Good morning. Hello. How are you? #644
Good morning. Hello. How are you today? Are you holding up okay? I am okay. I do feel it is one of those days where I need to say I am still sad about Mike, about Roe, about many things. I am going to write a not-sad entry here, like I did yesterday, but I don’t want you to get any ideas that this means that I am not sad about these things. Of course, there are things I am happy about as well. They do not balance out. They do not blend. They are not a soup or a stew. They are a salad where it has delicious cheese, but you also forgot to wash the broccoli so it has some sand in it which is kind of gross but the cucumbers are good and the lettuce is fresh boy this metaphor is going on a bit but I had a salad just like that a few weeks back and it seems to have stuck with me.
I would like to start with this article I read about the double Irish tax shenanigans of the company that produces Wordpress, Automattic. Automattic is huge, so I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they employ the double-Irish, and use Ireland as a tax haven, good for them I guess. So long as we haven’t entered into that Pikketyean paradise of normalized global corporate tax rates, I guess such things are legal. BUT, I would very much like to call attention to the name of Automattic’s Irish subsidiary, because I feel like this pub deserves a lot more attention than it has gotten in past years. It is called Aut O’Mattic.
I mean, that is good, you can’t make that up.
We are leaving for New England in just over a week and the trip prep is starting to kick into high gear. Still gotta get a haircut. Got my prescriptions renewed. That was a pain. Still trying to figure out everything we need to pack. I gotta get this laptop configured for work even though I haven’t used it in, like, a year. We’re both terrified we’ll forget something we need for Jane, but I suppose we can just buy most things again. Gotta start making plans with people.
And of course we are super stressed about the Covid situation, looking at the Covid dashboards for various New England communities, which are not awesome. I am sad it isn’t magically gone for our trip. Our historic level of seclusion and the level most people in New England do not gel and I am not sure exactly how to play it and I’m going to feel like a neurotic country bumpkin troll, I suppose. I do think that having Jane with us will naturally ease me toward more afternoon and early evening meet-ups. Can’t, like, hit the model till 2AM every night when I still gotta get up and make Jane breakfast. And, thus, hopefully, more meetups in outdoor places. We plan on bringing Jane to nearby parks each day. It is stressful, but boy, I am sure looking forward to seeing people. Let’s hang out!
Covid! Stressful! Still!
I installed security cameras in the strawberries and cucumbers yesterday and I am 100% going to keep an eye on my garden when I am in boston and I am going to make this hoop house completely impenetrable to all varmits before I leave. It is very exciting.
Elon Musk says that kicking Trump off Twitter was clearly a bad idea, and a long time ago Elon Musk used to talk about “first principles” and how most people had a bad habit of not learning about things before talking about them or trying things, but now he basically just constantly shoots his mouth off about shit he has no understanding of. He said at one point that Twitter’s new free speech laws were going to just follow the law. Of course, the law gives twitter a fundamental choice about whether it wants to follow Section 230 or not, but even so, he then tempered it to “as closely as posible” and then, later something like “near” the law. Because he’s making shit up as he goes along. Elon Musk is like one of those busybody characters in Rom Coms who thinks they can fix people. He loves Twitter so much he wants to change it completely.
Tesla stock is tanking, which is just great. It is down to $800, down 33% this year. I mean, I can’t say I’m loving this stock market rout, but Tesla approaching the stock price where all the loans he’s taking out against it to buy Twitter will need to be renegotiated is the yummy cheese in this salad, let me tell you. I try to be a good person, I do, but my god I am going to dance with glee if this stock hits $650 or so, and it’s gonna be so fun to watch the bankers ream him. God, I hope this fails, just fail, this is going to be the worst. Watching some hubristic asshole learn the realitis of actually running a large platform, on a massive public stage, while he ruins it. I do not need that.
We have sort of begun re-watching Star Trek the original series and last night we watched the Charlie X episode, where the magical adolescent super human kept disappearing people in tantrums because Yeoman Rand wouldn’t let him bone her. Petulant and overpowerful and everyone was terrified by his idiotic childishness. Metaphor for Elon Musk if there ever was one.
Looked a bit more into that Supreme Court security bill, and the reason Democrats are pretending it’s okay is becuase they’re spinning it as “parity” with other branches of government, who are allowed to provide security for their high-level leaders. Which makes sense until you realize that there is absolutely no parity with the Supreme Court. If they want parity in personal security, they can start with parity in having a god damned actual code of conduct and ethics? They can have parity in personal security when they become subject to the Freedom of Information Act? They can have parity in security when they achieve parity in employing an inspector general? No No No No. No parity only when it comes to your own personal safety. Parity when it comes to the safety of the actual citizenry first. One would think this would be a perfect moment to, you know, tell the court what’s what and cajole it into acting like an actual branch of a supposedly-democratic society but nope. We will just pretend it’s all good and fair’s fair.
Apple is killing off the iPod, the last model they make is the iPod touch, and they put out a press release saying that when the current supply is gone, that’ll be the end of them. That makes me very sad and so I irrationally bought an iPod touch last night that I absolutely do not need, but I do own, like, I don’t know, five iPods and I realized I don’t have an iPod touch anymore. I had one right before the iPhone came out and I loved it so much. I think it was my last iPod. And of course I used to work on iPod advertising, so I have a soft spot. ‘Twas a great time at Apple, you could make a pretty cogent argument about the iphone ruining everything. I suppose that’s a bit too much, though. I gotta read that After Steve book, anyone read it yet?
Farwell, sweet iPod. You will be missed.
Also that video comes from my glorious Vimeo account, which is 90% videos of old Barbarian work, 5% Jane movies and 5% Rockets Burst from the Streetlamps videos that I should really re-post to Youtube. Underrated gem, my Vimeo account, as is the amazing www.itsgonnabeaweso.me, the Barbarian archive site I maintain and always forget to tell anyone about.
A few days ago, Jane walked up to me holding a photo that I have no idea where she got. I assume she pulled it out of one of my many archive photo boxes. It was a photo of me, Dan, Athena, and Mike Anderson and one more person coming out of the old-timey elevator that was in the lobby of my old apartment building at 1066 Comm ave, thus dating the photo to 1992 ish. Everyone looks so freshfaced and young. Here. I scanned it for you.
Really miss that This Mortal Coil shirt. I think Beth stole it. Maybe my sister. And I miss that hair.
Finally, I’ve been thinking about the solar tariffs. The short story is that Donald Trump did a lot of tariffs against China and we all bitched and moaned but I think a lot of people secretly liked them and then Biden came into office, having said bad things about the tariffs, but decided to just keep em. Now we are in a period of inflation and it is pretty clear that the tariffs aren’t helping in that regard. Economists estimate they’d lower prices by 1.3ish percent if they were removed. Which seems a no brainer. But Biden kept them because he wanted to shore up his polling numbers in the midwest, which made sense before full unemployment but now he could probably ditch em and people would be okay.
And then on top of this there are the solar tariffs specifically, which are a giant mess. There’s basically no solar panel industry in the US anymore, China killed it off by dumping a bunch of low-cost panels on the US. There’s only one company left. Ish. Don’t quote me. Anyway, seems pretty clear that China already did the deed, and a few years of tariffs on solar panels has not caused the American industry to come bouncing back. What it has done, however, is radically slow the adoption of solar systems around the US, since, you know, prices are higher. This, obviously, is not a good thing from an environmental perspective. Yet Biden’s not wrong to be concerned about losing another industry to China. Yet… barn door after the chickens got out. It is a genuinely complex problem. And I don’t have an opinion. I am not fully informed enough to make one. But I am concerned.
See Elon? It’s not so hard. Just say “I don’t know yet. I am thinking about it.”
Today’s mix is something I spent most of yesterday listening to and it really cheered me right up and I suspect it might cheer you up as well. Except “Man on the Silver Mountain” that came to me this morning.
Farewell, friend. Until tomorrow.