Vacuum Tube

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*Eye roll*

*Sits back and watches insanity unfold*

So, there is still this argument by a large segment of the population that kept saying “Follow the science” that isn’t going to accept the fact that the science never supported the mandated masks on airplanes. In most cases, in general, the mandated masks were never really supported in most places. But, this is a victory for all who have ridden in a large, silver, metal vacuum tube and felt suffocated by the policy.

As I am sure you are all aware now, the mask mandate on public transportation, the biggest of which was airlines. The CDC, which instituted the policy while under the watch of President Trump, was ruled to have exceeded their authority – really no surprise here. At first, it seemed a reasonable step as there was so much unknown about what was going on (I am trying to avoid being shadowed banned here, possibly, so being a little vague but you know what I mean). Through every iteration of the unknown, the mandate has remained in place even though the severity, and risk, has diminished substantially.

The CDC themselves said that the science showed that most face masks didn’t work for stopping the spread, but there was never a requirement instituted that you had to wear a certain kind of mask on a plane to stop the spread. More science showed that the air in an airplane (granted this is the industry that stands to benefit from riders) was mostly safe since it was cycled in and out regularly and often. As such, when you put those two scientific finding together, masks on an plane didn’t make much sense.

Isn’t it weird (actually it’s not) that one side of the aisle screams follow the science when it fits their agenda but doesn’t want to follow the science when it doesn’t?

Now, there are people all over social media screaming and crying about having to fly in a metal death trap tube because masks aren’t required. Hold up! Wait, wait, wait! It’s not required…not banned…meaning, if you still feel the need to wear a mask, wear one! If you feel at risk and the bare faces of the people around you makes you feel anxious, don’t fly.

It’s pretty simple…you know, just like they were telling those of us that didn’t want to get stuck or wear a mask or provide proof…if you don’t want to do it, just don’t go the the place that require it. Take your business somewhere else that will accommodate you. Or just don’t.

Shoe’s on the other foot now, isn’t it?

Dark and stormy

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I was driving home last night across one of our state’s mountain passes – Snoqualmie Pass. The highway is Interstate 90 and I have to say that the pass is one of the worst places to drive at night while it is raining. The roadway is so poorly marked it is near impossible to see where the lanes of travel are and you pretty much have to guess and hope you are maintaining your lane.

Look, I get that it is hard to have reflectors and stripes and other means of marking the roadway on a mountain pass, one that needs to get plowed fairly often during the winter months. I realize that the plow blades rip up nearly everything you put down on the roadway. I get it.

But, seriously, all the technology that’s out there and means available to adjust the way those lane markers could be applied to the surface so they don’t get scraped off each winter hasn’t been found yet?

I don’t get it.

What I do get is that there are portions of the highway that are downright dangerous to drive when it is dark and raining, which is approximately half the day and most of the year.

Maybe it’s just my old eyes. I can’t imagine that there aren’t other people that feel the same way.

So, if you have to travel through WA, stay off the passes at night. They’re all pretty much that way.

You’ve been warned.

Not science

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Don’t where mask. Wear masks. Masks won’t help, masks help, masks are virtually worthless. No mask mandate, mask mandate, no mask mandate, more mask mandates, relax mask mandates. Now, the CDC says that masks aren’t needed by most people while indoors. OK, so what does that mean? Well, “the CDC says…” is at it again. Only other government agencies don’t seem to be listening to them either.

The TSA just extended the mask mandate for another month, despite the fact that the CDC said it was safe to drop the mask mandate. So, for those of you flying on planes over the next month and a half (or so) you will still be wearing the nearly useless (the CDC’s words) face condom.

The curious thing is that when people were flying early on in this whole thing, the government and airlines were touting that airplane air was nearly the safest you could have because of filters and quick recycling, etc. The need for masks on a plane seemed strange then if there was this whole PR campaign around how safe it was. Now, as the whole things is beginning to wind down and “the CDC recommends…” is back on the menu, they want to extend mask usage “in the safest air” space.

So was the science true or not?

Perhaps this is more of the parental “Because I said so” statement from the government rather than for real good reasons. When you combine the information from what “science” says with what the CDC says, maybe it should be left to the individual on whether or not you should wear a mask. For those who are scared and feel unsafe, wear a mask. For those who are not or feel protected sufficiently, they should have the choice not to.

Seems simple enough, right?

Traffic in Oregon

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There are a lot of things wrong in Oregon. The direction of the state, politically speaking, is headed entirely in the wrong direction and the policies of the state are on full view as you drive through the state. However, that isn’t the point of this post.

I am not sure what the hell is wrong with drivers down there, but they (as a whole; generalization, I know) are terrible.

My recent trip through the state left me with a bad impression. It seems many of the drivers down there have little road knowledge or just have decided they are going to have no roadway courtesy at all. I couldn’t drive quickly enough to get through the state after all the frustration.

First case in point, left lane vs. right lane.

I-5 through most of the state is two lanes wide. Sure, it widens to some degree in major cities and through mountain passes, as needed, but for the most part there are more miles of two lanes than three. This is a problem for drivers who are going through the state.

It seems in Oregon a vast majority of the drivers (I can see license plates so I know what state they are from) like to camp in the left lane instead of being courteous and moving back to the right lane after overtaking a vehicle. They just perpetually are left lane drivers.

Now, for the road illiterate…on a two lane highway, the right lane is for slower vehicles (in general) and “local” travel. The left lane is the “fast” lane and for through (or distance) travel. However, courtesy says that on a two lane highway traffic should keep right except for passing (in some cases, like WA, it is state law). Regardless of your speed, even if you are “fast,” you should still move to the right (if space allows, think minimum 100 yards) until you overtake the next vehicle.

Anyway, Oregon drivers apparently don’t know these rules or they have total disregard for them. I can’t tell you the number of times I had to step on the brake to come out of cruise control to slow down behind a long line of vehicles in the left lane. In some cases, it was actually faster and a greater distance of free travel in the right lane because of these idiots!

I’ll tell you…you learn things on road trips (or maybe are reminded) and I learned again and was reinforced that I dislike people, and Oregon.

**disclaimer: I do really like the natural beauty in Oregon, but that is about it.**

Late delivery

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Could FedEx possibly be the worst delivery company ever?

I bet there are a few other people asking that question after their orders didn’t get delivered in a timely manner before, during, or after the holidays.

I ordered something that was supposed to be delivered on 12/24/21. Cutting it close to Christmas, but it was actually for a birthday on the 30th so not a big deal. Or so I thought.

Tracking a package these days shouldn’t be all that difficult, but that also seems to be a challenge for FedEx. They has some service called “SmartPost” which apparently has the package transferred to USPS for final delivery, or started with USPS and then transferred to FedEx for final delivery. The explanation on the website is less than helpful.

But here is the kicker of the whole thing.

The package arrived in Kent, WA on 12/20. That’s four days before scheduled delivery. Timing was looking good. Now, keep in mind Kent is approximately 2.5 hours (with traffic) from my home. It’s actually less than that but trying to give some benefit of doubt. Anyway, that’s a Monday and scheduled delivery day was Friday, meaning they had all week (yes, it was the week before all the snow and ice) to make the delivery. But, once it was scanned in at Kent it seemed to have disappeared as there was no more tracking of the package at all.

I was planning on having someone stop by and pick up the package while I was out of town so it could be delivered to the birthday person on time. I waited, and waited, and waited…nothing. Nothing!

I checked all of the following week. Nothing. Not delivered by New Years. Not delivered the day after New Years. No tracking. No alerts. Nothing.

On Monday the 3rd, I checked again before I was going to actually call and raise hell. Suddenly the package had been scanned in the next town and was out for delivery…by FEDEX.

The truck that dropped off the package was FedEx.

WTH?!?

Maybe FedEx just hates me. I shared a video on here way back where the FedEx driver walks through my flower beds to get to the front porch. Not just one driver, but several have done it. So, now an untimely delivery I guess just adds salt to the already irritated wound.

It literally took 13 days to deliver a package that was scanned at one point only 2.5 hours away.

Way to go FedEx. Way to go. You have earned the “Worst delivery service ever” in my book.

Don’t use this company if you care about your packages.

They don’t care about them.

Just saying.

“Back order”

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Took my car in for service today. It was actually needed before the long drive over the holiday, but timing just didn’t work well. Before I left for vacation, I set up the appointment for when I got back. That works out to just about two weeks before the the appointment.

The appointment is the scheduled 45k mile checkup. This is the one recommended by the manufacturer. So I expected, given the lead time, that there would be no issues in completing the work needed for this appointment. As a business, I expected they would have all the stuff they needed for the appointment lined up before the appointment. That would be good customer service – so that it is all done in one trip.

I guess I expected too much.

They don’t have the air filter needed for my car. This is the dealership, mind you.

It’s the whole, “We’re having a hard time getting parts” and “Everything is back ordered” and “Come back another day and we can just slap that thing in” and “We’ll have it by 3:00 (later) today.”

So now I need to make a second trip over here because you didn’t check to see if you had all the parts needed for this very specific check up?

That’s not good customer service.

Good grief.

Anyone else experienced this whole “back order/supply chain” excuse lately? That seems to be a pretty standard answer when a business can’t delivery on the services they are selling. Is this REALLY that bad of an issue or are businesses just using it as crutch?

Kind of like the whole “national coin shortage”? There is’t one really. Business seems pretty normal to me.

Am I being unreasonable? Should I give grace for something like this when there was time to prepare or give me a head’s up before the appointment?

Proof positive

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Proof positive that Biden’s (and Dem’s) policies don’t work. It’s only taken 10 months for him/them to cripple the economy and all those people who supposedly got a raise in pay are now back to seeing no benefit as that boost is eaten up with higher and higher costs.

What more do you need? What evidence does it take to see that the Dems are actually working against the common man to consolidate power and demand reliance on their benevolence? Proof is in the numbers today. All who voted for the career politician have been duped.

The inflation numbers are being (largely) driven by energy costs. Gas/oil prices are up. Natural gas prices are up. I know this will be hard for some to fathom, but do you think cancelling the Keystone Pipeline isn’t a factor in this? You can bet your ass it is. Yet, the Biden administration didn’t see the impact ahead of what that would do financially to every American’s pocketbook?

We aren’t talking about just a certain industry. This is a cost that affects everyone’s buying power – from food, to goods, to major purchases. If American’s aren’t spending money on things, then that costs business profit. Lost business profit means lost jobs. Lost jobs means even less money to spend. You see how that works right? There’s an endless cycle here. That’s how it works.

Oh, but wait! Less money to spend because of higher costs and lost wages…the expectation is that Americans will turn to the government to make up the difference via handouts and social programs. Those get paid for with higher taxes on those who can afford them. Instead of making/helping Americans become more self-sufficient, it is creating more dependent Americans.

UGH! This is so obvious! How are people not seeing this??

Stop electing people into the government who say the government should solve many or all of our problems.

OK. I guess I am done ranting for now. This probably all doesn’t make sense.

Actually, it probably does make sense to people who can see what is going on…but I can almost guarantee that there are a whole lot of blind people that will deny or ignore what is going on. Pathetic.

Plain and simple.

You reap what you sow.

Start early

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Here comes the flood…

The flood of corporate emails from CEOs and marketing departments and advertising agencies, etc., that are pleading, begging, everyone to “shop early” and “shop often” because of the supply chain issues and the possibility of products not being in stores in time for Christmas.

The basic message, “Buy now. Spend money now. Give us your money now.”

Anyone else baffled by this? I have seen tv commercials pleading the same thing. I see internet ads extolling the “virtue” of shopping now so you don’t lose out on gifts for the holiday.

Not sure if you have noticed (you probably have, you’re not blind), but Christmas started two weeks ago. I am not talking about the “early in, early out” stores like Costco and others that bring in decor early. I am talking about the fact that stores are already promoting “Black Friday” sales.

It makes me curious, though. If I shoot my shot now, what happens when I see something in a month, or two, that I want to get at that time but I already blew my budget because I panicked and bought early, like they would like me to? Oh, wait! That’s what they want to happen. They want us to spend out money now and then forget that we already spent our budget and then overspend as the season continues. They want us to spend the money we don’t have because they enticed us early and often, created a panic buy situation earlier than ever, and then when it comes time to get what we really wanted instead of settling for something we bought early we get ourselves into buying that we can’t afford.

I see what you’re doing here. Unfortunately, so many people don’t have any idea what is going on.

Guess what will happen when we get closer to Christmas? All that product sitting out there on those boats will magically show on shelves everywhere. Just like it would have in every previous year.

Manufactured crisis? (LOL pun intended) It might very well be.

So, are you going to spend your money early or are you going to hold on to it in hopes of actual products you may want (and probably even better sales to get rid of all that stuff that came in “late”?

“Walmart” of the sky

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It’s been a month since the last vacation. In the scheme of things that isn’t a whole lot of time, but I gotta say that taking a vacation once a month is kind of feeling nice. I wish it could happen again next month.

Anyway, I have flown two different airlines in roughly the last five weeks and it is interesting to see how they have handled (or are handling) the pandemic a year from it’s start. Yesterday’s trip was less fabulous than the first trip. Now, I have flown other airlines, but there are two that I fly that I have liked in the past and those are the two I tend to check first when looking for flights, Alaska and Southwest.

About a month ago, I was on Alaska. The plane are newer, and feel more spacious, even if they may not actually be. The crews were friendly but not overly friendly. The planes felt clean, given the current situation, and the flights were directly to the destination (going and returning). The service inside the cabin was good. Alaska served nearly their full complimentary menu, so a light snack and beverage of choice was available.

Yesterday, I flew on Southwest Airlines. Southwest took a direct flight to Phoenix and routed it through Denver. This notification came just four days after purchasing the tickets. So, a roughly three hour flight turned into an all day affair. I wasn’t real pleased about it, but what can you do once you have already purchased the tickets? The first leg of yesterday’s trip wasn’t too crowded. But the crew wasn’t very friendly and the plane didn’t feel all that clean. It probably was, but it likely also has something to do with the fact that Southwest’s fleet is aging. Also a surprise, the in-flight service. The voice over the intercom announced they would be service iced water and a snack.

That’s it. Essentially, you are getting “bread and water” for flying with us. They, of course, told us this was because of the “current situation in the world.”

The water was a plastic cup with ice and water in it. It wasn’t even bottled water! Wow! So, apparently it is safer to serve an open cup of water in the era of airborne viruses. Go figure!

I asked a buddy who works for Southwest about it, as I was a little taken aback for the lack of services considering the experience just a month prior on a different airline. His response, “Anything to save a buck. We’re basically the Walmart of the sky, so you can’t expect much.”

I guess that is probably about right. It was a cheap flight. The second flight was much more crowded, the “empty middle seat” for social distancing was not a thing on this flight, and the plane didn’t feel any cleaner than the first one.

All in all, it was just a flight to a destination but I have come to expect a little more than what we got yesterday, even for a discount airline.

Am I spoiled or have they set us up to expect more? I am not sure.

Double

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Double. More than double. But not for your pleasure.

A new licensing fee appeared on the renewal form for the car I drive most, a hybrid. It wasn’t there last year, but appeared this year and it more than doubled the cost of registering my vehicle. There was no mention of this fee anywhere in the media, that I can find, until after the fact that it was applied to people’s licensing fees. Surprise! The cost of registering your vehicle more than doubled!

The biggest kicker, I am paying a fee for something I don’t use, an electric vehicle charging station (and those this fee is supposedly going to build). Thus the word HYBRID, meaning it powers itself by using two different types of fuel.

I tell you, bigger government means bigger fees. Always. There is never an exception to this. Ever. The problem is that many times the fees aren’t actually used for the stated purpose, nor do they totally justify the collection of the fee in the first place.

Why is the government in charge of building charging stations for electric vehicles? Why is it that those not driving plug-in cars are paying a fee to plug in a car that won’t plug in?

The epitome of what is wrong with government. I mean there is a LOT wrong with our government, at many different levels, but this is just another fine example of why so many people dislike and don’t trust the government.