Random Bidtits (3/3/2018) and Article on Recycling

First off. I saw a poster for “Hamilton.” Am I the only person on Earth who didn’t realize our founding father was black?

Also, very few of you will know that Chris Kennedy, son of Bobby Kennedy, is running for Governator of Illinois. But did you know that he did a brief cameo in the South Park series as those lovable Hardy Boys?




Another amusing article today. I’m a huge fan of recycling and I often go out of my way to move the cans and bottles from people’s garbage to their recycling bins when leaving the office at night. But I love this guy’s bitter musings. It’s from Bloomberg’s The Daily Grind of Recycling.

Warm feelings about saving the planet have given way to the drudgery of sorting and rinsing and nagging from the government.

The other day, I had an epiphany: If recycling were not required by law, I probably wouldn’t bother.

Okay, I’m a horrible person. But bear with me. In the wake of a blizzard, I was rolling the huge town-provided recycling bin to the curb for pickup. Downhill. Through the snow. On a steep driveway, imprecisely plowed. The walk was treacherous. I slipped once or twice.

And I began to wonder what I was doing.

Recycling is supposed to produce a warm we’re-in-this-together glow, as we join hands in solidarity to save the planet. Small children practice it in school as a sacred ritual of the secular religion. For years now, I’ve been able to smile inwardly at the knowledge that along with my neighbors, I’m doing the right thing.

Lately, however, recycling doesn’t feel like ritual. It’s just work. A lot of work. Sometimes a lot of hard work.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m old enough to have been excited about the original Earth Day in 1970. I remember smiling high schoolers circulating through the cafeteria with boxes and bags to collect what we would now call recyclables. I seem to recall doing a bit of circulating myself. Back then it was fun. One had the sense of doing good through the process of persuading others to do good. There was no coercion. There was not even much peer pressure. Just volunteers encouraging people to turn over what they were going to discard anyway.

Now it’s law; it’s been the law so long that today’s young people cannot remember when it wasn’t. And with each passing season, the rules seem to grow more complicated. My wife and I are constantly getting online warnings (and paper flyers) from our Connecticut town, usually couched in a tone somehow contriving to suggest that we residents aren’t quite up to the mark: Too many of you are including plastic bags. Or polystyrene. Too many of you are leaving your boxes unbroken. Or broken but with food clinging to the cardboard.

There’s so much to remember. If bottle caps are loose, keep them out of the recycling bin. (That’s what the state decrees, anyway; my town says caps are fine.) Don’t just rinse your aluminum cans but dry them too. (Water is bad.) As to those plastic bags that don’t go in the bin, don’t toss them in the trash either, but find a place that accepts them and drop them off there. Or better still — we are told — buy reusable bags. Sure, serious researchers consider them carriers of germs and infection. But that’s okay. Just wash them regularly. (More work.) Oh, and take your wire coat hangers back to the dry cleaners.

People who imagine that these tasks take no investment of time must not be terribly busy. But if we don’t perform this important labor for free (so we are scolded sternly), someone else will have to be paid to do it. That will only raise costs. In other words, the only way to make recycling economically viable is to constantly pile more work atop those of us who only live here.

Not that recycling seems to be viable — not beyond aluminum cans and plastics number 1 and 2. The rest of it can’t be processed at a profit. (Glass bottles and jars present a particular challenge.) As it turns out, much of the more valuable stuff can’t be processed at a profit either. Not unless the rest of us do a lot of the labor.

This perhaps is part of the problem. When we consumers are busy stacking the wire hangers and screwing the caps tightly onto the plastic bottles and examining cardboard for the tiniest traces of food, we’re not laboring in the first instance to improve the environment. We’re laboring so that private companies can make a profit — companies hired by localities to handle recycling, and unable to figure out any way to stay in business except by conscripting householders. Imagine an auto repair shop announcing that in order to keep prices low, customers will henceforth be required to do some of the work on their cars. Business would dry up overnight.

I’m not against recycling. I understand that if the practice isn’t mandatory, a lot of people won’t bother. We also know that curbside pickup increases the likelihood of compliance, especially among those for whom a few cents deposit on a bottle constitutes a pittance. And in any case kitchen sorting is, we might say, a transitional technology. Robot sorters are improving rapidly, and may soon be able to pick the bad stuff out of the single recycling stream faster and more accurately than humans ever could.

In the meantime, what began nearly half a century back as a movement among happy optimists has become like too much else to which government turns its attention: heavy-handed, coercive, distant and thick with detailed rules. Recycling may be important, but it’s no longer romantic. It’s not fun. Nowadays, recycling isn’t solidarity. It’s ritualistic drudgery.

Still, fear not. I have every intention of playing my part. Until the arrival of the sorting robots, I’ll go on laboring in the kitchen and garage to keep recyclables separate and pristine. I’ll keep telling myself that I’m helping to save the planet, even when in actual fact I’m contributing my free labor to waste management companies that would be unprofitable if they had to pay for my services.

Is there compensation? Sure. But it’s no longer the warm glow that comes from the knowledge that I’m doing the right thing; it’s the single stream of reminders from my town that I’m doing the right thing all wrong.


Article: A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard

A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard (1899)

In all this Cuban business there is one man stands out on the horizon of my memory like Mars at perihelion.

When war broke out between Spain and the United States, it was very necessary to communicate quickly with the leader of the Insurgents. Garcia was somewhere in the mountain fastnesses of Cuba – no one knew where. No mail or telegraph could reach him. The President must secure his co-operation, and quickly.

What to do!

Someone said to the President, “There’s a fellow by the name of Rowan will find Garcia for you, if anybody can.”

Rowan was sent for and given a letter to be delivered to Garcia. How “the fellow by name of Rowan” took the letter, sealed it up in an oil-skin pouch, strapped it over his heart, in four days landed by night off the coast of Cuba from an open boat, disappeared into the jungle, and in three weeks came out on the other side of the island, having traversed a hostile country on foot, and having delivered his letter to Garcia, are things I have no special desire now to tell in detail. The point I wish to make is this: McKinley gave Rowan a letter to be delivered to Garcia; Rowan took the letter and did not ask, “Where is he at?”

By the Eternal! There is a man whose form should be cast in deathless bronze and the statue placed in every college in the land. It is not book-learning young men need, nor instruction about this or that, but a stiffening of the vertebrae which will cause them to be loyal to a trust, to act promptly, concentrate their energies; do the thing – “carry a message to Garcia!”

General Garcia is dead now, but there are other Garcias. No man, who has endeavored to carry out an enterprise where many hands were needed, but has been well-nigh appalled at times by the imbecility of the average man – the inability or unwillingness to concentrate on a thing and do it.

Slipshod assistance, foolish inattention, dowdy indifference, and half-hearted work seem the rule; and no man succeeds, unless by hook or crook, or threat, he forces or bribes other men to assist him; or mayhap, God in His goodness performs a miracle, and sends him an Angel of Light for an assistant.

You, reader, put this matter to a test: You are sitting now in your office—six clerks are within your call. Summon any one and make this request: “Please look in the encyclopedia and make a brief memorandum for me concerning the life of Corregio.”

Will the clerk quietly say, “Yes, sir,” and go do the task?

On your life, he will not. He will look at you out of a fishy eye, and ask one or more of the following questions: Who was he? Which encyclopedia? Where is the encyclopedia? Was I hired for that? Don’t you mean Bismarck? What’s the matter with Charlie doing it? Is he dead? Is there any hurry? Shan’t I bring you the book and let you look it up yourself? What do you want to know for?

And I will lay you ten to one that after you have answered the questions, and explained how to find the information, and why you want it, the clerk will go off and get one of the other clerks to help him find Garcia – and then come back and tell you there is no such man. Of course I may lose my bet, but according to the Law of Average, I will not.

Now if you are wise you will not bother to explain to your “assistant” that Corregio is indexed under the C’s, not in the K’s, but you will smile sweetly and say, “Never mind,” and go look it up yourself. And this incapacity for independent action, this moral stupidity, this infirmity of the will, this unwillingness to cheerfully catch hold and lift, are the things that put pure socialism so far into the future. If men will not act for themselves, what will they do when the benefit of their effort is for all?

A first mate with knotted club seems necessary; and the dread of getting “the bounce” Saturday night holds many a worker in his place.

Advertise for a stenographer, and nine times out of ten who apply can neither spell nor punctuate – and do not think it necessary to.

Can such a one write a letter to Garcia?

“You see that bookkeeper,” said the foreman to me in a large factory.

“Yes, what about him?”

“Well, he’s a fine accountant, but if I’d send him to town on an errand, he might accomplish the errand all right, and, on the other hand, might stop at four saloons on the way, and when he got to Main Street, would forget what he had been sent for.”

Can such a man be entrusted to carry a message to Garcia?

We have recently been hearing much maudlin sympathy expressed for the “down trodden denizen of the sweat shop” and the “homeless wanderer searching for honest employment,” and with it all often go many hard words for the men in power.

Nothing is said about the employer who grows old before his time in a vain attempt to get frowsy ne’er-do-wells to do intelligent work; and his long patient striving with “help” that does nothing but loaf when his back is turned. In every store and factory there is a constant weeding-out process going on. The employer is constantly sending away “help” that have shown their incapacity to further the interests of the business, and others are being taken on. No matter how good times are, this sorting continues, only if times are hard and work is scarce, this sorting is done finer – but out and forever out, the incompetent and unworthy go. It is the survival of the fittest. self-interest prompts every employer to keep the best-those who can carry a message to Garcia.

I know one man of really brilliant parts who has not the ability to manage a business of his own, and yet who is absolutely worthless to anyone else, because he carries with him constantly the insane suspicion that his employer is oppressing, or intending to oppress, him. He can not give orders, and he will not receive them. Should a message be given him to take to Garcia, his answer would probably be, “Take it yourself.”

Tonight this man walks the streets looking for work, the wind whistling through his threadbare coat. No one who knows him dare employ him, for he is a regular firebrand of discontent. He is impervious to reason, and the only thing that can impress him is the toe of a thick-soled No. 9 boot.

Of course I know that one so morally deformed is no less to be pitied than a physical cripple; but in your pitying, let us drop a tear, too, for the men who are striving to carry on a great enterprise, whose working hours are not limited by the whistle, and whose hair is fast turning white through the struggle to hold the line in dowdy indifference, slipshod imbecility, and the heartless ingratitude which, but for their enterprise, would be both hungry and homeless.

Have I put the matter too strongly? Possibly I have; but when all the world has gone a slumming I wish to speak a word of sympathy for the man who succeeds – the man who, against great odds, has directed the efforts of others, and, having succeeded, finds there’s nothing in it: nothing but bare board and clothes. I have carried a dinner-pail and worked for a day’s wages, and I have also been an employer of labor, and I know there is something to be said on both sides. There is no excellence, per se, in poverty; rags are no recommendation; and all employers are not rapacious and high-handed, any more than all poor men are virtuous.

My heart goes out to the man who does his work when the “boss” is away, as well as when he is home. And the man who, when given a letter for Garcia, quietly takes the missive, without asking any idiotic questions, and with no lurking intention of chucking it into the nearest sewer, or of doing aught else but deliver it, never gets “laid off,” nor has to go on strike for higher wages. Civilization is one long anxious search for just such individuals. Anything such a man asks will be granted; his kind is so rare that no employer can afford to let him go. He is wanted in every city, town, and village – in every office, shop, store and factory. The world cries out for such; he is needed, and needed badly—the man who can

Carry a message to Garcia.

Article: Thank Goodness for Donald Trump

Preacher tellin’ da truf an it hurtz!  Thought this was an interesting article – please find below.  Perhaps the author – Pankaj Mishra – is a tad bit brash, not unlike Trump.  But where Pankaj reaches for the pedestal, Trump reaches for the box.

Donald Trump’s first year in office seems to have been marked, above all, by his verbal incontinence. America’s tweeter-in-chief kept several continents rapt with his early-morning offerings. In his lack of inhibition and tact, Trump is the opposite of Barack Obama. At the same time, Obama’s decorum managed to conceal many unpleasant realities, which we would have had to confront sooner or later. Trump has expedited this confrontation — and, hopefully, inaugurated a new age of progressivism.

For one thing, it’s now clear that the election of a black man as U.S. president didn’t usher in a “post-racial” age. Obama’s own tenure, punctuated by police shootings of unarmed African Americans, revealed the insidious tenacity of racism: how it remains entrenched in institutions and policies decades after the end of formal segregation. With Trump in the White House, the potency of white supremacism can no longer be hidden.

The gains of the feminist movement never seemed as secure as under Obama, who appointed women to several important positions and anointed Hillary Clinton as his putative successor. It was easy to believe that as Margaret Thatcher put it, “the battle for women’s rights has been largely won” and that women in the workplace only needed to “lean in” a bit more. The systemic oppression of women seemed a problem for backward Muslims to resolve.

The election of a self-confessed groper to the White House, and his advocacy of similar offenders in politics, has helped bring to light a squalid netherworld in which even well-educated and affluent women find their dignity under perpetual assault.

On climate change, Obama undid some of the damage caused by the Bush administration’s refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol. Trump has reversed these small gains by pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement and appointing a notorious climate science denier as head of the Environmental Protection Agency. The struggle for a sustainable future now appears as formidable as it always was before being clouded by the premature euphoria generated by Paris.

Trump’s election also showed that the rising tide of globalization had not only failed to lift all boats, it had concentrated wealth in a small minority. The results confirmed what even the financial crisis of 2008 had failed to highlight: that unregulated markets were prone to dysfunction.

“There really is,” Ronald Reagan said in 1982, “something magic about the marketplace when it’s free to operate.” Such unexamined ideological faith in free markets and trickle-down economics has shaped too much of mainstream journalism as well as politics and business in recent decades.

It may once have been possible to dismiss inequality as the pet obsession of a few left-leaning economists, such as Thomas Piketty, and street agitators like those involved in the Occupy movement. With Trump, the terrible political consequences of inequality stare us in the face, along with the challenges of generating broadly beneficial economic growth.

Most importantly, a volatile man’s proximity to the nuclear button, and his promise to unleash “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” underline the perils of an imperial presidency, of concentrating in an individual the power to destroy life on earth.

Trump’s Twitter outbursts appear to freeze time. One day is like the rest in its quantity of provocation and outrage. But time is actually running out, and it is best to look beyond Trump’s social media antics and build on his rare and strange achievement. For he is the man who has taken off the presidential disguise Obama wore too well; he is the vital saboteur who is unmasking a social, political and economic system in an advanced stage of decay.

Trump is also making clear with his ineptitude that it’s up to concerned citizens to come together and fix this system. Other public figures, such as mayors, have already assumed political leadership on the issue of climate change. Trump’s opponents, on both the right and the left, are having to develop more creative and effective strategies. Feminism, broadly defined as a project against male domination, is again becoming a vigorous movement.

And Trump’s dangerous economic remedies, such as protectionism, have focused our minds, like nothing did previously, on the urgency of building what Lawrence Summers earlier this week called “the new economic foundation we so desperately need.”

We forgot, in the complacent era now just past, that all the fragile successes of the modern world — the building and consolidation of democracy, the extension of rights to women and minorities, and the victory over nasty prejudice — were the result of struggles. Created by human will and collective effort, these advances weren’t the result of some abstract or providential process which, like markets, had been left “free to operate.”

It has been Trump’s historical role to jolt us out of a profound amnesia and complacency, and into fresh thought and action. For this overdue awakening, if nothing else, the 45th U.S. president deserves our gratitude.


Song of the Day (12/16/2017)

Sup, brah! Today’s song of the day is…so-so in terms of the actual song…but the old cowboy is FUCKING EPIC! It’s Big Enough by Kirin J Callinan. If time is in short supply, go directly to minute 1:45. He wrote us this bigggg sexy hook that he knows we’re really gonna dig. And if you don’t have time for the full video, here’s a 30 second clip for your (re)viewing pleasure. Reminds me of the cat herding commercial from EDS (who?).

What’s that? Not entertained by my malodorous bullshit? Well then check out the following photo:

Looks like the City of Chicago Transportation Department has partnered with Mirena, maker of intrauterine devices (IUDs). That’s the black version.

Keeping the car theme going, check out these mofos:

White socks and dad jeans aside, these puppies are hot, Hot, HOT! Next is a bottle opener that you may or may not recognize:

Come on, tell me you get it. It’s an obscure movie. Rachel Weisz. Brendan Fraser. You must have this by now. Brendan narrows it down to what, two movies?

Well, I’m off to take the dog to the bark park to see if I can help him get some strange. After that, it’s back home where I’m gifting a friend an Echo for Christmas. It’s funny, I sort of feel like we gave Arianna Huffington an echo when we let another skirt onto the Board at Das Über.

Speaking of which. Start your timers…how many years before the “accused” overcome all of this adversity, return to the workforce, and become Time’s Man of the Year?

And finally, a great series of texts from a couple of weeks ago:


Song of the Day (11/18/2017)

hey Hey HEY! I may have used this before but it’s a good one – today’s song of the day is Tunnel of Love by the Dire Straits. Unlike the Dire Straits love tunnel, which has seen little action since it’s release, Lynn Tilton’s has been on full display for pub(l)ic consumption. The section of readership knowledgeable on finance will be familiar with her antics. Here’s a photo for the rest of you:

Contrary to your initial reactions, this chick is all woman. Although her Wikipedia page raises some concerns on the matter:

I’m not so sure I’m ready to accept “TransCare” from the likes of Lynn (Lance?) Tilton. She’s a shifty one. When the SEC brought her in for questioning, it took four guys to finger her in the lineup. Imagine Tilton falling back into a pile of produce:

To steal a term from a close amigo, I’m loath to be the one to find the Sacajawea in Tilton’s canoe. If you do end up hopping into that monoxylon, remember to

And finally. I give you the greatest gift of all…American Flag contact lenses.

BACK THE FUCK OFF. She’s spoken for. Problem is… she’s stuck in the 1940’s and making me use a diaphragm. I keep arguing for a different contraceptive but I feel like I’m just banging my head against the wall. Write that down. Well that’s it for tonight, I’m off to buy the worlds trashiest/most baller couch:


Swamp Ass and Other Wrinkles (i.e., Problems)

Who among you shares my hesitation when it comes to drinking a soda with a label that is cousin to “swamp ass?”  What’s worse, the logo for the swamp ass soda is a pair of nuts.  I think it’s high time that the purveyors of swamp-ass, (praline) nut-cream soda pack it up and retool, per se.  They need the:

And once they finally work on the label and get the nuts off, I consider that a job well done.

If you’re looking for advice on mastering the reverse tuck, just ask Emily:

Did I forget any ball jokes or did I hit on all the low hanging fruit?  (Huh?  Huh?)

Shit!  I have to go, my Uber Tuk Tuk is here.  I’ll leave you with this, a guy who went as LRM for Halloween.  He has one name tag with “little rocket man” and another with “supreme leader.”  This guy has bigger balls than Ellen Pao.  That chick is so spacey – I guarantee you that she was staring straight up at the sky, head cocked back, when she slammed into the glass ceiling…  I’m really hoping that joke didn’t fall flat.


D-Trump Dropping it Like it’s Haute (and Song of the Day)

If you haven’t seen it, Donald Trump took precious moments away from his 2020 campaign to shower Puerto Ricans with American generosity.  Nothing says “White America is here to help you” like mushroom tipping a bunch of Puerto Rican Oompa Loompas in the face with the Brawny Man.  Who cares about delivering internet and power, I won’t sleep until we’ve cut down the entire Amazon Rainforest to get these mother fuckin’ Puerto Ricans, on these mother fuckin’ paper towels.  Those are going to be some chaffed assholes down there and they haven’t even digested their pension obligations yet.  Oh it’s going to be a surprise, A RUDE, PAINFUL SURPRISE.

Now time for some self awareness:

Are you fucking kidding me?  These guys couldn’t land a touchdown with their wives.  Or side pieces.  Speaking of having a main bitch, and a mistress, and a couple of girl friends, being so hood rich, today’s song of the day is Head of the State by Baracka Flacka Flames.

An image for my girls still at the office tonight:

And finally, the McLaren P1, because a girl can dream, right?

Roping off a $1.2 million car with a plastic barrier chain?  Nice, McLaren.  Maybe it’s time you Brexit from the auto industry and focus on pushing cheap hats and questionably sourced keychains like Ferrari.  AHHH SKEET SKEET SKEET!

And finally, Chick-fil-A has been rubbing off on Jimmy Johns (assuming the Bible says that’s okay):

Nothing bespeaks “thank god we live in America” like a black guy desperately trying to strip himself of ownership-administered shackles.  I don’t know, that meat and bread on the right looks a little gay, over under Chick-fil-A walks from the deal?