State Of The County

Malled In

The local mall is almost-entirely open, albeit with masks and sanitizers and roving social-distancing enforcers. Well, open from 11am to 7pm on weekdays, anyway (11-6 Saturday, 12-6 Sunday; feels like being back in the Seventies).

What’s still closed?

  • Bath & Body Works
  • Build-A-Bear Workshop
  • Cinemark Theaters
  • Disney Store
  • Dairy Queen
  • Main Street Studio (art gallery w/painting classes)
  • Manpower (temp jobs agency, something you’d expect to be busy)
  • PLAYLive Nation (“upscale gaming lounge”; their words, not mine)

And that’s it. None of the others have any restrictions beyond masks and limited capacity, and the non-food-court restaurants are all open for dine-in as well as carryout.

I might go there tomorrow for the first time in 8-9 months, just for the novelty of having somewhere to walk around. For about ten minutes, anyway, until the mask starts lowering my blood oxygen and raising my blood pressure.

Meat run

When I went to the coast for a haircut a few weeks ago, I stopped at the Safeway that carries Boar’s Head meats; they were mostly out. Today? They had every variety of turkey in quantity, but had to open the last roast beef and teriyaki chicken for me (because I didn’t want the turkey either). They’re expecting a delivery just in time for the 4th.

Speaking of haircuts…

…Anita Ekberg is enough to make me want to shave…

Tinkle-On Economics

On Friday, Monterey County approved the partial reopening of additional classes of business, including campgrounds, gyms, hotels, card rooms, racetracks, bars, wineries, zoos, and museums. So we’ve got that going for us.

In theory, the local mall has been open for a week, but most stores inside it were still closed until today, when it looks like about 2/3 of them will be back in business, including about 4/5 of the food court resturants and snack vendors. The closures aren’t simply by category, so this may reflect how well they were able to survive being shut down; Cold Stone Creamery is open but Dairy Queen is not, Auntie Anne’s is open but Wetzel’s Pretzels is not, etc. Sears is closed, but they effectively went out of business years ago, so they don’t count.

It is strongly “suggested” that you socially-distance your cars, carefully choose which entrance you park near based on the stores you plan to visit, and participate in all ritual activities. Or their security teams will violate your social distance and forcibly eject you.

Sad thing is, I had very little reason to visit that mall before Corona-chan came to town, and the only reason I can think of for going there now is maybe to take a walk someplace other than down the aisles of a grocery store.

Unasked questions…

It sounds like the editor-in-chief of Bon Appétit was an asshole, and his actual on-the-job behavior may well justify his sudden departure. But of course he was actually fired because someone dug through his social media accounts and found out that he once played dress-up for a party (“brownface”).

But that’s not important. The story leads off with complaints from his female person-of-color administrative assistant, a Stanford graduate who was being paid an annual salary of $35,300. She has held this position for more than two years, at Bon Appétit’s Manhattan headquarters. The focus of the lead anecdote is that just days after her boss wrote a recent “woke” piece for the magazine, he rebuffed his only Black subordinate’s request for a raise, despite knowing that she hadn’t been able to pay her rent for the past three months.

Not asked or answered are the questions of what her Stanford degree is in, how much student-loan debt she has, why she took a shitty admin job in the first place, and why she’s still staying in a job that pays shit money that won’t cover her rent.

Sure, her boss might be an asshole and hypocrite who considers her skillset so unexceptional that he’ll blow off her plea for something better than $17 an hour, but maybe he’s right. Maybe there are twenty other gullible young recent grads so eager to work in the publishing industry that they’ll pass over a lucrative career as a Walmart greeter in Montana to polish his golf clubs (not a euphemism, apparently).

(via Althouse)

(someone in the comments claims to have tracked down her social media presence and found that her degree is a BA in “African and African American Studies”; that and a quarter-million in student loans will buy you a job fetching coffee)


These are not the sweater puppies I was looking for.

Corona-chan wears mink

We now have two known cases of mink-to-human infection, leading to a massive cull of the mink population in the Netherlands. In the US, we have a lemming problem, but so far they’re penning themselves up in Seattle, asking for gluten-free soy-based food to replace what was looted from them by their feral comrades.


Not a “kept in the dark and fed bullshit” reference, just this week’s episode of Good Eats Reloaded. I don’t cook with mushrooms as much as I used to, because most of the people I’ve been cooking with the last 20-some years don’t like them. But since there’s nobody around…

Related, Alton Brown has a number of new videos on Youtube, in his new Pantry Raid and Quarantine Quitchen mini-shows, along with some extras from Reloaded, including a short video on knives.

Flying Pig Alert!

The New York Times suddenly has something nice to say about moving manufacturing back to the US, as New Yorkers are afflicted with a devastating kettlebell shortage.

I particularly love the bit where someone finally managed to order one, twice, and both times it was stolen off of his porch after being delivered. I’m guessing that had less to do with it being a kettlebell than with him being in New York City.

The story actually covers the fact that pretty much all fitness equipment is out of stock, but only makes the Chinese manufacturing connection for kettlebells, despite the fact that most of the stuff is made there, and even their knockoff products are hard to find right now.

Speaking of which, I enjoyed the Amazon review of a random-brand knockoff of the TRX Xmount, which said it was just as good as the much more expensive one, even with the poor welds. Yeah, “poor welds” is just what I’m looking for in a product designed to hold my bodyweight and keep me from smacking my head into the floor.

Forget 1984

This year’s playbook really is Demolition Man, where those calling to “defund the police” claim they just mean “reform and retask them for social justice”, but really mean get rid of cops, a policy leading to peaceful conflict resolution, as ably illustrated in this documentary clip.

PBS comedy hour

Actual headline, emphasis added:

San Francisco may stop hiring cops with records of misconduct

Neighbors Against Illegal Fireworks

With both wildfire and fireworks season coming on fast, I saw a bunch of signs from this group while I was out shopping today. Not looking up your acronym in a dictionary before ordering billboards makes you look a bit naïve…

Well, that was unexpected

My new Okabashi sandals, ordered Sunday with the promise of delivery sometime next week, arrived today. But what’s unexpected is that their new-rubber scent smells remarkably like pipe tobacco. Specifically, Captain Black.

Multitasking Considered Harmful

I was baking bread while chatting with an old friend and potential new co-worker, and when it came time to preheat the oven, I forgot that I’d stashed a package of Costco pastries in there a few hours earlier.

Surprisingly, twenty minutes of warming to 350°F had done them no serious harm, but since the clear plastic container had turned milk-white, I decided not to find out what sort of outgassing might have taken place.

Keep Calm And Carry

“Defund the police, but ban guns”

If we engrave the right slogans on our homes, businesses, cars, and foreheads, surely the mob will pass us by.


Parcel delivery services should have speakers that play a jaunty little tune, like ice cream trucks. That way you know when your package is getting close.

Chicago has new food deserts

Apparently looting and burning grocery stores makes it difficult for people to buy groceries. I’m sure home-delivery services will pick up the slack!

Dear Amazon,

WTF? I navigated to the “Exercise and Fitness” department, scrolled down to “shop popular brands”, and selected “Polar” (the maker of the heart-rate straps for my elliptical cross-trainer). The first page of results consists of several streaming movies and series, two stern lectures about white fragility (inexplicably marked “non-fiction”), the Minecraft app, a Washington Post subscription, a smart light switch, several albums, a running shoe, QuickBooks, and a pack of 50 face masks.

Why the totally random crap? The clue is in the header line above the results: “1-16 of over 1,000,000 results for”. Yup, the promotional link for Polar doesn’t actually go anywhere, so this was basically a “revelance” search through your entire catalog. Spoiler: I’m not interested in any of it.

The Quaker alternative

“Friend, I mean thee no harm, but thou art standing where I am about to shoot.”


Pacific Gas & Electric has announced the rules for this year’s Shutoff Roulette (officially, Public Safety Power Shutoff), in which they’re once again planning pre-emptive power outages to cover for the decades of poor maintenance that have significantly increased the dangers of wildfire season. They promise this year’s outages will affect one-third less customers for typically no more than 12 hours after a strong wind blows down their power lines.

On the bright side, because of the continuing shelter-at-home-unless-you’re-rioting orders, you can self-certify yourself for emergency power if your life depends on electricity for medical devices.

D is for Despicable

Anyone who compares the liberators of occupied Europe to the enforcement branch of the Communist Party is:

  • A: a Democrat

  • B: batshit crazy

  • C: evil

  • D: all of the above

“There’s a riot goin’ on…”

It’s almost like there are a bunch of perpetual losers out there with free-floating grudges against the world and no concept of a social contract or civil society, willing to pillage, loot, and burn at the slightest excuse. Seriously, just how do you go from “peacefully” “protesting” police brutality in Minneapolis to breaking into the statehouse and burning flags in Columbus, Ohio?

As usual, the Bee’s got it covered.

Kudos to the group whose organizer was bright enough to protest in front of the CNN building in Atlanta. Whether they were smart enough to look for their keys where the light is better or just clever enough to recognize the enemy, they were in a better position than the clowns looting Target and burning down affordable housing projects. Until they lost control of their angry mob, anyway.


Once you start the reign of terror, Madame La Guillotine is no longer your friend.

Master of the Secret of the Riddle of the Daughter of the Times

Somehow I missed it when Lyndon Hardy released Kindle versions of his X of the N Y fantasy trilogy, revised and updated. And then added two more books to the series, one just this year, which sadly break the naming pattern and the numbering sequence. Amazon finally got around to recommending them to me. Kind of odd that it took so long, given how many fantasy novels I’ve bought or rebought there over the years.

I also hadn’t noticed that Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s Tomoe Gozen trilogy is also available on Kindle. I could never find the first one back in the day, so I ended up reading her standalone novel The Swordswoman instead, which vaguely irritated me. When I went back to reread it for my occasional “forgotten SF novels” series, the handling of Japanese-style swords was actually more annoying than the original problems, which now just look like bleed-through from the author’s identity struggles.

Dennis Schmidt’s Kensho novels, however, have not been Kindled. This is another series where I could never find the first one (Way-farer), and didn’t want to start in the middle. There are plenty of battered old paperback copies out there, though, so I just bought the whole set, and I’ll read them after they all trickle in over the next few weeks.

According to ISFDB, Schmidt died in 2003, so I’m guessing his estate is either unwilling or unable to sort out the rights and put his work back in print.

The works of Kevin O’Donnell, Jr. are in the same state following his death in 2012. I’ve picked up a few battered old paperbacks of his, too.

Picture Is Unrelated


The State has magnanimously granted Monterey County the right to enter stage 2 of phase 2, restoring to the people the right to eat in restaurants, receive full-service car washes, enter retail stores not previously considered essential, pass (relatively) freely through outdoor museums and public spaces, summon maids and janitors to their homes and businesses, send their children to schools run like prisons (literally “schools with modifications”), and get haircuts.

Earlier this week, the governor, finally recognizing the reality that he was losing his grip on his subjects, reopened shopping malls and in-person religious services across the state.

Still a long way to go:

Travel for non-essential activities is still not allowed. Apart from worship services, gatherings of people not from your household are not permitted.

Application For Variance To Stage 2…

The document begging for permission to slightly ease the lockdown in Monterey County is 142 pages long. Much of this consists of copies of the orders and public notices that will be distributed to provide guidance and penalties for the classes of activity that will be permitted to partially resume, plus supporting letters from every bean-counter in the county. (I feel a song coming on: “Everyone considered him the counter of the county”)

Missing from the documentation is how long before it takes effect after it is approved in Sacramento. We can only hope that they didn’t accidentally forget to get a signed affirmation from some random person no one’s ever heard of but who feels important for the first time in his rubber-stamping life.


“In Northern CA, above normal significant large fire potential is expected in most areas below 6000 feet in June.”

At the moment, only Camp Roberts is burning, but expect that to change soon. If it’s a bad fire year, we may soon be recycling leftover Corona masks for ash-covering.

Update: A nibble!

Phone interview next week, for a build & release position. (what kids today call “DevOps”)

Well, that’s no surprise…

I went looking for updates on the story of Detroit-area grocery-store security guard Calvin Munerlyn, murdered in cold blood for “disrespecting” a woman by instructing her to wear a mask, as required by the state. To no great surprise, the mass media is… “not aggressively pursuing this local news story of no particular national significance”.

I managed to find local news coverage sharing the good news that Ramonyea Travon and Larry have finally been arrested; surprisingly, the family that kills together split up, with Larry hiding out in Texas (two unnamed accomplices drove him to Houston and checked him into a motel under his own name).

The killer’s sister Brya Shatonia was also arrested, for tampering with evidence and interfering with a murder investigation. Momma Sharmel is being held without bond on the charge of first degree murder.

In addition to murder, the fact that Larry is also charged with “felon in possession of a firearm” completes the explanation of why this story was dropped like a hot potato.