Category Archives: rant

I got dropped ot the Ride of Silence, and no Feed

I have been all over the eastern end of the Metromess today, with multiple trips to court and a trip to the northern parts of Richardson so Mrs. the Poet and I could attend her 25 work anniversary award dinner. The dinner was lovely with a hearty salad and rolls to start out, and some kind of chicken in a cream sauce and capers over linguine with yellow squash and zucchini on the side, with a choice of chocolate cake or raspberry cheesecake for dessert with water and unsweetened ice tea as beverages. As a person that experiments with breads from time to time I strongly approve of the rolls, they were superb. The squashes were a little bland, I think because they were pan-fried without breading, or quite enough salt. It’s possible that I needed more salt because of all the walking I did in the heat of the day.

Getting to the walking in the heat of the day I had to go to court this morning, then back to court this afternoon. I went to court this morning because the codes guy never actually told us what was the problem with the “fix-it” warnings for branches, landscaping, and trash until he wrote the ticket for the broken branch and sent a picture of the branch that we could not see from inside the property. There was a broken branch in the ash tree that could only be seen if you stood on the sidewalk across the street (or in the street close to the curb). Even the prosecutor thought we had trash in the yard from looking at the ticket until I showed the pictures that were sent to the house with the ticket. We spent months chasing trash off the fence line only to get a ticket for a broken branch we could not see from the property. Getting that taken care of was why I went to court in the morning. The reason I went again in the afternoon was Mrs. the Poet signed a check for me to fill out for whatever fines or costs we had to pay, and the clerk would not take the check because I was not the person that signed it, because even though the ticket was dismissed we still had to pay court costs (even if you win you lose). So I had to go back with Mrs. the Poet to show her ID and get everything paid for.

Now we get back to the headline of the day, I got dropped from the Mother Ride of the Ride of Silence. Francis/es it has already been established is somewhat less aerodynamic than a brick with its largest side facing the wind. I mean seriously it’s a truck, it’s not a racer. Combine that with strong headwinds for the backside of the loop around White Rock Lake and a balky IGH that did not want to stay in gear and not hydrating before the ride and having to wear a helmet I could not raise my head enough to see around and I was cosplaying Powdered Toast Man by the time we went past the Stone Tables area. Shortly before I got to the bridge before Garland Road the cramps set in but by that time even the cops doing sweep had dropped me. I walked a bit and rode a bit and walked a bit more then finally rode into the finish at least 15 minutes after the ride was over and everybody was socializing. I managed to get some water and started to feel more like a higher life form, but not quite human yet. I managed to get home about 2230 after leaving before 1800, and grabbed my dinner from the microwave, then checked to see what the 2000th post had done for clicks, and fell into bed exhausted with a throbbing neck. Now it’s over 24 hours later and my neck is still going between throbbing and twingeing a bit, so I think this is a good time to call it quits and end this post.

PSA, Opus

More S&M in the tax code on a Wreck-Free Sunday

So, back to the tax code, how to make it fair(er). I already talked about classifying people and corporations based on how far away they were from actually making stuff that people buy, with people and companies that people go to for the actual product like people in the performing arts, or professional athletes who are the product being S0, and banks and investment companies who just make money being classified as S5. The tricky parts were the S2 through S4 companies and people, because deciding where on the separation spectrum a company belongs has a major impact on their tax schedule.

But today I’m going to talk about the Ms, the multiples of the minimum wage that form the basis of the tax brackets. As a review, M1 is minimum wage times 40 hours a week times 52 weeks a year, M250 is M1 times 250 or basically someone making as much in a day as a person on minimum wage makes in a year. Today a person in the M1 bracket pays 15.2% (IIRC , that’s close) in SS and Medicare taxes but no income tax, and the person in the M250 bracket pays about 1% in SS and Medicare taxes and roughly 22% in income taxes, depending on how good their tax accountants are. In the middle you get the M5 and 6 people who pay the biggest part of their income in taxes, with 15.2% SS and Medicare taxes and 15% or so in income taxes. And the people who actually make things get taxed the most…

I think this is bass-ackwards. The people that make things should not be the ones that pay the most taxes, because making things drives the economy. So I have different tax brackets depending on how far removed you are from actual products.

S0 people and companies are the ones that are the product, and as such have the most volatile incomes. their first tax bracket starts at M0 and runs to M50 at the 15.2% that is SS and Medicare combined, with no income tax. The next bracket starts at M51 and runs to M100 and has the 15.2% SS tax and a 20% income tax on the income over M50, so it becomes extremely progressive as only the marginal taxes are charged not taxes on the whole income, like tax brackets currently. The next bracket would be M101 through M250 which has a 25% marginal rate on income tax with the SS and Medicare taxes holding steady, with the final bracket at M251 to infinity and a 30% income tax and the SS and Medicare tax still holding at 15.2%

S1 would be similar to S0 with more brackets and a lower upper threshold from the zero income tax bracket to the second bracket. M0 to M25 is zero income tax but the 15.2% SS and Medicare tax, with the next bracket being M26 though M50 with the SS and Medicare tax and 10% income tax. Above that is the same as the S0 tax brackets.

S2 the first and second tax brackets would be the same as S1, but the third tax bracket would be M76 through M100 with SS and Medicare at 15.2% and 22.5% income tax and above M100 being the same as S1 and S0.

S3 is like S2 until M151 to M250 with a 27.5% income on top of the 15.2% SS and Medicare tax, and M251 and above being the same.

S4 shifts the first tax bracket down to M1 with only the income from M0 to M1 being free of income tax and every other bracket being shifted down one, and the M251 and above having 35% tax on top of the SS and Medicare taxes so the brackets would be M0 to M1 SS and Medicare only, M1 to M25 being 10% income tax on top of SS and Medicare, M26 to M50 at 20% income on top of the SS and Medicare. M51 through M75 would be 22.5% on top of SS and Medicare, and M76 through M100 having 25% income tax on top of SS and Medicare. M101 through M150 is 27.5% income tax on top of SS and Medicare, and M151 through M250 is 30% income tax on top of the SS and Medicare tax, then M251 through infinity being 35% on top of SS and Medicare.

S5 is where the tax brackets get nasty, because S5 people are mostly parasites economically. The brackets start at M0 and go up every multiple of M through M251 with the combined income and SS and Medicare taxes being 99% (83.8% income tax and 15.2% SS and Medicare) at M251 to infinity, and M1 being SS and Medicare and 10% income tax on top of that and increasing by 0.3132 every M step to M251. Yes, there are literally 251 separate tax brackets for the S5 “worker”, but their taxes are truly “progressive” as their income increases and most of the time paying about the same as their less-parasitic counterparts up to M25. For the mathematically challenged that is $377000 at the minimum wage that prevails today and doesn’t actually start to bite until you get really up there in the wage pyramid.

And that’s my idea to make the tax structure more fair. I’m sure I need to tweak the lower tax brackets to keep the collected taxes the same as they are now if not a smidge more, as the M multiple seems to be a bit on the coarse side.

PSA, Opus

Getting parochially political on a Wreck-Free Sunday

I try not to descend into politics outside transportation issues here at WoaB, but things have come to a head here in the Big PX over how we should deliver medical care to our citizens. On one side you have people who believe everyone deserves access to health care as a matter of right regardless of ability to pay, and the other side who believe that if you ain’t rich you don’t deserve anything. The rich side has medical insurance that costs more per year than half of American households make in income before taxes, so let’s just say their perspective is somewhat skewed by their circumstance.

The person I was referring to in the previous paragraph was my US Senator, Ted (I’m not a Canadian) Cruz. He’s covered by his wife’s insurance from Goldman Sachs (which is a whole ‘nother rant) which costs in the neighborhood of $40k-45k per year, which is a neighborhood that is about 3 times the annual income here at WoaB. So while he was reading Dr. Seuss and getting it wrong, he was covered by two Cadillac health plans, his Congressional plan and the gold-plated coverage from his wife’s plan.

And now that they have found they can’t stop the Affordable Care Act, so they want to shut the government down unless they can delay it for a year. Oh yeah and they want to strip abortion and contraceptives out of the act as well. So that’s a big extended middle finger to everyone who lacks a Y chromosome. Last time I checked testicle-owning Americans did not need either of those two services.

What really gets me about this is the Affordable Care Act is a Republican plan from the end of the 20th Century that was passed in MA as Romneycare (you remember, that goofus that lost the last presidential election?). So what was good 15 years ago is terrible now? I guess because poor people are more evil now than they were 15 years ago, or most probably because the people leading the GOP now have little contact with and no empathy for the vast majority of Americans who don’t pump hundreds of millions of dollars into their campaign war chests. They have made the conscious choice to place all their resources at the behest of the rich and to the detriment of the vast majority. I’m purposely trying to avoid that 1%-99% rhetoric here.

OK, enough of that, things have gotten strange again here at Casa de El Poeta. Yesterday afternoon our neighbor’s fence became part of our yard after the soil was saturated by an extended thunderstorm. Unlike when that section of the fence was ours there was no high winds or mini-tornado this time to bring the fence down just lots of rain. So now we have about 12-14 feet of fence sitting on the ground in the back yard.

Then last night while I was on the road to the Sumer celebration one of the cabinets holding our dishes fell off the wall. I was looking at the remains this morning and it was amazing it held together this long as it was constructed from particle board and glorified cardboard. That has been hanging on the wall since 1985. The sides and bottom separated from the back which remained attached to the wall and had to be removed by taking out the 3 screws that held it to the wall. This is on top of replacing the water heater and AC and having to remove the fence. So we will have to replace the cabinets as well. Whoopie! So far my 56th year is not getting off to a good start.

PSA, Opus

After going grocery shopping I no longer have a bicycle

Right after I posted today’s post I went to the grocery store to pick up the week’s supplies and when I got back out to load Blue he was missing from where I parked him. I should mention that I have been shopping by bike at that store and in spite of repeated requests they have never installed any place where a person could secure a bicycle. I was allowed to park by the propane tank exchange rack which was where I was parked today, even though there is nothing there to lock up to.

Fortunately I memorized my serial number so if they find Blue I can at least hope for a return of my bike. Too often when a bike is recovered LEO don’t have a serial number to match it to. And unfortunately even when they do have a number it seldom gets checked to see if it was reported stolen.

One thing I’m going to do is demand a secure place to park my next bike in the future at that store that I have been shopping at for as long as it has been there. When we moved to the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell back in 1994 that was an empty lot except for some cows grazing. Now there is a gas station with lots of other development besides the grocery store. My son used to work there before he got promoted and sent to another store. They know me by name there. I WILL get a secure and monitored place to park my bike before I bring my next bike there.

PSA, Opus

I’m blogging from a bus, and other things

OK first up the “broadband” connection is about as fast as dialup, but #1 for this blog post that’s plenty (at least until it comes time to use the proofreader) and #2 I have internet from a moving vehicle. Just the reality of #2 from a perspective of 10 years ago is mind-blowing.

I’m creating this post from the second row of seats on a northbound Greyhound bus somewhere in Northern VA, I think on I95. I can’t see out the front of the bus and reflections off the inside of the windows keep me from reading the road signs, so I’m basing that assumption on what I can read of the signs on the roads we cross, with one thing consistent being signs directing people to I95. It’s kind of hard reading signs when the first time you can see them they’re almost edge-on to you at 60 MPH.

This is an unsecure access point, so I’m not getting into my e-mail to get the Feed. But I figure live-blogging a trip on a bus should be adequate compensation for no bike wrecks.

Speaking of wrecks, I’m just about physically and emotionally recovered from the one I had trying to get away from the Beautiful Suburbs of Hell. I can’t feel the scuff on my elbow when I run my hand over the impact site and the PTSD attack is long over. The anger is almost sort of contained about how I was treated during the post-wreck process, let’s just say that there are a number of GPD that need “re-education” about bicycles on the road.

Ok, it’s a bit hard to type this because of the traffic making the bus driver constant,y tap on the brakes, but we just crossed over into Maryland (MD) now.

More to come…

No links today, I got hit

I’m just a bit shaky today so you’ll excuse me if I leave in some typos.

I was running errands on Blue, getting things ready to go before I leave for vacation. I went to the bank to make a mortgage payment (directly so I know it went through). As I was turning left into the bank parking lot I was passed on the right in the same lane by two pickup trucks. The first one was scrubbing the curb so I was startled more than anything else by that one. The second one was a bit further over and I started waving it to the right or to stay behind me and my right elbow came in contact with the driver’s side mirror hard enough to break the mirror.

I’m OK, my elbow does not even hurt and you can barely see the scuff from the contact. The big problems I’m having is the PTSD attack from my third skin-to-vehicle contact with a vehicle in motion since the turn of the Century, and the adrenaline crash. When I got out of the bank (task fixation, part of the PTSD) I called 911 and the cops were already on their way from another person (not the driver of the weapon vehicle) calling in the contact. I discussed the incident with the cop, who said I shouldn’t have been on the street making a left turn. I quoted TX VC 551.103a and b by number and paragraph which stated what a person on a bike is supposed to do when making a left turn.

The driver of the truck got a ticket for an unsafe pass to go with his broken mirror. I got a massive case of the shakes.

PSA, Opus

Things that I don’t understand, and the Feed

Here at Casa De El Poeta we have taken in roomers to help make ends meet. One is our son, the other is an elderly woman who may not have both oars in the water, has come slightly unclipped from one pedal, not playing with a full deck, and nine other euphemisms for not entirely sane. I have discovered a recipe for a rice porridge that makes a wonderful breakfast (a less sweet version of the vegan rice “pudding” I made a few weeks back) so I bought a full bag of brown rice to make sure I had the ingredients to make the recipe (2 cups of brown rice, 8 cups of water, 3/4 cup sugar and cinnamon, nutmeg, and a tiny dash of ground cloves and a little salt) so that there would be no “issues” with the recipe (which makes enough to feed me about 4 breakfasts). So I have all the ingredients, and go to get the slow cooker, and there’s a brand-new in the box fondue set where the crock pot is supposed to be. I tear the kitchen apart looking for the crock pot and it’s nowhere to be found. So here I am ready to cook, and the device I need to cook with is MIA/AWOL. In its place is a fondue set, which is lovely but in no way substitutes for a slow cooker. My son has no notion of what happened to the slow cooker, and claims this was the first time he had seen the fondue set. As he has demonstrated no previous desire to “do” fondue in the thirty-mumble years I have known him. I believe him. This leaves one other person to mess with the slow cooker and leave a fondue set, the crazy lady in the other bedroom. I know Mrs. the Poet would not substitute a fondue set for a slow cooker as 1) this would require spending money she does not have, and 2) she has no more desire to consume fondue than my son. So by process of elimination we have only one suspect left… and I still don’t get to make my rice porridge.

LA cyclists have been dealing with a minor spate of attempted murder on the roads. Second cyclist struck by hit-and-run driver in Ascension The know the second vehicle was a white F-150 pickup from debris left behind while the first vehicle remains unknown because of a lack of debris from the wreck. Hit-from-behind protocols to avoid, and prevent homicidal maniacs from having access to weapons of mass destruction to prevent. Also some decent inter-urban bicycle infrastructure would be of great help, both in keeping the WMD away from the vulnerable road users, and in giving the homicidal maniacs some other way of getting around after they get out of prison/the nut-house.

One of the drawbacks of aftermarket lighting for bicycles, they don’t stay put in a wreck. Bicyclist injured on Milledge Avenue The GA cyclist was hit head on by a vehicle turning into his lane from another street, and they are more upset the cyclist can’t locate his headlight after the wreck than the fact the driver was in the wrong lane? TANJ! Intersection protocols to avoid and get the idiots off the road that can’t see a cyclist until he’s sprawled across the windshield to prevent. And make headlight brackets strong enough to survive a wreck that was survivable by the rider, I can’t tell you how many headlights I went through back when I was working the convenience store down the street (that was very bumpy and full of pot holes), but I averaged about one per week until I bought a full-suspension MTB. This was in the days of halogen bulbs as the state of the art in bike lighting and getting more than a few hours out of a set of batteries meant you bought really expensive batteries, and the (cheap) batteries were lasting longer than the lights I put them in. I postulate that a similar situation befell this cyclist, either the light fell off just before the impact, or did not survive the impact and investigators were unable to locate the remains of the light in the dark.

A cyclist in Oz is involved in a similar wreck to the GA wreck listed above. Teen cyclist injured in crash at Foxground The cyclist in this wreck fared much worse than the GA cyclist as he had to be transported with serious multiple injuries after the wreck. As of the moment the cyclist was not accused of riding salmon so we have to assume the driver crossed the centerline of the road for some reason.

What a dead cyclist “means” in Enn Zed. The impact of a cyclist’s death I can see the video but not hear it, so I don’t know what the people are saying on it, but as this includes the funeral of a woman killed by a truck that passed too closely, I’m assuming it is at least somewhat positive.

And a cyclist that died in Thailand will have to be identified from DNA records as he was hit so many times not enough pieces of him (?) were left intact to identify him. Horrific death for cyclist (pix) hit-from-behind protocols to avoid, and get the idiots off the roads to prevent. I mean seriously hit guy was hit so hard that tiny shreds are all that is left, even though the bike was almost undamaged. This implies a buzz job at an immense speed for the initial impact, something well in excess of 100 MPH (160Km/hr).

And those are all the live links that gave me fits today, that last link in particular >shudder<.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Running super late, and the Feed

I had another visit to the Lab Rat Keeper today (with no breakfast until after the visit was over, blood tests again), then a massage on the way home. Most of the day was actually spent riding some kind of transit, or waiting for transit to show up. And the worst part was the massage was not very good, either. It wasn’t bad (nothing was worse after the massage), but it just didn’t fix much except for one small section, that has been bothering me lately. That’s fixed. not that with everything else still tied up in knots I can do anything with what’s no longer tied up in knots.

And all I have in the Feed are multiple links to the same story of a UT man that was hit when he crossed under the guard arms blocking a railroad crossing. Utah cyclist killed by second of two passing TRAX trains and Cyclist killed by TRAX train identified also Cyclist killed in TRAX accident near 4000 S. At this point it looks like the cyclist went under the crossing guard arms after the first train passed, which was blocking his view of the second train that hit him. I have lost track (no pun intended) of how many times I have posted here that trains are the easiest vehicles in the world to avoid getting hit by one. Just don’t be on the tracks when the train is coming. If the guard arms are down and the signal lights are flashing then there is a very strong possibility that there will be a train on that track very soon, like now. Unless you can see that the tracks are empty for a considerable distance, not just in front of you, then you don’t need to cross the track with the arms down. And by “considerable distance” I mean something on the order of a quarter to half a mile, or 15 to 30 seconds if the train is moving @60MPH. Most crossing systems will be up at that distance/time separation.

And that’s all I had today, except for the UK links that didn’t link to anything I can use to help y’all.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Still getting a massive number of clicks, and the Feed

I’m not going to fib, I expected a few more clicks than normal when I started the contest, maybe a new record for site views, but I did not expect anything like what I got. Monday and so far today are equal to my record day before this week. Tuesday was almost FOUR TIMES THE PREVIOUS RECORD. I am happy that WordPress has huge bandwidth servers, because if this had been on a dinky low-bandwidth server like this blog was originally started on I would have gone through my monthly data allotment by the end of the day yesterday. Of course part of that is the image that is taking up way more bandwidth than my usual wall of text, but that does not even compare to the number of site views I got yesterday, I mean yesterday would have been a very nice WEEK from before.

And I have already gotten my first entry in the contest, from the founder of Cool Cat Studios herself, Giselle Lagace who submitted a very nice redhead on a unicycle done in the style of Archie comics (a company she now works for). I can’t show it for obvious reasons, but take my word for it, it’s cute and uses the shape of the scar as a frame so plus points for that. You still have lots of time to come up with your own design as the contest won’t close until June.

Well, I just opened the Feed folder to nothing but dead links, and UK links which might as well be dead for all the information they contain about the wrecks. Waiting for the afternoon Feed has resulted in one live link.

A Clovis CA rider is killed by a driverless car run amuck. Cyclist killed Tuesday morning in Clovis Have I mentioned how much I hate articles like this:”The cyclist was struck by a car around 5:30 a.m.” that make it seem like cars are a force of nature that can’t be prevented from killing people? It gets worse “…in the area that has become very popular with bike riders but can also be very dangerous.” It’s dangerous because people are letting their cars drive around unsupervised? Or because area drivers have no comprehension that cyclists are human beings that feel pain and are not there just to screw up their morning commute?

In India bicycle infrastructure takes a back seat to motor vehicles as it seems to have done in just about every Anglophone country leaving cyclists to fend as best they can. 2 cyclist killed on e-way in hit-and-run cases In spite of the fact that the majority of the people in the country walk, use transit, or ride a bike for all their transportation, motor vehicles are the only mode of “traffic” that gets taken into account when building transportation infrastructure. No Idea how to avoid these wrecks with the built infrastructure, but getting the infrastructure right would probably prevent wrecks like these as they would keep high-speed motor vehicles away from soft and fragile human beings.

And those are all the links that stayed live long enough to put them in the post. And if the tone of today’s post was a little volatile I have been reading a bunch of reports about pedestrian hit-and-runs, as well as people killed by cars driving on the sidewalks. It’s enough to make a guy want to get a rifle or bazooka and take out some cars before they take out tons of people. What keeps me from doing that is the knowledge that there are actual people inside those cars, most of whom don’t deserve to die. I’m sure some do, but I have no way of knowing which ones are which, so I don’t.

Billed @$0.02, Opus

Art contest and rules, Wreck-Free Sunday (CONTEST CLOSED)

I have been making this announcement for several days, that I would be having a contest for a tattoo to put on this.

Ugly, ain't it?

That is what I have had to deal with every day of my life for the last 11 years, reminding me that the LEO assigned to my case was of the opinion that the wreck was mostly my fault for not being in a car, not the nutcase that made the u-turn to get on my side of the road and come back to hit me.

What I’m looking for is a design that either covers the scar, or that integrates the scar into the design in such a way as to make the whole thing beautiful rather than an ugly reminder of death and destruction.

The rules: the submission must be on this image as a base layer. It is suggested that the submitted image be integrated into a single layer while saving a separate image of the design without the leg image for the tattoo artist to work from to apply the design to the leg. The canvas (me) will be the final arbiter of what looks good on my leg. The contest starts today, and runs through June 1, 2013. The wining entry will be posted in the Wreck-Free Sunday post the next day. The winner will either get Five Benjamins in his/her hot little fist if located local to DFW, in which case the option to get a picture posted of the transaction in the following weeks Sunday post may be exercised at the agreement of both the artist and the canvas (me), or a credit union check (guaranteed payment by my “bank”) will be sent to non-local or otherwise unable to get the $$ physically. There will be only the one prize, and all entries remain the property of the submitter until selected as the winner. Winner will retain the option of publishing the work on their web site first, with posting on my blog to happen either with the announcement of winning, or when the tattoo is completed at which point it becomes my artwork to publish (my leg, my artwork on the leg).

Judging criterion: Totally arbitrary. Since the scar is almost totally numb I’m not concerned about how much I’m going to get poked and stabbed during the tattoo process although I would like to minimize this. The design will be judged on how well it integrates the existing features of the scar into the design or on how well it obscures the scar from view. Your choice on what way you want to go, work with what’s already there to make it beautiful, or cover it up to make it beautiful. The operative phrase on this is “make it beautiful”. Make it something I will love to look at instead of something I hate.

HOW TO SUBMIT AN ENTRY Make a comment to this post that you have an entry to get an e-mail addy to send the image to. Sorry about forgetting to put this in with the original post…

PSA, Opus