. It is an alltime crest of the river, three ft higher than the 1957 flood. The 1957 flood is 1 ft higher than the 2016 flood.

  39. Can they ban drones? Of course they can. They did.

    The real question is whether they can enforce the ban. When they can’t even enforce a speed limit.

  40. RE: Generator – good point …
    I run my generator about an hour every quarter just to ensure that the electric start battery and other systems are still working. I really need to run it on gasoline again just to ensure that the fuel feed is still in good shape. I love propane because of it’s simplicity and safety so I haven’t used gasoline in about a year.

    When I was an engineer in the 1980s at TXU / Luminant / Energy Future Holdings / whatever they called themselves now, we ran all of our black start equipment for an hour every week. We isolated the black start device and it had to start on its own. “Interesting” things would happen occasionally. Locomotive supercharged V-12 and V-16 diesels really like a can or ten of ether in the intake if they are cold and the outside temperature is below 70 F or so.

  41. I’ll post this from my daily FEMA newsletter wrt assets that have been deployed to Houston area. I don’t know what some of these are, but find it interesting that we have them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a master list of assets available to FEMA, so I count this as intel related to capacity. More research is needed as they reveal assets.

    • All 28 National US&R Response System (“System”)
    Sponsoring Agencies have deployed resources to the
    Hurricane Harvey response lifesaving mission. (TX-TF1 is
    a State resource)
    • 50% of the 28 System task forces have their full type 1
    equipment caches in theater.
    • 13 System Sponsoring Agencies have deployed Swiftwater
    Mission Ready Packages with the appropriate equipment
    • All 7 of the Hazardous Equipment Push Packages
    (HEPPs) have been deployed in support of the response

    28 agencies? Type 1 equipment caches? Mission Ready packages, HEPPs????

    There’s a wealth of info behind that simple list.

    Also, I’d like to know where the 10000 cots for NRG stadium shelter were stored/staged.


  42. From FEMA re: drones

    “The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is asking that drone operators — both hobbyists and commercial operators– remain clear of search-and rescue efforts. Drones pose a potential danger to low-flying helicopters and their crews and can hinder the efforts of those who are trying to save lives. Operators should check their Notices to Airmen because the FAA issue Temporary Flight Restrictions at any time as conditions change.”

  43. We decided to replace the dead central air because the monster window unit was growing weak. The heat worked. I admit to not being a fan of hearing the transformer on the pole sounding like a space ship in an old movie when the heat was on.

    I had a quote from Home Depot. It may be with the rest of the paperwork but I’m too lazy to move a dog and a rug to get the folder from the top of the air handler.

    Best I recall, HD wanted $6500 for a 4 ton A/C unit, in and out. Plus “extras if needed”. To move the outside unit from under the bedroom window was a mess. They wanted to cut the existing tubing, solder on elbows, and go along the skirting to the new unit. Because they don’t go under houses. I can sit on my butt under the air handler. Plenty of room (and dog kisses) under the house. Their quote seemed a bit on the high side.

    I shopped. The old system was “X Brand” and made in Houston. Now named Goodman. They make Amana, also.

    I now have a 2 stage heat pump outside. The air handler inside has a variable speed blower that varies from “is the air running” to “run! hurricane!”. The system is pretty amazing.

    We bought it on-line from an outfit in Florida. It’s a

    “4.0 Ton 16 Seer Goodman Heat Pump System
    Unit Price: US$3,399.00
    > Heater : 10 KW (+ US$99.00)
    > T-Stat : CTK-02 (+ US$329.00)
    Order Total : US$3,827.00
    Shipping : US$0.00
    Discounts : US$50.00
    Grand Total : US$3,777.00”

    I forget what why they gave a discount. We have had enough cold that a 15 KW heater would have been better. But that would need another breaker and the box is full. Wear a sweater! They delivered via a truck with a lift gate. Two pallets delivered to our parking lot.

    They had a 3 stage heat pump for another $1200 or so. Higher Seer, too. But I was already getting push back for buying a heat pump and not a plain A/C system. Next time, for sure.

    The system uses something called ComfortNet™. Simple wiring. Four conductors from the fancy thermostat to the air handler and then to the outside unit. The three talk to each other using thirty year old wire.

    I had help installing the system. Mostly with moving heavy things and ideas. I gutted the a/c closet to the plywood floor. Built a new box for the air handler to stand on with room for a larger filter. Larger filter > less air resistance > less noise. Used some stick down flooring I already had. Painted, because why not? Rebuilt the distribution box in the attic where the ducts connect. Now the flexible ducts lie flat and do not have a 90 degree bend. Air flow is better and more balanced through the house.

    Home Depot would have raped me with “extra costs” for the distribution box. The old one was glued to the air handler….

    To validate the warranty the freon lines had to be professionally connected. Not a problem for me, I don’t know how to solder copper pipe. My neighbor knows how, but, nah. Everything was ready. The A/C guy offered me a job. 🙂

    The system is great. The electric bill dropped $40 for cooling and the entire house is cool.

    Yeah, Ken’s A/C charged a couple hundred to connect the freon lines and double check everything. The recycle place gave almost $300 for the scrap from the old system. Win!

  44. “An example of current actions

    Urban Search & Rescue task forces with the National Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) System, are on the ground in the Houston/Galveston area in Texas to support the state and tribes as needed and requested. Additional teams are on alert.
    Each of these teams has swift water rescue capabilities.

    o Six Type 1 Task Forces conducting operations in Houston and the surrounding areas

    o Eight Type 3 Task Forces conducting operations in Houston and the surrounding areas

    o 14 Swiftwater Mission Ready Packages

    o One Incident Support Team in College Station

    FEMA established Incident Support Bases (ISB) near Seguin, Texas, Camp Beauregard, Louisiana, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana to ensure supplies including water, meals, blankets and other resources are closer to affected areas and are available for distribution to state, tribal, and local officials. State, local, and tribal officials are responsible for distributing supplies to the community.

    o As of this morning, the following commodities have been provided to the state of Texas at its request:

    More than 306,000 meals
    More than 687,000 liters of water

    o More than 4.6 million meals, 5.1 million liters of water, and thousands of cots and blankets remain available at ISBs for transfer to the states of Texas and Louisiana should they be needed and requested. Additional commodities are in route to the ISBs.

    Mobile Emergency Response Support (MERS) personnel and equipment are on the ground in Texas and Louisiana to support the states with secure and non-secure voice, video and information services for emergency response communications needs. The following teams and assets are on the ground in Texas, with additional teams deploying:

    o 22 Mobile Emergency Response Support teams

    o 25 mobile communication office vehicles in support of US&R, IMAT, ISB, and survivor assistance.

    FEMA Incident Management Assistance Teams (IMATs) are in place in Houston and the Texas and Louisiana state emergency operations centers in Austin, Texas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to support requests for federal assistance. Additional teams continue to deploy as the response continues.
    FEMA’s National Business Emergency Operations Center is activated to facilitate coordination between government and private sector organizations as the community responds to Tropical Storm Harvey.
    The National Flood Insurance Program has general adjusters situated in Texas and Louisiana to support initial damage assessments and assist with positioning adjuster resources following the event.
    More than 3,200 FEMA employees are working in support of Tropical Storm Harvey response.

    Federal Family Actions

    More than 12,400 federal staff are deployed in support of Tropical Storm Harvey response.
    The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is conducting flood-fighting activities such as stockpiling and issuing flood-fighting materials (sandbags and materials/fabrics that keep soil in place) to local government entities in an effort to mitigate the effects of flooding in the affected areas. USACE is conducting releases from the Addicks and Barker Dams in Houston, TX to most effectively manage risk. Releasing smaller amounts of water from the dams, now, decreases the amount of water that will eventually flow through emergency spillways around the dams.
    On August 26, 2017 the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price declared a public health emergency in Texas in response to Tropical Storm Harvey to provide greater flexibility in meeting emergency health needs. HHS also has more than 500 medical professionals deployed from the National Disaster Medical System and U.S. Public Health Service, and an additional 1,000 professionals on alert to provide medical care.
    The Red Cross has launched a massive response to this devastating storm and needs financial donations to be able to provide immediate disaster relief. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. More than 80 tractor-trailer loads of cots, blankets, ready-to-eat meals, comfort kits, kitchen supplies and cleaning supplies are now on the ground in Texas.
    The United States Geological Survey (USGS) Texas Water Science Center deployed storm surge sensors in as many as 20 locations between the San Luis Pass and Corpus Christi. USGS is providing advance support, real-time field measurements, and daily reporting of water heights via deployed storm-tide sensors to help public officials assess storm damage, discern between wind and flood damage, and improve computer models used to forecast future floods.
    The Civil Air Patrol is providing aircraft, vehicles, and personnel to accomplish aerial/ground imaging, damage assessments, and transportation of personnel and light cargo.

  45. @nick has provided more information than any of the media.
    All thumbs up there @nick

  46. At least CNN back in the 70’s when it was still called WTBS had the Unknown Newsman with the paper bag over his head. Things have gone downhill ever since.

    When CNN started Headline News in the 80s, Crazy Ted hired some decent non-bubblehead talent, including Don Harrison out of Tampa and former corrections officer/Sheriff’s deputy Lynne Russell.

  47. Do Ding Dongs have an expiration date ?

    Yes, surprisingly, they do. One of the first tasks of the new Twinkies company was to reformulate all of the snacks, including Ding Dongs, to be appealing after freezing/thawing to enable distribution from a dramatically smaller number of automated bakeries.

    I’m sure I speak for the others around here when I say that lack of an earlier posting from you generated concern about your safety.

  48. Some more ridiculous behavior from some precious snowflakes.

    Seems a banana tossed in a tree was enough to put them over the edge.

    A student, Ryan Swanson, told the student newspaper, the Daily Mississippian, that he discarded the banana peel by throwing it into the tree when he couldn’t find a garbage can.

    Makala McNeil, who is the campus President of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a historically black sorority part of the Greek Life retreat, later spotted the discarded banana and, instead of writing it off as mere garbage, and assumed the peel was a racially tinged threat.

    And that caused this.

    students quickly became agitated — some even left the retreat in tears

    The mere fact that anyone could become upset over a banana peeling is troubling. To make it into a full blown event that cancels Greek Life is beyond absurd.

    These precious snowflakes are in for a rude awakening when they get a real job and find out the coffee is not always to their liking or their favorite parking spot is taken. I would hate to be an employer and find this is what I have to chose from the applicants.

  49. Headed out to check on my other property….

    have to cross a good part of the west side, and inner loop.

    should have some intel after.


  50. Renewed my D/L today at the local DMV, only a month late as *I’m* aware that you don’t forget how just because the plastic reaches a certain vintage. Such scofflaw attitudes are eventually expensively corrected, so off I went. I was aware that they no longer hand them out at the end of the process, but insist on mailing to your address of record. Had to take off my self darkening glasses for the pic as the tint interferes with facial recognition.

    I was somewhat surprised to NOT see any TSA style “security”. There were not even signs to the effect that gubs are not allowed. Walk in, get a number and form and park it.

    Mandatory “Real ID” is still a coupla years away in this state. Those with a passport or military ID are exempt but when “Real ID” does kick in the D/L will not be enough to enter a federal facility or domestic airplane. Boo hoo.

    They have also scrambled up the “now serving number” system so that it is no longer obvious how long you’ll be waiting or how slow they are proceeding. Oh! Lord help me, but the “now serving number” display is now a video screen running continuous commercials for PI attorneys and driving schools for your edification while you wait.

  51. Makala McNeil, who is the campus President of Alpha Kappa Alpha, a historically black sorority part of the Greek Life retreat, later spotted the discarded banana and, instead of writing it off as mere garbage, and assumed the peel was a racially tinged threat.

    AKA girls have been snowflakes since I was an undergraduate in the 80s. *Really* thin skinned.

    Back in the day, they all acted like the empty-headed characters on “A Different World” so, to them, everything was Hollywood-level drama on campus. Ah, the hallowed traditions of Greek life — it is nice to know some things endure.

  52. @Nightraker – did a person issue you your “number”?

    At our DMV you go to a counter to get your number from a “person”. I am sure you are profiled in a number of ways and an “appropriate” number is issued. My observation is that white males are given a certain number that is at best called once every four numbers. People who are of color and low IQ get priority.

  53. “did a person issue you your “number”?”

    Yes, and the print out slip specified me by name with a generated 6-8 digit “case number”, too. Wait time was ~15 minutes max as the seats were perhaps 15-20% filled in a predominately white suburban facility, so hard to discern any profiling. About a third to a half of the examiner booths staffed. Mine did seem to find a coupla minutes worth of screen to read after data entry. Checkered past, no doubt.

    End result of the exercise was 1 page of laser print that is the “official” license until the post office catches up in a week or 2 with the usual card. My “late” fee was $5…

  54. I’m sure I speak for the others around here when I say that lack of an earlier posting from you generated concern about your safety.

    Thanks ! I posted something yesterday, I think.

    We are blessed ! We are high and dry XXX moist. The levee guys have pumped our bayous down to half full and left them there. We don’t pump everything out now because of downstream flooding.

    We are performing a levee test tomorrow at noon. I hope it goes ok. Looks like we will have 4 ft of freeboard (the distance from the top of the water to the top of the levee) on our levee along the river. However, the back side of our levee will only have 2.5 ft of freeboard. I am hoping that my neighbors will want to fix that. I have severe questions as to what would have happened should the river have gone 3 ft higher when Harvey was going to the north of Houston instead of the south side.

    My office property is around 8 ft above the river right now. Which is good as we don’t have a levee at the office.

    I am back to my normal 2 am go to bed and 10 am getup. These drugs that I am on really make me lethargic when I get up. And then I’ve got my ADD going full blast at night time as the drugs wear off. Oh wait, SteveF is probably complaining about my gritching and moaning now. Oh well, it is tough to be Superman one day and be Jimmy Olson the next. Takes years XXXXX decades to accept the new normal.

  55. From FEMA re: drones

    Plus, doesn’t FEMA have some super power when called in action?

    To cheer all up, I read President tRump is ending the “Dreamer” farce. Prepare for full SJW/Dumbocrat implosion.

  56. “Feel free to kick Harvey’s ass for us. He ain’t welcome back here.”

    We’re not rude to strangers around here.

  57. To cheer all up, I read President tRump is ending the “Dreamer” farce. Prepare for full SJW/Dumbocrat implosion.

    Are the SJW / dumbocrats rational ? I just went and got my monthly blood draw to see if I am still alive and how bad my meds are poisoning me. It was just me and another guy in the waiting room. They had a tv showing Trump’s spokesdude talking about relief money going to Houston. The guy starts spouting off how Trump is going to personally make so much money off Harvey by selling gasoline for incredible amounts. I got stupid and said, “you know that Trump does not own any refineries, right ?”. And the dude says, “how do you know that ?”. I said, “BTW, at least ten of the gulf coast refineries are down for weeks at best”. His answer, “oh yeah, they are to get rich by driving the price of gasoline to $10”. I gave up then.

    My neighbor that invited us over is a democrat. We were talking about health insurance and then he mentioned that the presidential election was not fair. I said why, knowing what was coming. He said that it is not like old times, we need to have popular vote elections now. He just wants to get rid of the electoral college by magic. I mentioned that there is a process to change the constitution but he thinks that would never happen. We dropped it at that point and moved on to other world problems such as credit card debt.

  58. The guy starts spouting off how Trump is going to personally make so much money off Harvey by selling gasoline for incredible amounts.

    I’ve seen various media outlets, including Drudge, attempting to start the “gasoline shortage” meme. I’d dismiss the efforts, but, as we’ve discussed here before, I’m old enough to remember Johnny Carson starting a toilet paper shortage with a throwaway monologue line.

  59. I recall a report earlier today on Fox News Channel that the refinery that is shutdown (note that was singular refinery) supplies a pipeline that goes East and then up the East Coast states up to New York. Far from a national shortage.

    Trump released two 500,000 gallon sets of gasoline crude oil from the Federal Reserve, one million gallons total.

    Oil futures are up but current prices are steady. I am sure that there will be “unbranded” stations that will be taking advantage of the situation though and raising prices.

    Edit: @lynn, thanks for catching my slip of calling it gasoline instead of the correct CRUDE OIL. Gasoline degrades so it would be stupid to store it in the reserve. My brain fart.

  60. Trump released two 500,000 gallon sets of gasoline from the Federal Reserve, one million gallons total.

    Trump released two 500,000 gallon sets of CRUDE OIL from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, one million gallons total.

    Fixed that for you.

    BTW, we are not short on crude oil but we are getting ready to be short on refined products in a week unless some of these refineries get back up. It depends on how long it takes them to rebuild 1,000 hp electric motors from water inundation.

    Our Shell station out here in the sticks has raised their regular gasoline price from $2.069/gal to $2.399/gal since last week. I expect the price to jump again, maybe a $1/gal.

  61. I am back to my normal 2 am go to bed and 10 am getup.

    Sounds like my natural schedule.

    However, Missy disagrees. When the 105# lab over pit girl wants out, she goes out.

  62. I noticed that gasoline has jumped .20 each of the last two days here in the northern part of the midwest. Hardly unexpected.

  63. So Kathy plans to duct-tape the refrigerator/freezer doors closed and feed everyone from dry and canned LTS food and stored water.

    BTW, I had scrambled eggs for breakfast from an Augason can of whole eggs. Um, not very good.


    They don’t see a big chance of Irma reaching you.

    They present themselves as a no-hype weather site, and to my layman eyes seem legitimate. YOMV.

    Thanks ! Yes, that is Eric Berger’s website. He was the weatherman for The Houston Chronicle for umpteen years until they laid him off with 3/4 of the newsroom a couple of years ago.

    And yes, I read the article too. Cold fronts in this time of year are rare and welcome. They also block hurricanes. I look forward to the cold front should it make it down. My two mile walk last night was 75 F and very humid at 11 pm.

  65. Spacecity is the gut check and go to site down this way.

    something happened/changed at weather underground and I no longer like them.\

    big loop thru town and saw no evidence of any flooding on my trip. I avoided areas that were hard hit on purpose, but unlike a hurricane, there are large areas that are normal.

    Got a couple drips and some seepage at my secondary location. No losses, nothing that won’t dry. Still gonna have to spend a day pulling and rearranging stuff. Needed doing for a long time, but is onerous and a dead loss timewise.


  66. I noticed that gasoline has jumped .20 each of the last two days here in the northern part of the midwest. Hardly unexpected.

    I saw an insanely long line waiting to fill up at the HEB gas station closest to my house about 20 minutes ago.

    The media finally found their meme for a couple of days at least.

  67. No big nooz to report here; did the dump run; went to vets group and left early to see my primary care MD, then back to the vets group, and it was going well and then the guy who lost his shit a couple of weeks ago suddenly broke down and started crying, deep, wracking sobs; said he “can’t do this anymore,” meaning life in general, I think. He’s really having a hard time, 45 years after the war. Then I went to pick up wife at MIL’s place where she was napping today and she’s sick as a dog; caught some nasty chit from some ham planet in her class who was coughing and hacking and spewing bacteria all over the room for three days. Plus her knee is still effed up from slipping and falling in the bathtub at the hotel where we stayed for the funeral weeks ago, and she has nasty brutal spider bites up and down her legs and feet.

    By comparison I’m sittin’ on top ‘o the world, I guess; they’re jacking up my Gabapentin dose, having me do more PT, and we’ll see in three or four weeks. May have to get another MRI and then a third epidural shot to the spine. I’m still limping and shuffling along, though, and tomorrow’s another day.

    Interview/meeting with two of the faculty at the skool and then check on wife. Try to mow the back yard, which is now a jungle again, after beaucoups rain and then beaucoups sun.

    Speaking of insanely long lines; bumper to bumper getting back out of Burlap during rush hour this afternoon, and no relief until I got past the Champlain Islands/NY exit, per usual. Once past that, you’re heading into the northlands and fah less traffic. I listened to Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM, per usual. Life is grand.

  68. Four closed Waffle House restaurants

    Our company DR architect attended a business continuity seminar and came back with highest praise for Waffle House DR planning.

  69. Our company DR architect attended a business continuity seminar and came back with highest praise for Waffle House DR planning.

    Waffle House and the McDonalds on the Disney property just off the road to Animal Kingdom.

    The McDonalds is where the utility trucks and insurance companies stage before heading to the site of a Florida storm. If it is closed, things are bad.

  70. “The pest has destroyed about a dozen packages of stuff ,from pouch meat to cobbler

    @nick I have had good luck accumulating steel office storage cabinets (usually 18x36x72, some models are deeper or taller or narrower) for my food storage. I’ve gotten some cheap (~$30 to $50) and some for free. Even easier to get are filing cabinets that have seen better days. Around here (fringe of Silicon Valley) those are regularly available on craigslist for five or ten bucks if not free. I have had to deal with mice and rat problems in my garage (those Black Cat traps do work well), but they have never gotten into my pantries.

  71. And Amazon’s practice of not collecting sales tax on sales by third-party vendors is going to come back to haunt those vendors. I just read an article a couple weeks ago that Amazon is going to start reporting those sales RETROACTIVELY to the state taxing authorities, which means those vendors will owe sales tax to every state for which Amazon collects sales taxes, plus the state the vendor is located in if it’s not one of the Amazon states.

    Are the states saying that Amazon’s presence in a state means that the third party vendor has a presence in the state ? If so, no way would I sell through Big River without collecting sales tax.

  72. I just went and stood on top of our levee at'18.4%22N+95%C2%B039'16.1%22W/@29.5550982,-95.6550092,189m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d29.555097!4d-95.654462

    The levee is 12 ft tall. The water is only 4 ft deep on the cattle field side. That means that there is 8 ft of freeboard. But if you go to our levee by the I-69 12 lane bridge, the levee is 12 ft tall there and there is about 7 or 8 ft of water on the levee (I saw this driving over the I-69 bridge today). The point that I stood on the levee is less than a mile downstream. There is no way that the river drops 3 or 4 ft in elevation in just a mile.'55.6%22N+95%C2%B040'15.3%22W/@29.5654436,-95.6731047,754m/data=!3m2!1e3!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x0:0x0!8m2!3d29.565439!4d-95.670916

    I am confused.

  73. I listened to Little Steven’s Underground Garage on SiriusXM, per usual. Life is grand.

    Does he still talk like he is taking hits on a doobie (slow and raspy) during songs ? And yes, life is grand. And far too interesting at the moment.

  74. He talks somewhat like that but more lively and almost always with some humor; but occasionally he gets into a preachy left lecture-mode thing, which is annoying and I don’t listen to it. My favorite “DJ” is the Mighty Manfred, who works from Lost Angels and is the frontman for his band, the Woggles. Then Chris Carter’s “British Invasion.” I tried the various rock, C&W and classical channels, but they were all kinda “Top-40,” with stuff being repeated all the time.

    I hope life gets less interesting for y’all down there but fear that the aftermath is gonna suck pretty badly. And will reverberate for decades and not only in Texas.

    Looks like a bright sunny day and I gotta skeddadle out to beeyooteeful Johnson, VT for my interview/meeting, and then check on sick wife down in beeyooteeful Shelburne Bay.

  75. Are the states saying that Amazon’s presence in a state means that the third party vendor has a presence in the state?

    Yes, they are. Amazon has a facility close to Nashville. Anytime I buy anything from Amazon I have to pay sales tax regardless of who is actually sourcing the merchandise. The states position are that Amazon is collecting the funds, Amazon must collect sales tax.

  76. It’s just another criminal racket set up by our ruling shitbags. Taxes used to fund all kinds of stuff that we abhor and loathe. Oh, but we can change all that by simply electing new peeps!

    Nope. Those peeps get to Mordor and then they set about electing a new population, which the original population pays for.

    Sooner or later the whole imperial Ponzi scheme will collapse.

  77. Amazon collects NC sales tax on items they sell, but not on items sold by third-party vendors on their site. What Indiana and other states are trying to do is a tax-grab, pure and simple. Quill v. North Dakota established that definitively. Of course, our new SCOTUS may revisit that decision, although they’ll have to do some real mental gymnastics to overturn the Constitutional prohibition on states interfering with interstate commerce.

    If we end up with sales taxes applying to interstate sales, I hope they decide that the tax is due at the point of sale rather than the customers’ locations. I don’t want to have to collect and report sales taxes to 6,000 taxing jurisdictions. I’ll be happy to collect a flat 6.75% North Carolina sales tax on all orders and send it in to the state of North Carolina. Actually, I’d rather send it in to Alleghany County, but that’s another issue.

  78. Planning is ongoing, flood control structures are being built, have been built, and will be built.

    The problem is that there has been significantly more development upstream to the west and north that feeds into the bayous in the city proper. For a long time there were no requirements for doing any flood control prep in those areas and there was strong resistance from the development community (and the local politicos in the pocket of them) that delayed the current, inadequate regulations. There have been some projects but the timeframes have been really, really long due to funding. Along Brays, they have done two impoundments – a piece of land that was undevelopable (the old Meyer mansion site, no way to have road access) and an apartment complex that was condemned and some other land nearby – they scooped it out and put a park there, like is behind Addicks and Barker dams.

  79. KHOU is truly in a league of it’s own for EXTREMELY BAD coverage.

    Well, in partial defense of them, they were operating without local studios, which were flooded early.

  80. I don’t want to have to collect and report sales taxes to 6,000 taxing jurisdictions

    Some of the sites I purchase from need to know the county in which I live. My city is actually in three counties. Each county taxes slightly different by a fraction of a percent. Thus the company doing the selling has to collect sales tax differently depending on the county. Amazon is one of those entities. If I were to move 2,500 feet in one direction my sales tax would be different.

    Such taxing is a nightmare for many companies. Small operations such as yours would truly have a difficult time as you would have to know the tax for thousands of different addresses and zip codes. Even the zip code would not be enough as I have the same zip code for people within the city that live in different counties.

  81. “they were operating without local studios,” and without all the ‘bump and flash’ the focus was on the presenters, who are clearly functional imbeciles.


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