Mon. Mar. 11, 2019 – my birthday is this week

71F and saturated this morning. Forecast calls for rain.

Woke up dreaming of a bomb attack on a theatre. Not the most pleasant way to wake up.

Slept in a bit, but the time change makes it look later. Kids are home from school for Spring Break this week. My wife decided to take the week off too, so I’m not alone with the miscreants. I will be able to get out of the house and do some things. I’ll think of it as a working vacation. Yeah, that’s it.

n

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75 Responses to Mon. Mar. 11, 2019 – my birthday is this week

  1. JimB says:

    Brad, from yesterday,

    …he has so crazily many tools that a lot of them are outside, under an overgrown carport-style roof. Rusting away, which just hurts my soul to look at.

    That does hurt. A man’s got to take care of his tools.

  2. Nick Flandrey says:

    Yea socialism! Yea corruption!

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6793585/Venezuelans-turn-looting-Caracas-fourth-day-power-outages.html

    “Problems have been exacerbated by hyperinflation that the International Monetary Fund says will reach 10 million percent this year.

    An estimated 2.7 million people have left the country since 2015.”

    –Think about the situation in the country 3 years ago, 5 years ago.

    –at what point would you have pulled the plug and gotten out? At what point would you have shifted your savings into other currency, gold, or hard assets? How much of a stockpile would you have needed to get thru? (apparently there is still food on shelves, at least in Caracas, so who’s reporting is accurate?)

    –wtf does someone living in poverty with a worthless currency get several hundred USD?

    –5 days of intermittent or no power and people are dying from medical issues

    –5 days of no power and people are looting
    n

  3. Nick Flandrey says:

    Anyone want to bet that there is more to this story than “a chocolatey treat”?

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6795115/Boy-14-fatally-stabbed-eye-classmate-fight-BROWNIE.html

    –That area of town is a sh!thole, btw.

    n

  4. MrAtoz says:

    Exactly, Mr. Nick. A brownie, really?

  5. Greg Norton says:

    Think about the situation in the country 3 years ago, 5 years ago.

    Try 20. I’ve stated before that we knew at GTE.

    Management confiscated my copies of the internal travel advisories long before I quit, however. They made the mistake of hiring a quota number for in country support, and the girl burned them by refusing to travel there on the basis that the situation in Caracas was not fully explained to her in advance.

    (The excuse was BS, of course. She knew, but quota hires don’t get fired without really good reason, and it took them 15 years to find one.)

  6. Greg Norton says:

    Anyone want to bet that there is more to this story than “a chocolatey treat”?

    Do they sell “special” brownies at that store.

    –That area of town is a sh!thole, btw.

    In Portland, everything seemed to happen at Plaid Pantry convenience stores in Gresham. Is Shop N Go similar in Houston?

    We half joked that the career of a Plaid Pantry clerk was similar in duration to that of Ensign Ricky, “Red Shirt of the Week” on “Star Trek”.

    Much like Ensign Ricky, the clerks frequently departed the career on a stretcher (if they weren’t disintegrated by a Klingon).

    Did I mention the color of the Plaid Pantry employee uniform? One guess.

  7. Nick Flandrey says:

    any of the Stop N xxxx are colloquially known as “Stop and Rob”s.

    Lots of diversity in that neighborhood. I drive past that school about 6 times a years on one of the major roads thru town. Houston is all about the micro-neighborhoods- couple of blocks in any direction and the vibe can change completely.

    n

  8. lynn says:

    Mon. Mar. 11, 2019 – my birthday is this week

    Congrats ! My wife will be 61 next week. Let’s see, March babies minus nine months equals June. Which, is my wife’s middle name. When her mother explained to my wife that her middle name is the month that she was conceived in, my wife got all indignant (the wife was a teenager at the time). Her mother thought it was hilarious.

  9. Ray Thompson says:

    A man’s got to take care of his tools

    Never abuse my tool. At least not since I got married.

  10. Nick Flandrey says:

    Lot of June brides = lots of March babies….

    At least for those of a certain era.

    n

  11. Dennis says:

    In case anyone has one of these fun toys…

    Smith & Wesson M&P15-22 CONSUMER SAFETY ALERT

    https://www.smith-wesson.com/mp15-22-consumer-safety-alert

    D

  12. Nick Flandrey says:

    Wow, spot the logical fallacy in this article.

    “U.S.-born, right-wing terrorists are a greater danger to Americans than Islamic threats, FBI data shows

    Approximately 270 domestic terrorism suspects were arrested from 2017-2018, compared to roughly 210 international suspects, according to FBI data
    The majority of those arrested by the FBI are charged with offenses that have nothing to do with terrorism – including possession of guns or narcotics
    Of the roughly 110 people arrested on suspicion of Islamic-inspired terrorism in 2017, only about 30 actually were charged with terrorism, FBI data shows ”

    Um, just because the FBI is arresting people who look like them, and has trouble infiltrating or making arrests in groups that don’t look like them, don’t share a background with them, and don’t speak a language they understand, DOESN’T MEAN THAT GROUP ISN’T A THREAT.

    and WOW, the FBI only made ~400 arrests? WTF are those guys doing in between trying to topple a legitimate government?

  13. Greg Norton says:

    Lots of diversity in that neighborhood. I drive past that school about 6 times a years on one of the major roads thru town. Houston is all about the micro-neighborhoods- couple of blocks in any direction and the vibe can change completely.

    East Portland was a decent place to live until 205 went across the river, opening up access to the new neighborhoods with better schools surrounding the HP, UL, and Sharp Labs facilities on the Vantucky side of the river.

    The only reason people would go to Gresham when we lived there was the big Subaru Dealer. I’ve even had friends here ask about the logistics of driving a car down from Portland because, evidently, the deals on Forresters, etc. are very good, enough to make the trip worth considering.

    Before anyone asks — Four days (don’t stop to play tourist):
    (1) Fly in, get your car deal wrapped up and hit the road in the afternoon. The dealer has easy access to 84. You can be in Boise by Midnight.
    (2) Boise to Moab, UT. Stop at Costco on 84 for snacks, water for the trip before heading east out of Boise.
    (3) Moab, UT to Lubbock, driving down through Albuquerque.
    (4) Lubbock to points East in Texas.

    All of the daily end points have decent hotel options.

  14. SteveF says:

    Doing my usual read of the past several days’ journal entries.

    Nick – Thur Mar 7 – thinking about the hypocrisy of the left: I’m not sure it’s deliberate or even conscious hypocrisy. Going by my (as limited as I can manage) interactions with them, they’ve convinced themselves that freedom of speech applies only to speech that doesn’t offend them, and similar for other infringements and even violence.

    Whether people as stupid as that should be allowed to continue to pollute the gene pool is a matter that shall be left for the coming civil war.

    Greg Norton – Thur Mar 7 – I still believe a “black swan” event is coming for The Cloud, a security breach so ugly: Health information or personal DNA databases. More intimate than financial info and less able to cancel and restart.

    Brad – Thur Mar 7 – the US government is pretty lax about rights of people outside the US: They’re not punctilious about the rights of US citizens inside the US, either, and they’re nominally working for us and protecting our rights.

    Nick – Fri Mar 8 – I’m stacking … people: Me, too! But I didn’t think we were supposed to talk about it.

  15. lynn says:

    Wizard of Id: giant meteor !
    https://www.gocomics.com/wizardofid/2019/03/11

    Heh !

  16. lynn says:

    Swan Eaters: somedays you just gotta eat
    https://www.gocomics.com/swan-eaters/2019/03/11

    Not cool but, they’ve got seven kids.

  17. lynn says:

    Questionable Content: are AI recharging cubicles quiet ?
    https://www.questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3956

    One would think that AI recharging cubicles would be quiet. But, the AIs in this universe seem to be quite chatty.

  18. lynn says:

    “The Mueller Report: The Final Report of the Special Counsel into Donald Trump, Russia, and Collusion Paperback” – March 26, 2019 by Robert S. Mueller III (Author), Special Counsel’s Office U.S. Department of Justice (Author), & 1 more
    https://www.amazon.com/Mueller-Report-Special-Counsel-Collusion/dp/1510750169/?tag=ttgnet-20

    I’ve got a bad feeling that this is not a sick joke.

  19. JLP says:

    I almost forgot, my birthday is also this week. Yay for us!

    I’ll be 53 (decimal) on pi day. I always feel like I’m in between the named generations. I’m not a boomer nor an x-er.

  20. lynn says:

    “Boeing’s stock takes a hit as more Max 8 planes are grounded”
    https://www.apnews.com/881eadf66f684aef93998cbe1c8f6661

    Very pretty plane as compared to the original 737. Too bad it seems to have a problem.

    Hat tip to:
    https://drudgereport.com/

  21. paul says:

    A friend went to a gub show on Saturday and found a nice .38 Special revolver. $160. Some website says it retails for $350. It’s cute as far as that kind of thing can be cute. It looks like it will be loud. I forget the brand, but made in Connecticut. The barrel looks like a mirror.

    But he bought an older gub and the ammo for his Colt is too powerful. Who goes to a gub show and buys something that uses /no/ ammo already in stock? And forgets to buy ammo? I’m still laughing.

    He ordered a couple of boxes from Academy Saturday afternoon and FedEx delivered this morning. I’m impressed.

  22. JimL says:

    I’ll be 53 (decimal) on pi day. I always feel like I’m in between the named generations. I’m not a boomer nor an x-er.

    You’re definitely Gen X. As I am. 60 (or 65) was the end of the Boomers. 79 or 80 ended the X-ers.

  23. lynn says:

    I’ll be 53 (decimal) on pi day. I always feel like I’m in between the named generations. I’m not a boomer nor an x-er.

    You’re definitely Gen X. As I am. 60 (or 65) was the end of the Boomers. 79 or 80 ended the X-ers.

    I assume that you are saying that 1960 or 1965 is the end of the Boomers. I am going with 1964. My birth year is 1960, I will be 59 in a couple of months.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_boomers

  24. paul says:

    ’57 for me. I don’t feel like I’m a Boomer.

  25. brad says:

    Dunno, I always heard that ’64 was the end of the boomers. Which puts me near the tail end of that generation.

    Cleaned out another two boxes of my mothers stuff. These were mostly easy: her school pics and report cards – people I don’t know and events no one but those involved with cared about. Same for my Dad, though most of his pics were taken of horses – presumably ones he took care of on their farm. Nothing of sentimental value, whew, glad of that…

    We also have tons and tons of quilts. Some of them obviously hand-sewn. For better or for worse, they are mostly “well loved”, i.e., pretty worn and damaged. Handed those over to my wife, who has a better idea if any are worth saving.

    I did find some really, really old photos – presumably 19th century, presumably family members although I only recognized a few of the names. Some of them folk looked downright scary, and I don’t mean only the men. I’ll send those to a cousin who cares about such things. Along with those darned stamps.

    Went out last weekend to visit friends. Have the annual meeting of my tennis club this Friday. Invited this coming weekend to visit more friends. Dammit, I’m an introvert, I’ll need to hibernate for a year or so after this…geez…

  26. Greg Norton says:

    I’ve got a bad feeling that this is not a sick joke.

    No. Check the publisher. Someone is gaming Amazon’s self publishing system.

    Forward by Alan Dershowitz? C’mon.

  27. Nick Flandrey says:

    @jlp, we are almost exactly the same age.

    I’m def not a boomer. And genx is younger than me. I had a stay at home mom, my (slightly younger) wife was a ‘latch key kid’. She’s not quite an x-er. Our cultural referents were from the older cousins we hung out with. Most of my friends were at least a couple of years older than me. That’s still true.

    Of course we married late. Most of the other parents at school are 10 or more years younger than us. Only a couple of other families are our age, and they generally have older kids besides the ones our kids ages.

    It does put us in this weird ‘straddle’ thing culturally.

    n

  28. lynn says:

    I’ve got a bad feeling that this is not a sick joke.

    No. Check the publisher. Someone is gaming Amazon’s self publishing system.

    It is reputedly available at several other places including Target and B&N.

    I am guessing that somebody is getting their spot ready to sell the report as a book.

  29. Nick Flandrey says:

    I’ve been in the driveway cleaning up some scrap, and getting some stuff ready for ebay. I also pressurewashed my new water tank inside and out.

    Of course, while I had the pressure washer going, I did a couple of panels of the fence, and the siding and eaves on the back side of the house. I did the front of the house earlier this year. The fence gets done every few years, and then gets a fresh application of Thompson’s water seal. It looks SO MUCH better afterwards, just like new. The Thompson’s will keep it nice for at least 2 years. Fences aren’t cheap. They are worth maintaining.

    The same goes for decks and patios. The water does remove some of the material, so you don’t want to do it every week, but it looks better and lasts longer when cleaned and sealed periodically.

    Work work work

    n

  30. JimL says:

    Yer an X-er too. Can’t get out of it. May not like it… We’re the beginning of the generation – before the generation knew itself.

    I’m nearly the same age as well. Eldest is getting ready for Jr High. Youngest is learning multiplication at home (at school next year). I am often asked if they’re my grandchildren. I just smile at them and move along.

  31. Greg Norton says:

    I assume that you are saying that 1960 or 1965 is the end of the Boomers. I am going with 1964. My birth year is 1960, I will be 59 in a couple of months.

    I think most people go with Pew research definition of Gen X being 1965-80. Douglas Coupland, who may or may not have coined the label, uses that range IIRC.

    I’m the “Ferris Bueller” high school graduating class (1986) so I’m definitely ‘X’.

  32. Ray Thompson says:

    We also have tons and tons of quilts. Some of them obviously hand-sewn.

    My grandmother crocheted for as long as can remember. Hundreds of items from small table place thingies, to one full size king bed cover that touched the floor all the way around. Dozens of table clothes, thingies to go over couch and chair backs. All intricate detail.

    When my grandmother was alive she gave wife and I a table cloth, about 3 foot by 5 foot, hand done with very intricate detail. We were offered $400.00 for the cloth 35 years ago. We refused to sell and still have the table cloth. We have used it some but now it is stored as it has suffered some damage and we don’t want it to get worse.

    The really sad part is that when we went to move my grandparents out of their house these hundreds of hand crocheted items were gone. Apparently the person that had been hired to come in every day to cook them a meal and do the cleaning had been stealing and selling these items. Bummer on their son who lived next door to not check on the activities and notice the missing items. Tens of thousands of dollars of stuff just gone.

    We went to the police who basically stated unless we could prove the items existed and then prove the lady was selling them, don’t waste the police’s time. Small town, police probably involved in the theft and selling.

    A lot of other stuff turned up missing. Small items of limited value but more sentimental than anything. Just gone. Apparently stolen sold by the hired help. She knew to not take big stuff that would be easily noticed.

    I was glad my grandmother had given me stuff before they died. She said she wanted to make certain I got the stuff and waiting until they died was no guarantee.

    I did get a barometer and a clock that I had known since my memory began. The clock had Westminster chimes and was a mantle electric clock. Really nice clock. The chimes were damaged during shipping and I found a place that would cut new chimes. Expensive but worth it. Clock now needs a new motor but I cannot find a replacement that works nor can clock repair places. Bearings are shot in the motor.

    The barometer suffered a broken cover glass cover in our move. I asked the company that made the device if I could get a replacement cover. Needs a hole in the middle to allow the movement of the history needle. The company said I needed to send the barometer to them. I did. New glass was $40.00 along with calibration. Company offered me $500.00 for the barometer as it was no longer in production and fairly rare. I declined.

    I suspect that the cloths my grandmother crocheted, the clock and the barometer will all be tossed when my kid cleans out the house. Same as I did for my aunt and uncle or sold for pennies on the dollar of what the item was originally worth.

  33. Greg Norton says:

    I am guessing that somebody is getting their spot ready to sell the report as a book.

    Slip a book past Amazon’s filters, and you get an ISBN (I believe the term is right) which means that the distributors can get the book for Target — B. Dalton’s original corporate parent — and Barnes & Noble.

    If it isn’t a game, then Trump knows what is in the report and signaled thumbs up about the release.

  34. Nick Flandrey says:

    @ray, if there is something you care about, give it while you are still around, and explain the significance to the receiver… Otherwise, someone like me will get it, and sell it to someone who really wants it. Which is some small comfort, but the significance is lost.

    @brad- Quilts, especially old handmade ones, are very desirable and many are very valuable. they are considered ‘folk art’ and condition can be poor if there is still a large part that is displayable… Don’t discount the value just because YOU think it’s got condition issue. Someone else might not care. There should be someone in your area that can help with value (assuming cultural similarities to here.)

    n

  35. dkreck says:

    If unsupervised people come into a house you best install deadbolts on some rooms or closets to secure any valuables. Cameras, obvious and hidden, aren’t a bad idea either though I’m sure you didn’t have that options at that time Ray. Make it clear without saying so that you watching. Buy a gun safe even if you don’t have any. Good for lots of things.

  36. JLP says:

    I know that the people who like to draw lines draw the boomer / x-er line at 1964 but I don’t see it as that neat. The mid to late 60s babies are a half and half group.

    I think computers are a good example of this. Baby boomers did not have access to personal computers in high school. X-ers had access to fully functional personal computers in high school. Those of us in the middle had access to personal computers but they were uncommon and they were not functional, we had to tell the computer what to do.

  37. Nick Flandrey says:

    Oh Look, Tim Berners Lee thinks censorship and .gov control of the internet are a good thing…

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6796403/Tim-Berners-Lee-calls-people-come-stop-abuse-internet.html

    I hate sloppy thinking. The best you could do is “call on people to stop using the internet to abuse PEOPLE.” they don’t ‘abuse the internet’.

    And the barely literate interns who write these articles should be able to demonstrate at least SOME understanding of the things they write about.

    “And he warned that the internet has degraded the quality of debate online, by fuelling outrage and polarising opinions.” – idiots. ONLINE IS THE INTERNET. There is no ‘online debate’ without the internet. And it’s idiotic because the internet give an equal voice to anyone and democratizes the ‘debate’ by allowing people without printing presses or TV stations to have their opinions heard.

    “the web was spinning out of control.” — unless the AIs have risen, it’s not ‘the web’ that is doing anything.

    Oh, and lets get the other half of the world online too, so we can scam them and track them, and subject them to 24/7 surveillance. Like a Maasi tribesman needs the internet….

    n

  38. Nick Flandrey says:

    Yep, can’t have too much free speech on the internet–

    https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-03-11/facebook-bans-zero-hedge

    “Over the weekend, we were surprised to learn that some readers were prevented by Facebook when attempting to share Zero Hedge articles. Subsequently it emerged that virtually every attempt to share or merely mention an article, including in private messages, would be actively blocked by the world’s largest social network, with the explanation that “the link you tried to visit goes against our community standards.”

    Facebook has blocked all @zerohedge links, throwing up the following message: pic.twitter.com/iuc3UxWgE1
    — Ollie Richardson (@O_Rich_) March 11, 2019″

  39. paul says:

    I think computers are a good example of this. Baby boomers did not have access to personal computers in high school. X-ers had access to fully functional personal computers in high school.

    The Lisa came out in ’83? Around that time (by memory) that you had things like the TI 99/4a and Commodores.

    High tech in my High School was a Xerox 720II copier. Actually, the one copier for the entire school district. Down the list was the mimeograph, 16mm projectors, film strip projectors, and the wonderful spirit whatever that printed purple.

    Computers didn’t exist where I lived in 1976.

    Edit: I could fix all of that stuff. And record players, too.

  40. Greg Norton says:

    I think computers are a good example of this. Baby boomers did not have access to personal computers in high school. X-ers had access to fully functional personal computers in high school. Those of us in the middle had access to personal computers but they were uncommon and they were not functional, we had to tell the computer what to do.

    If you were in high school when MTV came to the suburbs, you are Gen X.

    The first of Pournelle’s “Cultural Weapons of Mass Destruction”.

    Arguably, the Kavanaugh hearings are a sign that the fallout is still raining down on us from that explosion.

  41. MrAtoz says:

    Yep, can’t have too much free speech on the internet–

    All the ProgLibTurdian social media sites think they can sway the 2020 election. Twitter still bans people for saying “learn to code”, considering it a personal attack, even after “Jack” said they’ve been too aggressive.

    2020 will be interesting to see how Twitter et al. handle tRump. CWII could be ignited.

  42. pcb_duffer says:

    [snip] Fences aren’t cheap [snip]
    Tell me about it; I can’t afford to replace mine. Like most of the wooden fences in the county, it failed to stand up to 150 mph winds. The lumber is now available, albeit at a premium, and there is plenty of labor to do the work, again at a premium. I just don’t have the cash. Thanks, {ex brother in law} for the $500,000 you didn’t pay me.

  43. lynn says:

    I have been working on our Sub S Corp tax return all day and yesterday. It is due March 15. Normally I pay a guy $1,040 to do this for us but we just do not have the money this year. So I bought a copy of TurboTax Business 2018 for $120 at Sam’s Club.

    Man, this is about 5X the hardness of a personal tax return with commercial rental property. Lots of numbers and looking at them several different ways. I guess the recombination of the numbers is to allow the IRS to see more easily who is cheating them. If I have to get the guy to do this then he is going to laugh for about ten minutes. He is 73 and an old Aggie friend.

    I may have wasted $120 if I cannot figure out this $5,806 imbalance between the books and the tax return.

  44. Greg Norton says:

    Man, this is about 5X the hardness of a personal tax return with commercial rental property.

    I did the returns when my wife was partner in the Vantucky practice. Nasty since the draws came from both a professional partnership and a real estate joint ownership. At the end of the day, partnership was worth ~ $100/month and was actually a negative for any doctor living in Oregon for the first seven years.

    $100/mo., fun tax paperwork, and the Prog associate we supported still had first dibs on holidays. We had to negotiate with *her* for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

    I’m still not sure if I did the paperwork correctly, but the last partnership return, 2014, was more than three years ago. Either I did it properly or the dollar amount in additional taxes is too small for them to hassle me over.

  45. Ray Thompson says:

    Either I did it properly or the dollar amount in additional taxes is too small for them to hassle me over.

    Nah, the IRS is just passing time to slam you with interest and penalties. The IRS can charge more interest than banks will pay so do the math. Penalties are just a bonus.

  46. Greg Norton says:

    Twitter still bans people for saying “learn to code”, considering it a personal attack, even after “Jack” said they’ve been too aggressive.

    One of our testers asked me about working in our group at the office. “What class did you take in grad school for coding?”

    “You mean on top of 25 years of experience including a decade at AT&T Labs?”

    Crickets chirping.

    “Grad school was fairly useless for practical skills beyond teaching myself LaTeX and Python. UW C++ Professional Development. One year, three classes.”

    “That’s it?”

    “No. That classwork will get you through the coding test at the interview. And I was hired for a *junior* position.”

  47. lynn says:

    I may have wasted $120 if I cannot figure out this $5,806 imbalance between the books and the tax return.

    I have the imbalance down to $-744. Go me !

    Dang, this crap is hard to figure with TurboTax Business. And it is nowhere near as polished as the TurboTax Premium software. Translating between our internal software (Sage (old Peachtree) Accounting) and the IRS Form 1120S is difficult.

  48. lynn says:

    “No. That classwork will get you through the coding test at the interview. And I was hired for a *junior* position.”

    But you are old ! And I am older. I cannot imagine finding another job if the BOD fires me next Monday. They probably should the way that things are going.

  49. lynn says:

    One of our testers asked me about working in our group at the office. “What class did you take in grad school for coding?”

    “You mean on top of 25 years of experience including a decade at AT&T Labs?”

    Crickets chirping.

    Did they even know what AT&T Labs was ? Does AT&T Labs even exist anymore ?

    Why do I want to say Bell Labs ?

  50. lynn says:

    Hey, I just noticed something. TurboTax Business does not have that STUPID ribbon menu ! Oh man, the File Menu feels just like an old friend.

  51. Greg Norton says:

    But you are old ! And I am older. I cannot imagine finding another job if the BOD fires me next Monday. They probably should.

    I logged in yesterday to work on a problem out at a west coast site, and I discovered that the road hadn’t billed toll tags all weekend. If I hadn’t taken five minutes to check the equipment and reboot the key pieces before getting on with what I was there to do, all revenue from this morning would have been lost as well.

    Major road. Mr. Flandrey would recognize the name instantly.

  52. Nick Flandrey says:

    Whelp, I just hand everything to the wife, who puts it into quicken, keeps printing reports, correcting issues, printing reports, until the accounts match and there aren’t any “unknown” left. Then she packages up the reports, the file, and all the supporting docs, like mileage on the vehicles and all the paperwork from various places, and we send it off to our accountant/tax preparer. She puts it into her software, carries the previous years’ stuff forward, and files. I pay her (very reasonable) invoice. My wife will usually run the tax software and compare to what the accountant gets, and she always saves us more than the cost of her invoice. Our taxes are complex, but we no longer itemize most years, so that’s easier. We tried a local accountant, but all the good ones are fully booked. The guy we got passed it off to his assistant, who missed really obvious stuff, and my wife went nuts checking her and pointing out mistakes. The next year we were back with my accountant in Cali.

    I’ll doctor myself for practice, and do repairs that most people would call a pro for, but taxes are one area where I have learned the hard way that you need a pro from the start. The tax men will seize your bank accounts, lien your house, garnish your wages and generally F you up. I refer you to the memory of OFD for some examples. It helps to do a lot of the grunt work for them, which definitely reduces our bill. Staying with the same firm and preparer helps too as they don’t have to figure out last year’s taxes too.

    Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish.

    n

  53. lynn says:

    I logged in yesterday to work on a problem out at a west coast site, and I discovered that the road hadn’t billed toll tags all weekend. If I hadn’t taken five minutes to check the equipment and reboot the key pieces before getting on with what I was there to do, all revenue from this morning would have been lost as well.

    Is there no backup logging facility for the tolling so you can just rerun the revenue generation portion ? Oh my !

  54. Nick Flandrey says:

    apropos of nothing, I love the sound of my 7yo laughing her head off at a silly movie.

    n

  55. lynn says:

    Don’t be pennywise and pound foolish.

    Oh, you have identified me to a T.

  56. Nick Flandrey says:

    I wasn’t gonna comment on this story, but seriously–

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6795333/Mom-carried-dead-daughter-19-morgue-power-outage-Venezuela-shut-hospitals.html

    “The heartbreaking footage that lays bare the depth of Venezuela’s crisis: Mother carries body of her emaciated 22lb daughter to a morgue after the 19-year-old died when doctors couldn’t treat her because the blackout forced hospitals to shut”

    –when your 19yo daughter dies weighing just 22 pounds, it wasn’t the 4 day blackout that killed her. It really wasn’t even the lack of access to a doctor right this minute.

    SHE WEIGHS 22 POUNDS. At 19. She’s been dying for years.

    F ing news. Who is lying to us about Venezuela?

    n

  57. Nick Flandrey says:

    this one should be titled “Woman makes bad choices, has active fantasy life, continues to make bad choices.”

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-6796929/Woman-degree-says-work-four-jobs-survive.html

    ” Brittany Jones, a 32-year-old writer living in rural Pennsylvania, has penned an essay about struggling to make ends meet since she graduated in 2010
    Despite having a bachelor’s degree in English, she has been unable to secure any jobs that would lead to her dream career in publishing
    Brittany has a job as a marketing assistant, works at two auction houses, and runs her own online resale shop just to pay the bills ”

    Got the wrong degree. Tried once at the brass ring, failed, doesn’t seem to have tried again. Had completely fantastic ideas about publishing-which is a dying industry anyway. Married strangely. Made bad choices regarding housing. Spends all her time running in place. Done nothing to solve any of her issues (except the resale shop, finally taking some responsibility there.) Blames society for not recognizing any worth in her nothing degree from some nothing school (if it was a good school, they’d have mentioned it.) Pissed away her youth. And knows it (appears to be wearing a costume in one pic, of a cat lady.)

    n

  58. lynn says:

    Number one son told me tonight that he interviewed at a “knowledge” company in Austin about a month ago. During the interview, they all boasted to him about their SJW (social justice warrior) skills. He rejected them because of that. He was really surprised that they even talked to him with his eight years in the Marine Corps.

    Today, he saw an article that the CEO has been subpoenaed by Congress for running a twitter bot farm during the previous election. The DOJ is also supposedly interviewing him for interfering with a federal election (Roy Moore Senator runoff election in Alabama). We both wondered what the life of that company is going to be with the CEO doing 4 to 8 years in Big Spring federal prison.

  59. Greg Norton says:

    Got the wrong degree. Tried once at the brass ring, failed, doesn’t seem to have tried again.

    Washed up … at 32?!?

    A lot of snowflakes reading that piece will be sympathetic. Obamacare funds the student loan program, and a lot of them are holding worthless English-related “worthless” degrees bought with borrowed money which they will pay for the rest of their lives.

    Heck, when Obamacare was being rammed down our throats, even to the dismay of Progs, I remember one of the selling points coming from Stretch’s (Pelosi) mouth was that snowflakes could quit their day jobs and pursue their passions.

    Cry me a river. Whatever I think of our Maintenance lead’s timidity, she still realized that her Education degree wouldn’t pay the bills and got busy. Granted, youth and a Baylor diploma didn’t hurt where that group never would have hired me.

  60. Greg Norton says:

    Number one son told me tonight that he interviewed at a “knowledge” company in Austin about a month ago. During the interview, they all boasted to him about their SJW (social justice warrior) skills. He rejected them because of that. He was really surprised that they even talked to him with his eight years in the Marine Corps.

    MacMillan? He should have dropped me an email. I work in that building.

    They must pay well. MacMillan has a 6-2 transgendered individual who has great taste in dresses/shoes. A lot of their other employees run around dressed like Xer 60s hippie wannabes — I went to school with a lot of those — so a fashion sense sticks out.

    We’re still looking to fill various positions if he still wants to see something different.

  61. Greg Norton says:

    Is there no backup logging facility for the tolling so you can just rerun the revenue generation portion ? Oh my !

    Lots of redundancy in the system past the RF, but the customer had legacy equipment with no backup.

    We’ve also had a lot of systems where someone f*cked with the time daemons, installing something other than NTPd without understanding why we go old school to begin with. The NTPd guy isn’t “cool”.

    Time sync is probably at the root of the West Coast problem too.

  62. brad says:

    Yes, well, the whole student loan program needs to end. If someone needs a loan to go to school, they can negotiate with their bank. Or get a job and study part-time. The only thing that federally guaranteed loans have done is lead to massive increases in tuition.

    In an ideal world, I would like to see the incentives for universities align with those of the students. There shouldn’t be any incentive for a diploma mill to hand out degrees to unqualified students. There shouldn’t be any reason for a school to offer degrees for which no jobs exist.

    For the first time, I’m seeing a bit of this in the university where I teach. It’s typical for us to fail around half of the incoming students – they can’t do math, or they can’t program. The school administration is making noises about creating “specialties” within the degree program, so that these students can do a less-technical version of the degree.

    To which I can only ask: why? If they can’t handle technical stuff, they should do something else with their lives. It’s really that simple, and all the more so because we already have more incoming students than we want. Seems like a wonderful opportunity to increase standards…but we’ll see what the administration decides…

  63. Ray Thompson says:

    well, the whole student loan program needs to end

    I agree, partly. Student loans backed by the government should be available for the hard sciences. Study and degrees in engineering (electrical, mechanical, computer), and healthcare (nursing, physician) should be encouraged.

    Any degree path in English, arts, psychology (voodoo (or doodoo) in my opinion) or any liberal arts degree should not be able to get any government backed student loans. Such degrees do nothing but keep people in debt and eventually make them a burden on society.

    And in other news, the pastor of my church passed away last night about 1:00 EDT. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about six weeks ago. Chemo was delayed because insurance company balked. Started chemo and within a week had other issues. He wound up in extreme pain and went to the doctor about 5 days ago. Was told the cancer had spread and there was zero hope. He was placed in the hospital and family told he would not leave. He had family come in for their final visit. Son, daughter and wife were with him when he passed.

    The funeral will be on Friday at the church. I have been asked to video and live stream the services for family and friends that will be unable to attend the funeral. I have done several funerals before including the pastor’s nephew. But this one will be a tough one for me to stream.

    On another note it is surprising the number of families that want the funeral services live streamed. A lot of family members are too remote or cannot attend for various reasons. The live stream allows these people to watch the services. One funeral for a popular coach had 750+ people watching the live stream.

    The funeral will be on a Friday and I have to locate at least three people, preferably four, to handle the cameras while I direct in the studio. Wife will do one of the cameras if necessary. I have done a funeral with just me. Set everything in back, one camera, and do the best I can.

    Friday will be a tough day.

  64. SteveF says:

    Student loans backed by the government should be available for the hard sciences.

    That puts the government in the position of picking winners and losers. Just like adding the A to STEM, there will be pressure to add other programs as “just as important”. “Our nation needs the very best teachers for our schools, so the School of Education should have guaranteed loans.” just for an obvious first nose under the tent.

  65. Greg Norton says:

    Chemo was delayed because insurance company balked.

    Kaiser did that to a friend of ours on the West Coast.

    I’m glad Dr. Pournelle was pleased with his Kaiser care, but they’ve killed one of our friends and nearly killed another procrastinating *appendectomy* surgery. The care is either wildly uneven or Dr. Pournelle was a special case due to his being a celebrity.

    Really? Appendectomy? Yes.

  66. Greg Norton says:

    Yes, well, the whole student loan program needs to end. If someone needs a loan to go to school, they can negotiate with their bank. Or get a job and study part-time. The only thing that federally guaranteed loans have done is lead to massive increases in tuition.

    Unwinding the current student loan program will most likely have to start with repeal of Obamacare. Proceeds from the loan interest through nationalizing the loans made the bill revenue neutral at the CBO.

  67. JimL says:

    I’ll go a step further – the government shouldn’t be involved in the loan business at all.

    That’s a period.

    I managed to get through school with a combination of the GI bill (nearly got my arse shot off) and working 2nd shift to pay the bills. No loans for school. It would still be possible today if it weren’t for the government driving up prices. Cut it off now, let a few schools fail, and the balance will come back to a reasonable price for a good product.

    Trade schools? Apprenticeships? Sure. They should still be held in high regard. Pay your dues, work your arse off, and wind up with a valuable skill that can support a family.

  68. Ray Thompson says:

    That puts the government in the position of picking winners and losers

    I also thought of that. In my opinion any liberal arts degree qualifies as a loser.

    Our nation needs the very best teachers for our schools

    Yes, we do. I also feel in many cases a degree is NOT necessary to teach school. Most of the stuff taught in the programs is not about the subject the teacher will instruct, but having to deal with the little snowflakes, paperwork, stuff concocted by the department of education staffed by people who have never taught.

    Subbing some of the classes, especially a couple of the science and engineering classes, I see what is being taught. I am more qualified to teach the robotics class than the current teacher. Because of the lack of knowledge (she is really trying and getting better) many of the kids aren’t learning anything of value in the class. The only ones learning are the kids going outside the curriculum established by the teacher. And I am helping those students.

    Being involved in the school system as a sub has really been an eye opening experience.

  69. JimL says:

    Unwinding the current student loan program will most likely have to start with repeal of Obamacare. Proceeds from the loan interest through nationalizing the loans made the bill revenue neutral at the CBO.

    I forgot about that. In other words, loans that CANNOT be defaulted on are carrying interest such that students that cannot get jobs are paying for people who won’t get jobs. (Okay – that was a little snide. But it’s got a grain of truth to it.)

  70. brad says:

    “Student loans backed by the government should be available for the hard sciences.”

    I am reminded of a foreign student I had. He had paid good money to some private school, to study programming for an entire year before he started with us. He came into my class, and was utterly shocked. He failed, hard. He told me afterwards that I had covered his entire first semester – indeed, most of his entire year – in my introductory lecture. His private school did him no favors, and a lot of harm, by giving him the feeling he was capable of ever becoming a programmer. But they earned good money, so what did they care?

    Offer government loans, and schools will suck down the money. The incapable students cannot evaluate themselves – it’s the the Dunning-Kruger effect at work.

    No loans at all would be best. Failing that, loans from a bank: the bank will be motivated to only loan money for schools that produce employable students.

  71. Ray Thompson says:

    Really? Appendectomy? Yes.

    It is very common. My wife needed back surgery deemed really necessary by the doctor. This was in October 2019. Nope, insurance company demanded physical therapy which cost me several hundred dollars. Insurance company demanded an additional MRI costing me about a thousand dollars. Final result in January of 2019 was surgery, after finally being approved by the insurance company.

    Two reasons come to mind for the insurance company delay. First was they wanted to delay the surgery into the next calendar year as I was close to meeting my deductible for 2018. Thus the insurance company would have paid a higher amount of the cost. Second is because delaying tactics are the normal business practice in hopes the patient will die before the procedure is needed.

    Insurance companies are evil.

  72. dkreck says:

    Y’all are a bunch of morons. Look where we would be today without all the graduates of women’s studies much less minority study programs. We would not have all these peeps telling us what we’re doing wrong. And without the government loan programs where would the monies come from to pay these brilliant professors of such subjects?
    Failure to appreciate what we have been given.

  73. Nick Flandrey says:

    We def need a /sarc tag…..

    n

  74. ech says:

    I’ve got a bad feeling that this is not a sick joke.

    No. Check the publisher. Someone is gaming Amazon’s self publishing system.

    Forward by Alan Dershowitz? C’mon.

    When I called it up, there was a Washington Post version of the Mueller report offered on the ribbon of related books near the bottom. Another book was one by Dershowitz on why not to impeach Trump, published by an imprint of the publisher that offers this version of the Mueller report. My guess is that it will go to press a day or so after the official report goes out, get expressed to Amazon, and sent out. The publisher, Skyhorse Books, is a real company and has a wide range of subjects – including a bunch of books on camping and the outdoors done with the Boy Scouts.

  75. Marcelo says:

    We def need a /sarc tag…..

    Nope, unlike in other websites, everybody here gets it…

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