Black Lists Matter

Boycotting things and businesses has traditionally been a tool of the Left — flood a TV show’s advertiser with calls, threatening to boycott the company’s products unless they stop supporting [Tucker Carlson], etc.

We on the conservative side have had a few ourselves — anyone remember the anger when gun writer Dave Petzal  Jim Zumbo (sorry, Dave)  said that nobody needed an AR-15?  or the boycott of Smith & Wesson when the hapless gunmaker made a deal with the Clinton junta?  We will not even speak of Dick’s Sporting Goods, etc.

I myself have a list of businesses and brands that I will never consider, mostly because of their anti-gun positions:

  • Levi Strauss
  • Leatherman
  • REI
  • Patagonia
  • Starbucks
  • California Pizza Kitchen
  • AARP
  • Dick’s
  • Ben & Jerry
  • Doordash
  • GrubHub
  • Hallmark
  • Jack In The Box
  • Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Walgreens (they fire employees who protect themselves with guns)
  • Sara Lee
  • Costco
  • Panera
  • Waffle House
  • Target
  • Whole Foods

There are some companies that I “semi-boycott”, e.g.:

  • CitiBank:  I have a Citi Visa because I get airline miles from using it — but I only use it to make firearms-related purchases.  And if they stop accepting custom from the places which sell me those products, I’ll pay it off and cut it up.  I sent their marketing department a letter to that effect a couple years back.
  • Target:  I buy two products (and only two) from Target, simply because it’s the only place in Plano that carries them.
  • Waffle House:  I used to go to Waffle House weekly.  Now I only go there when I’m on the road, absolutely starving and there’s nowhere else to go.  (Maybe twice in the past three years.)

Some of the companies are easy to boycott, because I dislike their products, period (e.g. Starbucks, whom I treat like a public toilet facility, but never buy anything from), or I prefer the alternative anyway (Swiss Army knives over Leatherman, etc.).

Also, while a number of companies have official “don’t bring your gun in here” policies, the local branches (especially in Texas) adopt a “you must be kidding” attitude instead.  (Our local Kroger hadn’t even heard about Kroger’s policy when I asked the manager about it, and he just said, “Don’t worry about it.  I’m not about to risk losing half my business because of Corporate.”)

Anyway, that’s my blacklist.  Feel free to add your own, in Comments.

Oh, Really?

At first, I thought this was good news:

Given the uncertainties of COVID-19, major airlines stopped charging penalties to change your ticket through the end of 2020. Now, United Airlines says it’s locking in the policy — it’ll be free to change in 2021 as well…

That sounds great, until you finish the sentence:

…as long as you didn’t book the low-price basic economy seats fare.

Which accounts for the vast majority of airline tickets sold.  But wait!  There’s more:

Apparently this wallet-gouging feature will not apply to international travel — which is the type of ticket most likely to be affected by borders closed off by the Chinkvirus for the foreseeable future.

Here’s the best part:

Since 2010, Chicago-based United has scooped up nearly $6.5 billion in change fees. Last year, it took in $625 million, third behind Delta and American, according to Transportation Department figures.

I already have a built-in animus against United Airlines, for reasons too many and varied to tell;  so it will be a cold day in Hell when they drag me kicking and screaming onto one of their foul airliners.

Update:  And right on cue, from American Airlines in my inbox today:

Annoying Junk

I’ve recently been going through my Inbox, deleting and unsubscribing from various news feeds.  Why?

Because while I like having news delivered to me, I hate it when I get an email from a news organization that contains not news but something that, if followed to its intended conclusion, will involve money leaving my bank account for someone else’s.

The org that triggered this one was either Washington Times or Patriots4Truth  (can’t be bothered to look up which, as I nuked both), which initially promised good things but soon degenerated into spam delivery services.  The WT  actually has sent me some interesting reports, but the spam : content ratio is hopelessly overcome by the former.  So:  tchuss.

And FFS:  if I do subscribe to your feed, and you send me a link to a serious article, could you at least do away with the need to log into your poxy site when I get there? You called me at my email address.  (Which is why I seldom read much at the otherwise-decent Epoch Times.)

And by the way, all those people who want to pay me money to publish articles on this website?  Fuck off.

In the first place, I don’t do guest posts, ever.  In the second, in only a very few instances are the organizations ones that I would even be remotely interested in supporting (by linking to their articles or websites).

A good example was one which said something like, “We LOVE your website, and especially [link to a post about travel] !  We’d love to publish an article which feeds off that post, as we suspect that your readers are pretty much the same as ours!  And we’ll pay you $50!”

Right:  considering that I equate going on a cruise liner to some Mexican port with being strapped into a dentist’s chair for ten days… I don’t think so, Scooter.  And the online casino sites…?  Give me strength.

Now, I don’t even bother opening their bullshit letters.  I see them in the Inbox, and delete them unread.  Then I’ll get a “follow-up” letter which is also ignored.  (If a third letter then comes in, I respond with vitriol, foul language and ALLCAPS.)

My email activity is nowhere close to what it used to be in Ye Olde Blogginge Days (around 400-500 emails from Readers daily back then), but it’s still pretty high (thankee for all the kind words, btw, and keep ’em coming because I love to hear from y’all).  But I have to delete around a hundred bullshit emails a day, which bugs me only because it takes time to answer the genuine correspondence — which is why it sometimes takes me ages to respond, and why sometimes a letter will fall through the cracks, so to speak, mistakenly deleted and collateral damage in my irritated frenzy of spam deletion.  So write away, guys.

All the rest can FOAD.

No Business Sense

Here’s a situation which left me scratching my head:

The managing director of a plant wholesaler said his firm has lost more than £2.5million-worth of business in the last three months after garden centres were forced to close as part of the coronavirus lockdown.  Adrian Marskell, who runs The Bransford Webbs Plant Company in Worcester, in the West Midlands, has had to begin throwing away around 100,000 flowering plants which cannot be sold.  Shocking photos show mountains of de-potted plants waiting to be composted, with others sitting in colourful rows, all destined to be thrown away.

I would have done something a little different.

Why not load up the plants in the back of a truck, then drive around all the residential streets in Worcester, depositing two or three plants at a time in front of houses, with a note attached:

“Rather than toss all these lovely plants in the skip, we’d rather they found a good home in your garden instead.  Please accept them with our compliments, and we hope to see you all when the lockdown comes to an end.”
— Bransford Webbs Plant Company

And come tax filing time, I’d write off the cost of the plants as an advertising expense.

No doubt, this being Britishland, there’s some law against doing all that.


Over at Knuckledraggin’, Kenny posted this interesting gif:

…and it got me thinking.

I’ve never bought into the whole jewellery thing.  It’s not just my long-time hatred of the loathsome De Beers diamond cartel and their criminal business practices (although that certainly plays a part), but there’s a part of me which just applies commonsense and cynicism to the whole ethos of “precious” metals and stones.

The “metals” part I can sort of understand because they at least have useful properties for some applications, and ditto diamonds when used industrially (cutting, grinding and what have you).

But as decoration?  What a load of old bollocks.  Wearing diamonds as decoration, in necklaces, pendants, bracelets and (ugh) engagement rings is really just a way to say, “I’m rich and can afford to spend money on these useless baubles as a way to show off my wealth”.

In the old days, jewellery was used by royalty to show their social superiority over their subjects.  Nowadays, when some illiterate oaf who is able to string a series of mumbled rhymes into a “song” can load up his neck, chest and teeth(!) with gold and diamonds — well, that kinda devalues the whole thing, doesn’t it?  Except that’s precisely the point  of expensive jewellery.

I don’t care much for most modern terminology / slang, but I love the word “bling” because it describes perfectly the inherent emptiness and worthlessness [sic]  of slapping shiny rocks onto everything in sight.

Don’t even get me started on those tasteless morons who load up their (already-expensive) wristwatches with jewels, driving the price into the stratosphere for absolutely zero  added utility*.  Here’s one example:

“MasterGraff Ultraslim Tourbillon” (AFP PHOTO / FABRICE COFFRINI)

And when I said “stratosphere”, I wasn’t kidding.  I don’t know the cost of the above — Graff is remarkably (and understandably) coy about publishing prices for their watches — but one of their other timepieces (which is too ugly for me to picture here) went on sale for $55 million.  Small wonder that these and their ilk are the preferred watches of drug kingpins, Arab oil sheikhs and Russian oligarchs — breeds not known for their exquisite taste — because that is the target market of all jewellery:  people with newly-acquired wealth who have to show it off.

In a way, though, I’m glad that these parvenus pricks buy into this nonsense, because it enables us to label them, correctly, as “suckers”.

So when somebody looks at a diamond pendant and sniffs, “Glass”, I’m the guy who replies, “Who cares?  It looks just as pretty.”

And if it gets lost or stolen, you can simply shrug and buy another one, more or less with the loose change in your pocket, while the owner of the identical-looking “genuine” diamond item has to open negotiations with the insurance company.

Next week:  art.

*Longtime Readers, by the way, know that I love expensive watches — my “lottery” watch is a Vacheron Constantin Royal 1907 (retail: ~$50,000) — but that’s (much) less than the sales tax  one would pay for Graff’s foul “Hallucination”.