Winchells Open All Night

So Winchell’s is open all night. That’s twenty-four hours a day, each and every day of the year. For those of you who don’t know, Winchell’s is a doughnut chain in the United States. It’s all over California, but I’m not sure about the other states.

At any rate, my interest in Winchell’s, other than their glazed blueberry, is the fact that a Winchell’s  would make a decent place to run to if you were being chased by zombies at one in the morning. It’s always going to be open–right?–so you could make for those bright yellow lights with equanimity that the door will swing open as you sprint through.

I have it from an excellent source (yes, better than the New York Times) that zombies are allergic to chocolate-glazed old fashioneds. There are decent odds that you’ll always find a good supply of those in the racks. That and a good pitching arm should keep you safe.

No need to thank me.

Speaking of silly things that complicate our lives, some genius in Bloomberg just wrote a piece titled “Inflation Stings Most If You Earn Less Than 300k. Here’s How To Deal.” I’m torn over this one. Should I laugh or yell? I’ll do both. I think an excellent tonic for idiocy is a return barrage of laughter, but some yells volley well enough too.

I’ll take one for the team and give you a quick run-down of the so-called Bloomberg piece. Doomberg, Bloomberg–is there a difference? It begins with an acknowledgement of inflation and how it is affecting gas and food, etc etc yawn. We’re all painfully aware of that. But then Professor Teresa Ghilarducci then goes on to explain how those in lower income brackets can soften the blow. Spoiler alert: here’s where it goes down the rabbit hole to Alice in Wonderinsaneland.

Professor Ghilarducci, an economist at the New School of Social Research (where is that and what steps should I take to make sure my kids don’t go there?), says that people should control your budget. That is nothing short of revolutionary, of course, right up there with making sure your zipper is hoisted high after application of pants.

She then goes on to encourage all of us to take more public transport. I suppose that advice is decent for those of you in urban settings. Doesn’t really work out here in farming country. “Excuse me, Mr. Bus Driver, can you take the dirt road on the right after Mr. McIntry’s wheat crop on the lower forty before the old windmill, and then just down three miles and a hard left, but watch out for the brown bull in the pasture there, as he often gets out.”

And then, ha! the good professor descends into culinary advice. Such as steer away from pricey meats and try meat substitutes like beans and lentils. Beans and lentils? For the humble folk, you say? At this point, she gives some rather mysterious advice which I will quote in its poetic entirety: “Plan to cut out the middle creature and consume plants directly.”

Hmm.

Images come to mind of cropping the grass. Cropping it directly, with the fresh dew on it. That’ll be breakfast. A quick nibble of the office potted plants for lunch, the ficus is particularly delicious, and then home for dinner with a plate of succulents, which are, er…succulent, high in fiber and an excellent source of water. As Grandmother is fond of gifting you succulents every Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving and Martin Luther King Jr Day, I’m sure you’ll be in good supply.

At this point, Professor Ghilarducci’s worthy list of advice, almost as inspiring as Ben Franklin’s better treatises, veers into truly noteworthy territory. She remarks that many people acquired pets during the pandemic (that whole loneliness and isolation thing, right?). Regretfully, she points out that pets sometimes necessitate expensive medical treatments, so you might consider skipping chemo for Fido.

Ship Fido off to the glue factory as part of your inflation therapy. We have a call in to Fido to inquire about his perspective, but he’s probably too busy hunting up Ghilarducci’s address on Google to respond.

And they wonder why more and more people are growing skeptical of higher education as a choice.

Burning Bright

Burning bright, but not precisely right. And not in the forests of the night.

Part of my somewhat unusual job is managing some industrial properties in the city. The property backs up to the train line that runs north and south through California. Due to some federal law that probably didn’t game out the unanticipated consequences when it was being written, city and county jurisdictions cannot enter the train line right-of-way unless for serious crimes (such as murder, rape, etc). Or, of course, if Union Pacific gives them authorization (which it is somewhat stingy with).

The unanticipated consequence? Homeless encampments. Full of garbage, used syringes, open-air lavatories, you name it. Homelessness in California is mostly a mental health issue. Sadly, the authorities do next to nothing about it.

Several days ago, at our neighboring homeless encampment, they decided to light a fire. They often do this, sometimes courtesy of small propane cookers that local do-gooders hand out, and sometimes courtesy of their own devices.

And the fire got out of control, as fires are often inclined to do. Fires are the ultimate bureaucracy. They want everything. They want to devour information, ideas, lives, property. You name it, they want it.

Here’s a video of the fire if you’re interested: Fire!

Fire, fire, burning bright, in the homeless encampment in our sight–who has framed thy fearful symmetry? Well, pretty much decades of California leftist regulations and enablements that have weakened the ability to deal with mental health and drug addiction in our society.

Sad!

Radio Commercials

Radio commercials have a story to tell. And it seems to be the same story for a lot of them.

During the work week, I spend a decent amount of time driving around each day. I have to check on job sites, crews, inspect properties, etc. My driving time is usually occupied in three different ways: silence, talk radio, or listening to music.

Both the music and the talk radio stations have very similar commercials. Off the top of my head, I estimate half of the commercials use fear as the main sales motivator. Precious metals, emergency food, vaccines (so many vaccine commercials), real estate, health products. The list is long and tedious.

As for the commercials that don’t use fear as a motivator, I wonder if they’re missing out on potential sales? There’s a commercial for Babel, the language learning app, that might want to rethink its approach. The current Babel commercial has the usual patter about learning typical tourist phrases, such as “My name is Fred,” “I will order the hamburger,” and “Where is the bathroom?”

A fear-based Babel commercial could tout learning phrases like “There’s no point kidnapping me, as my family is poor,” or “Only a nitwit would want to harvest my kidneys, as I have advanced cirrhosis.” I bet a lot of people planning on overseas travel would appreciate knowing some phrases like that.

Sorry. Sometimes my humor goes a bit dark.

The Mystery of Masks

The culture of masks, here in California, truly has been a mystery. On again, off again, on again, off again. Masks are like a psychotic high school girlfriend.

You have to wear a mask when you’re walking into a restaurant. But, as soon as you sit down, you can take the mask off. Does that mean the little covid virus particles only exist at higher altitudes of 54 inches or above? But what if you sit at a bar on a stool and your head is equivalent in height to the average standing head? Should extremely short people and small children be allowed to walk into the restaurant without a mask, as their standing head height is equivalent to the average sitting-at-a-table head height?

Fairly obvious insanity.

We’re all painfully aware of the blatant hypocrisy of the elites swanning about their soirees (I would love to work the word “sauna” into this sentence but I can’t figure out how [other than this parenthetical]), sans masks. Garcetti at the ballgame, Newsome at the French Laundry, Pelosi staggering through her salon, various stars (what a strange use of the word star) at their sparkly galas, wait-staff obsequious and objectified in their muzzles, hovering around the fringes with platters of champagne in hand.

More insanity, but so tedious and grating.

Children in schools, anonymized and de-individualized, transformed into pairs of eyes blinking above fabric. The treatment of children in schools is a painful one to watch. I remember quite well the loneliness and uneven isolation of public school. Eddies of cliques washing around you like a cold North Sea tide. Uncertainty of self, uncertainty of purpose, uncertainty of meaning. The psychology of most children is delicate enough as it is. But to add in daily masks and the ensuing separation?

Insanity and abuse, wrapped up in a teachers union-approved recyclable bow.

In moments of sanity, why do we ever wear masks? When you’re out at night asking strangers for candy. When you’re Batman. When you’re in a burning building. When you’re demoing walls full of asbestos. When you’re touring Chernobyl. When you’re the Phantom of the Opera. When you’re welding. When you’re deep-sea diving. When  you are a dead pharaoh. When you’re robbing a bank.

Brief interactions of sanity and masks, all of them. Except for the Phantom of the Opera. He was clearly a sad nut.

Which brings me to story (of course). The lunacy of the whole thing (complete with shrieking harridans in grocery stores “Put on your &*#$ed mask! Do you want your grandma to die?!”) begs for an explanation. A perspective from 30 miles up that makes sense of all the idiots in government, the sheep-like people, the liars in the media, and all the rest of the poor, huddled masses, yearning for uninhibited breathing.

Perhaps an invasion of the body snatchers style infiltration of certain people’s brains? Aliens exerting mind control over society for some nefarious, future purpose? A witches coven in the highest levels of government and business, grooming the world for mass child sacrifices that will enable the opening of a door between dimensions? Nothing good ever comes through those kinds of doors. Or perhaps a secret society of Malthusians bent on turning the masses into mindless slaves with forced sterilizations and drastic population reductions as the next steps?

There could be some interesting stories here.

The Night Thieves

Do people steal more at night? That’s what I’ve always thought. Maybe my assumption comes from years of reading mysteries and thrillers, in which most skullduggery seems to occur under cover of darkness.

Stolen catalytic converter.

At any rate, someone, or several someones, just stole the catalytic converter from the spare truck at my office. As you can see in the photo, they simply sliced through the exhaust line and made off with their loot. From what I’ve read, a really good thief can remove the converter in about 60 seconds. Slower thieves can take up to 10 minutes.

Why? #$@% it! Why?

Because of the rare metals in the converter. Catalytic converters contain rare metals, such as platinum, rhodium and palladium. These are necessary for the oxidation process of carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. So I’ve read. I remember basically nothing from high school chemistry class. All I remember is, once, igniting the experiment table on fire once, much to the mixed horror and hilarity of my lab partner Sherri.

And, of course, rare metal prices are high these days.

This is why I’m in favor of Congress passing a bill allowing all households to obtain and keep trained attack-skunks or similar nocturnal animals that would be happy chomping on thief ankles at night. Or spraying them with their skunk chemicals. I could go for a well-trained pack of feral chipmunks roaming the property at night. Hungering and thirsting for rare metal thieves.

Have you seen what the cost is of installing a new catalytic converter? Ouch. That’s life in sunny California, the year 2022. Don’t even get me started on Union Pacific and what’s going on along the train tracks of Los Angeles.

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