Thoughts On A Sunday

We had yet another winter storm this past week, accompanied by yet another power outage.

That’s six outages since the beginning of December. The shortest outage lasted an hour-and-a-half. The longest lasted 22 hours.

This is the most winter power outages I’ve seen, ever, and winter has another couple of months to run. The snowiest part of the winter runs between mid-February and mid-March.

It has been suggested these outages are what I am calling “cascade failures”. One storm brings down a number of tree limbs and damages others. During the next storm the damaged limbs come down and other limbs are damaged. The cycle then repeats. That the storms that brought about outages had either heavy wet snow, high winds, or both wasn’t surprising. The only storm we experienced that had very few outages across the state was the one that dropped over 14 inches of snow here at The Gulch, the snow being drier and ‘fluffier’, and the winds were very light.

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I haven’t had to use the Official Weekend Pundit Generator during the previous two winters, it being fired up once a month or so to ensure it was in working order. And then in a period of seven weeks I’ve had to use six times.

Some neighbors have complained that with the recent doubling of their electricity bills that power should be more reliable, but I had to remind them that it wasn’t the utilities fault for the higher bills, but that’s a story for another time.


The story of ‘woke’ crybullies continues, in this case a female student journalist is demanding an apology from he university she attends - Shippensburg University – because they dared showing two males in a photo highlighting Engineering studies at the university.

It’s bad enough they showed one male, but two?

Allyson Ritchey, the assistant PR director for the student paper The Slate, said that early last month the official Shippensburg U. Instagram page posted a pic of “two male-presenting students” (pictured), but less than a day later changed the original caption to “Hands-on learning at the Milton and Doreen Engineering Lab!”

Despite the change, there was “no comment or apology publicly made,” Ritchey wrote, adding that “if an offensive post is made […] an apology should be made. Simply changing the caption is like putting a bandage on the situation.”

She added: “For a university that, according to its own website, ‘celebrates diversity’ to make such a claim about engineers is insensitive and discrediting to the students at Shippensburg who do not fall into the stereotype. This brings forth the societal notion that engineering is unfriendly to women and other non-male identifying individuals.”

It sounds more like she is projecting her hostility upon anyone with ‘XY’ chromosomes. For someone who is so concerned with diversity she seems more than willing to divide people based upon their particular group.

It seems diversity is some kind of “Holy Grail” despite not really being important. This is particularly true when such diversity is shoved down one’s throat. (At that point is it really diversity or is it, as has become more prevalent, nothing more than virtue signaling as a means of feeding a narcissist’s ego?)


Mike Taibbi continues exposing more of the misdeeds of Twitter, particularly in regards to misinformation which spread false allegations about Trump’s supposed misdeeds.

Matt Taibbi released the most recent Twitter Files on Friday. The focus of this batch is the role a dubious source played in helping shape the false narrative of Russian influence on Twitter.

To some Twitter exec’s credit, they were uncomfortable with the dubious claims that pretty much anything a conservative, MAGA supporter, et al. said was considered “Russian misinformation.” Even accounts that had no ties to any known Russian bot or activity were deemed to be spreading Russian propaganda unknowingly and should therefore be silenced.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is. This is the same “logic” used to assert that all white people are racists. Even if they don’t think they are, they are racist. Without knowing it on a conscious level. Or something. It’s an intentionally crafted no-win construct that is now being applied to “misinformation” as well as “white supremacy” and “systemic racism.”

Just another bit of data showing Twitter’s corruption.


This is something that has been irritating me for a long time, and has now reached the point that it pisses me off. What is ‘this’?

Demanding tolerance of the abnormal.

What’s worse is this demand is being made by people who are intolerant of anyone who disagrees with them. It’s hypocrisy.

One of the left's primary goals has always been to convince us that we are not normal if we do not affirm its ideology, a well established tactic among totalitarians. People who believe in normal things are under attack in America. We are assaulted on a near continuous basis by leftists who practice and promote behavior that is clearly abnormal. Frighteningly, some of this behavior is not merely abnormal, it's evil.

The online Merriam-Webster Dictionary provides many definitions of normal. Among them are: “conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern, characterized by that which is considered usual, typical, or routine; according with, constituting, or not deviating from a norm, rule, procedure, or principle; occurring naturally.

If we contrast these accepted definitions of normal with many policies and practices of the left, a trend emerges. Much of what today’s left promotes does not comport with what is recognized as normal. Instructing children how to think and behave like racists, as happens in many government schools through variants of Critical Race Theory, is not normal. It's harmful.

They have relabeled pedophiles as “Minor attracted persons”. But they are pedophiles, predators hurting and damaging children. Yet we’re supposed to tolerate them?

Some seem to support grooming children for activities that should never be imposed upon children. Yet we’re supposed to tolerate this?

Abortion right up to the time of birth...or even after? An abomination...yet we’re supposed to tolerate this?

Claiming obesity is healthy and promoting it as such while castigating those disagreeing with them as “Fatphobic”. Working out is “Fatphobic”. Eating healthy is “Fatphobic”. Yet we’re supposed to tolerate this dangerous falsehood?

Examples of this nonsense abound.

Ordinary people are often intimidated into going along with abnormal ideologies because it’s easier than being screeched at by somebody who demands we affirm their abnormal behavior. This intimidation prompts many people to tip-toe around the fact that much of what we see in America today just isn’t normal and sometimes, we keep quiet even though we know it’s not normal. This is how normal becomes redefined.


None of this is to suggest we should discriminate against people with such beliefs as they try to do to us. Many of these people have been deceived, coerced or extorted into affirming abnormal behavior and ideas for self preservation or a false sense of power. By the same token, other Americans have every right to withhold their acquiescence of abnormal behaviors without fear. A little more ‘live-and-let-live’ would go a long way. But live-and-let-live is a two-way street.

It’s time we tell the folks pushing this nonsense too far and that “We ain’t gonna play their game no more.” Normalizing the abnormal is just one more step in the decline and fall of any society. Remember the fall of Rome.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where winter has finally arrived, the snowmobile trails are open, and where the lake is finally starting to freeze over.


The Wealth Tax (And Greed) That Will Not Die

Almost two and a half years ago I posted about California’s proposed wealth tax. It didn’t get too far, at least back then. Enough people expressed their disdain or outright hostility towards the idea, many of them seeing just how awful an effect such wealth taxes had in other places they’d been imposed.

However, the idea never really died and it looks like California may actually pull it off this time, something that I (and others) firmly believe will finally kill the Progressive ‘utopia’ that is the Pyrite State as wealth (and the wealthy) will flee and investment in any business in California will collapse. To add insult to injury, they are also considering a so-called ‘exit tax’ which will be imposed for 10 years after a wealthy California resident leaves the greedy grasp of the Supreme Soviet in Sacramento.

California’s richest residents — and even those who move out of state — could be required to pay a new wealth tax as early as next year.

A new bill proposed by Democratic Assemblyman Alex Lee would tack on an additional 1.5% tax for Californians who have a worldwide net worth of more than $1 billion, beginning January 2024, according to KCRA-TV, the NBC affiliate in San Francisco.


Moving out of state wouldn’t exempt wealthy residents from paying the taxes, either.

Taxpayers who don’t have the cash on hand to pay the wealth tax — because their assets aren’t easily liquidated — would be required to file annually with California’s Franchise Tax Board and eventually fulfill their wealth tax obligation to the state even if they no longer live in California, according to the bill’s language.

Good luck to them in trying to collect those ‘exit’ taxes. You know a lot of California ex-pats just won’t pay them. A lot of the states to which they fled won’t act as California’s collection agents either.

It would not surprise me if the Supreme Court rules that California has no such power to impose or collect such taxes as the targets of those collections are no longer residents and have no assets or investments in the Pyrite State.

I have to wonder if the Progressive morons in Sacramento will consider armed raids into neighboring states to remove ‘excess’ cash from their banks at some point. I wouldn’t put it past them.


Thoughts On A Sunday

It’s been snowing very lightly since dawn, barely accumulating between then and noon.

I did my usual Sunday morning Walmart shopping run – most often around 8 A.M. - and I saw a lot of the ‘Pickup’ shoppers making the rounds with their mobile racks and shopping lists. A lot more than usual. Then I remembered the oncoming snowstorm and it suddenly made sense.

Snowstorm panic shopping.

In this case it was people who sent their shopping lists in to Walmart and letting their shoppers do all the running around.

What gets me is that it isn’t like we don’t have snowstorms up here. It is New England after all. It isn’t like this is a monster storm. At best (or worst, depending upon your point of view), we’ll see 10 inches before it winds down late Monday. It’s an amount barely worth mentioning, at least up here. But that didn’t mean some folks around here – think ‘folks from away’ – might believe they’ll be house bound for days and days, so are doing their panic shopping by proxy.

I bought a few cans of cat food, Dr. Pepper, Half-and-Half, and a few more of the items I usually buy there every Sunday morning.

The only concession I have made to this coming snowstorm is moving the Official Weekend Pundit Generator from one part of the garage to another to make it easier to deploy if the power goes out...again.


Are you better off than you were two years ago?

I know I’m not. I have no doubt you aren’t either.

As one commenter put it:

Am I better off than I was two years ago?

Not even close.

I'm still paying more for electricity, gasoline, propane, food, clothing, construction materials, car/truck parts, and a whole host of other things. Any pay raises I received were canceled out in only a few months because of inflation.

Despite the Democrat Propaganda Machine is cranked up to ‘11’ trying to sell the idea that the worst is over, no one but the ‘faithful’ are buying it.


I’ve come across yet another definition of woke that I find works as well as mine, in this case by way of GraniteGrok:

“A state of awareness only achieved by those dumb enough to find injustice in everything except their own behavior.”

Or as I have put it in one form or another, “Delusional narcissists offended on behalf of people they think should be offended, but aren’t offended...which offends them.”


I keep hearing about an impending Spring offensive by Russia into Ukraine. Some have claimed Russia will employ 600,000 troops in this offensive.

I have a question about this: Where the heck is Russia going to get those 600,000 troops?

Those 600,000 troops would be a little over half of Russia’s entire military. (This depends upon whose numbers you believe.)

At the end of 2021 the Russian ground forces had about 400,000 men while the navy and air force each had about 150,000. About a third of air force personnel were paratroopers or air mobile infantry. The navy had about 12,000 marines, who guarded naval bases in peacetime. Right now that means the heavy Russian losses since the invasion began, and failure to mobilize many replacements, reduced the army to about 250,000 personnel. The airborne forces and marines also suffered heavy losses but more of them are still in service.


Russian armed forces were supposed to have over a million men but that goal has never been met and at the end of 2021 the total was about 750,000. That is now about 400,000, including the air force and navy. Mobilizations of new conscripts and men who had served the one year of conscript service failed to replace all the losses, in part because the mobilized men knew that the war in Ukraine was not going well and most men sent there had little training, equipment or leadership. Most of the junior officers were killed or disabled during the first months of the war and replacements take months to train.

So where are the 600,000 troops for this impending offensive going to come from? Troops Я’ Us?


For decades we’ve seen all kinds of things being smuggled across the border from Mexico into the US: drugs, guns, liquor (during Prohibition) and people. We can add something new to that list:


Traffickers are attempting to sneak thousands of Mexican “huevos” across the border per week after skyrocketing prices have made them a hot commodity, costing up to $8 per dozen in certain parts of America.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said they saw an uptick of 108% in egg seizures in the last three months of 2022, according to Border Report and violators end up having to shell out for a fine of up to $10,000.

Between the avian flu that decimated chicken flocks and inflation fueled by the Biden Administration’s economy destroying policies, is it any wonder eggs have become something new to smuggle?


That’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where more snow is coming, the lake still hasn’t frozen over yet, and where yet again Monday is returning...


Yet Another Winter Storm Experienced And Another On Its Way

We went through yet another snow storm yesterday, one that started late Thursday afternoon and lasted through Friday. We received about 7 inches here at The Gulch, a not unusual amount of snow. We also received another power outage, the fourth one in about six weeks.

This wasn’t a lengthy outage like the previous one, lasting about an hour and a half. That didn’t mean I didn’t pull out the Official Weekend Pundit Generator and fire it up, though.

That I’ve had to use the generator as many times as I have in such a short time has me wondering just how bad it might get. It seems that every winter storm we’ve experienced so far has led to a power outage, the longest one lasting a little over 22 hours. It isn’t like we’ve had large amounts of heavy snow or an ice storm causing tree limbs to break and knock out power lines. In one case all we had was rain, but with high winds.

It makes me wonder whether the power company hasn’t been doing enough tree trimming or if we’re seeing a cascade effect where one storm damages tree limbs and a following storm causes the damaged limbs to finally come down and take out the power. I suppose it could be both.

We have yet another storm on its way, forecast to start sometime Sunday evening and run through late Monday afternoon/early evening. It will be very similar to this last storm, with a similar amount of snowfall predicted. Therefore, I am predicting we will lose power during this next storm as well.

As such, I will be making slightly different preparations, those being pre-positioning the Official Weekend Pundit Generator and propane tank such that I won’t have to move the WP Mom’s car out of the way in order to get the generator out of the garage. I won’t need to clean off and move the trusty RAM 1500 out of the way so I can get the WP Mom’s car out of the garage so I can move the generator. That means I can get it set up and running in less than 5 minutes rather than the 20 minutes it took last night.

As I wrote above, I’ve had to fire up the Official Weekend Pundit Generator four times since the beginning to December. I’ve had the generator for over three years and the only other times I’ve had to fire it up was to test it – usually once every 6 weeks or so, and then only for 5 or 10 minutes.

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, The Gulch doesn’t use a lot of power which means the Official Weekend Pundit Generator doesn’t use a lot of fuel, a bit less than a half gallon of propane an hour. Therefore, a full 40 lb. propane tank will last almost a full day.

A Note: I am not trying to diminish the winter weather being experienced by the folks in the Midwest. Our weather here is rather mild as compared to what we usually experience during winter. I just find it unusual that such relatively mild winter weather has had such a large effect on our electrical grid.


It's Not A Game Show

Knowing how clueless people have become, some of them being the delusional ‘woke’, the following makes sense. I wish I could say it was funny, but my experiences over the past few years has shown me it is closer to reality. Just how effed up is it going to get before we stop kowtowing to these idiots?

(H/T Knuckledraggin)


Thoughts On A Sunday

Well, we’ve managed to make it through the first two weeks of 2023. Only 50 more to go!

It’s budget time for many of our towns and mine is no different. Both the town and school budgets are been scrutinized by the Selectmen and School Boards of the towns, public hearings are being held, and eventually the townsfolk vote on the various budget items at Town Meeting and School District Meeting. (In some towns like mine they take place at the same time.)

I wish I could say the process is straightforward and without much in the way of drama, but I would be lying if I did. There always seems to be one or more items the townsfolk will find questionable, contentious, or even outrageous. What I find mysterious about this is the passion that will be displayed during debates on a particular warrant article, that article spending a few hundred dollars on something. Debate may go on for quite some time. However, a budget article of a few million dollars will see barely a ripple of debate. That’s backwards, isn’t it?

At least it means those people in town willing to spend the time and effort can affect how much their town spends and on what. That doesn’t mean they always get it right. Who does? But it was still a collective choice about how to spend the tax money collected from those same townsfolk. (Something they must always be reminded about is that the more town and school district spends the higher their property taxes will be, something some of them forget...or choose to ignore.)


While this isn’t news as we’ve seen this before, it is news because of where it’s taking place.

A number of county sheriffs in Illinois are saying they will not enforce a new state law that bans “assault” weapons since it violates the Second Amendment of the Constitution.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a law that bans something called assault weapons. Knives? Fists? Oh, guns. Those scary and spooky guns (one of which I own and love):

The legislation bans the manufacture or possession of dozens of brands and types of rapid-fire rifles and pistols, .50-caliber guns and some attachments. The law will allow gun owners to keep the guns they have now but will require them to register them with the state.

Illinois gun manufacturers can continue to make assault weapons and sell them to suppliers in other states, but may not sell them to buyers in Illinois under the new proposal.

Thank goodness many sheriff departments in Illinois have common sense. They won’t enforce this unconstitutional law.

County sheriffs in other states have done likewise, with Oregon and Washington being just two of them.

While the anti-gunners are accusing some of these sheriffs of breaking the law, they must remember that their oath of office includes the phrase “support and defend the Constitution of the United States”. They are obligated to follow the Constitution first and the law second. If the law is in contradiction of the Constitution, the Constitution takes precedence, period. These law enforcement officials are remaining faithful to their oaths.


One thing that hasn’t met expectations is winter up here in New Hampshire.

Lake Winnipesaukee is ice free for the most part. The coves are frozen over and there is some ice on some of the bays, but not the big part of the lake. This may affect a number of annual events dependent on a frozen Lake Winnipesaukee like an ice fishing derby, a pond hockey tournament, a winter festival that includes an aircraft runway on the ice, as well as a number of other regular activities.

Some will claim it’s climate change, but this isn’t the first time we’ve experienced something like this. I doubt it will be last.


Did anyone notice how quickly the White House backpedaled on the gas stove ban, particularly once it was pointed out the reason behind it was compete and utter bullsh*t? It had nothing to do with them allegedly “producing pollutants that are harmful to human health.” It had everything with exerting further control over energy supplies and particularly the supplies for the unenlightened proles who shouldn’t be wasting space better occupied by the elite.

Too bad for the Progressives more than a few people knew the reason for the gas stove ban was a lie and made sure everyone knew it.


No one ever said people who rob convenience stores are all that bright. One guy didn’t bother casing the store he was going to rob. If he had he’d have known the customers in the store were armed.

At least he wasn’t so stupid that he got himself killed.


Opponents of school choice always make the claim that it creates a disadvantage for rural families since they don’t have much in the way of choices. However, a Heritage Foundation paper says otherwise.

A common observation made by critics of school choice is that it has little to offer families in rural communities where the population isn’t large enough to support multiple schools, and where transportation is already burdensome.

A new Heritage Foundation paper from Jason Bedrick and Matthew Ladner challenges that notion. The 14 percent of Americans who live in rural areas already have more options than commonly assumed, they argue. For starters, seven in ten rural families live within ten miles of a private elementary school. Counterintuitively, they note the share of rural students in private schools is the same as their urban peers, about ten percent.


Rural areas in Arizona and elsewhere are seeing the rise of microschools, which the authors describe as “a modern reimagining of the one-room schoolhouse.” The pair also argue that “high-quality virtual schools are available to anyone with a decent Internet connection.” One surprising piece of data (to me, at least) is that broadband access is not markedly different in rural America: 72 percent of country-dwellers have a broadband Internet connection at home, compared 77 and 79 percent of urban and suburban homes, respectively. That said, the paper is somewhat blithe about the checkered performance of online learning, particularly during the pandemic. “Virtual leaning might not be the right fit for every child,” they note. “But for some it opens a world of possibilities they otherwise do not have locally—all without having to leave the rural community that they know and love,” they write. Fair enough.

I know that here in central New Hampshire there are quite a few private schools that cover grades 1 through 12. There are plenty of them all throughout the state. Considering this state is mostly rural that’s a lot of private schools. That blows the “lack of school choice” claim out of the water, at least here. YMMV.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the ice is missing, time for it is running out, and even though tomorrow is a holiday Monday has returned yet again.


Million Dollar Stupid

As much as I try to maintain an open mind and be mindful of our little town’s character and the expenditure of my fellow townsfolk’s tax money, there are times I lose focus and ‘stupid’ takes over. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does I am fortunate enough to have family and friends to give me a figurative “Gibbs slap” to the back of my head which helps me regain focus. I almost had one of those ‘stupid takes over’ moments until a friend helped me refocus.

The ‘stupid’ dealt with the discussion about replacing the bath house at our town’s beach. The existing building is almost 60 years old, needs major repairs that may be more costly than demolishing the existing bath house and constructing a new one. The projected cost?

One million dollars.

My first thought was “Is that all?” That was my moment of stupid, thinking that it was only a million bucks.

Only. A. Million. Dollars.

A million dollars for a bunch of toilets, sinks, and some storage in a building not much bigger the The Gulch? Oh, yeah, I almost forgot the commercial kitchen for a vendor that will pay our town a pittance for a concession that is open for 3 months of the year.

Then someone, a friend, asked me “What if we build it ourselves?”...and the ‘stupid’ fled in terror.

Doing it ourselves is something our little town has done before, saving the taxpayers money on projects that everyone supported. So why not for this one as well? Just about everyone in our town uses the beach. Almost everyone there uses the bath house at some point.

So far, everyone I’ve talked to about this thought it was a great idea. Some have offered their help and others suggested people and businesses who would be more than willing to help, either with work, materials, or funding. No taxpayer money involved. All volunteer. Just like small town America has worked in the past and still works here and there, now and then. It’s time for us to embrace the “Can Do” attitude that permeated America for generations. We must replace the automatic “Get the town to pay for it” expectation with a “Let’s do this ourselves” attitude.

Oh, and about that commercial kitchen I have two words to offer:

Food trucks.


I Gotta Get Some

These will be perfect for my Mossberg 590M shotgun...for home defense, of course.


Thoughts On A Sunday

We’ve made it through the first week of 2023 and so far nothing has blown up. About the most ‘exciting’ thing that took place, at least on the national level, was the lengthy saga that was the election of Kevin McCarthy as the new Speaker of the House. If that’s the most exciting thing that happens this year I would be fine with that. But the cynic in me says we won’t be that lucky and that the kerfuffle that was the election of the Speaker will be seen as one of the few good events of the year.

And so it goes.


How deluded can the woke pushing all the ‘-isms’ become?

How about this deluded?

White Men's Sexual Interest in Big Butts Is Now Racist.

Seriously? Is there nothing that can’t be declared racist...or sexist...or whateverist?

One of the latest things that is now racist?

Hair oil.

An influencer is accused of racism for using a hair oil 'made for black women.'

Beauty guru Danielle Athena's hair-washing tutorial with the hyped Mielle Rosemary Mint Scalp and Hair Strengthening Oil sparked a heated debate on Twitter after a woman, dubbed @aprettyPR on Twitter, called out the influencer for stealing from black women.

What’s next? Will the color of one’s socks or choice of boxers versus briefs now become sexist, racist, or both?

This ridiculous crap has got to stop. These woke narcissists need some help as in ‘mental health’ help.


Is modern day Lysenkoism killing scientific advances?

I have to say yes, though it isn’t the only reason.

Over the past few months, I have been exploring the ideological capture of our scientific institutions.

I have reviewed the mainstream media’s roll is strangling rigorous scientific debate. I have explored how government agencies block access to important taxpayer-funded databases if they assert a scientist’s research may enter “forbidden” territory.

I, along with many others, have warned that the commandeering of science to push social, environmental, and corporate agendas would have a tsunami of unintended consequences. The scientific journal Nature has noted one of the most significant repercussions of ideological capture: The death of scientific innovation.

Is it a return to the Stalinist days of the Soviet Union when the ‘science’ of Trofim Lysenko which had little to do with actual science and more about conforming to Stalinist political correctness – Do your science our way or suffer from a 9mm ‘cerebral hemorrhage’? Today you are declared a terrorist, a white supremacist, an unperson, or worst, a conservative! Questioning the ‘science’ of the Progressive Powers That Be is likely to get you on a list for visit by the KGB...er...FBI.

Another reason for the decline in innovation in science?

“Disruptive” research significantly changes the way researchers look at a problem. It need not quite be an “aha!” discovery or theory, but it must at least be something close. It is the kind of research or discovery that changes subsequent research, rather than just being a continuation of a research path followed by many.

In fact, there is a high degree of correlation between the increase in the number of researchers and research studies and the decline in disruptive results.

Despite exponential growth in recent decades of research papers and patents, a new University of Minnesota study published in Nature suggests science and technology are becoming less disruptive.


Simply put, most research done today is like a drop of rain into a pool. It gets lost in the great mass of water. It may, or may not, advance the science in some small way, but it doesn’t change things in any significant way.

I think that if one looked back a couple of hundred years you’d see disruptive science and technology tends to happen in waves, with some new discovery or series of discoveries spurring rapid advances in technology which then starts to taper off as the effects of the new scientific discovery fades. Then another disruptive discovery comes to light and the next wave crests and a new cycle begins.

This does not negate the effects of political influence on science, particularly the type of influence that quashes scientific development because it isn’t politically correct or isn’t convenient for The Powers That Be.


OK, now I have a problem.

We keep hearing from some of the less knowledgeable Climate Apocalypse doomsayers telling us how we’ll see desertification taking place everywhere because of the higher temperatures.

Tell that to California.

It appears that California is now too wet, at least according to the New York Times.

As global warming brings more intense rainfall, experts say the state needs to give rivers more room to flood safely.

As California battles a second week of lashing rain and snow that have flooded communities, broken levees and toppled power lines, the state is facing questions about whether its approach to handling crippling storms is suited to 21st-century climate threats.

For decades, federal and state planners built dams and levees in California to store water and keep it at bay. But as climate change increases the risk of stronger and more destructive storms — like the one that was battering Northern California on Wednesday — experts and some policymakers are urging another approach: giving rivers room to overflow.

So which is it? A multi-decadal/multi-century mega-drought turning California into one big desert, or conversion of California into rain forest and swamps from border to border?

Or is it just weather, just like 1861 - 1862?


Before I go, there’s this last tidbit about the effects of Biden’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, the report coming from Biden’s own Department of Energy.

The Biden administration published a congressionally mandated report highlighting the positive economic benefits the Keystone XL Pipeline would have had if President Biden didn’t revoke its federal permits.

The report, which the Department of Energy (DOE) completed in late December without any public announcement, says the Keystone XL project would have created between 16,149 and 59,000 jobs and would have had a positive economic impact of between $3.4-9.6 billion, citing various studies. A previous report from the federal government published in 2014 determined 3,900 direct jobs and 21,050 total jobs would be created during construction which was expected to take two years.

But immediately after taking office in January 2021, Biden canceled the pipeline’s permits, effectively shutting the project down.

“The Biden administration finally owned up to what we have known all along — killing the Keystone XL Pipeline cost good-paying jobs, hurt Montana’s economy and was the first step in the Biden administration’s war on oil and gas production in the United States,” Sen. Steve Daines. R-Mont., said Thursday in a statement. “Unfortunately, the administration continues to pursue energy production anywhere but the United States.”

Biden went to the Saudis begging them to increase oil production. The Saudis turned him down stating they were already approaching maximum capacity. Did he think oil from Saudi Arabia generated less CO2 when burned in the form of gasoline, diesel, propane, and heating oil than oil from the US? He’s also been trying to aid Venezuela’s rebuilding their oil infrastructure so they could sell more oil to the US. Does Venezuelan oil burn with less CO2 generated than US oil?

Biden also canceled oil and gas lease sales, threatened to cancel existing leases, pressured oil drillers to stop fracking on federal lands, all within the first couple of months of entering office.

Is it any wonder oil prices started skyrocketing?

Despite claims by the Biden administration that the problem was caused by Trump energy policies, it was purely actions by Biden that caused the spike in energy prices and shortage of petroleum-based fuels. Later, the Biden Administration tried to lay the blame on Putin’s war against Ukraine, though by that time oil prices had reached very close to their eventual peak.


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee, where the temps have dropped to the teens, the ice is starting to form on the lake, and where the ski slopes are doing a lot of business.


That Which Is Old Is New Again

A few years ago I heard of the discovery of what made Roman concrete so tough – volcanic ash as part of the mix – but it turns out that was only part of the recipe that made Roman concrete so durable and strong that it lasts for millennia, even in aquatic environments. Researchers at MIT, Harvard University, and two European labs have solved the rest of the mystery, particularly the mystery of how it self-heals microcracks, something modern concrete can’t do.

Researchers have spent decades trying to figure out the secret of this ultradurable ancient construction material, particularly in structures that endured especially harsh conditions, such as docks, sewers, and seawalls, or those constructed in seismically active locations.

Now, a team of investigators from MIT, Harvard University, and laboratories in Italy and Switzerland, has made progress in this field, discovering ancient concrete-manufacturing strategies that incorporated several key self-healing functionalities. The findings are published today in the journal Science Advances, in a paper by MIT professor of civil and environmental engineering Admir Masic, former doctoral student Linda Seymour ’14, PhD ’21, and four others.

The researchers found a number of anomalies in samples of Roman concrete they could explain, one of them being the inclusion of minuscule particles of lime, specifically what is called quicklime. It turns out to be the material that was the secret to the ability to self-heal cracks in the concrete. The were also able to determine part of the mixing process that made Roman concrete so tough.

Studying samples of this ancient concrete, he and his team determined that the white inclusions were, indeed, made out of various forms of calcium carbonate. And spectroscopic examination provided clues that these had been formed at extreme temperatures, as would be expected from the exothermic reaction produced by using quicklime instead of, or in addition to, the slaked lime in the mixture. Hot mixing, the team has now concluded, was actually the key to the super-durable nature.

“The benefits of hot mixing are twofold,” Masic says. “First, when the overall concrete is heated to high temperatures, it allows chemistries that are not possible if you only used slaked lime, producing high-temperature-associated compounds that would not otherwise form. Second, this increased temperature significantly reduces curing and setting times since all the reactions are accelerated, allowing for much faster construction.”

If we have truly rediscovered how to make Roman concrete, the effects on our world could be immeasurable. Looking at our crumbling infrastructure, much of it caused by the decay and failure of modern concrete, replacing that concrete with durable Roman concrete that will last millennia rather than decades can transform our civilization. The need to rebuild our roads, bridges, sewers, water systems, buildings, canals, and any other constructs making use of concrete every few decades would be greatly reduced, if not eliminated. It would save money, increase the long term safety of our roads, highways, bridges, and tunnels. The money saved could be used for other projects rather than heavy maintenance or replacement of existing infrastructure. But there may be those who might not like the idea of concrete that only needs to be replaced every 2000 years.

As one commenter to the Instapundit post linking the MIT article put it, “Sadly, it will never be allowed in the US, because fat lazy bloated road construction unions won't allow it. They wouldn't get [to] rebuild all of I-94 every other year.” I think the commenter understated it as I think any of the construction unions that would be affected by this new ‘old’ concrete might be against it.

Only time will tell.


Thoughts On A Sunday

Here it is, both the first Sunday of the year as well as the first day of 2023. I enter this year with hopes that it will be better than the year just past...but I have a feeling my hopes will be dashed by the people running this country, people who no longer love this country and no longer believe in its ideals.

I am worried that we will be living out the old Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”


Something I was finally able to do was figure out how much fuel the Official Weekend Pundit Generator uses per hour. I only had a few estimates as to how much propane or gasoline it would use, but they were only guesses and those guesses were based on a number of unproven assumptions.

With three power outages that took place over a period of five weeks - the outages totaling about 27 hours - the longest outage lasting 20 hours which took place last weekend, and then filling the two propane tanks I used to during those 27 hours, I was able to figure out how long a tank of propane will last under the conditions we experienced. This makes it easier to figure out how much fuel I would need for an extended outage. Knowing this has removed most of the guesswork and made planning easier, something important when a storm – be it hurricane, ice storm, or blizzard – is forecast and expected to cause outages.

It’s nice to be able to plan fuel requirements for outages.


An issue that has been seen popping up all across the US, but is of interest at the local level, is so-called Short Term Rentals (STRs). Many also know them as AirBnB’s, named after the website of the same name. There is also VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner), another STR website, and Expedia.

My home town has been struggling with them and has been working to get some regulation in place, primarily for the ‘commercial’ STRs, or homes that were purchased solely for the purpose of renting out as an STR. In many cases the owners of the commercial STRs in out town are out-of-state corporations. There are a number of downsides to the growth of STRs in our town, one of them being that homes bought for conversions to STRs mean fewer homes available to house families or workers.

But as much as small towns like mine have been struggling with the issue, some of the cities have also struggling with the issue, including New York City.

A new short-term rental registration law put forth by the administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams could remove thousands of Airbnb listings from the market next month. The new measure, which will go into effect in January, will require Airbnb hosts to register their short-term rentals with the city's database -- including proof that the hosts themselves reside there, and that their home abides by local zoning and safety requirements. If Airbnb hosts fail to comply, they could face $1,000 to $5,000 in penalty fees.

Some communities have tried even more draconian regulations which have led to lawsuits against those communities.

What’s the answer to STRs and their effects on communities? I think it depends upon the communities themselves as there is no one single answer or solution that will meet the needs and wants of all communities and the people in them.

Our town will be requiring registration of STRs, mainly so we know where they are and who owns them. This is aimed more at the Commercial STRs. Commercial STRs will also be required to undergo inspections by our fire department for life safety issues and the code inspector to ensure there are no building code issues. There are a few more requirements but so far no one has claimed they are onerous or will be a burden.

And so it goes.


The Congressional Democrats and the DNC are celebrating their ‘win’ regarding releasing Donald Trump’s tax returns. Little do they realize (or care) that this will backfire on them ‘yugely’.

Voters are not in a very Christmas-y mood when it comes to Washington’s punishment politics.

In fact, they’d like to see some payback.

While a majority of voters are OK with House Ways and Means Committee Democrats releasing former President Donald Trump’s federal income taxes, they also feel that what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.

Asked in a new Rasmussen Reports survey if the incoming GOP House majority should release the taxes of Democrats who voted to reveal Trump’s taxes, 54% said yes.

And it wasn’t just Republicans, 63%, and independents, 53%, but included more Democrats than not. Rasmussen said that 45% of Democrats wanted the taxes of the Trump critics released to 38% who didn’t.

The partisan divide was much wider on the overall question of releasing Trump’s taxes, which is to be completed Friday by House Democrats. Some 53% said they approved of the release to 40% who disapproved.

Democrats especially were supportive, with 79% approving of the release. Among Republicans, 63% disapproved.

Let those who live by releasing their opponent’s tax returns, die by the involuntary release of their own. Seems fitting,, somehow. They tried to weaponize Trump’s tax returns and will likely to have that turned against them. Let’s see how many will be willing to release all of their returns. My guess?

Very few.

I doubt Congressional Democrats will be in favor of having their tax returns made public because I am less confident in their veracity than Trump’s. They want to impose such ‘punishments’ but be immune to those same punishments. After all, they might have to explain how they became so wealthy serving in Congress. That just wouldn’t do.

Double standards, anyone?


Do we need any more proof that the Green Energy elite are trying to create a neo-feudal state? In Germany they are ‘suggesting’ people bathe only once a week.

I figure that once they get the people to do that they will, at some point, convince them bathing really isn’t necessary at all. Neither is living in clean and heated apartments. Better a wattle and daub hovel, a retro residence. How long before the elite start referring to themselves as Nobles?


And that’s the news from Lake Winnipesaukee where we’ve entered the January thaw (50ºF here today), the holiday weekend has one more day to run, and I am looking forward to going back to the lab.