For those who came in late, Festivus — I’m not big on the whole forced cheeriness of Xmas, as readers can probably, by this point, imagine — is normally celebrated on December 23. However, because Festivus really is for the rest of us, Festivus can also be celebrated at any time, so here we go! The the actual Festivus site describes the rituals:
The usual holiday tradition of a tree is manifested in an unadorned aluminum pole, which is in direct contrast to normal holiday materialism. Those attending Festivus may also participate in the “Airing of Grievances” which is an opportunity to tell others how they have disappointed you in the past year, followed by a Festivus dinner, and then completed by the “Feats of Strength” where the head of the household must be pinned. All of these traditions are based upon the events in the Seinfeld episode, however, strangely enough, Festivus has roots that pre-date Seinfeld.
Some detail on “the airing of the grievances”:
Each participant tells friends and family of all the instances where they disappointed him or her that year.
Frank Costanza: Welcome, new comers. The tradition of Festivus begins with the airing of grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now you’re gonna hear about it!
Well, although Frank’s approach is refreshingly open, I’m not going to take it. Maybe that makes me a schismatic. But I mean, it’s not like I don’t have grievances with family, even friends — what are friends for? — but it would take far too much time to explain. And I’m not going to retool “friends and family” to mean “the Naked Capitalism commentariat,” first because I’m not suicidal, and second because, in the main, I’m quite content.
Of course, I could do a master list of society-wide grievances, but that would be almost too simple:
- Impunity for criminal bank CEOs for accounting control fraud in the run up to the crash of 2008
- Impunity for high administration officials of both parties for torture, which is illegal under both U.S. domestic law and by international treaty, also law.
- Impunity for cops who kill young men, especially black young men.
- Administration gaslighting and warmongering on Ukraine, Syraqistan, and North Korea is just as intense as Bush WMDs.
- The neo-liberals have been running the country for forty years.
- Not coincidentally, real wages have been flat for forty years.
This is not, clearly, an exhaustive list; I didn’t even get to electoral politics. But this chin-stroking armchair thinker stuff is just too easy. So I thought I’d share some relentlessly trivial grievances. These have been building up for some time…
- “Wanna” becomes an actual word that people type.
- A bazillion incompatible designs of child-proof caps.
- Baby carriages like armored vehicles.
- ATM fees. $3.50. Really?
- My town now has a third bank but no hardware store.
- OS X gradually being crapified by iOS.
- You can’t buy a decent man’s dress shirt at a normal department store any more.
- Being forced to show ID to travel by bus. Airlines, fine, but Greyhound?
- Calvin and Hobbes, reruns only.
So, as you, readers, can see, I really have nothing but #FirstWorldProblems. Unlike Frank, I had to work for my grievances! So, what are your grievances? I hope they’re no worse than mine!
My laundry list is even longer than yours but like yours much of it can be covered by the words ‘no accountability’
Have a good fest Lambert, it was a very good year round here.
An airing of the praises for the work of Lambert & Yves.
Seconded! Happy holidays!
My large-scale list is like yours. My trivial list is similar but with different details.
1. Increasing crapification of laptops (lousy screens especially).
2. MS Windows. Why do people keep using this crap?
3. Global weirding. We’re having heavy rain on Xmas here in Vermont, which is totally wrong.
4. Slow death of classical music.
5. Super-low treasury yields. So much for my retirement plan.
6. Increasing SUV-ization of automakers’ product lines (esp. Subaru!).
7. Digital Rights Management on ebooks.
8. Decimation of monarch butterflies. We had only one show up (!) last summer.
But mostly I’m very happy these days. Leaving the SF Bay Area was the best thing I ever did.
Subaru should be shamed. Their Legacy Wagons of the 80s and 90s got better gas mileage than the current cars do. And optional push-button 4wd was way preferable over continual AWD. And lastly, bring back the hill brake for manual transmissions!
To where? With reasonable weather and cosmopolitan multi-ethnic atmosphere?
Yes, the Bay Area had those things. What it didn’t have was affordable housing, quiet, dark nights, and towns with a genuine sense of community. And frankly, the weather is overrated. I actually prefer snow to the dreary rains (when they happened). The summers could be brutal, too, with temperatures approaching 100 in August.
So which towns with a genuine sense of community and cosmopolitan multi-ethnic atmosphere, as opposed to polarised racism?
Windows is a good operating system, and has been since at least XP. I’ve had zero problems or complaints about 7, and 8 feature a large number of further improvements but was marred but the dumb decision to only have the Metro touchscreen UI, a flaw which was partially corrected by Microsoft themselves when they added the desktop back and which can be fully rectified by the simple installation of a third-party start menu. It’s clear they understand it was a colossal mistake and 10 will feature both UIs.
I’ll even come out in defense of Vista, which made a huge number of important under-the-hood changes but which suffered from performance problems, which in large part were due to third-party developers completely dropping the ball on the driver front, despite having ample warning of the shift to 64-bit.
If you think Windows is bad, the alternatives are worse. I can’t help but smirk at Lambert complaining about the ‘crapification’ of OS X. OS X was always crap, as was Mac OS before it. Mac OS couldn’t manage memory for shit and had atrocious networking, and OS X is essentially a candy-coated toy of an operating system.
Linux has potential, but aside from having a highly efficient kernel that enables it to be installed on pretty much everything its chief selling point is that it’s free. Things have improved slightly in recent years, but it’s still an OS by and for programmers. Until the community stops wanking itself with an endless series of branches and new distros and actually buckles down to improving the user experience and creating software to actually run on all of those distros it is doomed to remain a niche product. The average computer user has no desire to learn how to dick around in the terminal and compile their own executables. Even just installing basic programs on Linux is generally a pain, and the driver support is an utter joke.
I’ve been using Linux for 8 years now and I don’t use terminal and don’t even know how to ‘compile’. I also don’t need to defrag or run a ‘anti-virus’ program. I don’t have any difficulty installing the programs/apps I want, from the ‘software centre’ program that is preinstalled. I install each latest version as they come out because its a piece of cake.
I suffered through years of trying to use the “user friendly” MS Windows crap, and have never looked back since moving to Linux. It actually IS user freindly. And I have tried windows 7, 8, etc. when buying new machine, I don’t see any improvement in ‘userbility’ whatsoever, so I always install Linux right over the top of the rubbish that new machines come preinstalled with.
“don’t run a ‘anti-virus’ program”
Not sure why anti-virus is in scare-quotes. Also, not running with one is a very bad policy, on any OS.
have never used any antivirus on any OS ever…always double down with firewalls with settings for when some mystery port wants to “access” the internet…I always say no…my version of the roach motel…most AV programs telegraph too much information, making it fairly easy to target and find an open door…had a hard drive die once that “might” have been some virus, but it was probably overloaded with too much data and not enough room to operate…pulled the data onto a dvd and replaced the hard drive…
my gnarlniness of life…being greek…(where festivus is everyday as greeks never bite their tongues)
berlin basically went bankrupt before the great derivative liquidity event of aug 7,2007
yet no one talks about it since the country that never actually pays back any debts and instead invades its neighbors is considered the “gold standard” of the EU…
s&p, moodys and fitch give the gnatzeez a free pass on their state, regional and local debts…it is never included in anyones description of “german debt”…greece does not borrow at the state or local level…it is all at the national level…greece does not look so bad when compared to germanys TOTAL government debts beyond just the federal side…and it seems the trio of ratings agencies grossly underestimates the pension underfunding by german enterprises and the german states capacity to deal with its rapidly aging population…just saying….
With all due respect, you don’t know what you are talking about regarding Macs.
Mac OS X does NOT come out of the older Mac OS. It’s from the NeXT, which was a proprietary version of Unix. Lordie.
The NeXT also had a fantastic simple GUI, which was crapped up massively to create enough continuity with the old Mac OS.
Firms that run on Macs even with it getting worse need help desk support at 1/10th the level that Windows installations require. Even in its degraded form, Macs are WAY more stable than Windows machines.
Yves, stick to finance, economics and the nearest rat fink bankster. :-)
Mac OSX runs the Darwin kernel which in turn is based on XNU (Mach-3 ) micro kernel and the BSD Unix kernel ( from NetBSD/FreeBSD). User land is based on the free BSDs userland
Linux is a completely different system. However both comply with Standard posix which was derived from Unix.
just one of my Grievances where people say Mac OSX is based on LINUX.
I use both systems and have been a long time Unix systems programmer/administrator/engineer.
I said it was based on Unix. You said it has a Unix kernel.
So what is the problem?
See below. it’s a *nix, like linux, from a different branch of the tree. Why I can open a terminal as root and rm * ….
I never said the two OS’s were based on the same thing, I simply said they were both terrible. And it’s easy to brag about stability when you’re a development backwater that runs a tiny fraction of the software of your competitors. Similarly it’s easy to claim you ‘never get viruses’ when you have a tiny market share. Though in reality that claim was never really the case with Apple products in the past and is certainly not the case now. And I reiterate that I’ve had no problems with Windows 7 and never had any major issues with XP before it.
Mac is good enough if all you want to do is browse the internet and watch the occasional video or play a song. But even there, iTunes is one of the worst media player programs ever devised.
Jack, despite his prolixity, conveniently forgets to mention — assuming he actually kniws it — that OS X is “a commercially successful BSD variant.” . In other words. a *nix. Sorry to break the news.
Okay? I never said anything about what they were based on.
I have been using Linux for 19 years now. The user experience these days is really quite good. I’ve installed LInux Mint on some of the computers at a local small business, and the users pick it up quickly, without ever having to open a terminal window. Installing software is much easier than on Windows; the software manager has thousands of things ready to load with a few mouse clicks, and devices like printers and scanners are generally recognized without having to find and install special drivers.
I am also a long-time Linux user, starting with Mandrake, then seguing to Ubuntu, Linux Mint and most recently to Bodhi Linux with its elegant and lightweight Enlightenment desktop, and I also seldom find the need to open a terminal. My 88-year-old mother has been using a PC I set up to run Mint with no problem for three years. One of the major advantages for me is the immediate availability of other high-quality open-source programs like GIMP (graphics manipulation), Bluefish (Web editing) and Libre Office. (Granted, Windows versions of those apps are also available, but Windows doesn’t have the added advantage of having a user base so microscopic nobody in their right mind would bother writing malware to attack it. Virtually every acquaintance of mine with a PC or laptop running Windows has had as least one infestation requiring professional help to clean up – and a few of those proved beyond salvaging. I’ve had zero security issues in 16 years, and none on mom’s PC, which doesn’t get updated as often as it should.)
My only experience with a Mac was with a dated laptop at a PR firm where I worked briefly. The closed ecosystem with its dearth of available programs and the lack of a right-button on its mouse (an anti-innovation?) drove me nuts. Granted, this was before Apple revolutionized the smart-phone and tablet markets.
I run Gimp, Libre Office, and development tools of all sorts on OS X, doubtless because it’s a *nix. And if you create content professionally, it’s an advantage to stick with a reasonably stable UI, instead of getting involved in the time sink of migrating from red hat to ubuntu to mint or whatever the distro if the minth is.
Windows finds and installs drivers automatically 99% of the time. Occasionally you have to download and install one from the products site, but you almost always get a generic driver that provides basic functionality for the few minutes it takes to get the full driver.
Which Windows is that? Windows 8? Windows 9? Heh heh.
So does OS X. Just plugged in a an old printer to my powerbook — it found and installed the drivers.
It’s worked like that since Vista.
So what? Basically, all the GUIs are converging on a common set of functionality; there hasn’t been a really original idea on the desktop, at least, since Doug Engelbardt’s Mother of All Demos. So, it’s entirely possibly that Microsoft’s pile of steaming bloatware didn’t “fast follow” everything (like the GUI) but got somewhere first; a blob with that many protuberances is bound to engulf something first, if only randomly based on sheer size.
Sounding pretty defensive there.
@Jack… no offense, but I have to assume you haven’t used a Linux distro in quite some time. It’s been long past the time when the average user has to compile his own programs, it’s not only more efficient with memory management, but also has a much more efficient ip stack, and drivers have improved tremendously over the last few years, even the default nvidia driver is very usable for most.
Personally, linux (Fedora 21 today) is my desktop at work, a windows centric workplace, of course. As both a user and Sys Admin I have far less problems with my workstation than every other person that works in my office. Almost daily I hear someone say, “Is your browser working?” or “Can you connect to the shares?” and other basic problems, and I’ve always been happy to answer “Yes.”… not to mention that in an environment where all have us have fully encrypted disks and smart card logins, my system boots up and I’m logging in within 12 (literally) seconds after I turn the system on while everyone else has to wait anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes on their Win7 system’s boot up time.
I recently experimented with Mint on a spare laptop. It was an awful experience. Yes, you could install many programs through the software manager, which was nice, but I had to go through the obnoxious terminal process for a bunch of programs that were not on the manager. And the driver support was still as awful as it ever was. To its credit Wine worked pretty much flawlessly, but that just caused me to figure I might as well re-install Windows and natively run Windows programs. Which is exactly what I did.
I remember a trip to Vermont–every transplant I met was from California! They were all happy with the switch.
1. Youth who respond “no problem” to the old-fashioned phrase “thank you”.
2. Tinny drum beats emitted by earphones.
3. Store clerks who (are compelled to) conclude your payment transaction by asking, “Would you like to donate one dollar to X?”
4. Grinning trial lawyers’ advertisements papering my neighborhood (“Have you been injured? Your infant child struck with some frightful disease? Great! Let’s both cash in!”)
5. The “cellphone shuffle” now plaguing Manhattan—instead of excessive pedestrian speed, every third walker is unconsciously slowing down below the average flow rate.
6. Up to 12 previews of coming attractions force-fed before the movie starts, all of which are migraine-inducing if you watch (admittedly, one can stare at the cellphone instead).
7. 3-dollar coffee. It’s WATER!
8. 3-dollar water. It’s WATER!
How about “No worries”? I get that a lot, we ain’t Oz.
And everyone should have “Worries” now-a-days.
M’y grievance is people that actually pay $3.50 per ATM transaction! Vote with your feet, people, right to your local Credit Union where I pay NO fees, AND recieve an annual dividend! These mega banks will not change until they start losing customers! End of rant – Merry Festivus!
8. Being forced to show ID to travel by bus. Airlines, fine, but Greyhound?
You’ll dream of the days when you only had to show I.D. once our owners get around to mandatory RFID chip implants. They want to track their sheeple at all times.
A couple to add.
1. Surface street traffic. At every red light people are texting or looking at their phones and when the light turns green nobody moves until horns are honked.
2. I surfed the FM radio dial last Saturday. In a metropolitan area of 7 million people there is no classical music station anymore, no jazz/fusion stations at all, no classic soul music, just country, classic rock, riot-inciting hip-hop, and “pop” (whatever that means). I guess the highbrow stuff is all on XM now.
2b- The rise of “Digital” multi stream radio and television stations. They make you buy expensive new receivers and have very limited ranges.
2c- ‘Public’ Radio stations primary channels are now High Kultur talk radio. You need the expensive new receiver to get the classical music “B” channels now.
the simplest (free) strategy if you have an internet capable cellphone, you can use it as an excellent digital tuner on your existing stereo (use the WiFi feature rather than celluar data plan if you have a limited celldata plan). Best use a “line out” cable unless you don’t mind the horrid dB chopping connecting through the earbud jack.
one of thousands
http://www.radiowax.com/listenlive.html A typical decent fusion jazz station just as an example, playing a Jaco Pastorious piece right now.
The availability of digital radio stations world wide is a fantastic innovation.
I don’t know what part of the country you’re in, but at least in the NYC area, which I’m not in but used to be, you can get WBGO 88.3 FM on the dial for great jazz music, and I would be shocked if it was totally bereft of any classical music stations (at least for the old money that still lives and breathes).
Other than that, I have to internet stream stations like WBGO, or WFMU for alternative rock, and the Progressive Radio Network and WBAI for whats left of any progressive talk.
Where can I get a good men’s shirt? Especially a short sleeved one. I have 45 year old shirts that still hold up and 5 year old ones that are worn out. Both types are all cotton.
You may be able to get a good man’s shirt at places that might sell the old legacy shirts . . . like Salvation Army stores, Value World ( used to be Value Village), independent thrift stores, etc.
Same is true of women’s clothes, that the materials and tailoring are lousy compared to what you got 20-30 years ago. “Vintage” stores and eBay are other options.
Some years ago I read an article about a small clothing company in Australia that had life time guarantees on its products, does anyone know the company and if is still around ?
I wanna express my umbrage at #1. As far as I know I’m still a real person and I definitely like to type it. Think of it as a contraction of staid old “want to” without the pesky apostrophe. And ask yourself, would the term (you are a) “wannabe” be the same if expressed as (you are a ) “want to be?”
My personal pet peeve is “loose” in place of “lose,” which I think is even more common and seems to defy education level altogether.
And with that I wanna bid you all very Merry Festivus, Winter Solstice, or whatever.
I’ve been talking Midwest American all my life, and “Wanna, gotta shoulda” is the local dialect. If we consider it so, perhaps people will not be so offended (and offensive).
The words appear to be outer borough NYC as well, so it’s not all that unusual or offensive, particularly with the all the young midwest transplants to Brooklyn.
Confusion of principle and principal anyone?
Apostrophes in plural’s (sic) annoy my eye the most, followed by Unecessary Capital Letters.
Principle and principal trip me up everytime. I would say thank goodness for the Google, but its long term effect (increasingly, affect vs. effect too) is actually part of the problem. I’m not half the speller I used to be.
…followed by ‘off of’.
My friends in China often write wanna and gonna when they want to effect a sort of breezy informality. I try to tell them it’s OK for comic strip dialogue but not for everyday writing. It gets even trickier when they say something like “I’m gonna Nanjing” and we have to get into going to + infinitives vs. going to + nouns.
My real pet peeve is “wait on” instead of “wait for.”
People crowded around at my local lunch place, listening for their names to be called, say they’re “waiting on” a table and it’s really difficult not to say, “No, you see those people over there—the ones serving the customers? They’re the ones waiting on tables.” Sheesh.
I agree with everything that everyone has said and here are a few of my own, some seasonal, some not. In no particular order, I grieve:
* giant inflatable christmas lawn decorations
* christmas music in stores in Oct.
* hospitals that are actually dangerous for sick seniors (c. diff, pneumonia, etc.)
* tearing down of perfectly good houses in order to build monster homes
* the ongoing “businessification” and crapification of the education system
* the utter ubiquitousness of cell phones – will it ever stop?
Great list, perfectly capturing the spirit of the season.
Monster homes on tiny Chicago lots, uggh!
Caring is hard for me, in part because there are problems at so many different scales of space, time, complexity, importance, and other factors –
Some days I care about how high ATM fees are or how I’m shafting a small business if I pay with a credit card.
Some days I am frustrated that I have to drive, placing myself and others in danger when a better designed city could enable everyone to use trams.
Other days I get frustrated at the rampant criminality among the institutions with the most power – finance, war, energy, and other sectors. And of course the propaganda that enables so many people to go along with it.
Sometimes I resent the consumer economy and debt-based money system foisted on America and much of the rest of the world to force unending economic ‘growth’ without actually making anything better, which has lead to…
Other times I care that all this is happening during a mass extinction, with global warming, mass pollution, world-wide ecosystem destruction, and incredible human and non-human suffering accelerating towards an unknown but unpleasant end of industrial civilization as we know it.
I’m actually in Ecuador now trying to learn to be indigenous – that is, learning to live within an ecosystem, enriching the biosphere as I live, and contributing to none of the unhealthy or harmful human institutions that cause so much suffering. It’s the only response I could think of that attacked problems at the right scales – globally, I’m not contributing to global warming, imperialism, or economic ‘growth’. Locally, I’m spending my energy and time in a meaningful way, in a beautiful area, and with likeminded people, which is so important for maintaining my energy in the face of all the bad news. It also allows me to fear the future less, as I become less dependent on unsustainable systems.
I always use a CC at chains (no matter how small the amount), always use cash at Mom ‘n’ Pop places…
I have a minor greivance/annoyance with fellow USians who use the phrase #FirstWorldProbems when describing the USA in 2014. The USA is excessively barbaric to be considered #FirstWorld, when contrasted to civilized OECD nations, like Canada, Australia, Germany, Japan, etc.
Healthcare alone is enough to not render the USA less than #FirstWorld, without a Canada-style Medicare For All, or UK NHS-style VA For All, where the US ologopolistic healthcare Cartel/Mafia in aggregate charges roughly 2X other OECD prices, for lower quality healthcare (lower life expectancy, worse infant mortality, etc). 50K people die per year due to not being able to afford healthcare, which the ACA does not end. Many more go bankrupt annually due to healthcare costs, the majority of that cohort supposedly being “covered” by health insurance, which makes me wonder if it can be even claimed that the US has strong property rights, since 80-99% of USians would be bankrupted by an medical emergency, given the median adult wealth is something like $40K, and such an emergency can easily exceed $200K in costs. If you are subject to extortion at 2X+ prices by the Sickcare Industrial Complex that will bankrupt you, where you are forced to buy health insurance that does not necessarily cover catastrophic costs, how can we say USians truly have Property Rights.
This is sufficient enough to knock the US off of #FirstWorld status, without mentioning that Driving While Black, or being Homeless While a Man (even a White Man), is sufficient “offense” for bad Terrorist Cops to dicatator-style murder citizens without any punishment.
Also we have the innocents that are killed by violent gun deaths, whether from random insane individuals, Terrorist cops, stand-your-ground lunatics, etc; that is over 10X worse per capita than any of the civilized OECD nations.
Not to mention 1 in 6 children regularly face hunger.
I am sure I am missing more items than I listed here that proves that barbaric USA is not a Civilized, #FirstWorld nation.
Sorry for my rant. Happy Holidays to you & your family & best wishes for 2015.
Consider it a post-ironic affectation, in a nation and society chock full of them.
The major is that while news and economist tell us of all the great growth of jobs, it fails to mention we have increased the poor from 40 million to more than 50 million in 2014.
ACA not only does not affect medical bankrupts but damaged Medicare program that works for the majority.
Ok here’s some annoyances:
1) more and more homeless people, everywhere, all the time
2) more and more mentally ill homeless people, while I actually think the percentage of people who are NOT mentally ill that are homeless has increased – so that at this point maybe half the homeless are no more mentally ill than anyone else, there are also many many more homeless ….. so the net effect is running into more mentally ill homeless in addition to more homeless
#FirstWorldProblems Yea, yea, yea, or are they?
Of course I read California has a massive percentage of homeless so maybe that’s the problem. And yea if I was homeless I’d choose somewhere with more temperate temperatures to be homeless in as well, I wouldn’t be homeless somewhere I could literally freeze to death.
Hating the homeless. And happy xmas to you too! Aren’t there any workhouses? But really I don’t hate them or even blame them but it can get annoying is all.
Reagan closing mental institutions to drive public dollars to private hands has been a continuous calamity. Think of what our contemporary politicians shutting down public schools to drive money to charter schools will do for an even broader swathe of citizens. It’s horrifying.
A lot of people who live in shelters and go to food banks have jobs.
One of the students at the community college where I teach was recently discovered to be living in the college gym.
I agree with the entire list wholeheartedly.
And I would add ‘Festivus’ to the annoyances.
Southpark and its crippled offspring holiday substitute Festivus, may be cute and cutting edge sarcastic social criticism, but it’s still TV garbage (even if it is hip garbage) and belongs on the burning rubbish heap with all the rest. Festivus is equally detestable. As is the lame, limping, and threadbare Southpark.
Sorry Cartman, you wore out your welcome about 15 years ago. Nothing to see here, move along.
Screw you, hippie. I’ll pay honor to Krampus the only way I legally can, what with kidnapping being treated like a gorram *property crime* as if you stole someone’s horse…
Uh…Seinfeld, not South Park. Have some more eggnog.
I so appreciate this opportunity, Lambert. Mindful that the roots of the Festivus celebration were in part a response to the crass commercialism of the season, under my list of trivial grievances I continue to bitterly resent those retailers who require “Loyalty” cards in order for me to get discounts on their merchandise, gasoline, etc…. and the resultant “George Costanza” wallet.
Yeah, there’s probably an App out there… somewhere… which brings me to my second trivial grievance… (and so on).
There is an app out there.
But there needs to be a different app out there: one that displays a specified loyalty card selected at random from among all its users’ like cards. Sorta like the cypherpunks passwords.
You like loyalty? Well, how do you like *dis* loyalty?
Small, personal peeve:
Last week I went to Burlington Coat Factory, in search of a new winter coat. They always had a good third of the store full of coats of every size, style, weather….Not this time! So, I asked the clerk (she’d been there 3 weeks, she said), “Where are the coats?”
According to the clerk, a lot of potential customers have been asking: “Where are the coats?” Corporate has decided to broaden their inventory (and destroy their brand): they now have a shoe section the size of the former coat section, but barely 2 rows of women’s winter coats, and most very small in size. There’s a lot of shirts and pants, almost all of it…gray. Some of the grays are patterned and stylish, but most of it is crap, or gangster-homeless style. And in a gray and soggy winter, that’s the last thing people are going to buy.
I also went to Marshall’s, now owned by TJ Maxx: more color, better quality, but still not much in quantity, and in only very small sizes. I’ve been to the TJ Maxx store, which didn’t impress me, either.
Last year, you couldn’t buy a reasonably priced, winter snow-proof boot (not even on line…I looked) when we had several feet of snow and bone-chilling temperatures. The stores refused to stock seasonal wear! This year, it’s coats…It’s WINTER, people! Global warming hasn’t really changed that, except to make winter last longer around here….
I refuse to go to Walmart–but I have the feeling that’s where it’s leading. And as for department stores….it’s the same old, same old…
As for the weather, it’s just above freezing, cold, gray, damp, raining, and we had standing puddles…
try Dick’s Sporting Goods (or even Walmart — sorry to say it…)
You can thank Bain Capital for the crapification of Burlington Coat Factory.
Demeter: Now you know why my snappy wardrobe pretty much all comes from consignment shops or “vintage” stores. The crisis in men’s clothes is even worse: A good man’s winter coat is unaffordable. Men’s underwear is either totally eroticized in baroque ways or 100 % polyester. See Lambert’s comment up top about not being able to buy a man’s dress shirt in a major store. And the trend toward wearing readable clothing makes any man look like an infant, whether with unkempt beard or baroque beard.
Buy Swat Boots. Not designed as a winter boot but works VERY well as one due to thick sole, ribbing of said thick soles, and being well waterproofed. I can wear them on those days where there are lots of deep and slushy puddles and come out with my feet at worst a little damp. And VERY comfy to walk in despite how stiff the soles are.
Just checked out the “swat boot” online, and I have to say it is tied for ugliness with my LL Bean “duck” boots (that I’ve now had for 25 years–think I paid about $60). Since my Bean boots are the old-fashioned kind (heavy felt interior–no thinsulate), I can confirm that they have kept my feet warm and dry even at 20 below zero. At the time I purchased them, Bean guaranteed they would keep your feet warm to 30 below, but, fortunately, I’ve never had to try that. I notice that Bean no longer guarantees that the “duck” boot will keep your feet warm to a particular threshold temperature. More crapification, even if they are still hand made.
Yeah, but, whose hands now?
Thinsulate is actually quite effective, particularly when combined with goretex. However, the number one thing to ensure warm and dry feet, something that too many people overlook, is socks. Wear the wrong kind and no boot can help you stay warm and dry. Get smartwool, Thorlos, or made-in-America Wigwams and your feet will stay dry and thus be well protected. Never wear cotton socks if you can help it, they simply can’t keep feet dry.
If your serious about being outside in winter, don’t want to look like the Michelin man and want to be comfortable going in and out, N66 is the best technical wear I’ve settled on. Not cheap but high value.
Nice stuff… if you can afford $89.00 for a t-shirt or $95.00 for a scarf!
Cheap cloths are a false economy, the Icelander get it, as do the Canadians w/ their Roots boots. The stuff lasts and lasts.
You buy one shirt, wash it and it hand wrings dry. Best temperature control base layer shirt I’ve come across. Stretchy clingy w/ a weave that retains a layer of heat on the skin but doesn’t roast you indoors.
In 1978 I bought an Eddie Bauer Artic Parka (when they were still a serious outfitter) while in college in Chicago and did a lot of walking . Paid a princely sum of abt $180, a lot of money for a college student working partttime jobs. Still have coat , EB rebuilt it twice for free (paid to ship it to them)
Cold weather clothing has moved but it is still a fantastic coat and I use it a couple time a year for out in the woods when it’s FKKKing cold out, nothing will snag it. And it wont melt like a synthetic if you stand next to a fire.
So 37 yo coat, figure $180/1978$ = $651/2015 monopoly$ —more than justified IMO
Alternative to the nazified aesthetics, very well made and warm (insulated sole)… perfect for slop – slippery weather
Agreed. Police boots are some of the best shoes you can get for adverse conditions. Just don’t wear them to a protest lest you be mistaken for a provocateur.
Winter coats are in stock in August, beach wear in December. You obviously don’t understand retail. :-)
Want to know what to wear in bad weather? Take a look at construction workers, utility workers, firefighters, loggers and miners, etc. Yep they wear made-in-USA Carhartt jackes and Redwing boots. Not particularly cheap tho; a good pair of the boots will set you back over $300. A mid-grade Carhartt jacket will be over $120.
Disclaimer: I’ve been wearing them most of my working life and I can personally attest to the sheer quality, durability and comfort. When your career and sometimes your life depends on having the pro-grade stuff, you learn real quick what the good stuff is, and how to afford it.
I hope a cool hunter is reading this.
Adding… Is cool hunting in some way the antithesis of crapification?
My town now has a third bank but no hardware store. Lambert
And no Postal Savings Service so that those who hate banks are not FORCED to lend them money anyway or else use the mattress – some alternative – NOT! And, of course, the banks hate cash and are seeking to do away with that too.
We could be the generation that implements ethical money creation; if not then the march to “666” will continue. I intend to outlive my generation, the baby boomers, since I expect very little from them but tired, stale unprincipled “solutions”.
The Postal Savings Bank was William Howard Taft’s idea, which was to protect depositors–particularly newly-arrived immigrants–from shady fly-by-night financial institutions. It was scrapped back in the 60s because effective bank regulations seemed to make the postal bank unnecessary.
#8, being asked to show ID to do anything, period.
That and militarized and (neologism alert,) disaccountabilized police.
That and the stealth growth of semi official Militias. (If you are on good terms with any of the local County Mounties, ask about how their “Ride along” program is doing.)
0. Being afraid to speak ones’ mind freely on the Internet.
Happy (Belated) Shortest Day of the Year!
Oh, boy. Thank goodness Moral Tranquillity PLC already has an antidote for this.
The impending extinction of second-hand bookstores.
The evidentially engineered movement to ‘disappear’ paper books altogether.
When all content is on a cloud ‘somewhere’ that can be hacked, sliced and diced, we won’t need any pesky “Firemen” a la “Fahrenheit 451.” It takes a Poet to expose True Evil. So, QED, poetry has to go.
The only thing bookophiles can do about the impending extinction of used book stores is to keep buying enough books there to keep them from going extinct.
which is what i paid for a hard to find book yesterday – at the last bookstore
Airing of Grievances
1. Donating to the “Human Fund” only to see its language written by ALEC in a perverse inversion contract
2. Elite-Speak: land of neoliberalism where fascism/communism are rolled out for polling and propaganda
3. Predatory Finance/FIRE – more payday lending stores than McDonalds/Starbucks combined
4. Prison industrial complex (5% of the population, lock up 25% of world’s prisoners – not including torture)
5. Schools as a spaces of violence – bullying, oppression, defunding, indifference and guns (see Tony Benn)
6. Linking our War on Drugs to what has happened in Mexico and many other places around the globe
7. Academic and administrative corporatism, grantsmanship, and the commodification of the student
8. Mathefication, Crapification, and the Toll-Boothing of Medical Information
9. Immigrant Exploitation – “you can do our shitty jobs, but you are not one of us” meme; truly pathetic
10. Knowing that Bluffton, Utah is the storage center of my 2014 communications (thanks surveillance state)
There are more, but these will do for now. Thanks for the space to vent.
“ATM fees. $3.50. Really?”
Another tax on the poor. Our bank waives all ATM fees for “preferred clients” who maintain sufficient checking account balances.
Ooh, I’m liking this tradition already!
1. The unstoppable spread of cel phone txt/app culture. I often do prefer txt to phone, but when you start to get messages from an adjacent room?
1b. A variation. Waiting in line at a pretty nice place. Entire family ahead of me busts out their iphones, and starts banging away in unison at their emails/messages, completely oblivious to the movement of the line ahead of them. Once an empty space of about 30 feet opens up in front of them, they look up, walk forward. Repeat cycle many times. No real harm done, just … ugh. #FirstWorldProblems for sure.
1c. The end of privacy, and its largely voluntary!
1d. The crapification of computing devices, as Lambert said.
2. Various warmongers running the show in DC, complete apathy by most everyone else.
2b. That we appear to be abandoning what used to be called the rule of law.
3. The return of polyester, at least in T-shirts. Why? Combined with the occasional lack of labels indicating material.
4. The realization that if you want a good job in the US, it will either be in an industry experiencing a bubble, or it will trace back to government subsidies (not always bad, just a huge deviation from the theory).
I’ll stop there for now, Happy Holidays, real and fake!
You speak about Canada as being civilized, next to the US, and I agree. But we are next to the US, and this is a big problem. US ideas, policies, concerns, prejudices, catchphrases, and US trained politicians have been seeping across and discolouring our usually courteous and sensible country — the influence doesn’t seem to go the opposite direction. Our current Glorious Leader Stephen Harper has been imposing changes whose overall effects are to reduce the leverage of the average citizens, make voting harder for his opponents’ supporters, cut funding to small parties, slash the income of grain farmers by 40% by eliminating the Canadian Wheat Board, and on and on and on. In the US, he would be too liberal to get elected, I suppose, but up here he is erosive.
Noni, you and I agree on this: my one grievance is that Harper ever got elected and I hope he will be turfed out in 2015 along with all his “parliamentary secretaries” and ministers. If that doesn’t happen, I may stop reading newspapers and watching TV so I won’t get too upset.
I’ll add a couple which I didn’t see mentioned above.
First… the fact so many of the grievances listed so far, quite legitimate grievances, are and should have been handled long, long ago. Call it crapification of everything or a complete breakdown… it sure isn’t now, nor ever was a democracy in which we lived. The system is completely broken.
It’s way past time for the detailed info hungry so-called left to get a gripe with the simple right… end the bureaucracy of big data now! KISS.
Updates…. are rarely improvements. Especially when you are rarely informed what an update will do…nor given a choice on whether you can continue without one. There were functions (such as adobe) on my new mac mini which were obsolete before I needed to wipe of the first layer of dust this year. I would pay dearly for the simplicity of first edition itunes and claris works again.
Horrifically slow Verizon wireless rural internet… equal in ‘speed’ to the 19k dial-up of the early 90’s… yet it’s 50.00 a month now instead of 19.95. Unlimited grief. I know it can be much better right now because when I catch the right customer service rep for an hour or two on the telephone it dramatically improves for a week, maybe two. Not that I could ever watch a youtube or netflix unless I check into a hotel.
As a nearly 50 year old I was recently carded by a 12 year old cashier at Fresh Market in order to purchase a few cheap bottles of wine. Do these twelve year olds really think they are going to look like 50 by the age of 19 or 20? Anyway, what bothered me was the kid had to enter my DL# into the counter credit card computer machine in order to make the entirely legitimate cash purchase. Never again.
I love a time when most of society takes pause. We should all do it for more often than Turkey Day or X-mas. May it someday be based on fact rather than myth.
I’m with you on the society taking a pause aspect.
I’ve been working in rural areas of the country this year, and it’s actually refreshing that shops are still closed on Sundays.
But in a country with mass ADHD, impossible.
I too have been carded by people who were not yet born when I turned 21. My local 7-11 (and probably your Fresh Market) was hit with fines for selling alcohol to minors and responded with a policy of carding everyone buying alcoholic beverages.
I got thrown for a loop buying beer at Target the other day as the cashier started to scan my ID. Amazing what chutzpah they have, after keeping CC details laying around for no good reason, to add my ID info to their steaming unsecured pile of consumer data. I insisted they key it in instead.
I would NEVER allow a store register clerk scan my ID, period. Nor do I let them hold them for that matter. Side bar; if your buying alcoholic beverages at a convenience store, you’re not doing yourself too much of a favor.
I always refuse to let a clerk scan my ID. I’ve left stuff on the check out counter and walked out rather than let them do it. My local liquor store just looks at my ID and then hands it back.
Big Data slouches towards Bethlehem.
“The Twelve Days of Yaksmas” from Ren & Stimpy’s Crock O’ Christmas
thanks for that
and a merry Christmas to all
1. Death of small talk, because everyone’s got their nose buried in their smartphone. The next time you’re out and about, look around at how many people are starting into their phones. I’m guess I’m old enough that this all seems strange and sad. Is it possible to make a device worse than TV? I think they’ve succeeded.
Airing my Grievance. The people who gutted my bathroom without any warning or input from me. Then followed up that insanity by ripping out some gas pipes. Who does that? …. Family.
I know that’s a personal grievance but, as a grievance it’s been dominating my brain since Labor Day and I’m hoping that by actually airing it maybe I can put my rage behind me. Thanks, Lambert!
I can top that. My carpenter, who disappeared in June when his marriage went south, and his health, and the only contact I’ve had since is a request to Link him….I’ve still got some of his tools cluttering up the rooms which are half-finished…I don’t even know if he is still alive and in the state, and frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.
I don’t envy the grievance – that sounds intense. But, I do envy the “give a damn” mood. That’s where I want to get.
A brand new Mercedes Benz SUV with the vanity license plate reading: “God Blessed”. There are so many things wrong with that! However it summed up quite a bit a crappy thinking and lack of concern for others very well, so I guess it was a mixed blessing! :)
Oh Tammy! What were you doing in that closet with Ron Jeremy?
I accept the lists of grievances here, which point to general crapification, as mentioned by Eureka Springs (as well as by Yves and Lambert throughout the year). I tend to disagree with Lambert about the enforced cheeriness. As a lapsed lapsed Catholic (or cultural Catholic still intrigued by Catholic voodoo, as we refer to ourselves), I find Christmas to be mixed emotionally. The vulnerability of a child god is highlighted by the foolishness of the god of monotheism, who constantly wants his children sacrificed to Himself. (Contrast this with the birth of Hermes, which is a veritable sit-com.) The fast comes to an end with a Christmas Eve feast that is expectant and not quite joyous. Christmas has always been the holiday that was forced on Christians, so it has too many borrowings from Saturnalia and other observances. It has always been at war with itself. Which should lead to wisdom….
I think that most of the grievances here point to crapification, to a culture that has stagnated, to physical structures that are falling apart. I live in a very prosperous neighborhood of Chicago, and these streets are ankle-deep in trash. When did Americans think that it is normal or healthy to live in filth? Our businesses seem to be run mainly by flimflam men and flimflam women. I just returned from my annual morning coffee at Starbucks, the McDo’s of the moneyed class. (My regular coffeehouses took the day off.) Starbucks won’t even give a person seated at the bar a spoon to stir the coffee. You get to take a wooden (recyclable!) swizzle stick. And many of the commenters point to our debased language, which may be the source: When was the last time anyone used words like probity, thrift, responsibility, or regret? Dying concepts. But now we enter the second Yule, the Twelve Days, a mysterious time…
I read recently that Starbucks joined Monsanto and others in suing the State of Vermont recently to try to break and remove Vermont’s forced-GMO-labelling law. If that is true, then perhaps it is only fair that the Starbucks experience is its own punishment.
Yes, there are many words that have fallen out of usage, or actually the concept they embody has fallen from use. One I especially regret is “vulgar.” Of course, if people wholeheartedly disapproved of vulgarity, 9/10 of popular culture would pop out of existence. We hope.
Pet grievance: the thousands of You Tubers who think that Status Quo’s “In the Army Now” is not an anti-war song.
2014 marks the year I’ve been priced out of my third NYC neighborhood.
East Village: 1997
I give up, NYC. You win. I don’t mean any harm– I’m just a musician in an abusive relationship with a city.
Could you take a cue from London and buy an old Erie Canal Barge and live “down by the river?” (No, not in a van. I’ve tried that on out of town construction jobs, and it S—s!)
Stupid idea, I know. But, hey, who knows.
TBTB won’t allow it. I can’t find the story right now, but a couple of years ago a guy who had lived on a handmade boat hidden in a nook of the Chicago River’s Goose Island was kicked out. The boat was amazingly well hidden and impossible to spot from land, though it is visible on Google Earth.
Oh d—! That sounds about par for the course. It reminds me of Simon Rodias “Watts Towers.” The City called them unsafe, tried to pull them down with a crane, and failed. He had built them so strong it made the City look like a bunch of idiots for even trying to take them down.
Watts Towers stuff:
Does New York do squats?
This is probably the guy you’re remembering. http://posttrib.chicagotribune.com/photos/galleries/index.html?story=18239565 personally, I recall having mixed sentiments on this guy insofar as he’s made it difficult for anyone else doing this on the river in a less dodgy vessel that isn’t a marine hazard site. I wonder where he was pumping the waste tanks?
I do know guy in DC who ~15years ago or so realized his most economical habitation choice was a tired but seaworthy wooden Matthews cabin cruiser permanently docked in a local marina with shore station connections. Other less responsible people got wise to the strategy and the marina eventually imposed a damage deposit fee equal to the estimated cost of salvaging boats functioning solely as marina live aboards if they sunk at their mooring. Fair enough.
Yep, that’s the guy. I hear you about the waste tanks, but then again he was moored right across a Waste Management site. I am pretty sure he wasn’t the worst offender on that block…
ambrit aronblue you can technically do a legal liveaboard in new york in the sheapshead bay NYC parks department marina…looked into the 79th street boat basin years ago (1980s) and even back then it had a big waiting list…was thinking of buying a houseboat from a fairly known actor who was a few years past their sale by date…they had the boat in a company name so that is how I was going to get around the waiting list…but got married instead (her sister was a castelli artist but SHE was not going to live like a gypsy…should have taken the hint and chosen the boat)…now you can’t put a houseboat there (only grandfathered ones post 2010)…and you dare not just drop anchor in NYC as they will have the EPA up your dress in thirty seconds…now if one lived in Florida…you could just go ahead and drop anchor almost anywhere…and there are plenty of hobo boats down here…no motors and no sails…and almost no hassles…cities try to complain, especially if someone drops anchor and blocks the view of a million dollar home…as happens in dunedin (just south of tarpon springs) often…but unless it is abandoned…it stays…
in the middle of this economic mess, despite the best efforts of city hall to get nothing done, St Petersburg (Florida, not RAZputinland) has developed a rather large and growing arts community…circa east village 1986…but without the alphabet city drivebys
Well thanks for the tip! NYC to Florida– Midnight Cowboy style. Goin’ where the weather suits my clothes.
I remember when they filmed that scene at the end, the bus ride over the 41st Street Causeway to the Beach. Different vibes now. Back then, a kid could wander all over the Beach and not really get into trouble. No topless beaches, no swingers bars, no hordes of nouveaux riches and poseurs. All, alas, gentrified into Sodom By the Sea.
8. Anything Kardashian.
Cheeky of you Blurtman. But, yes, that bunch are walking representations of that old term; Non Event.
I’ll take it a step further and suggest that any of the Ks would be an excellent poster child for Guillotine Industries.
You don’t like Hobbits?
I feel grievanced about bicycle tires that self-destruct after a month-and-a-half or two. That didn’t used to happen years ago.
Rather than add my own bitch/piss/moan list, I would like to offer a few hopefully-helpful suggeestions for my fellow NC readers in terms of dealing with the annoyances of modern techno/crapo-life:
1. ATM fees? Never pay ’em. Whenever I’m at a store (including the post office) I check my cash-on-hand and get extra cash back if needed. Also, set aside a hidden slot in your wallet or purse (or even a place like your PC’s battery compartment) which holds a small “iron reserve” of tightly folded fiatscos, for cash emergencies (mine is just a single $20 bill). At my local coffee dive – my most-frequent cash-transaction venue – I years ago bought one of their gift cards ($100 credit for only $86, to boot) and use that there in lieu of cash. I do make frequent use of my Universal PlastiCard for the aforementioned things, but it’s a debit card (albeit one where the issuer (Fidelity) adds all the usual CC-style extra protections lacked by many debit cards, all with 0 annual fee.
2. Be diligent in creating “quiet space” in your life. I take this to an extreme which perhaps requires being a single curmudgeon, but my top tips here: [a] cellphone (I have no land line @home) only turned on where there’s a damn good reason for it to be, otherwise it’s VM-and-e-mail only; [b] “Quiet browsing” settings on my web browser: no audio/images/popups/animations unless I say so, and I even use a custom “muted” color scheme with a grey background; [c] diligent use of TV-remote Mute button.
3. [This is more for the benefit of your fellow humans] NEVER buy a car with an alarm, or one of those annoying ones that “noises to tell you it still loves you” when you exit the vehicle. If you have no choice in the matter of “car comes with alarm”, detach the wires on that puppy, first thing.
4. Don’t be afraid to be alone with your thoughts! There is no need to fill every quiet moment with blather or other noise.
5. See if you can go a whole day without talking about money. Eventually “not talking about” leads to “not thinking about”, and you’d be amazed at the peace of mind that comes with that. Obviously on an economic blog that may seem an odd thing to strive for, but I see no contradiction in (say) discussing the real productive macroeconomy and flows of goods and services without always “making it about the money”.
6. In deference to the ‘blather’ comment in item , I shall stop here and wish the rest of the Commentariat a pleasant December 25th, whatever that day means to each of you.
Some of us live on the South Side of Chicago…
The person who comes into the store, picks up their item, goes to the register, pays for the item, then leaves the store….all while holding up their smartphone and yakking away non-stop.
There are a fair number of people that might be sources under torture
How ya plan to industrialize this process
Too much to read. Too little worth reading.
Re: “Impunity for criminal bank CEOs for accounting control fraud in the run up to the crash of 2008.” It’s your #1 grievance, and it’s a good one. But what about the regulators? Nowhere on your list of grievances do you mention them. How can you make the bankers your #1 grievance and say nothing about the regulators? Is it simply because the bankers got away with the big bucks?
It is supposed to be the regulators’ job to oversee the banks’ risk taking and general operations, and to protect the financial system from illegal or imprudent banking activities. I worked in risk management at JPMorgan Chase for seven years and the regulators were always onsite. They had permanent office space provided by the bank. The regulators had to know what was going on every step of the way and, for whatever reason, did nothing to stop it.
Anybody who read the OCC’s quarterly derivatives report could have followed the huge growth in CDS following the enactment of the Gramm-Leach-Bliley legislation. G-L-B was the final repeal of the Glass-Steagall restrictions that had separated commercial and investment banking. The notional value of the CDS increased dramatically faster than the growth of the real economy. Some astute analysts did read those reports and predicted the disaster that came to pass.
It’s simple to understand the motivation of the bankers; it was greed. But the regulators were complicit in what the bankers were doing and the bankers wouldn’t have done it if they thought that the regulators would expose them. What was the motivation of the regulators to let it all happen? That’s a story that no one has yet fully exposed, and it’s a more important story in terms of the future of the financial system.
The military and war words and expressions that have invaded the language. I dislike them so much that I promised myself not to repeat them.
Being a simple man, and fond of getting to the root of things, I have but one peeve:
The loss of critical thinking by the/m/asses.