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kleinbl00  ·  14 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: What happened when Walmart left

I've noticed a peculiar thing happening to my psyche. Whenever I hear the words "intersectionality" "privilege" or "coal miner" I find myself losing all sympathy and empathy. My hackles are raised, my interest in debate plummets and I go full "plague on both your houses" mode.

I have a couple friends in West Virginia and I don't give a fuck about West Virginia. As a country, we were talking about doomed fucking coal jobs in the '80s. And when your two choices of employment are the Walmart and the prison, your local economy is end stage already.

And can we level for a minute? Those of us who grew up in the Mountain West were surrounded by ghost towns left skeletonized by an end of mining, agriculture, ranching, you fucking name it. Everybody moved the fuck on. And while I appreciate that the mortgage is an excellent instrument for trapping workers in place for better predation by corporations, fuckin' take the hit and leave.

I spent a lot of time driving through rural Arizona back in the late '90s. I spent a little time driving through rural Arizona in 2010. Know what I saw? New ghost towns. Places where it made sense to live when Clinton was president but totally didn't when Obama was. Empty houses, empty stores. Fuckin' sunrise, sunset. Know what we call the people who left squalor and risked everything to find new opportunity? YOUR ANCESTORS. Know what we call the people who stayed? We don't. They've been forgotten by time.

    Given her mother’s health issues, Nicole Banks tries to compensate for Walmart’s departure by seeking out fresh fruit and vegetables in the surrounding area. But it’s not easy. The nearest replacement store, Goodsons, is too expensive, she says, and other Walmarts are an hour’s drive away along Appalachian roads that are as tightly coiled as the copperhead snakes that live in the local forest.

I mean, eat a dick. I grew up an hour from a fucking Taco Bell. Walmart? The first Walmart I ever saw was a two and a half hour drive away and even at the tender age of 11 I could tell it was a blight upon the community.

    It was into this stunning setting that Walmart descended in 2005 on the site of an old Kmart, like the spacecraft of alien botanists that lands in the forest at the start of the movie ET. And there it sat: a massive gash of concrete encircled by nature’s abundance.

Talk about burying the lede. So a store with higher profit margins crashed, so Walmart came in with lower profit margins, until even they were just losing money. But somehow this is about Walmart leaving rather than fuckin' McDowell County returning to the primordial "largest mixed mesophyte forest in the world" as is good and just and righteous and proper. Know how many people live on South Georgia Island? Two. Know how many lived there when whale hunting was legal? Hundreds.

    Wanda Church has been unemployed since that day when she cried as Walmart’s doors were closed for the last time; the company offered her a night shift at the next store along, but she couldn’t stomach the hour’s drive either way and wasn’t prepared to leave her home.

That howling sound you hear is every urban commuter reading this article and screaming at the top of their lungs that their commute is over an hour and that's just the way it is princess.

    The company had worked with all the employees who had lost their jobs to find them suitable transfers or give them severance pay. “We look forward to continuing to serve our Kimball area customers when they visit our stores in Bluefield, Princeton and MacArthur,” she said, (without referencing the hour’s drive.)

There are THREE fucking Walmarts within an hour. Workers at any supermarket chain you care to mention are quite used to suddenly having a shift an hour away. This happens in major metropolises and yes, I can say with authority that Walmart does it, too.

This is literally liberal disaster porn talking about those poor fuckers in coal mining country who no longer have a Walmart across the street but can drive 40 minutes to get to one. They're fuckin' 40 minutes from the goddamn interstate; time was going to forget them sooner or later and sincerely - from those of us "scots irish" who grew up in the goddamn desert, welcome to thunderdome, bitch.

Articles like this? They make me want the opioid crisis to accelerate, Obamacare to crash and global warming to destroy the economy of appalachia even faster. If the only thing that kept you hanging on was the talons of Bentonville Fucking Arkansas, you were ready to shuffle off the coil a long fucking time ago.

Get busy livin' or get busy dyin' and either way, know that I'm all the fuck out of sympathy.

    Being a schoolteacher, Phillips has a theory for what happened when the store closed. “Socialization. We lost our socialization factor. Now it’s hard to keep track of people, there’s no other place like it where you can stand and chat.”

    There was something else Phillips lost with Walmart’s departure. To illustrate the point, he reaches into his red pick-up truck and pulls out a loaded Para Ordnance Warthog .45 handgun and waves it at us, telling us not to freak as the safety is on.

    “Bought this in the Walmart parking lot,” he says. “Guy sees me reading a gun magazine and asks me was I carrying. He offered to sell me the Para warthog and I got it for $775.” Phillips took his new possession home and added to his collection of 140 firearms.

no words

kleinbl00  ·  53 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Homelessness up 26% in LA YoY, 10% in Seattle , *61%* among LA youthx 2

"These people" are "us people" under poorer circumstances. There's a real tendency for people to think that poverty reflects a moral or intellectual failing but it's a shamefully dismissive way to view the problem.

kleinbl00  ·  87 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Buying Silicon Valley's Horseshit

    “The thing I hate the most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists.. Modern art is a disaster area. Never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.”

- Banksy, AdBusters interview backintheday

The issue is not that these choices are available, the issue is that these choices crowd out the sensible ones. There's a lot of fallacious product design in toothbrushes. At the same time, it makes sense to apply what we know about dental hygiene to what we know about human habit to what we know about materials science to what we know about merchandising because even an expensive toothbrush is what? $4? $5? That's before you get into the land of Sonicare and its ilk and there are justifications to that, too. I have a $140 toothbrush. It was recommended to me by my dentist over my $100 toothbrush because apparently I was brushing hard enough to require some repair at the gumline to the tune of $900 billed to my insurance. The difference? The new one tweedles at me when I brush too hard. First world problems? You betcha. Asymptotic improvement? Mos def. BUT it is innovation in pursuit of improvement.

Dollar shave club, on the other hand, doesn't help you shave better. What it does is provide you access to bottom-of-the-barrel no-name Chinese blades at substantial markup to you. Yeah - a bag of Bic safety razors is like $3 for 24 or whatever so obviously you don't have to purchase that, either, but Unilever spent a billion dollars buying Dollar Shave Club instead of, I dunno, making better razors.

Lather, rinse, repeat. You rightly state that you are not directly impacted by any of these deeply silly Silicon Valley choices but you are indirectly affected. As you state, you're a fan of Blue Apron - what if Silicon Valley spent $120m on improving the efficiency of produce delivery to wherever you are instead of $120m on ways to sell chopped fruits and vegetables for $10/lb?

Henry Petroski has argued many times that necessity isn't the mother of invention, luxury is - we do not invent a fork because we cannot eat without one, we invent a fork because it's easier to eat with one. The inventor/manufacturer profits off of the increase of ease he provides us, and we pay him gladly. The argument put forth in the article (not as clearly as it could be, no doubt) is that the Silicon Valley business cycle is not focused on efficiency, it's focused on inefficiency and predation. And while this is not universally true, the argument for "disruption" is not "make the world a better place" it's "break laws and make money until they legislate you out of existence."

I have thousands of hours of music on hard drives. I used to have hundreds of CDs. My access to music went up an order of magnitude with the advent of Napster... but I can't really say that MP3s improved the state of music. It used to be that technological innovation was largely in pursuit of quality-of-life improvement and that argument could easily be made about Napster et.al. However, the inefficiencies of the music market also provided a living for most of the people involved in its generation.

And that's another issue - companies like RentBerry and Fiverr are, at base, eliminating inefficiencies. However, in a marketplace that's even a little unfair or uncompetitive, "inefficiencies" are often the profit of the disadvantaged. On a perfectly level playing field, assembly line workers in Detroit should have no problems competing with assembly line workers in Guadalajara.

But.

    This article is annoying because it stands on the premise that someone offering a choice to you is the same as you being forced to participate, and that a choice you don't agree with is somehow this nefarious plot to screw your life up. Fiverr doesn't exist to destroy the middle class dream. It connects freelancers with people who hire them.

Hi. Freelancer. Years of experience. Union member, skilled laborer. And where I work, the middle has dropped out. I'm one of the youngest people in my industry that I know of and my 20-year reunion was a while ago. See, used to be you started out as a gopher PA and then you became a set PA and then you picked up a skill and then you started making a little money and your network grew and you started making more money and eventually you had a wife and two kids and a house in the Valley. But now there's a sea of film school grads who can work for free because mommy and daddy understand that you have to do that for a while in order to get experience so they'll pay Janie's $1900/mo rent for a studio in Panorama City while she struggles for free until eventually it becomes clear that as soon as she starts to ask for money there's ten more Janies eager to take her place so eventually she's going to go back to live with her parents in Dayton and take orders at Applebee's while meanwhile, the guys that are actually hiring new kids who don't know what they're doing are generally doing it with their parents' money, too, and they're going to fail out within however long it takes for their folx to get sick of paying for their hobbies and in the meantime, we're all getting older and we're all hanging on to the gigs we have and the kids? The kids are not coming up because the opportunities that are available to them are a mirage.

Make no mistake. I'm the other side of that divide. Comfortably. But the gig economy, in my industry at least, is a fucking meat grinder for those without protections. Multiply times everything.

kleinbl00  ·  90 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The French Election Is Way Too Close To Call

So a "fixed payment annuity" is effectively an agreement between you and whoever manages the annuity. The agreement says that if you make payments over the allotted time, when the annuity reaches maturity, the manager will pay you back. What's typical (what my pension looks like) is you work for a certain amount of time to be vested, then you contribute the requisite number of hours or days or years of employment, then when you've reached that number (and usually a prequalifying age), the annuity manager lets you flip the switch from "putting in" to "taking out" which you typically do until you die.

My grandfather was a regional president of the AFL. He was a tool and die machinist, and then he was a union foreman. His pension kicked in at 65 and provided him with something like 75% of his salary until he died, and then it was supposed to provide his wife with 50% of his salary until she died. I think his other choice was 100% until he died, and then 25% to his wife until she died. That pension was written in the '40s, kicked in in the late '60s, and paid him until the early '90s.

It's not atypical for the money that you get out of a pension will be more than the money you put into a pension. This shortfall is covered by the fact that the pension manager has your money now to pay you later so they can invest it, earn interest, make stock splits, etc etc etc. In other words, they're taking on the risk but also capturing any gains above and beyond what's necessary to pay out the pensions of the accounts under management.

Now take me - I've been in my union since 2008. I got enough union work to start earning healthcare and start vesting in 2013. At the end of this year, I'll be eligible to actually get money out of my pension when I retire - but I'm a six figure guy and as it sits, I think my pension payout when I reach retirement age will be like $137 a month. Now - if I keep mixing high-budget full-pop network shows under my union contract for the next seventeen years, my payout will reach.... drumroll please... $837 a month.

Now granted: That's nice money. But I earn more than that in a day every time I work on a holiday and once I retire, i won't be. And a lot of the reason is that the pension managers can't guarantee they'll make killer gains to cover the shortfall.

A lot of the reason is medical plans. See, retirement and medical benefits are often mixed together and when the 'boomers were getting their rippin' pension and health plans set up in the late '60s/ early '70s...

...they weren't expecting to spend a factor of ten what they were currently spending.

I've got great health insurance. It's good enough that I leave my family for three months a year to keep it. And COBRA on it is like $1800 a month. That's for three young, healthy people. Now - I got a buddy whose wife is currently dealing with early-onset Alzheimer's. I have another friend who has been dealing with skin cancer. And I have another friend who regularly tears himself up falling off of horses. And the medical plan pays out for all that.

Combine that with the fact that it's gotten harder and harder to make the kind of gains that pension plans are used to.

twenty fucking percent. And since like 2011 the interbank rate in the US has been close enough to zero that it might as well be nothing. The rest of the world? Something like 2/3rds of the world's currency was under negative interest rates for the past three years. And if your pension plan was set up on the assumption that it could make an easy 10% a year because it always had forever and ever amen, you have a massive pension shortfall.

So that's pensions. You put a set amount of money in, you eventually take a set amount of money out, and the pension manager covers the shortfall by profiting off your contributions. Great to be a pension manager if that's easy, shitty to be a pension manager if it's hard, used to be easy, is now hard. Pension shortfalls 101.

401(k)s? Those are just bank accounts. They're bank accounts with special tax status but they're just bank accounts. You put money in, your employer matches it, and you play the ponies. You get to see every month (or every second, depending on how interested you are) just how your 401(k) is doing and you get to rebalance it, reallocate it, contribute to it, draw it down, use it as collateral, tap into it under penalty, all that fun shit entirely on your own. If you don't have enough money in your 401(k) when it's time to retire, that shit's all on you - you should have saved more. You should have invested more wisely. Your employer has fuckall to do with it - it's their pension fund but it's your 401(k).

If your pension is with CalPERS, you're fucked because they ran out of money. If your 401(k) was with Enron, you were fucked because you folded your retirement plan into a house of cards.. If you were a public worker, you had no choice other than what CalPERS invested in. If you worked for Enron you had all the choice in the world - but it seemed like the smart thing was to invest in your employer.

Ironically enough, Steve Bannon blames the latter for his worldview.

kleinbl00  ·  92 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: The Blueprint for Coffee in a Changing Climate

Okay. Look. I get it. Save the earth one cup at a time. Do right by your supply chain. Get the girl, kill the baddies and save the entire planet. And hooray for having your heart in the right place and sure - this is not a large trade organization and it doesn't have a lot of power so at least they're taking on what they can take on.

But this whole paper is an excuse for inaction. Cliff's notes on Action Item 3, "Measure and Reduce your Carbon Footprint:"

- Farmer Brothers (1800 employees, $240m sales)

- Determined that 85% of their carbon emissions come from roasting coffee

- Determined that 14% of their carbon emissions come from driving coffee

- Determined that 1% of their carbon emissions come from being in business

- So they got their engines certified clean idle

- And bought some carbon certificates

- To advance their goal of reducing their carbon emissions by 80% forty fucking years in the future

How many carbon credits did they buy? So few it didn't even make their self-fellating annual report. And - and here's my beef -

it wouldn't do fuckall about the future of coffee anyway.

Your argument - more money in cows than in coffee. To acknowledge that briefly, ranching is generally done on public lands while farming is done on private but we'll ignore that. One cow takes about 1.3 acres per year and one cow is good for about 500lbs of trimmed beef (and byproducts). Argentinian beef trades wholesale for $330/kt (or so) or $330/2200lb or 15 cents a pound so your 1.3 acres is earning you 75 bucks or, wholesale, you're making $57 per acre.

How 'bout coffee?

I know a shit-ton less about coffee than you do. All I have available to me is public information. When I google "coffee yield per acre" I get an article that tells me traditional methods yield as little as 450lbs an acre while intensive farming can push that up to 3,000 lbs. So right there, I know that if a specialty coffee association member wants to make a difference, he needs to find a modern farm that isn't fucking around because apparently the agricultural multiplier is a factor of seven. But how much are we getting for a pound of coffee?

Good thing your buddies at the SCAA are available to tell me. Looks like $1.75/lb. So even fucking around with shade-grown don't-care cherries-roasting-in-the-sun agriculture, a coffee plantation makes about a factor of ten over beef. But, of course, the capital expenditures to plant an acre of coffee and raise it to harvest are intense and no doubt reflected in that.

So I come back to this point - the links in the paper you shared all indicate that a coffee plantation is good for 30-50 years. They also indicate that 50 years from now, coffee will be coming from very different places. And digging into it a little more, it becomes obvious that an enterprising coffee roaster that actually wanted to make a difference (as opposed to sit around the tradegroup campfire singing koom bay yah) might get involved with some agricultural NGOs attempting to get ahead of the production curve on a crop that has a heavy sunk cost, an admirable response to intensive agriculture and the demand curve of a luxury item.

THEIR REPORT SHOULD BE BETTER THAN THIS.

Because see, if southern Mexico is currently the world's 8th largest arabica producer, I'ma guess that in 50 years south-central Mexico is gonna be the world's 8th largest arabica producer and if white-boy me can have some influence now that pushes things closer to the 3,000lb/acre number than the 450lb/acre number, FUCKIN'A PUT THAT SHIT IN WRITING.

    OVER THE NEXT 25 TO 30 YEARS, SALES OF TIMBER HARVESTED SUSTAINABLY ARE ESTIMATED TO GENERATE APPROXIMATELY U.S. $1,264,820 IN SUPPLEMENTAL INCOME TO THE PARTICIPATING COFFEE FARMERS

At the most, that's the equivalent of 50 acres of coffee. That's a legit "who gives a fuck" statistic. But your trade group gave it a quarter of a page.

I drink coffee. I like it. I want to keep doing it. And for fuck's sake, if your industry is worrying about 50% of the available land going away in the next 50 years, fuckin' do something about it.

    IMPORTERS AND EXPORTERS.

    Minimize travelling and transport distances. Choose airlines with green travel credentials and choose economy class.

If you're worried about the carbon imprint of your ass in business class, you're worrying about the wrong damn thing. I mean - sure. Maybe you feel better riding in economy class because your tradegroup told you to. But I'd rather know that you're taking steps to not burn more of the Amazon.

And this paper says fuckall about the Amazon.

kleinbl00  ·  110 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 5, 2017x 2

We had our first birth in the birth center last night. Success. And we get to bill for nitrous. That means the infernal machine needs to be used only nineteen more times to pay for itself. My daughter, on the other hand, called for attention every time I was about to fall asleep for the first two hours and then woke up from a screaming, bawling nightmare. My wife is asleep in the other room which prevents me from finishing the background pass on the not-very-good movie, unless I put on headphones, which I hate doing when I'm doing surround work.

Our burn rate is a few thousand dollars higher per month than we anticipated, due entirely to construction delays. This means it will be longer before the center is profitable. Nonetheless, confidence is high. My wife pointed out last night that it was effectively equivalent to me putting her through college all over again. This morning I'm mulling over the fact that aside from a brief, glorious nine months between relationships in 2002, and a semi-refreshing, maybe-we'll-make-it period of about a year before we had our daughter, I have given over the overwhelming majority of my earnings to the care of others for more than 20 years now.

I'm partly bitter about that and partly contemplative. A friend of mine was in Variety on Friday because he's got a show set up with Granada and Netflix. He, of course, came to LA about a year after I did. Then his wife (whose family is not just wealthy, they're royal) supported him while he did free work for two solid years, had two kids, went through treatment twice and lived i a $4k/mo apartment while we were grinding dried placentas to make ends meet. They don't tell you that: if you're trying to break in while earning a living, you're breaking in against dilettantes with zero cost-of-failure and infinite hang-time. Then Sunday I discovered that another below-the-line friend had died of a heart attack at 36.

It's all about anchoring, I guess. I've got a tree surgeon coming over to tell me what it's going to cost to make sure the three massive firs in the back don't fall on the house. I'm hoping I can afford it. At the same time I was talking to the neighbor Sunday; her roof is leaking because she got a deal from another neighbor's then-boyfriend but he's a junkie now so whatever warranty there was, yeah notsomuch anymore. Meanwhile they're building out, not up, because it's cheaper, because there's seven of them in there, six adults, and they've got one bathroom and fewer square feet than we do, and one of them is in a wheelchair. But she's on 100% disability, her daughter is on 100% disability, her son works two jobs, both of which are custodial, her one grandson got thrown out of his mom's house for fighting and her other grandson -

He was howling Sunday. Not sure why. It was dark, there was lots of shouting. We're debating calling CPS. He hangs out with me but he's rough. He's eight and enjoys the company of my 4-year-old daughter who is brighter than him by far. He's on the spectrum among other things and he breaks stuff. We let him play with our daughter out doors but he's not allowed in our house unless one of his family members are there. And we're crowded with three people and all our shit in this house but fuckin'A we can still park a car in the garage. They've got seven people in there and I don't even know who the seventh is.

They're building out. They're getting a loan. The contractor is a friend of a friend which worked out oh-so-well last time, right? There's seven of them, two fixed incomes and maybe three jobs between them, none of which make much money. I mean, they've got a blue tarp keeping the rain off half the house (not the roof leak; apparently that's just sort of happening without any remediation).

Anchoring. I don't have a blue tarp keeping the rain out of the family room, my toilet-to-person ratio is 1.5, and we have retirement savings as if we were 20 years older than we are now. And I'm not in Variety but I'm not in the ground, either. And as formidable as our burn rate is, we fuckin' made it this month.

This month, anyway.

kleinbl00  ·  117 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 29, 2017x 2

Birth center is donezo.

I mean, there's a couple little things. Gotta put up some blinds. Need to replace a doorknob. One counter still needs a backsplash. But we spent $1500 on catering for 50 people at the open house Saturday and after three hours we had eight rolls of mortadella, a couple polenta cakes and about a melon's worth of honeydew.

Also got my call for work this summer, so our financial future is secure while we wait for, oh, $1500 worth of catering to come back to us as goodwill and consumer interest.

Also pulled off the taxes such that we won't starve prior to work starting again, was able to pay my daughter's tuition in full, was able to pay the accountants and was able to set money aside for retirement for me and the wifey for the first time since 2005 so that's nice. I also managed, through sheer blind luck and mk's tutelage, to leverage bitcoin and Ethereum such that... well, I'm pleased with the current price and guardedly optimistic as to its trajectory. We should be starving to death right now and we're not. We might be sitting on a half million dollars' worth of leverage but apparently that's between a third and a quarter of where we'd be with a dental clinic. I might be driving a '95 Dodge, my daughter's room might be directly across the hall from mine and I might not be sure if we can afford storm windows this spring but fuckin'A I have a reasonable expectation that whatever windows we've got, I'll still own their frames next year.

My insurance is good enough that I have a nutritionist and a physical therapist, and my daughter is going to have a shitty week because she's got shots tomorrow and the dentist friday. I also have a yoga instructor. Mine is a pampered fucking lifestyle. If my biggest complaint is that I'm now eating sixteen servings of fresh vegetables a day I'm neck deep in white people problems.

I dunno. You're supposed to be thankful in November. That's always seemed weird to me because that's right about the time you're going into ridiculous debt buying shit people don't need and busily accomplishing fuckall until January. For me, it's always been getting through February.

We're cooking the second 3lb chunk of corned beef for my father-in-law's birthday tomorrow. That means i will make Irish Tacos for the second time in as many weeks because they're fucking delicious.

kleinbl00  ·  134 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Why I think the tech interview process is broken – Medium

Speaking as a twice-optioned screenwriter with an engineering degree, the divide is this:

The mathematically inclined - STEM-heads - know what something is. They function on the quantifiable and defendable. Their sphere of comfort is one in which data and facts and evidence hold the greatest sway.

The romantically inclined - liberal arts majors - know what something should be. They function on the desirable and intuitable. Their sphere of comfort is one in which concensus and persuasion allow us to achieve great things.

An engineer understands that the engines canna take much more of this, captain. The speed of light in a vacuum is an absolute. You can't fit ten pounds of shit in a five pound bag. And they also know that all the hope in the world won't change that.

A poet understands that dammit, Scotty, we're counting on you. Laws are meant to be broken. You can be all that and a bag of chips. And they know that the bumblebee flies anyway.

We cannot function as a society without both aspects. We cannot function as humans without both aspects. HOWEVER

- Human Resources departments are never crewed by engineers.

- Boardrooms have few engineers in them.

- Lawyers are rarely engineers.

The tribe is led by liberal arts twits. They'd lead us all into the wasteland without people who understand double-blind testing but they'd still lead us there because your average stem-head generally believes that people should follow the evidence, not the leader.

But we don't.

It's an unfair stereotype to say that sciences majors are incapable of relating to liberal arts majors. However, it's an accurate stereotype to say that sciences majors do not relate to liberal arts majors as well as liberal arts majors relate to themselves, and it's fair to say that STEM-heads benefit from learning to meet the liberal arts majors where they live, if for no other reason than the parties tend to be less awkward.

That said, it's drearily routine for any liberal arts class inflicted on STEM majors to be seen as "humanizing" but any science class inflicted on liberal arts majors to be "degrading." "When am I ever going to use algebra again?" "How is the ideal gas law at all relevant to my future as a corporate raider?" "zeroth law? Can't you nerds even count to three?"

The STEM guys are far more likely to have a job, though.

kleinbl00  ·  144 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 5 Ways To Stay Sane In An Era Of Non-Stop Outrage

I am slowly coming to the conclusion that if David Wong had started at Vanity Fair instead of Cracked, he'd be Hunter S. Thompson by now.

How half of America lost its fucking mind

The Monkeysphere

kleinbl00  ·  146 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: If life was fair would it still be interesting?

There will always be someone better off than you, there will always be someone worse off. For me, the goal is to always be better off than that guy I was last year.

kleinbl00  ·  175 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Trial Balloon for a Coup? Analyzing the news of the past 24 hours

I was busy. I have words. Watch this space.

_________________________________________________________________________

So. Furthering the conjecture and providing a little counterpoint, I believe that there are cogent issues raised but vital counterarguments left unasked. The author's analysis basically boils down to:

- The Trump administration deliberately gutted the State Department the same weekend they rolled out their Muslim ban in order to test the limits of executive power.

- They did this at the behest of Russia, which has sold of about a fifth of Rosneft without anybody really noticing.

- Trump has distanced himself from the American intelligence apparatus while also ramping up his personal security.

therefore, coup d'etat.

Did I miss anything?

All of this could be absolutely, 100% true and it does not support "therefore, coup d'etat." For example, sure: the Trump administration gutted the shit out of the State Department the same weekend they decided to write "ban all muslims" in crayon on a napkin and have Trump sign it. If you didn't want anyone from the State Department to tell you officially that it's a bad idea, unconstitutional and likely to cause unnecessary chaos for weeks/months/years, firing them all would be a great way to ensure your executive order gets rolled out how you want it.

If you wanted the State Department to lend legitimacy to what you're doing, it's exactly the wrong way to do it.

Right now, DHS is defying court orders and doing what Trump says. This is no doubt due to the fact that their lawyers looked over their charter and determined that they report to the Executive, not the Judicial, and that they're required to be goose-stepping thugs whether it's illegal or not. They are, no doubt, awaiting clarification or instruction from the chain of command their lawyers have determined they're bound by so that they can continue to do their jobs as charged.

But suppose Trump is literally Voldemort, Bannon is literally Skeletor, KellyAnn Conway is literally Cruella DeVille and RNCPRBS is literally Joseph Goebbels. DHS has a quarter million employees. You think they're all going along with this? Dunno about you, but at the airports I fly through they're mostly minorities and women. Shit, I've seen like a dozen in LA wearing hijabs. I've overheard them talking to each other in Seattle in Amharic.

I say this to celebrate it, not to denigrate it: we had two days of protests at ten different airports this weekend over 109 detained travelers.

A quote over the article:

    It wouldn’t surprise me if the goal is to create “resistance fatigue,” to get Americans to the point where they’re more likely to say “Oh, another protest? Don’t you guys ever stop?” relatively quickly.

Supposes that the protestors represent the minority opinion. They do not. We're rapidly reaching not protest fatigue, but protest normalization. I dunno about your Trump-voting Facebook friends, but mine were pretty goddamn quiet this weekend. They were the only ones. Moving on, Russia:

I mean, sure. It's entirely possible that this is all at the behest of Russia. It's entirely possible that Trump is doing it to get a fifth of Rosneft, just like in the dossier, for lifting sanctions against Russia. But sanctions haven't been lifted yet. More than that, any sanctions lifted can be reimposed by Congress with a supermajority if I'm not mistaken. Finally, throwing the nation into turmoil at the behest of an enemy power for personal enrichment is treason and/or terrorism and/or espionage. You wanna talk impeachable offenses, each one of those is a federal capital offense. So if Trump's gonna take the money and run, he better run far.

But right - he's gonna take over the country:

    Especially if combined with the DHS and the FBI, which appear to have remained loyal to the President throughout the recent transition, this creates the armature of a shadow government: intelligence and police services which are not accountable through any of the normal means, answerable only to the President.

Pretend none of those people are thinking, feeling human beings. Pretend they're orcs. There's 300,000 orcs willing to do Sauron's will. oh shit what will we do?

You might be interested to know that before you get dumb and talk army vs. fbi or any of that shit, there's about 800,000 cops in the United States, all of which have a long-standing interagency beef with everybody that isn't cops. Does the author really expect every other organization in the United States to roll over as the DHS attempts to consolidate power?

Does the author really think the Trump administation thinks that's going to happen?

    Trump was, indeed, perfectly honest during the campaign; he intends to do everything he said, and more. This should not be reassuring to you.

    The regime’s main organizational goal right now is to transfer all effective power to a tight inner circle, eliminating any possible checks from either the Federal bureaucracy, Congress, or the Courts. Departments are being reorganized or purged to effect this.

    The inner circle is actively probing the means by which they can seize unchallenged power; yesterday’s moves should be read as the first part of that.

    The aims of crushing various groups — Muslims, Latinos, the black and trans communities, academics, the press — are very much primary aims of the regime, and are likely to be acted on with much greater speed than was earlier suspected. The secondary aim of personal enrichment is also very much in play, and clever people will find ways to play these two goals off each other.

This can be absolutely, positively 100% true and still not matter. I don't know if you've been watching this administration. They aren't speaking like the Lords of Creation addressing the mortals from their seats in Valhalla. They're speaking like David Koresh from the basement. They don't answer, they lash out. They don't respond, they attack. The only support they've gotten - from anyone - comes in the form of "not objecting."

    A source familiar with Booker’s exchange with CBP officials told The Daily Beast that officials with the agency refused to see him face to face. Instead, Booker wrote questions on a piece of paper which he handed to police officers, and those officers gave the paper—along with a copy of Brinkema’s ruling—to CBP officials. Those CBP officials then wrote out their answers to the senator’s questions, according to the source. The source described it as a half-written, half-spoken game of telephone.

Those are your goose-steppers, by the way. The shock troops at the front of the new totalitarian wave. Doing everything they can to not have their names attached to this travesty. The simple act of doing what they're told and throwing 100-odd people in secondary hold for the weekend has them hanging their heads and hiding under desks.

Do you really think they like this any better than you do?

___________________________________________________________________

Look. Putin came to power by killing 300 innocent people and blaming it on terrorism. Theoretically, Trump could do the same. After all, without the Reichstag we've got no 3rd Reich, right? Except Putin was already popular. And at the Reichstag fire Hitler and Hindenberg had 80% of the vote. Neither of them were under investigation for colluding with foreign powers.

And there's something... confounding about the dualism necessary in these discussions. Either Trump is a greedy manchild bent on personal enrichment or he's a Manchurian candidate idealistically bent on sweeping the Muslims into the gutter of history. He can't be both.

    Mr. Bannon told a colleague in multiple conversations during the presidential campaign that he knew Mr. Trump was an “imperfect vessel” for the revolution he had in mind. But the upstart candidate and the media entrepreneur bonded anyway.

    In August 2015, Mr. Bannon told Ms. Jones in an email that he had turned Breitbart, where employees called certain political stories “Bannon Specials,” into “Trump Central” and joked that he was the candidate’s hidden “campaign manager.” He hosted Mr. Trump for friendly radio interviews and offered tactful coaching. This August, with the Trump campaign foundering, Mr. Bannon took over as chief executive.

Washington Post

Somebody's being used here, and somebody's using. The author's argument is that the Trump administration is using us because the Russians are using them. But do we really believe that Putin has a tighter leash on Trump than the rest of us? That Bannon does?

Or are we looking at the thrashings of an insular, inexperienced administration attempting to ramrod through everything they can while deliberately avoiding anyone who can tell them no?

_____________________________

Look. Russia has already benefitted immeasurably. This was a triple grand slam for Putin. Anything that happens from now only puts them further ahead. They have no real risks to worry about. But they're not crazy. They know that an erratic puppet on the throne will cause chaos and discord. They also know that whenever you put someone divisive in charge, you aren't going to get a lot of unity.

Don't get me wrong. This is all crazy shit, and many of us, myself included, certainly didn't predict it'd get this dumb this quick. I'd argue that's because we overestimated the acumen of the Trump team, not underestimated.

They're shifting the transmission into reverse without putting in the clutch. Gears are grinding. Sparks are flying. And Donald J. Trump, the man who doesn't exist if he isn't on television, is being pilloried by nearly everyone. Do you think he likes that?

Reading all this doesn't make me think "how long have we got?" it makes me think

how long has Steve Bannon got?

kleinbl00  ·  176 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 0 of 38 members of the Texas congressional delegation support the border wall

Trump is not the government. Trump is a part of the government - and a very powerful, very important part of the government at that. But the rest of the government has spent much of their adult lives becoming as powerful and important as they can possibly be and there's only so much to go around.

There are very few people in the government who desire a radical, disruptive change to the American way of life. All of them would like things to be more their way than the other guys' way, for sure... but you don't generally get involved in government unless you relish the grinding of sausage. Governance is a process-oriented profession. It is a life-long, avocational application of nuance. The goal is to get what you want, deny your opponents what you don't, and live to fight another day.

The Trump administration (still hard to say that) is governing as if they expect the world to end next week. They're blasting through everything they can. They're riding roughshod over everyone who stands in their way to make as much leeway as possible before they get mired in the mud.

Let's pretend you're Paul Ryan. You've been in Congress eighteen years - nine terms. You've built coalitions, relationships, alliances, non-aggression pacts and vendettas. You've put up with Democratic bullshit since Clinton was President and here you are, Speaker for the House.

And the President is acting like you aren't there.

And it's not like he's an ally. He's the guy that you couldn't publicly decry because apparently this is what we're doing now. And it would be righteous to have the House, the Senate and the Executive but apparently the Executive belongs to - wait for it - Breitbart. There are literally bloggers with more power than you.

How long are you going to take that?

How long are your friends going to take that?

Here's the thing: the gerrymandering has worked really damn well. You'll own the House for the next twenty years. After this dumpster fire, the Democrats will win the presidency. At least, you certainly have to consider the strong possibility that whatever follows, it's not gonna look great on the Republicans.

...unless you take a principled stand to check the power of the Executive in the name of stability, equality, and serving all Americans.

The Dems will go along with it no problem. Everyone that isn't Tea Party will go along with it no problem. You're kicking the shit out of any future Democratic president and ensuring that whoever runs on the Republican side next time, he'll be a Company man toeing the Company line.

Never attribute to malice that which is more easily explained by incompetence.

-Napoleon et. al.

We've seen plenty of evidence that the Republican Party doesn't know what to do with this dumpster fire. For the Democrats, it's easy: protest or be pilloried. For the Republicans, you're theoretically getting everything you want... along with a bunch of stuff you don't want... all at once, and with no real organization, and delivered to you as if you were on a not-very-good Reality TV show. But at some point you start looking long-term and you recognize that either they're going to take you down with them or you need to check the runaway excesses of an unprincipled Executive branch.

Trump is entirely too cozy with Russia. Russia helped get him elected. He's your guy, sure. But guys change. And who's calling the shots here?

Multiply times 248 for the House and 54 for the Senate. The Trump agenda may be closer to the Republican agenda than the Democratic agenda, but it's still the Trump agenda. And everybody who signed on enthusiastically before the election? They're cabinet members now.

kleinbl00  ·  184 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Democrats, it's time to hunker down

if Andy Kaufman were a blogger

kleinbl00  ·  187 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: January 18, 2017x 2

a year in the life.

We had our first class in there last night. Coats were hung on coat hooks I had hung five minutes previously. The person running the class had my phone number for two days to coordinate everything she might need; instead she showed up half an hour after she said she would and expected I could make it all work. And I did. But it's galling - "Yeah, I've never been here before, or met you before, and the last time my organization stopped by the sheetrock had just gone up I'm sure you can make my three hours of powerpoint and Youtube videos work just fine, especially if I give you half an hour, despite the fact that I've been forewarned the internet is spotty I'm sure you can work it out."

And then my wife showed up and then I took the kid home and then she got home at eleven. I'm on my 3rd or 4th 10-11-12 hour day on this fucker. Monday night was two hours naked knee-deep in lukewarm water scraping blue protectant off a tub. Yesterday, on the other, was easier... but I discovered that the tub they were 3 weeks late in delivering (thereby setting us back 3 weeks) is a factory 2nd with a massive chip in it that will spread if I can't get it fixed. So that made me happy.

The difficulty is the minute that class got there, it was abundantly clear that I don't belong. Nobody in the birth community says "husband" because it's offensive. We're all "partners." And we're all "supportive" and we're all expected to get out of the way so they can focus on women's mysteries. Except during the birth where the philosophy is basically "thou art thy partner's bitch who is suffering more than you can ever know to bring about the miracle of life you're lucky we let you in the room worm now help your master breathe!"

So what I'm left with is I've spent like three years building a business in an industry actively hostile to my gender, that will never have anything to do with me, and which resents my participation. I am a fish building an airplane. It's a fuckin' P-51 Mustang to be sure but I still got gills, you know? The only thing I get out of it is gratitude from my wife, and despite spending the better part of two days cleaning and tidying and polishing that place I was denied any reaction from her last night because god forbid we speak too loudly to interrupt the class.

I realized yesterday that while I've been maintaining social media channels for two years and organizing ad campaigns and infographics and all the rest, I've never once mentioned the birth center on my own Facebook page.

This is really the only place I talk about it.

That probably says something.

kleinbl00  ·  216 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Star Wars Rogue One Bamboozles You

I don't wanna beat up Star Wars too much. The original film was a seismic disruption to the entire industry. It came out like 9 months after Logan's Run - you want some cognitive dissonance, watch Box and the Star Filters in the Disco Cave and then sit down to Alderan. Star Wars broke the mold, shattered the industry and remade it.

And honestly, it borrowed from good sources. It's just that once Star Wars and Empire were done, nobody was ever going to tell George Lucas what to do ever again so we kind of get Ewoks all the time now.

You can shout about nuance but it won't carry the weight of a whisper about simplicity.

Truth is optional.

Blah blah blah blah blah blah fuckin' blah.

LOOK

I give money.

I contribute to culture.

I make the arguments.

I financially support the candidates (FUCKING OUT OF STATE CANDIDATES).

Blah blah blah blah "The left gave the fuck up on a lot of "Flyover Country" and now they don't have the House, they don't have the Senate and they only control 26% of the state legislatures" EAT A FUCKING DICK.

This has been said so many times it's like the fuckin' koreans and their goddamn breath-stealing fans. "The Left gave up on Flyover Country." What the fuck does that even mean? Does that mean, like, when every liberal under the sun petitioned Scott Fucking Walker about unions despite the fact that we're pretty much never in Wisconsin? Does that mean giving to Planned Parenthood despite the fact that we're not young, not female, not pregnant and have absolutely zero difficulty pointing to eighteen places within a ten mile radius that perform abortions? Does that mean bussing to fucking New Orleans to help rebuild after Katrina? Because that's how the Left gave up on "Flyover Country." Meanwhile the shows we're showing you don't represent your values, the food we eat is somehow offensive to your deep-fried ass, the music we play offends your pedal steel heart and the fact that you fucks consistently vote against women, black people and the poor is somehow

OUR

FUCKING

FAULT.

So look. Y'all can pick your own fucking candidates, with your own fucking money, and twist in your own fucking wind. And yeah - the Republicans are going to take it all. Here's the difference: you shitheads wanted this. Us "coastal elites?" We voted for what we wanted, clear and simple, and got everything we wanted locally, clear and simple, and the values we represent, the values we live, the values we put forth? The ones that you're pissed off because somehow, we "abandoned" you?

Who's doing the abandoning, shithead?

Sure. Win some fucking elections. But you know what? If we don't know how to win YOUR fucking elections for you, STOP BLAMING US FOR TRYING.

I am legitimately sick of this shit. Because honestly? I can continue to fly the fuck over your country. Here, look: I can paint the problem with the United States in one fucking step:

1) Insist that homeownership is the key to happiness and increase accessibility to homeownership for all

Here, watch what happens next:

2) Watch housing prices increase due to easy access to ownership

3) Watch urban mobility go down due to lack of fluidity within housing

4) Watch cities and towns become more vulnerable to shock when industry changes because people are trapped in their houses

5) Watch blight increase as foreclosures replace tenant changeover; watch the savings of homeowners go to (coastal) banks, watch places without the ability to adapt to change (rural areas) become skeletonized wastelands while everyone of means bolts to the cities, where all the money is

JP Morgan Chase: NY, NY

Bank of America: Charlotte, NC

Citigroup: NY, NY

Wells Fargo: San Francisco, CA

US Bankcorp: Minneapolis, MN

Bank of NY Mellon: NY, NY

PNC Financial: Pittsburgh, PA

Capital One: VA

HSBC North America: NY, NY

TD Bank of America: Cherry Hill, NJ

__________________________________________

Know what? I want your side to start winning elections, too. But you're not going to. You're stupid fucking rednecks. Sure - not all of you. But enough of you. And you know what? Every time we try and help out the rest of you ungrateful little shits? We're not helpful enough. "What's the matter with Kansas?" It's a fucking shithole full of ignorant rednecks that want to go back to the barefoot, pregnant and syphilis days, duh. And that's why everyone with half a fucking clue moves away, and that's why your population is collapsing, and that's why there's nobody left to work the farm, and that's why you have a sea of fucking Walmarts instead of culture.

Because you've been screaming at the top of your lungs you want it that way since nineteen diggity two.

But hold the fucking phone if we listen.

kleinbl00  ·  264 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: November 2, 2016

The difference between "too much" and "not enough" is tied to demonstrating that you're interested and interesting.

"I am thinking about you" qualifies if you are in a committed, stable relationship. If you are 2 dates in, "I am thinking about you" violates protocol. And yes, there's protocol, you little simps. Your demonstrable ability to communicate your desirability is the one real task of courtship and the sooner you accept that it's a shorthand for a much larger discussion the happier you'll be.

Which is why "I am thinking about doing cool shit and would welcome your participation" qualifies early in a relationship. Importantly, this should reflect who you are at your best, not who you think she wants you to be. You must be genuine because you are effectively performing you and you must give a good performance. If you attempt to perform someone else she will feel betrayed (subconsciously) as soon as you cease to be that person.

"I think it would be fun to go to the fair, would you like to come?" is a great reason to contact someone. "I'm going hiking Saturday" works, too. Full disclosure: I haven't had to date since y'all were in grade school so I'm sure that some things have changed but to my sensibility, "netflix and chill" is something you use to cement a relationship, not develop one. The test is one of silence: are your silences comfortable or uncomfortable? If only one of you stops trying to fill the pauses with speech, you are not ready for "netflix and chill" or any other low-energy bonding pursuit.

One of the great things about kids is they allow you to pursue endeavors that you would not otherwise. Wanna go to the Lego store on a Saturday afternoon? Congrats. You have an excuse. How 'bout the Aquarium? Saddle up. Relationships are similar - there's a barrier to checking out that new cafe by yourself unless you are exceedingly comfortable with solitude. However, "I'm thinking of checking out that new cafe - wanna come?" demonstrates that you are sociable, interesting and fun to spend time with.

Note that it's important to consider you and to consider her. I had a girl bring me a stuffed gargoyle from the Disney store because she'd been to my place once and had noticed that everyone else used to buy me gargoyles (it's true). This demonstrated (A) she had paid attention but not enough to notice I hate Disney (B) she was thinking of me (C) she spends a lot of time at malls. From her perspective it was a nice, thoughtful gift and I took it as such. That relationship lasted four years. Later, I started dating a girl that had never gone hiking and was coming out of a difficult marriage that drained all her resources. I bought her a $200 pair of hiking boots. This demonstrated (A) that I wanted her to share my passions without any impediment (B) that I was very much not her soon-to-be-ex-husband (C) that I was willing to spend extravagantly on her. It was a risk - that's much too big a present for early on, particularly if $200 is dear to you - but it was a successful gambit. We're going on 15 years.

"Too much" is "I'm here, reminding you that I'm here." "Too much" is the "facebook poke" of relationships. "Not enough" is "I've heard I need to be distant so she doesn't freak out." IT'S NOT THAT. It's that you shouldn't say anything if you have nothing to say.

Courtship is about imagining someone else in your life and inviting them to dream with you. If you work at it from that perspective you'll gain some clarity on a process that both genders work diligently to obscure.

kleinbl00  ·  315 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Jeff Kunzler: Against Minimalism A Plea for Cyberpunk

Oh shit now you did it.

About a week ago I gave rd95 an absurd quest: To find some horror comics from the late '60s or early '70s, look in the back for a page that was nothing but head-shop posters, and find me the one that looks like a dude sitting alone in a crystal labyrinth. It is an image seared in my brain thirty or more years ago, the most striking vestige of a collection of horror comics I inherited from my cousin Larry and sold wholesale two years later, a time capsule from another era I had not quite forgotten. It is an image I have looked for off and on for twenty or more years, the "holy grail" poster of my past that I have never been able to let go of. I promised him an assortment of mid '60s Popular Mechanics from my deceased grandparents' house as reward.

It took him half a day.

This is the past future that defines me: a semi-absurdist pop-culture future in which nuclear annihilation is a foregone conclusion and that which comes later will be gacked to the nines and spired out like Metropolis.

It doesn't help that I've effectively retreated into No Man's Sky to get away from my neighborhood. The future, as presented by No Man's Sky, belongs to Ralph McQuarrie and Syd Mead, not Jony Ive and Dieter Rams. It is a messy lines-of-coke, acoustic-coupling, MICR-E13B future where n times apple times pear equals three and where the driving ethos is wonder, not smug self-satisfaction. You know what has always bugged me? I can get this shit all day:

But apparently no one has even thought of selling me one of these.

It's funny - twenty five years gone and I find myself nostalgic for ugly shit. Say what you will about the Soviet design bureaus, they had an ethos.

_____________________________________________________

I think we're turning a corner, though. I've been in the market for cars and there are an astonishing number of boring ones out there. But at the same time, the Japanese are apparently feeling their Akira. Just in the past year we've gone from this:

to this:

And from this:

to this:

and while five years ago the articles were all "ZOMGJONYIVESQUEEE" they're now all "FANBOIHURRRGHWHARRRGARBL" and aside from the exquisitely dull world of personal electronics, things might be going the other direction.

One need only look up "LED chandelier" to see that the Pacific Rim is not waiting for us. And I embrace their adventure.

kleinbl00  ·  376 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 13, 2016

Do not compete.

Repeat: DO NOT COMPETE.

This is not your game. You cannot afford to get good. You want a dwelling, not an investment. You do not have access to the resources the other players do. Your goals are different. Your wishes are different. You are a mark among the whales and they will scoop you up like so much krill.

You know what no one is competing for? Undeveloped land. I mean, yeah - stuff that can be subdivided is in stupid territory right now but if I recall correctly, there is no reason you need to live in or near a major city. Not only that, but you have an unparalleled work ethic and a preposterous amount of patience. Houses can be built cheaply if you're patient and doing your own work. Find a place you love and make it your own. NOBODY is competing against you in that game.

kleinbl00  ·  406 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: June 12, 2016 Orlando Nightclub Shooting, discussionx 3

So did you change their mind?

Did they change yours?

Did you learn anything?

Did they?

Did you come up with a solution?

Did they convince you their way forward was better?

Or did you all just sit around, rending your shirts, politicizing the fuck out of the scantest information to prop your opinions up with someone else's blood?

I'm a fuckin' idiot. I grew up drinking lead. I shoulda been dead of nuclear war by 1986, AIDS by 1989, the greenhouse effect by 2000 and fuckin' Monsanto or some shit by 2012 but I'm still here, you're still here, we're all still here and evil walks the earth, forever and ever amen.

We got people here "remembering" fuckin' Roseburg. I got mayonnaise older than that shooting. Know what I remember? San Ysidro. Crazy fuckers have long been walking into restaurants and killing people.

We got people here insisting it was a hate crime and therefore somehow worse. Right. Because every gathering of small children is an act of bravery since Sandy Hook, right? Every act of sleeping in a sorority an act of bravery since Santa Barbara (or hey - how 'bout since fuckin' Richard Speck?) And every summer camp an act of bravery since Breivik.

And of course, it's "radical islam." Hey, know what? If the FBI investigates you twice and doesn't pull the trigger, that means you're a citizen. "Oh, by the way, up with ISIS! allahu akbar! TTYL!" So which personal liberties shall we give up this time so you can feel more safe at night? Who shall we profile?

Clearly, it's those evil assault rifles. Except Dunblane was handguns. Osaka was a kitchen knife. Oklahoma City was fertilizer and diesel. I'm sure the NRA is to blame for this if we only triangulate our self-righteousness properly.

LOOK AT ME I HAVE A POINT AND NOW IT'S GOT BLOOD ON IT. LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME! LISTEN TO ME!

This is a country where you are innocent until proven guilty. That lets a lot of evil through. Always has, always will. What do these post-mortems always look like? "Oh, we missed the signs." "Oh, fingers pointed at agency X for dropping the ball." "Oh, those evil muslims." "Oh, those evil politicians." "Oh, my guy is better than your guy." "Oh, my path is of righteousness and thou art on the road to hell." MILLIONS of muslims woke up yesterday morning and didn't drive to a gay bar to shoot it up. MILLIONS of gun owners did not plot to overthrow America. Go for a walk in your neighborhood. You will find no one that is any closer to killing you all today than they were yesterday.

Should guns be harder to get? In my opinion, hell yeah. Would it have made a difference here? Hell no. How long were Harris and Klebold scheming to shoot up Columbine? Well, they'd been in and out of juvie for six months. They made a video - for school - in which they pantomimed killing their classmates. Give a vaguely resourceful psycho a six-month head start and he doesn't need guns.

In this modern world, with these modern liberties, we are dependent on the social compact to preserve our fundamental freedom. I like social compacts that are peer-oriented. I dislike top-down autocracies. Has the TSA made you safer? How 'bout PRISM?

Someone out there doesn't like your face. They don't like your lifestyle, your god, your diet, your shoes. If they're a vaguely normal human, they keep it to themselves. If they're mildly unhinged, they take to the internet. If they are bleeding asymptote crazy they might just saddle up and go practice suicide by cop. This? This is no bueno.

But you know what?

I'm sorry that the crazies scare you. I Grew up with this shit and you people scare me more. You live in a country that loves Tarantino, loves Deadpool, loves Dirty Harry and fucking adores guns and evil will pluck that like grapes from a vine. So keep celebrating Scorsese out of one side of your mouth and decrying Travis Bickle out of the other - that's the dichotomy of America and fuckin' A, I'm used to it. You're used to it. Culturally, this is the choice we've made.

But quit pretending that shit would be different if only your politics dominated. You may be right, you may be wrong, you may be wise you may be crazy but dipping your arguments in someone else's blood doesn't make you right, it makes you ghoulish.

kleinbl00  ·  439 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: May 11, 2016

Listen up, Grasshopper.

"Love" is not about finding the "kind of person you want" it's about finding someone who revises your requirements. The person you will love will or will not read Mindy Kaling. Either way, you will forgive her. The person you love will convince you to stay in when you want to go to the sunset and convince you to go to the sunset when you want to stay in.

Love is about buttressing our identities, not about defining ourselves by our choices and our tastes. Love makes solitude effortless and sharing an assumption. Love is not additive or subtractive, it is multiplicative. Therefore, we must not be zeroes when we operate.

There's this assumption amongst the lonelyhearts of early adulthood that love is "filling the void." Those who are happy in love are those who have tended to their own voids as you are doing. We do not "complete" each other. We stack.

My wife's taste in music sucks. I think in the past ten years she's bought a Norah Jones CD, and maybe an Iron & Wine. THAT'S IT. Over a thirteen year relationship I have determined that she fundamentally dislikes music that includes "bass" and "drums." Early on, I told her that she was perfect except for her taste in music. She laughed at me and said "I can buy my music at Fred Meyer. You're the one that needs to buy obscure, out-of-print German bands that howl at each other." She's right. And she won't come to my concerts, and that's fine because everything else matters so much more.

"Love" will challenge your ideas about love, and you'll love it. But you're right, and you're on the right track.

You have to be up for the challenge, and that starts within.

kleinbl00  ·  462 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Insomnia bothers

Yeah, my mother in law does that.

So check it - you can fuckin' do something about it or you can miss out on your family, your friends, events, gatherings and shit that's important to you well into your 60s. Sitting on the computer until dawn doesn't sound so bad when you're 19. Lemme tell ya - a 68-year-old that can't come to breakfast because she was up until 6am playing Solitaire does not have the same charm.

    The first thing I did when I came here to study was look up sleep laboratories. I vowed to finally get looked at. But being freed from the strict schedule of school and a dozen curricular activities quickly led me to believe that it wasn't all that bad: Just take classes that start later! And holy shit, hubski, it got really fucking bad. Everything I experienced in school was tame. In retrospect, pressure from my parents kept me together pretty well. I might've only gotten three hours of sleep a night, but I funtioned pretty well. As soon I had the choice between skipping classes and activities and getting sleep, sleep won out increasingly more often. And then I woke up so late it wasn't worth it to cycle to uni for one last class, so I skipped that too. I became somewhat of a hermit.

This is the part where we're supposed to be nice and supportive and say there there it's gonna be all right and bullshit like that but I'm not like other mommies. TOUGHEN THE FUCK UP and address your problems. You know what the issues are, you know what the solutions are, you acknowledge that you function with external motivation but here you are, pussing out and begging for sympathy when you've slapped problem AND solution on the page. You could need chemo. You could need dialysis. You could need transfusing. But no, you need a nap and it's too much work to arrange your sleep schedule in such a way that you can get help arranging your sleep schedule.

My schedule in college? Wake at 7, go to class, come home at 1, sleep til 4, go to work, work til 3, come home, sleep til 7. That's a max of 6 hours if I had no homework. Then I did 80 hours a week while also spending 3 hours a day working on films. And exercising. So for about half of your life, I held down a job, got a degree, and got a short film into 23 festivals on a whacked-to-shit sleep schedule.

But no one's asking you to do that. All you need to do is toughen the fuck up until you can pick up the tools necessary.

Hey, read this part again:

    In retrospect, pressure from my parents kept me together pretty well. I might've only gotten three hours of sleep a night, but I funtioned pretty well.

You've got two choices: you can either meet some lovely girl/boy who will love you and adore you and admire you and help you through life and prop you up and become that external motivation you are no longer getting from your parents, or you can solve your own fucking problems and be on equal footing with the people who matter to you. 'cuz my mom did an exceptional job of staying up 'til 4am drinking and then sleeping through the day and lemme tell ya - this insomnia shit of yours externalizes right the fuck all over everyone who matters to you.

    I can't count the times I've had to decline going out or a party because I knew I wouldn't be awake at the time.

Right. And they invited you because they thought you might enjoy it. They really didn't give a fuck one way or the other, right? Entirely up to you, nobody cares whether you live or die, you're just a dude with a sleep problem, it's not like you're being a royal pain in the ass to everybody you know or something.

I got neighbors. They got a grandkid who's over a lot. He's 7. His dad's 35. I've known him since he was early 20s. He married a girl in a wheelchair and they clearly love each other. at some point while we were in LA, my neighbors made their entire house wheelchair-accessible. I seriously doubt any of them resent her, and I have no doubt that they're a happy family, working their asses off to make it through. But I also know that it'd be harder to have sympathy if the thing keeping her in the chair were inertia.

You got problems. I get it. You hate yourself for it. I get that, too. But there's this core of selfishness at the heart of all "I don't have the gumption to heal myself" that's deeply unattractive to me, and I'm calling you on it. You want some external motivation? look me in the eye, mutherfucker.

Get your shit together.

kleinbl00  ·  474 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: April 6, 2016

So as it turns out, I'm not my mother.

It's useful to be reminded of this because whenever I lose patience with my kid, the specter of my mother looms behind me. It's useful because whenever I'm depressed and feeling needy, my mother's face stares back at me from behind my forehead. And it's interesting to note that my clearest memories of my mother's parenting involve half-full jelly jars full of Franzia sloshing around and a shaky barefoot thing in terrycloth shorts towering over me shouting "most mommies say they love their children even when they're angry but I'm not most mommies and if you cross me right now I will FUCKING KILL YOU" and perfectly reasonable conversations on Sunday afternoons about how she never wanted kids in the first place so it's pleasantly surprising we turned out okay anyway and my memories still fall short of the reality.

She's medicated now, so that's useful. My biggest apprehension was that she'd scar my kid for life, but discovering that we were opening a birth center with a (gasp) profit motive was enough to flip her switch from "manic" to "depressive" so she spent the bulk of her visit under a haze of lorazepam, two of which my daughter found on the floor after they left. And I was able to get the raised beds in and half the yard thatched because rather than entertain them all weekend, they holed up in my bedroom and slept all day such that we were incapable of, you know, getting clothes and stuff. She would occasionally send her husband out to request food, usually an hour or two after we mentioned in passing on their way to the bathroom that meals would be prepared. The food requested rarely aligned with the meals prepared. At one point my stepfather was instructed to accompany me to the store because I cannot be trusted to purchase canned soup.

And that's an interesting one, too. My relationship with my stepfather is complex but objectively speaking, he's the best grandparent my side of the family can produce. He can hold a conversation, he's healthy and hale, he expresses interest in small people and he remembers names. My stepmonster is a quaint fellow that bears a striking resemblance to Dr. Huer from Buck Rogers that can take my daughter out on her pushbike for an hour and a half. I had lengthy discussions with him about Umberto Eco and Zoroastrianism. He's a career bureaucrat with the federal government whose exceedingly piss-poor taste in women happens to benefit my current family and my aims greatly while also destroying my former family. Which, hey, needed to be destroyed from before I was born. So... emotions are complex around that one.

The couch, as it turns out, isn't a bad place to sleep. Other than the fact that you can't cuddle with your loved one. We spent 4 days there. My mother took one shower the entire time, but never changed her clothes. She's long been fond of polyester blends and has always considered deodorant to be a plot of the patriarchy; I had to smuggle it in as a teenager. But the laundry is done (WASH ALL THE THINGS) and they're a memory and I will never be my mother.

My father has had a new girlfriend for about five years now. She's compulsive and a hoarder. As my father put it "I went from one crazy woman to another, but at least this one's just crazy. The first one was crazy and mean." It was interesting me to see her deprived of alcohol, medicated to the gills, sort of a Mrs. Potatohead of disdain and flatulence. She never lashed out, she never hit anyone, her verbal pyrotechnics were much diminished, but her face pinched up in disapproval every time anyone but her husband spoke. It was like watching a trigger pulled on an empty gun. You're safe, but you know that someone wants you dead.

And it's easier grappling with my bullshit emotions surrounding money when I recognize what a truly crazy place they come from. My sister described my parents as "antipreneurial" and commented that the last time my mother flipped the switch while visiting her, it was because she floated the idea of flipping houses with her housing-contractor husband. Never mind the fact that the stepmonster owned an 8-plex and flipped a half-dozen houses with his dead wife; if we do it, it's because we're yuppie scum. Pretty easy to look down your nose at people when you're pulling down a 95% government pension until you die and social security and, somehow, not sure how she wrangled this, a $3k a month alimony payment even though she remarried.

There are about two pickup truck bed's worth of plumbing fixtures in boxes in the spare bedroom. Faucetdirect.com had a sale that ended March 31 and our contractor is still a few weeks out from plumbing. Home Depot, for their part, canceled part of our order because who the fuck orders five sinks?

I do. Because I'm a filthy fucking capitalist.

But at least I'm not a mean filthy fucking capitalist.

kleinbl00  ·  513 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: How To Be Mean To Your Kids [The Last Psychiatrist]

Goddamn it.

    An inner city psychiatrist sees 20-40 people a day. 15 minute med checks, which in a city is 5 or 10 minutes. "Any major symptoms? Suicidality? Side effects? Here's your refill." You try and pull that off in a suburban area and the Feds will be shooting your dog to access your backdoor.

I knew that guy. Compass Mental Health. There, and he was also the one lone psychiatrist at the rural clinic in Gray's Harbor County. He also did some private practice for the rich kidz. Rich kids? 90 minutes. Downtown Seattle? 10 minutes each. Gray's Harbor? 5-7 minutes, once a week. In '97.

    And there's plenty of money to be made for the entrepreneurial. If you want to be rich in inner city psychiatry (and you don't have to be a doc), you open a clinic and hire 1 psychiatrist and lots of (talk) therapists, usually social workers. Medicaid will pay for 1 therapy visit per week (around $60/hr) and a 15 minute med check with the doc ($40/visit). The doc usually gets salaried but proportionally takes 50% of that. Let him have it all. The therapist, however, gets very little-- $20/hr.

Goddamn it. Yep. Social workers were making $17 an hour. And he was making enough to justify driving eight hours round trip every week for one day a week. Doing state work.

Fuck you. Badged.