Happier than a pig wallowing in donuts


The report as promised

My pickup window was 4-5 PM. That meant I could change or cancel my order up until 1 AM (hence my suspicion some picking is done overnight)

It takes about 20 minutes to get to this store. Charlotte has a serious “you can’t get there from here” problem because of opposition to through traffic in neighborhoods. Walmart’s Supercenter at 8180 S Tryon street is right under the glide slope to the 3 runways at Douglas Airport, which is approaching the passenger traffic count of O’hare in Chicago. During the times American is having the whole country change planes, there is probably a plane landing every 30 seconds.

Living near the airport is not where you find Bank of America executives. Back in the 70s when I used to live here, it was where the city dumped the public housing projects. The “West” side of Charlotte you might actually interact with a black person *panic attack*…

I left home about 3:30 just because I’m that kind of guy. If I am not at the job interview 10 minutes before the appointment, don’t hire me. At 3:45, exactly as promised, my cell phone rings. It isn’t a computer, it is Dwayne, my personal Walmart Shopper. I tell him I’m on the way and should arrive in about 10 minutes. I think Dwayne might have blurted out “Really?” Yeah, I’m so retro.

At exactly 4:00, I pull into space #2. Space #1 was filled by a car that wasn’t using pickup. There were 5 or six spots, so no problem. I called Dwayne back – the number on the sign is the same number and said “I’m here! I’m in spot #2!”

About 10 minutes later, Dwayne and Kasha pop out a door on the side and walk down a ramp with a dolly carrying a bunch of blue containers. I indicate I have a few questions if he has the time. His transactional interaction with me was via a smartphone – probably an iPhone, but I didn’t look closely. He sadly reported that a number of items were out of stock, but not the chocolate donuts! I had not permitted substitution on most items (per item choice during checkout). Only one omitted item was somewhat important.

So I pop open the trunk and they load what they have. I’m not even breaking a sweat yet…

Then it is Q&A time:

Q: Do people use Uber to do pickup?
A: I remember one guy using uber…

Q: after the items are picked, are the frozen and refrigerated foods kept cold until I arrive?
A: Yes, we have our own freezer and refrigerator in the store

Q: the web site shows that you scan each item as you put it in the basket – is that how it actually works?
A: yes. If we pick up the wrong item, it beeps at us to tell us wrong item

Q: (pushing my luck) If I buy fresh eggs, do you open the carton to make sure they aren’t cracked?
A: Yes, we do!

I didn’t ask if they wear plastic gloves 😉

So I sign by wiggling my finger on their phone (OMG Germs!) and I’m done. An email arrives with my detailed receipt (no paper).

After missing a turn from being timid and adding two miles to the trip, I’m home at 4:40. Having done no work at this point, my “20 minute until I keel over” clock is not running. My back is not complaining.

The trunk had exactly what I ordered (less the out of stock items). Frozen foods are frozen, cold foods are cold, Chocolate donuts await.

I can live with Michelle Obama frowning at my bad food insecurity choices. I would fry polar bear steaks if Walmsrt sold them. So in conclusion, I’m as happy as I can be. The assisting living center will have to wait.



Do Not Track, next chapter

For those who have been here a long time, a major reason for my reducing the website the first time was the threat of government intervention requiring websites to honor “do not track” settings. You have probably noticed many websites now require you to consent to accepting a cookie in your browser on your first visit – this is being driven by privacy laws in Europe. I purposefully block access to this website from Europe, hoping to avoid being subject to European Union laws like hate speech prohibitions. I am not a citizen of the world.

“Do not track” was originally a voluntary thing added to a couple browsers, with the naïve belief that the Internet community could state that “do not track” has no legal significance and the governments would be prevented from engaging in civil or criminal prosecutions for a website owner refusing to honor “do not track”. Did I mention naive?

Politico coverage

The Internet “community” has been fighting for several years over how to incorporate “do not track” into the Internet standards that apply to the entire world, with enough teeth to fend off the aspirations of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – but override the decision-making process of the Internet governance, which is no longer under United States control.

The current compromise seems to be that “first party” websites (like this one) could continue to track your activities even if you turn on “do not track”. I do not care what any one person is doing, but most of the value of the website is created by tracking the activity of all visitors – to create most popular shows, stations and the like. There is no profit motive to my tracking. I am not unaware that do not track has popular support, I believe people do not understand that the “free stuff” on the Internet goes away.

The proposed rules would prohibit third-party websites – who I do not control – from tracking you against your will. I have not generally used third-party services – there are significant recent exceptions – the blog post with the Instagram picture of Donald Trump. I am a little surprised nobody objected, yet. Also, the Disqus commenting crossed that line. The total lack of interest means I probably will remove it. Incorporating a YouTube video also enables Google tracking you here, even if you don’t view the video.

If the rules prevent aggregate tracking of my visitors and threaten me with Civil or criminal prosecution, I push the OFF button and that’s the end and leave the Internet to the global mega corporations, which is exactly the outcome that the government wants. Entities like Google and Facebook which willingly supply very detailed psychographic information to the government “intelligence” agencies would be exempt from this rule, of course.

Hot Diggity Dog!

In addition to being election day in Nevada for Republicans, today is hot dog day at burger king

The suggested price for the Chili Cheese Dog is $2.29, make it a combo for a little less than $5



The appearance of the shredded cheese pretty clearly says to me “microwaved”. The “grilling” of the hotdog occurred in a factory somewhere in Kansas, if not Mexico.

The hotdog itself is small, the chili had beans (a no-no for some parts of the country).

The disappointing part is the french fries. They still seem to be using oleophobic coatings to keep the potatoes from absorbing the “healthy” oil. They taste like eating flour paste. Michelle Obama is not your customer, I am.

They are also making the same mistake as McDonald’s – their menu is out of control. It has been a long time since I have been here. There are eight different desserts, 16 different combo meals, the 5 for $4 special, the 2 for $5 special, the 10 chicken nuggets for $1.49 special. I didn’t want to interrupt the manager doing her personnel work in the dining room to ask if the have milk that isn’t nonfat in hermetically sealed jugs that don’t need refrigeration and will survive nuclear war.

Want me to come back ever? Fry the potatoes in animal fat and demand that Coca-Cola offer soda using cane sugar, not HFCS and/or stevia.

2:20 PM on Wednesday

If you want to catch the United States off guard, that would be the time to do something.

You may remember earlier in the Obama years, FEMA and the FCC conducted a mandatory test of the national Emergency Alert System. While the National EAS system is based on the same system that gives you warnings of tornadoes and such things, the National Alert is different in several important ways:

Carrying national alerts is mandatory, immediate and automatic. No matter what is going on, the President has immediate and complete control – not only radio and TV, but SiriusXM, DishTV, DirecTV, your local Cable TV system, and now your mobile phone. Once the Internet of Things is built, It is logical to think that the light bulbs in your home will start flashing in special colors to get your attention.

The non national EAS alerts are generally coordinated by state broadcast associations and state agencies who designate certain stations that can be reliable hubs. The activate signal “beep scratch scratch… Had this been an actual emergency” is relayed from big stations to small stations. While stations at the end points must log local tests, they don’t have to break into live programming to air the test nor are they required to carry actual warnings live or at all.

So Wednesday is a partial national test. The real national EAS message will go out, but only to 22 selected states. The one and only real national test went poorly. Message distribution works differently for the entire country since it is more complicated.

A few regional broadcasters have a special responsibility called being a Primary Entry Point. Upon receiving the header for a national alert, the PEP connects to a central communications bridge controlled by the White House and broadcasts the alert outward until (hopefully) every broadcast outlet in the country is standing by to hear the White House announce something really really important. This capability was not used on 9/11, but the pretense that EAS is useful carries on. Realistically, there is no national event that would be less severe by warning the public. If Russian ICBMs are incoming, 8 million people trying to flee New York City will just kill a lot of panicked people and prevent actual emergency responders from doing useful things.

Sit back and enjoy. Remember – bright flash, duck and cover.

Le future

For a mere $14,500, the future of cars is here. The Smart Car ForTwo is waiting for you.


This car was in the parking lot of a very large outdoor shopping mall.

The Smart car is fighting against the mathematics of division. A gallon of gasoline has about 125,000 BTUs of energy. The “budget” of energy becomes close to impossible to shave down

10 mpg =   12,500 BTUs/mile
12.5   =   10,000 
25     =    5,000
30     =    4,166
35     =    3,751
40     =    3,125
45     =    2,777
50     =    2,500
60     =    2,083

Did you say you wanted air conditioning? Headlights? Windshield wipers?

In the midst of the other nonsense, Congress passed a law outlawing physics. In 2025, the CAFE will require 54.5 mpg. The behavior of division works on cost per mile also. At $2 a gallon for gasoline, driving 10,000 miles @ 50 mpg costs $400 a year for gasoline. At 25 mpg, it would cost $800. The difference is about one car payment, and a 1000% nicer and safer car.

Motorcycles typically get around 50 mpg. If you use the oil to grow food to feed a human to ride a bicycle, you can get to about 70 mpg.

Any Republicans advocating repeal or rollback of CAFE standards? The Overton window has already absorbed that opinion. Is it window smashing time?

Gun Control from the trenches

imageRowan County NC is a largely rural county on I-85 between Charlotte and Greensboro. It has a population of around 140,000

In NC, the County Sheriff is an elected position. Kevin Auten won reelected in 2014 with over 70% of the vote.

Sheriff Auten reports a very large upswing in requests for gun permits. Here is what he thinks is going on:

“I think people feel the need to protect themselves. I think people aren’t comfortable with the job law enforcement can do or the military or anybody. Any attack on a person at their home, I think people are more willing to step up and say, ‘Hey, I gotta do this for myself. I can’t rely on anybody else to do it as well as I’m going to do it for myself or my family,’” Auten said.

In 2015, 4,812 new gun permits were requested. That’s about 20 per business day.

By focusing gun purchases through “establishment” licensed gun dealers, the President just made gun retailing much more profitable.

Welcome your Stevia Overlords

The last time I went to the buffet place, the Sierra Mist seemed different. It’s the one widely available fountain drink from Pepsi made without HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup).

Well well… I also have a 12 pack in the fridge. Having gotten the same impression that something changed, I looked at the “nutrition” label [oxymoron alert!] – 12 ozs of soda is normally around 160-180 calories, roughly the same as Orange or Apple Juice. Sierra Mist has 120. The discretely listed last item is stevia. I know what that is from prior research.

Stevia is a plant that has an extremely sweet taste, so you can dial the sugar content way back, but it is not the same. The labeling no longer mentions the real sugar aspect. Thank you mommy Michelle.


Is it a “natural” flavoring? It comes from a plant, at least as natural as strawberry flavor from a beaver’s pineal gland. It must be “natural” as well as transfat free and gluten free.

Glenn Beck on the Statue of Liberty

Glenn Beck picked up the criticism of a columnist for Smithsonian Magazine – who proposed her belief that the sculptor of the Statue of Liberty intended it to represent a Muslim woman. The columnist is severely wrong. She also says she is afraid to visit Planned Parenthood to get her Pap smear tests because pro-life activists might shoot her. Uh-huh. Riiiight!

However, in his zeal to correct wrong history, Glenn and his crew asserted multiple times that part of their proof she is not a Muslim is the French sculptor put a tablet of the 10 commandments in her left hand.


Glenn may have confused the Statue of Liberty with a similar statue in Boston. Boston was raising money hoping to get the statue which was being built in pieces Starting in 1871.

This might be the source of his mistake.


The Statue of Liberty was erected in New York in 1886. Boston tried and failed to have the statue located in Boston. In 1888, “Faith” was erected in Plymouth by the Pilgrim Society designed by a man from Boston.


The “10 commandments” on that statue is actually a list of names of the passengers on the Mayflower.