Eucalyptus Now

I often disagree with columnist Peter Hitchens (brother of the late Christopher), but I have to say that his latest column does resonate with me, because he points out what I often say:  that Gummint often uses apocalyptic messages to clamp down on our freedoms.  And he does it using facts and history (always the most difficult argument to refute).  Here’s an example:

The former editor of The Times, Sir Simon Jenkins, recently listed these unfulfilled scares: bird flu did not kill the predicted millions in 1997. In 1999 it was Mad Cow Disease and its human variant, vCJD, which was predicted to kill half a million. Fewer than 200 in fact died from it in the UK.
The first Sars outbreak of 2003 was reported as having ‘a 25 per cent chance of killing tens of millions’ and being ‘worse than Aids’. In 2006, another bout of bird flu was declared ‘the first pandemic of the 21st Century’.
There were similar warnings in 2009, that swine flu could kill 65,000. It did not. The Council of Europe described the hyping of the 2009 pandemic as ‘one of the great medical scandals of the century’.

And Hitchens’ devastating take:

In only one place – aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess – has an entire closed community been available for study. And the death rate there – just one per cent – is distorted because so many of those aboard were elderly. The real rate, adjusted for a wide age range, could be as low as 0.05 per cent and as high as one per cent.

About 1,600 people die every day in the UK for one reason or another. A similar figure applies in Italy and a much larger one in China. The coronavirus deaths, while distressing and shocking, are not so numerous as to require the civilised world to shut down transport and commerce, nor to surrender centuries-old liberties in an afternoon.

Fortunately, our government in the US is not as quite as panic-stricken as the BritGov, and while we’re being warned to be careful and take healthy precautions, we’re nowhere close to facing the governmental excesses that the Brits are.

This latest Wuhan-virus pandemic may be as terrible as we’re being told;  but I agree with the above conclusions that it probably won’t be — and all our well-meaning precautions may end up costing us more than necessary:  a lot more than necessary.

This means that we should continue to be vigilant — not just against disease, but against the loss of our freedoms — and Hitchens’ article serves as a very timely warning why we should always be on our guard against the doomsayers because very often, their motives are not altruistic.


For a much, much longer examination of the thing, go here.  While the article is long, it’s definitely not too long to read — and its conclusion is even better than that of Hitchens (with my emphasis in red):

The COVID-19 hysteria is pushing aside our protections as individual citizens and permanently harming our free, tolerant, open civil society. Data is data. Facts are facts. We should be focused on resolving COVID-19 with continued testing, measuring, and be vigilant about protecting those with underlying conditions and the elderly from exposure. We are blessed in one way, there is an election in November. Never forget what happened and vote.

You may ask yourself. Who is this guy? Who is this author? I’m a nobody. That is also the point. The average American feels utterly powerless right now. I’m an individual American who sees his community and loved ones being decimated without given a choice, without empathy, and while the media cheers on with high ratings.

When this is all over, look for massive confirmation bias and pyrrhic celebration by elites. There will be vain cheering in the halls of power as Main Street sits in pieces. Expect no apology, that would be political suicide. Rather, expect to be given a Jedi mind trick of “I’m the government and I helped.”

The health of the State will be even stronger with more Americans dependent on welfare, another trillion stimulus filled with pork for powerful friends, and a bailout for companies that charged us $200 change fees for nearly a decadeWashington DC will be fine. New York will still have all of the money in the world. Our communities will be left with nothing but a shadow of the longest bull market in the history of our country.

 

Ungrateful

Here’s an interesting one, and it leaves me curiously conflicted

A millionaire has revealed he refuses to help his struggling parents pay off their mortgage so they can retire because they wouldn’t invest in his fledgling company five years ago.  The unnamed son, believed to be from the UK, explained on Reddit that he started a business in 2015, and his parents refused to invest £100 because they thought it would fail.  However in the last couple of years it’s boomed – but the son, who earns ‘borderline seven figures a year’, remains bitter about his parents’ lack of support.
The son explained he quit his office job, which paid £26,000 a year, in order to start his business in 2015 – when his parents and siblings earned twice or triple what he made.
‘When I opened my business, I asked if they wanted to invest as little as £100 in it, no one did… My entire family thought that my business was going to fail, just like I failed my sixth form,’ he wrote.
However, the company turned out to be a success and the business boomed in 2018 and 2019.
The son wrote: ‘My parents still have around £200,000 in mortgage payments left and are about to retire. Yesterday at a family reunion, my aunt asked why I don’t help them out financially considering I make more in a year than they make in a decade.’
He said he told his aunt he did not want to help because his parents had shown no belief in his venture.
‘I also told her that my parents made more than enough to put aside some money each month towards retirement, but due to their unorganised spending habits they were living pay cheque to pay cheque every month. They were making TRIPLE what I was making when I was an office boy,’ he explained.

Here’s why I’m conflicted.

I myself couldn’t do this to my parents, because parents.  (And if you need me to explain that rationale, you need help.)

On the other hand:  one of my ironclad rules in dealing with people is this:  I never forget an insult, and I never forgive an injury.  I am the world’s best friend to have — I’ll do anything to help a close friend — but screw me over or betray my trust, and there is a good chance that I’ll never speak to you again.

So in that moral context, I can understand  this young guy’s attitude towards people who didn’t help him on his way up, but I can’t forgive it.  And here’s why.

What he seems to have forgotten is that if he’d never have been born, they could probably have paid off their mortgage long before now.  But they had him, raised and nurtured him, and when he’d grown up, they let him go.  All that stuff costs money, lots of it (as any parent knows).

But all that said, I have little sympathy for the parents now, because they had the chance to help their child — for a piffling amount of money — and refused.  The essence of parenthood is to give, and give, and give — sometimes even when you can’t give any more, you still give.  Because it’s your child, that’s why.  Telling him his idea was dumb and he was going to fail (again) was a dick move — and now that he’s turned out for the better, they shouldn’t be surprised by his attitude — because they created it.

He’s angry at them for refusing to support him, and  for insulting him by recalling past failures.  The hurt goes deep, and I quite understand it.  I still couldn’t do what he’s done, because the corollary to being a part of a family is that when you’re an adult, you support your parents — and give, and give, and give — sometimes even when you can’t give anymore.

That’s family, and family is the basic building block of a happy and well-ordered society.

A man stabbed his mother to death, and as she lay dying she saw the knife had turned in his hand and he’d cut himself.  With her last breath she whispered, “Oh my son, bandage thy wound lest thou bleed to death.”

Parenthood.

Non Decorum Est

Apparently, the issue of a “dress code” or “decorous clothing” seems to have gone bye-bye in, of all places, Britishland (and to be specific, in Parliament).  Witness this outfit chosen by a Labour MP (of course) to deliver a speech in the House of Commons:

Needless to say, the response from the BritPublic was not complimentary, prompting this classless Trot to respond in kind:

I know, I know, dear Tracy;  perhaps you weren’t any of those things — it just looked  like you were all  of them.  Of course, you were an actress once, which pretty much explains everything.

And just so we’re all clear on the implications of this:  had Boris Johnson not won the last General Election, this harridan would now be a member of the Prime Minister’s Cabinet.

Nope, Probably Not

According to City Journal‘s Steve Malanga, Californication shouldn’t be as bad as people think:

Conservatives and moderates are the most unhappy with the state and most anxious to leave. Liberals, by contrast, are mostly staying put, and some think life in California is just great. Only 38 percent of Democrats said that they were considering leaving, compared with 55 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans. Similarly, those characterizing themselves as “somewhat liberal” were least likely to say that they want to go—fewer than four in ten are considering leaving. But 53 percent of moderates, 66 percent of the “somewhat conservative,” and 74 percent of the “very conservative” would like to migrate. Political affiliation, in fact, was more of a predictor of who wants to go or stay than other demographic information, such as race.

I think that the longtime residents of Colorado (to name just one state infested with ex-Californians) might beg to differ with Malanga’s thesis — and I think I know the problem.

Basically, “conservative” Californians coming to, say, Texas probably aren’t conservative at all.  Compared to other Californians, they might be;  compared to conservative Texans, they’re probably more like moderate Democrats.  And the way to establish the truth of this is to find out if during their first year in a new state, these Cali-expats bought a gun  (if they didn’t bring any with them).  If they didn’t buy a gun, they failed the first unofficial test of conservative American citizenship.

This kills me.  I have very dear relatives who are lifelong Californians, and are making serious plans to leave the state.  They are probably more conservative than I am, and are staunch gun owners to boot.  But I’m positive that Uncle Mike and The Angel In Human Form are in no way representative of these modern Joads-in-reverse.

More’s the pity.


P.S.  The above-mentioned relatives (much to my chagrin) are not moving to Texas because of the heat.  But let’s just say that the political makeup of one of the mountain states is about to become a lot  more conservative.

Blacktops

Anyone who’s ever worked in the restaurant business will know exactly what the title of this post means.

Basically, it’s a denigrating [sic]  term that waiters (of all races, by the way) use as shorthand to describe a table of Black customers.  What “blacktop” means is that the servers are highly unlikely to get a tip from that seating.

Black people don’t tip.  (As always, that may not be 100% accurate but, as the bookies say, it’s the way to bet.)

Insty brings it home with this post, and I, as a two-year veteran of Ubering with well over two thousand trips driven, can attest to his friend’s conclusion.  (And bear in mind that about 80% of my annual business comes exclusively from taking executives to the two Dallas-area airports, which means that mostly, the tips are going to be part of the expense account.)

As a one-time statistician, I unconsciously collect data from my own experiences, and I’m going to present Kim’s Hierarchy Of Tipping (in an Uber context) and digging into my experience, here are the percentages of people who tip, by category.

  • White men:  70% — close to 90% of my tip revenue comes from White men, of all socio-economic classes
  • Chinese / Japanese men:  50% — but it’s a tiny number, so the actual revenue is insignificant
  • White women:  25% — and their tips are much smaller than the mens’, and younger women hardly tip at all
  • Indian men:  5% — and that only from the few Indian guys I pick up on a regular basis
  • Older Black men:   5% — if they’re executives, otherwise 0%
  • Younger Black men:  0% — unless  they’re in food service i.e. waiters (see below), in which case it’s about 2%
  • Indian / Black / Chinese women:  0% — I think one  Indian woman once gave me a $2 tip (on a $40 fare).
  • Young White guys, mostly waiters, cooks and bartenders:  close to 100%;  why?  because they understand the value of tipping.  When a young guy tips me $3 on a $4 fare, I know what that represents, and it has nothing to do with percentages.

Here’s the thing:  tipping your service provider isn’t just about the money, although that is important.  What tipping does show that you the customer value  what I as your service provider has given you, and it gives me an incentive to keep providing a good service.

I’ll spell it out from my own perspective.  I get up at about 3.15am and log in to Uber at about 3.45am, working until about 9am.  I provide a courteous, smooth, knowledgeable and (sometimes) entertaining trip, every time.  There’s free water on offer, a phone charger if needed, and I even load and unload my customers’ suitcases.  If a customer has forgotten something like a phone or passport, I stop the clock and turn the car around to fetch it.  I monitor the traffic reports so I can take a different route to avoid congestion.  I keep my car spotless (inside — on DFW roads, I’d have to wash the outside twice a day to keep it as clean).  And on that topic:  it’s not some cab company’s heap that I’m inviting you into, it’s my own personal car.

If I published the compliments that a few (maybe 80 or so) customers have left on my profile over the past two years, you’d think I’d made them all up.  (“Best Uber ride ever!”  and “Great conversation!” are the most common.)  I don’t provide good service;  I provide fantastic  service.

Yet very few people tip.  My tip percentage of total net income is 4.74% (and that is a hard number, because it’s Tax Time).  About a third of what a waiter makes.

And I have to tell you all that if one day I decide to chuck it all in, it’s because excluding White men, people in general are ungrateful assholes.

Hoofbeats? Yup, Definitely

“It is called a manicure after all!”

Actually, “manicure” has nothing to do with men.  It derives from the Latin word manus (hand).  But if only ignorance were the biggest of my complaints.

Great Jupiter’s Ravished Anus.

“I like having a new way to express myself,” Cusick tells The Post. “My wife gets her nails done regularly, and after I started painting my nails at home, she suggested I come along with her. I see celebrities doing it all the time.”
Cusick opted for black nails with a skull design that he found on Instagram under the hashtag #guynails, which has more than 1,400 posts. Next month, he plans to go back to get “something book-themed” for a publishing party.
“I’m already a bit obsessed,” Cusick says. “I’ve always been comfortable with fashion that’s not stereotypically masculine. This just feels like a natural extension of that.”

I feel queasy just having read the article.