Category Archives: rant

I’m having back issues on Grocery Day, and the Feed

One of the problems I have been dealing with besides the thing growing on my neck has been walking around with both shoes the same, like a person who doesn’t have 17mm missing from one leg. Well that didn’t work after the wreck, and it doesn’t work now. I can withstand not having the lifted left shoe for a few days, but we are coming up on a couple of months since I ruined my old shoes coming back from the property hearing on Blue. The results are quite predictable, I have been walking around with a sever pelvic tilt and the part of my back on the up side of the tilt had been trying to go into spasm more and more frequently, and it gets worse on days I spend more time walking or standing, standing being much worse than walking. I have had to take several breaks today from filtering the Feed to lie down and let the spasms settle down a bit, then get back to work. In fact I should probably take a break right now as my back does not take kindly to sitting hunched over the laptop either.

Up first is a memorial for a cyclist killed down in Austin. Multiple communities mourn cyclist’s death Another left-cross with idiot LEO dilly-dallying about filing charges. This is another reason why I don’t do wreck analysis these days, because stuff like this just raises my blood pressure to no good ends.

Next because this has been burning up the Internets, multiple links to the Russian cyclist sideswiped by a tanker truck making an illegal pass. Unbelievable helmet cam footage shows the moment a Russian cyclist is struck by a 40ft lorry and LIVES and Cyclist riding down middle of road wiped out by truck very misleading headline, that, and Watch moment cyclist is thrown from bike in horrifying motorway crash with lorry The driver in this wreck was driving in the exit-only lane as the cyclists rode in the furthest right through lane, then the truck drove straight through passing on the right after crossing the “do not drive here” markings for the exit-only lane.The cyclists (all of them) are very lucky to have survived this one.

Great minds think alike? Don’t make bicyclists more visible. Make drivers stop hitting them. How many times have I posted exactly the same words here in my blog? I have lost count.

And to top that off, the VERY next link in the feed is about the glow-in-the-dark spray paint mentioned in the WP link. Volvo launches Life Paint initiative to improve cyclist safety in the UK This is like mandating women wear ever stronger chastity belts to prevent rape without ever prosecuting rapists. Except chastity belts have a finite chance of actually working to prevent rapes, making cyclists more visible won’t work unless there is someone looking for a cyclist out the front of the car in the direction the car is going. That would require LEO to file charges and prosecutors to actually prosecute them. More on the reaction from Oz. Volvo LifePaint: cycling safety trial product causes controversy

Some good news from NYC for a change. 2014 Was The Most Popular Year For Bicycling In NYC Now to do something about the door-zone bike lanes before they kill again?

And this little tidbit makes my heart all a-flutter. Bike Theft On The Rise In NYC Palpations are the same as “all a-flutter”, right? Anywho, the proposed enhanced fines for stealing bikes are a step in the right distraction. And yes, I spelled that right… My take is remotely detonated bike frames keyed to the owner’s cell phone. Pull up the app, enter the detonate code and the bike frame turns into a pipe bomb.

And rare unanimity between cyclists and the NYPD. Cyclists & NYPD Agree: A Cell Phone Bike Ban Is Dumb Aside from last year’s statistical outlier of 2 fatal bike/ped wrecks bicycles are very safe around pedestrians, and even if all you went by was last year they are still very safe around pedestrians, by a ratio of 50:1 in favor of cyclists. Best line from the article: “There isn’t a mandatory class for motorists who kill and maim New Yorkers. Why should we start with cyclists? It’s motorists who need a reeducation.” Amen.

I was not the only person who thought this sentence was grossly out of whack. Prosecutor appeals sentence in fatal cyclist crash Kudos to the prosecutor.

Why does the driver waste everyone’s time by pleading not guilty? Grief follows cyclist’s death as suspect charged They pulled him from the weapon vehicle with the victim’s blood still on it, and his BAC was 0.108 81 minutes after the wreck. You’re guilty dude, admit it and take your punishment.

Another ad for on-board video recorders for bicycles. Man seriously injured, but sheriff’s office doesn’t know how “They just didn’t think he would have all those skull fractures just by crashing his bike” Apparently the injuries were in a part of the head that would be hard to injure in a fall-off-the-bike wreck?

Another ad for getting better reports on bike wrecks. Make This Woman’s Cracked Bicycle Helmet Count The broken helmet was enough property damage to trigger the report, but how many wrecks don’t get reported? The one where I knocked the mirror off the truck with my elbow sure as hell didn’t. It would have been nice to have a name to put to that driver and compare it to the name of the guy that sold Blue to the pawn shop.

Here’s yesterday’s Daily Ted. Morning Links: Driver arraigned in death of Matt Liechty; ribbon cutting planned for bike-friendly PCH in the ‘Bu There is a link to one of the people working the second edition of Finish the Ride that is really inspiring.

And here is today’s Daily Ted. Morning Links: El Monte rider victim of vicious attack, hit-and-run rewards passed, and why sharrows don’t work Sharrows are the abstinence-only sex ed of bicycle infrastructure, never proven to work, but they still keep getting thrown out there like they do.

And still in CA a little lifestyle as a bridge is named for a cyclist. Humble Cyclist Memorialized

This monstrosity is from the son of the man who gave us the C5 and the doorstop computer. Crispin Sinclair Innovation Launches World’s Safest Bicycle, the Babel Bike I would say this bike is lacking a few things, but the steel tube cage would be a handy place to mount a coroplast body and a string of Christmas tree lights. People I know who have crashed a coroplast faired bike tell me the bodywork goes a long way in preventing injury when sliding over pavement and spreads out impact somewhat, especially compared to Spandex shorts and a jersey.

The UK’s professional traffic engineers are starting to revolt over bad infrastructure. Profession reacts: make London safer for cyclists I still think that the people who back in 2012 voted down fixing the intersection where the cyclist was killed this year need to be charged in the death.

And I’m out of links.

Billed @€0.02, Opus the Poet

No post today, I got hypothermia on the way back from court

I really wish that was a joke. After I got the papers to get Blue out of the evidence locker this Friday I got caught in a frog-strangler of a thunderstorm, that was rolling in on the leading edge of a massive cold front. It was 51 when I left the house and 31°F when I got home soaking wet as I got caught in ankle-deep streams that covered half of some of the streets I had to cross. Between that and the horizontal rain blowing under my umbrella I was completely soaked from the waist down. But before I did that I got Blue out of jail! I can have my bike back as soon as Friday, the first day I could get a ride together. Looking at the recovery pictures Blue was in pretty good shape, not too many added scrapes and scratches, and all the electronics seemed to be intact except for the dead batteries. I am dreading opening up the lights to see what is in the battery boxes. When Blue was stolen there was about $20 in high-end NiMH rechargeable cells between the two lights. I’m expecting leaking alkaline cells or empty space in there instead of those pricey rechargeables. And I’m still freezing here, so I’m done now.

PSA, Opus

What LOTR and The Hobbit tells us about economic theory.

In a nutshell, it’s all about churn.

Tax breaks for the rich have much the same economic benefit as giving gold to Smaug. Smaug gets richer, but never spends any gold as he already has far more gold than he can possibly spend for his needs or even for his future needs, so it just sits there doing nothing except being dragon bedding. Likewise giving people who already have too much money than they can possibly spend on their needs more money just results in the money sitting there doing nothing. Taxing that money and using it on infrastructure and social programs results in that money being churned through the economy and growing the economy so that the rich still get the same amount of money, it just has to pass through a few more poor people’s hands before the rich get it, making everyone a little richer.

In order to stimulate the economy you have to develop churn, putting the money in as many hands as possible so that it then passes through as many hands as possible and creates growth. Savings that just sit in a bank or under a mattress don’t create any churn, and “investments” barely ruffle the surface of the water in creating churn. What has been shown to make churn on the federal level has been Food Stamps and infrastructure projects. Food Stamps go from the recipient to the grocery store and pay for the employees at the store as well as the people who transport the food (and other things) and the people that create the food. There are at least 4 stages of economic churn created by Food Stamps that can be easily identified and tracked.

Tax breaks for people who already have more money than they can spend on their needs or even on non-need items like TVs and computers (although I would put computers in the “need to work” category because I use one for work every day) is not the way to grow the economy. I mean how many new cars can one person buy in a year? How many boats? Unless you are out there spending money, you are an economic dead weight no matter how big your checking account is. Rich people don’t create jobs, poor people with jobs create jobs because they are the ones out there spending most of their money. Aldous Huxley had the right idea when he coined the term “conscripted consumption” in the book Brave New World . If you have a consumer economy, you have to get people consuming things to grow the economy.

And because I am not an economist by trade (I am a technical writer who translated jargon into plain English so that people in other fields can understand it) I will let real economists pick it up from here. Go for it guys.

PSA, Opus the Poet

OK now I’m pissed

Short post today while I’m not playing with my RPG group, which I bowed out from because I was supposed to work with the Wendy Davis campaign to GOTV, but the event was cancelled at the last minute without telling the workers. I don’t know why.

Something that is really chapping my butt is my daughter took out student loans that my father cosigned because my credit rating did not exist as I have been on the cash-only economy for almost 20 years now. Now that the people that took over Sallie Mae finally noticed that my dad is dead (we sent a death certificate right after dad died but that was to Sallie Mae…) they want their money NOW. Now as in they are filing collection actions against ME, who didn’t take out the loans or cosign any of them. But they are demanding that I pay the loans in full in 30 days any way…

And tonight is Death High Court held by the Arms of Verity at my church, a kind of Day of the Dead celebration, using one of the 6 archetypes revered by Verity. Those archetypes are Builder, Nurturer, Healer, Trickster, Death, and Destroyer. I’m still trying to decide if I’m going tonight, but my neck is telling me it isn’t very likely.

Speaking of my neck, I think it’s a good time to go ahead and end this post, because my neck is killing me…

Billed @€0.02, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

Getting ready to leave for a while, no Feed

Every so often I have to completely disconnect from modern life and spend some time closer to nature than our modern hyper-connected world. I know that reads like a cliché, but clichés start as truths that get repeated so often they lose their meaning. So I’m going to spend the next 5 days at a clothing-optional campout with about 700 like-minded people, celebrating the change of the season and the Celtic New Year. We traditionally have a consecrated camp fire that we bless at the start of the camp and do not extinguish until the last thing before we leave. Our fire pit at that point is so heat-soaked that the water we put on the fire boils for up to 10 minutes after the fire is out. I put a picture of the fire pit full of boiling water from the spring edition of the campout with the report I made from that camp.

fire pit full of boiling water and no fire

I will not be taking Francis/es this trip, although I had planned to. Unfortunately the growth on the back of my neck makes riding Francis/es impossible at the moment. I find this deeply annoying, to say the least, and the hoops my insurance is making me jump through to get this thing removed are even more annoying. I have to make an appointment with my PCP to get a referral to a surgeon in my network, then get an appointment with the surgeon, then get the surgery signed off as “necessary”, then schedule a day for the surgery… Of those steps more than half are just for the insurance company, the PCP has to agree with the Lab Rat Keeper, the surgeon has to be “in network”, and then some bureaucrat has to agree with the LRK, the PCP, and the surgeon, that I need to get this thing off my neck so I can finish a cup of coffee and see where I’m riding my bike. Stuff like this is why the US needs single-payer health care like the rest of the civilized world. If we had single-payer then this thing would have been removed from my neck shortly after starting to interfere with my everyday life.

One thing I like about this particular camping trip is we pay for someone to shop and cook for the group, and she does a fantastic job of preparing gourmet-quality food in primitive conditions. I’m not sure of the menu this trip but I have heard rumors about crab legs, boudin sausage, and all kinds of snacky goodies. Our cook has Carnivore, Omnivore, and Vegan options for every meal, and they are always delicious. Being a cyclist with the definition of a cyclist being “eating machine on two wheels” I take a little from column A and a little from column C and a bunch from column B.

I bought a new tent for the fall this year but I’m also taking the old tent in case there’s something wrong with the new one that can’t be fixed at the campout. I’m also taking the air mattress that is the main reason for buying the new tent and fervently hoping the old tent stays packed in the car. I have been accused of packing “Party Central” this year as the new tent has space to put two queen-size beds and still leave room to stand between them. This is so Mrs. the Poet can camp with us next spring, although I’m still trying to figure out how to pack the bed frame to go with the queen-size air mattress I’m buying…

Packing for this event is… interesting. While the entire event is clothing-optional there are certain gatherings that are not, in that some types of clothing are NOT allowed. One that I plan on attending does not allow bifurcated lower garments, i.e. no pants allowed. Males are allowed to attend only when they wear a skirt. I have a long skirt (mid-calf) to wear specifically at this meeting, red with blue mimosa blossoms on it. The skirt really accentuates my farmer tan from wearing shorts all summer with usually ankle-high socks so I have “socks” showing whether I wear any or not. Also there is such a temperature swing at this time of the year, some times you need long pants and sleeves with heavy socks and gloves, other times you need sunscreen… and maybe some wicking garments if you are wearing anything at all. I have attended gatherings this time of year that had temperature swings from high 50s F to low 90s all in the same gathering, sometimes in the same day. Needless to say packing for that involves a lot of clothes that never get worn but forget to pack them and… The forecast is 50s in the morning/late at night with low 80s during the day which means layers or lots of wicking clothing. And spandex shorts for moving around in.

And I have to stop typing and get packed so I guess this means I’m ending the post now.

PSA, Opus the unkillable badass Poet

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