ordinary average gentlemen descends from Honey Tower to greet infected filthy masses

When he’s not writing more esoteric, baffling Xi Thought, or establishing a mini-apartheid state, or eating barrels full of honey straight from the hive, Chairman Xi must have a busy life. So it’s pretty cool of him to descend from his famous and luscious Honey Tower to confer with a few people from the degenerate masses [who were prescreened for both disease and political affiliation and had their families held hostage at knifepoint until the cameras left].

Hey, it’s already been over a month since people started dying, but in all honesty you wouldn’t want to be anywhere near these people either. Viruses are bad things, and dictators need to avoid bad things, in order to do bad things to other people. Like locking up doctors who try to stop a bad virus from happening, that’s a bad thing.

But Xi has adopted Putin’s tactic of being a Tsar/Chairman. The sins of the Empire are the fault of local officials, only. If only Xi knew what was going on, surely HE would have put a stop to it. Only through HIS benevolence is government waste and corruption even held in check. Hell, without Xi, coronavirus would be in your kitchen right now, eating your food and beating your family with a cricket bat.

So here’s to you Chairman! [breaks full bottle of baijiu over dirty peasant’s head; alcohol gets in eyes, which the face mask is completely ineffective at protecting; peasant screams in agony; fawning sycophants clap in rhythm]

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we dual beer carriers

We all met on a mist covered field at dawn just after a full moon.  Each participant could pick the melee weapon of their choice.  A duck (Earl) officiated the process and had right of refusal for all rules as Earl saw fit.

Standing at one end of the field of honor was E. Scott Santi, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer for ITW.  At the other end was Nancy Baker, International Sales Manager for PakTech.

Santi chose the katana.  Baker chose the gas powered chainsaw.  Earl quacked loudly, and dropped the handkerchief to begin the bout.  Who emerged victorious from this most glorious of contests?  First, some history.

In the 1950’s one of ITW’s inventors came up with the idea of the classic plastic can holder that we all grew up with.  This used a minimal amount of plastic, performed its function well, and generally was left alone for decades.  However, nobody recycled anything back then.  So by the 1980’s and certainly the 1990’s this creation was popping up everywhere.  As the environmental movement gained steam, we’ll all remember hearing and seeing how many ducks were slain by this product.  But the product worked, and so the solution offered to humanity was not to ban the plastic holder, but to cut it up prior to throwing it away so wildlife couldn’t be snared within its death jaws.

However, in the early 1990’s (in PakTech’s case 1991) smart people saw this situation as a business opportunity.  Thus was born the solid molded form plastic can holder that you see far more often today.  This is what PakTech makes.  Its (usually black) plastic holders carry the canned beer from just about any craft beer company on the planet that doesn’t put their cans inside a paper box.  PakTech even goes through the trouble on their website to explain how their holders are not just better than the old ITW version, but also more environmentally friendly than the paper six pack box.

The examples I used in this most intense study (where I consulted three MIT engineers, a pair of preeminent environmental activists, a blue whale named Betty, and the Ethiopian immigrant who sells me most of my beer) I had an ITW can holder that held old style classic and tasty Yuengling.  This makes sense, Yuengling is older than anybody else, and isn’t looking to be flashy.  The PakTech version held a six from one of my local craft breweries who has every interest in their branding to appear more environmentally supportive than your average elder brewery.

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But wait, hold on here.  We at TAP love to question assumptions.  Just how lethal are ITW’s original plastic holders to the planet’s poor creatures?  National Geographic does a pretty good summary.

The original numbers of the dead was supposed to number six figures each year but nobody seems to know where that number came from, as in, it was made up.  Since 1994 the EPA mandated that the ITW style holder be biodegradable.  This means it’ll biodegrade in about 700 years.  It also means it’s worthless in terms of plastic recycling ability, and it still ends up with plastic particles in the ecosystem.  The article also lists some very wacky replacement solutions to the ITW design which sound stupid and make one admire the sound business acumen of PakTech who built a realistic and useable design.

But let’s go ahead and take the article at face value.  And then multiply it ten times.  Thus we estimate that in a given year the ITW design viciously strangles one million ducks per year.  Compare this to the over ten million ducks that are shot by hunters every year.  You do the math, and determine just where the threat to wildlife really is.  I’m not against hunting, but if you’re an environmental type, where is your time better spent, beer can holders or shotgun rounds?

Our belligerent conclusions:

– It’s pretty obvious that the ITW design uses way less plastic up front, we’ll say only 5% as a rough estimate.  [katana slash across the cheek by Mr Santi]

– But the ITW design can’t really be recycled and requires the user to cut it up prior to throwing it away.  [Ms Baker powers up chainsaw]

– The PakTech design uses way, way more plastic up front and requires confidence in the user (and their local jurisdiction) to recycle it properly, otherwise it’s just a huge piece of landfill that’ll take 7,770 years to biodegrade.  [katana pierce into the belly by Mr Santi]

– But the PakTech design is completely recyclable and does not require the user to cut it up, it can be just tossed into the bin alongside the cans that held your tasty, tasty beer.  [chainsaw rips through shoulder of Mr Santi]

– Earl quacks: “Who gives a fuck?”  [Mr Santi lowers katana; Ms Baker powers down chainsaw; both are panting, exhausted, and covered in blood]

There are positives and negatives to both these products.  Both perform their function well.  Both have attributes that are meant to aid the environment.  But the key fact is, in order to complete their purpose to the end stage, it’s the end user that must complete the process.  As in, you.  If you use ITW, and you don’t cut it up at the end, you have failed.  If you use PakTech and don’t recycle properly, you have failed.

This is just fine by me.  Because instead of shouting online or protesting or whatever, it just comes down to sound, simple actions by individual humans.  Each individual can make a difference just by doing their job.  Buy ITW, or PakTech, or a paper six pack box, whatever, just do your job at the end and the cycle works.

Just try to avoid buying beer in bottles though.  Why?  Ah, more on that later.

[Earl quacks loudly]  [Earl draws firearm, a Colt 1911; proceeds to rob two injured big shot corporate suits at gunpoint; flies away]  [Earl is spotted at The Hen Pub & Grille later getting blitzed with a swan, a goose, and a komodo dragon]

why should the Amazon not burn?

I remember hearing about how important the Amazon is when I was a schoolkid, how important it was to save it. I don’t remember them talking about the rest of the planet’s forests though. I certainly never got taught about how my ancestors clear cut most of their trees. When I go visit my great-grandfather’s house, it’s important for me to remember that almost every tree in that area is about post the year 1900. Local residents and lumberjack companies took the rest of the forest in the hundreds of years before that time. I’m sure my family did it all with glorious abandon, they were in America from the 1600’s.  Parts of the area that are now unspeakably, beautiful forest must have looked like desert moonscapes a 150 years ago.

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So the planet now points the finger at Brazil? Okay, got it. But as the BBC points out, what about the Amazon in Bolivia?

What about the forest fires in Indonesia and Malaysia to start palm oil plantations that literally blot out the Sun in Singapore each year?

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Or here’s a shot from The Economist which shows forest fires globally right now. Seems the real problem is in Africa more so than Brazil.

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I’m not saying I want the Amazon to burn. It’d be nice if it didn’t. But there are no easy answers. When you look at it, everybody in human history has burned or chopped down their forests at some point.

The G7 wants to give Brazil $22M to stop. Or, in terms of scale for international monetary efforts, about $4. What a joke, if I was Brazilian I’d be pissed too at the contemptuous, cheap way people are talking about my country.

The answers are much harder. Throwing money at the problem isn’t the answer. Careful, considered, engagement is. But it has to be global. It’s not about the Amazon. It’s about the whole planet.

nature reminds West Coast of approaching nightmare

Lost amidst yesterday’s revelry, fireworks, beer, my dog’s inability to detail with percussive sounds, political mayhem, massive blatant disregard for local laws dealing with the employment of explosives by the citizenry, and so on, was the news that California endured it’s largest earthquake in 20 years.

A relatively mild 6.4 on the American scale yielded minor damage but the usual television mayhem as C grade news organizations tried to hitch viewers by showing helicopters following police cars around open desert communities like they were after the ghost of some 1849 horse thief.

In case most folks forgot, because I know I did, the entire West Coast has nature’s handgun held to its temple.  20 years!?  That’s how long it’s been since California has seen anything approaching a reasonable earthquake.  In geologic times this is less than a fraction of a heartbeat, but it’s quite a long time for us.

But these are not things to be ignored.  A good chunk of the West Coast is built on glass.  The supposed ‘big one’ might never happen, but if it does, oh man that’d be quite the mess.  A full scale cascadia subduction zone quake with the accompanying tsunami would make the 2011 Japanese tsunami look like a wave in a kiddy pool.

I wonder how much planning has been done in California, Oregon, and Washington lately to deal with these eventualities?  Or has all that institutional knowledge been lost after 20 years of not caring at all about it.  Not sure.  I hope folks are still thinking about it and planning.  Yesterday’s earthquake had only one minute’s warning.

When the nightmare of nature calls, there are only seconds to answer.  So after 20 years, maybe a thought or two needs to occur in case the nightmare actually comes.  It’s way more important than some tweet, or celebrity outfit, or whatever.  Here’s hoping the West Coast takes yesterday as a needed wakeup call.

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evil Bond villain unveils plans for Opticon One Moon base

It must be nice to be the world’s richest man (until the divorce paperwork clears) because you can come up with all kinds of harebrained schemes. Going to the Moon is awesome, I find it offensive to humanity that we haven’t been there in five decades, but do we really need to go there? Probably not. Maybe all of that money should be better spent curing malaria.

But Bezos (hereafter Scaramanga) has an ego the size of Saturn. It’s rumored he finds it personally offensive that SpaceX and notorious emo nutcase Elon Musk are considered the better bet for space travel. Scaramanga’s Blue Origin builds smaller rockets, has less clients, and in general was considered less ambitious in its goals. No longer. Now it’s the Moon baby!

Scaramanga seems to think he can meet the US government’s deadline to get back to the Moon by 2024. This is the NASA deadline favored mostly by Mike Pence and previously announced. It’s also a fantasy deadline because the plan relies on a rocket and space vehicle that do not exist and likely will never fly, ever. In other news, NASA is a joke.

SpaceX is focused on the more mundane (and actually profitable) business of launching satellites into space. This leaves plenty of room for Scaramanga to lose money on his vanity project. And so if Scaramanga is serious, and the technology is viable, he sure does have the cash to make this happen. It’s probably humanity’s best bet for getting back to the Moon.

Don’t get me wrong, I wish the best for this. Humanity needs something awesome to do other than the latest version of the iPhone. It’s just weird that the potential arm of humanity that will take us back to the Moon after all this time is Scaramanga, funded by a company that’s ruthlessly trying to take over every aspect of human life to the point they’ve even conned millions to put a live listening device in their own homes. Amazon is the Giant Octopus.

And so, here’s what Scaramanga really has planned for his Moon Base, code named Opticon One:

– Death ray (of course)

– Space based delivery drone concept that takes moon rocks and delivers them to your door (for a nominal fee)

– Shameless harem of the world’s most gorgeous women who wanted to go to space (don’t judge, the man is now single)

– Subterranean strip mine of Moon minerals worked by non-union slave labor (we’ll throw some poor cute kiddies in there too for good measure)

– Second death ray (you don’t build your own Moon base without being ridiculous)

– Amazon Web Services cloud servers capable of storing knowledge of all humanity (such knowledge is needed for Earth’s new citizens)

– Conveyer belt of spheres filled with weaponized nerve gas capable of wiping out all human life (and kitties too, one of them scratched Scaramanga when he was a child)

– One ordinary average employee who works in quality control (and happens to have steel teeth)

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Bond: You’ll never get away with this, Scaramanga!

Scaramanga: [laughs] Oh no, you’ll see, you can’t stop me, Mr Bond. For you see, when I’m finished, humanity will … [dramatic music] purchase household cleaning goods online at 13% increased profit margins to my fulfillment centers! [uncontrollable raging laughter]

Bond: …

Scaramanga: …

[bond shoots Scaramanga in forehead; rescues kiddies and harem]

“modern culture gives us the right to criminal stupidity,” claim parents of poor unvaccinated kiddies

You know the thing about the hierarchy of needs is once you take away the hardest ones of rent, food budget, Netflix, running water, booze, etc the list becomes pretty short.  Do you really need a doggy or a kitty?  No, but a lot of people do it because it feels good.

But also, the absence of any hierarchy gaps can get pretty destructive.  Do people really, really need to bathe in national politics as much as they do?  No, your local mayor is way, way more important to your daily life, but folks will swim all in the Mueller report today because they can afford to.  After all, it’s not like they’re worried about sleeping tonight without HVAC available.

And when the hierarchy is almost entirely addressed, I do believe modern culture also allows people to go down the path of the criminal insanity.  Circa 1437 you could die from just about anything.  The idea of a measles vaccine would have been the equivalent of planting a rocketship in your sheep pasture.

Yet because one goon scientist published a report that said MMR is bad for you (a report that’s now been completely and utterly disgraced) it’s spawned one of the most bizarre movements in modern human history.  It’s like these people want to take their hierarchy backwards.  Once, you could be vaccinated against an untimely death.  But who wants that?  You can just do without it!

So, I guess, you can also do without:

– Cleaning drinking water: There are chemicals in their tap water, they probably cause cancer, or autism.  Sure, billions of other folks on the planet have to drink filth water and they don’t.  But still, better safe than sorry.  Their best bet is to only drink water straight from a mountain stream.  Don’t filter it in advance either, those filters probably also cause cancer.

– Shelter: Death from exposure is underappreciated.

– Science: The anti-vaccine crowd seems to be an amalgamation of both wacko ends of the political spectrum.  And so: To the anti-vaccine left, what do you think science says about global warming?  And so: To the anti-vaccine right, what do you think science says about the ability for certain chemical reactions to induce explosions that kill ISIS terrorists?

– Polio vaccine: FDR didn’t get it.  And he’s considered one of the greatest people in human history.  What’s not to like?

– Cars, trains, buses, bikes, etc: Technology, progress, etc are things to be rejected, apparently.  So just to be safe everybody can/should only walk anywhere they need to go.  But this will be difficult to accomplish as since nobody has any vaccines their bones will be dust by age 27 ala Circa 341 BC.  But it’ll be worth it!

– Electricity: There was once a time in human history (say 4800 of the last 5000 years) where nighttime was so dark, so dangerous, so unproductive that humans had to live with the concept of “second sleep“.  Since electricity has been tied to any number of dangers, such as cancer, autism, mind control, appendicitis, night elves, high cholesterol, etc, we should break all our light bulbs and live by candlelight only.  But, so you know, candles also cause cancer.  Sorry.

– Clothing (of any kind): Cancer.

– Agriculture: Have they tried to live the life of a true hunter-gatherer?  If they haven’t, they’re missing out on all the fun of a grinding, unspeakable struggle where if they fail at even one day’s hunting and gathering, they’re finished.

– Blogging: Someone, please, help me!

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Sheltered enough to permit raw stupidity (poor, poor kiddies)

NASA loses keys

Imagine you’re taking two dogs to the mountains for the weekend.  It might snow, and you want your dogs to have a jacket in case they duel a grizzly bear and need to keep warm.  Both your dogs need medium sized jackets.  Do you:

a) Make sure you have two medium jackets, and if not, buy one or two

b) Not bother to check at all and hope it somehow all works out

c) Panic

d) Ask your dogs for money

e) Skip your mountain trip and sit on your floor playing with your dogs as you drink beer

Most normal people would choose option (a).  But apparently not NASA, you know, those people who are geniuses and make things go into space.  Last week NASA announced that it would have it’s first all female spacewalk.  Because apparently these diversity things matter to NASA when it currently doesn’t have a functional space vehicle with which to get it’s astronauts into orbit so we rely on the Russians.

But as it turns out they cannot conduct this two female spacewalk because, wait for it, they don’t have two medium sized spacesuits.  This is not a joke.  This is legitimately happening.  Apparently NASA planned a complex dangerous spacewalk but didn’t bother to make sure they had two appropriate spacesuits.  I mean how hard is this?  One of the flight engineers could have asked her five year old to look at an inventory list and see the word ‘medium’ next to ‘spacesuit’ and make sure the number said at least two.

In related news, Boeing (that company that has problems lately), has now burned through north of $5B, yes billion, to produce a rocket that hasn’t flown once (and will probably never fly) and will take longer to produce than it took NASA to get to the Moon.

Man, this organization used to be the pinnacle of technology and awesome.  But that was five decades ago.  Now these folks probably lose their keys on their way to the parking lot.

Just disestablish NASA and give its entire budget to help fund STEM scholarships for poor kids.  Let the commercial sector have a go at space awesomeness.  They’ll do a cheaper, probably safer, and at least remember to look at an inventory list before planning a mission.

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Have fun!  Make sure you remember your airlock keys to get back into the station!