We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Thursday, February 15. 2018
Try searching on the Internet for information about Thor. Good luck if you're not interested in comic book movies. The Internet is a million miles wide and 1/16" deep, and it's turtles all the way down. References to Thor, the actual Norse god of thunder, are an afterthought. The actual Thor, not the wisecracking Australian guy, seems like he was pretty important back in the day. When a day of the week is named after you, you matter.
I'm always fascinated to see who matters on the Internet, because I wandered the Earth before it existed. The Internet likes all kinds of people who seemed half a joke in their heyday to me. I think it's a totally ingrained fetish for pointless contrariness. It's a Howard Zinn world, and whatever you trot out, there must be a cranky alternative we can decide to like instead. That's why the Internet loves Tesla, a weird, mostly useless crank, and hates Edison. The daily Google Doodles are always nobodies that somebody has decided to exalt in place of people who accomplished a lot. I prefer the real deals. I have no interest in a movie about comic book Thor. The original article was interesting enough.
Speaking of original articles, How about Jack Kilby? Who's that you say? Oh, he's not Internet-famous enough to get welfare queens like Elon Musk to name their subsidized cars after him. He just more or less invented the integrated circuit by himself in 1958:
Almost all of the truly useful things in the world are invented by invented by guys like Kilby, not Tony Stark wannabes. They bring lunch to work in a paper bag, wear short sleeve shirts and clip-on ties with their J. C. Penney suits, and have ink stains on their shirt pockets. The Internet's not interested in them. Then again, the Internet isn't all that useful, so it's foolish to think a Facebook world would be interested in a real god, when a comic book god is available.
On to today's links:
The Gallivans don't sound like Internet people. The Free Sh*t Army wouldn't have asked for the packages to be stopped.
It's interesting that post-WWII Hungary didn't bother to collect taxes, because the money was devaluing so fast. They just printed some more and spent it. Stop me when I say something that sounds unfamiliar.
I'm a grown man, more or less. Like I said, I don't have heroes, or go to comic book movies looking for them. But Adam and Shivaun will do in a pinch if you put a gun to my head. Slaying dragons that desolate the landscape and sleep on mountains of gold still cuts some ice with me.
The Soviet Union used to announce they were lightening up every once in a while. Perestroika, tovarish! After a few months of letting you vent your spleen at the party meetings, they'd say, "Never mind," and anyone who opened their yap would be mining gold in Siberia with their bare hands for twenty years. Giving a recruiter access to your social media accounts is about the same idea.
I'm so old I remember when "scientists" warned us that living near power lines would give us cancer, but major roads giving us dementia is almost as good. Of course since next-to-no-one lives far away from power lines or major roads, your study can be bent, folded, or mutilated to suit any agenda.
Yeah, but at least your computer is finally doing something productive. I say leave it.
For $2,500 I'll promise to never work there in the first place.
Breakfast options and alcohol? That's a redundancy at my house.
I think there are still four or five days on the Millennial's calendar that aren't Halloween, but I wouldn't bet on it.
What's for dinner tonight, mom? Cling peaches in heavy syrup, creamed corn, and cranberry sauce with indentations from the can. You know, same as last night.
Well, that's it for today. Have a great Thor's Day! Look out for Saint Boniface, though.
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"The Free Sh*t Army wouldn't have asked for the packages to be stopped." Priceless! I've been looking for a handle that succinctly describes our modern grifter culture, and you've nailed it. I'm swiping the phrase.
Not sure whether Harvest Boxes are a good idea or not, but at least someone is looking at SNAP to see if it can be done more creatively and economically. Food banks seem to manage distribution just fine, and I don't hear any complaints about lack of variety in Meals on Wheels or the free meals at my local Senior Center. I don't place much credibility in the vaporings of some hipster writing for the New Yorker.
I'm not sure that the food box idea is practical for 50 million people. But I do think that the SNAP program may well be the most misused and corrupt system designed by man. Probably about half of the SNAP benefits are traded for things other than food. The standard rate is $.50 on the dollar so the "needy" recipient can buy cigarettes, drugs and booze. Have you been in these corner stores lately? When I was a kid they were run by an older couple and sold mostly food items and candy. Today they excel in selling booze and cigarettes and typically have large signs in the window proclaiming that food stamps are accepted. If food stamps were ended today tomorrow the illicite drug cartel would have to declare bankruptcy. 7-11 stores would have to sell bread and canned foods.
I can think of two easy to implement "fixes" to help end SNAP abuses: 1. require ID. I have seen people in front of me in the grocery store use two and three EBT cards to purchase items. 2. Limit the program to food items and in particular reasonable food items. All the stores already have computers that segregate what is SNAP items and what is not. Improve that system such that junk foods and chips and even non-food items aren't SNAP eligible.
Yeah, imagine the nerve of that TRUMP fellow, demanding that food assistance welfare be actually be used for....FOOD!...instead of booze, drugs, sweet or salty snacks and crappy magazines/tabloids!
Requiring ID for SNAP is not a solution IMO. It's already highly illegal to allow a SNAP person to trade for .50 on the dollar for restricted items. Why would an already shady store willing to engage in and enable fraud enforce a ID requirement? How hard would it be to crack down on Fraud, if only there was desire to do so.
The EBT card is ID. It is processed like a credit card and transactions are traceable to individuals. Anyone using the EBT card improperly is effectively already committing a ID crime. It is so common that something needs to be done to reduce this crime. Requiring ID is a simple and effective step to reduce this crime. Why not?
What a kick start to the morning ... I'm calling Amazon for my $2500 ... let you know how it goes. LOL
Sure, you go and try to tell the average internet denizen over at the Hive Mind that is Reddit that Elon Musk is just a grifter, and they're shaking chicken bones at you and reciting incantations in strange tongues.
Just dropping a note to say that I love the format and humor with which you present your posts.
High-minded articles from the New Yorker notwithstanding, there's no better moment to self-identify as a conservative than getting in the checkout line behind a SNAP client. It will amaze you, the things you are buying for them, quality as well as quantity.
My first such moments came when I was sacking groceries in the 70's, and loading them into the client's automobiles. Back then in the Northeastern U.S., Food Stamps where bound coupons that looked like monopoly money. Yes, there were many who used the program responsibly in times of need, stretching their food-stamp dollar with generic and healthy food choices. But there were many 'outliers' who had nicer clothes and nicer cars than my family did, and bought only the better items with their stamps, things we could only afford for special occasions. Shame!
I'm truly all for social safety nets but the business of providing food on the premise of ensuring proper nutrition should not offer all of the choices that paying customers have, and it should not be a long term option. The choices should be healthy foods only, no processed junk, and generic branding to maximize the benefits of the Taxpayer's dollar. Nutrition is one thing, treats are another - an incentive to get back on a paying basis, even! I think the state-run store should be considered as a business model, similar to the liquor stores in some states, because it would sharply reduce corruption and allow control over buying options.
One-in-six means you probably have already seen it. Pay attention to the people checking out ahead of you. Look carefully for that white card being swiped and the receipt being kept by the cashier - the transaction has been made invisible and painless by the system, and a little practice can make it almost invisible. You'll be surprised what you're buying these days. Premium meats, soft drinks, and junk food are well within the norm.
I recall three examples of what I would call food stamp abuse:
1. A young mother shows up at the corner store with her three tiny kids and buys 3 snacks (ding dongs) and a pack of cigarettes and pays for the snacks with her food stamps.
2. I saw another example a young couple with about $200 worth of steaks and nothing else. I finished in line behind them and was able to see them loading the booty into a new Lincoln.
3. I was behind a couple in a grocery store, they were clearly together and both appeared to be coming home from work. She had a few food items and payed for them with food stamps. He had a six pack of beer. It dawned on me then that if there were no food stamp program that this couple would have had to spend their beer money on food.
I also worked in a grocery store in the late '70s to early '80s. I recall vividly how people would come in with the monopoly money food stamps and buy a 2 cent piece of bubble gum with a dollar stamp, collect the 98 cents in change, then repeat the process until they had several dollars in change to buy cigarettes. It took every fiber of my being to keep a smile and a straight face and to treat them with some modicum of respect.
The key attributes in the Norse pantheon are Thor=strong, Loki=clever, but Odin=wise. Many of the legends surround applying these different attributes to solving problems.
Never heard of Valentines day haunted houses, however I offered to set up an 'Ides of March' tree, with little decorative knives on it. Or I have to finally take the xmas tree down.
The reason we like Nickola Tesla instead of Thomas Edison is the same as the reason we elected Trump. Edison has been forced on us much like the idea that Christopher Columbus 'discovered' America. We dont like being told that Edison was a genius. Edison was a bumbling tinkerer who had to design 5000 light bulbs before one worked. Teslas first fluorescent worked. Edison thought the world should be DC powered. Tesla knew that wont work. We dont like the name 'Christopher Columbus' being forced on us when his name was Cristobal Colon. How would you like it if we gave you a fictious name?
Interesting side rant, but ultimately wrong. Colón is the Spanish version of his name and his official name when he became a Spanish subject. Given that he was Genoan, his birth name was probably Genoese in origin but I have only heard the Italian version which is Colombo. The etymology of colombo is columbus in Latin and [a href="https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/columbus"]here[/a] you will find many of the descendant words in various Latin languages including colom in Catalan which sounds tantalizingly close to Colón.
We live in a world with things like "English", "German", "French" and "Italian", but Columbus lived in a world where in 20 miles, the next city over, people would speak a dialect of your home tongue that was almost but not completely incomprehensible and those people would call you by the name which was the best cognate in their language.
I was also surprised by Roger's dis of Tesla.
Tesla was far more meaningful than Edison. Edison made lots of useful crap that people use today, but he stumbled onto almost all of it, had an army of people supporting him (he didn't do most of the work, he was more a marketer), including (at one point) Tesla himself. Tesla felt he had an opportunity to learn or partner with Edison and was stunned at Edison's behavior. Edison was stuck on designs that were wasteful and didn't like how elegant Tesla's work was.
Without Tesla, we would've taken much longer to have radio and electricity - among other things.
Edison was a better businessman. Tesla was concerned with mankind. We still haven't tapped fully into Tesla's work - because so much was lost in a fire, or generally ignored by those providing him funding. But Tesla is, by far, more meaningful than Edison. I don't live far from Edison's house and laboratory in West Orange. Visited it several times. He was a better marketer than genius.
I would apply the same to Bill Gates...great marketer but windows products are impossible to secure from criminal and hacker enterprises.
The Gallivans don't sound like Internet people. The Free Sh*t Army wouldn't have asked for the packages to be stopped.
Nice work today Roger!
Best food program rip off I have ever seen was in San Francisco. While waiting for my bus I was on a corner across a street from a narrow San Francisco street. The food bank was on the corner with it's main door on the narrow side street. On the main street big gold colored Lincoln pulled up and a man about 45 or 50 got out of the car to help his passenger get out of the car. She was about 80+ and hobbled into the side street door. Ten minutes later she came out dragging her metal wire cart on wheels--you know-- the kind of carts you can fold up. That cart was so loaded with free food she couldn't hardly roll it toward the corner. When sonny boy saw her he jumped out of hi new Lincoln car and three the groceries, cart, and great grandma in and drove away. Of course, all of this was ok because they were Chinese living in San Francisco.
Alcohol would have gone a long way in containing the Chipolte version of Montezuma's Revenge. I used that method of food safety when in Mexico and other Latin America countries, always have alcohol with your meal. You don't need much, just a shot or a beer or two. Alcohol has a time honored place in food safety.
I used to work seasonally, so I have some experience with food programs. In the 60s and early 70s, it was commodities, complete with a cookbook to tell you how to use the food. American Indians still receive commodities, I believe. Then they went to the coupons. Some years, you received the change in script good only at that one store. They did not cover things like laundry soap and shampoo.
From what I've seen of the EBT program (and I haven't ever used that one), it's easy to abuse. I have friends that continued to receive benefits while in jail, which they were able to use when released. There are going to be ways to scam any system, but it seems like the current program is designed to help retailers. There is no reason to allow prepared foods on the program. These people have time to cook and they are on government assistance. Give them food and an incentive to get back to work.
Here is how you work the prepared food scam: You're a joint serving fried fish and chicken. You have a refrigerated case with some wings and a few fillets on ice. Your EBT (food stamp card) customer comes in and purchases a package of raw food; 20 wings and 8 fillets, plus potatoes and cabbage. It's the same price as what you or I will pay for it all, cooked. Then, the merchant adds on a $1 cooking fee. This is paid in cash. Ten minutes later the customer departs with his hot food.
I was an inspector for the program. I had to go in to corner stores and count how many potatoes they had. The stores had half a dozen sad-looking lemons and limes, a dozen potatoes, perhaps some onions, as they don't spoil quickly. That's how they meet the requirements for fresh food. No one buys these things, of course. They buy chips and candy and ice cream.
Seems to me, the incidence of living near major roads and the incidence of dementia (or any chronic ailment) is going to be pretty high for a single reason.
Costs. Usually houses near major roads sell for less. Usually people with chronic ailments have less money. You can't buy a great home because you're busy spending money on managing your ailment.
The same was true of the "cancer clusters" around high-tension wires. What was never discussed was the GREATER non-incidence of cancer around high-tension wires. 'Scientists' focused only on the areas where there was cancer, cast the data which worked against this concept aside, and VOILA - you have a CAUSE DU JOUR.
Then I heard a realtor talking about this. He pointed out that he sold lots of marginal homes to people with chronic ailments because they need to downgrade. He laughed at the cancer clusters, pointing out that you don't want to live near certain things, like high-tension wires, and that reduced the costs of these homes, making them accessible to those in need of housing. His closing line was "These wires are unlikely to cause cancer, but you still don't want to live there because they look like crap and nobody wants to buy homes like these. There's no upside."
I imagine the same is true on main roads. A big house went up on our main road last year. It's a busy street. The house sold for a fortune, but that fortune was a steep discount off of homes that were 1 and 2 blocks back.
Seems to me the same concept is in play here.
I once lived in a rental apartment near a freeway. Never again. Not so much the noise during the day, but the fact that when traffic starts picking up at 4:30 in the morning, it's gonna wake you up no matter what you do.
Top of the list on my ever buying another house or condo is it's gotta be away from traffic. We have some luxury condos now going up near main downtown streets and I just have to shake my head and wonder why people would spend more than a million dollars for a condo where you hear traffic all the time.
Chipotle could up their potential customer based by 10% if they removed the cilantro from their salsas and guacamole. I'll never ever eat there.
There is a claim that 10% of the population finds cilantro disgusting and inedible. I am one of that 10%. I love Mexican food, but only go to places I know that do not ruin their salsa and guac with cilantro...have that as an added item on your table, and people can toss it in at will.
But FORCE me to pick it out of my food, and I will never eat there again. I have had cilantro hidden in burritos and tacos.