Friday, April 24, 2015

No money for NPR

I listen to the NPR station a lot.  One of the things I really missed
when we lived outside the USA was NPR and the calming voice
of all of the people from the Northeastern universities.  It never really
bothered me how slanted it was, they normally interviewed enough
primary sources that it was easy to tell what had really happened, even
if all of the interviewees are lesbians it is still better than the normal
voiceover reporting of the other networks.

Now we are back in Houston and I can listen to NPR while stuck in traffic on
I-10, or stuck in traffic on the beltway, or stuck in traffic on I-45.
What has changed in the past 9 years is the tone, before there
was a smirking sneering superiority over the 'bushies' and how
stupid they were.  That was frustrating but there was still a large
amount of non-political primary reporting that was better than
anything else on radio.  Now they are beyond slanted,  any viewpoint
against the current administration is reported as a conspiracy theory,
or those zany republicans trying to politically attack the president.
The switch might be slight, but they've changed from slanted to
active campaigning for the democrats.

It's bad, but now I have Pandora, and whenever a political story
starts I can switch over to a crappy 80's music mix.  Over the past
two weeks every time I turned on the radio NPR was asking for
money, but giving money to them would be like sending
a walmart card to ISIS.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

On the Mustachians

I'm off work this week and not shaving, going by the rule of thumb
that if I'm not being paid why should I shave?  It's not working too well
though, I'm looking less like Tom Selleck and more like Santa Claus.

The oilfield downturn, forced days off and a high chance of being laid
off means most of my brain's clock cycles are being taken up by money,
what is our burn rate and how long until we have to take up residence under
the bridge.

It would appear that by cutting back our outflows, we could limp to an age
where I'd start to draw a pension so I've stopped scoping out sub-ponte living
conditions and I'm reading more on retirement.  The expert on low cost living
and early retirement is Mr Money Mustache, who's blog details living well
below your means, saving intensely then retiring young.

With very clear prose he details the main barriers to retiring young, which
are spending too much while you are working so that one's saving level is
too low, the main culprit being cars and driving, and if you need a high spending
level to exist then when you run the numbers on the really great retirement calculator
at FireCalc, the estimate will be you can never retire.   It's a very circular problem,
spend too much, save too little and use those same spending estimates to predict
retirement predicts working until you are 80, and that leads to pissing away
even more money when you think it doesn't matter either way.

Here in Houston living without a car would be unpleasant at best, with a high
likelyhood of being squished by a semi-truck at some point.  Living in Colombia
would be much cheaper and no car is needed, but being shot down in a hail
of gunfire is pretty likely as well, so I really need a more in-between type
place.   Not too hot, not too cold, low crime, good schools...probably doesn't
exist.  I guess I'll just enjoy my last two days of lay-off then work even harder
to stay on payroll as long as possible, the upturn should start in 6 months or so.
Just 2 or 3 more boom-bust cycles and I can retire with or without a mustache.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Fish swimming inside a bubble

A great article that describes the lay of the land:

You live in a bubble and you see no need for an open society or for maintaining the integrity of institutions such as journalism or the scientific community. The very idea of objectivity is at odds with your entire way of thinking because it presumes that there is some higher truth than the one propounded by the progressive reality-based community. And you know, with the casual faith of any born believer, that this is not possible.
As a journalist, you report a progressive narrative. The other side doesn't exist except as an obstacle, a stumbling block to the forward march of progress. They are only there to be ridiculed out of history. When you see numbers showing that very little of the country trusts the media, you disregard them, because what else are all those strange people in flyover country going to do anyway? Stop watching CNN? Stop reading Newsweek? And if they disagree, it's because they hate the truth. Truth being your ideology.

People are in their own bubbles and the bubbles don't generally mix, but
my bubble seems to be more correct, it's just that the other side's bubble
hasn't yet felt the wonders of a federal government controlled by the other
bubble.  Things are wonderful when a vengeful state can attack your 
critics, but when the shoe is on the other foot they'll be screaming

Anyway, go read the article, it clearly describes the fish that are swimming
in water but can't see it, when that water is gone they'll be stranded on the
bank wondering where all their air went.