Fri. Mar. 5, 2021 – another week gone by

Cool and maybe wet.   The national forecast has us in a possible rainy zone, but the edge of the front is very close by.   It’s been my observation that when the forecast has us on the edge, we don’t get the weather.  I guess we’ll see.

Yesterday was very nice.  Shirt sleeves and shorts weather with a gorgeous blue sky.   Which was nice for my walk home from the auto repair place.   It looks like my Expedition’s problems are deeper than a bad pressure sensor or worn out battery.  My repair guy will call me later with pricing and options.   It’s always something, and while my gut tells me there is a lot of life left in the truck, and I don’t want the expense and risks of replacing it, I also don’t want to keep throwing good money after bad.   I already put $4k into the motor last time and was pretty sure that was the last I wanted to spend on it.   Clean low miles ’13 and ’14 Expeditions are $10k to $20K depending on miles and trim.  New they are $60K to $80K… so that is VERY unlikely to happen.

My day will also involve some errands, probably cleaning up at my secondary IF it doesn’t rain.   I’ve got a dozen bins worth of stuff for auction if I can get the auctioneer to take delivery… she said she’d take a bunch, and I’ve got a bunch.  I’d love to get that started.

Looking at my stuff in auctions that closed last night, well,  it ain’t gonna pay for any gold coins.   I am starting to get concerned by the lower prices that stuff is bringing.  Not just my stuff, but stuff I’d be buying if I wasn’t already full up.  There seems to be a trend downward over the last few weeks.   I expect that as things in the economy get tighter and tighter, there will come a point where buyers just stop buying anything other than necessities.   They may continue buying daily living items, and shopping for bargains on ‘stuff’, but eventually there won’t be any  more money for ‘extras’.  I need to unload a bunch more stuff before that happens.

Still slowly chipping  away at about 10 different things at the same time.   It’s slow, but varied, and that helps is a couple of ways.  Just showing progress on some of the projects helps with domestic bliss.   And I can shift focus when I  find myself bumping into physical limits more often than I used to.

Today I was walking on eggshells because of spasms and something in my back that was “right on the edge” of becoming something really bad.  Simple bending movements were causing discomfort and apprehension all out of line with the actual exertion.   I’ve learned that I absolutely don’t want to aggravate that sort of thing.  So instead of doing a bunch of physical stuff, I was very careful and limited my movements.   Hopefully that was enough to be back to normal today.

There are several prominent bloggers in the ‘liberty sphere’ part of the web that have been hammering on physical fitness as a prep.  I’m not going to do ruck marches or calisthenics, or even jog, but it’s clear that I need to do something additional and that my normal activity level is not enough to overcome the effects of aging.  Anything effective takes time, and time is in short supply.  But clearly I’m losing time in other places, and don’t feel good while doing so, so it would be better to spend the time upfront and get the benefit of being in better shape too.  Knowing and doing are two different things however.

It’s always something.

Meanwhile, I’m organizing stacks, and adding to them in specific areas, mainly food and medical supplies.   I need to rebalance my camp stove and lantern stockpile in light of lessons learned from the deep freeze, and I need to go through some other stuff too.  Stored easily accessible drinking water is the next thing for me to tear into and rotate.

Plumbing supplies and gasoline stocks can be put away, replenished, and rotated too.  And I can’t forget the garden…

Stacking is the easy part.  Keep stacking, you can sort it out later.

nick

Author: Nick Flandrey

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

65 thoughts on “Fri. Mar. 5, 2021 – another week gone by”

  1. 57F and 88%RH at 620am. whoops nodded off for a few minutes in front of the computer. gotta get breakfast ready.

    n

  2. 52f and 72% RH in Indian country. Chances of showers are low.
    I have an appointment with my tax guy today to find out what else he needs me to get together. Last year was a very unusual year with retirement, selling my Mississippi house and a rental and turning the rest over to a management company. I expect to have a substantial tax liability.

    ATM usage is picking up. We had our first $350 night since covid started last week. That means more driving to keep them filled. Also dropping our single machine in Arkansas. Their taxes and fees kill any profits. Pulling that machine back to Oklahoma and looking for a location. No rest for the weary.


  3. @MrAtoZ; don’t forget caps for the 1 lb tanks, especially the used one.

    I have caps, and filters are on order. Didn’t know about that, so I did some research and it is backed up.


  4. Mexico is the country plugsy McSpongeBrain called “our equal”. We need to up our illegal drug production to match Mexico’s output.

    It’s amusing to think of Mexico being flooded with illegal drugs made in the US. Maybe we can get the government to subsidize their manufacture so US drugs are cheaper in Mexico than Mexican drugs. Imagine Mexicans screaming at their government to lock down the border to the US to fight their growing drug epidemic.

  5. ATM usage is picking up. We had our first $350 night since covid started last week. That means more driving to keep them filled. Also dropping our single machine in Arkansas. Their taxes and fees kill any profits. Pulling that machine back to Oklahoma and looking for a location. No rest for the weary.

    The Saturday shortly before the winter storm fiasco began, my sister-in-law called to say that she was in Oklahoma for a friend’s 50th birthday. She told my wife she was worried about getting stuck in Dallas for the weekend due to the weather.

    I assume the women were at one of the casinos up there despite the weather and all the entertainment options available in Orlando or within an hour drive in Central Florida.

    My sister-in-law is Queen of FOMO, but, despite Plugs’ best efforts, the economy is starting to move again. Planes in and out of Dallas were full that weekend.

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  6. Gropey Joe admires Mexico because the federal age of consent is 12.

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  7. My wife had an argument with a hispanic patient yesterday who insisted that Robert Francis was of Mexican Heritage.

    Repeat something often enough and it becomes the truth. She had the same argument two years ago with staff at the last job.

    If you press the believers on exactly which branch of the family tree is not of Irish heritage, they’ll hem and haw, often incorrectly siting O’Rourke’s mother.

    For the record, Robert Francis is 4th generation pure Welsh/Irish-American heritage with a lineage detour through redneck gene pools in Georgia. Well documented. Not Mexican.

    The lie and the winter storm fallout may be enough to put Robert Francis in the Governor’s Mansion.

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  8. It looks like my Expedition’s problems are deeper than a bad pressure sensor or worn out battery.

    Here they use Expeditions to smuggle 25 Mexicans in at a time.


  9. Here they use Expeditions to smuggle 25 Mexicans in at a time.

    However, the survival rate is less than 50%.

  10. I’ve been letting my beard grow out to about an inch in length, normally I keep it at less than a quarter inch. Am I the only one who finds a generic paper mask irritating with the longer beard ?

    I thought the Guv just outlawed masks in TX?! Or somethin’ like that…
    Seriously though, I just have a ‘chin beard’ (not sure if there’s another name for it), about 3/4″ long which seems to interfere a bit with the bottom of my N-95 mask sealing properly so I do cover it with a larger cloth mask for good measure.

    Goatee. And that is actually what I have, almost all white. I have some cheek hair and no neck hair. And a mustache that I have had since 1979. I am thinking about letting it go to 5 or 6 inches long. My son wears his total beard (chin, cheeks, neck) 18 inches long and braids it now. He only shaves his head.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goatee

    And no secondary mask for me. And the gov said masks are not required by the state or the counties as of March 10. But businesses are free to require masks if they want to.

  11. It looks like my Expedition’s problems are deeper than a bad pressure sensor or worn out battery.

    Here they use Expeditions to smuggle 25 Mexicans in at a time.

    They had better be real skinny as the Expedition takes up most of its weight rating with its fancy interior and gadgets. Mine had a powered 2/3rds 1/3rds third seat. And a triple split middle seat with reclining seat backs.


  12. And no secondary mask for me. And the gov said masks are not required by the state or the counties as of March 10. But businesses are free to require masks if they want to.

    13 Woke Corporations Fighting Back Against Texas Mask Mandate Repeal

    H-E-B

    “H-E-B and Central Market will continue requiring masks of employees while “urging” customers to wear them,” ABC reported.

    “Although there is no longer a statewide mask order, H-E-B believes it is important that masks be worn in public spaces until more Texans and our Partners have access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” the company’s statement read. “As an essential service provider during the pandemic, H-E-B is focused on the health and safety of our Partners and customers. H-E-B will still require all our Partners and vendors to wear masks while at work, and we urge all customers to please wear a mask when in our stores.”

    I wonder if my local HEBs will remove the “masks ARE required” sign. I’ve seen onesies and twosies without a mask in HEB and weren’t harasses. They were POCs, but not sure if that made a difference. I wouldn’t doubt if I went into HEB maskless, the *Karens* would be all over me.


  13. Just got jab #1 – Pfizer.
    [-snip-]
    Will report if any body parts fall off.

    All parts still attached. No arm pain yesterday, just a bit today. Very slight headache later last night, gone today. Slept an hour longer than usual and feeling just a touch ‘off’ today.
    Wife is waiting for feedback from her doctor if any preference in vaccine for her given some of her medical issues.

  14. Well, I’m shopping for a used Expy. $6500 to put in a reman engine, only slightly less for a junkyard engine with unknown history and likely to blow a timing chain at 160K miles, just like they all do. It’s a 2008, police surplus vehicle. A work truck, not a lux cruiser. It’s really not worth doing.

    Kelley BB says 6k – 7k trade in running and since it’s the police version, probably lower.

    Anyone got anything to say about the 6cyl turbo that some of the mid 2000 Expy’s have?

    I’m pretty familiar with the 5.4L v8 issues….

    n

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  15. They had better be real skinny as the Expedition takes up most of its weight rating with its fancy interior and gadgets. Mine had a powered 2/3rds 1/3rds third seat. And a triple split middle seat with reclining seat backs.

    I suspect the interior behind the first row was stripped out so more illegals could be crammed in. $5 extra if you want a milk crate to sit on.


  16. “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

    TCM will examine 18 classic movies, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Psycho, Gone With the Wind and My Fair Lady for ‘sexist and racist content’ in new series

    TCM is launching a new series called Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror to look at ‘troubling and problematic’ aspects of old Hollywood movies
    Every Thursday for the month of March, rotating hosts will hold roundtable introductions about the history and context of the movie
    They will also warn viewers about depictions of racism, sexism LGBTQ issues.
    Among the 18 films that will be discussed include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Psycho, Gone With the Wind, My Fair Lady, Stagecoach, The Jazz Singer and more
    Some racism issues that will be tackled include blackface routines and white actors playing non-white roles
    The hosts will also discuss sexism in these movies, in which men seem to physically or psyhcologically abuse women

    1
  17. Yesterday was very nice. Shirt sleeves and shorts weather with a gorgeous blue sky. Which was nice for my walk home from the auto repair place. It looks like my Expedition’s problems are deeper than a bad pressure sensor or worn out battery. My repair guy will call me later with pricing and options. It’s always something, and while my gut tells me there is a lot of life left in the truck, and I don’t want the expense and risks of replacing it, I also don’t want to keep throwing good money after bad. I already put $4k into the motor last time and was pretty sure that was the last I wanted to spend on it. Clean low miles ’13 and ’14 Expeditions are $10k to $20K depending on miles and trim. New they are $60K to $80K… so that is VERY unlikely to happen.

    Good luck. The nice thing is that you have a repair guy you trust. How many miles on your Expy ?

  18. Well, I’m shopping for a used Expy. $6500 to put in a reman engine, only slightly less for a junkyard engine with unknown history and likely to blow a timing chain at 160K miles, just like they all do. It’s a 2008, police surplus vehicle. A work truck, not a lux cruiser. It’s really not worth doing.

    Kelley BB says 6k – 7k trade in running and since it’s the police version, probably lower.

    Anyone got anything to say about the 6cyl turbo that some of the mid 2000 Expy’s have?

    I’m pretty familiar with the 5.4L v8 issues….

    n

    Sorry to hear that. Yeah, mine broke a timing chain at 209K miles. There are two timing chains on that 5.4L V8 so you can limp home at 20 mph on four cylinders and no brake vacuum.

    $4K installed for your engine rebuilt at Thunderbolt Motors. Is your tranny original also ?
    https://www.tbolt.net/car-repair-houston-tx/automotive-repair-houston/

    I love my 2019 F-150 4×4 XLT crew cab with Max Tow Package, FX4 package, Chrome package, Navigation, and the 3.5L V6 biturbo. Tows a 5,000 lb boom lift like nothing is there. It had a $54K MSRP and I paid $40K plus TTL (tax, title, license) on Oct 30, 2019. I understand that there is a shortage of F-150s right now due to some sort of electronics parts.
    https://www.winsim.com/truck_and_boom_lift.jpg

  19. “Elon Musk tweets plans to create Texas city named ‘Starbase'”
    https://www.chron.com/business/article/Elon-Musk-is-creating-a-city-in-Texas-it-will-be-15999729.php

    “The SpaceX CEO’s new project would take over the city of Boca Chica, where Elon Musk is building his Starship rocket.”

    Why not ? He may have thousands of employees with Starship manufacturing facilities there some day. He sure ain’t going back to California or Washington. And they don’t care !


  20. I suspect the interior behind the first row was stripped out so more illegals could be crammed in

    Tight pack or loose pack. Same as the slaving ships.

  21. TCM will examine 18 classic movies, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Psycho, Gone With the Wind and My Fair Lady for ‘sexist and racist content’ in new series

    I bought a copy of the last DVD release of “Casablanca” when my former corporate masters started running a disclaimer with “Gone With The Wind”.

  22. Anyone got anything to say about the 6cyl turbo that some of the mid 2000 Expy’s have?

    Ford is facing some a class action over EcoBoost, but I believe that is limited to 4 cyl engines in certain cars. They’re more careful about trucks.

    Of course, the Ford lawyers are really good at minimizing the PR around the opening and closing of the class action windows. They lost a case last year over multiple model year Focus and Fiesta transmissions, on a magnitude which could have bankrupted the company, and the claim filing period was very brief, well under the radar.

  23. And no secondary mask for me. And the gov said masks are not required by the state or the counties as of March 10. But businesses are free to require masks if they want to.

    13 Woke Corporations Fighting Back Against Texas Mask Mandate Repeal

    H-E-B

    “H-E-B and Central Market will continue requiring masks of employees while “urging” customers to wear them,” ABC reported.

    “Although there is no longer a statewide mask order, H-E-B believes it is important that masks be worn in public spaces until more Texans and our Partners have access to the COVID-19 vaccine,” the company’s statement read. “As an essential service provider during the pandemic, H-E-B is focused on the health and safety of our Partners and customers. H-E-B will still require all our Partners and vendors to wear masks while at work, and we urge all customers to please wear a mask when in our stores.”

    I wonder if my local HEBs will remove the “masks ARE required” sign. I’ve seen onesies and twosies without a mask in HEB and weren’t harasses. They were POCs, but not sure if that made a difference. I wouldn’t doubt if I went into HEB maskless, the *Karens* would be all over me.

    HEB is probably being told by their lawyers and insurance company, you better require masks !

  24. “Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.”

    ― George Orwell, 1984

    TCM will examine 18 classic movies, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Psycho, Gone With the Wind and My Fair Lady for ‘sexist and racist content’ in new series

    TCM is launching a new series called Reframed: Classic Films in the Rearview Mirror to look at ‘troubling and problematic’ aspects of old Hollywood movies
    Every Thursday for the month of March, rotating hosts will hold roundtable introductions about the history and context of the movie
    They will also warn viewers about depictions of racism, sexism LGBTQ issues.
    Among the 18 films that will be discussed include Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Psycho, Gone With the Wind, My Fair Lady, Stagecoach, The Jazz Singer and more
    Some racism issues that will be tackled include blackface routines and white actors playing non-white roles
    The hosts will also discuss sexism in these movies, in which men seem to physically or psyhcologically abuse women

    I thought “Gone With the Wind” already got banned for the white girl slapping the black girl. And for having slaves in the movie since it started before the Civil War I. And for …

  25. Demographics paint a bleak future. The Population Bomb was a bust and our future is rapidly declining working age populations. This will mean a huge shift in the idea of current workers supporting elderly SSI recipients. It will also destabilize many countries.
    https://www.cbsnews.com/news/birth-rate-declining-younger-generations-crisis/

    It has gotten horribly expensive to raise a large family. Although, the children’s minister at my church has ten kids from 18 to 2. And they got married at 27 (their birthdates are 1 day apart).

  26. “Texas will not fix ERCOT’s $16 billion power billing mistake”
    https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/05/texas-ercot-electric-bills/

    “The Public Utility Commission ignored its independent monitor’s recommendation to retroactively reduce the market price for power for at least part of the week of the winter storm.”

    Nice. Dig the knife in deeper.

    I still think that ERCOT is going to get dragged into bankruptcy. This has a long time to play out.

    Also turns out that ERCOT ignored the Trump DOE’s (department of energy) advice on storing 90 days of fuel for each independent power producer in 2017.

  27. HEB is probably being told by their lawyers and insurance company, you better require masks !

    Publix is involved in a lawsuit from the estate of one of their famed 75 year-old “bag boys”. Early on in the Pandemic, the chain discouraged employees from masking to avoid frightening customers, and the family claims that’s how their loved one caught Covid and died.

    The suit may be settled by now. Regardless of outcome, grocery stores will be among the last to unmask.

    On the same morning they filed for bankruptcy, Alamo Drafthouse issued a statement that they will “follow CDC guidelines, science, not politicians” with regard to masking. Arguably, Fauci’s antics may have cost the founders their business, but they’ll stick to the orthodoxy to the bitter end.

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  28. “CEO of Texas power grid operator terminated in aftermath of winter storm”
    https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/02/ercot-texas-bill-magness/

    “Bill Magness is the latest official to depart following the winter storm catastrophe. ”

    There probably was not much he could have done without the Texas PUC and legislature authorizing it. The biggest thing that the independent power producers needed was more fuel on site and that costs BIG bucks, very big bucks. A single gas turbine can burn over a 1,000 gallons of diesel an hour.

  29. Also turns out that ERCOT ignored the Trump DOE’s (department of energy) advice on storing 90 days of fuel for each independent power producer in 2017.

    Wasn’t Governor Perry running DOE?

    In Texas, he’s probably more polarizing than Trump.

    I’ll replace the old meme with the new one I’ve noted lately:

    Yeah, Biden. Trump, though…

  30. There will indeed be climate change in the coming decades, but for the next 10 to 40 years it is going to get colder, not warmer!

    Yeah, we are in a big sunspot minimum. BUT, the association of the Maunder Minimum with the “Little Ice Age” is not as conclusive as he states. The Maunder Minimum started in 1650, but the cooling started roughly between 1275 to 1300 and picked up in the 1430-1450 period. There is evidence of increased vulcanism, a shift in the Gulf stream, and other causes.

    (This was a topic covered in a solar system physics class I took at Rice.)

  31. I love my 2019 F-150 4×4 XLT crew cab with Max Tow Package, FX4 package, Chrome package, Navigation, and the 3.5L V6 biturbo. Tows a 5,000 lb boom lift like nothing is there. It had a $54K MSRP and I paid $40K plus TTL (tax, title, license) on Oct 30, 2019. I understand that there is a shortage of F-150s right now due to some sort of electronics parts.
    https://www.winsim.com/truck_and_boom_lift.jpg

    I forgot two options that I have come to love: Remote Start and Electric Seats. The remote start is cool in the summer time to precool the vehicle and the electric seats are awesome in the winter time to warm your rump and back up.

  32. Also turns out that ERCOT ignored the Trump DOE’s (department of energy) advice on storing 90 days of fuel for each independent power producer in 2017.

    Wasn’t Governor Perry running DOE?

    In Texas, he’s probably more polarizing than Trump.

    I’ll replace the old meme with the new one I’ve noted lately:

    Yeah, Biden. Trump, though…

    Yes, Perry ran the DOE for a while. And the 90 days of fuel storage payments was the help the coal and nuclear power plants mostly.
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/amorylovins/2017/05/01/does-fuel-on-hand-make-coal-and-nuclear-power-plants-more-valuable/?sh=1a806c646902

    Sorry, but I do not understand your meme. Gotta remember, your audience ain’t too sharp no more. Maybe was never that sharp anyway.

  33. Sorry, but I do not understand your meme. Gotta remember, your audience ain’t too sharp no more. Maybe was never that sharp anyway.

    Lots of buyers remorse among Dems with regard to Biden. The swing voters are starting to worry about losing the McMansion and the German grocery getter.

    Gotta toe the line in the suburbs of DC and the tech hubs, however. No expressions of doubt allowed.


  34. Mr Heater recommends a fuel filter if you use the Mr Buddy with the BBQ propane bottle

    I ran a google search for propane fuel filters (didn’t even know they were a thing). First 5 shopping results were Mr. Heater brand sold by 5 different merchants. So, that fact that Mr. Heater makes fuel filters may have a lot to do with their recommending them. 🙂

  35. A little cool front is blowing in. Too windy to sit outside. Sure is making the cats frisky. Fun to watch.

    The truck. Oy. Paid a grand for it. Another grand for the heater core and fix the air damper so it does more than blow out the dash.
    Then the a/c lost freon and replace the air damper thing again, that’s another grand.
    Seems like I’m missing something, too lazy to dig in the file cabinet. But it’s about a grand.

    “Look for another repair shop” looks like it should be on the to-do list.

    But it’s like a grand a year and I really do not feel like I have ever driven the truck. Yeah, to the feed store, to the Post Office, to Tractor Supply and Wal-Mart and ONE trip to Fort Worth. Other than going to Fort Worth I fill the gas tank about every five months. Heck, I’m still figuring out where the corners on the truck are and trying to get the radio to sound good.

    Various door lock and window switches do not count. That’s wiper blade and light bulb territory for me, $6 parts. The instrument cluster aka body computer puking was just a couple of hundred bucks.

    Anyway.

    Last trip to the shop was to fix the water leak and fix (under warranty? huh? whut?) the a/c that had leaked down. They installed the radiator hoses I had on the passenger seat and ignored the a/c. Yeah, because why bother with the a/c when “you have a cracked block and blown head gaskets but we can replace the engine for $7400”. But hey, here’s your bill for $300.

    WTF. $26 per gallon of antifreeze. Plus “shop rags”.

    Took it to the local Chrysler dealer last week. Yeah… bad head gasket confirmed. They replaced the spark plugs and did the free 28 point inspection. Don’t know why I need to replace the rear seat air bags. I suppose because I don’t have any.

    Damn nice spark plugs. $450 including the free tire rotation and alignment (with no sign of road film on the lug nuts being disturbed obvious).

    Ok. I bought some Bar’s Leak for head gaskets today. First I have to drain the coolant and fill with plain water. I can do this. I also bought some of the UV leak detector for the a/c system. I have the vacuum pump, it’s not Rocket Science.

    My goal is to fix the a/c. Because I think I can. And a dark blue truck in Texas Summer ain’t fun. Then the head gasket leak. Just to try.

    I might get a couple more years of use. More likely, once it’s all fixed, I’m using truck for a trade-in.

    It’s a nice truck. It drives like my ’96 Stratus. Runs like a Singer sewing machine.


  36. I ran a google search for propane fuel filters (didn’t even know they were a thing). First 5 shopping results were Mr. Heater brand sold by 5 different merchants. So, that fact that Mr. Heater makes fuel filters may have a lot to do with their recommending them.

    There are vids on Youtube showing results after using a propane filter. There is a difference. I’ve read a couple of articles that a main reason is the hose used to couple to a large tank and the degradation of said hose contaminating the fuel. I got the Mr. Heater hose because it is not supposed to degrade. I’ll try a filter anyway. Simple to attach.

  37. “Goldman, Bank Of America Made Hundreds Of Millions From Texas Blackouts”
    https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/goldman-bank-america-made-hundreds-millions-texas-blackouts

    “Who needs Enron when you have taxpayer-backed “banks.””

    “Whereas 20 years ago, it was Enron that made billions from the California electricity crisis (which it caused), a scandal which culminated with Enron’s scandalous and convoluted bankruptcy, this time it is pristine banks such as Goldman and Bank of America that made hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue as tens of millions of Texans were stuck in the dark.”

    “The final outcome, according to Bloomberg, depends in part on developments in places such as Texas. That market’s manager, ERCOT or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, is grappling with a $2.5 billion shortfall as more than a dozen companies face default. In a further complication, an independent monitor told state regulators that Ercot incorrectly priced electricity during the emergency, resulting in $16 billion in overcharges. If that were reversed, the adjustment would cut profits expected by some of the market’s biggest winners. Meanwhile, in the statehouse, discussion of a potential bailout or other intervention continues.”

    Not good. Only a federal bankruptcy court can sort this mess out.

  38. I understand that there is a shortage of F-150s right now due to some sort of electronics parts.

    “When the novel coronavirus pandemic hit last year, people stayed at home and stopped shopping. Factories closed, and companies pared back orders. But then demand roared back faster than anyone expected, especially for devices to help people work and attend classes from home.”
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.cnet.com/google-amp/news/from-ps5-to-ford-f-150-how-a-global-chip-shortage-is-impacting-everything/


  39. Lots of buyers remorse among Dems with regard to Biden.

    Like Karma says “Ha ha ha F^ck You!!!”.

    You voted for it. He said, even while campaigning from his basement with 9am lids, he was going to shut down fracking and the pipeline and raise taxes and open the effing border to let in all the poor deprived brown folks that need healthcare and push stuff like windmills and on and on and on like an insane ABBA song cross mixed with a Parliament track. On effing repeat.

    But hey, at least ORANGE MAN BAD ain’t making rude Tweets to hurt your feelings anymore. YES! Da Comrade!

    Meanwhile, stock groceries and whatever.

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  40. ” So, that fact that Mr. Heater makes fuel filters may have a lot to do with their recommending them.”

    –or they make them because they need them and no one else makes them…

    Reliable heat is priceless when you don’t have any. I think my filters were $11? Cheap insurance if there really is something in the big tanks that ruins the heater. you save that by using the big tank vs a dozen 1# tanks.

    WRT my Expy, sold it. $1250. And I will clean it out tomorrow, get the roof rack off and XM radio out, etc. I don’t have to rush into a purchase, so I can wait a while for the right used vehicle if I need to. He’s welcome to fix it, or strip it for parts.

    Rain stopped late morning and then it got really nice out.

    Did a bunch of small things. Home now, wondering about dinner…

    n

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  41. Nick, what you want is a minivan. You may not think that’s what you want, but it is. You shuttle around two kids and their stuff. That’s minivan territory right there. It’s more practical for hauling stuff than an SUV is unless you need the 4WD. Depending on the stuff you haul, a minivan may be more practical than a pickup because the interior is protected from weather and slicky boys. Pickups beat minivans only for large items which don’t fit, for heavy items, and for filthy or stinky loads which you don’t want yucking up the passenger compartment. Finally, minivans are almost always cheaper than SUVs and pickups because they’re not the cool thing all the cool kids want.

    Bite the bullet, Nick. Buy you a minivan.

  42. re filters for the heater adapter hoses, I agree with Nick: it’s cheap insurance. And wouldn’t you feel like a tool if you didn’t use one and your heater, which was the only thing keeping you warm, petered out twelve hours into the next power outage?

  43. ” Nick. Buy you a minivan. ”

    –wife has one* and offered it to me so she could upgrade! I hate it. It’s low to the ground, front wheel drive with terrible torque steer, the windshield glass is wavy and makes me motion sick.

    It is loud as F inside, with horrible wind noise and road noise.

    It did hold 100 cases of GS cookies, so yeah, it’s capacious. But it’s horrible to drive or ride in.

    n

    *honda oddysee, supposed to be a great example of the category too.

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  44. “Who Really Imperils the Republic?” By Patrick J. Buchanan
    https://buchanan.org/blog/who-really-imperils-the-republic-142845

    “In the “domestic terrorism” at the Capitol, no protester set off a bomb, toppled a statue, or fired a weapon. Of the four who died that day, all were protesters. Ashli Babbitt, 35, a 14-year Air Force veteran, was shot to death by a Capitol cop as she tried to force her way into the Senate chamber. A rioter and law-breaker, yes, but a terrorist who deserved to die?”

  45. ” Nick. Buy you a minivan. ”

    –wife has one* and offered it to me so she could upgrade! I hate it. It’s low to the ground, front wheel drive with terrible torque steer, the windshield glass is wavy and makes me motion sick.

    It is loud as F inside, with horrible wind noise and road noise.

    It did hold 100 cases of GS cookies, so yeah, it’s capacious. But it’s horrible to drive or ride in.

    n

    *honda oddysee, supposed to be a great example of the category too.

    Minivans and Expeditions are way different. Just the front wheel drive versus the rear wheel drive is a way different feel. In fact, even Expeditions and F-150s feel way different since the Expy has a better weight distribution with the factory camper top.

    BTW, @Nick, the first version of the Ecoboost 3.5L V6 biturbo motor did have a problem with accumulating condensed water in the turbo intercooler in humid areas. You know, like Houston. I do not know if there was a recall. Nor do I know when the second version of the motor came out but looks like 2015 to 2017 (the second version is on full boost at 1,800 rpm).
    https://www.autonews.com/article/20130515/RETAIL/130519929/lawsuit-claims-defects-in-ford-3-5-liter-v-6-ecoboost-engine

    I do know that the 2019 ecoboost V6 was a ground up redesign to generate more power and economy for the third version of the motor. The F-150 version runs 14 psi of boost for 375 hp. The F-150 Limited and Raptor version runs 18 psi of boost for 450 hp. My buddy chipped his Limited F-150 4×4 and runs 21 ? psi of boost for 600 ??? hp. All the same engine.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_EcoBoost_engine#3.5_L_(first_generation)

    At 15K miles on my 2019 F-150 4×4, I am getting 16 mpg in the city and 20+ mpg on the highway below 70 mph. 80 mph = 17 mpg. This is with the new 10 speed automatic with 3 overdrive gears.

  46. @ech

    There will indeed be climate change in the coming decades, but for the next 10 to 40 years it is going to get colder, not warmer!

    “Yeah, we are in a big sunspot minimum. BUT, the association of the Maunder Minimum with the “Little Ice Age” is not as conclusive as he states. The Maunder Minimum started in 1650, but the cooling started roughly between 1275 to 1300 and picked up in the 1430-1450 period. There is evidence of increased vulcanism, a shift in the Gulf stream, and other causes.

    (This was a topic covered in a solar system physics class I took at Rice.)”

    The association in time is conclusive, it is the causal relationship which is unclear.

    The Little Ice Age did last much longer than the Maunder Minimum, but there was a succession of solar minima:
    Wolfe Minimum 1280-1350
    Spörer Minimum 1450-1550
    Maunder Minimum 1645-1715
    Dalton Minimum 1790-1820

    Which should have been covered in your class. As JEP pointed out many times, our sun is a variable yellow star.

    The highest C14 solar activity between the latter two minima was less than the lowest activity during the the Oort Minima (1040-1080).

    see section 4.1

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_cycle#Cycle_history

  47. @Nick

    Life is too short to drive something you dislike.

    but…

    Dad used to say “Never fall in love with a car.”

    You can learn to really like a vehicle that is dependable and economical. For an older vehicle that means buying it right and either doing the repairs or having a shop that knows their stuff. For a newer vehicle that means buying it right (take a bow, @Lynn), keeping it for years, and keeping full warranty protection on it because you can’t do the repairs unless you’re in the business.

  48. “because you can’t do the repairs unless you’re in the business. ”

    –that is no joke. You can’t even do some of the maintenance. My wife had the Cadillac mid sized SUV, the SRX and you couldn’t change the front right turn signal bulb. That was a dealer service item, because you had to pull half the stuff out of the engine compartment to get to it. There are a lot of older SRXs on the road with that front lamp out. On my expy, you can’t check the transmission fluid level. No dipstick, just a plug. Dealer or mechanic service….

    Don’t even start with all the electronics and drive by wire cr@p.

    I’m looking for a low miles 2013-’15 with the heavy duty tow package. They all have at least the first step of upgrades to get the tow package and beyond that it’s all gravy-not a requirement. I like heated seats, and I’ve heard that the cooled seats are VERY NICE here in the South. Not a requirement though.

    I think the expy refreshed in ’15 but not significantly. My 08 was the first year of the new body and interior. I don’t really want the last year before a refresh, just for eventual resale value, but I’m fine with the ’08 – ’14 styling personally. I don’t really like the brand new styling.

    There is some crazy stuff listed, like a 2020 with 47K miles. How do you even do that? Given that I drove my expy 60K in 13 years, I could buy a high mileage newer vehicle and it would be evened out by the time I was done, it might even look like a low mile truck at that point.

    Lots of choices and no real rush. (the advantage of having a BACKUP, because two is one and one is none)

    n

  49. And I just can’t say no sometimes.

    Bought a Honda ES6500 generator at an auction. It’s in rough cosmetic shape, and is sold as ‘parts machine’ because it was sitting for a long time. For $300 out the door, I figured it was a good risk that I could get it running. It’s a Honda, and all the parts are available and not even crazy expensive. My EU3000i runs like a sewing machine now that I got it fixed up and it was non-running when I bought it for about the same money. The 6500s are selling for $1200 in running condition.

    Someone was asking about oil changes a while ago. The manual says oil every 100 hours, filter every 300… That’s a lot of spare supplies if you are planning to run it for a long time, and some down time every week.

    n

  50. “. My wife had the Cadillac mid sized SUV, the SRX and you couldn’t change the front right turn signal bulb. ”

    Makes you want to explore alternatives, like finding a set of after-market turn signals ca. 1920, mounting them on the corners of the hood, and putting a large sign on the vehicle to reference your website: talesoftheidiotautoengineers.

    Worked in a manufacturing plant one summer. Drive on a feed auger busted a shear pin. Pulley and gear were protected by a guard. Steps up to a catwalk kept the guard from being removed. Shut the whole unit down.

  51. @Nick.. Any chance you could have a word with the local LEOs you did the civilian training with, re vehicles that are close to a change over.? Might be a long shot..

  52. @MrK,

    I did check the local auctions today. Nothing very interesting at the moment. HPD destroys their vehicles in that they drive them until they fail. The Constable’s office must turn over their vehicles but I’ve never seen them come up. My current Expy (well, until I hand over the title) came from a small community outside of Dallas. They took VERY good care of it, and when they “un-cop car”‘d it they were careful and considerate. That is very unusual.

    Vehicles from big colleges, and small departments seem to be the best. Inspectors don’t drive much it seems, and neither do on campus workers.

    The biggest damage occurs when anyone can be assigned the vehicle temporarily. The tragedy of the commons plays out in work trucks and cop cars too.

    Your question prompted a good memory of my dad. He was a volunteer firefighter in our home town of 20K people south of Chicago. He asked the village maintenance people which cop car he should bid on in the silent auction… and they told him which was in the best shape. I drove the HECK out of that Ford LTD II. It was the classic, “cop motor, cop suspension, cop tires”… thanks for the memory.

    n

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  53. I’m looking for a low miles 2013-’15 with the heavy duty tow package. They all have at least the first step of upgrades to get the tow package and beyond that it’s all gravy-not a requirement. I like heated seats, and I’ve heard that the cooled seats are VERY NICE here in the South. Not a requirement though.

    Yeah, in 2019 I was looking for a used Expy with the Max Tow Package with less than 60K miles. I love the Max Tow Package in the Expy: a five row radiator instead of a three row radiator, a transmission oil cooler, and a Limited Slip rear axle (an awesome feature even in the ice !). I had this package on my 2005 Expy. I did not have it on my 1999 Expy, a world of difference in vehicle quality for my needs.

    The problem is that people or used car dealers do not know that they have the Max Tow Package on the Expy. I even looked for an Expy with 4×4 but those are only available north of the Mason-Dixon line. After several frustrating emails with people who had no idea what they had, I gave up and found a brand new F-150 4×4 with the Max Tow Package and bought it.

  54. Yeah got it.. 🙂 I was hoping they were on a lease basis and changed over after X years..

    Ha.. good memories.. I bought a ex cop motorcycle eons ago. I knew the chief maintenance guy. he gave me the nod as to which were ok and which to avoid.. Very handy..

    As you say re meatspace, if you know someone with connections to a dealer or even direct to FoMoCo, might be worthwhile… But still pricey..

    cheers.

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