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    an idyllwild weather clam!

    Our gal, The Idyllwild Weather Clam thinks that it will rain again today.

    Tuesday 22 August 2017
    Currently at 4:54 AM 57°

    Up to the minute now-casting provided by: Idyllwild Weather Clam Mega-Skyview Ultra-Precision Doppler 160000 Super Computron Forecast in Full Spectrum HD

    Entries in economy (25)



    I can't bear to look.

    Congress has decided to play a game of chicken with the finances of the United States. A game of high-speed mumbley peg with the nation's digits under their rusty jack knife. What's worse, (a worse thing, or are you extending the metaphor? -ed) is that the country's economy hasn't recovered enough to afford even a tetanus shot against the missteps of these ham-fisted apes. Before you get all fiscal on me, I'm not cutting the prevaricator in chief any slack on this either. He had the opportunity at the beginning of the year to ask for a clean debt increase bill and missed his chance. Now it's the '72 Munich Olympics in the capitol with our finances held at gunpoint, all due to some red meat types latching on to the idea that a debt limit increase is for future spending and not to pay for stuff we already bought.

    The Treasury Department has set a deadline for next Monday when we'll run out of money to write checks for government things, like checks for pensioners and tranquilizers to keep the space monsters we've locked up from eating us. We're in a pickle, folks.

    What will happen? Will the legislative and executive branches cut a last-minute deal? Will the president, in lieu of a deal, exert his executive privilege to extend the debt ceiling on his own? Will the "full faith and credit of the United States" be as suspect as a clean lab result from a professional bicycle racer? The answer to these questions, and whether we're all doomed, will be answered next Monday.

    In the meanwhile, fill up your gas tanks. Just saying.

    - bob




    America's space shuttle program ended today with the successful landing of Atlantis. Times are tough in this country right now, but this really drove it home.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    P.S. Image courtesy NASA's photo stream on flickr.


    Another Good Use Of Bandwidth


    It seemed like a good idea when my hours at The Festival of Dirt were cut in half to go out and get a new job. The job numbers are looking up, I hear. Plus, the Great Recession (as we're calling it now) is finally over. Good news! Nifty! Should be a piece of cake to find new employment!

    Well dear readers, this has not been the case. I've submitted resumes for positions that are essentially what I do now and for jobs that I would love to do, but I haven't heard from anybody except spammers who will rewrite my resume for a fee or provide me with a sure-fire job finding toolkit, also for a fee. I find this infuriating on two levels, as I'm sure you do. The end goal of my job search isn't actually to give other people money (which seems intuitive, but when you're busy being evil, maybe you miss the simple stuff) nor is it to provide personal information to a mailing list instead of an employer. This country's economy has gone through a very rough patch, but that's no excuse to prey on the desperate.

    Speaking of desperate though, if I'm going to embark on Plan B, to get some freelance work to make up the other half of my salary, my poor website would need a refresh. You remember the old, tired, iWeb template site, don't you? No?


    It was pretty simple and I didn't update it very often, so nobody showed up. The hit count was low and very few people gave it a second thought, but that's about to change!

    The new site, pictured at the top, is better in every way. It has pages and links, which makes it a proper website. A picture of the Mighty Jeepster is now on every page to lend some much-needed dynamism. The webcam is still there, plus there are now colored rectangles, which make it more modern. Also, the web development software I'm now using has some settings that make the thing render differently depending on the browser you're using, which I hadn't intended.

    Overall, it's really great and you should visit!

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday Part IV: Monday Edition



    I've had a couple days to wrap my shrinking, dark gray mind around the job situation—oh! you didn't hear? A bunch more people got laid off here at the Festival of Dirt and my job, considered a "luxury" was to be eliminated completely. Were it not for the intervention of my current boss, I wouldn't be enjoying the half-time status I do right now.

    This has left me scrambling for more work to fill in the gap, but I'm not my greatest salesman. There are a couple little gigs available here and there, but nothing long term. Not yet anyway.

    If you might happen to know of someone who needs someone to keep their personal computers, servers or networks running, or who has a website that needs maintenance, or even someone to edit their copy or write something new, drop me an email. You know the address, it's info at bobtherieau dot com.

    Your best pal,

    - bob


    The Bright Side



    It would be easy to sit around and mope during times like this. The job market here in rural, unincorporated southwestern Riverside County is pretty grim. We appear headed for an inflationary period in the next six months (or less! -ed). The California state budget is a shambles. Political parties are at each other's throats. There are natural disasters, manmade disasters, wars, strife, insurrections—what's a sane American to do?

    I don't know about you (that's not entirely true. -ed Shhh!), but I think there's a lot of opportunity out there right now. Sure, I don't know exactly what it looks like yet, but there's surely a way to play the hand we've been dealt without losing our shirts, don't you think?

    I think I'm going to go ahead and call this "guarded optimism" for now. How are you doing?

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday Part III: Enjoy Your Cheese Sandwich Edition

    Nagasaki burning. Good lord.



    Actually, there are many high-powered fans ready to receive many thousands of pounds of solid human waste for distribution throughout our little, unassuming Festival of Dirt this Friday. Some people call this "creative destruction." As you know from, well, life, this never works in the real world. Ever.

    We're doomed.

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday Part II: Everything's Still Perfectly Fine Edition

    Hindenburg burningHindenburg burning



    There is absolutely no reason to be alarmed. I mean, seriously, it's not like there's anything going on at the corporate headquarters today. Don't be silly.

    - bob


    Super Fun Friday!

    Hindenburg burning



    I'm sure everything will be just fine today at the Festival of Dirt. No reason for concern. Nothing to see here.

    Move along, people.

    - bob

    UPDATE: Yeah, not a big deal. Just a little something about money and services and jobs. Nothing to be concerned about.


    Glowball Wharmining Legislation - Forehead Slap Edition

    Wait, what?

    I went to a town hall meeting with our state assemblyman Brian Nestande last night in the Idyllwild School gymnasium. Yeah, he's a Republican, but this is a pretty Republican town in a pretty Republican district (warning: PDF link. Scroll down to the 64th. Registration was 41.99% as of last May. - ed). Clearly, on his tour of the district he's been really pounded on by other groups and it showed in his deference to the current assembly leadership. "I don't want to get into the politics..." he said often while making a point about the broken politics in the legislature. Budgets? They're terrible and likely to get worse. Legislative analyst projections of revenue? Wrong and increasingly wrong over the last few cycles. He's recently been selected by his caucus to sit on the budget committee, which is fine (chief of staff for Sonny Bono a decade ago apparently is enough qualification), but his grasp of the details was pretty thin, I thought.

    You'd think it would be a friendly crowd and they were pretty respectful on the whole. Questions asked, with petitioners trying to display their own level of wonkery, and questions answered. Teacher salaries, tax burdens, business stimulation, state employee compensation levels.

    So, are there any questions?
    The standard bits were trotted out and everybody nodded and hummed and listened with finger on chin. The meeting was informative, but pretty staid and was starting to go long. Then the answer without a question came from our host. I'm going to paraphrase because my notes are crap...

    "What bothers me about the global warming legislation in the state is that it creates a demand for green technologies. Wind and solar... But it creates the demand from foreign sources. The legislation won't allow industries to build the equipment here in the state because of the emissions, but it sets up the demand. We'll have to buy wind and solar from China or Tennessee or Alabama because they don't have these rules, so we are going to demand these things and spend the money and send that money out of the state. I don't get it."

    I'd never thought of this problem before, but it seems so obvious, especially in the context of building up the tax base to fund this budget of ours. The budget that, in the words of the assemblyman, "is diverging, between expenditures and revenue, and is getting worse."

    The, um, "green economy" is starting off famously, don't you think? Here's your unintended consequence.

    - bob

    P.S. The question that engendered the most crowd reaction was the complaint that the CalTrans snowplows were dumping snow in people's driveways. Can't something be done? Everybody was positively animated. Top issues, people!


    The Loyal Opposition


    I follow the news pretty carefully and I think I know something about stuff like Cash For Clunkers. I'm generally against the program since it means that tomorrow's classic cars are heading for the crusher, but a friend of mine on Facebook asked a simple question that seemed right up my alley. Here's the transcript of a simple thing that went horribly wrong:

    [Original Poster Friend] Has anyone taken advantage of the Cash for Clunkers program? I'm thinking of buying a new car this week.
    9 hours ago · Comment · Like

    [OP Friend #1] my buudy [redacted] just did it...aloota paperwork but pretty darn cool...they really do give good deals, i guess...
    9 hours ago

    [OP Friend #2] My friend up the street just got a new "Flex" from Ford using the program. He got $3500 for his clunker...
    8 hours ago

    [Nutso Dude] I only have a 2007 Honda to trade in and I wouldnt buy an American Car because they are shi#, I am sorry, but The Japanese and the Germans and everybody else make better cars then USA, my first Car was an Oldsmobile, but now I stick with Japanese and German Cars. If we built better cars and our Unions weren't so greedy, American products would be # 1 again and I am sorry they arent even on the list anymore- Hate to sound negative, but We need to get back to the basics that made us great, Pride in our work,Great Products, and Loving our Country, those 3 things will make us great again!!!!
    7 hours ago

    [OP Friend #3] He makes sense but, I do believe that Japanese cars are also included. Get yourself a Prius.
    7 hours ago

    [OP Friend #4] Better go quick before the $$$ runs out!
    5 hours ago

    [Me] Wow. [Nutso Dude] is really wrong about the domestics. Go shop Ford and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised. What are you going to trade in?
    3 hours ago · Delete

    Okay, that's not so bad, I think. I called the guy out, but I was contributing to the discussion—except I started something...

    [Nutso Dude - since deleted] Hey Bob, Why would You say I was wrong? Why is GM tanking? Why is Hummer almost obsolete?? Why cant American Cars compete with Japanese cars like Honda and Toyota?? When was the last time You bought a pontiac?? How about a buick?? Bob, I think You are really wrong about American Cars. why would they have to trick You into buying new ones?? Because they suck thats why !!!! Cash for Clunkers is a program that is another scam by The Obama Administration to make it look like people actually want American cars.Do me a favor Bob and Don't flag me down When your Ford craps out on You and I am driving my Honda by You, because I will give You the finger and tell You to Buy a Honda next time moron !!!
    GO YANKEES !!!

    Things are going badly here. I haven't modified the spelling or the grammar, so at this point I think it could be a joke. Poorly executed, but a put-on nonetheless. Sadly, Dude continues...

    [Nutso Dude - also now deleted] My last statement I said with a lot of love-imao I wasn't trying too sound harsh !!! Well, maybe a little-lol

    Okay. Some love. This is settling down nicely. New comment is posted...

    [More from Nutso Dude - deleted] Sorry about the last statement, But I usually dont say to somebody that they are wrong, because the conversation goes negative right from there. I usually say I disagree with so and so, because I think this and that, so excuse me for educating Bob on why we disagree with regard to American Cars.

    I'm sure I needed an education on cars. Clearly I needed an education on Facebook etiquette. I should've let it go, but no...

    [Again, Me] Gosh. That was a little flamey. Personally, I own two old Jeeps to get around in the snow and a used Miata to drive up and down the hill because it's fun (but not trouble-free). I'll stand by the Ford recommendation only because I've read that they have nice, reliable products out there right now. A VW Jetta TDI wagon would be a mileage and space champ though. Also worth a look.

    There we go! I've offered my advice and I'm out. Wait! The crazy continues...

    [But wait, more from Nutso - also deleted] I am retracting what I said about American Cars, because I have been a little too confrontational lately on Facebook. With that being said, I just want to say Bob that I think that Obama is a Muslim pig that is a racist and is really the White Mans Bitch, because he only works for Teddy Kennedy and the rest of the Pu$$y Ass Liberal Fa#S in the Deomocratic Party,they dont let him make the big decisions, he only gets to play President, if thats sounds too Flamey for You Bob, I am sorry, I am a New Yorker, not some liberal, Butt Pirate from California who loves everything that Obama stands for. Good Day to You Sir!!!!!!!!

    [It gets better. More from Nutso - deleted from original post] Bob let me simplify, You go and spend Your $$ on a Ford and I will drive my 2007 Honda Touring Edition and Lets see where it gets us in 5 years. Your Muslim Buddy Obama is killing our country little by little, not only is the Stimulus package doing nothing, but now we are spending tax money to take off the price of American Cars?? Is that right ?? Bob, it wasn't flamey what was said, I think You are a Flamer !!! So dont hate Bob, love that fact that I make Great money and I am willing to pay taxes so Your Malotto President and first Muslim in Chief can give all of our Money to people who don't spend it here, they ship it back to their home countries. Man, I have met some stupid people in my day, but Bob just made me realize why We have a community Organizer for a President and that is some people in America just dont care !!!

    Really? The rant is amazing, as you can see, but my faith in humanity has been restored a little in that the posts I note as deleted have been removed from my friend's page. "A little too confrontational" doesn't begin to describe this flaming hot mess. If this is a common sentiment around the country, we're in big trouble.

    Huge trouble.

    - bob


    Jaunty Election Central - Your Vote Can Save The Republic!

    Look out! It's an unrestrained bear!Friends,

    Today we hold a special election in this great state of California which asks voters to bless legislative theft from different programs and constituencies to cover for their inaction. A simple thing, really. We labor under the highest tax burden in the country, but the assembly has raised those rates and would like our vote to keep them longer. The Lottery has some cash that they'd like to use to fill the budget gap. Maybe little children and the mentally infirm won't notice if their pockets are picked as well. Sounds great! Where's my polling place!

    Polls show all of the budget related measures slated for crushing defeat. The nice thing about crushing is that it's so much more satisfying when it's louder, so go out and vote.

    Your pal,

    - bob

    P.S. Yes, I know the budget deficit is slated to top $21 billion if the measures don't pass. I also know that there are going to be painful cuts either way, except that the defeat of these measures amounts to a public outrage chaser.


    This Amazing Year! - The Death Of General Motors

    You're kidding, right?
    Yeah, those are wheel weights stuck to the brake caliper on a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro. Sigh.

    - bob

    (from Camaro5 via The Truth About Cars. Thanks!)


    Amazon Recommends...

    Now THAT'S booty shakin'Friends,

    You know how much I like the Detroit Cobras, so it'll come as no surprise that when I saw a link to their new album on Amazon, I had to click. You can download the MP3s from there, which is nice (and cheap!) and sample some of their other albums, like Mink Rat or Rabbit (pictured above). Amazon being Amazon offered some helpful suggestions on other things I might like to go along with my new music purchase:

    Customers Viewing This Page May Be Interested in These Sponsored Links
    Rodent Pest Control
    WeGotYaPestControl.com Rodent Pest Control. New Customers Receive 20% Discount. Call Today!
    Rat Rabbit
    Yahoo.com Looking for Rat Rabbit? Find exactly what you want today.
    California.local.com Find California Rabbits California's Online Local Search.

    Looks like somebody's gonna need to put on some pants.

    - bob


    Not Just Good, It's Great!

    I'm sure this is what they meant.Friends,

    Today is Good Friday, also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, or cheerily Black Friday. This is a day that Wall Street traders take off from work so that they don't continue to plunge the markets into further chaos.

    Thank heaven for small favors.

    - bob


    Can I Claim You This Year?

    Click-clack, click-clack.Friends,

    As you well know, it's tax season. What you don't know is that I've been in a bit of a panic about it (maybe because your recent posts have been few and far between? - ed Could be!). Yesterday, I finally fired up H&R Block's Tax Cut and got to work.

    After a mercifully short time, there was the damage. Four hundred bucks to the state and the Feds. "Crap! Those bastards are greedy this year!" I cracked to no one but the cowering dog. What could've changed from last year when I got a big fat refund? I don't know because I can't find last year's return. That would've been helpful too because in order to file electronically, you need to use last year's adjusted gross income as an ersatz PIN number (in addition to an actual PIN number, only one has to be right). Can't find your 2007 AGI? Just call this IRS toll-free number! Sunday in April, a week and a half before the deadline, and the IRS is closed. Good thinking.

    I had to find that return, so the search continued—right until I found yet another mortgage interest statement to add to the mix. Look! The numbers are now within ten bucks of last year (now only the great state of California is run by greedy bastards). Now I can live without electronic filing. Now some semblance of order has returned.

    Next year, I fully hope to report additional income from your patronage of the fine advertisers on the right of the page. My accounting so far indicates that I've earned well over a nickel. That's solid progress towards the financial viability of this enterprise, but we can surely do much more. Maybe ratchet the check up to an entire dime!

    Your pal,

    - bob


    Jaunty Dumptruck O'News! - Critter Alert!


    I wouldn't normally post something like this because the underlying story is fairly sad, but you can't ignore the craft displayed by master Press-Enterprise wordsmith Richard Brooks in this case. Behold:

    A dead horse is creating a traffic hazard along 58th Avenue just east of La Quinta, according to the California Highway Patrol website.

    The carcass was reported at 5:18 a.m. in the westbound lanes at Jackson Street and was still in the roadway at 6:14 a.m.

    There was no word on what caused the critter's death.

    Just keep the quality high, and the readers will come. The cream floats to the top, you know.

    - bob


    Normal Programming Resumed


    I've returned to my piney paradise from a city that can best be described as immediately pre-apocalyptic. It's a study in contrasts!

    A lot has happened while I've been in a news blackout. "Red Ink" Rick Wagoner was punted from the corner office at GM and the Dodge Boys are going to learn how to have more fun in Italian. Also, the European debate team will be having a friendly discussion about economic policy during the meeting of the G20 in London by storming the Bank of England. On top of all that, the Justice Department has dropped their case against Uncle Ted Stevens!

    Should your faithful Indian guide put his ear to the ground, he will likely make out "four riders, coming from the North..." Not too late to turn around, kemosabe.

    - bob


    The Auto Industry Is Fine, Nothing To Worry About

    Di Salvo's American Motors - courtesy Hemmings Blog

    In case you've missed out on the fun carnage in the American automotive industry, the dreadnought that is The Truth About Cars has been on the case. Could it be worse than Fiat buying 35% of Chrysler with no money? Yes!

    • Former Beijing Jeep getting loans from the City of Beijing to buy Chrysler? Vipers flooding Tiananmen Square coming soon.
    • The United Auto Workers agree to take an equity stake in Ford rather than cash to fund their health care trust. To save costs, analgesics will be mixed in the paint. If grandpa gets a headache, he'll have to lick the Mustang.
    • Some old guy thinks GM should go bankrupt. Condemns unions for not planting apple trees now for workers to sell on street corners later.

    I even heard a discussion on NPR today about whether America even needs a domestic auto industry. Astounding.

    - bob

    UPDATE: Added link to Warren Olney's To The Point program from yesterday. Who needs a Stairmaster when this'll get your heart rate right up there?


    This Amazing Year - Keeping Up Appearances


    You surely know by now that the domestic automobile industry is in shambles, with players scrambling for any advantage. General Motors has taken to raiding their employee pension funds, for example. Ford has mortgaged its headquarters building on top of the blue oval logo itself. Chrysler, the company that bought American Motors, has been seeking a partner. Renault, the firm that helped finally kill American Motors in the first place over two decades ago, has recently rebuffed Chrysler's advances. So what is Chrysler to do?

    They will have to team up with a well-known brand, famous for its quality and workmanship. A company that Americans will instantly associate with value for money and attention to detail. Clearly, that partner is Fiat!

    Fiat burning. Courtesy Auto Express magazine.

    Oh. Uh oh.

    - bob

    Credits: Photo courtesy Auto Express magazine, via Kausfiles. Thanks Mickey!


    Fog Of More (Snow)


    The weather up here in my little burg, the village that makes the gods smile, has been atrocious. Cold, to below freezing, but warming to melt the mess to a sloppy goo. People in other, sloppier parts of the world have experienced worse, but I haven't. This is the biggest pile of mess that I've seen since I've been here. It's lovely though in a weathery sort of way. Imagine if you will that you're in Southern California and you're able to experience four actual seasons. It's true here.

    The government of this once great State of California will soon kill our way of life with extreme prejudice (and taxes). In the meanwhile, please do what you can to come to this currently fine place and enjoy all we have on offer. Next month it'll be gone. Or very expensive.

    Your best pal in the whole world,

    - bob