we went to a pool party today. i got to vent about how unfair work was. flank steak dinner was really good. but it was embarrassed by the peach and blackberry pie and the 911 chocolate emergency cookies the beautiful and talented alisa had made. anywho, i digress. marco was filling water balloons and dropping them into the pool. where they sank to the bottom. the other kids would dive and fetch them. fun was had by all. so uh why did the water balloons sink? usually water balloons have a bit of air in them. so they should float. marco was apparently using a secret technique that didn't put air in the water balloon. still though. the plastic latex stuff of which the balloons are made floats. so again, why did the water balloons sink? answer tomorrow.
b was a bit jet lagged a few days after returning home from michigan and chicago. we were reading. he was twitching to stay awake. at one point he stopped. ben? says i. no response. he's kneeling in front of the rocking chair. face down on the seat cushion. my chair squeaked when i got up to share such a sight with the beautiful and talented alisa. he awoke. sat in the rocker. and was asleep again in moments. sent him to bed. so he could get us up at 5 frikken o'clock in the frikken morning.
i wish i was a really good communicator. if i had the gift of oration i'd be able to present my ideas in ways that everyone would understand. even if they didn't agree. they'd at least understand. guess what. i don't have such gifts. i find i keep saying the same basic thing in different ways. and yet i don't see the light bulbs going on. it would be really easy to quit. to say, fuck it. lower my taxes. i've run out of ways to say not a good idea.
continuing yesterday's thread... let me borrow a metaphor. about blind guys feeling up an elephant in the dark. they all have different opinions on what it is cause they've grabbed a different part. anywho, most of us spend our entire lives in a relatively small part of the wealth/income distribution. middle class kids grow up to middle class lives and start middle class families. same for rich and poor. so like the blind guys each group has a different opinion about how the tax machine works. and if they compare notes, they can get into really vicious fights. like say the rich guy says we need to raise taxes. the middle class guy and the poor guy lynch him. even if the rich guy says we need to raise taxes for the rich. the middle class guy and the poor guy still both think he's talking about them. why? cause they both busted their humps all their lives and moved to the upper portions of their brackets. ie they're relatively rich. they think of themselves as rich.
why do i hate the rich? heh. actually i don't. i think everyone should work hard and be rich. it's what that whole land of opportunity thing is all about. in timmer's ideal world the law of diminishing returns would apply to all income/wealth brackets. like say you're a war refugee or a new collidj grad. you start working and the reward is high. you work for a while and accumulate some wealth. now the reward should be reduced. a little at first. continue accumulating wealth and the reward continues dropping. but not too far. you should always be able to get more wealth by working more. however, at some point you decide you have enough wealth and you'd rather spend your time enjoying it than spend your time making more. so far i don't think i've said anything too controversial.
work canceled my vacation for an extremely important project. so my family was off having fun in michigan without me. work has pulled me away from them before. also on too short notice. but not for this long. that was hard. it wasn't entirely unexpected though. so we were prepared for the worst. or thought we were. we truly weren't. hours after the last possible moment i could catch up to them... work cancels the extremely important project my vacation was canceled for. alisa and the boys are traveling around the midwest far from convenient airports. so it'd be really tough to catch up to them. fuck. cruel. it wasn't so bad for me before. cause i had lots of stuff to do at work. now i don't. i have some stuff i can do around the house. but that still leaves lots of time for thoughts to drift to my beautiful wonderful family. and not being with them. shit. thank you work. so, how was your week?
so i was reading a blog i hadn't read in a while. (btw, like the new look.) i almost sent mail to the author saying something like, hey your blog is pretty good when you're not calling me a dumbass. then on second thoughts, i had a brilliant idea on how i could improve my own blog.
poker tax 2
there's usually about a week between when i write a post and when it gets published. so let me anticipate the inevitable 'ur a dumbaas' replies to yesterday's post. poker is a zero sum game and taxes aren't. sorta. it is if you include the house. for all the players it's a negative sum game. cause they have to pay the house. the economy grows every year so it can't be a zero sum game. heh. true enough. i didn't say taxes are exactly like poker. heh. when you play poker do you intentionally concede pots to the guy who's winning cause he'll bring more players to the table? i'm betting uh lemme think here, uh, no. anywho, the argument has been made that people get unhappy and turn to crime because they perceive that the other guy has gots more stuffs dan day gots. i'll go with that. then it pretty much directly follows that it's irrelevant if the game is zero sum or not. the loser's gonna be pissed. unless of course, he never gets it.
taxes are a game played for money. so is poker. some of the same rules apply. like if you're sitting at the table and you don't know who the mark is, you're it. now consider reagonomics. who's the mark? i'll give you a hint. it's not the rich.
hm... russia. georgia. i'm thinking the next president might have a real war on his hands. i don't really want to say the iraq conflict is not a real war. especially not to the mothers of soldiers who've died there. but it'll be pretty sobering to experience the change of scale of a war with russia.
i am a taco shaped teeter totter. when i walk i pick up one foot. swing it forward. crash it to the ground. stand on it. pick up the other foot. swing it forward. repeat. our two party government is also a taco shaped teeter totter. the balance between the two parties is a knife edge. first we swing one way. and do all the stupid shit the jackass party wants to do. and a few good things that take us in the right direction. then they crash. and the party of illuminated idiots takes over. they get their turn fucking things up. and manage to do a few good things by fortuitous accident. before they too crash. and the taco teeters t' otter. the cool thing about a democratically elected government is we can take a step every decade or so. as opposed to say a dictatorship. where it can take most of a lifetime to take a single step. enjoy your walk.
one wonders if russia would have invaded georgia if we hadn't squandered our military and political might in iraq.
i got off the train one morning and was walking to work. i see a parking enforcement mini-car talking to some pg&e guys with their trucks and orange cones. odd, i think. i keep walking. the meter maid zips around the trucks and i see the object of their interest. and yeah, i'm gonna call him a meter maid. even though he was male, buff, and od'd on testosterone. i'm an old fart. what can i say? so anywho, there's this bmw parked right in the middle of their work zone. would have been kind of hard to miss the tow away zone signs. the thought of a beemer in the pound gives me a chuckle. the "maid" looks at me and asks, is this yours? which gives me another chuckle. i just shake my head, no. i should have waved my skates at him. and said something witty like, here's my wheels. all eight of em.
saga so far
thu am: packing up the beautiful and talented alisa and the boys to go on the annual camp michigania trip. this year they've got an extra jaunt to chicago and macinac island planned. i'm excluded from those extra bits so i can stay home and gets lots of work done. thu aft: ceo cancels my entire trip. thu pm: not cool. compensate me. fri am: ceo: no, have a nice trip. yay! vacation. fri am: a/c fails in the server building. things get unreliable. fri am: managers of all groups ask their employees to come in to work this weekend. fri aft: meeting with ceo. expectation is he'll sign off on all the hard work we've done since the last time he saw the product. instead he raises the bar and adds an insane number of new deliverables. fuck, no vacation. fri aft: folks discover the server room is 150 degrees and computers have failed. mad scramble to repair the damage. fri pm: a/c restored. servers restored. fri pm: drunk employee sets a fire in the main building. fire trucks and everything. timmer works through the evacuation order. fri pm: cancel flights and break the bad news to alisa again. sat am: fell asleep on the train. skated back to palo alto from menlo park. sat aft: change all passwords. sat aft: product has gone from wow! to holy fucking shit wow! except for a few minor problems that will be really fucking difficult to fix. so, how was your week?
motorcycles are dangerous. everyone knows that. i've owned several. i used to commute in la traffic on one. never had a problem. never seen a downed bike. spilled mine once when being pulled over by a cop. broke some plastic, tore a hole in my pants, and missed a dnd game. i made a mental tally of all the people i know personally who died in vehicular accidents: cars 3, bicycles 2, motorcycles 1, tractors 1. by my reckoning that makes vehicles dangerous in this order: tractors, bicycles, motorcycles, cars.
timing is everything. we went hiking in edgewood park with the boys. there were some geocaches nearby. so we decided to stop. one was called horse apples. we found the horse apple tree. but being novice geocachers we didn't find the actual geocache. bummer. we tramped all around there. funny thing about horse apples. they apparently are balls of glue. i stepped on two. one each boot. and they stuck. and everything i stepped on after that stuck too. so my boots got heavier and heavier and heavier as they picked up sticks gravel and rocks. blech. there was no way the beautiful and talented alisa was going to let me in her car with that mess on my feet. so we took an extra minute to quarantine my boots in the trunk. on the way home we encountered a traffic slowdown. a young lady was face down in the #2 lane. motorcycle helmet and no boots. she looked pretty dead. which isn't something we really wanted the boys to be seeing. traffic hadn't backed up yet. and people were just getting out their cell phones. so it was really recent. if we hadn't stopped to shed my boots we might have seen it happen. which is definitely not something we would have wanted to the boys see.
another anniversary came and went again this year. we seem to be in sync. we gave each other poetry. her's was way better than mine. but that is to be expected. i was not born under a rhyming planet. i have to probe when our anniversary is every year. i swear it changes dates. it probably doesn't. and i'm just a nut job. i should do what my uncle jack did. he got custom license plates with my aunt's birthday and their anniversary. there. now she can't move it around on him. i've always liked uncle jack.
my father-in-law is very proud of the solar panels on his roof. they are pretty cool. not exactly cost effective. even with the rebates and tax write offs. but whatever. one thing though makes them completely dumb. it's not your power. all the power from your panels goes to the electric company. you get credit for what you produce against what you consume. pretty sure you're not allowed to make a profit. otherwise, you're a power company. and subject to all the rules and regulations every other power company is subject to. the dumb thing though is when the power goes out, the power is out. you can't just flip a switch and power your own house with your own solar panels. which is just dumb. really dumb.
things are looking better in iraq. this is a good thing. some folks will say the surge worked. some folks will say it was the bribes to turn foes to friends. some folks will say it was running sadr out of town. and some will say it was the iraqis finally figuring out it's all up to them. whatever. it's impossible to say what was the cause. we'd have to repeat the experiment a few dozen times. with say no surge or an earlier bigger surge etc. otherwise we might as well give credit to shaman sally's ooga booga dance. anywho. the best possible outcome is that iraq's future parallels japan's after world war 2. ie peace, prosperity, economic dominance, free markets, us ally, civil liberties, secularity, etc. which is kinda funny. cause they had more of all of that than any other muslim country in the region before the first gulf war.
somewhere back in the middle of the housing boom the beautiful and talented alisa questioned where all the money was coming from. the answer then was along the line of who cares? we're getting rich woo hoo! anywho, the answer now is pretty obvious. the government was printing it. and loaning it out. which worked as long as the housing marking absorbed all the extra cash. ie house prices went up and up and up. which worked as long as interest rates went down and down and down. course that all came to an end. and now all that built up printed play money came spilling out into the real economy of milk, gasoline, and tuition. and there's nothing anyone can do about it. except to wait for the economy to grow into the new jumbo sized number of dollars out there. which will take many years of being more fiscally responsible than all other currency producers. that'll be a nice change.
anyone who says taxes are perfect just the way they are and they should be left alone just doesn't get it. myth: tax cuts for the rich improve the economy. nudge nudge wink wink: us rich folks are pretty keyed in to when the economy is gonna improve. and when it's gonna tank. so we schedule tax cuts and hikes for rich folks accordingly specifically to reinforce the aforementioned belief. yep yep we need to revamp the tax system. course historically rich folks have made out pretty well whenever we've done that. no matter what the agenda was. so maybe on second thoughts, they do get it.
hit and run drivers suck. sheehs. if you can afford to drive a car through a residential district of san mateo you can afford to leave contact info when you accidentally destroy someone else's property. even if you were driving drunk. you'll be sober by the time i call you. now i'm out $250 deductible plus whatever my insurance goes up. per year. grumble grumble.
when grandma dies it's traditional to get together and fight over who gets all of her stuff. it's especially important to scream really loud that you're supposed to get X. even if you don't want X. in which case, it's even more especially important to scream even louder that you don't want X. and it's critically important to end every lull of more than 6 seconds with the statement: you can't have this. anywho, maybe that's just my family. or maybe it's just the women in my family. i wanted two things: the house and the baseball. i ended up with the house, the baseball, a pocket knife, a tin, and a teapot. the beautiful and talented alisa wanted the teapot. i built the house when i was 12 or so. 12 being the age i was when i did everything that i did when i was kid. it was a scale model of the house my grandparents lived it. came out pretty good. the years were kinda hard on it. and the doghouse was long lost. ah well. my grandfather managed to burn himself rather badly one time. i happened to hit a home run in a little league all-star game while he was in the hospital. so i signed it and dedicated it to him to cheer him up. they wouldn't let him drink. so he was kinda unhappy. it's one of only two home runs i ever hit during all the years i played baseball. so it's kinda cool. or maybe i'm just getting old. i made many many "pocket knives" out of popsicle sticks when i was 12. don't know why this one was special enough to be saved for three decades. i would have liked to have the lionels and the playboys. but the lionels apparently didn't make the move out of philadelphia when i was 12. and the playboys apparently disappeared sometime after i discovered them in his basement when i was 12.
so i was hiking up a trail alone. coming down was a japanese man woman and child. they were in the middle of field of scree. he looks at me, holds up a finger, and says in broken english: one at a time. he turned his attention to the princess. yar. like i'm gonna wait for this. it's not a huge sluice of tumbled rocks. the smallest ones in yosemite are bigger. but it's plenty wide for a few freight trains to pass by without having to exchange mail bags. so i cut across and up and past them. mom hisses at me. i spared a glance. this is my element. not yours. i make the rules. you learn em.
so if you look at society today it's a flippin miracle all this stuff works at all. much less as well as it does. and you look at all the problems that need to be solved in the near to mid future: water, food, energy, pollution, etc... you just want to drop to your knees in despair. heh. no don't. there's an army of engineers and scientists and folks out there working their asses off to keep things running like clockwork. now and far into the future. the thing that sticks in my craw is the stubborn insistence of the ignorant fucks to give the credit to god when it was these people who did the work.
the tides when we were in the galapagos islands on the equator were nothing. like, tides? what tides? here in maine we watch a huge harbor regularly fill and empty. fill and empty. tides are caused by the moon. why are tides bigger here in maine than at the equator? this trend can't continue all the way to the north pole. otherwise there'd be a huge wall of water slowly spinning at the north pole. i guess i'll have to spend some spare brain cells on this one sometime.
the adage is you can't choose your relatives. at my grandmother's memorial there was a fairly large gathering of my relatives. most of whom are fairly extraordinary. auntie p was going on about how lucky we are to have everyone who's so wonderful yada yada yada. i was thinking she married uncle jack. half the people in this room are his relatives. you can't choose your relatives. sorta.
so if i were to write a sit com it'd be really funny. naturally. one of the recurring gags would be zingerman. the primaries are doing the setup. zingerman walks on stage. delivers his one line zinger. and walks off stage leaving the the stars zung. it'd be hilarious. folks would watch the background of the show waiting for zingerman to appear. then they'd all say, there he is! i see him! and miss the punch line. it'd be awesome. i'm gonna be so rich.
it was time to leave echo lake. get cleaned up. and find dinner. i called out, kindern! kommen sie heir bitte! they acted like they didn't understand a word i was saying. which is pretty much exactly the same reaction when i say something they don't want to hear in english. and if i'm going to have my commands ignored i'd much prefer if the kids really didn't understand them. otherwise i'd have to punish them for be being disobedient.
so a passel of us are vacationing with my auntie p in maine. we went to echo lake. the kids went swimming. i'm allergic to both sand and water. so i took off down a trail. it went up. pretty steeply. i was alone. and in shape from skating to work every day. it's ten miles. each way. well work is ten miles away. but the train station is only 1.1. yeah, ftt. anywho, i hoofed it up the mountain. found some ladders. weird. and some folks with dogs. giggled when i thought of the dog's being carried up the ladders by their owners. at one point i was approaching a tree fallen over the path. i happened to look down and noticed a sign. duck, tree. giggled again. i guess some folks hike with their eyeballs on their feets. and not on where they are or where they're going. so i guess there needs to be a sign on the ground warning about a tree at head height.
sex is a fairly integral part of life on a farm. i wonder how much our hyper puritanical attitudes towards sex are caused by our disconnect from the farm. it's kinda hard to act like there's no such thing as intercourse when you can look out in the fields and see it in action. on the other hand there's really no need to explain the consequences of such actions. sex - baby - work work work work work and more work. but no. food comes from the grocery store. sex is not allowed and hence coveted like a sin. and consequences - what are those?