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goobster's profile

Writer by trade. I makes da words purdy.

My #meetHubski interview is here.

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goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Apples and Walmarts

Fuck this author. He needs a punch in the dick.

Walmart exists ONLY because of the US security safety net. They dropped their prices so low they couldn't pay a living wage, force out businesses that DID pay a living wage, and then push their employees to get welfare and food stamps and emergency room health care ... which is all paid for by all of the employees of companies that pay a living wage!

The author points this out in his amazing calculations that show raising employee wages would cost more than Walmart makes in a year!

Well, duh! No shit, sherlock. That's their entire useless fucking business plan!

Step 1: Open a store in a small town.

Step 2: Offer prices too low for any local competitor to meet.

Step 3: Employ all the competitor's laid-off workers at 1/2 their previous pay scale.

Step 4: Point out that if they can't live off the Walmart wages, that the Gummint will support them.

Step 5: Move profits into overseas banks and manufacturing, to protect it from US taxation.

Step 6: Let the American taxpayer pay the bills that Walmart abdicates paying.

This isn't even interesting. Or hard to figure out. They do nothing to hide it. All the information is right there, out in the open, available to anyone who wants to look at it.

And they STILL get away with it.

    "...I think if you can't afford something, you can't afford something..."

I used to think the same way.

But this is thinking of money in the wrong way. Money is not equivalent to water; money is equivalent to a lever.

Part of what you buy, when you buy a house, is the ability to use that house as leverage.

Put simply, let's say you have $1,000/mo to spend. You buy a house with a $700/mo mortgage. That gives you $300 of money to invest in other things, right?

Wrong. That is thinking of money like water.

Now that you own a home, you can use it as security to get another loan.

So you buy a condo that has a $500/mo mortgage payment.

And you rent the condo out for $600/mo.

Now you own TWO properties that cost far more than you can afford, and you are making $100/mo.

Most people are something like 2.5 paychecks from living on the street. Because they think of money as water, not as a lever, and therefore can never get comfortably "ahead", unless they find that one high-paying job that lets them telecommute from an area with a low cost of living.

In the big picture, buying a house gets you a ticket to the game. It's like a high school diploma: Nobody gives a shit where you went to high school, what grade you got, or what AP classes you took. All the diploma gets you is a ticket to the job market. People who don't invest those 12 years in school will have a much harder time getting a job. People who don't own a house, will have a much harder time getting ahead, financially speaking. The system is just set up that way. (Whether that is the "right" way to set of the system or not... well... that a whole 'nother discussion!)

Big Brothers/Big Sisters is a brilliant organization, and if you feel the inclination to serve your community in this way, go in and talk to someone.

It is a big decision (no pun intended) and their vetting process is impeccable. They are used to talking to people about how things work, the level of commitment involved, and ensuring people are fully informed and fully committed.

It is, after all, a child's life we are talking about, here.

All that said, my Dad is a Big Brother, and he was President of Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles. My sister is a Big Sister. And I opted out of becoming a Big Brother because my life was in chaos at the time.

Go in. Talk to them. Even if you are just thinking about it, they can help you get your head around the "unknown unknowns" that you haven't even considered.

It is a big commitment, but also hugely rewarding.

White riot - I wanna riot

White riot - a riot of my own

White riot - I wanna riot

White riot - a riot of my own


Black people gotta lot a problems

But they don't mind throwing a brick

White people go to school

Where they teach you how to be thick


An' everybody's doing

Just what they're told to

An' nobody wants

To go to jail!


White riot - I wanna riot

White riot - a riot of my own

White riot - I wanna riot

White riot - a riot of my own


All the power's in the hands

Of people rich enough to buy it

While we walk the street

Too chicken to even try it


Everybody's doing

Just what they're told to

Nobody wants

To go to jail!


White riot - I wanna riot

White riot - a riot of my own

White riot - I wanna riot

White riot - a riot of my own


Are you taking over

or are you taking orders?

Are you going backwards

Or are you going forwards?


(The Clash in 1977, my friends.)

Bill Clinton is credited with the rise of the stock market in the 1990's, when all us Silicon Valley geeks know that it was just the payoff from DARPA spending in the 60's and 70's.

When the web began, it addressed the problems with the old supply chain, and created new ways to make money and to make fake money (stock options, IPOs, etc.).

So in the blink of an eye, a change the size of the industrial revolution takes place in the marketplace, billion dollar companies become common, and salaries are paid in stocks.

And Clinton gets the credit for a booming economy, when all he actually did was occupy the Big Chair at the right time.

Same thing is happening now. We have the second wave of the internet - the consolidation and domination period - where a few players become ridiculously profitable (or, at least valuable) and prop up an economy that in every single other respect is teetering on collapse. (For historical context of consolidation, see: Hearst, railroads, and cotton.)

The thing that busts my brain, though is the completely inexplicable resiliency of the investment market, with Trump in the White House.

Six months ago, a single out-of-place word from a high-placed official in the White House or the Fed would cause shockwaves through the market. Because the market likes stable. It likes predictable. And any strangeness at the top was seen as a "sign", and the market would tank.

Now Business is all jazzed they have a "businessman" in the White House... but the guy is complete fucking nutter. He says shit that would have tanked the market six months ago and driven the economy into a tailspin... and all the trading floor goes silent... and all the traders look carefully around the room at everyone else... silent... waiting... and....

... nothing.


So it looks like business supports Trump and his lunatic destabilizing business tweets, because the market doesn't tank every time he opens his mouth like it did with Obama.

I'm pretty fucking fed up with it all, honestly. "Inaction = Support. That's just bullshit. Business needs to take the reins again, and explain that they want the jobs, markets, and profits of clean power, and Trump needs to dump his utter Dickensian fetish with coal. (For one example...)


goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 19, 2017

We are figuring out where to go now. Stay in London for a couple of days to see friends, and make my regular pilgrimage to the British Museum and Dali Museum. Probably the bass guitar store in Camden.

Then rent a car and head west to Stonehenge, on the way to Devon. I have friends out there with a lovely B&B in a 15th c. mill. Then north across the Devon Moors, to Bath. Around the corner to Cardiff to see the Dr Who Museum (wife is a big fan!).

Work our way north through Oxfordshire (more friends there), York, Fountains Abbey, up to Hadrian's Wall.

Then Glasgow to Islay for a tour of the distilleries - especially Laphroaig - and then back to the mainland for... Scottish Highlands? Edinburgh? Maybe a cheap flight to Budapest for a long weekend, to see my friends there?

From Budapest to Paris on a train? Or maybe Berlin? Stockholm? Sarajevo?

Then back to Heathrow for the flight back home. (Virgin Air upper economy class!)

We shall see how it all works out...

goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 19, 2017

I thought I was going to go one last time, this year... but then my wife and I found cheap tickets to Europe, and decided to do our honeymoon instead! (Only a year-and-a-half late!)

So no Burning Man for me this year. Maybe next year.

My plan is to go to the "big burn" one more time, completely stripped down: On my motorcycle, camping alone, out near the walk-in camping area. When I went back to Burning Man about fifteen years ago, I went alone on my motorcycle. So going back one last time in the same, stripped-down way, seems like good closure to me.

And yes ... I want to meet you, too! Very much. I think we would have a LOT of fun talking about traveling and adventures and marketing and working for yourself and all that stuff. I look forward to the day when we can make that happen...

goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 19, 2017

One year (and a week) married!

We spent our first anniversary packing up and loading a box truck with all the stuff we crazy Burning Man participants bring along when we go to regional events (the PNW's "Critical Northwest", in this case).

After about 5 hours of sweating in the sun, we got everything packed, drove back to the city, and over the next 5 hours unloaded everything at 4 different houses.

Then we took a shower and went to bed with tired smiles on our faces around 7:PM.

This seems to be the perfect metaphor for our relationship: Ignore the trivial shit (like days and anniversaries), and focus on the epic (making amazing things happen for and with our community).

Oh yeah. And on the 4th of July I flew a drone through our annual fireworks show, until it freaked out complaining of "EM Interference" and shut down. I had to fly it back through the aerial bombardment by guts, since the screen locked up and it stopped transmitting video!


Work? Oh yeah. Work. Still doing that. Busy as shit. Gonna get back to that now.

waves quickly and exits stage left

It's interesting that the narrative across the board is that it is these TWO Senators who have torpedoed the health care plan, when it is actually FIVE people who have defected. The last two are just the icing on the cake.

One one of them was needed.

And we got two.

But what about the other three?

(Ok, we can skip over Rand Paul. He votes no on everything just out of principle. But that still leaves two others who grew a spine LONG before the last two defectors. Why do the last two get the credit, rather than the first two being hailed as the leaders and the last two as followers? Interesting narrative choice.)

Yeah, I could go back and edit, I guess.

But there still is no list of available tags, or appropriate ones, or whatever.

I'm sure if I was committed to the platform fully, I would instinctively remember whether it is #SillySeason or #sillyseason, or I might actually remember the BETTER version of that tag that KB came up with... but I will never find that post again, just to discover the tag he used, so I can edit my post with an appropriate tag... that has some unknown value or reason for existing...

goobster  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: July 12, 2017

    As you can see, I excel at justifying my cowardice.

And now that you have gotten to the meat of it, I expect it will feel inadequate when The Object Of Your Affection slides into view, and you will Do The Right Thing.

Good luck to ya, mate.

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