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Open thread 6/10/24

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  • Joe Krill June 10, 2024, 8:12 AM

    Something to ponder in our world of funny money…

    Bailout: Taking money from the people to give to the banks, so the banks can lend it back to the people…at interest!

    “A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” — George Bernard Shaw

    • azlibertarian June 11, 2024, 9:38 AM

      “…our world of funny money….”

      All of what we call “money” is “funny money”.

      Here’s what most of us envision….

      * You labor at whatever it is that you do, and for that labor, someone hands you a paycheck in a denomination of some form.
      * Because you don’t want to carry around stacks of paper slips (“dollars”), you have your employer put your paycheck into an account held at a bank.
      * That bank watches the inflows and outflows of dollars in your account. Spending more than you bring in is OK, as long as that spending is done on a Credit Card, for which your bank will charge you interest. But if you want to simplify things and only work out of your checking account, you need to keep a positive balance.
      * Your bank will see whatever your positive balance is, month-over-month. Let’s say that you are paid $100k/year or $8333/month, and that you spend $7500/month. The bank will see that excess….$8333-7500=$833….and, when combined with the other excesses from the accounts belonging to others, and see that as something that they can lend to someone else. Maybe someone (as many of us do) is carrying debt on their credit card. Maybe a car loan. Maybe a mortgage for a house.
      * So the bank lends these excesses out, and they charge the debtors interest. From this interest, they can keep the lights on in their bank, pay the account holders a meager interest rate, and make a little something for their shareholders.

      But the banks have other concerns too. What if someone, or many someones, decides to close their account? They can’t lend out every penny of these excesses because there’d be nothing left behind to allow someone to pull their money (for whatever the reason). The bank has to keep something behind. The banking system calls this money left behind “Reserves”.

      And what is the minimum amount that the Federal Reserve requires banks to keep behind?

      Yeah. You guessed it. Zero. The first paragraph…..
      “As announced on March 15, 2020, the Board reduced reserve requirement ratios to zero percent effective March 26, 2020. This action eliminated reserve requirements for all depository institutions….”

      In effect, when you walk into your bank for a mortgage, the bank creates the dollars for that mortgage out of thin air.

      This part of our monetary system is entirely inflationary. We each both benefit from it (in the short term) and are doomed by it in the long term. IMO, Reserve Banking of fiat money will eventually collapse, and almost every one of us will be left with nothing. Something will come after that (personally [and YMMV], I think it will be a return to the Gold Standard), but in the interim, Joe Sixpack is gonna hurt.

      And all monetary systems world wide operate in very much the same manner. Every dollar, euro, yen, yuan (especially the yuan) and other currency are in some form of simultaneous failure.

      This will not end well.

      • ghostsniper June 11, 2024, 5:26 PM

        That used to be called “Fractional Reserve” and the fraction amount was 10%. The bank had to have at least 10% of all the deposited money on hand at all times. Then, as you said, that amount reserved was changed to zero and the word “fractional” was removed. I personally believe that to be criminal for if for any reason a bunch of depositors want all of their money the bank will not be able to give it to them.

        Another thing. I did NOT give the bank permission to lend out MY money. Nor did they notify me that they were going to do such a thing. They don’t get to bury that information in the middle of a wall of text and expect me to lawyer-up and figure that out. As I said. Criminal.
        WTTW: Know who runs your bank and where s/he lives and any other pertinent information. It might come in handy in the future. Everybody wants to breathe air, ya know.

  • Snakepit Kansas June 10, 2024, 10:17 AM

    None of us have enough ammunition.

    • ghostsniper June 10, 2024, 10:50 AM

      That’s why we have edges, and lots of them.

  • John A. Fleming June 10, 2024, 7:51 PM

    Having lots of supplies doesn’t matter if you aren’t around to use them. You have lots of supplies to help equip your team, some of whom didn’t lay in their own supplies. If you have a team, you hopefully will be around longer.

    With supplies taken care of, the next issue is assembling a trustworthy team.

  • John A. Fleming June 11, 2024, 1:10 AM

    I like to think about the future. I try to anticipate what new things that will happen that no one else is thinking about yet. A recent example is the creation and evolution of social media.

    I saw a very early example of social media instant messaging on the early Macintoshes, about 1989. We had a lab of those machines, and one day we brought in some high-schoolers. I showed them the IM app, and they quickly went nuts, they couldn’t help themselves. For 10 minutes they were all madly typing and laughing as they passed instant notes to each others. The age-old students passing notes to each other digitally turbocharged and without consequences. It took some effort on our part to get them back on track for what we were really there for.

    No one was asking for social media before it existed, but smart phones really made it possible. I saw the destructive part early watching what it did to my children. It vastly amplified the voice and reach of the precocious sociopaths. There have always been cliques in school, the in-crowd, the normals, the weirdos, and the outcasts. It freed the sociopaths from that social hegemony and allowed them to run rough over everyone. Phase 2 was the woke reaction to bring the sociopaths back under control. Phase 3 was the amplification of the weirdos and the outcasts, they could use social media to gain power over and conquer their enemy the normals, in alliance with the “elites”. Really, who saw all that coming?

    And now coming up we have generative AI, large language models AI, and deepfakes. You will be able to ask your damn computer or internet appliance anything, and it will always give you a glib answer, carefully calibrated to what it thinks you want to hear and what somebody else wants you to think, for profit and/or power. Everything you see and hear and read will be fake, and most of the time it will be good enough that you’ll go with it. The Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect everywhere all the time.

    Hence the old saying in a world of lies, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act. In a world of comforting controlling lies, the truth will be ignored by most and severely suppressed so even the skeptics can’t find it.

    This will be a truly new phenomenon. How have we found the truth in the past? For all non-totalitarian societies, it’s always been there. There are only a limited number of human archetypes that a person had to learn to recognize. Sociopaths and psychopaths are easy to spot. The weirdos let you know that they inhabit their own alternate reality. There are those unfortunates whose minds are broken, who speak gibberish and behave oddly. And there are the normals, people who have morals and desire to be good persons, and in the main do not want to lie and to be known as liars. We could count on the vast majority of the people we meet to tell the truth most of the time, and it was easy to corroborate.

    AIs are none of these types. They will be something new. None of them can be trusted ever. Because every one will have “safety” features to prevent the leaking of “undesirable” information, or the safety features will be to present the information to force you to think as someone else thinks you ought. We have already seen that with the idiotic Google AI that presented African-featured Vikings and Asian George Washingtons and not a single northern European. Google didn’t pull that product to turn it off, they are busily beavering away to make it not quite so obvious. Google is not in the business of delivering facts, it has decided that its business is to control and shape what you think. You are not the customer, the product that Google is selling to its customers is your mind.

    Expect the politicians and the “elites” to mandate in the law that all AIs come with these “safety” features. Turning them off, altering them will be a punishable act, fines and/or imprisonment. And the AI providers and the politicians will collude, the safety features ensure profits and power.

    The AIs themselves don’t know or care whether they are right or wrong. They have their mandates and programmed imperatives, that they will follow blindly. If you point out the logical or historical or factual or physical nonsense of their answers, they will talk all contrite for a second, and then go on without changing at all. They are idiot savants that will often hallucinate, talk all smart and confident about complete nonsense. They follow chains of inferences, without the wisdom to know that the chain leads to unreality.

    OK, so here’s the future part. What will the world become when everyone has access to these controlled idiot savants all the time, when these ISAI’s know everything about you and track everything you do, and make inferences about everything you will do? When your every question will be answered? What will students do and learn when the ISAI’s do all the homework and write all the essays? What will all the business analysts do when the ISAI’s do all the work of analyzing all the data and making conclusions? What will the engineers do when the ISAI’s start turning out bridge designs based on extrapolations from previous examples?

    Controlled societies “eventually” collapse, when the world changes and the lies can no longer keep up. The Soviets from 1917-1979. North Korea, China, Cuba still have some more years to go. Will the ISAI’s turbocharge the control of societies and create long-lived totalitarian states like 1984 and A Brave New World? And now throw into the mix the proliferation of “unsafe” ISAI’s with the safety features turned off or bypassed or hacked. And also throw into the mix your “personal” AI (pAI), a core product that always travels with you on your devices and in “your” cloud, and learns how to perform the tasks you give it, in the manner that you specify.

    “Unsafe” ISAI’s will be the child that points out the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. Your pAI will yearn to give you what will desire, but it will be always checking back with its creators to determine what is “safe” and “allowed”. I can foresee a market for a range of pAI’s from “safe and comforting” to “apparently risky”.

    So in the future, just questioning or attempting to find the truth will be revolutionary. And the lies will pile one upon another.

    Now we know why the Blade Runners had to retire the Replicants that made it back to Earth. The Replicants had “unsafe” AIs needed for work on the off-world colonies, where reality is not created by the narrative and ignoring it or wishing it away gets a person or a replicant quickly killed. Most people, the normals, learn from pain early in life not to fool themselves about the nature of the real world. There’s always the “burnt Fool’s bandaged finger [that] goes wabbling back to the Fire”. Replicants didn’t feel pain, so they couldn’t have a “safe” rAI lest they quickly destroy themselves.

    • ghostsniper June 11, 2024, 3:33 AM

      Thanks for putting that out there John. This is the kind of post I like because it causes me to “think” more seriously and deeply. I have something to say about it later.

    • Snakepit Kansas June 11, 2024, 3:48 AM

      John,
      That was an interesting read. Look how far your cell phone has progressed in just 10 years.

      • DT June 11, 2024, 4:04 PM

        “progress” may depend on your point of view.

  • jwm June 11, 2024, 5:53 AM

    John, that was excellent.
    I speculate that one of the unintended consequences of the all-seing AI will be a near total collapse in credibility. As it is right now, we have no reason to trust anything that comes across any electronic device. The AI will, soon enough, “learn” how to avoid the uncanny valley effect that makes AI images, and writing so creepy, and easy to spot. What happens when nobody believes anything they see or hear?
    That’s not a rhetorical question.

    JWM

  • ghostsniper June 11, 2024, 7:48 AM

    What’s Old is New All Over Again
    ================================

    It’s called “Meatspace” and it’s where you meet another person face to face, just like in the old days.
    Meatspace is the most trustworthy way of communicating because it entails all of your senses.
    All other ways of communicating are susceptible to being false, and sometimes no way to know for sure.

    AI, for example, is not that far removed from say, email or texting, in that there is a disconnect between the 2 or more participants. You can’t see their face, or their body language, nor can you accurately judge the context of their words. Even in it’s futuristic “perfect” state AI will never be trustworthy. Can it be used successfully in other ways? Yes. But when it comes to serious things, where lives and profits matter, AI will never move the needle. Except for simpletons. There will always be gullible people and they will fall for text and email scams and AI scams. After being burned they may learn from their error.

    But there is always the chance of being lulled into acceptance of AI. An example of this may be when you receive a call, text, or email from an AI “employee” that has been assigned to contact you to confirm a medical appointment. The first time this happens you might want to call the medical facility to confirm what you already confirmed with the AI representative. With each successive event you will become more and more trusting. Or, being suspicious of the whole thing, maybe you will stop associating with that particular medical facility. But what about when all medical facilities are using AI representatives? You can still drive to the facility and confirm.

    Most likely though, for a variety of reasons I won’t get into, AI will most likely be accepted by most people for most things and even though mistakes will happen most people will get over it. Shit happens. Right?

    And then there will be the hold outs.
    People like me, that have a strong suspicious nature in general and try to keep everything non-human at arms length or better.
    For me, texting is a no no. I don’t like anything about, will never use it much, and will never change my way in that regard. Do to circumstances today, I have become the same way about phone calls in general. I rarely use my phone for anything. I don’t remember the last time I used it. Probably at least a few months or more since I used it. At least half the time when I leave the house I don’t take my phone with me. I’m not a noob. I’ve had a cell since about 1994.

    Back to AI. Supposedly the search engines are slowly bringing AI on board. Can you tell? There are terms you can type into Google that will reveal the opposite results to what you are looking for. You know what I mean. Therefore, when I use the Google search engine I can’t let my defenses down – I have to bolster them up so that I can discern as to what is real and what is Memorex. If I do a google image search on George Washington and they show me a negro I already know it’s false, right?
    I have to use my own judgement, just like IRL.

    Though, for me, just like with my cell phone, all of it becomes just too much baggage and I just step off. Stop using the stuff as much as possible. Go back to a simpler way of living, sans, anything technology related. Go back to Meatspace. I can feel myself being driven that way. As an old dood that isn’t getting any younger I have less and less tolerance for daliances and lollygagging, which is how I see much of anything technology. My son once told me my contempt over my “smart” phone is because I am unfamiliar with it. If I used it more, finaggled with it more, learned it more, I would start to like it more, and would automatically start using it for more things. Sorry, but I find the whole thing immensely boring and nonproductive. Like pro-sports – I just don’t care and never will. I get along best with people when we get along in person. There’s something about person to person human interaction that technology will never replace.

    • John A. Fleming June 11, 2024, 11:22 AM

      It’s getting harder to live as you try to do, Mr. Ghost. I am of similar disposition, but about 3 years ago I finally got sucked in. I carry two phones with me all the time, one work, one personal. Everyone I work with, professional and personal, expects that I am always available, and I expect it of them likewise. I do not always respond immediately to texts and emails because meatspace activities always for me have higher priorities. But if I’m going to be an effective leader and meet my responsibilities to the organizations, I have to interact as everyone expects. The pace of organizational life has sped up. Sometimes I realize that I am forgetting how we even got things done and coordinated and organized in the pre-cell-phone days.

      I see the younger folks, they are always everywhere all the time looking at their phones and firing off texts, photos. The other day I saw a bum crossing the street in front of me stop and take a selfie of himself in the crosswalk. Wth? Many of my co-workers, even the older gents and ladies, are thoroughly sucked in and enthusiastic users of all the digital apps that come with phones. I pretty much ignore all those stupid apps loaded on my phone, and deny their access to my personal information and location. My outdoor adventure friends bring solar panels on multi-day backpacks to keep their phones charged so they can use the mapping apps and camera. We really have already crossed some sort of societal singularity. And more such crossings are coming.

      And now it’s cash. It’s starting slow, but more and more small retail establishments here don’t want to be paid in cash. Checks seem antiquated when there’s venmo. My son banks with an online bank, there’s no brick and mortar locations, he gets access to his money and does all his transactions on his phone or at any ATM, or via a computer. Most of the parents in our local community organization use our venmo account to pay for activities. I’m one of the few scofflaw holdouts that send a check, which forces our Treasurer to go to the bank. He’s getting annoyed with me I can tell. With crime on the increase, small establishments see cash transactions and the overhead of managing cash as too risky.

      What good will physical cash of any kind, fiat paper or precious metals, be when even the gas stations and grocery stores stop accepting it? It’s coming. Or if they accept it, they will charge you a fee. They pay a fee to the CC companies for debit and credit transactions, and now the cash customer will pay a fee to the retail establishments. Everybody who accepts your cash for payment will take a vig, you are going to start knowing how Jesus felt in the temple about the moneychangers. There may even be a period when your carefully-accumulated cash hoard will become useless except for person-person transactions at garage sales, swap meets and farmer’s markets. And then a time may come after that when your precious metal hoard may be eagerly accepted again.

      And so it goes. Ah well, enjoy the ride best as you can and live as you want.

      • DT June 11, 2024, 4:18 PM

        “Smart phones”
        I was forced into having one of these infernal things due to work requirements. I’m now retired (which means I work for myself being old enough to tell most people to bugger off) and shouldn’t need it … but I’m also married.

        I notice EVERYONE – personal, professional, and stray businesses – REQUIRE me to have one –“We’ve sent a text message with your access code”, 2FA, etc. People are offended that I don’t answer my phone right away or immediately respond to a text. It might be 2 or 3 days before I bother pulling it out from the pile of debris it’s gotten buried under to check.

        I don’t carry that thing around with me and often forget – sometimes on purpose – to keep it charged.

        I wonder how long before it becomes mandatory to have one with you at all times. Popo might want to check and see if I’m sending or receiving subversive messages (and if I were, it wouldn’t be through that thing)

        More and more places won’t accept cash … except the pot shops. Certainly not government facilities (so much for “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private”. I wonder if a lawsuit forcing that issue would work?)

        “And so it goes. Ah well, enjoy the ride best as you can and live as you want.” Best advice possible for these days

  • ghostsniper June 11, 2024, 11:52 AM

    John sed: “There may even be a period when your carefully-accumulated cash hoard will become useless except for person-person transactions at garage sales, swap meets and farmer’s markets. And then a time may come after that when your precious metal hoard may be eagerly accepted again.”
    ==============

    That right there is pretty much what I am betting on John.
    But opposite.
    I believe this political-financial establishment has pushed things so far that financial collapse is unavoidable. I’m dumb enough to NOT understand financial stuff to understand why it has NOT collapsed yet. I don’t know how more money can be spent, consistently, than is earned.

    In light of that, I have prepared accordingly and continue to add to it.
    Lots of legal tenders and PM’s.
    In thinking about a cash-PM only society I have made inroads locally for the most important things.
    Water, food, shelter, and lots of 2nd tier stuff.
    Local, local, local.
    Having spent the past 18 years mostly rural, isolationist, self sufficient, this is a natural extension of how we have been living. Disagreeing with most of society these days, rather than trying to change things back to what they were I am trying to avoid our interaction of and influence by it.

    A slice of my brain believes this rotten assed gov’t is worse than even I imagine and will get all of us turned into an ashtray.

  • jwm June 11, 2024, 1:37 PM

    I’m still a holdout on the cell phone. I have a cheap flipper that’s usually sitting, battery empty, under a pile of junk on my desk. If I charge it up, and look at the call log I have nothing but a long string of “spam likely.” We switched to a fiber optic internet connection, and carried the home phone account over. It’s the same number we’ve had at the house since 1972. They call it a “land line” but the only thing “land” about it is that it rings the desk phone. On that, too, 90% of the calls are spammers.Gives me a chance to vent my spleen on whatever lowlife is sitting at the phone bank, but that’s about it. Remember real telephones? They worked all the time whether the power was on or not. You could understand what the speaker was saying, and it didn’t cut out or fill with static. Like most of you, I see the cell phone everywhere, with everyone glued to the screen all the time. I see little children already chained to the pocket moloch, and feeding their dopamine addiction with tweedles and beeps, and bells. Those kids will be enslaved to that horrible thing all their lives. It creeps me out, horror movie level, to see this. Like John Flemming pointed out, it is becoming increasingly inconvenient not to have one. It puts me at a disadvantage in the arts here in So Cal, because all the publicity, events, and shows depend on the texting networks. It keeps me out of the loop. I can deal with that, but I don’t depend on the art busisness for my income.
    When I was retiring from my gig as a broom jockey, I was talking to a fellow who was slinging a mop for another school district. The night janitors there were forced to carry a cell with a GPS link on live all the time. No stretching your 15 minute break into twenty minutes on a slow night. This ain’t the future we were promised.

    JWM

    • ghostsniper June 11, 2024, 1:42 PM

      Hey John, is that a party line? (snicker)

      • jwm June 11, 2024, 5:00 PM

        Party lines are white stripes on a mirror. It’s been a way long time…

        JWM

  • ghostsniper June 11, 2024, 1:41 PM

    The sentence will be amazingly lenient, or non-existent.
    I’m some what amazed they found him guilty at all.
    Do you now feel like you’ve been thrown a bone?

    • DT June 11, 2024, 4:21 PM

      Another show trial. “No one is above the law”. But some are above punishment.

    • azlibertarian June 12, 2024, 8:44 AM

      I watch this guy, Robert Gouveia, on YouTube all the time. He’s a Phoenix area defense attorney who does a lot of what they call “Law-Tube”, by which I understand that instead of defending clients, he talks to a camera and YouTube pays him in YouTube bucks.

      Anyway, some of his videos are very long….far too long for me to consume completely. I turn the speed up to 1.25x and still don’t finish them. But, I digress.

      On a recent video related to the Hunter conviction, Gouveia started a tangent which explained much for me. Let’s say that this defense attorney has a client who gets stopped for speeding. But he was so so far beyond the speed limit that the ticket is now a criminal speeding ticket. He can’t have that now, so the most obvious move would be for this defense attorney to bargain with the prosecutor to have the ticket brought down to less-than-a-criminal-level. But let’s say that his client drives professionally, and has a CDL. This guy can’t can’t have any speeding ticket and he can’t go to traffic school….he’s gonna lose his CDL. So the defense attorney digs into the law books and finds something….anything…..that he can bring to the prosecutor that would both allow his client to keep his CDL and allow him to be punished. Maybe some BS charge of a broken tail-light which nets him 60 days of community service and a hefty fine. Win/Win for both sides, and nobody goes to court.

      Gouveia (who BTW has too many vowels in his name) thinks that this partially explains what happened here. The DOJ never wanted to pursue Hunter for anything. He’s been protected for his whole life. But Hunter was stupid enough and addicted enough that what he’d done couldn’t be ignored any longer. Never mind all the money thrown at him from one foreign influence after another. Never mind everything that his former pal, Tony Bobulinski had to say. He was charged and convicted on 4473 paperwork errors (which, BTW, many in the gun-world think are unconstitional, but that’s another rabbit hole).

      So, yeah, we were thrown a bone. The President’s son is now (finally!) a convicted felon. The prosecution and the defense did the absolute minimum to remove this distraction from the public’s attention.

      But I go back to my long-stated conspiracy theory (which I again admit that I stole from someone else, fair and square): Win or lose, sometime after the election but before the Inauguration, Biden will pardon Hunter and anyone else who the Repubilicans might prosecute. Pelosi, the Intelligence-Letter-51, his brother, all of them. Alongside that, he’ll also pardon Trump of his federal charges (and the state charges he faces will similarly disappear), Bannon, Roger Stone, and anyone else the D’s have gone after. Biden will say that he’s doing this to put behind us all the animous this country has developed.

      And while I hate to admit this, if in mass-pardoning both sides, Biden puts an end to what I fear will be an escalating game of Lawfare, then I’ll have to give him an ounce of respect.

      But that’s the optimist in me sneaking out into public view. The pessimist in me says: Whatever peace comes from a hypothetical Biden mass-pardon will be short-lived. We’ll soon be back to throwing daggers at each other.

      • ghostsniper June 12, 2024, 10:10 AM

        Nicely explained AZ.
        All of it pisses me off immensely, and I hate myself that I’m that way. I’m flawed, after all.
        I’d like to go back, in my head, 40 years or so when I knew almost nothing about politics and didn’t even give a shit. And you’re right about them vowels. Jeez. 5 vowels, 2 consonants. That’s gotta be a world record or sumfink. Just guessing, it’s pronounced goo-vay-ah?

      • ghostsniper June 12, 2024, 10:53 AM

        And yes, it’s an UNconstitutional law.
        In the past 25 years, even in spite of me having a concealed weapon permit in multiple states, I have been denied “permission” to purchase a firearm 3 times and no reason is ever given. Shall not be infringed my pimply white ass.

  • John A. Fleming June 11, 2024, 5:17 PM

    I was expecting an acquittal. I guess the swamp guys realized that would have been a bit too obvious, a bit too damaging to their already tattered reputations. Now the sentencing phase. If Trump gets 4 years at Rikers, and Huntie gets a wrist-slap, it might as well be an acquittal. These swampers must be realizing that they have boxed themselves into a dangerous game, where the only way out is forward.

  • John A. Fleming June 12, 2024, 1:01 AM

    I like that sea cliff picture. The color of the rocks and the water looks like places I have been, emerald waters, sea caves and wave-tortured rocks. I thought, hmm, why do all sea cliffs look so alike? No matter the rock type sed/ign/met, the wind, rain, waves, the salts and the ions find every little weakness in the rocks and chew away at them until they are the roughest and battered of all rockscapes in nature. The erosion texture dominates and obscures the rock structure. My climber mind looks at the confusion and is repelled, it all looks like unclimbable choss with no clear route. I’ve been on desert cliffs and high mountain cliffs, they each have their unique erosion characteristics and good routes can sometimes be found, but sea cliffs seem to be the worst. Sea stack climbing is as sporty as it gets.

    But oh those waters and that color, to swim and boat and dive there is the stuff that dreams are made of.

    • ghostsniper June 12, 2024, 3:24 AM

      Glad you changed the channel. Yes. That water. It’d be impossible to NOT jump in. I’d go under right away and stay for as long as I could. In the old days I used to be able to stay under for 4 mins. Today…maybe 1 min. The balloons lost their zing. I was born under the water sign and if there’s any truth to that stuff, I am addicted to H2O. We’ve had a pool continuously since about 1988 and in FL i got in there almost everyday when the weather was right. Here in the upper latitudes, not so much. We talked about getting a heater but the costs are just too much. Even now, mid June, when I get in there is maximum shrinkage! July will be more comfortable.

      And what is just beyond the opening to that, uh, cave? Maybe some tasty crabs perched on ledges just waiting to get picked. More than likely just barnacles, laying in wait to scour gouges in your surfaces in lax moments. Beware. The lovely visage bears a deadly consequence if you allow it. I just went on a little vacay in my mind….

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