Friday Fives – and pigs will fly

What was that cool thing/brand that everyone wanted when you were growing up, but now you’d get laughed at for having?

I can’t give you that.  While I wasn’t terribly uncool, or spazzy… I wasn’t one of the cool kids.  Were I, think I would be writing this drivel for aholes?  No, I’d be out partying with my cool friends.  So, I offer you the opposite. In about 8th grade… so we are talking 1984-ish… I had Birkenstocks.  Those are the super comfy sandals… that soon came to be openly mocked and associated with dirty hippy losers (a la the perennial punching bag, patchouli).  They were AMAZING, but people just thought they were weird and dumb.  Plus, I had long hair at the time, so I was pretty much the stereotype that evolved.

Anyhow, what none of you know (who have never owned ‘Birks’) is the footbed was cork.  What this meant is that over time, your foot totally formed it.  What this meant is after about 6 months, your ‘birks’ were completely customer fitted to your feed.  Like a favorite pair of jeans, but 100 times better.

What website do you no longer go to, but was once a favorite?

Bert is Evil!  It was a novelty site from early in the internet.  The premise was stupid, and simple, and delightful!  Photoshopping Bert, from Sesame Street, into historic tragedies… implying the only common thread in man’s darkest moments is Bert.  The pictures still live on, god bless the internet.  Here are a few.

What food did you love as a child but hate it now?

Gosh, again I can only think of the opposite.  I was a very picky eater as a child, but am now more open to most things (except: olives and mushrooms).  Lastly… who says gosh anymore?  ME!  I am trying to swear less, fagsCripples!  Retard!  Midget!  um… Siamese Twin!   Jesus, can’t I say anything?

** editors note.  We really tried to take that those words out.  He knows to NEVER use them, and actually prefers gay folks to the breeders.  He agees these are words we should mostly move past.  Seriously,  he has even married them.  He just misses using the word in the 6th grade, South Park sense.  And if you don’t think 12 year old boys talk like that, you’re prolly anyway, come on!  We can’t use ‘midget’.  Is little person better?  Sounds creepier to me.  Easy for me to say, though, I ain’t no midget dwarf little person!

What’s a scam that people throw money at without knowing it’s stupid?

 

Television.  I likely don’t work or commute that much more than you.  When I get home, I have about 2 to 3 hours to hang out with wifey, make dinner, clean, laundry, garbage, and all the millions of other things that adulting requires.  That gives me about 2 hours a night max to watch TV.  And I LOVE tv.  But, not enough to pay $120 a month for it.  Last time I did that, I just lived in DVR debt®.  Yeah, I got all four seasons of ‘Rescue Me’ on the DVR (youtube it, that show was brilliant!)… when am I going to find a magical three days to sit and do nothing but watch it.  Now what about the other 7 shows I recorded season passes for? ****

I know I just talked about this, but our tv bill is about $120 a year.  Netflix!  Now, we have Amazon Prime for tv, but I don’t count that in the overhead… since we do it for the free 2 day shipping.  And… we have Hulu, but not an account.  We are simply using Ashley’s log in.  You should, too.

Pigs have sprouted wings and can now fly. How does this affect life as we know it?

 Bacon becomes a gold like commodity.  Remember, pigs are both very smart, and very mean.  Once they can fly, we are fucked!

 

*** the pinheads and narcs at WordPress would like me to know via spellcheck, that these are not words:  adulting, youtube, and wifey.  I nailed all that shit in one paragraph.  I gots an English degree, muthafuckas… so if I say a word… it’s a word.

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Friday Fives – alien style

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If you were an alien visiting Earth where would you visit first

India.  So much beauty, and so many people.  Plus, the Dalai Lama is there.  So, something is going on pretty great there.  I have never been there.  I am kinda freaked out by the intensity of it all.  I think if I did land in one of the big cities, we would have to get out to the countryside as soon as humanly possible.

How would you get here and how long would it take?

You know I can’t answer these questions.  Geesh, you want the keys to my spaceship, too?  We ain’t falling for that one again, Earl!

What would you do or say when you got here?

Earl?  That you?

What would be your best judgment about Earth and what would be your worst judgment about Earth?

I am impressed as many people drive as they do, and as fast as they do, that you all don’t kill each other constantly.  You drive around in bullets, and somehow are remarkably safe.  That is impressive.   We are quite curious how white men run the world, when the world is mostly brown people and women.   Not sure how you did that, but kudos from all of us on that one.  It’s really something.

What would you look like?

Like this, but with a huge rack I could play with all the time.  Something about boobies, it transcends humanity.  They are just fantastic.  Again, you humans are doing pretty damn well with the whole project.

Colorado ballot proposals – Nov 2018

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As promised, here are my ballot thoughts with some research behind it.

I did some digging and explaining, and it may help you.  There is hours of research here, sadly.

My opinions are un-apologetically liberal, for the most part.  I won’t pretend to be impartial.  When in doubt, I always vote Democrat.  Yes, I know they are all evil weasels on the take… Dems and Republicans.  At least the Dems ran out the rapists and various sexual offenders.  EVERY ONE OF THEM… even the small potatoes.  Where the GOP supported child rapist Roy Moore, or for SCOTUS, serial rapist (and admitted alcoholic) Brett Kavanagh.

PLEASE feel free to challenge or correct me.  Please feel free to pass around.  Tell me why I am wrong.  In just chatting with the wifey this week, I changed my view on a couple of these things.

Every single commercial you have seen is a one sided lie.  Be suspect of EVERYTHING… including all of my advice.

Here is a handy trick I use when i don’t know enough about an issue… vote against whomever has the most money and best commercials.  Entrenched big money is NEVER looking at for the average person.  Never has, and never will.  I get that issues can have meta impacts on the economy.   Yes, paying teachers more than minimum wage (for example) would cost the taxpayers MILLIONS.   Know what else will cost taxpayers millions?  Incarcerating that little shit who dropped out because school and teachers and society failed him.  Spend the money up front, it’s an investment.

Prop 73funding for schools.

Voting Yes

Why > I don’t have kids, and never plan to have kids.  Still, I NEVER EVER vote against education spending.  If you don’t believe public schools are important, stop reading and go jump off a bridge.  A rising tide lifts all boats. If we have better schools, more kids graduate. More kids have good jobs when they grow up.  That means less people apt to rob you, and more money going into the infrastructure for roads and bridges. Listen, I am sure you don’t trust the govt to handle your money.  I get that, no one does. However, cutting money for schools only hurts all of society, short and long term.

For the love of god, for yes for schools.  We are low on school spending. However, I will shortly contradict all of that on the Douglas County initiative

School district funding for Douglas County. 

Unsure

Why >  This one is tough. I firmly believe in always saying yes to education.  But here is what is weird. Douglas County is one of the richest counties on Earth, and is 7th richest in the US.   So… why are they mooching? I live Douglas County adjacent, and lived there for 15 years. We also use their schools.  At the grocery store last week, I saw TWO BMWs with nice little window treatments on the back windows supporting this. Again… why are people with BMWs begging for more money?  How the hell do these teachers afford BMWs. Douglas County is VERY suspect in their motives. Just two years ago, they wanted to basically have the right to secede from the public school system, and make taxpayers pay for their little precious rich crackers to go to private religious schools.  The whole nation was watching, and we stopped it.

I gotta tell you, I am torn and have not decided.  Yes… schools and teachers need more money. But… Douglas County is the monopoly man with sacks full of cash.  My huge blue book has no info on this, so I need to research more.

Prop 109 >  money for roads

Voting NO

Why > Seems like a no brainer, we all want better roads… but then I saw a commercial Gov Hick did against it.  Though he is a politician (and I was VERY unhappy with all the ass-licking he has done for the gas and oil lobby) I still REALLY like and respect him.  Gov Hick did a commercial saying it was bad and unfunded. So, I researched more. Just looked at it with the wifey – answer is NO. Why?  We need better roads, especially here in Elbert. But this initiative is a mandate, AND unfunded. What does that mean? The critics (among them the Denver Post and Gov Hick) say to pay for it, money will just be pulled from schools.  This whole initiative is suspect, for sure. NO. Normally, like education, I would NEVER vote against infrastructure investments. This one is suspicious and incomplete. This is a ‘rob peter to pay paul’. Want better roads? Ok, but you have to let us close schools.

Prop 110 > money for roads

Voting YES.

Why > Spending money on roads and bridges and stuff.  Maybe if we pass this, EVERY highway project in CO won’t continue to be express tolls only.  Did you know that ALL free expansions now and planned are ALL for toll roads?  The C470 widening, the E470 widening, the coming I-25 widening from Castle Rock to Fountain.  Every minute you spend in construction will only result in toll lanes.

Even if you are a righty, especially if you are a righty… you recognize that this is govt’s job.  Infrastructure.

https://www.cpr.org/news/story/record-breaking-political-spending-swamps-colorado

Prop 111restricting rates on payday loans

Voting YES

Why > 1.7 million supports it.  Here is the deal, you have NO idea how fucked up and predatory these places are.   On paper, the loan rate maxes out in the 30% range… which is already usurious (remember Jesus attacking the money lenders in the bible?  It was about this. Well, with missed payments and back funds, it can be in practice 120%. I had an employee who worked for me who did one of these.  She borrowed about $250 against her paycheck that was coming in a week. Being a mom and grandmom and primary breadwinner for the whole family, she didn’t readily have the money to pay it back.  This is VERY common, which is why they borrow.  3 months later, she owed them over a grand, and was being called and threatened daily. In the olden times, this kind of predatory lending was called ‘usery’, and it was one of Jesus’s biggest beefs.

Prop 112 > oil and gas setback

Oil & Gas companies are AGAINST it.  in fact, they have spent as of last week

33 million spent against it

Voting YES

Why > Let’s be honest.  It likely will make fracking and drilling tougher.  Maybe that is ok. Maybe we live in the damn windiest and sunniest place in America.  Maybe that is where we could spend our money. Just the fact that oil companies have broken every spending record in history to fight this is good enough for me to support it.   Btw, the adds say if you support this it will ‘destroy Colorado’s economy’ and ‘cost hundreds of thousands of jobs’. No it won’t. NONE OF THESE INITIATIVES will have that kind of impact.  I do not feel compelled to assist oil companies in ANY manner.  Neither should you.

https://www.bizjournals.com/denver/news/2018/10/10/colorado-proposition-112-well-setback-donors.html

Amendment A > prohibition against slavery

Voting Yes

Why > This isn’t so much about slavery as we know it… except in the meta sense.  This is very specifically about prison labor…  and whether prisons can be made to work for free.  I guess I will go with yes on this, which means no to slavery.  Maybe you are thinking ‘fuck them, they are there for a reason, and they should have to pay back through work to offset the cost of incarcerating them”  that would be great, but that is NOT what is happening.  What happens is no matter how much they work or don’t work or are paid or aren’t paid… it costs the same to us… about $30K per prisoner per year.  What the for profit prisons do is get contracts to sell widgets.  It’s a great deal for everyone, except the prisoner.  The prison sells the widgets and pockets the money.  That is why I support this bill.  It is just helping the for profit prisons get richer on the backs of (let’s be honest) young black men working for free.  Hence the term, ‘slavery’.

If a prison could or would work to pay back the cost to imprison them… I would be fine with that.  That isn’t what’s happening.

The wording seems dramatic… but is it? Aren’t we largely talking about young black men here? Yes, I am generalizing.  Everything about our prison system is evil and criminal… and I ain’t talking about the prisoners, either.

because our prisons are run by private companies FOR profit. Is that a group of people that want to rehabilitate these young men?  No, if they did that, they would be out of business. The more I think about this, the more I am voting yes.

Amendment Vallows people to run for office at 21, as opposed to (currently) 25.

Voting yes

Why > Why not? If someone is driven to public service, that is a good. There could be a sinister motive behind this, but I don’t see it.  Guess we need to look at the spending.

Amendment Y & Zapproves a third party to draw congressional districts,

Voting Yes

Why > instead of the current way – which is Gerrymandering.  Gerrymandering is politics at its worst.  It is where congressional district borders are re-drawn every ten years via the census.  Seems right, people move and demographics change. Yes, that would be fine. But that isn’t how it is used.  It is used by the ruling party to to include and exclude neighborhoods to create demographic juntas… for lack of a better term.  Whomever is in control of Congress gets to draw them. Every party does it, and its bullshit. Here is the most recent example of where I live.

My district is Elbert county (which is 3 guys named Earl, 7 horses, and 23 cows.) However, this district also includes Douglas County. Douglas County is the 7th richest county in the nation.  It includes Highlands Ranch, all the way down to Larkspur. It is rich white folk, and so historically has always skewed Republican. The Dems wanted in, so they redrew the boundaries when they had the chance (during the Obama era).  They widened it to include a bunch of Aurora. Why? Aurora is poorer by a long stretch… and so tends to skew Democrat. In order to try and secure this district for themselves… the Dems (basically, and I know I am generalizing) threw in as many poor and minority voters as they could to try and get that seat for a Democrat.

It didn’t work. Why? My opinion… disenfranchised voters don’t vote at the rate rich white folks do. That is why the system represents rich old white people… and how they stay in power.

because they vote like a motherfucker. If more poor and young people voted… politicians would do more for them. Its a self fulfilling Sisyphean battle… because disenfranchised people don’t vote because they don’t feel represented.

I don’t know what the new system will be.  It will probably get corrupted and fucked, but it has to be better than the current system.

Amendment 74if govt (oil development) hurts your property value, they have to reimburse you. 

Voting yes

 I suspect this is not as pure and altruistic Big Oil is against it… so I am for it.

Amendment 75matching money for fundraising

Voting yes

Why > This one is yucky, but I say yes.  It says if one candidate puts in 1 million of his OWN money… then his competition has the right to accept more than the current amount they can take (which is, I think, about $3,000 per person/business)

6A – Rattlesnake fire money – (obviously, this is super local… but support firemen!)

Voting yes

Why >My wonderful neighbor Jim gave me some insight on this.  He is on the board of directors (to which he nominated me, which I am still honored by)   He explained why we should vote, which I will share with you..  Plus?  Who votes against firemen?  You are a monster if you do.

The judges?  I don’t know any of them, so I am abstaining.  I never feel comfortable with these questions. No one knows who these people are, and I can’t find easy access to their histories of positions.   This isn’t something we should vote on. There should prolly be some kind of oversight board… but they would likely be all corrupt.

My friend Ken gave me a long and twisted and thoughtful explanation of why he votes no across the board.  I agree with him.  But, I won’t ask you to do one way or the other.

Pearl Jam home shows – a review

As far as Pearl Jam shows go… this was a meh.  We shall get to that at great length.

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First, the trip.  It was a special trip by the time I hit the Denver airport going to Seattle  I saw a lot of ‘Jammers’. I don’t think us Pearl Jam fans have a cool name like ‘Deadheads’, so we will go with ‘Jammers’.  Even getting on the parking lot bus shuttle in Denver I started seeing Pearl Jam shirts. It looked like our pilot did, too. Our flight was a direct flight from Denver to Seattle, the day in-between the 2 sold out ‘Home Shows’.  As I sit down next to my future ex wife (that is a joke about how pretty the stranger in the seat next to me… NOT a joke about leaving my current wife.)  I wrote here about that, too.  the pilot says we have a lot of Pearl Jam fans on board, huh? We all yell in approval  Note, we are still just in Denver. The pilot asks us to do something fun. He said ‘everyone on the plan tonight to go see Pearl Jam turn on you call buttons. The plane lit up, and we looked around proud. It was like an airline version of holding up lighters for a concert ballad.  I had never experienced something like that, so it was super cool. SouthWest just rocks.

Now we land in Seattle and the place is dead.  It was midnight on a Thursday. As I came down the stairs into the main terminal, these awesome huge banners greeted us.

This was SO cool.  I haven’t been embraced like this as a rock fan since I was seeing Jerry and the boys 30 years ago in Vegas. Back then, as drove into Vegas from Px we saw billboards that read ‘Welcome Deadheads’.   As a BIG fan of rock shows live, I am not used to being embraced. I remember seeing the Butthole Surfers back in high school. They were playing some dive bar in a stabby part of town. Something happened with the band and the club and the show was canceled while loading in.  What Gibby did right then made me a fan for life of the Butthole Surfers. Gibby (their singer) came out to the crowd in line and said ‘hey all. We are here and have our gear and the cleaners next door are offering us their outlets. So, we are going to do a whole concert outside in the alley.   And they did it. Point being, I am still not used to society embracing rock fans.

See that pic?  I think I know not only what song he is singing… but what syllable he is singing.  I follow them that close.   22 years in the Ten Club, baby… and seat selection goes by tenure.  So, we always get really good seats to see the band.

If you have never seen Pearl Jam before these shows, you can be forgiven for thinking it was amazing.   They are amazing live. It’s their bread and butter, and always been. In fact, they have pioneered a great deal of live recording and distribution technology.  Also, no two shows are ever the same. The setlists are done only an hour before the show. Like the Grateful Dead, it gives incentive to see every show on the tour if you could.  If I could, I would.

This wasn’t their best, though.  This was far from it. Its not age, that is for sure.  Best show I have seen them from was just a few years ago.  This show was for people to meet the band, that remember them from the 90s.  The sets were big on the hits, I guess.  Funny thing is, not sure if they really have any ‘hits’ in the radio marketing sense.  technically, their only ‘hit’ was a cover.  This one. The setlists left like they were written by a fan who saw them once 25 years ago.  The show was just… different. It was safe. There was no rambling from Ed. and Ed rambles… a LOT. Last time I saw them, they played almost 4 hours, and it felt like a third of that was a drunk Ed pontificating on everything.  In fact, not even sure I saw a bottle of wine. Normally, Ed walks out to EVERY show with a notebook and a bottle of wine.

Another odd observation.  they had set up merch tents outside the show all week.  Cool.   Inside the concert were merch lines.  I wanted to get a shirt, but the lines were LONG.  I asked a dude in line how his wait was and he said 75 minutes so far, not much movement.  That isn’t even the interesting thing.  As I made my way often back the concourse… these folks were STILL there.  Same folks.  I am confident that about a thousand folks (stadium had 53K, I think) people that night never saw show.  Instead, they were inside the concourse not moving.  People flew all the way to Seattle not to see Pearl Jam… but to buy a shirt to show you were at the show.  I have to admit, I never did get a shirt, and I am a bit sad about that.  I saw a cool thing they did with the shirts, too.  One of them had Wednesday’s setlist silk screened on the back, that was super cool!  It is now Friday, two days later.  There were two shows, Weds & Friday.  We were only at the 2nd show.

It was a great shirt, It wasn’t worth missing the show, though.  I fear some of those folks are still in line.

Another thing I didn’t love… they kept Mike McCready in check.  Mike is one of the most explosive rock guitarists out there. Years ago, in introducing the band, Eddie called him a mad and dangerous science experiment.  In the early years, you heard him… too much. His style and talent simply dominate. As of the last decade or so, he is more restrained on record. I call it ‘waking up McCready’.  He stays out of the way for most songs… until about half way through. By the end of most songs, he just goes full fucking McCready and shreds our faces off. I didn’t see any of that at the Friday show.  There were two shows; a Wednesday, and a Friday.

Here is another thing I didn’t love… the jumbotrons.  I know its a football endzone thing, but it is what i call the big screens every concert has.  Last time I saw them, the filming was stunning. It was so well done, and so beautiful, I assumed the show was being taped to release.  These screens are important, as most of us are too far away to see things like facial expressions. At the home shows, there was virtually no close ups.  Most of the shots were just wide shots of the whole stage. I don’t need that… that is what I am seeing already.

Ed is obviously VERY political, and will not hesitate to ramble on about any issue.  He was careful to be on his best behavior for this show. I don’t want a restrained Ed, and that is what we got.  I really don’t want an restrained Mike McCready, but that is what we got. I am looking at the setlists, and i am jelly of the Wednesday show.  They got a much better setlist. Here is the Friday night setlist, and here is the Wednesday one.  I see there are plenty of obscure songs, but few of quality.

I should note, the two opening songs rocked my face off.  They opened with a perfect sounding Oceans, and then a super duper rare ‘Footsteps’.  I also got to hear ‘In Hiding’, which is wonderful and rare.  You can’t tell from the video, but that Oceans just sounded studio good, if not better.  It gave me chills.   How the hell do these guys keep getting better?   There are pretty much NO bands better than they were 30 years ago… except maybe Iron Maiden.

And the band can’t be blamed for this one… but Chris Cornell would should have been there.   I just kept thinking about that all weekend, and I sure everyone else did, too.  Kim Thayil came out and played a lot, he is Soundgarden’s guitarist. Also, remember that Pearl Jam and Soundgarden share the same drummer… and have for about 15 years.  Matt Cameron was in two full time working and touring rock bands at the same time. His absence was felt heavily, but understandably never mentioned. To me, the first shot of love to Chris was playing ‘Footsteps’.  See, Footsteps is an odd bird. Temple of the Dog (which is Pearl Jam, but with Chris Cornell singing) did the exact same song… but with different lyrics. The Temple of the Dog version is called ‘Times of Trouble’. Makes some sense, and Mike McCready wrote it… and he is in both bands.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the show.  It is always always always a great show.  However, I don’t think this show would crack my top ten Pearl Jam shows.  You see bumper stickers like ‘a bad day fishing is better than a good day at the office’.  That is how I feel about just an ok Pearl Jam show… it is still the best thing on Earth.

In closing, I must tell you about the Aussie next to us, and the most wonderful husband ever.  The gal next to us was from Australia, and flew all the way to the states just to see this concert.  I am a super fan, I knew every single song, and I almost always do. Not telling you that to impress you.  I am telling you that Australia girl was a super fan, and knew every word to every song. What makes that special, and what makes her husband the greatest husband ever?  Dude did not know a single song. I watched him… he didn’t even know the words to ‘Betterman’. He is the greatest husband because he literally crossed the Earth so his wifey could see her favorite band.  This poor guy had ZERO interest in the band.

I love my wife, and she means the world to me.  But, would I fly 20 hours at a cost of thousands to see a band I hate?  No sir. I would want her to go, but I’ll stay home and watch rugby and Paul Hogan movies.

*** one last thing – remember hearing about that guy who stole a commuter plane and crashed it outside of Seattle?  That was all happening during the show.  Pretty sure I not only saw that plane, I took a photo of it!  Now, I had NO idea about the whole story until the next day.  During the show, though, I pointed a plane out to the wifey that was flying really low over the stadium.  I thought it was cool, it was so cool I took a photo of it.  I think that was the plane.  The initial concern from the authorities was he might be heading for the Pearl Jam show.  it would be a perfect act of terrorism… 53K all outside smooshed together, and not even a roof to stop you.

Lemme tell you something else about that flight.  the Govt says we never shot it down, and he just crashed.  I got a buddy who I will not name who lives in one of those islands by where that happened.  He saw this, and said it was shot down.  Feel free not to believe me.  Why the hell am I putting this in writing?  Because I trust you, and I speak truth to power.

Friday Fives – what’s the real value?

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What do you feel like you’re missing out on?

Friendships.  I miss my friends.  I miss all my Extel® crew***.  This is a function of two things… I am working a lot, and work odd hours.  The other thing, we moved out to the country.   Where once everything was 20 minutes away, it is now an hour away.  I love my life, and I love living out in ‘the sticks’, but it has taken a toll on friendships.  These days, we just hang out with our neighbors.  That being said, I fucking love our neighbors.  The people who live around us are such a cool community and we have all gotten really close.

What are some interesting life hacks for saving money?

When you have amazon prime, and free 2 day shipping, and a credit card already stored in the system… stay AWAY from amazon.com – nothing good comes from that level of convenience.  Almost anything you want, push a button, it will be here tomorrow.  No Bueno.

Here is another one – Spotify.  I used to buy CDs.  Sometimes, I might only listen to it once.  I don’t need to do that anymore.  With spotify, every album is right there.  I know I am late to the party, I just got it very recently… but I wish I bought it 10 years ago.  Wait, how long has it been around?  I used to be bullish on Pandora, and it is still nice for variety, but it can’t give you the music you want.  Seriously.  I have a Pearl Jam station… it plays everyone BUT Pearl Jam.  Apparently, due to licensing stuff, they can only play one song an hour from any one band.  Instead, they give you bands like Pearl Jam.  “you love Pearl Jam, so you will love Soundgarden.  Here is a TON of fucking Soundgarden, you fat fuck!”   the thing is… they are right, I do love Soundgarden.  Guess what, though, I don’t want to hear Soundgarden… I have a fucking Soundgarden station (that only plays Pearl Jam, mind you.)  I don’t want to hear bands LIKE Pearl Jam.  I want to hear Pearl Jam!

Phew… wow, that got a little ugly.  Guess I have been sitting on those feelings for about 5 years now.

What’s the worst purchase you ever made?

Nothing comes to mind.  I had a couple big Ford diesel trucks that were pretty much constant electrical problems.  It’s a shame, they were cool and fun trucks… but constant problems.  In fact… that reminds me of a great story that needs to be a commercial.  After 2 troublesome Fords, I bought a Toyota truck and everything was fine.  Back when I had the Fords (had 2 back to back) I was at the auto parts store every single weekend.  I knew the guys by name, and they knew me.  Once I got the Toyota, I never needed anything.  Seriously… everything just worked.  So, I went in one weekend after being gone for like a year.  They said “Mr Lang, where have you been?”  I said “Sorry guys, I got a Toyota.”  They looked at each other and shrugged.   THAT should be a Toyota commercial.

***That was my real name up there.  Someone please edit that out.

You are the editor, idiot.  Just go delete it – ed

What’s the best purchase you ever made?

Our little 5 acre piece of paradise.  We got horses and dogs and cats and fish and a view of the whole Rocky Mountain Range and a hot tub on the back porch to watch it all.   And… the coolest neighbors in the world!  Don’t worry, I am not buttering them up.  Lets be honest, none of them read this.  I think they even get their weather from Rush Limbaugh.  I still love them, though.  In case you think it is a stereotype that people who live on dirt roads are all gun nuts… it is 100% true.  I don’t know a single neighbor who has less than 10 guns.  Except Sally.  Go see Sally, she is a pottery genius, and my wonderful friend.  Here is her site, I built it for her.

What products/services are extremely overpriced but we pay for anyway?

Not me, but everyone else… tv.  The average cable bill is $120 a month after fees.  That is insane.  Here is what we have.  A $30 HD antenna from Costco.  Gets me all the local channels and then some for free.  In HD.  It’s amazing… no thicker than a piece of paper.  And we have Netflix, at about $10 a month.  That means my tv bill in one year is what cable/satellite people pay per month.  Also, in the bedrooms where the antenna doesn’t work (has to be line of site, and we live on top of a hill luckily) I bought Roku boxes.  That is a one time cost of about $50 each that gets every room Netflix and Hulu and Amazon.  Oh, we have amazon, too.  It’s Amazon prime, for the free shipping… but has a good collection of free tv and movies.  We also have Hulu, but that doesn’t count.  We are using Ashley’s account.  I gave her my Netflix password and she gave us her Hulu.

 

Note to editor – please take Ashley’s name out, or at least change it.

Why?  She doesn’t read this.  Well… maybe she does.  I guess we are about to find out.  😊

 

*** Extel – see what I did there?  We all worked for Nextel, but they are out of business.  We are ex-Nextel employees.  We are ‘Extel® ‘.  I need to patent that shit!

Friday Fives – Elon Musk is the most important person alive

know this guy?  he is the most important person alive… and I dare say for the last and next 100 years.  Read on to find out why… but its at the bottom

Do you remember the first time you used a computer? 

Yeah.  It was before you were born, and about 25 years before the internet.  In 8th grade, I took a computer programming class…. On the Radio Shack TRS 80.  It didn’t do shit.  It was a black screen with one font and one font color.  We learned to write 4 to 5 lines of ‘code’.  It actually looked like this

10: “intro”

20:  “kevin is cool, scroll”

30:  “run”

40:   “see line 10”

50:  “repeat”
60:  close

I found this, a vaunted green screen (even worse).

I am sure half the school’s budget went to these paperweights

To say your phone has more than this would be a deadly understatement.  Your dog’s microchip has more computing power than this.

We could make our name scroll across the screen in ugly green font.  That was ALL these computers could do.  This was 8th grade… so about 1984-ish

Do you remember the first time you used the internet?

 Yes, it was a friends computer, and (of course) it was AOL.  Here is what is and was criminally sucky about AOL.   AOL internet only took you to AOL sites.  What this means is we wanted to look at nekkid ladies.  We knew they were out there, but you couldn’t get there past AOL’s firewalls.  This is pre-google.  This is pre-yahoo.  This is pre-netscape.  ALL the search engines you know didn’t exist.  There was only AOL, they had the entire market… and it would only take you to AOL pages.

Do you remember the first time you used a word processor?

Yes, I had one in college, and it SUCKED.  It looked like, and basically was, an electric typewriter.  You could write a 20 page paper, but all you could see was about a quarter of one line at a time.  You could see about 6 words.  Personal computers weren’t the kind of thing most folks had.  You had to go to the computer lab for that.  And there wasn’t Word, or Word Perfect back then.  Basically, it was like note pad… no spellcheck, no formatting.

Do you remember the first time you used a spreadsheet?

No.  math was never my thing, so I was afraid, and had little cause to use one.  Now, though, I LOVE them.  They do the math for you, and that is a new thing.  Just as long as 3 or 4 years ago, you had to manually create formulas.

what is the next big thing in computers/telecom/technology?

This isn’t about computers, or telecom, but it will effect EVERYTHING.  The most important thing in the world happening now… and for the next ten years… will be inductive charging.  I can not possibly say enough about how important this is.  It is charging things without plugging them in.  Right now, MIT can move electricity about a foot over the air.  This is HUGE.  Using Moore’s law, think of where this will be in 5 years.  You won’t plug your phone in anymore… it will be charging as you walk  in the house.  Same with your laptop.  You won’t need to plug in your electric car.  Tesla is already working on a mat for your garage.   You plug in a big rubber mat into your garage.  Then, you pull your car into the garage same as you do now.  BUT… you are driving it over this mat.  Over night, that mat is charging your car.  Your TV won’t need to be plugged in.  Just hang it on the wall.  No more cables and cords for ANYTHING.

This stuff exists now, but at a very low level.  See this thing?  It is awesome, and I have one at home now.  You plug it in, and then just set your phone on it.  This is MIT type stuff, and odds are it will be Elon Musk who will bring it to market.  Surely you know that name, he should be on Mt Rushmore.  He IS the NASA space program, and I am serious.  There isn’t a NASA anymore, they pay Elon Musks’ ‘Space X’ program to deliver crap to space.  Electric cars?  He is past pioneering them, he is pioneering others.  He took ALL his Tesla patents and published them… for free… for anyone to see.  NO ONE has never done that.  He said ‘look at these, tell me what I am missing?  What can I do better?’  and Teslas aren’t just for the rich anymore, he now makes a 30K model.  Traffic?  He is working on eliminating that, with ‘the Boring Company’.  Alternative fuel?  Yup, he is Solar City.  How about using batteries instead of oil, to capture all that solar energy?  He has the biggest battery factory in the world, it is called the Giga-factory.

Maybe you say, cynically, that its nice to have electric cars… but what would really save the pollution and earth would be long haul trucking in electric vehicles.  Maybe he should do that?  Maybe autonomous ones.   Yup… that is already done.

The earth is dying.  The govt won’t admit it, nor will they stop climate change, but are WE working on getting to Mars.  How?  On the back of Musks’ ‘BFR’ (it stands for Big Fucking Rocket… seriously)

how does a nerd like that wind down?  Well, making and marketing flamethrowers, and getting high with Joe Rogan.  Let’s take a look at this again.  This is the guy who is single-handedly saving the world.

the Amazing Randi – still alive

Image result for james randi

It’s time to pay homage to the ‘Amazing Randi’.  You don’t know the name, but you know his work.  Remember Uri Geller and his bending spoons?  Ever seen a ‘faith healer’ work a room?  James Randi is the reason you no longer see them in popular culture.  He exposed them all.  Best part?  He wasn’t subtle.  He exposed them all in the biggest way possible, doing it live (to tape) on the biggest show in the world > Johnny Carson.  He would do the exact tricks these asshats would do… but he would do it better.  AND… he would show you how he did.

The best was when he was very publicly tormenting Uri Geller… he of the mystically bending spoons.  Both men (Uri and Randi) were often guests on Carson.  Uri would go on one night and do something spectacular on camera.  Randi would come back a week later and show how it was done.  Someone, thank god, finally thought to bring them both together on Carson one night.  Have Uri do his magic right in front of Randi.  Impressively (and foolishly)… Gellar showed up.   Carson sat them side by side and prompted Gellar to do his magic.   Gellar, all the sudden, “wasn’t feeling it”.  They gave him time, and even a commercial break.  When they came back, Gellar (sitting next to Randi) explained he wasn’t feeling the spirits, and the time wasn’t right.

This man is a hero and a god.  A magician who has spent his time and talent exposing scams.  Because he is adept at all of these scams… he could be running them.  Instead, he is a ‘white hat hacker’ who is using his powers for good.  Penn and Teller caught on, and often do the same thing.  They will show you a mind blowing trick… and then 30 seconds later show you exactly how they did it.  Besides, are you going to fuck with this guy?  This is Randi, at 90 glorious years old.

Image result for james randi

In the 60’s, he famously put out a magical mystical bounty (my term, not his) of 1 million dollars to ANYONE who could prove to him they had psychic powers.  That bounty has STILL not been collected.