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PotD 20230412


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Backup camera

As far as I can tell, all that the now-mandatory backup cameras do is allow people to zip out of their driveways in reverse at high speed without ever looking up to see if anyone is walking down the sidewalk.

So now it’s your fault, as a pedestrian, if you happen to not see or hear [1] that there’s a car about to back out of its shrub-hidden and over-grown-hedge-blocked and city-code-violating driveway. Because the driver sure as shit ain’t looking at anything but the screen [2]. Which isn’t going to tell them about anything that’s not directly behind them. The cameras are only good for keeping cars from running into stationary objects.

So once again, capitalism protects property at the expense of human lives.


[1] or child, or dog, or differently-abled, and also that half the cars are completely silent [3]
[2] also true when they’re driving. If not that screen, then the other
[3] to be clear, it’s always your fault, and never the driver’s

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I’ll believe in artificial intelligence when the map app tells me that yes, it’s only 15 minutes to get over to that place right off the freeway 10 miles east, but by the way, all the entrance ramps are closed going west, so it will take you an hour sitting through multiple traffic light cycles to get back home, so maybe go some other time.

I’ll believe in real intelligence when I’m smart enough to hit the flip button before I leave and see this myself after having been burned a dozen times.

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The germ theory of disease

I’ve started going to the regular gym again, because I’m not getting any younger, and I didn’t buy a big enough house to install a home gym [1] [2].

I’m not surprised, but I am amazed at the number of people who hit the hand sanitizer after every exercise. And yet I’m the only person in the gym wearing an N95 mask. I am aware of no diseases passed through sweat. It’s disgusting, but unlikely to kill you. There is a disease out there that’s killing two 747s worth of people every day, and which can be mitigated by wearing a good mask [3] and getting a free vaccination [4].

You’d get a dirty look if you didn’t wipe your ass sweat off a bench, but nothing at all for a literally high chance of passing on a fatal or life-altering disease.

The cognitive disconnect is amazing. Don’t get me started on the number of chin masks I see at the climbing gym. Dude, no one is making you wear a mask at all! My partner and I and maybe three other people are the only ones! So why are you wearing a crappy medical mask on your chin? Why bother?

I also see this at the airport.


[1] and no one is ever going to open a gym that requires masks and proof of recent vaccination. Nor re-racking weights, wiping benches, and not violently dropping weights. Not to mention not playing loud music that all of us ignore via ANC.
[2] I didn’t buy a bigger house because (link to previous post) and there’s a gym less than a mile away that costs me $84/year to go to, so why would I spend the money? Oh yeah, global pandemic… was not on my scorecard.
[3] I remain also somewhat astounded that people are still rocking the medical mask, even the medical types. There are comfortable N95s out there!
[4] Oh yeah, Moderna is going to charge over $100 per shot for the vaccine that they were totally government funded to develop…

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One of the things that strikes me at work is the number of folks in the cohort just older than me [1] who have second homes in the mountains – Big Bear, Yosemite, Arrowhead, etc. Not too many ocean, that was always unaffordable for working joes.

In my cohort [2], the unmarried of us own small houses, and the married and divorced own a slightly bigger house. Slightly younger are buying houses in gentrifying areas, not close, but not super far. Prior to the 2008 bust, a number were trying to be slumlords or buying multiple homes for rentals/ABNB, but all those that I know have slimmed down to one.

I’m not hearing about second homes in the mountains.

In the cohort that I’m hiring, none of them can even begin to afford the houses close to work, nor even think about having a family. They’re making about 30% more starting than I made 25 years earlier [4], and home prices have more than tripled since then.

Not to mention interest rates based on non-existent inflation. Can’t have full-employment and workers regaining some leverage!

I’ll also point out that the first cohort went to college basically for free (especially in California); the second (me) had thousands of dollars of loans to pay off higher tuition, but those were forgivable in bankrupcty; the third cohort has tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars of loans which are not dischargeable short of death.


[1] I started to type bosses, but it’s many of my older colleagues not in management too
[2] technically the long tail of the boomers, but Douglas Coupland is the same age as me so I will die thinking and feeling like a Gen X’er. RATM/NIN is my jam, not the Beatles. The first cohort mentioned above with two homes are definitely boomers.
[3] Thanks, NIND loans! At least something good happened to me from the housing bullshit. I’ll pay for that by making house payments until I die, and having no retirement saved. But there’s a roof over my head. Until the next time I have to replace it and can’t afford the 30k it will cost.
[4] FWIW, I also made $15/hour building houses 35 years ago. I’d be surprised if the guys I see down the street are making much more than that now.

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