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Musings from the shed.

Rob Elshire

Friday Night

1 min read

You couldn't do anything more interesting than a Beans and a rabbit.

Robyn Johnston -- Just now

Rob Elshire

Data Harvest

1 min read

To the extent we do not add "value" to the data harvesters, we are invisible and outside their influence.

Rob Elshire

Kushner -- A Cheap Movie Villan Knock Off?

1 min read

I have a theory that Jared Kushner (like many of the characters in the Trump inner circle) is a cheap knock off of a fictional villan. The movie Hudson Hawk came out when Jared was 10 years old. Is it possible that he saw this movie and fancied himself the super rich sociopath Darwin Mayflower? Sounds like a posh white 'merican upper class name.... Every child must have aspirational goals.

If Jared was a brilliant self-made billionaire, he might come off as more than a wanna be Darwin Mayflower. The truth is less flattering. See below.

The one on the left.

Rob Elshire

Holiday in New Plymouth

1 min read

Auspicious Start

We started the holiday with a bus trip from Massey to town. The bus overheated on the way and had to stop to get a drink. Another passenger wished us "Good luck!" on our holiday.

Later that day....

When we arrived in New Plymouth, we checked into our hotel and noticed there was an awesome sunset underway. We went to the waterfront and took in the display.

Dressing up!

Just before the lockdown, Robyn got a new dress at an OP Shop in Whanganui for $1. This was the first opportunity to dress up for a dinner out. I wore an appropriate tie.

We had a wonderful time getting away from things. Lots of walking, visit to a park with a greenhouse, the museum and most of the op shops.

Rob Elshire

Unsent Letter to the Editor -- Indianapolis Star

3 min read

It is a rainy autumnal Sunday in Palmerston North.With the granny smith apples ripe and ready, it is a good day for pie making. We are under level 3 lock down for at least another week and a half, so we are not going anywhere today. Our government has been using science and the advice of trained professionals as they determine their response to the pandemic. Their actions, with the cooperation of a team of 5 million, are working. We have flattened the curve and may be on track to eliminate the virus in Aotearoa.

Yes, there are acute and will be long standing economic effects. For example, international tourism has ceased. When the borders will open again is unknown. At the same time, we all have access to health care (always). The central government provided 12 weeks of wage subsidies right as the lock down was announced. These were not loans. Additional economic support has been promised. As has a plan to change our economy to rely less on just a few industries.

This is not to say that the situation has been easy. It has not. Many are having a very difficult time of it. There is much uncertainty about the future. What will the new normal look like? Even so, a huge majority of the population supports the government and their decisions.

Meanwhile, things look very different in Indiana where I was born. See this article from 1 May 2020.

'A little bit of science' and 'a little bit of art': Holcomb gives plan to reopen Indiana

This archive link for when the above is no longer accessible.

https://web.archive.org/web/20200503085715/https://www.indystar.com/story/news/health/2020/05/01/gov...

This quote from the article says it all:

Duncan Lemp, 28, of Grant County, said he favored opening the economy completely now.

"Hoosiers are smart. Don’t treat us like we’re stupid," he said. "We already know social distancing. Trust the public. Give the people the choice to work. If they get sick, it’s on them."

Mr. Lemp seems to be the product of trickle down ignorance. The number of new cases each day continues to increase. There is no indication that the state has this under control or that they are doing enough testing to have accurate counts. It is likely to be much worse than they think it is.

Governor Holcomb might be better off using a lot of science. Instead, he is allowing religious services with no restrictions on gathering sizes starting May 8.  This is sooner than hair salons, and most restaurants (all of which have limitations on capacity).  Priorities are clear.

A lot of uncecessary deaths are on the horizon. Please tell me how the economy will be better for it and why in the world the economy is more important than peoples' physical and mental well being.

My pie is done and it is glorious. On to some chewy oatmeal bickies. Then a nice roast chicken with mexican rice. We are safe, healthy, and in a place lead by smart, humane, and competent people. BTW our prime minister is an agnostic 39 year old unwed mother full of compassion and strength. Priorities matter.

Rob Elshire

Know your business model?

2 min read

In an effort to replace 110v electronics, I am looking for a set of desktop computer speakers. Rather than buying something new, we try to purchase used items which reduces our footprint and helps keep e-waste out of landfills and such. I have had a TradeMe search for local used desktop speakers for a few weeks and nothing suitable is turning up.

Today, I decided to try We Reuse I.T. Ltd. (https://wereuseit.co.nz/) on Cuba street here in Palmy. The person there was very accommodating. He said there may be some speakers out back and if I would come back in 30 minutes he would go take a look. When I came back, it turns out there were not any. No worries, no big deal.

What happened next just baffles me. He suggested that I try the Warehouse. I explained that I was only interested in buying used. He said they were cheap at the Warehouse. I explained that it was not about price, but rather not buying new. He seemed confused that I would rather keep looking for a used item when new was cheap. I pointed out that I was actively trying to support their business model! I am not sure that it registered with him.

Ugh.

Update

Ended up finding a used set of powered speakers for a gold coin donation the next day.

Rob Elshire

Autodisintermediationalism

1 min read

This is the word that Jenny, Finlay and I coined in January 2019. It means taking yourself out of the middle or in between. Or just getting oneself out of the way.

I am an autodisintermediationalist!

Rob Elshire

Reaction to NZ Herald article regarding Tom Richardson's resignation

1 min read

As I read the headline about former AgResearch CEO Dr. Tom Richardson having been investigated by a Q.C. on allegations of bullying (NZ Herald 5 Dec 2019), I fretted deeply for AgResearch's reputation. Thankfully, those administrators interviewed made it clear that it was a "matter for the board", the board had it in hand, and there is no "workplace bullying problem". I am reassured that all is well for AgResearch employees because there are "modern internal policies and support mechanisms". Complementing his remarkable leadership "at a time of upheaval", it is truly inspiring that Dr. Richardson is keeping to his contract regarding confidentiality thereby proving (beyond any doubt) that he was worthy of a $650,000 annual salary. I am greatly relieved that there was no confirmation of bullying and therefore no need for anyone to feel the bitter sting of remorse. Clearly, this must also mean that there were no victims from whom to seek forgiveness. Most importantly, their reputation remains unsoiled.

Rob Elshire

'An anguished question from a Trump supporter: "Why do liberals think Trump supporters are stupid?"

4 min read

The following is by Florida writer Adam-Troy Castro, shared by a friend on FB: 'An anguished question from a Trump supporter: "Why do liberals think Trump supporters are stupid?" The serious answer: Here’s what we really think about Trump supporters - the rich, the poor, the malignant and the innocently well-meaning, the ones who think and the ones who don't...

That when you saw a man who had owned a fraudulent University, intent on scamming poor people, you thought "Fine." That when you saw a man who had made it his business practice to stiff his creditors, you said, "Okay." That when you heard him proudly brag about his own history of sexual abuse, you said, "No problem." That when he made up stories about seeing muslim-Americans in the thousands cheering the destruction of the World Trade Center, you said, "Not an issue." That when you saw him brag that he could shoot a man on Fifth Avenue and you wouldn't care, you chirped, "He sure knows me."

That when you heard him illustrate his own character by telling that cute story about the elderly guest bleeding on the floor at his country club, the story about how he turned his back and how it was all an imposition on him, you said, "That's cool!" That when you saw him mock the disabled, you thought it was the funniest thing you ever saw. That when you heard him brag that he doesn't read books, you said, "Well, who has time?" That when the Central Park Five were compensated as innocent men convicted of a crime they didn't commit, and he angrily said that they should still be in prison, you said, "That makes sense." That when you heard him tell his supporters to beat up protesters and that he would hire attorneys, you thought, "Yes!"

That when you heard him tell one rally to confiscate a man's coat before throwing him out into the freezing cold, you said, "What a great guy!" That you have watched the parade of neo-Nazis and white supremacists with whom he curries favor, while refusing to condemn outright Nazis, and you have said, "Thumbs up!" That you hear him unable to talk to foreign dignitaries without insulting their countries and demanding that they praise his electoral win, you said, "That's the way I want my President to be." That you have watched him remove expertise from all layers of government in favor of people who make money off of eliminating protections in the industries they're supposed to be regulating and you have said, "What a genius!" That you have heard him continue to profit from his businesses, in part by leveraging his position as President, to the point of overcharging the Secret Service for space in the properties he owns, and you have said, "That's smart!"

That you have heard him say that it was difficult to help Puerto Rico because it was the middle of water and you have said, "That makes sense." That you have seen him start fights with every country from Canada to New Zealand while praising Russia and quote, "falling in love" with the dictator of North Korea, and you have said, "That's statesmanship!" That Trump separated children from their families and put them in cages, managed to lose track of 1500 kids. has opened a tent city incarceration camp in the desert in Texas - he explains that they’re just “animals” - and you say, “well, ok then.”

That you have witnessed all the thousand and one other manifestations of corruption and low moral character and outright animalistic rudeness and contempt for you, the working American voter, and you still show up grinning and wearing your MAGA hats and threatening to beat up anybody who says otherwise. What you don't get, Trump supporters in 2019, is that succumbing to frustration and thinking of you as stupid may be wrong and unhelpful, but it's also...hear me...charitable.

Because if you're NOT stupid, we must turn to other explanations, and most of them are less flattering.'

Rob Elshire