20220808 – Back on the Road

Dilly Dallying

I had breakfast at Denny’s to make sure the plane with Mrs. JonTheBruce on it left. I hit the dollar store twice. A new charging cable, a pallet of Fiddle Faddle. Diet Coke. Windex. Towels. I moved stuff around in the car to optimize the setup for a solo driver. Eventually, I headed East. It takes a minute to get up to speed.

On The Road

I was heading out on I-90 East. Stole a Trump Sticker off a gas pump. Not surprisingly, they are not very high quality. It came right off.

I started catching up on my podcasts. I hadn’t listened for two weeks. The whole trip was basically a digital detox. No streaming, No podcasts, No PS4, Except the all the digital stuff I did. We didn’t watch any shows besides a bit of news and whatever happened to be on the TV.

Fun Fact

Pendleton is in Oregon off of I-84.

Idaho is the next state over on I-90

Idaho could basically be demolished by a super volcano. It seems to attract the most wrong-minded dipshits from near and far. Maybe Idaho is worth saving. Maybe Idaho just attracts dipshits like some sort of anti-science, super collider of bad ideas. I know decent, hard working people who have moved to Idaho and fallen down the conspiracy rabbit hole. Clinging to the worst, dumbest ideas the internet can generate. God keep and bless them.

If you find yourself thinking about immigrating to Idaho, do yourself a favor. Pick up a copy of “The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid, The Golden Apple, Leviathan” by Robert Shea and Robert Anton Wilson. It’s a funny, fictional book written back in 1984. It’s basically playbook for all the conspiracy crap that is filling your head right now. I read it back in the early 1990s.

This frame of reference has left me incredulous and cynical. I want to see sources and references and honest reporting. There is way too much commentary and outright speculation.

Neil Gaiman is another fantasy, sci-fi, fiction writer who anchors his stories with actual historical info and people. He says the human brain leaps to form real conspiracies with his work. People approach him all the time with with their delusions about the mystical power of his work. How it speaks directly to them. It’s not a source of secret wisdom. It’s just very good creative writing.

Elephants will walk through a hotel lobby because a tree with food on it blooms every year on their migration path. This is a useful form of pattern finding. The heard migrates according to their learned pattern. The herd eats. A useful pattern doesn’t give a shit about your feelings. It helps successful genes get passed onto the next generation.

Find Patterns

We can find patterns where they exist. Human brains are extremely capable of finding patterns, even when they don’t exist. Most light shows are successful because people will correlate the flashing lights with the music. I have put together a lot of light shows over the past 30 years. Very few were activated by changes in the music.

Bad Patterns

People who find patterns in things that don’t have patterns need to learn about pareidolia. Pareidolia is how people will find rhythmic patterns in flashing lights. Faces in trees. Huma Abedin’s connections to Al Queda.

I live in Missouri. I would describe myself as a moderate. The pattern I have found is someone who talks about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on social media is a kook. I live in Missouri. Missouri is chocked full of embarrassing, crazy people who want to be in politics. I don’t know anyone who voted for Ocasio-Cortez. I don’t know anyone who lives in her district. In the normal course of my week, I don’t see any news about the congresswoman. Except from people who think she is part of some vast conspiracy to accomplish something fantastical. Kook Shit. Just Stop.

Actual Patterns

Identifying actual patterns are how we pass our genes on to the next generation. Undercooked pork can make you sick. Undercooked Chicken can make you sick. Farmer workers can transmit e-coli to the produce they harvest. Eating lead paint chips is bad for your health. For instance, the CDC said a new virus is very infectious and spreads via airborne particles. The pattern that emerged was people who were within a couple of feet of an infected person could also get infected. They even figured out that this was spread via droplets in addition to direct contact.

On May 1st, 2020, COVID was spreading so fast in Nebraska that everyone in the state would have been infected in 90 days if left unchecked.

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Public health measures were enacted to slow the spread (masks, social distancing, etc). It helped. There are other ways pathogens get transmitted, so the response must vary. Actually, I looked it up. The American Animal Hospital Association lists 5 transmission methods. Direct contact, fomites (surfaces), aerosol (airborne), oral (ingestion), and vectorborne(insects). CDC is a little more high-level.

  • Direct
    • Direct contact,
    • Droplet spread
  • Indirect
    • Airborne
    • Vehicleborne (turkey stuffing!)
    • Vectorborne (mechanical or biologic)

They put together a fancy spreadsheet with data and kept updating the spreadsheet as the body count climbed and the virus mutated. A useful pattern doesn’t give a shit about your feelings. It helps successful genes get passed onto the next generation.

Change My Mind

My mind is open to change. Give me a real verifiable piece of information that changes what I know about something. I will move on to another way of thinking about that thing. I respect this trait in others.


Idaho is also home to Aliengear Holsters. They have a showroom right off the highway. Who doesn’t need a new holster? America doesn’t have a gun problem. We have a holster problem. Every handgun in America requires at least six holsters. Aliengear has solved this problem by creating a single holster system that can be used six different ways.


There was more ground to cover.

I pushed onwards to Missoula, Montana. Stayed in the same hotel Merryweather and I used last time. The Days Inn and Suites Downtown Missoula-University is all about location. Smack dab next to a McDonalds.

It was getting late so I went across the street to the Press Box Sports Bar. I felt right at home on a Monday night at a local watering hole. I was at the bar between a steam fitter who was in town for work, and a young lady half his age who didn’t have to pay for any of her own drinks. The steamfitter gave up eventually. I could have been Marlin Perkins commentating from the safety of the Mutual of Omaha studios on a saga as old as time.

The next act in tonight’s program was a fifty something Marine, who wanted to talk about home roasted coffee and hand rolled cigarettes playing against a young lady who wasn’t getting the kind of emotional support from her partner that she deserved. I think we collectively decided that each of them needed a better class of friends, but not each other. I bailed before the third act.

I ate breakfast across the street at the McDonalds, just like last time. Here the path diverged.

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