kaizen
what's been floating my boat lately:

"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."
-Hitler-
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
-Albert Einstein-

4/20/21 (20:36)

  • Was going to write about the Chauvin trial, but didn't get around to it on time. I was certain he would be guilty of something, but I thought it was basically a 50/50 on whether it would be all 3 counts. Sometimes this stuff depends upon specific jury instructions and how the judge frames things. There are many cases you'll see where the jury says afterwards that they thought a person was guilty of x, y, and z, but that the instructions limited them to only find guilt on x and y because of something that is essentially a technicality.
  • I'm happy with the outcome. It minimizes the likelihood of more rioting and it sends at least some small signal that you can't just do whatever you want just because you're an agent of the government.
  • I mentioned that the anti-racist crowd enforces the "one drop" rule more than anyone, but I forgot to include the KKK. So, yeah, they're in good company I guess. I've come to this same conclusion in a different way before. Essentially finding that David Duke and Ta-nehisi Coates are different sides of the same coin. The coin is the problem, not the sides.
  • It made sense when Republicans and the religious right were the ones who were the cultural puritans. Today it's cancel culture, wokism, and the left.
  • I'm hoping that by pointing out all these contradictions, inconsistencies, changing norms, lack of principles, etc. that I can convince some people that their ideas aren't as well thought out and enlightened as they might believe. And in coming to that conclusion they might question their beliefs about their "enemies" on the "other side."
  • This is more or less the evolution of my thinking. I had a lot of assumptions about the world. I had a superior attitude about being on the right side of things. But as I learned more facts it changed my views. If you learn more facts do they always confirm your beliefs or do they sometimes make you update your priors? If the former then I would argue you're either perfect or delusional. Julia Galef calls this the Scout Mindset, but it's just Bayesian reasoning. New facts contrary to your understanding of the world should shift your understanding. Unfortunately what a lot of people do is just change the facts.
  • So, for Trumpists this means that Trump losing means that he hasn't actually lost, he's just planning something. Or maybe it means that he didn't really lose because the reality is that the election was stolen.
  • For progressive types the Amazon unionization vote in AL wasn't a rebuke against organized labor (because such a thing is impossible since everyone wants to be in a union). Instead it was the result of sinister union busting by Amazon and the media overhyping the chances of the union when the fight wasn't really fought the right way. Again, it's not actually possible that the employees didn't want to unionize - there must be something else going on here. On the Media had a recent episode with a union organizer and these were her basic points. OTM, being pretty far left, didn't say anything critical of these arguments because they're complicit in the self-delusion.
  • The only thing worse than being an ideologue is being a party hack.
  • I found it odd that the media covered Biden pulling out of Afghanistan as a big deal. The way the media told the story is that Biden was finally ending the 20 year occupation of the country by committing to removal of our troops by 9/11 this year. Is that the basic story that you heard? The reality is that Trump had already committed to a total withdrawal by 5/1 of this year. So, depending upon what news you listen to, you either got the story that Biden extended from 5/1 to 9/11 or that Biden is going to be responsible for total withdrawal (without the context that Trump had already committed to an earlier withdraw). The latter story is much nicer for Biden and is the one I heard most on NPR and the left leaning podcasts that I listen to. It also is reinforced by some of the stories about Lindsey Graham and others disagreeing with the withdrawal. His disagreement with Biden makes it sound like it wasn't already part of the plan. The whole thing is idiotic.
  • Anyway, it's good to be out of there. I wish it happened earlier. We need everyone home working on our infrastructure and putting this country back together. Next time the UN or multi-national corporations have a war they want fought they can ask Germany and China to do it for them.
  • They did a guaranteed income trial in Stockton. Apparently they found that people had more money, more free time, and less stress as a result of giving them free money for a short period of time. This is the kind of ground breaking science that social scientists go to school for 8 years to achieve. It really is a wonder to behold the genius level intellect. Seriously, though, this isn't a very interesting study. It's a short term thing when we're concerned about long term costs/benefits. It's obvious that giving people money means they will have more money and time and less stress. It's not clear that giving them money is a good long term solution to any of the issues that concern us. There's no way this gives us any long term or macroeconomic data. Does giving everyone free money cause for inflation? Does it lower wages since businesses know the wage they pay is being subsidized by the government? Does it lower individual drive? Does it increase drop out rates? There are a million legitimate questions and none of them are answered by the Stockton case. It's a handout masquerading as science.
  • It should also be noted that many claim that the "slippery slope" argument is a fallacy. I disagree. It's an actual thing and everyone knows this instinctively. In the Stockton case I heard them explicitly say that a guaranteed minimum income or UBI (universal basic income) is just an extension of social security. Anyone who is pro choice understands that banning abortions after 30 weeks is a foot in the door to lowering that number...it's a slippery slope. Sure, it's an argument about a thing that might happen in the future, but calling it a fallacy implies that you can't argue about it because it's not the actual thing...you're arguing about another thing that may happen. But by banning abortions after 30 weeks or starting a social security program or whatever you are necessarily making the next step more likely to happen. It's just the way things work.
  • I've read a few Orwell books now and I like his non-fiction stuff. Finished Road to Wigan Pier today. It's interesting to see him compare Socialism and Fascism. He essentially thinks there are only those two options and so he says he prefers Socialism (Fascism is just Socialism by with tyranny, I think is what he says). His definitions and options seem pretty limited by today's standards. I like all his writings here and in other books where he talks about the common man and his travels. Homage to Catalonia and Down and Out in Paris and London are the others I've read.
  • The more I think about voter ID the less sympathetic I am to those who are up in arms about it. Just get an ID so you can open a bank account and vote and be a part of society. Don't bitch about it. Democrats should reform federal election standards and allow for voter ID, but for that concession DC should get representation, as should Puerto Rico. There should also be a national standard for maintaining the voter rolls and for voting machines, etc. hahaha, that'll never happen.
  • Imagine in your head the type of person who is arguing that voter ID is racist and an affront to Democracy and whatever other arguments they make. Now picture the type of person who is arguing for vaccine passports - that you need an ID that states you're vaccinated to go to the movies or whatever. Both these things are basically argued for by the same types of people, as far as I can tell.
  • I remember when W was president and there was all sorts of reporting about evangelical churches walking right up to the line, maybe even crossing it, about what qualifies as political speech. The reporting at the time was very critical of these churches that (they argued) were encouraging congregants to vote for Bush, thus jeopardizing their tax free status. These days I hear reports in Black churches about getting out the vote in GA or whatever and them talking about voter suppression and the like. These same reporters and media outlets seem to have no issue with "souls to polls" type church activity these days. But 16 years ago it was a big deal for them. Again, this is politics without principle. They look the other way when it's for their team. In the case of the Right, they actually seem consistent on this since I don't think I heard any argument against it when it was pro-Biden or Warnock or whatever.
  • It's interesting to see the media deal with Biden on the border issue. I've seen many of them go out of their way to talk about how it's a "seasonal" issue and how it'll always be an issue. None of the same talk that they gave when Trump had the same issues. They bend over backwards to talk about how difficult a situation it is to deal with the influx of migrants and how hard it must be for Biden. Can't say it's surprising. It'll be mostly soft balls for Biden.
  • Longmont Potion Castle is pretty great.
  • Remember that episode of the Simpsons when Homer learns that he can get whatever he wants by challenging everyone to a duel? At some point he's trying to get to the front of some line and he goes through every person in front of him..."duel. challenge. duel." as he works his way to the front. But at some point he gets to a Southern gentleman type guy who says he accepts the challenge and Homer freaks out because it was an empty threat the entire time. He knew no one would actually accept the challenge to a duel, but he was wrong. This is essentially how the filibuster works now. It's totally broken. You should have to actually roll up your sleeves and fight if you believe in something. Instead they just say they'll filibuster and it kills the bill. Total bullshit rule.
  • Household income by percentile.
  • Had my biggest loss in business the other day. Customer I've worked for many times before. He wanted a new countertop and backsplash in L shaped kitchen. New sink and faucet was part of this. Gave him the price and got on the calendar. Originally had planned on doing everything with my crew, but got really busy so I had the demo guy do the demo, the counter guy do the counter fabrication and installation, and then we did the backsplash and plumbing.
  • Demo was fine. Found a bad electrical splice buried in the wall and took care of it for no charge. Didn't even mention it to him. Counter guy comes in and does the install. I look at it and notice it's off the wall about 1/4" on the long part of the "L." Not great, but we can hide it with caulking that goes along the base of the backsplash and it'll look acceptable. I have Antonio do the backsplash and assume that the job is done. Get a text the next day saying that he's concerned because the counter is about 5/8" off where it should be on the long part of the "L." Usually the counters overhang the cabinet box by 1-1.5". In this case it was about 1.25" on the left and only 5/8" on the right. I'd guess that 85% of people wouldn't notice this, but he did. I didn't notice it when I looked at the job after the counter guy was done. Usually with counters I'm concerned with the sink cut out and the seam. The seam was tight and had no lippage. The sink cut out had a very acceptable and even reveal so I was happy (other than the gap I saw between the wall and the very end of the counter). I went to look at the job and saw the issue. I also saw that Antonio didn't clean up the job site very well so I vacuumed and wiped everything down. Talked to customer and explained that there's no easy fix for this aesthetic issue. His cabinets are farther off the wall than usual. Generally the face of the cabinet is 24" from the wall. In this case it was more like 24.75" because the cabinet was shimmed a lot because the wall isn't straight.
  • As a result of the wall not being straight and the cabinet being deeper than usual, the counter installer made the (unilateral and incorrect) decision to bring the counter closer to the cabinets instead of maintaining the proper overhang. I think he did this because he cut it too short (hence the gap on the long part of the "L") and isn't terribly bright. He didn't talk to me about it, he just did whatever he thought was best, or easiest. So, now the customer wants to redo the whole counter (which essentially means redoing the entire job, including the backsplash) over 5/8".
  • This kind of shit just kills me. It's not even the thousands of dollars I'll have to eat as a result of this...it's the fact that 99.9% of the world population would be thrilled to have these counters and backsplash. A working sink with the reverse osmosis water filtration system that was a bitch to set up with a garbage disposal. A beautiful backsplash that looks and works as intended. There's absolutely nothing about the job that doesn't function as intended. It's 100% aesthetic. It's also a job that is 95%+ done right. And he wants me to pay for everything to be redone. I want him to pay for new material and I'll pay for the labor.
  • After a bit of back and forth I asked what it would take for me to just wipe my hands of the job and he said he wants me to pay for everything. I stupidly paid for the materials out of pocket already. So, the way it resolves itself is that I paid for the materials and I ate all the labor. The counter guy doesn't want to give me any money back or anything so I'm out several thousand bucks because the customer wanted a perfect counter and wouldn't accept anything less. I understand the position, but I don't agree with it.
  • This is the cost of doing business. It's also how contracts get longer and longer and how people turn into hard asses about everything. That's the effect of this kind of crap. I want to live in a world where the contract is just so everyone is on the same page about what is included/excluded. It should just be a ledger of the work to be performed. It shouldn't be a gotcha mechanism. But you slowly get beaten down by the 20% of customers who are difficult and you tailor your contract to avoid the downsides of dealing with those types of people. Almost every line in my contract has a story...either a school of hard knocks story from me or from someone else who learned the hard way. And this is how society slowly falls apart and doesn't trust each other. People being picky fucks about every little thing.
  • Should he pay full price? No. But it was his fucked up wall and overly shimmed cabinets that I couldn't have seen beforehand. And you'd think that a person could live with a counter that's 5/8" off if they got a $1000 discount or $2000 or $3000 or $4000, but no dice. This is the kind of stuff I want to be done with. I want customers who are thankful, not entitled.
  • Now, here's a couple on the other side. I go to the counter guy and he's a stone wall. "Sorry boss the wall was messed up. I'll tell you next time." So I'm done working with him.
  • The other one is for a paint job. Property manager I work with has a painter so I used his guy for some patches and paint in two rooms. I tell him it needs to be done by this week and text him the colors and he says ok. Then he says he'll get it done over the weekend and I can schedule cleaners for Monday. I look at it Monday and nothing has been done. I tell him it needs to be done by Tuesday because tenants move in Wednesday (a lie - tenants move in Thursday, but I want wiggle room in case he fucks up again). Sure enough, he texts me pictures today and he didn't use the right colors. I ask if he can do it with the right colors and he says he doesn't have time. So, now I have to repaint it myself. He sends me the bill for the full amount. I write back telling him I'll have to repaint so can you adjust the invoice. He says "The work is done and all tuch ups are done  the paint an all walls were match and repainted." So this is my life. I'll probably end up paying his whatever he's invoiced me for and never using him again. It's difficult to find reliable people.
  • In the ongoing saga of Edwin learning how the world works...I have been giving him some weekend paint work at a condo. Give him the keys and tell him what to do to see how he handles it. I go there today to check the job and let the flooring guys in. All the ground floor windows are wide open. Luckily no one removed a screen and stole my tools, but I wasn't happy. Went to the next job and told him what happened and that he needs to go home. I don't have anymore work for him today. His brother Antonio says he understands and asks if I can take the money out of his paycheck instead and keep him there today. I say he has to learn and I've tried telling him things but he never remembers. Antonio is going to be his brother's keeper I guess so we'll see how it goes. I'm a nice boss, but leaving a job site unsecured isn't something I can accept. Unsafe if someone lives there and an invitation for the thieves who have have gotten me more times than I can remember.
  • Other part of that job was that the flooring guys got there and they said they couldn't work. "We didn't know we had to do the demo." Well, it's on the contract and I talked to the owner of the company, who walked the job with me, about it so...Long story short they'll get it done this week, but they came totally unprepared for the work at hand because no one can do their job (including me if you ask the counter guy).
  • The tenant requests have been really entitled and nitpicky lately as well. Closet rod that broke and the woman said "Please come to replace the rod holder. I would expect this to come at no cost to us tenants."
  • Another one was a guy asking us to replace light bulbs because he didn't know how (they are the 4-pin kind that pull out, not twist out).
  • I'm also seeing people follow up a lot more quickly than before. It used to be that you could wait 2-3 weeks before contacting a tenant for a minor issue (though I usually contacted them much sooner than that). Now, though, they need to be contacted in a day or two or else they complain. People are used to apps delivering their food in an hour, so why aren't all my maintenance requests leading to a contractor at my door within 24 hours?
  • How do I nicely explain to these people that the world doesn't revolve around them and that I'm already working 10-12 hours a day? I hate people.
  • Vaccines being suspended in Germany and Spain and more. Looks like an overreaction overall. Probably a good sign that they're taking the issue seriously. I think the anti-vaccine crowd should take this as proof that the powers that be are willing to do the right thing if necessary. Instead it will probably just be used as an example of vaccines being bad. The issue I have with all these vaccines is the new method that is relatively untested. We just don't have any long term data on mRNA type vaccines. We may suspect that there's nothing to fear, but that doesn't mean much quite frankly. Thalidomide comes to mind. We just don't know what we don't know.
  • Try to listen to NPR for more than 2 minutes without hearing something about gender or race. During the week I think it's almost impossible. On the weekend they still have some programs that aren't seeped in that stuff. Actually a fun game.
  • Listening to NPR the other day and they had a thing about international women's day or something. The guests were talking about how men should be allies by walking on the other side of the street if they see a woman walking alone at night. This is because of a supposedly justified fear women have of men regardless of your intentions as a man. I mean...just think about the implications of this. And I'm not distorting it because it needs no distortion (and because I try my best not to). It's a remarkable thing to say on a mainstream program and to say it with a straight face and to have everyone essentially agree with this....pretty amazing stuff.
  • Because I don't want to just leave it there, I'll spell it out a bit. 77% of violence against women comes from someone they know (old data, but I doubt it's changed much). So that B.S. about a stranger needing to cross the street?...maybe have your ex boyfriend cross the street before you start telling me what to do, because he's the one you should fear. Then again, this is just a fact and we don't have room for those, right? Notably, 50% of violence against men comes from strangers so I should actually be more afraid of strangers than the average woman. 2 million acts of stranger perpetrated violence against men vs. 800k against women. So, do fact still matter or are we going to be the anti-science party now because International Women's Day is our thing?
  • Okay, let's say all that data is just bullshit government propaganda. Would we apply the same logic to Blacks? Since Blacks commit more crime than whites should they cross the street so I don't feel uncomfortable? I think it's useful to replace "man" with "Black" on these issues and see how it changes things. Often it's quite acceptable to say some B.S. like this when it's against men, but when you change it to a minority then people start using their brains a little and may rethink things.
  • I wrote the other day about being called nigger by a crazy lady. A week ago I was waiting for my electrician and a woman was walking down the street and she said "I need some money from the China man in the funny suit...and that's you." She stopped right in front of me. I was trying to be on my phone hoping she would ignore me, but it didn't work. Apparently the China man was me. She got right in my face and started talking some gibberish and reached for my face. I leaned back and told her not to touch me. She walked away and cursed at me. TIO. Ever since Blood Diamond and the K'Naan song introduced me to T.I.A. (This is Africa) I have adopted it for Oakland. Just another day in Oakland when I'm called a China man and a crazy lady tries fucking with me.
  • On the other end of the spectrum this is just a couple blocks from where a woman offered to suck my dick. Unfortunately I think she probably would have wanted some money as part of this, so it wasn't as flattering as it would have otherwise been.
  • One of the issues that came up with the Amazon union vote was the workers were urinating in water bottles. This was seen as an awful affront to basic humanity by intelligentsia commenting on the story. They were shocked. BFD. I'll just say that I've been on many jobsites (especially when drywallers are involved) where this is the norm. Drywallers are notorious for this because they are often paid by the board. I'll also add that the number of times I've pissed in my water bottle is too numerous to count. Often in traffic while stuck on the bridge. Just gotta remember to empty it out before going to get something to drink the next morning...
  • Schools aren't sites of big spreading events. Schools where only teachers are showing up have the same rate of transmittance and infection as schools where kids are also there. Elementary schools are better than high schools. Again, facts and science don't matter unless we're talking about things we're interested in like climate change.
  • Why are we encouraged to prepare for some things and not others? Which of the following things should we prepare ourselves for? Earthquakes, hurricanes, other natural disasters, losing our job, being assaulted by someone, being robbed, being raped. There are some who would prepare for all these things. The local media will do stories on preparing yourself for natural disasters, but I don't see stories on the other things. There are specific books, etc. that will focus on preparing yourself for financial issues or self defense. Overall, though, it seems like preparation is limited and I'm not sure what they base these limitations on.
  • The girls have been doing soccer classes for the last few months. One time one of the administrators of the program came up to us and told us that Zoe had one of the best coaches in the country. I thought this was ridiculous. Who the hell is ranking coaches for 7 year olds? How does one rank coaches for 7 year olds? This is smoke being blown up my ass. I wonder if he believed it or if it was purely marketing.
  • We live in a very trendy time. From things like Crocs and barefoot running to the software that everyone uses...ICQ, AIM, Snap, Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, Instagram, Periscope, Clubhouse, Vine, TikTok, Discord, Twitch, Twitter...they all ebb and flow. I don't take the monopolies very seriously since they are so ephemeral. Competition truly is a click away. Anti-Facebook type will argue against this, but when you see how quickly people go from one way of talking to each other to another it's amazing the churn rate just in the last 20 years. Sure, it's a problem if Facebook just buys them all up, but that's more an argument against allowing for mergers (don't forget Obama admin approved Facebook buying IG) than it is for some big legislation or breaking the companies up. People are fickle and it's so easy for people to go from platform to platform that I don't think we should over react.
  • I remember when the Facebook IPO was seen as overvalued. NPR put people on the radio who were complaining that they bought at too high a price and felt like they were duped. Poor them. It's called investing. It's a risk. What part don't you understand? Are these same people shedding tears now that the stock is worth 10x what it was at the IPO? Maybe NPR should follow up with these sad sacks who were complaining then and see how they feel now. Give me a break. Shitty reporting.
  • If Facebook disappeared tomorrow do you think everything would be better or do you think another firm would be doing the same shit (gathering your information and selling it to advertisers) the next day to fill that vacuum?
  • How much of another person's job should I be required to do to expect a suitable outcome? I could have one person work for me and I do essentially all the work while I watch every move they make. It would be harder for me physically and I'd make less money, but I would have 95% control and could minimize issues like counters not being installed correctly or wrong colors being painted on the walls. The painter I like to use has raised his prices so much that I almost never use him anymore unless it's a high budget job.
  • I've said before that the best customers are the ones whose budget and expectations are aligned. Many people, though, want something cheap and amazing. Oh, and they want you to start next week. Maybe I should start every client interview with the project triangle discussion. If they don't understand the concept then I should just walk away.

  • 4/16/21 (17:42)

  • Well, I was touching upon the fall of society a bit yesterday so let's continue that today.
  • Meryl was in SF today and saw a drive-by. Don't think anyone died, this time.
  • I was in Berkeley and saw two guys chase down another guy and beat him up.
  • I contacted a tenant about some maintenance work she wanted done and asked her schedule for next week. She replied back "Monday?" and I replied that I can be there 8am on Monday. She replied back "Omg lmao any other slots?,," (sic). I gotta find a way to stop dealing with these people. It's just bad for my mental health.
  • Oakland homicides are up 215% this year from the same time last year. If homicides are up it's usually a bellwether for other crimes also being up. The difference with homicides is that they actually get reported, unlike the assault I saw earlier or the many property crimes that people don't even bother with anymore. I've been optimistic in the past, but I think we're living in a failed city at this point. The ideology that has cut police funding by $25 million amidst a pandemic and civil unrest isn't exactly operating on all cylinders.

  • 4/15/21 (20:47)

  • One thing I've found about pundits and the media especially, but probably people broadly, is that they dig until they find what they're looking for. So, some (let's call them R's) might see Bin Laden and draw some quick conclusions based upon a very superficial analysis of his look and ideology. They might say that Bin Laden and his group are bad people with bad ideas and a bad religion. Others (let's call them D's) see the same thing, but they might look into his personal history and the history of his people and region and, though they may not let him off the hook, they might have a variety of reasons for his behavior - or at least for the behaviors of many of his followers. "They are just disaffected youth without opportunities, they're freedom fighters, etc."
  • Then you have the Proud Boys. Those D's might look at them and draw some quick conclusions based upon a very superficial analysis of their look and ideology. They might say that the Proud Boys are bad people with bad ideas and a bad religion. Others (let's call them R's) see the same thing, but they might look into the personal history of the Proud Boys and might have a variety of reasons for their behavior. "They are just disaffected youth without opportunities, they're freedom fighters, etc."
  • Anyway, something to consider. How much do you dig when presented with a narrative?
  • I prefer to dig as far as I can to find something approximating the truth. I think we have a crisis in this country of man boys. Boys who haven't become men. Boys looking for a fight. Warriors without a war. Couple that with the parenting epidemic I've written about and an educational system that is in complete shambles and you get a bunch of idle and gullible hands looking for something to do. Mix that with a media that has completely failed and someone like Trump and you get the Proud Boys. Maybe if our educational system worked none of this would happen. Maybe if the media was worthy of trust none of this would happen. etc. etc. etc.
  • Watching a Frontline documentary on the capitol insurrection. Frontline has really jumped the shark with this one. Really over-wrought and dramatic. Clearly they are looking for a narrative and juicy content, rather then looking for a story with depth. It's a very superficial look at the modern militia movement. AC Thompson is the lead on the story and his agenda is pretty clear here and his other Frontline work. Not only is it a superficial look at a disturbing rise of right wing militias, but it also marks an overly stylized way of filmmaking. The interviews with UC Berkeley reporters, for example, look very staged and planned. The reporters are on the verge of smiling in their glee to talk about the evil of the militias. The music is overly dramatic. Every question framed with a certain answer in mind. The handheld camera work is like something out of an action feature film. At one point they're following the Proud Boys holding guns while they're walking around a city and the narration is talking about the Boogaloo Boys' potential for violence. Meanwhile, in the background there are boarded up windows with spray paint on them that reads "A.C.A.B." Did they not see this in the background? Did they not see the irony in this shot? It's right there - the subject of your film in the foreground (armed men being idiots) while in the background a clear symbol of other idiots with a different agenda. Let me spell it out. The boarded up businesses are boarded up because of BLM and Antifa rioting. The ACAB stands for "all cops are bastards" and it's largely associated with the George Floyd protests. Tunnel vision.
  • Masculinity hasn't been doing so hot lately. "Toxic masculinity" is a widely used term these days. Some think this is redundant (because all masculinity is toxic) and others are less misandric and say that only some types of behaviors associated with masculinity are deemed toxic. I think masculinity, like femininity, can be great when balanced out. Unfortunately we live in a state of Koyaanisqatsi (life out of balance) and so we are where we are. Masculinity is great for things like self-sacrifice or chivalry or forceful enforcement of norms or any number of other things. Part of masculinity is this desire to fight a war. It doesn't have to be a literal gun battle, but a physical struggle for something larger than yourself is something I think that is more likely to be engrained in men than women. Sometimes it leads to WW2 (oops) and other times it can be tapped into to end WW2 (yay). Yes, this is biological essentialism. No, I'm not saying that women don't have this desire. Part of what I'm seeing, and what I see in some of the young men I work with on the jobs, is that they have this desire in them...they don't have role models...they don't have an outlet for this desire and so they get into fights, they disparage women to feel better about themselves (after all what is their life if they have no purpose?) and society suffers greatly as a result. So, yeah, in a way men (and masculinity) are the cause of a lot of problems in society, but this is the digging thing I mentioned above...if you don't want to dig any deeper then you're left with masculinity is bad for society. But, if we're being honest, nothing exists in a vacuum. These boys who haven't grown up may have been coddled by a society that is increasingly feminine. Toxic femininity might be the over-developed desire to nurture and help and enable everyone. Sounds great until you raise a kid who can't take care of himself because his mother did everything for him, for example. Take that to the state level and you have a nanny state, the coddling of the American mind, the lack of self-esteem that leads to being weak and fragile, etc.
  • I've said it a million times before - you need a left wing and a right wing to fly. Yin and yang and all that. Femininity and masculinity need to be in balance just like everything else.
  • One thing that's interesting these days is that the Trans community is perhaps the biggest defender of gender roles in society...certainly in academia and amongst the intelligentsia. If I say that men care about things and women care about people then I'd get fired from Google (James Damore reference). If I were Trans, though, it would me just reaffirming why I felt like a woman trapped in a man's body. I care about feelings and people more so I feel like a woman and so I identify as a trans woman. It sure seems as though the trans community is upholding those norms more than anyone else these days, which is odd because I feel like just 5-10 years ago those norms were considered patriarchal.
  • This is very similar to the anti-racist crowd that claims that Barack Obama is definitely Black. He's not biracial because of the one drop rule. It's odd because the one drop rule is a rule imposed by racists and yet the anti-racists are the ones holding onto it more than anyone else.
  • We're living in a topsy turvy world.
  • The Left has "speak YOUR truth." The Right has "alternative facts."
  • Apu hasn't been on the Simpsons for a while and I think he's gone from the show forever at this point. What exactly was "problematic" about that character? The fact that a white guy did the voice? The stereotypical occupation? I, for one, liked Apu. I always thought he was treated with respect - he's not just a big dummy like Homer or Ralph or Nelson or Barney. He's an entrepreneur and, the fact is, that many people of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent are in that line of work. Nothing wrong about it. Odds are relatively good that the owner of a mini-mart (or [even better] motel) will be of similar descent.
  • One thing that I don't do as a parent is blow smoke up my kids' asses. No, you're not a perfect angel descended from heaven. You, like all of us, are a work in progress. To me, you're perfect, but this doesn't mean you know it all or are great at everything or that everything you do is thrilling to me. Yes, you can do wrong. It's my job to teach you what wrong is. What things are desirable and what things are not. What your priorities should be and what's a waste of time. This notion that kids are somehow great without doing anything is actually harmful in my opinion. I support you, of course, but you gotta do something great in order to be great. Otherwise I'm just lulling you into thinking you're better than other people or that greatness is free. What kind of parenting is that? What happens when that kid gets into the real world and no one knows them or gives a shit about them and they realize that they're average at most things (if they're lucky)? I'm playing the long game.
  • Paul Krugman was on the Ezra Klein show a while back and they talked about the stimulus money from Biden. Both of them talked about the $2000 checks and how it wouldn't lead to inflation, etc. Krugman won a Nobel Prize in Economics, but he somehow missed (several times) - and Ezra neglected to correct him - the fact that the check from Biden is actually $1400 (maximum, for those who qualify). This is aggravating.
  • In that same discussion they talked about Solyndra and claimed that the perceived problem with the Solyndra case was that Solyndra took government money and failed. They said that the government should do more of these Venture Capital type deals because it's good for innovation, etc. No, the problem wasn't that the government was backing businesses in the way that VC firms typically do, it's that they did so with a company (Solyndra) that had people who gave money to Obama's campaign. This is a clear pay for play or quid pro quo type of arrangement. Did these two super geniuses (they are both legitimately very bright) just misunderstand the problem or are they being willfully ignorant? Hmm. I mean, I expect this shit from Hannity and Young Turks, but not Ezra Klein...though he has been declining in my book lately. And Krugman has long been a party hack.
  • This is from Warnock's actual Twitter page. This has always been implied by those who offered this carve out or that benefit, but it's galling just how blatant and naked it is here. And this is the better of the two parties...we're fucked.

  • SF seems to attract a certain type of person. One of those types is the nosy neighbor. On a few occasions I have had random people walk into a house I'm working on and starting looking around. These aren't agents who are showing the place, or friends of the owner, or contractors looking for me or anything like that. It's just random people from the neighborhood who feel entitled to walk into someone else's home and look around and even comment on the work we are doing. The other day an old lady was walking around on the stairs where I had drop cloths laid down. She very well could have tripped and fallen. I would have probably been screwed as a result of this. I just don't understand these people.
  • I've never had this happen in Oakland. In Oakland the most I've had is people ask to see a unit I'm working on when they live in the same building. But in those cases they have asked instead of just walked in.
  • When COVID first got started I thought one consequence was going to be a move towards a cashless society. Thankfully that move hasn't been too hard. There's been the coin shortage and some businesses not wanting to take cash, but I thought we could see something from the government about it and that didn't happen so that's good and I was wrong about it.
  • Another thing I thought might happen was that once the vaccine came out there would be a more widespread move towards a two tier society where those with vaccines can do x, y and z and those without couldn't. I've heard talk about a "vaccine passport," but so far I haven't seen widespread adoption of such an idea. We'll see where it goes. With the power of the teachers' unions I'm wondering if it'll be another mandatory vaccine for kids.
  • I haven't talked about the schools much during this other than to point out several months ago that the unions essentially didn't want to come back until the pandemic was over. They're demands at the time were essentially equivalent to that, without stating it outright, and that hasn't changed much. I really don't see why teachers aren't essential workers. Why did they get  pass on everything while I (and grocery clerks and gas station attendants and UPS drivers and cops and and and and) had to go to work every day? The simplest answer is that the unions are very strong and the people in government are weak willed. Science has backed up keeping schools open for a long time, but that didn't matter to the Democrats who are the party of science. Typically the party keen to point out all the ways that America sucks and Europe has it all figured out, turned a blind eye to the many European countries that chose to keep schools open and close the bars and bra shops.
  • One of Gandhi's seven social sins is politics without principle. Neither party, neither wing seems to really have principles anymore. It's just whatever is politically expedient.
  • We all know about the compound effect in a mathematical or financial context...a little money now compounds to a lot later in life. But there's also the compound effect in life. A book by the same name lays it all out pretty well. It's kind of a self-help book and is a sorta cheesy compilation of wisdom about how to live a good and successful life. But there's also the compound effect in society. You could even call it a butterfly or domino effect...the mistakes of people in an interconnected society affect others and that affects still others. Lately I've been sensing a lot of this from COVID or something. A lot of people and companies making a lot of mistakes and it has affected my ability to do my job and it causes stress and that affects my ability to do an unrelated job. For example, I order blinds online all the time...the company didn't ship the proper hardware. I contacted them and they resent the hardware (so I had to wait a week to finish the job) and then when the hardware came they only gave me half (need two pieces per blind, they only sent one per blind). So these effects compound into time lost on other jobs and less work billed and that leads either to less money for me or higher prices for me to offset the inefficiencies of my suppliers. The blinds example is the latest, but even earlier today I went to two different HD locations to get something I needed (the app said both locations had some in stock) and both locations were actually sold out. Their inability to keep accurate inventory count stole an hour of my time...an hour I would have spent with my daughters. How many hours a year do my suppliers steal from me? Accident happen, but it seems like accidents are piling up a lot more the last 6 months especially.
  • It seems like the groups of people we're feeling sorry for seem to be getting smaller and smaller...and I suppose that's a sign of progress. I'm wondering what the next groups are. Fat shaming is already not allowed. I've started to hear a bit more about Lookism as a thing...I expect that to be a bit bigger with time, but I think it's harder to enforce and mobilize than some of the other stuff like racism and fat-shaming. I'm not sure where it goes for people, but I'm sure they'll find another oppressed group soon enough. I think the next really big one will be animals, though. There will be a big anti-factory farm movement first and then that won't be good enough and it'll be a full on vegan anti-animal cruelty movement after that.
  • I heard a podcast the other day and the guest was remarking that the US has only been a real democracy since the Civil Rights Act. Which I'm sure he thought showed how woke he is. "Wow, he's so right to point out that we can't be a democracy if Black people can't vote, we suck!" Unfortunately it just shows his blinders and obliviousness. Felons still can't vote, children (24% of population) still can't vote, non citizen residents still can't vote, mentally insane people still can't vote. So, we're still not a democracy. Hopefully in 100 years his statue is torn down for being so callous and ignorant that he would simply forget about 30%+ of the population. What an asshole. Cancel this POS.
  • Is there a universal lived human experience or is everyone a unique snowflake? I don't think you can have it both ways.
  • I believe in the right to repair and am generally not a fan of companies like Apple or many car companies that purposely make it difficult to work on your own property.
  • Usually planned obsolescence is a bad thing for the environment and consumer, but sometimes planned obsolescence has its advantages. If you have a water heater from 1970 or a toilet from 1985 then you're locked into a technology that isn't efficient and so having a 10 year life cycle for the average water heater is actually a good thing for society.
  • By the way it's a water heater. Not a hot water heater. No point in heating hot water. And I've yet to see a sexy water heater.
  • Apparently Biden's dog had a bathroom accident in the White House. This was news. Someone went to college and studied journalism, graduated said school, and wrote a story about a dog taking a dump in the White House. The Hill (a serious publication) decided that this was newsworthy. How many more examples do I need to throw up on here to prove that the media is a bigger problem than the last president? Honestly, if I were this writer's dad I'd be disappointed.
  • Meanwhile there's this article from a day before the other one. It's about the separation of powers, the power of the president to use military force...you know just minor issues that I've discussed here before. This article received 5 shares and 11 comments. The dog article received 5,304 shares and 1000+ comments. We're fucked.
  • To be clear, I don't care if Biden's dog impregnates Putin's mom. I don't think the presidential family pets should ever receive any coverage.
  • Something like a third of millennial dads don't own a hammer. This might be a gendered situation where maybe the millennial moms own the hammer so there's still a hammer in the house in, at best, two-thirds of cases, but this can't be a good sign for the survival of the species. I have certainly found this is be supported in many of the house calls I've been on. People call for replacing light bulbs and some of the dumbest, most basic repairs. I've also found that if you don't respond to some people within a few hours then you'll get a follow up text or email. People seem habituated to apps and an on demand economy. "I get my sushi delivered to the door in 30 minutes why haven't you fixed my blinds yet?" "It's difficult living without blinds."
  • About 8 years ago I remember the media having to fact check Republicans who were claiming that the Civil War wasn't about slavery - it's about States' Rights! But in this topsy turvy world we now have the likes of Nikole Hannah-Jones being lauded for her claims that the Civil War wasn't about slavery. White Northerners wouldn't stick their neck out for such worthless cause, is her assertion. What a mixed up world we live in when both extremes believe the same b.s. What's worse is that when these ideas are put out by the Republicans you'll get Vox doing pieces on how stupid they are. But when NHJ says the same stuff it's crickets. She asserts and they affirm with their scared silence.
  • Abraham Lincoln is a bad guy these days I guess. Very strange time to be alive.
  • The tipped minimum wage has a racist history so let's abolish it. It's kind of a weird thing that people do where they go as far back as needed to find some bad root cause or association of a thing and then impugn its entire existence because of some portion of its past. They do this with the police as well. Because policing was once (in part) about stopping runaway slaves that means cops today are racists. Simplification of the basic argument, but there it is.
  • "Stand back and stand by" is what Trump said to the Proud Boys after he was pressed during a debate on the issue of inciting violence. This perfectly summarizes Trump on these issues. "Stand back" is exactly the kind of thing you would want to hear from a president. And then he immediately follows it up with "stand by," which is exactly the opposite of what you would want to hear. He did this frequently - despite assertions otherwise, he actually disavowed white supremacists probably more than any other politician ever (because he was asked about it more than anyone ever). Here's a compilation of him doing so in case you still believe he's never disavowed them. But the thing is, just like that "stand back and stand by," it kind doesn't matter that he says the right thing when he later says the wrong thing. "No offense, but you're fat fucking pig." This is his MO. No offense theoretically shields you in the future, but then when you're calling a person a fat fucking pig it doesn't much matter that you started with "no offense." So, yeah, give the devil his due - he's disavowed the KKK and others more than anyone else I can think of. He's done it in so many words and he's done it clearly and repeatedly. But then he says "stand by" and it's clear he's just talking to two different people in the same sentence so that both of them can find what they want in him.
  • Some speakers are very good at this. They will say things throughout a speech that may contradict each other or appeal to seemingly separate constituencies and, I think, they know that different people will latch on to different parts of the same speech and find the things they like and forget the things they don't like. Later, their campaign team will cut the speech up and have different parts delivered to different demographics in targeted ads. It's just the way things work.

  • 4/4/21 (12:45)

  • I listen to a lot of true crime podcasts. One thing you'll notice is there are a lot of them with female victims. Women aren't the biggest victims of crimes - men are. So why do these stories focus disproportionately on the women as victims? Is it because we like to think of men as predators, or of women as victims, or both? Does it just naturally make for a better story somehow? If so, how/why? There's one podcast that focuses on women criminals. I've said before that we'll only approach equality in our minds when we can view women as as bad as men - something that Kill Bill did very well. Or when we're comfortable with all those black protagonists that are in movies now as being the worst person in the movie. In the old days you would have the bad guys be black or gay and it was because of their otherness or perversion that they were killers. Now we're woke so to use those immutable characteristics as sources of evil is wrong. But until you can conceive of all people as being capable of both good and bad, then we can't have equality in our minds.
  • When I first saw Pho restaurants I assumed it was a noodle that was pronounced like "foe." In reality it's pronounced like "fuh." When I first realized that it wasn't long before I thought that there should be a place called Pho King (like fucking). Then I discovered that there is such a place and all was right in the world.
  • A good Asian steak and noodle place should be called Pho Lei Minh Yun. Like filet mignon.
  • Remember when the TX governor declared that the state was going to be wide open - no masks, etc. and everyone gave him a hard time. I took a snapshot of the cases and deaths numbers on that date and I'll follow up after it's been two months to see how that state fared relative to CA, FL and some other populous states. Not exactly a perfect experiment, but something to consider. What do we expect to see from TX vs. CA over those two months? Ask the average Democrat and they'll say that TX numbers will soar as a result. Ask the average Republican and they'll say it probably won't matter.
  • Relatedly, FL has been very open relative to CA during this time. Economically we would expect FL to be much closer to 2019 "normal" numbers in terms of their GDP and employment, etc. relative to CA, which as been much more cautious and shut down. From a pandemic standpoint you would expect a lot more lives lost in FL than in CA (as measured on a per capita basis). FL has an older population so you would expect the number of deaths to be quite a bit worse, actually. There are other factors as well, of course, but I'm not going to do graduate level research on this. I'm hoping to revisit these questions after the TX governor announcement is two months old to see how much that mattered and how much Newsom's approach vs. DeSantis's approach mattered.
  • Heard a stat the other day from David Shor - 5% of the population is white and college educated. More than 50% of Democratic campaign staffers are white and educated. These are the same people who lament the lack of diversity in media and call for reparations and have BLM lawn signs and all the rest that goes with the woke movement. Why don't 90% of them give up their jobs to someone who isn't college educated or white?
  • This brings me to another question about white people with college educations (like me). Why did you take a spot in college from a poor person of color and then not do anything with that education? Many of us (like me) got a political science degree and then used that to renovate houses for a living...or volunteer on the PTA or be a part time Etsy crafter or a house parent or, in some other way, not use our education. Aren't we part of the problem?
  • At the lumber yard the other day and I gave my receipt to the lot attendant who is supposed to pull the lumber and deliver it to your truck. He gets my lumber and then starts delivering it to another guy's truck...talking to him about where he wants it, etc. The guy finally looks confused and tells him it's not his stuff. I'm watching all this trying to catch his eye when he finally looks up and I wave him over. He says sorry, I say no biggie and load the lumber and move on. He was black and I am white. If the races were reversed this would be an example of racism (if I were so inclined to view it as such). It's scientifically established that people have a harder time identifying people outside of their race. Some true crime documentaries have focused on this fact when showing the inability to rely on eye witness accounts. So, there's science to back it up and it's not unreasonable to see the racial aspect to this if I were so inclined. So, should we reinforce this so people make the decision to see this as a sinister and insidious form of racism or should we just laugh this kind of thing off? Let's ask the Critical Race Theorist geniuses of Twitter to see which way our society should go with this microagression...
  • Forget where I heard the stat, but apparently more than half of Americans will spend at least a year in the top 10%. This is an aspect of the inequality talk that doesn't get enough attention...the fact that the same people are often all over the income scale - depending upon when you measure. Good scholars will look at this, but the media (and politicians) pretty much ignores it because it's too complicated. For example, I've been in the bottom 5% (I assume) for a couple years in my life when I made less than $6k/year. When I worked in OH as a park ranger I made $60/week (though I got a free room). Now I charge more than that an hour.
  • "A doctrine of black supremacy is as dangerous as a doctrine of white supremacy. God is not interested in the freedom of black men or brown men or yellow men."
  • Do you think that quote is racist? If you're told it comes from Trump then 50% of the people polled said it's racist. If you're told it comes from MLK then 2% think it's racist. What does that say about our critical thinking? I've pointed out before that the same thing happens with D vs. R issues. If a quote comes from a D and you're a D, then you're much more likely to agree with it, regardless of its content....and vice versa.
  • By the way, the quote comes from MLK.

  • 4/3/21 (13:40)

  • This is going to be a problem. I expect to see more dumping soon. Luckily it's not deck building season yet. Another well-intentioned government intervention that will likely lead to negative consequences. There's a creek near my house where people throw their refrigerators and car parts and now they'll throw their pressure treated lumber there as well....thereby doing more envrionmental damage than the alternative. It's important to consider alternatives, or ask "compared to what?" when making decisions like this. The left and right are both guilty of this. The right says let's have abstinence only education and the left says let's ban throwing away PT lumber. The result is that teens fuck without condoms or proper education and contractors dump their trash on the road (or in a creek which then further pollutes the water table).

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