Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Random Synapses Firing...

Horse-drawn carriage on Sark
Before I get to the main point (or what passes for a main point in this rather disjointed post), I'd first like you to go read this, which I got courtesy of Grim. While I am most assuredly not a big fan of feudal lords, fiefs, and the like, I am even less a fan of those benighted bastards who ruled Germany from January of 1933 to early May of 1945. Yup, Nazis.

If you didn't chase the link (that was my disapproving-I-am-so-disappointed look), then let me tell you this - while I have heard of the Channel Islands, not those islands off the coast of California (though I've heard of them as well) I am referring to the two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, which is the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm and some smaller islands. These islands are off the coast of France. Specifically the island of Sark, where the opening picture was taken and which is the subject of the link I gave you to chase. These islands (the ones circled in red) -

Google Maps
Those islands have a lot of history behind them. I was planning to write more about that but, truth be told, the current situation we find ourselves in (not me personally per se but all of us) has left me a bit weary and depressed. I find myself in disagreement with a fair number of my friends as to the causes behind it all (I'm not big on conspiracies, three people can keep a secret, but only if two of them are dead) but truth be told, I'm starting to see random pieces of the puzzle which don't quite fit the narrative.

Whose narrative you ask? That my friends, is the million dollar question.

I am starting to see instances of dictatorial behavior in some, idiocy in others, and a general inability for us all to get along. Manners are a thing of the past, common courtesy is lacking, and dear Lord someone shut the media up for five seconds. The 24-hour news cycle will be the death of us all, not some fire trucking virus.

Anyhoo. This working from home thing is difficult, can't just jump up and ask a co-worker a question, nope, gotta use Skype if they're online, e-mail if they're not. If they're like me they're also wading through all the corporate dross-mail giving us the "latest virus thingee news" or welcoming us to the brand-spanking-new-organization which was birthed last month by the merger of two separate corporations. Which that, and the bottom falling out of certain markets, reduced our stock price by around 50%. And people ask me why I don't "play" the market.

Had an email Monday welcoming me to the "new" Integrated Product Team, thing is, the suit who sent that out didn't actually say which team I was being welcomed to. Furthermore, he's new to our outfit (at least the group I'm part of), we should, perhaps, be welcoming him. If we had even the slightest inkling of what he does. (Other than attend meetings and send out emails.) Every new suit (new to me anyway) has been spamming me with dross-mail hailing our new streamlined, ever so more efficient than last year organization. Makes me wonder just how many stock options got handed out to all these corporate drones.

I've had managers ask me "Don't you want to feel connected to the company?" Which I always answer with "you give me interesting work and I'll do it, as long as the pay keeps coming I'm as connected as I want to be." I guess at the end of the year we'll all get trophies or something. (The suits will get cash, they always do.)

So yes, this business of the past cuppla months has left me a bit cynical and weary. Let's open the damned economy back up, get folks back to work, and stop all the political bovine excrement. Enough is enough. Did the weekend off help? Yes, a little. I could disconnect and just relax. But it's always "back on your heads, coffee break's over" in this world. Innit?

Oh, I did mention music, didn't I?

Elementary, I solved them all, all your mysteries
Settle down and in good time, we can solve all mine
Tell me lies or tell me when, tell me off again
I will let you know when I've had enough, had enough of you.

Love that verse.

And yeah, I play the drums just like that.


But someday?

¹ With apologies to the Cap'n.


  1. That MentalFloss article was quite good, I wouldn't want to tangle with Dame Sybil either......(shudder). My experiences with suits was that I got along with them, even when one was an A#$hoe. If they liked you... you were left alone to do your job. In general the less interaction tween them and you the better. Ya, this pandemic has revealed the idjits and wanna-be dictators all-right. In two days apparently our Governor is expected to announce if the stay-at-home order will be extended. Elective surgeries started yesterday and a few other businesses started last week with reduced occupancy and other restrictions. Ach....glad I'm retired and have been doing social distancing for the last several years already.......:)

    1. All along I've been wondering where in the Constitution is the gubmint allowed to order people to stay home. Suggest, recommend, I'd go with either of those. But order? No. There should be a reckoning when this is over.

      We, the people, need to make sure of that.

    2. The rules for allowances for Public Health are truly ancient but they remained in force when I came to America and you can see some of it still when you visit places like Angel Island in San Francisco Bay. You can still tour the hospital and 'wards' they kept their detainees in. I have no problem with the temporary suspension of movement but now the idiots can't think their way out of the box they created for themselves. How can they let people out when the VIRUS is still out there????!!!!!

      Yea, we know, it will always be there. It's looking to be no worse than the flu. OTOH, there's flu and there's Spanish Influenza. They could no more stop that then they can a coronavirus. You'll get it and live, or you won't, someday.

      I sent the mental floss article on Sark off to my parents yesterday. They really enjoyed it. That old Dame was their kind of person. From a distance of course.

      viz 1, no worries. I like to share.

    3. I get the need for caution, but some of these pols are like a new kid with a fast car, they don't really know what they're doing. One of these days we'll need to bite the bullet and get on with things.

      Glad your parents liked the article, that lady was something else.

      As to the sharing, it's what we do, we share. (Pretty sure Lex said that a few times.)

  2. That Dame sounded like quite the character. I love good stories about strong people.

    I've been feasting on virus emails too. I'm sure everything in the email was done by an admin, and not even "seen" by the name on it. Go above a certain corporate rung, and you get your own insulator (administrative assistant). I pooped a punch bowl once by stupidly doing exactly what we were detailed to do. I'll never forget the insulator that blew that out of proportion.

    I guess it's nigh time to 'channel' our inner Dame Sybil, and make these stinking germ Nazi's eat some etiquette, yes?!? Or maybe a rusty mine....

    1. Yes, I like where you're going with that STxAR. Filthy Nazi germs and their running dog lackeys.

  3. And that is why everywhere the Normans went, they conquered. Because, deep down, they married into the people and became the people, just Normanized people.

    You see it in Italy, still, especially amongst the old feudal families of Sicily and lower Italy. You see it in Lowlands Scotland, and mostly in southern Ireland.

    One of the best film representations? In the movie "The Quiet Man," the local rich person is... Norman Irish. And she, much like the Dame of Sark, ruled with manners over the locals. Apart, but part.

    That's the portion of Noblesse Oblige that people forget. The leader is responsible for every little thing of his/her followers, from who gets to say the most to who gets to do what. Much like old-school military units, where the commanders actually funded their units equipment and, in many instances, the men came from the commander's own lands or area, so there was already that 'bond' between the leadership and the troops.

    Same with... old-school ships. The captain was the master of the vessel. He could abuse his responsibility, and end up crewless or worse. Or he could age 5 years for every year he was in control as he made sure that, directly or indirectly, every part of the ship worked, from the mechanical to the spiritual.

    Responsibility. Great responsibility.

    And people fantasize about being a feudal leader... They have no idea.

    What's that line? "With great Power comes great Responsibility." Seriously, that's feudalism simplified into 6 words. You re responsible for everyone under you, including low and high justice (that would be spankings and hangings,) ensuring that food is given to everyone who deserves it (no, seriously, denial of food was one of the greatest punishments of feudal society as without food one dies or has to leave but if one isn't allowed to leave that leaves one reliant on the charity of one's fellows, which, if one was preying on, well...,) and so forth. Down to cloth and clothes. A portion of surplus of the seigneur would be parceled out to the people, by law in many instances, by tradition (always stronger than law) in others.

    It's what I expect from a boss, and am sorely disappointed when bosses don't have that concept. It's not about feathering one's nest with the most money, it's about the responsibility to ensure that all below you are doing well, while protecting them from the deprivations of those above.

    As to the Channel Islands, those poor bastiges got it coming both ways. Denied by England, devastated by Germany, screwed in peacetime and in war. It's a wonder that any of the old traditions on any of the islands survived, and so few did.

    Good on the Dame. She did her job, and did it well. Nobility at it's finest.

  4. As to the constant glut of Disaster Porn and political machinations? I have always been gifted with a sideways mind. Connecting little pieces here and there, a memory of this, a dollop of fact of that, and come to conclusions that are often unsettling to those around.

    My wife and I call it "The Curse of Cassandra." As she, too, has it. Like that person that all are enamored about, but just gives you that funny feeling in the back of your mind that you know the person isn't who they say they are, or are as good as they make themselves out to be, but everyone just luuuuuuuuvs the person. And no one will listen to any of your warnings, just like... Cassandra.

    1. There is a deep rot running through our government, it needs to be eradicated, so forcefully that no one will try such things again. At least for a decade given the short attention span of many. Burn the FBI to the ground, and start over. Disband the BATFE, they are un-Constitutional and just a bad fire trucking idea. The list goes on. We need a purge at the highest levels.

    2. I most heartily agree. The creeping Wilsonian bureaucracy, further enhanced by FDR during his tenure, and as warned about by President Eisenhower, is choking the American People.

      Too often, institutions started for a specific reason have veered off track to become that which they were put in place to fix. Like the Department of Energy, which has done nothing really positive for improving energy, more put regulations in the way of people trying to fix things. Or the Department of Education, which has managed to ruin an already broken collection of mini systems by basically nationalizing it (like all national socialists do.)

      As to BATFE, they should be breaking into peoples' houses, and collecting all the alcohol, tobacco, firearms and explosives and forcing the owners to... sit down and have explained to them why the owners aren't cleaning or storing or using the ATFE correctly, and teach them how to do so. Ninja cleaning squads... Yeah, either that, or be the name of a nationwide store selling surplus ATFE from government stocks.

      Or just abolish all of them.

    3. We wouldn't have all of these bureaus, agencies, and departments if folks would be responsible like the Dame.
      Instead they'll say, "Somebody ought to do something."
      Then someone else passes some law and creates the executive to enforce it.
      I look out today and see that some folks have a total lack of respect for anyone else.
      The only thing that stops them is law enforcement, and that's only when the Law is watching.
      A prime example are the traffic laws.
      Traffic laws might get a little more respect if they weren't treated as a revenue source.

      You're right, Sarge.
      There's a retard in the spark and synapses are firing out of order.

    4. Most traffic laws are common sense with an enforcement kicker built in to keep the stupid from killing themselves and others. But yes, many locales view it as a revenue stream. Just another way for a gorram politician to get their hands on your money. Which they'll turn around and blow on some frippery. Term limits, term limits, term limits - my mantra.

    5. Beans - The Dept of Energy is actually poorly named. According to one source "Its responsibilities include the nation's nuclear weapons program, nuclear reactor production for the United States Navy, energy conservation, energy-related research, radioactive waste disposal, and domestic energy production." They are rather effective at that. They should call them the Dept of NUCLEAR Energy. The President was hot to trot to abolish DoE until his people were briefed on what DoE actually does as opposed to what everybody THINKS they do. They are actually one of the few agencies in DC which do at least part of their job very well. Can't stress that though as all of the idiots will be weeping, gnashing their teeth, and rending their garments at the mention of NUCLEAR. The USA does nuke power very well indeed, and DoE is part of that. (Not that I know anyone associated with same.)

  5. Sark story:
    Already read the Island story, so didn't need to follow the link. It helps to have the correct enemies show up, doesn't it.

    Always thought it was strange how managers always insisted that we tech types not drag them into the tech weeds, then turn around and force us into the management weeds with their spam-mails and mandatory business meetings.
    Guess they really CAN'T see the big picture.


    1. I can tell that you've "been there, done that," Frank. Bothersome when the suits do that.

    2. Even worse when the managers decide we need a meeting.

    3. Behind because you haven't been given the resources to get the job done? Schedule a meeting. Management keeps changing the priorities so you get nothing done? Schedule a meeting.

      It's all the ee-jits know how to do.

    4. One cartoon (I think it was named "That's Jake") had a boss with his crew gathered around him, saying "We will continue to have meetings until we can figure out why the work isn't getting done.'
      Had one boss schedule an immediate meeting just when I was heading out the door for lunch with the family. I said this was something already set up, and that my family was waiting for me at the restaurant. She let me go but, after that, I had to send advance email notice EVERY time I was going offsite for lunch. Wasn't long after that I retired.

    5. Micromanagement, the tool of the stupid and inefficient.

      My company dislikes meetings on Fridays as we work a 9/80 schedule, some work one Friday, others the next, not everyone is off on the same Friday. So of course some managers would schedule meetings on a Friday and expect the people who were off that day attend the meeting. Rather than place a blanket ban on all Friday meetings, the company put everyone on the same Friday off schedule, AND banned meetings on Fridays. Now of course there was a Friday with no one covering things as everyone was off. So they loosened the whole everyone having the same Friday off thing, mostly IT folks were around on the odd Friday to fix things they couldn't work on when everyone else was around.

      My solution was, just ban all meetings on Friday, if you really, really need one, then you need corporate VP sign off. "Ah Sarge, we can't do that, we're not the military." Boy, don't I know it.

      At SAC HQ we had a lot of headquarters types who "worked" weekends so they would appear to be "eager beavers" suitable for promotion in the staff ranks. A new SAC commander (4-star) showed up on his first weekend and wanted to know what everyone was doing at work. He told them all to go home, if they couldn't get their jobs done during normal business hours, he'd find someone who could.

      So yeah, my current outfit ain't the military. But the pay is a Hell of a lot better!

    6. My feelings about all the off-site working not in an office? 6 months down the line, that will be over.


      Because management can't stand not over-managing and looming and walking around staring and sucking the fun out of life.

      So, well, back to the Cube Farm, Peasants!

    7. Or companies will have an epiphany and realize they don't really need all those high cost spreadsheet cowboys and status checkers.

      Yes, and Santa and the Easter Bunny are real...

  6. "Let's open the damned economy back up, get folks back to work, and stop all the political bovine excrement. Enough is enough." Well said!

    But our masters will not allow that (they have their own reasons) and their mouth piece (the main stream media) is there to keep your friends and neighbors on the job making sure you don't violate their rules.

    1. It certainly looks that way. Little Rhody, OTOH, is open for business as of yesterday. Not sure how extensive that "opening" is, but I did get to see my eye doctor today.

    2. Your governor acted in a very 'Southern' manner regarding the Covidiocracy. Well played on her part. Hope it doesn't hurt her next election cycle.

    3. She seems pretty ironclad. She pissed off the unions as General Treasurer of the stare and was still elected governor. She has her moments. She's actually a native Rhode Islander, she gets this place. (Twenty years here and I'm still learning...)

    4. Family has lived within a ten mile radius since 1638 when we were banished from Boston. If you desire further information on Rhode Island attitudes ask. The state of mind is so ingrained that I don't realize others don't have the same outlook. As an example I was in the 4th grade when I found out the Brits were on our side in WW II. Old (maybe ancient?) Guns

    5. "Banished from Boston" - sounds like a good name for a rock band.

      The uniqueness of Rhode Island is one of the things I love about this place.

      Instead of Old (maybe ancient?) Guns, perhaps Venerable Guns would fit? (On second thought, no. Venerable sounds too much like something else...)

  7. Damn, I'm glad to be me, & to be where I am.
    I've been working every weekday, without interruption. My life hasn't appreciably changed, except in one respect: I like to take my girl out to breakfast on Saturday or Sunday, & the dining rooms in local retaurants have been closed. Everything else is largely the same.
    Naturally, I ignore the news. I don't watch TV, & I look at different sides of any major story before I try to distill what it really means, so I'm no more bothered by the bleating of the media than I ever am.
    Now, if you'll pardon me, it IS spring, & I have motorcycles that need riding...
    --Tennessee Budd

    1. Motorcycles that need riding. Sounds awesome.

  8. Yeah, we're all tired of this firetrucking virus, but it could be worse. At least we can get out. The SWO son of a JAG officer I know is in town for ASW school. He flew in from Japan so he had to quarantine for 14 days in a BOQ room that had only a bed and a TV. He couldn't even step outside. Food was delivered, 3 cold meals a day, 2 weeks in a row. I hooked him up with burritos and various sundries every couple days though. Now that the 14 days are over and he's moved to a better room, I offered to take him out somewhere. The Navy is so afraid of him getting infected that he's not allowed to leave the base for the entire 2 months of his schools.

    1. Yeah, that doesn't suck at all. How about the kids going to basic who have to stay in a water park for two weeks, isolated in very expensive hotel rooms (the Navy is basically renting the entire, shut down, facility), can't go anywhere, can't do anything, until they can actually start training.

      How'd you like to be at sea now for six to nine months with no port visits? The Chicoms need to pay for this shite. (And those in this country who support them as well!)

  9. We will all have to walk into fire eventually - and this time every one of us will be on ‘point’.

    1. Indeed, we cannot delay the inevitable any longer. Otherwise we won't have an economy in the West.


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