IKEA doesn’t want my business

Thanks, IKEA, for making my decision that much easier.

Our new-to-us old camper has an old mattress in it that’s seen better days. It’s functional, but it looks to be the original mattress and is worn and torn in a couple of spots. We decided to replace it.

Of course, it’s just a little bit smaller than a standard “full” sized mattress. A standard full would probably fit into the space, but it would be tight and would be difficult to put sheets on and such.

So, in shopping for a new mattress, I noticed that Ikea has mattresses that’s dimension, because they’re actually metric, come in at just under the standard full size, which might just meet our needs. It would almost fill the space completely, but shouldn’t be so tight that we can’t pull up the edges to put on sheets.

As an added bonus, there’s a relatively new Ikea store in Norfolk and they have the mattresses we’re interested in in stock so we can actually go to the store and try them out to make sure we’re going to like the firmness and such.

But, before we went, my wife started checking into their Wuhan Flu policies. She has some medical concerns that make wearing a mask problematic. She doesn’t have any kind of official paper or written diagnosis to prove it, but it’s a problem, so she checks these things out ahead of time. What she found on the main Ikea site was this:

Masks “strongly encouraged” (I added the red box for emphasis). They do say check the policies at your local store, so she did that too.

Again “strongly encouraged”.

So, we’re good. She won’t be required to wear a face diaper right?

Um…not so fast. The sign at the door of the store (click to make bigger):

“IKEA, as a private business, can require that coworkers and customers wear face coverings.

At this time, everyone must wear a face covering when in our store.* In accordance with CDC recommendations, this includes those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination.

They are absolutely correct, they are a private business and can require their customers to wear funny hats, green socks and orange shirts to enter the premises if they want to.

And we are private citizens who can chose to spend our money elsewhere. So we will.

So, again, I say thanks to IKEA for making the decision on where to spend our hard earned money that much easier.

The interesting thing is, if their website had been accurate and we’d been forewarned what to expect, there’s a good chance we’d have discussed it and decided that, as long as we limit the time we spend in there, she could tolerate wearing the mask long enough to go in, check out the mattresses and get out, and then she could wait in the truck while I went back in to make the purchase. What really caused us to just completely write them off was the fact that they took us by surprise by saying one thing on the website and another after we’ve already traveled almost 20 minutes to get to the store.

Needless to say, not only did IKEA miss out on the $500+ dollars we would have spent on a mattress and mattress pad and waterproof cover and sheets and pillows and a blanket or two, they’ve lost us as customers forever. My wife loved their store layout and enjoyed shopping there before this (honestly, I’ve never been a fan of their store layout and the quality of their products is…um…questionable at times…not to mention they’re anti-gun), so they’ve lost a loyal customer and many, possibly tens of, thousands of dollars in sales.

Granted, as a big chain IKEA isn’t going to give a rat’s patootie about losing one customer, but in my experience when loyal customers start getting annoyed enough to swear off a company, trouble isn’t far behind.

Goodbye IKEA, it’s been (notso)nice knowing you (see what I did there?).

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Electric Dreams

Strange, it seem to me that people have been saying things like this for years:

“If you said, ‘What’s it going to take to produce 30% more energy reliably?’ that is a massive undertaking. That isn’t something we’re going to do by tweaking a power plant here or there,” Sitton told FOX Business, pointing to grid issues California already faces with regular brownouts using its current power systems. “There’s already challenges … so to say in the next 10 to 15 years we’re going to increase our electric demand by 20 to 30%, that’s huge.”

“That will take orders of magnitudes of investment,” Sitton said.

No [excrement] Sherlock.

Anecdote: I work in the transit industry…our company contracts with transit agencies.

One of our customer agencies invited us for a “show and tell” a few years ago because they’d purchased a bunch of brand new Electric buses and had the charging station infrastructure installed to “fuel” them.

There were four charging stations installed and the huge transformers and cables and other very extensive physical infrastructure required to power those stations.

The problem is that the local power grid couldn’t handle it and was going to have to be upgraded so at the time of the “show and tell” only two of the charging stations were activated and only at half capacity.

That was for servicing just 8 buses.

Electric buses have significantly less range than diesel powered buses so to maintain the same level of service (same number of buses on the street at any given time) you would need something like 30% more E-buses than traditional. The agency in question had at the time somewhere around 1,000 traditional buses. So to completely replace their entire fleet and maintain their level of service, they’d need about 1,300 E-buses.

Here’s my math: Let’s say a fully charged bus can get 6 hours out of a charge (probably optimistic). Let’s further say that the bus can be fully charged in 2 hours on one of these charging stations (EXTREMELY optimistic). That’s an entire cycle of run/charge of 8 hours. Let’s further say that they can successfully keep each charging station occupied with a charging bus for the full 24 hours a day.

So, each bus would have to be charged a maximum of 3 times per day Not all buses run the full 24 hour cycle so lets just say an average of 2 charges per vehicle per day for the fleet. That’s 4 hours on the charger per vehicle per day, so each charging station would be able to support 6 buses over the course of 24 hours.

So, for a fleet of 1300 buses, they would need TWO HUNDRED SIXTEEN of these charging stations…of which the installation of four completely overloaded the existing power supply infrastructure.

That’s just the transit agency of one city. Multiply that times every city in the US with a population over, say, 300k, then add the 200 million or so privately owned vehicles and the 100 million or so commercially owned passenger vehicles and small trucks, plus the trucking industry, plus government vehicles including Police and Emergency vehicles.

You would have to be certifiably insane to think that the prospect of going to completely electric vehicles within the next century is remotely plausible.

So, are the people who are advocating these types of things insane? Or are they just lying to us?

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(notso)Smart Guns

When I was in the Navy I had a shipmate whose last name was “Lovely”. His nickname was “Notso”.

At any rate, USA Today reports that smart guns are “finally” coming to the US.

Personalized smart guns, which can be fired only by verified users, may finally become available to U.S. consumers after two decades of questions about reliability and concerns they will usher in a new wave of government regulation.

I think the most weighty word in that entire sentence is “may”.

Basically, I’ll believe it when I see them on the shelves at my local gun store.

I’m also very skeptical that any law enforcement agency will use this technology willingly. I can see some in the more gun-unfriendly regions being forced to use them by edict, but I can’t imagine front line cops jumping for joy at the prospect of a gun with even more complicating features that may lead to failure in a life or death situation.

Which is the reason I’ll never buy one. Semi-autos are complex enough with enough failure points as it is…why add to that voluntarily? Maybe if I had young kids at home I’d be more interested, but I don’t. I want to be able to pick up my gun, point it at the bad guy, pull the trigger and count on it going “bang” regardless of whether I have my finger in exactly the right position or am wearing the magic ring at the time, or take the time to enter a PIN into my (notso)smartphone.

As far as the fingerprint thing…I use fingerprint recognition to log into my phone. I recently remodeled a bathroom which, during the “drywall installation” phase, required extensive use of sandpaper. During that evolution and for about two or three weeks after, my fingerprints would not unlock my phone. I had to use a manual PIN entry because the sandpaper altered my fingerprints to the point that they were not recognized by my phone.

The same thing happens if my hands are wet, or too dirty, or I’ve gotten a scratch or cut on my fingertip.

Hmm. I can’t possibly imagine a situation where I might need to access my defensive firearm quickly while my hands might be wet, or dirty, or bloody, or injured – can you?

Oh…I’m left handed. Is the fingerprint sensor going to be ambidextrous? How does that work? Two sensors, one on either side of the grip? Or will they put the sensor in a location that you have to activate the gun first before attaining a proper firing grip? Because that wouldn’t slow things down at all now would it?

And as an added bonus, we get to pay somewhere between two and five times more for the privilege of owning a gun that may or may not actually work when we most need it. What a bargain.

To be clear, I’m not opposed to this technology. Some people might see it as a great safety measure…especially, as I said, people with children at home. I’m no more opposed to someone owning a (notso)smart gun than I am opposed to someone owning, say, a Jennings .22 lr or .25 ACP pistol (double whammy of a mouse gun cartridge in an unreliable pistol). I’d never own one (not even if someone gave it to me), but who am I to say you shouldn’t own one?

My only concern is that the push to make them mandatory will begin in earnest as soon as the first model becomes available. We’ll need to keep an eye on this.

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Waste of time and money

There’s one thing I don’t understand about this story:

A federal district court judge granted the Biden administration’s request to dismiss a lawsuit filed by more than 20 Republican attorneys general challenging the Keystone XL Pipeline’s permit revocation.

Judge Jeffrey Brown, of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, ruled that he couldn’t determine the constitutionality of President Joe Biden’s action because TC Energy, the pipeline’s developer, had abandoned the project.

What I don’t understand is why the AGs continued the lawsuit after TC publicly announced that they’re giving up on the project and abandoning it.

I guess for state Attorneys General money isn’t really an issue because it isn’t THEIR money, it’s the money of the state’s residents that they are squandering, but still I’d think they’d have better things to do with their time.

TC Energy would have been completely negligent if they hadn’t abandoned the project and honestly, it would be stupid for any energy company to begin a project that would require government approval but would last through the end of the term of the current administration.

This political football has demonstrated the folly. It gets approved, but then that administration goes out of power and the next disapproves the project, halting construction after millions or billions have already been spent, then the next administration approves it again, but lawsuits prevent resuming, until the next administration disapproves it again. At the end TC energy had absolutely nothing to show for it except billions of dollars spent on the folly and no return on investment in sight.

Any energy project of this type is just a fool’s errand in this environment. Which, of course, means that our energy sector is not going to be able to increase capacity or improve infrastructure so you can expect energy prices to continue to climb.

The pie in the sky “renewable energy” push is going to destroy our economy by destroying the reliability of our energy sources and when this becomes glaringly obvious, it will be too late to do anything about it because there won’t be necessary infrastructure to return to reliable fossil fuels before the economy completely collapses.

Every day that passes makes me more and more glad that I’m old and am probably not going to live long enough to see the depths to which are once great nation is going to fall.

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Woke NASCAR

Two thoughts about this story:

NASCAR has reportedly rejected the “Let’s Go Brandon”-themed car of Xfinity Series driver Brandon Brown, who had signed a sponsorship deal with cryptocurrency meme coin LGBcoin.

This comes six days after Brown revealed his new car with the letters “LGB,” a reference to both LGBcoin and the anti-Joe Biden phrase “Let’s Go Brandon,” printed on its side.

The quote doesn’t tell the whole story: Before Brandon Brown’s team revealed his new car and sponsorship, they had followed NASCAR procedure and gotten the sponsorship and paint scheme approved in writing.

As soon as the announcement was made, it went viral because…well…duh.

As soon as it went viral, NASCAR all of the sudden decided it needed further review and after having already approved it in writing, reversed the decision and rejected the sponsorship.

My first thought is that I wonder if whoever issued the initial approval wasn’t really paying attention and thought that the “LGB” initials stood for something else? It wouldn’t surprise me.

My second thought is that I’m glad they out themselves publicly in this way. I used to be a huge NFL fan. Me spending Sunday afternoons and Monday nights for five months of the year parked in front of the TV (or, on rare occasions, in a stadium somewhere) was as inevitable as the tides. Then the NFL went woke. This is my third (or is it fourth?) season having not watched a game. I don’t even know who the big name players are any more except for some geriatric carryovers from the last year I cared.

To be honest, although it’s nice to have Sunday afternoons to get stuff done (or relax as the mood strikes me) all year long now instead of just for 7 months of it, I do miss it a bit. The competition, the struggle, the strategy, the joy of victory and agony of defeat. I’ve often wondered if I could find another sport to substitute and NASCAR was a candidate for a while.

Not any more. I should have seen the writing on the wall when they supported the driver who tried to claim a garage door pull was racist, or allowed BLM to sponsor vehicles or ended Tobacco company sponsorships, but I still had hope that they at least wouldn’t go full woke (never go full woke). Oh well. At least they proclaimed clearly and unambiguously that I’m not welcome as a fan before I got too into it.

I’m sure they’ll claim that they just want to stay out of or above politics and that’s why they changed their minds, but the fact that they allow other political sponsorships like BLM belies that assertion. They’re OK with political messages, as long as they’re the right (or rather, the left) political messages. So NASCAR is out as well. I guess I’m back to spending my weekends getting stuff done. Maybe someday a successful, truly non-political, professional sports league will emerge (or one of the existing ones will grow some sense and return to that), but I’m not holding my breath.

It’s too bad Brandon Brown has to suffer for the idiocy of the woke overlords, from everything I’ve seen about him, he doesn’t deserve it…but as my parents used to tell me, nowhere on your birth certificate does it say that life’s going to be fair.

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Cowboys and Indians

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but according to “family lore” I’m 1/16 Blackfoot Indian by blood.

My Uncle is the family historian and has traced our family tree as far as he has been able. He’s actually my Dad’s brother, but in following family lines, he’s even chased down the connections of spouses. While following my Mom’s family lines backward, he discovered the gravestone of my mothers grandmother upon which was inscribed her status as a Blackfoot Indian.

So, assuming my Great Great Grandmother was full blooded, my Great Grandfather would have been half, my Grandmother 1/4, My mother 1/8 and I’m 1/16 (and my kids 1/32…the same ratio that Elizabeth Warren claimed before her claims were debunked by DNA testing).

I’m tempted to get a DNA test to verify this just for curiosity sake. I’m interested in where I come from but I’d never claim “minority” status as an Indian because I’m not. I wasn’t raised in an Indian culture, I don’t look Indian, I wouldn’t even be aware of that potential heritage if it hadn’t been for the research of my Uncle and it’s completely unverified except for that inscription on a gravestone.

I also have a tenuous and unverified family relationship with a signer of the Declaration of Independence (Thomas Stone of Maryland) that I find equally interesting, and equally irrelevant to my daily life.

I have never and will never mark any box other than “non-hispanic white” on any form where racial discrimination is embodied. The color of my skin, racial heritage and DNA define physical characteristics, not who I am. Who I am is a function of the culture in which I was raised and the choices I’ve made throughout my life that have gotten me to where I am. The culture only provides the foundation. The choices are the part that really define me.

If I’m not happy with who I am (and, of course, in some ways I’m not), the blame rests solely upon the shoulders of the person upon whom I gaze in the mirror every morning.

What brought this on is my disbelief at the numbers of people who recently have begun claiming Indian ancestry (a la Elizabeth Warren) either for personal gain (preferential treatment based on minority status…also a la Elizabeth Warren) or for points in the Victimhood Olympics.

America has a huge “Fake Indian” problem. It’s hard to know exactly how many people, often white leftists, falsely claim to be descended from the nation’s early Indian population, but census numbers show either a massive population boom or a sharp growth in fake Indians.

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the party who’s platform involves declaring that anyone can “identify” as pretty much anything they want regardless of minor things like facts and reality would sport a growing number of people who would succumb to this, but it doesn’t mean I have to celebrate it.

It’s very sad that so many are either so insecure in who they are, they feel it necessary to concoct a heritage they can feel some pride in, or are so dishonest, they do so for personal gain. But I guess there are so many disappointing things about our current society that this one is pretty minor.

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US Trained Doctors

I used to lament the fact that (at least around here) it’s becoming difficult to find a family doctor who went to medical school in the US these days. Lots of Hispanic, Indonesian, Indian and Pakistani doctors, not so many who went to EVMS or Johns Hopkins.

It’s not about immigrants per se…I was OK with, say, a Somali immigrant who went to medical school in the US; this is about immigrants who attained their medical degrees in their home countries before immigrating. And it’s not at all about race, it’s about trusting the quality of education they may have received in Mogadishu or Karachi or Belmopan.

However that’s now completely reversed for me. I mean, how bad can the quality of education in third world countries be as compared to this:

The “dominant medical practice in the United States has been built on the dehumanization and exploitation of Black people,” the document read, and WC4BL exists to rid the medical system of this allegedly pervasive racism. Doing so requires not only “dismantling anti-Black racism, white supremacy, capitalism, imperialism, colonialism, and cisheteropatriarchy,” but also “dismantling fatphobia,” embracing “Black queer feminist praxis,” and “unlearning toxic medical knowledge.”

If that’s the focus of modern US Medical training, I’ll take a graduate of the Abrar University College of Medicine and Surgery any day.

The study of medicine used to be considered a science. Now it’s just politics as usual. Science as a discipline no longer exists. “Trust the science” is a catechism and statement of political faith, not an exhortation to follow any established practices of the scientific method.

“It’s such a shame ze had to have most of zer limbs amputated due to diabetes and died of heart failure at 55, but at least ze wasn’t a victim of fatphobia.”
-no real doctor – ever

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Virginia Weather

Since I moved to Virginia almost 30 years ago, I’ve heard, time and again, the old saw “Don’t like the weather here? wait a few minutes, it’ll change”; but this is ridiculous.

Yesterday the high was 72 degrees.

Today it’s snowing.

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We own a camper

So, as I mentioned in my last update about the remote property (my wife and I have decided to start calling it “the estate” so we sound all hoity toity when we’re talking about it…maybe I’ll start doing that here too), we decided we need to get a camper to make staying there while we’re working a bit more comfortable.

I started looking and found a a couple of likely candidates right away, however one really stood out so I went and took a look at it on New Year’s Eve. It was on consignment at an RV dealer north of Richmond so it was about a two hour drive from here, but it was worth it.

It’s a 2005 Fleetwood Mallard 21′

For its age it’s in excellent condition. There are a few minor issues they’re going to fix for me before I pick it up next week.

They’ve already replaced the awning fabric which is ripped in the picture…it’s brand new now.

50 Ga fresh water tank with 40 Ga gray and blackwater tanks. Two propane tanks for a total of 60 Ga. Everything but the A/C, fridge, water heater and microwave can run off the battery and the fridge and water heater will work off either 110v or propane.

It has one small slideout in the back for the sofa.

There are some minor dents and dings and there is one external trim piece that’s missing that I’m not sure a replacement is available for. I’m going to call the maintenance guy who’s working on it tomorrow and talk to him about it, he couldn’t find out on Friday because their parts suppliers were all closed. If all else fails, it will be covered up with the universal redneck cure-all…white duct tape.

The inside is clean although it’s obviously used and has some wear.
Most of the wear is cosmetic. things like curling edges on the wallpaper trim, a scratches and marring of the wood surfaces etc. The functional elements are all in excellent condition.

All the fabric cushions are in great shape, all the drawers open and close smoothly. There is one cabinet latch broken that they’re going to fix. All of the appliances look brand new and work great.

Even without the slideout extended, there’s plenty of room inside…with it extended, it’s downright huge in there.

I really wasn’t looking for one with a slideout, if for no other reason than because it’s just something else to break, but this one is fine because, as I said, even without it extended, there’s still plenty of room, so if it does break…no great loss. The maintenance guy told me (and he struck me as one of those brutally honest guys…he told me at one point “I’m not the salesman…my job is to make sure you’re happy with it when you pull it off the lot” and he pointed out several of the issues that need to be fixed that I hadn’t even noticed) the newer RV slideouts aren’t nearly as well built as the older ones and are often points of failure. He said the type of mechanism in these older RVs is very well made and virtually “bullet proof”; so I’m not nearly as worried about it at this point.

It also included an anti-sway, weight distributing hitch. It only weighs about 5k lbs (4.2K dry – 6.4k Gross) so I’m not sure I’ll need it with my truck, but that’s nice to have anyway.

The asking price was reasonable but at the high end of that, so I got them to call the seller (it was a consignment as I mentioned) and negotiated them down to $900 below the original asking price. I wouldn’t call it a “steal” but it was a fair price for the age and condition of the unit and was within our price range.

I think we did OK.

I don’t have room to park it here in my city house, but the Navy Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) department has an RV storage area on the base that’s open to retirees and is very inexpensive. We’ll keep it there during the time we’re dragging it back and forth. After we get some security arrangements made on The Estate, we may just leave it out there for the duration. We’ll see how things go. It may be better to just keep it here so we have access to it if we ever decide to use it for a vacation elsewhere. We’ve been talking about a trip to the Grand Canyon for quite some time. Maybe next summer (2023). Probably need to make RV park reservations a year in advance for something like that anyway. I’ll check into it.

Anyway…that’s the latest development.

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New Plan

I’m back from my trip to the mountainous wilds.
(click all pix to make bigger).

My plan for this trip didn’t work out exactly as I’d hoped. When I’d been out to the property before, I’d thought I could get my truck all the way up to where the electrical meter and well pump were located, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do so because the “driveway” was blocked in several areas.

I did go out to the electric company and talk to them. She said it would be a good idea to have one of their people come out and look over the lines, transformer, etc that feed the property and make sure everything is OK before trying to start service. Unfortunately, no one was available for that trip, so after I get my next trip scheduled, I need to set up an appointment with them so someone can meet me out there. If that all checks out, then I should only need a “reconnect inspection” to get the meter turned on.

One good thing I did discover is that the meter panel that’s out there already has a 200 amp master breaker, a 20 amp double pole breaker and three more open spots, so it doesn’t look like I’ll have to replace that panel after all. When I saw it before, I didn’t open it up and I’d thought it was just a meter panel. I’m glad I was wrong about that.

But that’s as far as I got with the electric this time.

I drove over to the across the road neighbor and introduced myself. Nice guy. We had a good conversation and he told me some of the history of the property from his perspective.

The existing meter and well pump are at the level on the property where the most recent resident had his trailer.

The trailer was on the left, the well pump house is on the right, you can see the shed and power pole in the distance. At some point someone started trying to build a small cabin on a section of the area where the trailer was. They only got a couple of rows of logs down before giving up, but that’s what that mess is beside the firewood shelter. There’s also a bunch of wood and junk laying around from who knows what.

Anyway, what the neighbor told me is that after the trailer was brought down from there, the owner was having problems with people coming out to the property to party (hence where the huge amount of beer bottles and such scattered hither and yon came from). To bring that to a stop, he rented a bobcat and pushed dirt up in the driveway in places to create berms to prevent vehicles from getting up there. He also drove some rebar poles into the ground and piled scrap wood and such from the burned down house in the way. I hadn’t realized how inaccessible he’d made it when I was out there before. As soon as I tried to get my truck up there, I realized it wasn’t going to happen.

So, next time I go out, I’m going to rent a bobcat and undo all the stuff he did and thereby make the “top” area where the trailer was accessible again. Once that’s done, that will become my camping area and work on the well pump and electric can begin in earnest.

So this trip I spent mainly doing some brush clearing including using the winch on my truck to yank a couple of small pine trees that had grown up in the “driveway” out so I wouldn’t have to worry about that later.

I also did some more exploring, and took the opportunity to set up my chronograph and test some .45-70 loads I’d been working on.

I do think we’re going to get a camper if I can find a used one relatively cheap. After we get a fence and gates along the road, we may just leave it there so we don’t have to haul it back and forth. I’ve always enjoyed tent camping, but I tend to only camp once or twice a year. I have a feeling that doing it once a month for several years is going to get old quick. Plus the temps were getting down into the 20’s at night…the tent got pretty chilly and every morning I was waking up to frost on everything. Makes getting the morning coffee on that much more important.

Anyway, that’s the update. Until next time…

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