Fri. July 17, 2020 – wow, that went by in a hurry…

Hot and humid today, same as yesterday.  Maybe some rain to make it interesting.

It was certainly hot and humid yesterday.   Kids got in the pool for a couple hours but I was out running errands.  What little breeze there was made it tolerable, until that stopped around 6pm.  Then I sweated through my shirt just getting stuff from the fridge in the garage.

Since I spent the day running around I didn’t get much done.  Today will likely be the same.  I did get 4 big bins to the auctioneer, and I’m hoping to take several bins to my other local auction when I go there later today to pickup some items.  Stuff is leaving, just not as quickly as hoped.  That hope was misguided.  Even if I just loaded everything and took it to a local auction (not the best way to get good money for some of it), it would be too much to just add to an existing auction, and too weird a mix for a stand alone auction.  I’m going to continue as I have been lately, and keep sending it out the door.  I’ll get there eventually.

Talking to my wife about school in the fall, we’ve decided to take the remote learning option.  We’re letting the other guys see if the flame is still hot.  If it turns out the schools are a big bucket of disease, it should be obvious in 9 weeks.  If their protocols are too onerous or if they can’t actually be applied, we’ll know that too.   Heck, even though we have to declare now, by the time school gets going, the whole situation could be changed again, with no in-person instruction option at all.  The likelihood of the reverse happening is near zero.

Seems crazy that we’re already thinking about school in the fall.  Time is zooming by.

Dinner was pulled pork from the freezer, cooked in the slow cooker with a crockpot sauce pack (apple smoked bbq), with assorted veg tray, and canned corn.  Pulled pork is a staple here in Casa De Nick.


Cracks are starting to appear in the economy.  Bankruptcies are trending up dramatically.  Storefronts are vacant.  LOTS of For Lease signs locally, and I think we’re probably doing better than most of the country.  I’m hearing anecdotally that people are starting to sell off their ‘toys’, ie. the extra things they probably shouldn’t have spent money on in the first place.  Guns and ammo are still brisk sellers.  So much ammo has sold that there is very little available at the retail level.  What is left is either very expensive, or very weird.  Gold and silver are selling in the auctions I watch for serious premiums over spot pricing.  I don’t know what the retail environment for silver and gold looks like in terms of stock, but I’d guess pickins are slim…

I’ve also heard about shortages in what would normally be ‘prepper supplies.’  Big Berkey water filters, and parts seem to be in short supply.  Freeze dried foods are just becoming available again with normal delivery times.   Freezers have long delivery times.  Canning supplies are getting scarce according to some online commentors.  Seeds and garden stuff are short according to other commentors.   I haven’t been in a store in 4 months so I can’t really say from personal experience, but the trends are starting to appear and seem pretty compelling to me.

People are stocking up and getting ready for some really hard times.

Others are getting ready to treat you and yours as a storehouse and mobile resupply pod, and likely sex toy.

Consider also what happens when there is a power vacuum.  If the cops retreat, who or what will step up to fill the vacuum?  Warlords?  Committees of Vigilance? Lone wolves?  Think they’ll be more or less likely to use deadly force than the cops were… or maybe the cops go full jackboot, and when you do invoke them you get it like a rock dropped from orbit.

Think about those things and consider what you want to do, or think you’d like to do in 3 months or 6 months.   If stuff is hard to get or expensive now, what will it be like then?  Make some plans.  Act on them.  Seriously.

And keep stacking.

nick

 

Author: Nick Flandrey

Mid 50s, stay at home dad, with two elementary school age girls. Love my family and my life.

66 thoughts on “Fri. July 17, 2020 – wow, that went by in a hurry…”

  1. The President, not any particular one but all of them, drastically needs a line item veto. Most of the state governors, if not all, have that tool.

    A legal theory that floats around conservative circles and was cited by Gingrich at one point is that the President has a line item veto capability which should be exercised and established by legal precedent.

    Of course, it wouldn’t get through this Supreme Court with Roberts trying to get the electorate to stop making “foolish” political choices, particularly with regard to the dramatic philosophical shifts in Congress, but the climate may be right again in the future to try it.

    Debt monetization is the ultimate foolish political choice, but no one seems to want to do anything about it. Heck, they may double down with student loan forgiveness, a back door monetization scheme for the Obamacare debt.

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  2. I don’t know what the retail environment for silver and gold looks like in terms of stock, but I’d guess pickins are slim…

    1 oz. uncirculated Gold Eagles are unobtainium from the US Mint directly. The 2020 release has been “TBD” since March.

    I bought 1 oz. silver bullion rounds near the beginning of the virus fiasco, but the same vendor hasn’t had any since then.

    Again, the problem with negotiable metals is that they are still subject to confiscation unless Congress establishes statute which Trump signs, clear language overriding both Roosevelt’s confiscation order and Ford’s “temporary” vacating of the same. The Texas gold repository is an untested theory.

    Yes, confiscation was based on a flimsy legal theory, but, Roberts. The old school marm will make you pay for your foolish choices America.

  3. re writing fanfiction:

    but it’s so much easier when someone else has done the heavy lifting of world building and characterization, and you can just steal their hard work

    That’s not the major reason. For a lot of fanfic authors it’s because they like the book or movie and want to be a part of the community. I’d guess that if a fanfic community didn’t exist it wouldn’t occur to them to write a story, but they see that someone wrote a story and there was a lot of chatter about it so they join in. Others write because they didn’t like the ending or how a scene played out or they want to go into more depth on a side character.

    Others, who have the urge to write and have a story idea which could be original or could fit into an existing universe, will choose to write fanfiction because it gets more exposure. The single biggest hurdle for independent authors (and artists and musicians) is getting noticed among the horde. If you want people to read your work, whether for ego boost or for feedback so you can get better, a large fanfic community will get you much more attention.

    Most of this I got from reading writers’ forums, those whose members are mostly casual or wanna-be writers. (Such as myself. Writing is a hobby which pays a bit, not something I want or need to do to feed myself.) Some of it is from personal experience. I wrote a number of short stories and put them up on a few sites and they got some attention. (Generally favorable, but not much.) The stories I put up on Amazon and Smashwords and such have some sales but just a trickle. As an experiment I wrote a few fanfics in several universes and put them up on a few fanfic sites. So far as I could tell, the quality of the writing was about the same between the original and the fanfic stories. In almost all cases I got more feedback on the fanfics, usually much more. The couple Harry Potter fanfics I wrote got 100X the number of views and 10X the number of comments. (Which annoyed me more than a bit, to be honest, but it’s reality.) If my motivation was simply wanting to be read or wanting the reviews, that’s the way I’d go, as many do.

    If the story and the writer are good enough and not inextricably tied to someone else’s intellectual property, a story can be rewritten as an original. ref Fifty Shades of Grey, though I’m not sure “good enough” applies to either the story or the writer. I worked with one guy who converted a fanfic short story to an original fantasy novel and started on a sequel, of which I edited the first part.* (But then he took a look at his sales numbers and realized that he grossed less from his first novel than he’d agreed to pay me to edit the second. ref my comment about getting noticed; his fanfic short was apparently quite popular and got a lot of favorable feedback.)

    A side lesson to take from this is that if you read an indie author’s work, review. If you liked it, recommend it to others. This applies to stuff put up on free sites like FictionPress as much as it does to novels for sale on Amazon. Getting noticed is a huge hurdle and every review helps.

    * Regarding editing, my general statement is that if you write for free I’ll edit for free. If you’re a pro, I’ll charge. If you’re trying to become a pro or semi-pro writer, we can work something out. In Rick’s case I’d gone for $500 for developmental and then line edit of a projected 200k-word novel, which is much below market rate. But then the year’s sales figures came in and he’d earned under $500 from Amazon sales of his first one. So goes the life of an indie author. Anyway, the point I meant to make was that if anyone here has the yen to write, drop me a line. “Free” and “we can work something out” likely apply.

  4. Arm is fine this morning.

    When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?

    Some HEB stores here in Texas will administer them. I know the store near where I worked for CGI in Belton had the service. The cost for the shot at the grocery store was often cheaper than co-pays for the doctor’s office.

    I’m sure the same thing is available in TN.

    Or call the VA if your clinic is open.

    That reminds me — the VA in Waco had to close again suddenly this week after being briefly open since the beginning of the month. The big clinics in Texas are getting buried right now. My wife had a patient with the virus yesterday — young guy, went to one of the state’s worst offender bars on 6th Street with five friends, and four of the five popped up with the bug.

    Up until the beginning of the month, the Vets were doing a good job of avoiding the mess. The state’s VA clinics were talking about a general reopening in August, but Father’s Day and then July 4th changed things dramatically for Texas. Don’t go where people are getting their drink on in Texas or Florida, especially on holiday weekends.


  5. When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?

    A couple of years ago when I sliced my hand requiring a couple of stitches. Doctor gave me a tetanus shot at that time since I did not know when I had my last tetanus injection.

    The cost for the shot at the grocery store was often cheaper than co-pays for the doctor’s office

    It was that way for a lot of items when I had private (company group) insurance. A lot of stuff I would pay out of pocket. Problem was it did not get added to my deductible or maximum out of pocket.

    The absurdity of the system is insane. When I got my CPAP machine it was covered by insurance but I had to pay the copay. I had to pay $120.00 for 11 months as insurance required the device be paid over an 11 month time frame. Naturally the time frame crossed a year boundary thus a new set of deductibles. Insurance basically paid nothing.

    The machine cost me $1320 over the time frame through the DME that was an approved provider. When I went to replace that machine I instead purchased at my own expense. I was able to get a better machine for $800.00 at CPAP.COM, $500 less than what I would have paid with insurance at the DME. I argued with the insurance who had just sent me a letter about reducing medical costs. I told them that a machine that insurance said $1320 was reasonable could be had for $800 at another provider. Insurance company was not interested.

    I suspect there were kickbacks to the insurance company from the provider approved by insurance. Insurance was interested in lowering their costs, but not my costs. Insurance would simply raise premiums or stiff me with more of the costs. I wanted my $800 out of my pocket to applied to my deductible but CPAP.COM was not an approved provider. Part of the higher cost was probably at the DME provider had to do with covering the costs of dealing with insurance.

  6. When I went to replace that machine I instead purchased at my own expense. I was able to get a better machine for $800.00 at CPAP.COM, $500 less than what I would have paid with insurance at the DME.

    The expectation at cpap.com is that you are using an HSA.

    Kickbacks are pretty limited — except to pharmacists to prescribe generics (cough) — It probably comes down to who is buying whom hookers and steaks.

    When I went in last year for an MRI of my hand to check out an encapsulation on my ring finger left from an infection picked up at our test site, the radiologists expected it to eventually be a Workman’s Comp claim and billed me for a nearly $900 co-pay.

    Clearing paper for taxes this week, I noticed that I received a refund of $600 of the co-pay to the HSA from the radiologists a month later when the Workman’s Comp claim never arrived.

  7. Cracks are starting to appear in the economy. Bankruptcies are trending up dramatically. Storefronts are vacant. LOTS of For Lease signs locally

    My employer has started contacting people on furlough to give them a rough idea of when they might return and to terminate some of them. Things were looking up and then states started shutting things down again and now the view is that revenue will remain shit through the end of the year.

    When was the last time you had a tetanus shot?

    Now that they recommend adults get a pertussis (Whooping Cough) booster I just go ahead and get a Tdap (combination tetanus, diphtheria , and pertussis) every 10 years. My doctor is pretty good about it. Every fall she asks me if I’ve had my flu shot and then that usually triggers her to check if I need a tetanus booster. She knows I’m a vaccine seeker. I told her if there’s a shot that can make me immune (or partially immune) to something then I want it no matter how remote the chances are of me catching it. She’s of the same opinion. lol

  8. No rain yet but 95F at 9:55am

    That matches last year when the temp was often “the same” as the time in the morning.

    n

  9. CPAP.com
    I have been using CPAP.com since 1999 when they first started and am very satisfied. They were actually recommended by my local provider. The hassles with insurance (private and now Medi-don’t-Care) are a real PITA. My son has switched over to CPAP.com too and found out that, once again, Dad Is Right.

    Continuing to replace and add to supplies. There is another panic coming and it will not be pretty.

    There is plenty of political fodder making this the most unpleasant and corrupt election ever. The only outcome I see is either bad or worse, no light at the end of the tunnel.

    August 4 is our State Primary, got our ballots in the mail. A bunch of losers. There are 36 people who are running for goobernor. This Primary is only for State Offices. The Presidential Primary was earlier this year and you have to declare a Party to vote, so we send in a ballot with protest and no Party.

    I could have predicted this, teachers do not want to go back to school, and parents with school-age children want them to go back (without masks in many cases).

    Vigilant, locked, loaded, and dug in.

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  10. August 4 is our State Primary, got our ballots in the mail. A bunch of losers. There are 36 people who are running for goobernor.

    Primary. Please. If Costco’s money doesn’t result in a clear win for Inslee, Perkins Coie will make sure that some ballots get found in car trunks -er- crashed mail trucks.

  11. Have you read Hoyt this week?
    https://accordingtohoyt.com/2020/07/15/nostalgia/

    Which brings to WHY the left are so nostalgic.

    At the root of it, fundamentally, they have to know their policies, their initiatives, their grand plans are wrong at the level and by the only metric that counts: that of impoverishing society and destroying lives, and making people miserable who would otherwise be fine, really.

    Well, other than the fact that it’s fitting they’re running a demented elder for the presidency, what is the point of that?

    The point is that it’s nostalgia. Nostalgia is the sin of dying philosophies. Of those who know their time has passed.

    The left is involved in a ghost dance. It doesn’t mean they can’t do a lot of damage before they die, but they’ve entered that phase into which their maldaptive image of the world leads them to dig themselves deeper and deeper, every time they hit bottom. They’re now reduced to Wile E. Coyote and his clever plots, which always backfire, because he fails to account for the other side not simply going along with his imaginings.

    They are, in the end, headed to the trash heap of history.

    Our job is to make sure they don’t drag us along.

    Be not afraid, and keep working.

    I really can’t find anything to disagree with.

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  12. I’m not panic buying, but I’m still stocking up on everyday things. Especially things that don’t go bad. I boughT a pair of running shoes a couple months ago on big river for $90…best price at the time. I found the same ones, just a different color, for $50. I went ahead and got them. They will likely never be cheaper, and I’ll use them eventually.

    I’m also building stocks of other things. Food, obviously, but also dish washer detergent, laundry detergent, toiletries, etc.

  13. Guns and ammo are still brisk sellers.

    Eight million guns have been sold in the USA in the last three months according to a recent caller to the Rush Limbaugh show using the FBI gun buyer program. And two thirds of them were first time buyers. No telling how many private sales have been made.

  14. I’m not panic buying, but I’m still stocking up on everyday things. Especially things that don’t go bad. I boughT a pair of running shoes a couple months ago on big river for $90…best price at the time. I found the same ones, just a different color, for $50. I went ahead and got them. They will likely never be cheaper, and I’ll use them eventually.

    I’m also building stocks of other things. Food, obviously, but also dish washer detergent, laundry detergent, toiletries, etc.

    If you want something for the next 2 or 3 years, buy enough to have that item for that period of time. The supply chains are totally wonky. I am amazed at how many items not only are not available in our grocery store, HEB, but that their shelf space has been repurposed. Grocers do not repurpose shelf space without a good reason. Items like Bush Blackeyed Peas and Bush refried black beans. Just gone from a major supplier to the entire nation.

    Reputedly some Walmarts have those Bush items now. I will go check.
    https://bushbeans.com/en_US/product/blackeye-peas

  15. The President, not any particular one but all of them, drastically needs a line item veto. Most of the state governors, if not all, have that tool.

    A legal theory that floats around conservative circles and was cited by Gingrich at one point is that the President has a line item veto capability which should be exercised and established by legal precedent.

    Of course, it wouldn’t get through this Supreme Court with Roberts trying to get the electorate to stop making “foolish” political choices, particularly with regard to the dramatic philosophical shifts in Congress, but the climate may be right again in the future to try it.

    The President of the USA will get a line item veto after the coming financial apocalypse in the USA. If we survive as a single country. The holders of the USA bonds will insist on it.

    I used to to think that the financial apocalypse was 10 to 20 years away. It is not anymore, maybe 5 to 10 years now. It could happen this fall when the Wall Street big traders come back from their mansions on the shores and get scared.

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  16. I see where Gingsberg’s cancer has returned. She is going to remain on the supreme court. Will probably give her last ruling from a morgue. That old bag needs to retire.

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  17. @dkreck, I almost linked that one. I too found it to ring true. I get her daily post in an email, so I can quickly scan through or read at leisure. I forget where I signed up for that.

    @ITguy, yeah, no need for panic buying, but thorough and deep isn’t a bad idea. Some things I have just in case. Dial antibiotic soap, for example. Bars are cheap and they last essentially for ever. I don’t use AB soaps normally because of AB resistance and I prefer some other products, but grid down, I want every advantage versus nature’s oldest bad ass killers.

    Don’t forget maintenance items-

    3 in one oil, wd40, spray silicone, starter fluid, brake cleaner, electrical cleaner etc. These are all things I buy cheaply at estate or yard sales if I can.

    Thread and needles, including some heavy duty ones.

    Bug spray, yard and garden chemicals, pest control.

    String, rope, twine, other cordage.

    Vehicle maintenance stuff like oil filters, oil, brake/ PS/ window cleaner fluids. Wiper blades, cleaning supplies. We’re mostly driving less, but shift some demand forward and replace what will need replacing sooner rather than later.

    Think about stuff you’ve got but haven’t used in a while… like bikes or camping equipment. You already own them, take them out and see what they need to get back in service. Coleman lanterns need mantles. Propane bottles need to be filled. Coleman fuel is good for years if stored in a sealed can but it will leak out pretty quickly if the seams of the can rust through.

    I just bought a lifetime supply of safety glasses. I got tinted and clear, and bifocal. I’ve been stocking up on different kinds of gloves too, and shoes/boots. Shoes/boots are tricky because of all the damnable soft plastics crumbling over time. Some last though, mainly leather and rubber.

    Glues, adhesives, roofing repair, all sorts of small repair items….

    the list is endless and fractal in nature.

    n

  18. I see where Gingsberg’s cancer has returned. She is going to remain on the supreme court. Will probably give her last ruling from a morgue. That old bag needs to retire.

    Don’t worry, they will shove a new lizard in the skin suit. She will be as good as gold very soon.


  19. FDA is warning consumers and health care providers that the agency has seen a sharp increase in hand sanitizer products that are labeled to contain ethanol (also known as ethyl alcohol) but that have tested positive for methanol contamination. Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a substance that can be toxic when absorbed through the skin or ingested and can be life-threatening when ingested.

    Mostly mexican products. And why not? They’ve been putting wood alcohol in refilled liquor bottles for the gringos at the resorts and killing people for years.

    n

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  20. I see where Gingsberg’s cancer has returned. She is going to remain on the supreme court. Will probably give her last ruling from a morgue. That old bag needs to retire.

    Ginsberg is most likely planning to retire after the next Congress convenes. Jan … 2nd?

    She’s not a true believer, sitting in the payola seat thanks to Ross Perot, but she’s not going to hand the Republicans the majority easily.

    Breyer could go before she does, and he sits in Blackmun’s chair which was the deciding vote in “Roe” and wrote the opinion despite being appointed by Nixon.

  21. “Economists on the Run”
    https://getpocket.com/explore/item/economists-on-the-run

    “Paul Krugman and other mainstream trade experts are now admitting that they were wrong about globalization: It hurt American workers far more than they thought it would.”

    “Now Krugman has come out and admitted, offhandedly, that his own understanding of economics has been seriously deficient as well. In a recent essay titled “What Economists (Including Me) Got Wrong About Globalization,” adapted from a forthcoming book on inequality, Krugman writes that he and other mainstream economists “missed a crucial part of the story” in failing to realize that globalization would lead to “hyperglobalization” and huge economic and social upheaval, particularly of the industrial middle class in America. And many of these working-class communities have been hit hard by Chinese competition, which economists made a “major mistake” in underestimating, Krugman says.”
    https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-10-10/inequality-globalization-and-the-missteps-of-1990s-economics

    You know, the Bible says that false prophets should be stoned. In this case, I am good with that. This man and his ilk hurt millions of hard working families in the USA. And will do it again given the chance.

    I cannot believe that anyone would listen to Krugman ever again. But, I am fairly sure that the dumbocrats and never Trumpers will line up and pay him large fees to spread his lies again.

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  22. Come on! You can do it! I know you can! Don’t give up, you can beat this horrible thing!

    Yes, I was talking to Ginsberg’s cancer.

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  23. @Jenny: Some ammunition for the anti-homeless-housing campaign:

    https://www.foxnews.com/category/topic/homeless-crisis

    A particularly relevant link: San Francisco reporter details ‘disaster’ of city’s ‘hotels for homeless’ program: ‘It is pandemonium’:

    “You are talking drug-fueled parties, overdoses, deaths, people are being assaulted. You have sexual assaults going on, it is pandemonium,” she said. “It is extremely bad and it needs to stop.”

  24. * Regarding editing, my general statement is that if you write for free I’ll edit for free. If you’re a pro, I’ll charge. If you’re trying to become a pro or semi-pro writer, we can work something out. In Rick’s case I’d gone for $500 for developmental and then line edit of a projected 200k-word novel, which is much below market rate. But then the year’s sales figures came in and he’d earned under $500 from Amazon sales of his first one. So goes the life of an indie author. Anyway, the point I meant to make was that if anyone here has the yen to write, drop me a line. “Free” and “we can work something out” likely apply.

    I have written one chapter for my SF book. Is it ready for editing ?

    It is the worst crap that I have ever read.

    ADD: I have written five technical books or had them written under my supervision. They are pretty bad. Also three years out of date at this point.
    https://www.winsim.com/doco.html

  25. Hot and humid today, same as yesterday. Maybe some rain to make it interesting.

    It was certainly hot and humid yesterday.

    We hit 105 F yesterday out here in the sticks. That is the thermometer temperature, not the feels as.

    We were at 78 F and a nice gentle rain at noon today. Sweet, we needed the rain.

  26. She knows I’m a vaccine seeker. I told her if there’s a shot that can make me immune (or partially immune) to something then I want it no matter how remote the chances are of me catching it. She’s of the same opinion. lol

    I am passing on the HPV vaccines. Not needed here as the wife would kill me anyway should I show up with HPV. “He died in his sleep officer”. Yeah, with a pillow over my face while she is telling me to stop struggling.

    I am considering the pneumonia vaccine. I had pneumonia several times when we lived in New Jersey. But they took my tonsils out when we moved to Oklahoma in 1963 and I have not had it since then.

    I have had the first Shingles shot. I am hearing that there is a second Shingles shot now. My partner who passed away in March had the shingles when he was on chemo for Leukemia a decade ago. It looked horrible and felt worse according to him.


  27. I have written one chapter for my SF book. Is it ready for editing ?

    Possibly. One form of editing involves helping the author on the tone and reading level, working out problems in plotting and characterization, getting some punch into the opening, and so on. Normally an editor, as such, won’t do most of that because he’s too expensive, but I’ve done it a number of times under the “free” or “work something out” billing terms.

    It is the worst crap that I have ever read.

    But not the worst crap I have ever read, I’ll bet. I’ve received some unbelievably godawful manuscripts. And, for the most part, the authors of the worst trash are the touchiest about even the mildest corrections or suggestions. “I’ve always used that word that way and no one’s ever said anything about it!” And I’ve never received a cent from any of them — I was fired as their editor, usually profanely, because all I did was criticize them and they weren’t going to pay for that.

  28. “Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Where Is the Outrage Over Anti-Semitism in Sports and Hollywood?”
    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/kareem-abdul-jabbar-is-outrage-anti-semitism-sports-hollywood-1303210

    “The Hollywood Reporter columnist calls out the hateful outbursts against Jews by Ice Cube, DeSean Jackson and others and explains how the muted response “perpetuates racism” and contributes to an overall “Apatholypse.””

    Posted by David Weber on Facecrack.

  29. ADD: I have written five technical books or had them written under my supervision. They are pretty bad. Also three years out of date at this point.

    300 pages in Word. Painful

    I picked up two meaningful skills in grad school — Python and LaTeX.

    I use Python almost daily, but I haven’t had to generate any 1000 page reports in a while so the LaTeX doesn’t see as much use. Still, I learned my lesson about Word and big documents.

    I actually applied classwork this week using a technique from Data Mining to improve vehicle classification, but the volumes on the roads still aren’t at the point where the customer wants to risk a change and jeopardize current revenues.

  30. _Children of the Fleet (Fleet School)_ by Orson Scott Card
    https://www.amazon.com/Children-Fleet-School-Orson-Scott/dp/0765377055/?tag=ttgnet-20

    Book number twenty ? thirty ? in the Enderverse military science fiction series. I read the well printed and bound MMPB. I will order and read any and all future Enderverse books.

    It has been a couple of decades since Ender (Andrew) Wiggin won the third war with the Formics and the consequent extermination of them. His leadership of the forty fleets of space ships enabled total victory over the Formics with their thirty-nine colony worlds and total destruction of their home planet by usage of the Little Doctor (MD = Molecular Disruption) device.

    The IF (International Fleet) is protecting the Earth and Solar System against another possible incursion by unknown Formics. The space ship fleets that destroyed the Formics on their colony planets have colonized the planets themselves. The Battle Fleet school space station at L5 has been renamed Fleet School and turned over to the Ministry of Colonization. Many of Ender’s former crew are now preparing for a civil war against the Hegemon, Peter Wiggin. And Dabeet Ochoa is a very smart kid on Earth who wants to go to Fleet School.

    My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    Amazon rating: 4.0 out of 5 stars (177 reviews)

  31. ADD: I have written five technical books or had them written under my supervision. They are pretty bad. Also three years out of date at this point.

    300 pages in Word. Painful

    A total of 1,500 pages in five Word documents. Fun, fun, fun !

  32. Road volume today in Houston was minimal. Fridays are usually jammed as everyone gets out early and heads somewhere. Not so much lately.

    I got from home to Hobby Airport in 30 minutes. It usually takes 45 and can take longer.

    The other day I did the same for IAH airport, with the same times.

    Usually this time of day, from Hobby to my secondary takes a good half hour and could take longer. 15 minutes today. Traffic was LIGHT. Not ‘the day the hurricane is supposed to hit’ light but still, pretty light.

    Costco’s lot was half empty at 330 on a Friday. I only waited for one set of cars to fuel in front of me. That is basically empty.

    n

    n

  33. @Lynn,

    IIRC, I’ve had two Shingles shots, several years apart. But the previously standard shots, which I also get, are yearly.

  34. https://www.securityinfowatch.com/retail/news/21146303/report-retail-shrink-hit-an-alltime-high-in-2019

    “Between an increase in incidents and new ways to steal, shrink is at an all-time high,” NRF Vice President for Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews said in a statement. “Loss prevention experts are facing unprecedented challenges from individual shoplifters to organized gangs to highly skilled cybercriminals. Retailers are responding with both traditional methods and the latest technology, but this is an ongoing challenge that can only be won with the support of lawmakers and law enforcement.”

    –that’s people shoplifting and insider theft.

    I don’t know if having fewer people in stores shopping will help or hurt 2020 when the poor economy would suggest there might be even more theft than normal.

    I don’t know if returns fraud counts against shrinkage numbers, but amazon has incredible levels of returns fraud. I think they push the costs of it back onto their suppliers though.

    n

  35. Costco’s lot was half empty at 330 on a Friday. I only waited for one set of cars to fuel in front of me. That is basically empty.

    I suspect that people are starting to run out of money. And Trump knows this BTW. He is talking about another check to individuals.

  36. “The Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes — Really, This Time” by Rush Limbaugh
    https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2020/07/17/the-most-important-election-of-our-lifetime-really-this-time/

    “RUSH: That 27-year-old guy that’s gonna vote for Biden, he did not vote for Trump in 2016, is gonna vote for Biden. His friends said, “No, you gotta call Rush and have Rush talk to you about this.” We did. And I don’t know if I got through, but I gave it a shot.”

    “I made it a point not to wag my finger and not to belittle his choice, but to tell him flat-out what’s at stake. And folks, this is the thing. You know, I think a lot of language over the past 15 to 20 years has dulled the senses in that it’s been said of the last eight presidential elections that it’s the most important election in the history of the country or it’s the most important election of our lifetimes. And they’re saying it about this one. But, you know, it may actually be true about this one, but because it’s been said about all previous elections, a lot of people tune that out.”

    The next dumbocrat President will be the last contested election that we have in the USA. After the conversion to Marxism / Socialism / Utopia, a real opposition party will not be allowed to exist. That is when we will think about a civil war. But the pot will be boiling already and it will be too late.

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  37. I caught a sale at Rock Auto. They were pushing stuff for for the van.

    Ok, cabin air filters. A silly thing. They go for $10 or so at Wal-Mart, I forget exactly. The oil change place nicked me $16 for one last visit.

    $2.96 each.

    Wiper blades? The driver side is the same as my truck. The passenger side is the only 20″ blade in the fleet. Ok, fleet is three vehicles. Anyway, cheap blade for $1.20. Good enough, most wiper use happens at the car wash.

    Once your cart has enough, it ships FedEx Ground. But even with that, I ordered 6 filters and 2 wiper blades. I figured that was enough prepping.

    For the grand sum of $35.

    And mumble mumble, that’s about 20 years of filters for the van. It has all of 53,000 miles on the odo.

    Yeah, I’ve noticed I’m shopping for 20 years out. Like the new water softener. Gonna hit 63 the end of October… so, seems to make sense.

  38. Stopped at Walmart to do some shopping for extras, plus a few essentials. Bottled water was sparse. They didn’t have my S.Pellegrino sparkling water, but that is always hit or miss. I did notice distilled water was wiped out. Everything else seemed back to mostly normal levels. TP aisle isn’t full, but it’s about 3/4. My favorite coffee was back in stock after a couple months. I might have purchased 6 months worth…

  39. I haven’t been in a store in 4 months so I can’t really say from personal experience, but the trends are starting to appear and seem pretty compelling to me.

    I’ve seen stories in various outlets over the last couple of weeks about a “soda shortage”, and that appears to be happening for real based on what I’ve seen the last few days between Sam’s and my local HEB.

    Now *that* is a shortage which will seriously affect programmer productivity in this country.

  40. If you want something for the next 2 or 3 years, buy enough to have that item for that period of time. The supply chains are totally wonky. I am amazed at how many items not only are not available in our grocery store, HEB, but that their shelf space has been repurposed. Grocers do not repurpose shelf space without a good reason. Items like Bush Blackeyed Peas and Bush refried black beans. Just gone from a major supplier to the entire nation.

    I topped off our dried pinto bean bin early in the pandemic but haven’t noticed a run on the big bags I buy at Sam’s. Convenience canned foods such as pre-cooked Bush’s beans are definitely in short supply, however.

    There has been a well-publicized run on Goya, but that’s political.

  41. Just placed my instacart order for HEB and Costco.

    LOTS of stuff out of stock at HEB, stuff that I buy all the time.

    n

    and to the soda shortage, FANTA was out of stock and they want me to pre-approve a sub for Canada Dry Ginger Ale. My favorite ginger ale hasn’t been in stock for months, but that’s because it comes in from Burmuda…..

    n

  42. I’ve seen stories in various outlets over the last couple of weeks about a “soda shortage”, and that appears to be happening for real based on what I’ve seen the last few days between Sam’s and my local HEB.

    My HEB has not had Diet Dr. Pepper in stock for well over a month. They had a sign about the national aluminium shortages. The wife called me yesterday and asked me how many twelve packs do I want at $5 each. I told her that I will go Saturday or Sunday. I do not want her lifting those twelve packs with her gimpy right arm (been operated on twice). Before the pandemic, I was paying $11 for 3 twelve packs.

  43. My HEB has not had Diet Dr. Pepper in stock for well over a month. They had a sign about the national aluminium shortages.

    The new wrinkle is short supply of Coke products in 2 L bottles.

    Hoarding anything with an artificial sweetener isn’t isn’t a good idea. Diet drinks don’t keep like toilet paper or Formula 409.

  44. https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/major-part-web-offline-cloudflare-suffers-outage

    Instacart wouldn’t load, cloudflare stuff in the bottom left corner… I figured there was an outage.

    AOL mail wouldn’t load either.

    For a while an hour ago…

    Part of letting someone else provide your core business processes is you are dependent on them. Instacart almost lost my order except I can delay gratification and I understand the internet enough to see that the problem was elsewhere.

    n

  45. and to the soda shortage, FANTA was out of stock and they want me to pre-approve a sub for Canada Dry Ginger Ale. My favorite ginger ale hasn’t been in stock for months, but that’s because it comes in from Burmuda…..

    That’s ironic. Fanta Orange was developed by the Nazis as a response to wartime shortages.

    I imagine we’ll find out after the election what is a real shortage and what isn’t.

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  46. I imagine we’ll find out after the election what is a real shortage and what isn’t.

    Can you expound on that, I do not understand how an election could affect consumer shortages ?

  47. I just threw out some seven up that went ‘bad’. It might be a year or more old, but it tasted bad. Undrinkable. I don’t think I had any ill effects from the couple of ounces I had before I realized it wasn’t the ice, or my taste buds, but really tasted of chemicals.

    Only one sixer of small cans, so no big deal.

    n

  48. “The Democrats Know Secret Trump Voters Are Out There” by Rush Limbaugh
    https://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2020/07/16/the-secret-trump-voters-are-out-there/

    “RUSH: There was a poll out of Pennsylvania earlier this week, and it revealed that 57% of Pennsylvania voters think that there is a secret number of Trump voters that pollsters will never find, that there is a secret Trump vote out there that could be huge, that even if the pollsters find them, they will not be honest with the pollsters.”

    “They believe there’s a huge number — this is not the media — this is voters in Pennsylvania think that there’s a large number of people across the country who are going to vote for Trump who will never say so. Therefore, you’ll never be able to accurately poll anything because these people who are gonna vote for Trump will never, ever, admit it. Fifty-seven percent of voters in Pennsylvania believe that.”

    “I think they’re on to something. I have talked to a number of them on this program. I’ve talked to a number of you. You know who you are. There’s a bunch of you that are gonna vote for Trump and you’re not gonna tell anybody. You’ll tell us here anonymously, but you’re not gonna tell anybody where you live, and you’re not gonna go to some protest march and protest against the left.”

    I would not tell ANY pollster that you are planning on voting for Trump. I suspect the pollsters of keeping lists to turn over to a future dumbocrat administration. They could mark you to be first for the gun seizures, an IRS tax audit, seizure of your property for illegal profiteering, etc, etc, etc.

    Paranoid, me ?

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  49. There’s a bunch of you that are gonna vote for Trump

    Actually I am voting against Biden and any democrat seeking office. I don’t like Trump because of the way he conducts himself. Maybe it is time we had someone in the office that is willing to tell every one to F-Off. It just not seem very presidential for a leader of most powerful country in the world.

    If Biden wins the election he will be president for less than a year before the democrats spring a surprise and get Biden to resign. Who gets picked for his running mate for VP will be the one that really needs watching. Of course I can hope that the democrats get slaughtered in the election and are given their tails between their legs.

    For the last several elections I have not voted for any presidential candidate and have instead voted against a presidential candidate. Of all the people in the U.S. the two that get selected are an embarrassment

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  50. Just did a phone poll yesterday.

    My opinion on Hegar vs Cornyn, and Trump vs Biden.

    I was honest. Except I told them I was an independent.

    BTW for some reason my wife thinks Biden will win…

    n


  51. I’ve seen stories in various outlets over the last couple of weeks about a “soda shortage”

    There was a carbon dioxide shortage because, mostly, of reduced ethanol production. I haven’t seen anything about this still being the case but suspect it is.

    aluminium

    Aluminium? Aluminium? What are you, a Brit?

    Part of letting someone else provide your core business processes is you are dependent on them.

    Yup. Failure-tolerant design is not that difficult, actually, but it’s beyond the abilities of snap-the-lego-pieces-together lumpenprogrammers. And it’s more expensive (aside from the more expensive programmers) so short-sighted managers veto it. And then the same managers bitch at the programmer, whose failure-tolerant design was rejected, when the website breaks because an essential external dependency went down. (Why, yes, I’ve been in that exact position. How did you guess?)


  52. Maybe it is time we had someone in the office that is willing to tell every one to F-Off. It just not seem very presidential for a leader of most powerful country in the world.

    We’re Americans, damn it. Telling freeloaders to f-off is what we’re supposed to be all about. Our President should reflect this!

    For the last several elections I have not voted for any presidential candidate and have instead voted against a presidential candidate.

    With the alteration, likewise. I can’t think of the last time I voted for someone. Probably a local election, whenever it was.

    Of all the people in the U.S. the two that get selected are an embarrassment

    Yah. I think it was 2008, before Clinton graciously (ha!) conceded defeat, when someone said something like “300,000,000 American citizens and these three scumbags are the best we could come up with?”

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  53. Telling freeloaders to f-off is what we’re supposed to be all about

    I was thinking more of politicians and their cronies. But you make a good point. Why limit the scope?

    With the alteration, likewise

    I stand corrected.

  54. “I imagine we’ll find out after the election what is a real shortage and what isn’t.”

    Can you expound on that, I do not understand how an election could affect consumer shortages ?

    Costco is seriously in the tank for the Dems. I’m not kidding when I say that the current Governor in WA State, Jay Inslee, is their chore boy, bought and paid for. Inslee let Costco’s lobbyists and lawyers write the new liquor rules in WA State after deregulation passed, and, in return, Costco provides him with campaign money.

    This is a Gubernatorial election year in WA State. Beyond pragmatism, Costco management has a long history of supporting Dems.

    Beyond that, various food processors have Dem leanings, starting with Tyson. Heck, Hillary Clinton used to sit on the board and the infamous cattle futures deal was set up by the company’s commodities trading desk.

    The media reporting on the “shortages”? Please.

    Some of the shortages are real. We’ve seriously damaged the TP and paper towel supply chain, and the Chinese were buying all the pork they could over the last year. Others strike me as reaction to hysteria — soda, for instance — or, in the case of chicken, political.

    Real or not, the shortages will keep popping until election day. The virus and people freaking out as a result is Plugs only chance to win.

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  55. aluminium

    Aluminium? Aluminium? What are you, a Brit?

    I lived in London, England, UK for three months back in 1973, does that count ?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminium

    The CAD program for our Windows user interface was written at Swansea University (Wales) in 1986 to 1989 using Windows 1.0. Colour for color, aluminium for aluminum, centre for center, etc.

  56. Ok, I take enough grief for reading Daily Mail, but there are reasons I’ve spelled out several times. Some days though— J-zeus…

    “[BLACK LIVES ] Matter protesters in Portland, Oregon. As much MANY as 250 residents marched to Pioneer Courthouse Square, before ending up in front of the Multnomah County Justice Center. Federal agents are reportedly using unmarked minivans to round of UP protesters off the streets. Agents were sent to Portland buy BY President Trump, who has criticized the city’s handling of protests. Protesters created CLAT – Chinook Land Autonomous Territory in a park across the street from the federal courthouse. People reportedly used road blockages, kitchen appliances and flashing traffid TRAFFIC signs as a barricade [S]. Portland Police began removing CLAT items on Wednesday to avoid having a situation like Seattle’s ‘CHOP’ but [WERE] stopped by protesters returned RETURNING. There have been seven straight weeks of protests in Portland. ”

    –FFS, that’s one paragraph and is so bad even saying interns are doing it isn’t enough to excuse the mess.

    n

  57. @Paul from a couple days ago, re the spidermites: I’ve never found that soap does any good…. the chawin’ tabaccy is an idea tho. It is too late I fear for these plants. Keeping the plants wet can postpone an invasion – our early dry heat is one reason they are so bad. Really weird, I never had them before late last year. My husband says I should burn off the whole plot at the end of season, then have it plowed immediately and burn off a cover crop, then plow a couple more times before spring to turn up and kill anything trying to overwinter.

    @SteveF re hunting: does your state allow crossbows? We have a friend who bow hunts exclusively. My Paul was looking into the crossbow after his first stroke, before his health worsened, because it can be used one-handed.

    re prepping and Rope: I eventually had to order polyester rope online to hang my swings with, because no one locally carries it. They all have nice big wide displays of “Poly Rope” which is all polypropylene or some mix and none of it rated for any kind of weight, no matter how thick it appears. They all have some nylon, which is bad for hanging a swing because it streeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeetches. And, locally no one carries any good manila rope of any size or strength either. I ran into a similar problem when I wanted to hang a clothesline last year: locally, there was nothing suitable for a permanent outdoor line. So from now on, if I see a good buy on good rope or cable, I will be availing myself of it, just in case.

  58. I bought a spool so I could replace the rope on the kids’ climbing structure, and I’ve got about half that left. Then just a few weeks ago, a 1000 ft spool of yellow polypro was in the auction. I think I got it for $32.

    I bought some soft woven rope some years ago for work and I use it all the time. I’ve tied it into loops, one 6ft and one 3ft when stretched out straight. They are incredibly handy. You can use them like the “forearm forklift” straps, basket them around pipes or logs to make ‘handles’ that you can lift with, or put a vertical sheet of plywood or drywall into the 3 foot loop front and back and it makes carrying the sheet with 2 people MUCH easier. You’ll find good uses for them everywhere.

    Rope is a force multiplier.

    n

    And ratchet straps can be used for all sorts of things. I use them like winches, or comealongs. I use them to bundle stuff. I’ve straightened my bumper with a ratchet strap…

  59. “With coronavirus antibodies fading fast, vaccine hopes fade, too”
    https://www.sfchronicle.com/health/article/With-coronavirus-antibodies-fading-fast-focus-15414533.php

    “Disturbing new revelations that permanent immunity to the coronavirus may not be possible have jeopardized vaccine development and reinforced a decision by scientists at UCSF and affiliated laboratories to focus exclusively on treatments.”

    “Several recent studies conducted around the world indicate that the human body does not retain the antibodies that build up during infections, meaning there may be no lasting immunity to COVID-19 after people recover.”

    “Strong antibodies are also crucial in the development of vaccines. So molecular biologists fear the only way left to control the disease may be to treat the symptoms after people are infected to prevent the most debilitating effects, including inflammation, blood clots and death.”

    ““I just don’t see a vaccine coming anytime soon,” said Nevan Krogan, a molecular biologist and director of UCSF’s Quantitative Biosciences Institute, which works in partnership with 100 research laboratories. “People do have antibodies, but the antibodies are waning quickly.” And if antibodies diminish, “then there is a good chance the immunity from a vaccine would wane too.””

    Oh no. The coronavirus is acting more and more like the common cold.

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

  60. Oh no. The coronavirus is acting more and more like the common cold.”

    –which is only not dangerous to us today because it has ALREADY killed everyone that was susceptible. The wuflu hasn’t done that yet. It’s gonna kill a lot of people before it gets to the point that most folks who are left won’t worry about dying from it.

    n


  61. Colour for color, aluminium for aluminum, centre for center, etc.

    Which is the appropriate way. 🙂


  62. The wuflu hasn’t done that yet.

    Correct. Given that a vaccine* is unlikely, because it’s a coronavirus, either everyone who is vulnerable or will be vulnerable will get it or the people will stay locked down forever to minimize the spread of the virus. The former will result in sickness in some and death in a few. The latter will result in death of almost everyone. The rational, adult approach is to accept that some people are going to die of this disease, while putting effort into improving treatment options and putting some resources into the probably fruitless quest for an effective vaccine.

    * An effective vaccine, that is. I have no doubt that a number of marginally-effective vaccines will be trotted out and will reduce the death toll by a hundredth of a percent.

  63. A legal theory that floats around conservative circles and was cited by Gingrich at one point is that the President has a line item veto capability which should be exercised and established by legal precedent.

    Nope. A line item veto was passed at Clinton’s request in 1996. It was ruled unconstitutional in 1998 by a 6-3 vote of the Supreme Court. The “presentment clause” is in Article I. The veto power given there clearly applies to whole bills only.

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