Sarah Palin is the reason compasses point North.

calendar   Monday - May 23, 2022

Once Again, The One And Only Post

May 23, 2022

Ay caramba, I haven’t posted in five days! Every living minute of every single day, from my first sip of coffee in the morning to pillow talk conversations before we go to sleep is The Project. It’s an obsession.

We still have not heard a word from the contractor who came over last Monday. He hasn’t even got back to us on when he has an opening in his schedule.

So today we went down to Flemington, which has several cabinet, tile, and paint stores, in addition to the two big box big name home centers. Recall that I contacted more than half a dozen contractors, got a “all booked up for a year” from one of them, and got just this one company to stop by. So we stopped in at a home improvement kitchen and bath place on the way, and just walked into the showroom. Nice stuff. We talked to the lady. They have 3 lines of cabinets they carry: extra spendy, regular spendy, and budget spendy. There workers are all HIC certified, they have licensed plumbers and electricians on their staff. And their guy can come by Thursday morning to see if our ideas are feasible and get us a bid and find us a spot in their schedule. Don’t know yet if they’ll install somebody else’s cabinets, but I bet they will. Their “regular spendy” cabinets looked good to us, and the faces come in 8 varieties of wood, in 40 finishes and colors, and in about 36 face designs. Nice.

We looked into the DIY “RTA” cabinets, “ready to assemble”. Most of them are ... less than robust, shall we say? We found one that seemed very well made. They have a whole bunch of How To videos out at YT. The prices are online, and are about 15% higher than the low quality off the shelf cabinets that the big box stores can get you overnight. Everything looked real great, until I watched some of their videos with a jaundiced eagle eye, and realized they never showed the wall cabinets from below. Um, what? So I sent off an email to my official contact person at their company, and asked what the wall cabinets looked like from underneath. And she sent me this picture:


There is no finished bottom panel, there are no gap fillers between the sides. The 1/2” plywood side and back panels are not finished on the bottoms. It looks like crap IMO. I don’t care if most people would never see this ... unless they were sitting nearby at a kitchen table.

While I could tell them how to fix this at the factory, why should I? I don’t want to sound condescending. Point is, making them nice on the underside would only raise the price $5 or so, and my fix would allow multiple cabinets to screw together side by side, which makes a sturdier install, with no screws showing anywhere. I could do it myself with some precision cutting of some thin plywood and some Masonite gap filler strips, but I’d never be able to match their finish colors to my satisfaction. So ...

Even the bargain basement Mills Pride RTA cabinets we put together for the renovation/rebuild we did on her mom’s kitchen 15 years ago were nice underneath and fit together on the sides. So this is pretty much inexcusable.

Deal killer. Buh - bye.

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May 18, 2022

Bowling Blogging !!!

First night of Summer league was tonight. I got my bowling balls nice and clean, got up there early and had dinner in the alley restaurant with time to spare. So I was neither hungry nor tired. And the lanes were oiled more than an hour before league. I’m using summer league as practice, trying to learn a better way to release the ball. I’m not there yet, so my scores sucked tonight. OTOH, instead of using book averages, they decided that this year everyone, newbie or old hand, would bowl for average the first night. So maybe it’s not such a bad thing that I pulled a 510 series, 14 points under average.

But tonight I made the worst mistake that you can make in bowling. Ok, you can throw a 111, which is a bad score, and it’s the “outhouse” score everyone will tease you about. But it’s not a mistake, it’s just poor bowling. League bowling is competitive, even in silly summer league. And to be competitive, you have to try to win. While you can throw great frames across the whole game, learning to be a “finisher” or a “closer” - the ability to bowl great in the last few frames to get your score up so your team can win - is a great skill. And that’s where I dropped the ball. Literally dropped it, not figuratively literally.

I had 3 strikes in a row in the 6th, 7th, and 8th frames. More than anything, you want a mark in the 9th frame, preferably a strike. I dropped the ball. Squirted right off my hand, out into the right gutter. So I overcompensated, and squeezed the heck out of the ball on my second throw, and yanked it sideways. The ball crossed over the entire lane and went into the left gutter just ahead of the 7 pin. Which means I threw a double gutter, in the 9th frame, on a turkey. And I’m the anchor. That’s as bad as it gets. We lost that game too. I think we lost all the games tonight, 0-7. Suckage.


Oh well. I made light of it by pointing out to everyone how much I messed up, before they could ride me about it.


Biden’s Ministry Of Truth is dead, Nazi Nina Jankowicz resigns before department is even formed

Guess somebody remembered what the First Amendment is all about?

The Department of Homeland Security’s Disinformation Governance Board is being put on hold weeks after its establishment was announced to the public, and board director Nina Jankowicz will resign, sources told The Associated Press.

According to the Washington Post, DHS made the decision on Monday, and that the following morning the board’s leader, Nina Jankowicz, had a resignation letter drafted.
House Republicans promoting plan to defund Disinformation Board Video

Whether Jankowicz ultimately decides to leave DHS remains up in the air, the Post reported, as the department offered to let her stay, despite the agency suspending all groups that had been focusing on what the Biden administration refers to as “mis- dis- and mal-information,” or “MDM.”

In the meantime, DHS is defending Jankowicz against attacks from the right based on her past positions and social media posts, including casting doubt on the legitimacy of the New York Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop before the 2020 election.

“Attacks”, right? You mean, by pointing out what she actually said, and the videos that she made, and all the crazy bits of her entire working life? Such attacks. Media bias once again.

Dis information is true!

The Biden Administration appears to be giving up on its newest pathetic yet Orwellian effort to suppress free speech.

Taylor Lorenz, the world’s least self-aware journalist (heavy competition for that title), has dried her eyes long enough to report that the White House has “paused” the Disinformation Governance Board, sparing us all from having to sue it as a per se First Amendment violation (assuming we could ever figure out what it did).

You can expect the “pause” to end on the 12th of never, since Lorenz also reported that Nina Jankowicz, the board’s head, resigned Wednesday morning.

Lorenz loves censorship and censoriousness almost as much as she hates telling people how old she really is, so it’s pretty clear that the feds gave her the scoop in an effort to get in front of the Biden Adminstration’s embarrassment du jour (I know, the day isn’t over yet).

Look, I made a post that wasn’t about our home improvement project, or covid, or even bowling! It can happen!

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May 16, 2022

Sorry, as much as I love to spend my days bopping all around the internet looking for interesting things to write about, right now it’s Project Time at our place, and this eats up every living minute of my day.

The contractor is coming late this afternoon. Of all the many home improvement contractors that I have contacted, via Angi or Google or recommendation from friends, and there were quite a number, this one is the ONLY one that can do the wide range of tasks we need and is actually willing to come to the house. One place called me back and said they most only do house additions, but they can put in a tub. One place called me just seconds after I hit the Submit button at Angi, but they only do tubs. One other place said they were interested, but they’re booked solid for an entire year.

Today I learned why you might want your contractor to order stuff for you at Home Depot or Lowe’s. There is a contractor discount program (which is available to you too, if you place an order over $1500 or so), called the Value Pricing Program, or VPP. This is an ongoing running total for the contractor, which gets bigger with each customer they have. Obviously it tops out at some point. And there might be fine print in the details; certain things may not be eligible, other things may carry a larger discount than others. But this is great for the contractor, and great for the customer IF those prices are passed along. Heck, even if they pad things a bit and the price still comes out to a good bit less than what I’d pay on my own (maybe even less than the VPP discount I could get as a first-timer) then I WIN.

So we’re putting together a list of kitchen cabinets he can submit. One list if we can’t do the laundry room. one list if we can. It’s all connected. We’ll use that same list at other cabinet places.

Project update, minor:

Laundry Room: No more pocket door. We need every inch of space in the closet that is going to become the laundry room. A pocket door makes the wall 2” thicker, and the closet is only 59” deep. Now put a washer / dryer in there that measures 30” out from the wall. Not roomy. So a bi-fold door works, and costs lots less. Actually, it costs us nothing. We already have the matching bi-fold door on the laundry alcove in the kitchen that has a pair of them. And the current 24” closet door will replace the 24” bathroom door with no adjustment, because those doors come with the hinges factory installed.

Bathroom: We’re thinking of replacing the current bathroom door because it’s heavily scorched on the bottom on the inside. A “I almost set the house on fire” situation from before we lived here. That’s because the electric baseboard heater is on the wall that the door opens towards. Oops. A main part of the bathroom plan is to move that heater to the short wall near the bathtub, where it will also work as a towel heater. This heater is 1970s almond, getting a bit rusty after 43 years. A new Cadet 30” unit is about $45 and comes in white. No-brainer.

There is a very high likelihood that the inverted L wall that runs across the middle of the bathroom ceiling is load bearing. This wall lines up with the bedroom wall and the wall at the end of the hallway and runs across the unit, about in the middle of the ceiling joists that run front to back on the upper level of the condo. Everything in the middle or lower level is under the rood truss, so no walls other than the ends are load bearing. But the vertical end of that L wall is not load bearing, so it can go. This gives us room for a bigger vanity and a little more room to that side of the toilet.  Not perfect, but cool enough. Now the question is, do we take the soffit off above the vanity? It’s high over head, not load bearing at all, and ripping it out will give the room a totally different look. OTOH it sort of matches the soffit over the bathtub at the other end of the room, although both are are right angles. My thought: if the vertical part of the L goes, then the vanity soffit goes. Totally new style and look!!

Kitchen: Nothing really new yet, other than drawing up two sets of cabinet plans, and realizing that we’ll probably need new drywall behind the cabinets. The builder glued some sort of laminate covered particle board across the whole run to work as a backsplash, covering the whole height between the lower and upper cabinets. Rip that out and the wallboard comes with it. Oh, and I’m starting to look at range hoods. I want something that actually flows some air, but I don’t need a restaurant kitchen level of airflow. 400-450cfm would be nearly too much, and it would have to be quiet. This is a bit more than the typical $89 DIY over the stove hood from the big box stores can do, and most of them are lying about their airflow anyway, in the same way that Detroit used to lie about engine horsepower back in the day. Which is also why the smarter range hood companies now want you to hook their box up to a 7” vent pipe instead of the 4” one we’ve been using for generations. Big pipe = high flow at low pressure = less noise and longer fan life. Win-win, you just need to cut a bigger hole in the outside wall.

Today’s Second Update:

The contractor showed up at the beginning of his 2 hour arrival window. Not only that, he was 8 minutes early. That’s a miracle right there. And he can do everything we want and then some, and he can make a pocket door that fits inside a 2x4 stud wall.

He was amused by our “Colorforms” drawing of each room, and the little cut out shapes we have for every size and variety of cabinet. Yes, you can do all this online with the graphics tools at the cabinet sites. We’re a bit old school I guess. But we’re planning out every last possible detail ...


We’re being as thorough as we can, which cuts down on those “oops, we forgot” situations that always cost you lots of money.

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May 12, 2022

Gosh, they look so similar !!

Still hunting down cabinetry for our renovation projects. I spent hours yesterday at the Lily Ann site, a company that makes pretty good quality RTA cabinets. I was able to find a couple styles that I could live with for the bathroom, in a few colors I thought were good. And I found two vanity sink bases that would fit if we did Choice A or Choice B for the bathroom. The price was amazing. She comes home, rejects my style picks and my finish colors, then looks at the specs and notices that every single one of the vanity bases they sell is the “trending” 34” height, same as kitchen base cabinets, not the older 31” vanity height. And she’s only 5’ tall, so a higher vanity was out of the question. So I wasted 4-5 hours and was wrong on everything. As always.

So back to looking. I went back to the American Woodmark homepage, because that’s a parent company which has several lines of cabinets under their umbrella, one of which is called American Woodmark. Two of their other brands that I looked into, and found that these were “builder grade” products. So lower price, but lower quality and a much narrower selection. Then I looked at their Shenandoah collection. Hmm, this stuff looks well made. Let’s see the styles. Ok, nice, nice, nice, oooh a fancy one ... wait a second, these look really familiar. Let’s check the colors ... they’re the same, with the same names. Shenandoah is a house brand sold at Lowe’s, and American Woodmark is a house brand sold at Home Depot. Different names for the exact same products. I checked the specification catalog, although Shenandoah gives you the big spec doc in 8 or so smaller pieces, it’s 100% the same. Same page numbers, same model numbers, exactly the same drawings. This just might work to my advantage. There are 2 HDs and 2 Lowe’s around here. Who wants the sale? Perhaps I can get competitive prices. Or perhaps it’s all “fair traded” and is the same exact price and they won’t do a thing to sweeten the pot and close the deal. We’ll see.

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May 11, 2022

Going full throttle with the bath and kitchen project. Plans and designs are settled, so we’re looking for both contractors and cabinets. Nobody has returned my emails yet. I only reached out to 6 of these guys, maybe I should call 6 more.

We got a price on the 3 pieces we want for the bathroom - a tall linen cabinet, a vanity sink base, and one of those little cabinets everyone hangs up above the toilet. Not large pieces; linen cabinet + vanity < 48" total length. We inquired about the American Woodmark line at Home Depot. The price quote was insane. So now it's back to learning about cabinet manufacture, what makes a good cabinet or a great one, and we'll figure out if any of these DIY ones ( what the cabinet industry calls RTA, Ready To Assemble ) are sturdy. We've done RTA before. We're not looking at high end stuff. We're not looking at fancy wood for the faces, or fancy millwork. Maple. And we like mitered corners on the doors, mainly because the butt joint ones we see in the stores look like 8th grade wood shop class projects that got a C+. In other words, crap. But $3500? Way out of line, when we can get a whole kitchen's worth of dovetail construction RTA cabinets for $2300. Sure, you get 1/2" plywood walls instead of 3/4". And you get birch faces instead of maple ... and once they're finished, nobody can tell, especially if you use the modern colored finishes. The "$50 vanity" we have right now in the bathroom has held up just fine for 45 years. It's one of those right off the shelf jobs, probably came with the one piece sink and countertop and the knobs. Fancy, pretty, stylish, high end? Heck no. But durable. We just want something nicer.

So we keep searching. And my bet is that at some point we're going to have a lot of DIY. I wanted to avoid that this time. But we've done everything before. Everything. Right down to replacing floor joists. Drywall, electric, cabinet building, flooring, tiling, on and on. But you have to know where to draw the line and when you want to bring in the pros. And for me, that's plumbing and putting in ceilings and getting the floor tiles straight and level.

So this is my latest excuse for not blogging much. I haven't seen the news, I haven't surfed the net. Every hour of every day is The Project.

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May 7, 2022

Bowling Blogging, the finals of Winter Season

My team wound up in 12th place out of 18 teams on Old Guys league. I missed the last night because I was still reeling from the kidney stone and the drugs. Don’t know if they got a sub or not. They bowled poorly, and lost 0-7. Oh well. We got $202 each in prize money.

We wound up in 6th place out of 13 teams on Cheap league. We bowled the same team in the finals that we played last week in the semi-finals. And we lost 0-7 there as well. My team folded, period. Ok, I wasn’t so great either, but I rolled a 244 in Game 2 and was about 50 over average for the night. Our teammate who had started the season with TWO 111 scores on the first night, and had thrown another 111 during the season, made it a 4 bagger by throwing one more 111 in the finals. He has a 139 average. The good news with this league is that we were in a safe hole in the standings. Which means the team below us couldn’t knock up down a spot even if they won all 7, and we couldn’t pass the team above us even if we went 7-0 and they went 0-7. So I guess my team didn’t bother to try, because it wouldn’t make a difference. Whatever.

The card game the Cheap league plays finally had a winner. I think it had been about 20 weeks since anybody won the thing. In this game, everybody who plays signs up to put in $1 a week until there’s a winner. At some point each week, once every team has finished the 2nd game, somebody gets called to the front desk and gets to select two playing cards from ten. Each card is valued 0 or 1 or 2 ... or 9. These are the last 2 digits of the winning score. So if the number was 95 and at least one person threw a 95, a 195, or a 295, they would win. There are shortcomings with this scheme: 1) picking 2 cards from 10 instead of 1 card from 10, reshuffle and pick again, eliminates double scores like 88, 122, 255, etc. That’s not fair, as this kind of double score is actually pretty common (10% of the time if scores are truly random).  2) The cards picked are not revealed to the person that picks them, nor are they broadcast on the PA system like they used to be. Instead, the woman who runs the league sees those numbers in private, then walks around and checks everyone’s scores who is playing (there’s a list) without saying anything, and then announces what the number was and whether there’s a winner this week or not. This was the finals, the last night, so there had to be a winner, and sometimes on finals night alone several picks have had to be made. This time we had a winner on the first pick. It went to this woman’s daughter, who pocketed more than $420. Um, right. Sure.


Home Renovation Project Update

Oh boy oh boy, we’re finally moving forward with making some improvements to this place. We had decided to do this 3 years ago, but one thing and another and then the big bad pandemic, and it all got backburnered. But we played for a million hours with our “Colorforms”, which is what we call the graph paper diagram we have of the dimensions of our kitchen and bathroom, with a whole stack of little squares of paper representing every size base cabinet, EZ corner cabinet, filler panel, sink, dishwasher, etc.

We’ve been kicking ideas around forever. But today we finally hit on one for the kitchen that is very practical, minimizes drywall work, plumbing changes, and electric socket relocation, and ... most importantly ... that we both like. So we spent the whole rainy day, aside from going for Thai lunch, measuring and visualizing and making sure things would fit. And it will work. So this is a big thing for us.

The kitchen is only part of the overall project. The bathroom, unchanged since 1979 except for a new toilet a decade ago which is now cracked on the base, needs a lot of help. We want a real tub, cast iron with white porcelain, with real tile around it, getting rid of this worn out almond colored one piece fiberglass tub and surround the place was built with, which is louder than a drum and is so worn out we can’t get it clean any longer. There’s an inverted L wall across the middle of the room that needs to go. The other part of the bathroom reno is turning the small room next to it that now serves as a closet into a laundry room. That would put the washer and dryer on the same floor as the bedrooms, and most importantly get them out of the alcove they currently live in down in the kitchen.

Then we do the kitchen. Bring it out of the 1970s too, and rearrange things so we can better utilize the stove. And I want a high flow hood over the stove. And we want to alcove the big black refrigerator that came with this place. And all new cabinets, and maybe a nice slab of granite for a countertop. A classic design, of medium price point quality, using the appliances we already have until they wear out. The design we’re 99% settled on gives us all of that, but she’s still coming up with alternate ideas. We’re both pretty inventive, and examine each idea in depth (this means a lot of heated discussions!!).

If we have to, we can wait a few months between the bathroom/laundry room part of the project and the kitchen part. It’s not a matter of money, but a matter of contractor availability and parts availability. Heck, I can order the tub tomorrow and have the 320lb beast delivered to our garage by Thursday. And I can take a drive over to the toilet company’s nearby warehouse and pick up the toilet that we want that we already know is in stock there, and get if for $200 less instead of having it shipped to us or buying it from Home Depot. If we had to, we could install a linen cabinet and a vanity with top and sink and faucets ourselves in the bathroom. We’ve done this kind of thing several times before. But no way I’m humping that iron bastard tub down 14 outside stairs, in the door and then up 4 steps to the bedroom level. This is why you pay for strong young backs who know what they’re doing. Contractors.

I’ll keep you posted.

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May 4, 2022

It feels like a year since I’ve posted. I’ve been that busy.

Ok, I’m over the kidney stone crap, and I don’t have diabetes. Duh, but also Hurray! So there will be another CT scan to determine the kidney cyst, but I think it will be benign. Praying. No point worrying until the results are in.

Meanwhile, we’re finally getting off our tails and getting the home renovation going. On the one hand, we want to save money and get a lot of value for our investment. On the other hand, it’s a fine line between run of the mill stuff, decent stuff, and entry-luxury stuff. And in the long run, a few hundred extra spent on this or that makes our daily life nicer, and adds up to pennies per day. On the fourth hand, we’re not going to go insane. This is a condo, not the Taj Mahal. But gosh that Bristol toilet looks nice, and so does that Kohler Bellewether bathtub. And I think a better kind of tub diverter valve and a hand wand sprayer will solve the rather heated discussion we had on tub design and bathroom layout ... which was actually me having no idea how she shaves her legs in the tub.


No point in me commenting on this leaked opinion paper from the Supreme Court. I think this is mainly a distraction, but I also think the person who did the leaking should be flayed alive. Some things are sacrosanct in the fullest and most formal definition of the word, and this leaker broke that and must suffer for it.

“Worst case”, Roe dies, and abortion on demand goes back to the state level where it always was and ought to be. And SCOTUS learns a lesson about judicial activism. Yeah right. And maybe those 13 states with “trigger laws” had better listen to their people and get in step with the times. And maybe that state decision should be at an even lower level, county by county within a state? So there would always be somewhere or two to go in most states. And it needs to be voted on, not simply legislated, perhaps every 5 years. With a question for each trimester. And maybe only actual women, over the age of minority and under the age of menopause, ought to be allowed to vote on it. They’re the ones, the only ones, that the law will act on. So let them decide, and the rest of us can shut up. And that’s my opinion, self-leaked, which you are free to disagree with and comment on. Because that’s also freedom.

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May 1, 2022

I was going to post that it was 35° at 4am when I got up to use the bathroom, but this is more important.

And the weird thing is, even at 4am I didn’t hear or smell a thing, and this is right across the street from us, barely 100 yards away. Nobody else in our unit noticed either.  And there were helicopters too, airlifting people to the burn wards. Horry Clap.

Massive Condo Fire Injures 5, Destroys 18 Units

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Five people were injured, including two with burns, when a fire swept through a condominium complex in Hunterdon County early Sunday morning, officials said.

The fire broke out at 3:48 a.m. at the Union Hill Condominium Association on Sam Bonnell Drive in Union Township, according to the Clinton Fire Department.

As of late Sunday morning, officials did not know what caused the blaze, said Clinton Fire Chief Jeff Hedden.

Three civilians suffered injuries, including two burn victims who were flown to different burn hospitals, and one person who suffered trauma injuries after falling and was transported to a local hospital, according to Hedden.

Hedden said two firefighters were injured, but were treated for their injuries at the scene.

The fire burned six housing units and affected 12 other units within the condo complex, according to Hedden. He said tenants from all of the units had to be evacuated, and the condo complex has been declared uninhabitable.

Hedden said the incident remains under investigation.

The unit that was destroyed, perhaps where the fire started, had just gone on the market last month.

This is not the first fire in this condo complex. We had a big one in 2013. IIRC, it was super cold and ice from the fire hoses was a danger. It took 4 years for those units to be rebuilt.

There was a fire in one of our units about 20 years ago. One middle unit burned and damaged the unit under it. The rest of the building was ok.

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April 30, 2022

Bowling Blogging !!

It breaks my heart knowing how much I can depend on half my team to fuck things up when we need them to perform.

I think it’s time for new teammates. We get along with them well enough, so that’s not an issue. The problem is that this is bowling league. Even though it’s a “starter league”, it’s still a competitive environment. That means you try to win. Which implies you try to improve your bowling skills. These two are utterly unwilling to do so, in the slightest way. Four years into it, and their averages have not gone up a point. Not one. Everything they do is wrong, and the list of those errors goes from beginning to end and they simply don’t care. I think they’d be better off in a no-tap league, or some completely non-competitive just-screwing-around funtime play league. Yeah yeah sure, it’s your right to bowl however you want. But you suck ass with a vacuum cleaner, and neither one of you will do make a single change to improve anything. Nobody is harassing you, or being mad at you for coming in 30 points under average when you barely even have an average, but we do show you things all the time, and talk about targeting, balance, lines, oil patterns, and point out bowlers to emulate who have superior form and delivery. And it falls on deaf ears. I quit.

We lost 2-5 last night. I’m there in zombie mode, still utterly exhausted after my kidney stone episode. I’m worried that I’ve got both cancer and diabetes, so it’s a wee bit hard for me to focus and get in the groove. But I tried. I was 12 under in the first game, 2 under in the second game, and 35 over in the third. As anchor, inside my head I feel it’s kind of my job to clean up the mess that they’ve left score-wise, and go all out to try to eke out a win, or at least narrow the points margin as much as I can. We got slaughtered in Game 1, losing by over 100. Teammate with a 124 average threw a 95. Seriously? My dog can bowl a 95 and she’s been dead for 30 years. Obama can bowl a 95. A sub-100 game is “I threw the ball down the lane and I hit some pins most of the time”. Not what you’d expect from somebody with 4 years of league bowling under their belt. Really. Sad. And the other one was way under average too. Even with the 68 pins handicap we got, our team total for Game 1 was still 34 under our team average. Which means we effin died out there. Ok, whatever, the first game is just extended warm up. Which you guys don’t do anyway. So moving right along ...

They were noticeably under in Game 2 as well. Wifely pulled a 203 and I was plodding along just a bit behind my usual. I’m coming off of opiods and days of no sleep, m’kay? Still tired and mentally fuzzy. We got down to the 10th frame and those two produced ... nothing. This left me in a bad position, where I’d have to roll really really well to win. Luckily, their anchor missed his 2nd strike, and that left me a chance. I threw a 29 and we managed to win. By a single point. One point. Thanks for nothing. I was 2 under average.

I was doing a lot better in the last game, so was wifely. And those other two managed to get all the way up to their averages. But the other team was doing good too. And by the bottom of the 10th frame, my turn to bowl, and we’re down 60 pins. Sixty pins. I had a strike in the 9th, so I would have had to throw 3 in a row in the 10th just to tie.  I couldn’t do it. I threw a strike, and then I threw another strike. So we were closing in. But my last ball was a little off, and I left 2, knocking down 8. So we lost by 2. Wifely threw 21 over, I was 35 over, but that wasn’t enough.

This was the semi-finals of Cheap League. End of the season. The time when you show up psyched and enthused and strong, and get out there really focused and in the groove, give it your all, and bowl your ass off. And they’re assless.

So now we’re probably in last place. Last place in a starter league. Which means we’ll get the bye next week, bowling against ourselves. And we’ll lose. Because at that point, who cares? We can’t get up out of last, and there’s no further down we can go.

I want new teammates. I want teammates who try. Is that asking too much? I guess it is.


Ok, doctor’s appointment in 2 hours. Just in case he can give me the diabetes fasting test today, I haven’t eaten since 4:30 yesterday evening, and haven’t had anything to drink other than water since. Ok, a mug of black coffee this morning. Please God, don’t let me have diabetes.

McDonald’s does all day breakfast. I love their sausage egg biscuit things and hash browns. They’re right down the street from my doctor’s office on my way home. OTOH, the diner around the corner does an awesome breakfast sandwich, two jumbo breakfast sausages and two fried eggs with cheese on a giant toasted Kaiser roll for about the same price as McD’s. I’m going to be really hungry when I get out of my appointment.


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April 29, 2022

“She turned me into a newt! But I got better.”

Well, I’m out of the hospital and recovering. I think.

Say what?

I had a kidney stone. I had one once before, New Year’s Eve Y2K. That was the worst pain I’d ever had in my life. This time, over 22 years later, it was much worse that that. And the symptoms were masked the first couple days, because I was out gardening with my neighbor friend, and thought the sore back I had starting that night was just part of that. But it didn’t get better, it got worse. I was taking ibuprofens several times a day. Didn’t do much. Finally I was in agony, and took the last generic percocets I had leftover from a dental prescription. But there were 5 years out of code, so they did nothing. And when I couldn’t sleep, couldn’t find a comfortable position, couldn’t take the pain any longer, I got her up at 5am to take me to the hospital.

So that was a day full of fun. Not. Got a CT scan, got many doses of heavy opioid painkillers. The 3mm stone had moved closer to the bladder but wasn’t there yet. So, pain. And then the ER doctor comes in and hits me with a double whammy: first he gives me grief for not controlling my diabetes. WHAT? I don’t have diabetes!! Of course you do, haven’t you been tested? Your sugar level is 140!! Yes, every year or two, and nobody ever said nothing. Well, they did the tests wrong or didn’t give you the results. And then it was, “you have a 28mm growth on your kidney”. And in my drugged out state, my immediate reaction is OSC (oh shit, cancer). So they send me home. She had to go to work after dropping me off, so I had to take an Uber. But according to hospital procedure, since I’d been given controlled substance pain relievers, I couldn’t get in the Uber until 90 minutes had passed. This made no sense; I wasn’t going to hold the driver responsible. But procedure is procedure. So I was back in agony by the time they sent me home. Gee, thanks. So off to the pharmacy to get the scrips, and some milk of magnesia because painkillers=constipation. And I’ve been on percocet since. Hell, I took 2 of them in the parking lot. And found that this 6 hour pill only lasts 5 hours for me.

Fast forward 48 hours, and I’m feeling much better. Pain is gone, so probably the stone has at least passed into my bladder. No pain pills in 36 hours now. All these pain pills made me extremely, painfully bloated and constipated. So milk of magnesia a couple times, which did nothing. Two “bowel tolerance” doses of vitamin C”, which I learned about during the pandemic, causes instant diarrhea, and they didn’t do anything either. Finally I broke down and bought a box of Fleet enemas, which work but have a really poorly designed applicator. If you kneel face down on the floor and somebody does the application for you, they’re great. DIY, nearly impossible, especially if you’re not skinny. So not much help there. What’s working is being off the pain pills, all of them, for a day and a half now, so it’s dire rear time. Overshare!!

OTOH, I have some kind of kidney cyst. The “28mm growth” is a lot bigger than that, but it’s liquid. They come in several varieties, from “totally benign” to “you need surgery right now plus you’ve got diabetes”. Most guys over 50 get them to some extent. So I’m seeing a urologist, and he’s getting permission from my insurance company to do some more complicated CT scan with dyes to help figure out which kind I have. And I’m going to my regular doctor tomorrow to ask for a diabetes check, a prostate check, and a cancer screening. Just for my own piece of mind.

And I actually had something to eat this morning. My guts have been so jammed up that I haven’t eaten more than half a bowl of soup in the last 2 days. I had something to nibble on this morning. So, I’m hoping I’m on the road to recovery. Even though I’m using the bathroom every 15 minutes.

I’m going to try to bowl tonight, last night of Cheap League. I called in on Old Guys league, and they lost all 3 games anyway. Team Choke & Suck. I think we finished in 12th place out of 18 teams.

!!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!!

April 26, 2022

Still not dead. Good. Spring will never ever come here. It’s the end of April and it’s still in the low 30s every single morning. And forever threatening to rain. This doesn’t do my arthritis any good.

My gardening buddy from the other end of the building and I planted the garbage garden yesterday. We call it that because it’s an area in our parking lot by the corral for the garbage dumpster and the recycling bins. I think it was supposed to be another parking spot when they built this place, but somebody installed the fire hydrant too far forward and thus the spot could not be used. That didn’t stop them from creating it with compressed rubble and fill dirt, so turning it into a garden required an awful lot of work and half a ton or so of quality topsoil. I did that years ago. The garden is on it’s third iteration, now with a decorative large stone in the middle and a solar powered electric frog on top of that. All around the frog rock I planted dozens of daffodils last fall, and they’re doing very well. Garden buddy thinned her irises and we put a couple dozen in along the side of the corral. And about 4 dozen mixed annuals, instead of the typical wall of marigolds I put in. And then we trimmed back the gigantic day lily, and on the other side of the corral building we then replanted the dozen or more well rooted bits that got cut off. All this in the chill weather, squatting down and kneeling on rocks. So even with knee pads my poor old knees were killing me when we were done. I still have to buy a flat or two of impatiens for the gardens by our unit, plant some more of the extra irises somewhere, and put in the 3 dozen gladiolus bulbs I got at Walmart for a great price. And fix the rock walls that separate the garden areas, as some soil slumping has pushed them out of shape.


World events, the “importance” of Elon Musk buying Twitter, looming food shortages, the amazing coincidence of more than a dozen large food warehouses somehow burning down in the past 2 months, Russia, Ukraine, Biden, Hollywood, Sports ... all things that I read about but don’t care about enough to write about. And that’s about it.


Bowling Blogging !!

We won all 7 in Old Guys league in the semi-finals. We lost all 7 in Cheap league in the first week of finals. We got our summer team back together and we’ll be doing the Wednesday night summer league like we always do.


Two related reads that I think are important:

A short essay on the nature of evil; A Map Of The Dark.

A webpage devoted to the concepts of what America is all about. The Founders Code.


I had a good stiff drink last night to get my courage up, then I opened the letter from the investment company that runs my 401K. They do a really good job, growing my nest egg nicely under Obama and explosively under Trump. Meh last year under Biden, but so far this year ... OMG. I’ve lost half the price of a new car this first quarter alone. All I can say is F J B for tanking the economy.

Might as well put my money into fixing this place up to live as nicely as we can for as long as we can. Because my savings are evaporating at around 3% per month. So are yours. And it’s going to get worse. A LOT worse. F J B.


That’s all the sitting in this computer chair I can do right now. Time for more ibuprofen, some vitamins and arthritis supplements, and a good rub of Tiger Balm. Knees suck.

!!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!! ~~~~~~~~~~~~ !!!!

April 21, 2022

Get Ready: SYZYGY Is Coming Saturday!!!

Huh, what?

Syzygy is not just one of the highest scoring words you can make in Scrabble™, it’s a genuine scientific term that means an alignment of planets. And 5 are them will be in a row of ducks before dawn on Saturday.

The moon is lining up to lead a parade of planets across the predawn sky starting April 23.

In advance of an unusual alignment of the five visible planets in the solar system, four planets are lining up behind the moon like ducks in a row. On April 23, Saturn, Mars, Venus and Jupiter will all be visible above the horizon in the early morning hours in the northern hemisphere.

Mercury will join this parade of planets in mid-June.

So the moon and 4 planets starting Saturday; 4 celestial bodies. And then 4 planets lined up between June 10 and the end of July. Not sure if the moon will be involved in that one. But it seems that we might have half a summer of simmering syzygies. Suffering succotash, simultaneous sibilants!!

Sunrise here tomorrow is 6:10am, so it will be a little earlier than that Saturday. Beat that by an hour, and you’d better be out there at 5am.

Salute the cosmos with a hot mug of coffee, take a picture that won’t come out, sing the appropriate song of course. and go back to bed. Then tell everyone you saw it, because you almost never get the chance to say “syzygy” out loud.


Bowling Blogging !!

It was the semi-finals at Old Guys league last night. We were on the leftmost lanes that our league uses, right up against the folks in the small fun league who use the first 8 lanes. We had no problems with them, but it was a bit of a shock to see just how much more hard core our league is than theirs.

We won all 3 games and took wood, 7-0. This might help us get up a little in the standings. Or maybe it’s too late. Our “5th teammate” they guy who has subbed for us at least half the season, was subbing for the other team. And he bowled really well, throwing a 754 series, far better than anyone else on that team. I threw a 597, rolling 233, 193, and then a 171. So I was 66 over for the night, and I expect my average to go up a point next week.


In very sad news, we learned last night that Brian W passed away. He was 27. Brian was a slightly “special needs” kid but only slightly. We got along very well, and used to talk a lot. Usually about bowling, naturally. Way back when, Brian had the covid. Probably the Alpha (UK, B.1.1.7) variant. He had it bad, being in the hospital a long time, and on a ventilator for weeks on end. But he pulled through finally, even though he had to do physical therapy to learn how to walk again after spending so much time in a bed. We were all thrilled to see him back at the alley for a while, although he wasn’t bowling. But when the Omicron came around, his doctors told him to stay away and to isolate, as another bout of covid would kill him. He never caught Omicron. He developed a brain tumor instead, and that killed him. His dad Rick, another bowler, and his mom were called to the hospital Monday, when the sensors showed no signs of brain activity. It was time. This is heartbreaking for his parents, and very sad for the rest of us, as he was a really nice guy that everyone got along with. You’ll be sorely missed Brian.


Lockdown Disaster: Zero Covid Policy In Shanghai Slaughters World Shipping

You think we have inflation and shortages now? It’s only just begun.

[ March 29, 2022 ] Authorities in Shanghai imposed a strict lockdown on Monday morning, following congestion at the city’s port skyrocketing since early March. With roads, bridges and tunnels between the Pudong and Puxi areas blocked for at least a week, Shanghai International Port Group, which manages the city’s ports, released a statement saying, other than in cases of extreme weather, 24 hour operations would be maintained.

Data from VesselsValue shows an almost five fold increase in the number of ships waiting to load or discharge at Shanghai in the last two and half weeks.

[ April 1 2022 ] Hong Kong (CNN Business)China’s strict lockdown in Shanghai is heaping even more pressure on global supply chains.

On Friday, Shanghai extended restrictions in many parts of the city, which is home to China’s financial hub and one of the world’s busiest ports. The Port of Shanghai had already been suffering from major holdups, and the extension may worsen congestion and increase transportation costs further, experts said.

The coastal city imposed a two-phase lockdown on its 25 million residents earlier this week. Authorities placed the western part of the city under lockdown on Friday, and extended an existing lockdown in eastern neighborhoods with positive cases by up to nine days.

These restrictions have caused major delays at Shanghai port, which is in the eastern part of the city and was already congested. It is the world’s busiest container port, handling more than four times the volume seen at the Port of Los Angeles in 2021, according to data from both cities’ port authorities.

VesselsValue, a global shipping data provider, said the number of ships waiting to load or discharge at Shanghai’s port had skyrocketed to more than 300 this week, a near five fold increase in the past two and half weeks.

“Congestion at Shanghai usually worsens at this time of year. However, the recent increase is far higher than both last year and normal seasonal levels,” the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

It remains unclear what impact the lockdown will have on the port’s vessel backlog, the firm said. But it suggested that supply chain managers and analysts around the world “start planning for knock on effects.”

“it remains unclear” must be lib-speak for “FUBAR beyond your ability to imagine FUBAR”. The 300 ship gridlock has now grown to over 500 ships in the past 3 weeks, and that’s with the port running at full capacity 24-7. And in China, where you can get shot or beaten for anything, full capacity really really means full capacity.


It’s actually worse than this. The congestion extends well past Shanghai, meaning nearly the entire Yellow Sea is a parking lot right now. THOUSANDS of ships, more than 10% of all the carriers in the world.

Is there an upside? Maybe. If China is gridlocked, far fewer container ships will be showing up in the US. So maybe that will help reduce the backlog at our end, or give Transportation Secretary Petey Buttgig a chance to do something, assuming he can take time off from his pretend breastfeeding and do the job he’s utterly unqualified for.

Of course, while that happens the shelves will be empty (emptier?) of nearly everything all across the USA.

This is what happens when there’s a “hiccup” when the entire world relies on China to build everything and sell us everything. A failed business model chicken, coming home to roost. Or to roast, your call.

OTOH, China is beginning to ease the lockdown restrictions there, but not by much, and it will take some time.

When Rui ventured out of her Shanghai apartment complex this week for the first time in 20 days, she found a city much altered since Covid-19 brought it to a standstill.

Barricaded storefronts and a makeshift hair salon in an empty swimming pool greeted her on a surreal foray into a Chinese commercial capital yawning back to life after lockdown.

Near her home, a few convenience stores had reopened, but blocked their entrances with stacks of shopping baskets and required customers to “stand outside and yell their orders”, she told AFP.

“Everyone has endured a lot during this time,” she added.

The country’s largest city ordered its entire population of 25 or 26 million to stay home last month, prompting scenes of panic buying and scuffles between residents and police.

Faced with the country’s worst virus outbreak in two years, Shanghai doubled down on the Communist Party’s unrelenting zero-Covid approach, as more than 420,000 infections were detected and a heavy toll inflicted on business and morale.

But as daily infections ebb, city officials have begun to allow some residents out of their homes while pushing factories to resume operations—even as workers are required to sleep onsite.

Twelve million people were told over the past two weeks that they were no longer confined to their apartments and could now walk downstairs or even out of their residential compounds, depending on the risk level in their area.

PS: 420,000 cases in a 25,000,000 population is a 1.6% infection rate. Granted, China lies and China Is Asshoe, so the rate may be much higher. But “virus gonna virus” and the whole freakin’ planet ought to have learned by now that lockdowns don’t help at all. But they hurt a lot.

And for what? At this point, China is reporting that 3 people have just died there of the covid, the first deaths they admit to in their entire nation in over 2 years.

China has reported the deaths of three people from Covid in Shanghai for the first time since the financial hub entered lockdown in late March.

A release from the city health commission said the victims were aged between 89 and 91 and unvaccinated.

PPS: China does NOT use any of the mRNA or DNA vaccines. They have several fairly ineffective regular vaccines, and rely to a huge extent on Traditional Chinese Medicine (herbs and spices) instead.

h/t to The Naked Emperor

See More Below The Fold


Posted by Drew458   United States  on 05/23/2022 at 10:06 PM   
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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.


Copyright © 2004-2015 Domain Owner

GNU Terry Pratchett

Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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