Listening to Thick As A Brick and wondering if the orange sloth was predicted by it:

I’ve come down from the upper class to mend your rotten ways
My father was a man-of-power whom everyone obeyed
So come on all you criminals! I’ve got to put you straight
Just like I did with my old man twenty years too late
Your bread and water’s going cold
Your hair is too short and neat
I’ll judge you all and make damn sure that no-one judges me.

It has been in the nooz lately that the titans of tech are calling for Universal Basic Income. What the unholy fuck. It might be a thing well worth doing, and while I do wholeheartedly believe that the required solution may begin with that step, the argument the fat cats are making is essentially this: My buddies and I have hoarded so many trillions of dollars that the productive economy is incapable of generating wealth for us as it once did, so someone else should give all those people money in order that our wealth may continue to increase as before.

When my former career was in twilight I was advised that education and training could be the key to my salvation, and it was sound advice. So to the fat cats whose wealth is not increasing rapidly enough I offer the same advice. I am so committed to this that I will offer, free of charge, to any billionaire who wishes it, remedial on-the-job training in pitchfork reception. It only takes a minute but it solves the individual’s problem forever.

Independence Day

The local weekly paper is all about Independence Day this week. The whole front page above the fold is the US Constitution.

Amethyst suggests that there’d be no point writing a letter to the editor explaining that it’s not Constitution Day, but Independence Day, as in “Declaration Of”. That thing they wrote in 1776 with the word independence in its title. Not the thing they wrote in 1787 without the word independence in its title.

Geeze.

Maybe people are afraid of the Declaration of Independence because it says that when your government doesn’t serve the people’s interests it should be, even must be, discarded and replaced.

Just thinkin’ out loud

Though I’ve sworn off the real news media, I do like to read the local weekly paper to find out what the local loons are up to. It was reported this week that one of our county commissioners took a little trip out to the swamp to meet with orificials of the big house, the energy putzes, and so on. He said of his trip that it’s amazing what they’re doing out there, or very similar words, and that Donny Tiny Hands is fully committed to a project to ship energy from the United States off to Asia via Coos Bay, Oregon. He said something about how it’s good to now have a place to ship Rockies gas. Which, to my eye, reads as “because Asians will pay a lot more for it”.

That’s curious to me for a number of reasons, even if we disregard the biggest concern of the whole freaking planet for the time being. Dinkytown is a ranch town, mostly, but what made it able to grow enough to provide the services and amenities it does, though limited, was coal mining. There’s a coal mine up the road, and, as is often the case, a power plant within spitting distance of it. And not so far away, another coal mine and another power plant — and another ag town dependent upon coal. The folks around here get all kinds of fired up when environmentalists do screwy things like demand that the state require a coal mine to actually deliver the environmental impact statements its license requires it to deliver. But… when I was a field engineer a lot of my time was spent at power plants and I never did see one where they had battalions of greenies pedaling stationary bikes to produce electricity. I saw power plants that ran on natural gas, I saw them running on solar, and wind, I even saw one that ran on cow shit. Oil refineries like to do co-generation with whatever burnable stuff they have in abundance in order to save on their electric bills. None of those things are coal. Most of those things are cheaper than coal.

So a local politrickster with lots of coal miners among his constituents is happy to see a greater commitment to the energy source most responsible for the coal industry’s demise? As quick as someone suggests that the ancient old smoker ought to be brought up to modern standards two counties full of loons go ballistic and the plant operator explains that it’s too costly to upgrade so jobs. With all of the fracking going on around here that’s a dangerous position to take, and the commish is clearly on the gas side. Hmmm. I wonder if the folks who elected him understand this. I don’t think they do.

After reading that I got around to catching up on my video habit. I dig this Rick Wolff guy. He’s almost as far left as I am. He mentions coal versus gas in his latest (of this particular program):

When I say that he’s almost as left as I am, I hate to say that it’s true. I’m hugely fond of worker co-ops, always have been. Amethyst and I formed one not long ago, and I tried to start my business as one back in the mid-1990’s. The folks I trusted enough to invite into it all said they needed job security. We can all see today how that worked out for them. The thing is, we live today in a world which provides an enormous excess of potential human labor. We are in a labor glut that is not going to go away unless the human population for some reason collapses.

 

Which means that we can no longer afford to predicate access to the necessaries of life upon productive labor. Absent a catastrophe, there are more workers than jobs forevermore and the inexorable trend is going to accelerate so ever fewer workers are required to supply the demands of humanity. We can accept this or not, but it’s reality: Right now, China has more idle workers than America has workers total, employed and not, and China has a whole lot more where those came from. But even with the whole world as its market, those workers are unnecessary. Many of the latest factories there are fully automated. The workers, permanently redundant. Just like you and me, friends and neighbors. We are all now permanently redundant, though some of us are still, luckily, employed, or may one day again become so.

So, ya know, that’s the kind of shit I think about. And why I say I’m a mite left, or perhaps a tad further ahead in my thinking, than pretty much anyone I respect and admire among the left’s leading thinkers. Wherever it came from, whatever gods gave it to us, our morality has got to change from your work is your worth to something more consistent with reality. The world has no need of all the workers it has, not to mention the potential workers available to it. We have to contend with that, sooner or later.

Until we do, I think we’re going to see far too many people being happy about burning down the world to generate local tax revenues. Which is remarkable because we used to be able to do all that county kind of stuff that people expect a rural county to do, without fracking. Something must’ve changed, I suppose.

Janet Yellen has so far not denied saying that she doesn’t believe there will be another crisis in our lifetimes. Perhaps Alan Greenspan has got a sex change and snuck back into his old job? It looks like a crisis to me already.

WTF?

So… money’s a bit tight, so naturally one of the hard disks of the array inside my workstation went toes up last week. Good thing it’s an array, huh? No data loss. So, Sunday there’s a new version of Debian GNU/Linux released, and I like to keep my stuff current, so I take the leap from version 8.8 to 9.0. Oh joy, my most important database server will not install and I’ve got work to do on Monday that requires it… so I worked around it by catching lucky when the package from the database server vendor worked.

More no joy: My favorite programming language is maintained now by people who do not share the original folks’ commitment to backward compatibility. A whole bunch of code I’ve written in the past seven years or so will suddenly stop working when clients upgrade their systems and get a newer version of the programming language. A whole bunch of code I have written over the years for the purpose of reusing it over and over again on different projects for different clients into the foreseeable future has been made worthless. A whole bunch of open source code that other people have written, and upon which countless rely, has been made worthless. Upgrade your system, break your software. Don’t upgrade your system, the bad guys crack into it.

I can keep my existing clients’ code running into the future by installing an older version of the language and using it instead of the system-installed version, but that’s an egregious fucking hack. It’s fine for a development workstation to have a handful of versions of something like that on hand, but for production use it’s not only ugly, it’s a security risk. That old version of the language isn’t going to get security updates. I don’t know that those existing projects are going to be seeing any upgrades any more… so there goes a big hunk of my business.

The greater problem is that all of that code that I’ve written and been reusing to develop new projects is now of no value for new projects. If someone calls me tomorrow and says “Hey, I need a new thing like that old thing but…”, I have to say, “Well, I can do that within a month if you don’t mind running a second, older copy of this programming language, or hopefully by early next year if you want it written in a language that has an actual standards committee behind it to ensure you don’t get fucked by it in the future”. If that person is a potential new client, I’ve lost the project right there. Nope, gonna find a guy who can do it this year without an egregious fucking hack.

By about five o’clock Monday morning, I was ready for Monday. Kind of. The thought of career dissipation wasn’t sitting well.

Not long after I went to bed, we experienced a power failure. At some point in the event, there was a big nasty spike fired down the wire. My network backup server went down hard. The data’s lost. The second disk in my workstation’s array, the only disk remaining, is now spitting out error messages about impending failure. Fucking wonderful.

So Tuesday came, and I found some time in between juggling to do some work, but I knocked off early because I was stressed out and in need of some zoned out time to make Wednesday better. Couldn’t relax. The birds sang me to sleep eventually.

Wednesday. Finally! I don’t have and can’t order replacement disk drives yet, but dammit I’m still here. After dealing with some (way too many) overhead kinds of things I settled in… and Amethyst came to tell me that the kitchen sink is completely stopped. Okay… well, not okay. Not okay at all. Not equipped for more frustration. At all.

I pumped the water out of the sink, opened up the stinky guts beneath, and jammed our old friend The Schlonkey in there. The thing’s real name is “drain bladder”…

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Thus, The Schlonkey. And, being a two birds kinda guy, I run it on the end of a hose connected to the water heater drain valve so it’s straight hot water that blows the scrunge out of the drain pipe. Water heaters last longer when you flush them once in a while, especially these days when they’re shit brand new. Except the scrunge didn’t budge. Instead, the hot water flowed out of the vent line on the roof. A-fucking-gain. The drain was flowing fine and fast yesterday… tonight I got to wear it. Twice. Full hot. Soaked in it.

Tomorrow I have to go up on the roof to snake the drain through the vent line, A-fucking-gain. I just did that in… what? February? And dumped about a gallon of acid down the fucker, too, just to make sure that I’d not have to do it again. So there’s a chunk of Thursday gone. And money’s tight… we’ve taken way too many shocks in rapid succession for far too long. I cannot afford to throw weeks away like this.

So, the title.

Long Time, No?

Greetings, salutations, and a hearty shit howdy, friends and neighbors!

In the event you were subjected to my last, now deleted post, rest assured that the matter is completely resolved and has been since just before I deleted the thing. It seems that in order to bounce one must first hit bottom. So it goes. Ain’t no sense getting married if you aren’t going to stand by your mate while she suffers a painful period of personal growth.

I’ve been looking at the headlines every now and then… I won’t do myself the violence of reading the articles beneath. The only rational conclusion, upon piling up the day’s headlines and considering the pile as a whole, is that our hand basket ride will end at the predictable destination. It hardly seems worthy of comment, there being only so many ways to elaborate the obvious and all of them having been driven into the ground already.

We heard from our eldest the other day, for the first time in two years. I believe she was telling the truth when she said it was a misdial, so don’t expect to hear from her again any time soon. Which is perfectly okay.

I’m giving up the tobacco… was supposed to be cold turkey today and almost was, but my brain was stuck idling in neutral so I smoked a cigarette hoping to unstick the mental processes. I feel like I inhaled poison and didn’t even get the mental bump I sought… guess it’s time to switch to marijuana, eh? 😀

The pot shop I frequent lowered their prices for some reason I neglected to ask about. A half-ounce of Durban Poison for $140 ain’t a bad deal compared to black market prices, I don’t suppose, but given that it’s only marginally more costly to produce cannabis than hydroponic tomatoes and we just scored hydro tomatoes for less than a buck a pound I’m pleased but not joyful about the discounted weed.

awesome_office_2

Miss Awesome was on a prescription diet due to making diamonds in her pee… the diagnosis came within a week of getting her spayed so we didn’t associate the weight gain and lethargy with the expensive food. A while back she started puking the stuff up and then just refused to eat it… I’ve decided that I’m going to trust her to know more about being a cat than the vet does. Canned Friskies with additional water has proven so far, after more than half a year, to be sufficient to prevent the crystals, bring her weight back down to a healthy normal, and return her former energy and playfulness, too. It surely does look like she knows more about being a cat than the vet does.

Starr, AKA Snoogins, Snert, Snooginator, or Waggletail Chihuahua-monster, has epilepsy… not gonna trust the vet with that, either, and will instead start adding CBD oil to her food. It’s cheaper, far more effective, and less wicked than pharmaceutical poisons anyway.

Just because I find it hilarious:

I’m calling it one hundred percent win for Presidente Fox, the only person on the planet actually saying it all correctly. And we just ate fucken tacos, genuine, authentic, no shit learned to make ’em while living in the barrio, proper tacos. Topped with Ranchero cheese, cilantro and onions, minced jalapeño, and (for me) Tapatío salsa picante and a drizzle of lime juice. And fuck anyone who believes my making tacos is cultural appropriation; it’s just eating.

Uh-oh. There is unburned marijuana here. Duty calls.

I’m just about to spend a few hours determining how best to eliminate my awareness of the internet to the barest minimum required for the conduct of my business, and presently believe that I’ll be terminating my various antisocial media accounts to accomplish that end. Please know that I personally value those of you who’ve engaged with me and my insane scribblings over the years, and wish for you the very best that life has to offer. If I leave this here Voidpress thing, I’ll dearly miss you all.

Be well, friends and neighbors, and remember to duck.