The year 2022: Late stage 2021 but with new, higher prices

h/t to one of Scott Adams Twitter followers, responding to a challenge to summarize 2022 in the snarkiest way possible.

The whole thing is a psy op run by incompetents at behest of elites inflicted upon the aimless. It came about through sixty years of indoctrination: “Buy this shit from our advertiser; that will make you happy.”

Once you’ve been bamboozled ….

Once you’ve been bamboozled, it is almost impossible to become un-bamboozled.

This was from an AskReddit question about “What was the best quote or life changing saying or most profound advice people had heard?” Something like that; but my search did not find the exact entry to cite. One of the answers was this one. It’s great. I mentioned this to a friend of mine; he thought Carl Sagan had said it. Well, essentially yes, but not exactly. Carl Sagan’s quote goes like this:

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

This is well said, but also really wordy, plus throws in a ten dollar word: charlatan. I like the short and sweet version.

It seems to me that the almost the entire USA has been bamboozled about politics.

The Left has been bamboozled that Donald Trump Is A Bad Man.

The Right has been bamboozled that Donald Trump Is A Good Man.

I remember seeing a cartoon not that long ago (within a year or two) that had a King on a balcony with an advisor, overlooking an angry mob. Here it is (I linked to the original source, so you can get to that web page – credit where credit is due):

The advisor was saying to the King: “Oh, You don’t need to fight them – you just need to convince the pitchfork people that the torch people want to take away their pitchforks.”

When I went looking, Google search failed to find this cartoon. I mentioned it to a friend, and he saw it on Facebook. I asked him to forward it to me. From there, I was able upload it to Google Image Search, and then finally find the original publisher. The conspiracy theorist spoiler alerter in me thinks the search engines of the day have de-ranked or removed this image in search results because it spoils the narrative.

The idea here is an intersection between the two old sayings A house divided against itself cannot stand and The People restrain themselves and anxiously hope for just two things: bread and circuses.

The Left is thoroughly convinced that The Right has been bamboozled. The Right is thoroughly convinced that The Left has been bamboozled.

I am convinced both have been bamboozled by the deep state and it’s unholy alliance with mass media. When I say mass media, I’m also looking at you: Facebook and Google and Twitter.

Here’s the thing about Donald Trump: he was never supposed to be President.

The deep state mass media planned to get Hillary Clinton. They thought they earned Hillary Clinton. By knocking out every good opposing candidate, there was no way that Hillary could lose. There was no way that Hillary Clinton could lose against Donald Fucking Trump. Knock out every other candidate, and the election was a done deal.

This was perfect for the deep state, because Bill and Hillary Clinton were already players. They’d played ball before, and were happy to play again. As insiders, their keepers had leverage on them, and as players, they knew their keepers would be comforted with them as lackeys. It was a win-win situation.

But (“oh by the way”) Hillary Clinton was the worst possible candidate for President.

Which is proven out, because she lost to Donald Fucking Trump, dontcha know. Fair and square, she was simply that BAD of a candidate. And to be fair, Donald was actually a very good campaigner, and a master of Twitter trolling. His campaign speeches were super entertaining. The deep state completely underestimated how well Donald would perform.

Donald was an outsider. This was a disaster for the deep state.

Chuck Schumer delivering the deep state warning to Donald Trump to play ball or else (after election but before inauguration).

  • Donald bristled at being told to take his role of lackey. Now the deep state is on his shit list.
  • If Donald made it to a second term, there was no remaining leverage to keep him from ravaging the deep state.

Does it appear to you that Donald rolled over and became a lackey?

The only choice the deep state had was to backstab the sitting President every chance they could get.

Wow did they ever.

The Commander In Chief: that is who the deep state is supposed to obey. Instead, they did everything they could to subvert CIC/POTUS. They became traitors to the rule of law.

And you, dear reader, got taken in by the charlatans that Donald Trump Is A <‽> Man.

Working from home

I know: I’m late to the game.

My employer had let me continue to report to work after the pandemic hit. Many of my co-workers immediately opted-in to working from home; but I wasn’t one of them.

I am thankful for that I got to keep reporting to work, because I like the normalcy of the routine. I loved the peace and quiet of no co-workers at all.

Other departments in my employer’s organization had brought all their staff back in September. Then reported infections started happening, and they would have to send everyone home for a few days while the work site was disinfected. Turns out each one of those events cost $2,000 – $5,000. My department decided that everyone should work from home, no exceptions, until further notice.

They ordered me a VPN appliance that extends the network into my home. I brought it home, hooked it up, and it worked perfectly on the first try. Apparently our Networks team is very good.

The last few days, my “commute” has been from my living room to the spare bedroom I’m setting up as my home office. I’ve tried adjusting my alarm clocks and such, but with mixed results.

Regarding my commute: I put $10 of gasoline in my car yesterday. This will probably be the last gasoline I put in my car for many months. My car is mostly electric; but even with the heater going for my nightly trips out, I’m never draining the battery to zero.

One thing I’ve noticed is that I am under more stress now. It’s probably due to a big project at work entering it’s final laps, and there seems to be more work to do than there are hours in the day. But I can definitely tell that my shoulders are tight all the time now; an eye twitch that I get has come back.

I’ve done some shopping for the new home office. Parts are starting to dribble in. I wanted a new desk that was large enough to hold all my stuff; but apparently there is not a market for that short of $1,000+. I’m using a four person dining table with the extension leaves put in. The space is still too small. I need to shut my laptop in order to see the bottom half of one of the desktop monitor screens.

My ass hurts at the end of the day, because the wooden chair is not meant for eight hours of use per day. The real chair is on order, but won’t arrive for two to seven days.

My telephone headset has a faint hum in it that I don’t remember from before. But perhaps it was always there, and the work room air conditioning set a minimum noise level the headset hum never cleared. I did buy some LED light strips because I need light first thing in the morning and at night. Those definitely added some hum; so I’ve moved them far away. Then I discovered I ordered the wrong part, and want the ones with Amazon Alexa built in. I’ve also ordered some quarter-round aluminum channel to mount in the upper corner of the room between wall and ceiling. The LED light strips will go inside the channel. When the diffuser is snapped in place, I should get a nice broad light source that illuminates the room without much (if any) shadow.

The alarm clocks have been more work than I had expected. Because I used home automation (I bought it; I might as well use it), there are way more things to be reconfigured now, just by not needing to wake up quite so early in the morning. Some of the stuff is in Amazon Alexa, and others of it are in Philips Hue.

Delta Airlines did the right thing

I just received an email that Delta is processing my refund. Good on them.

I had never minded Delta a company; at least up until they had told me they were issuing a credit, and AIG didn’t need to pay out because the credit was as good as the original trip. Every time I went to the BrainShare conference in Salt Lake City, I had flown Delta (SLC is a hub for them). It was always a nice flight, and the people seemed efficient and friendly. I’ve met some really nice passengers on flights to and from Salt Lake City.

After cancelling the flight and getting the email that I would need to file against my flight cancellation insurance policy, and then AIG saying the credit from Delta nullified the insurance; I was pretty unhappy. Although really, I was more unhappy with the insurance company AIG than I was with Delta.

Now, Delta has done the right thing. I like Delta again. 🙂

And now AIG is off the hook. I would kind of like to see Delta redeem the cancellation insurance policy that AIG got paid for; but since I paid for it, I doubt that the insurance is transferable to Delta. and Red Roof Inn Dearborn Michigan did the right thing

I screwed up. I had put in my cancellation on my airline flight during my lunch break months ago, but was running late. I couldn’t find the email for the hotel. Turns out it was because it was with instead of my legacy booking site. And then life got distracting, and I forgot that I needed to deal with this.

The morning that I was supposed to check in, I got a reminder email. D’oh!

I called them up, and explained that I needed to cancel, and yes it was my fault. I fully understand that they deserve their cancellation fee. The agent also asked that I telephone Red Roof Inn, Dearborn, and let them know I wouldn’t make it. I did.

They refunded me in full. That was very gracious of them. I am thankful. Although I doubt that I will ever have a need to go to Detroit for the rest of my life, if I were to go, I absolutely would book again with and the Red Roof Inn, Dearborn.

The other thing the whole thing reminds me of, is that Search in Mozilla Thunderbird is really poor. I’m spoiled, of course, because in my work life, the email system I run has an excellent indexer + search. Rather than be a failure and cause these people the headache of having to refund (and waiving the cancellation fee), I would rather have found the right email and gotten the cancellation done in a timely manner.

(UPDATE: Delta eventually did the right thing)Airline travel insurance is a scam – we should never have bailed out AIG

Important follow up to this post.

I had bought a ticket to Detroit back in September, and I did buy travel insurance. The insurance company, AIG, played me for a sucker. That is a lesson learned.

The event I was going to attend was cancelled due to the pandemic. This is pretty much the definition of unforeseen event I had no power over; or in other words, the reason one buys insurance.

AIG however, is saying that Delta has offered me a credit to use in the near future, therefore I have not suffered a loss, so go kick rocks, stupid.

The event was cancelled, and it is only held once every five years. The next one won’t be in Detroit, either.

I have zero plans to fly anywhere in the next, well, ever. I mean, it could happen. The last time I flew, it was to attend a funeral. So maybe if someone in my circle of friends gets deathly ill, I’ll need to fly. But those are anti-plans.

The deceit AIG and Delta are implementing here is that a flight to anywhere is as valuable as a flight to a specific place at specific dates – which I am now denied the opportunity to, because of things beyond my control. I cannot wave a magic wand and recreate this event some time in the future.

I’m just out the money. Salt in the wound is that I stupidly paid an additional fee for insurance for the flight.

It was a mistake to bail out “too big to fail AIG”. I hope when it comes time to bail out Delta, we refuse that. And if AIG can suffer some amazing losses, that would make me smile too. Certainly I will try to never be a customer of either of them, ever, in the future.

April 2020 “May you live in interesting times”

Apocryphally there is an ancient Chinese curse that says “May you live in interesting times”. The idea is that it’s a curse (thus bad for you), and that the bad thing that is happening is that everything around you is uncertain, in turmoil, rapidly changing, and otherwise so off-balancing that one must pay close attention to avoid a fall into danger.

Well, April of 2020 is definitely interesting times. Reality is that much of commerce is shut down due to shelter-in-place orders by government. There is zero chance that many of people will be unhurt.

A few questions that surround the COVID-19 pandemic are:

  1. Is it a real danger, or exaggerated for particular gain?
  2. Is it both?
  3. If it’s exaggerated for particular gain, what are those gains?
  4. What evidence contradicts the real danger argument?

The first question, “Is it real?” Well, yes, 23,000+ dead in Italy seems like an obvious problem. Spain and France death totals are climbing, and New York City is up to 14,000+ dead. But is that more than the normal count of dead who expire during flu season? And here we have uncertain / in turmoil data.

Certainly, I don’t want my mom to die; and she is in her early 80’s. If the influenza virus, or the COVID-19 virus were to kill her, and I didn’t do all I could to reduce it’s spread, I would feel remorse.

But if the flu kills one half of a million people every year: is the 2020 death-by-influenza-like-virus count really going to be all that greater than the 2019 count? That count could be lower, actually; which would be due to the shut down of commerce.

But the second second part of the first question is perhaps re-written as “Is the declared pandemic due to COVID-19 exaggerated for particular gain?”

It’s not obvious to me that the the answer is no. I would like to be able to say that “The declared pandemic due to COVID-19 is not exaggerated by the media and government bureaucrats who use the media for manipulation.” I do not think that’s true, though.

The second question, “Is it both?” I’m inclined to say yes.

The third question, “If it’s exaggerated for particular gain, what are those gains?” Well wow, there are a lot.

  • Old school mass media is dying; good riddance. But the Oh-My-God-A-Pandemic!!! keeps the mass media on life support for a little bit longer.
  • There is a bureaucratic axiom: Never let a good crisis go to waste. Certainly this pandemic has given bureaucratic bullies ample opportunity to exert additional authority.
  • Social / technological progress: companies which would never before have considered a remote workforce are implementing it. And the air is cleaner for it.
  • A majority of old school mass media is still butt-hurt that Donald Trump got elected President. He’s going to win again, unless something can be created to discredit him. A ruined economy might do the trick.
  • Other topics that the mass media should be focusing on go by the wayside while the Oh-My-God-A-Pandemic!!! story stays top center. By the way, Jeffrey Epstein did not kill himself.
    • Joe Biden is running for President, which is an automatic loss unless the plan is to use him as a false front. If the plan is that Joe will die / be medically retired shortly after election, then the selection of Vice President becomes crucial. I’ve heard Kamala Harris floated as the candidate. I think it would be very difficult to find a candidate with worse “insider” attributes. She is a protege of Willie Brown, and Willie Brown’s picture ought to be in the dictionary next to the phrase Corrupt Politician. The point is: it’s to the Democratic National Committee’s benefit for people to not be looking at their candidate for VP too closely or for very long. The more time spent looking at their candidate, the more time to find something wrong. If they had a good candidate, we would have seen it by now.
    • Senators saw the pandemic coming, and profited: Richard Burr, Kelly Loeffler, Dianne Feinstein, and Jim Inhofe. These people should be prosecuted and jailed.
    • The EARN-IT Act, designed to break privacy of all Internet users.
    • The Hong Kong protests, as people there want independence from communist China, and Hong Kong is a bright jewel of capitalism. Just how much force should governments use against their citizens?
    • Brexit / no- Brexit – the saga of a government doing stupid things continues.
    • Equifax breach. Not only did they fuck up their data security, they made a profit off it. And government prosecuted no-one (really).
    • A local issue for me is the California High Speed Rail debacle; $77 billion of waste and no politician with the integrity to kill it. $2,000 per man, woman, and child in California (tax dollars) right into the shitter. Stop it!
  • The point of all the above sub-bullet points is that government at the grand scale is often incompetent or malevolent (perhaps accidentally, but not always), and if we weren’t looking at the pandemic, the media couldn’t help but look at government. But the mass media likes government; it holds their leash, and they provide content to wrap the ads around.
  • Government spending: every politician loves to be the hero, spending your money to rescue somebody from a problem. A pandemic is a wonderful excuse to spend money with little or no oversight. All these government workers working from home: you didn’t expect them to use their personal cell phones, did you? And from a legal discovery point of view: you don’t want personal and government business mixed on the same device. That wasn’t a concern when their contact phone number was the office phone number; but now we need call-back numbers and they sure as heck should not be the personal home phone number of the case worker. Other spending opportunities: schools with Chromebooks, Zoom teleconferencing, webcams, SAAS in The Cloud. All of these are excuses to buy stuff we could have done without (and kept expenses lower) but; now is a great excuse to spend, spend, spend. We’re stimulating the economy!
  • Congressional spending: the funding bills had all sorts of pork / unrelated administrative bullshit attached. Many of the ideas would never have flown, had they been reviewed on their own merits alone. Never let a good crisis go to waste.
  • Putting people in their place, by removing the government service of the public school system. Some of you did not appreciate what a little rat-asshole your little angel is, until the little angel was sent home to live with you for a couple months. You should fix your kid. Fixing your kid has always been your job; never the teacher’s. Long term, it would be best for your kid, too. Sending your kid home to you confronts the issue in a way your kid’s teacher (or even school district) never could.
  • Conditioning people to be even more dependent on government services. If you understand that every dollar the government spends comes out of your wallet, you’d rather they spend less. But if the government bails you out, you are the welfare recipient now. It will be that much more difficult for you to complain about excessive government spending when you were one of the recipients. Hypocrisy much? No – you have more integrity than that; unless (pandemix).
  • Unifying disaster: the pandemic. It’s no secret that there has been an increasing divide between people who earn their self-worth, and people who feel entitled. This divide became wider during the Donald Trump versus Hilary Clinton presidential campaign. The pandemic resets expectations. Trivial childishness is seen for what it is. What about the barber, shut down, who can no longer feed his family of four? That’s important.

The fourth question is “What evidence contradicts the real danger argument?”

I think another way of asking this is “If this danger is so real, what orders are examples of actual safety, and what orders are bullshit to make the bureaucrats feel powerful?” The orders are Shelter In Place also known as Stay Home and Keep Socially Distant.

I see the value in keeping everyone separate. If the transmission process is an infected person exhales, and a non-infected person inhales (which is the typical infection path for influenza-like viruses), then Shelter In Place / Stay Home and Keep Socially Distant makes a lot of sense. And in the first week, a ton of people did it.

We’re putting up with the destruction of commerce for the little guy because it’s all about keeping people from an early death. Right?

And then a week later, the ice cream shops were suddenly essential services and open for take-out. What the hell?

I’m still getting junk mail. A printer at the junk mail printer could be coughing all sorts of germs all over the crap that gets delivered to me. What is so essential about me getting sales crap to tell me to buy shit I don’t need, and which is obviously immediately going into the trash.

Are the politicians going to barbers / hair dressers? Is a barber / hair dresser suddenly an essential service when it’s a bureaucrat who needs a hair cut?

Let’s cut to the chase: is looking good an essential service?

Are politicians and/or bureaucrats to be excused from breaking Shelter In Place / Stay Home and Keep Socially Distant if they get that essential service of looking good? Because it’s all about keeping people looking good on TV, right?

Your grandparent or parent or cousin may have died, and you are prevented from going to the funeral because a large gathering of people might increase the pandemic; but Gavin Newsom needs to look good, right? He needs to be able to go onsite for the television appearance, because his speech means more, if the background is out in public, right? You have to Shelter In Place, but the governor, well he’s not a peon that ought to follow the peon rules.

Which makes me wonder about the validity of the rules at all.

Perhaps the rules are good, and good decent people are doing Shelter In Place. Maybe it’s only the politicians and bureaucrats holding press conferences who aren’t many weeks past that last haircut who are the hypocrites. But nothing about that causes me to gain respect for them. And if I don’t respect them, then I do question their motives.

May you live in interesting times, indeed.

COVID-19, new water heater, WordPress annoyances, Zoom meetings, oh my

Wow a lot of stuff has happened since my last post. I’m still catching up; but, I didn’t want to go too long without pointing out I’m still alive.

COVID-19: John Hopkins University has some computer science students who are doing data gathering and mapping that on to ArcGIS. The web page works as a status report of where we are today. Thanks to Ars Technica for the original article.

Today, Italy went over the 10,000 dead mark.

New Water Heater: I went two weeks without hot water. I am grateful this was before COVID-19, because I used my gym membership for my daily hot shower. In fact, a friend of mine, way back when, pointed out that if you ever go homeless, a gym membership is a way to stay human for around $20 per month.

And now the gyms are closed due to COVID-19. Well that hurts the homeless even more.

The whole water heater debacle deserves a post of it’s own, so I will do that, later.

WordPress Annoyances: there are things that don’t work, and, the WordPress Support Forums are a mass of dead and empty posts of people asking for help. Other forms of help don’t seem to be, either.

I want to migrate between sites, and from single-site to multisite, but man this stuff just does not work.

Zoom Meetings: Man oh man, I wish I had listened to my stock picking guys when they said Zoom was the new hotness in video conferencing over the Internet. Zoom stock price has nearly doubled since then. And now, even I use Zoom, and I know of three people who signed up to pay a monthly subscription. By the way, Discord is pretty cool, too.

Microsoft should be ashamed of themselves that they couldn’t leverage their leadership with Skype and Teams into being the industry leader. Of course Google had a shot way back when with Hangouts, too. Google though is just kind of a big failure to get anything done since merging with Doubleclick and abandoning the whole “Don’t be evil” motto.