F-14

American Dreaming With Dan Brubus

Capitalism always wins. Pure and simple. America developed the F-14 Tomcat over many years. It was used to keep the world safe, but now it’s time to sell the leftovers to the highest bidder. Yes, the highest bidder does happen to be on my short list of countries I’d like to see blown up by next year, but we can benefit from their desire to bolster their military before we crush them. We should sell F-14 Tomcats to Iran because we have the greatest military on earth and our treasury could use the cash to help fund the war on terror.

We really do not have anything to worry about when we sell our old weapons to other countries, since we have the best-trained, most expensive military on the planet. The reason why the F-14s are available is because they are retired. When you retire your POS Toyota, do you let it sit there in the garage or say you’re only going to sell it to a museum? Some Demon-crats in congress want us to do just that: not sell our old junk to other countries in need to military equipment and willing to pay top-dollar. It’s not like an F-14 is going to go to some recycling center run by hippies so they can produce hemp necklace clasps out of the fuselage. Haven’t you ever heard of production for use? Weapons are produced to be used, not to be housed in various museums. And if we can no longer use the weapon, then it must be sold to recoup some of the production cost, and if it happens to be used by the nation to whom we sell the weapon, then the cycle has been fulfilled, and everyone should be happy.

Even if the weapons produced for the American government through private industry bids end up in the hands of our enemies, or even members of the Axis of Evil, the cycle is still intact, and we will simply have to buy better weapons from those companies to deal with the ones we sold to said enemy, and the economy booms because we need new weapons. In the unfortunate event a war occurs, American companies will be poised to make money on the front-end, back-end, our side, and their side. Once again, capitalism always wins.

So it’s established that the American military cannot be defeated, even by our own old weapons, and we realize that money can be made from selling weapons, and even from fighting against the countries that buy the weapons. We can make enough money from sales of F-14 parts alone to all but end the war on terror. If we sold more grenades, land mines, and M-16s to weapons dealers, we could probably track down Osama Bin Laden in no time at all. The decision to continue selling our old weapons to the highest bidder is a complete no-brainer, which means even Hillary Clinton should be able to support it, because our economy benefits from every aspect of selling our old weapons, and, once again, capitalism always wins.
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Jacksonville News

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • 5x110 16" wheels and tires in Jacksonville - $150 (from a Saab 9-3)
    I tried posting these tires and wheels on Craigslist, but I think everyone in Jacksonville is scared of the website, so I'll post it here instead. If this article is still online, then I have the wheels with tires in my garage, and I want them gone. The wheels came off a 2008 Saab 9-3. The tires are not matched, but they have a lot of tread. I'll share the original posting and reiterate that the wheels should work on the vehicles I list with the same bolt pattern and similar offset. 
  • Teens Send Eyes Rolling
    Have you ever heard teens or young kids talking in a way that made you roll your eyes? Obviously, you have. Anyone who is not a teen or braggadocios toddler laughs and cries on the inside any time one of these types speaks out loud. Here's an example from my Lyft travel chronicles. 

    I've picked up these teens a few times now. I'll assume they are cousins, and (based on cars in the driveway), I'd say that at least one cousin is from Missouri. Not that it really matters, except those of us who have lived in Kansas know that not a whole lot of good comes from Missouri. 

    The first time I picked up these girls, they were headed to a fairly interesting neighborhood, maybe because they lived in a very uninteresting area. I didn't think too much about it, at least until I pulled up and saw a dilapidated house with dozens of people hanging out in the parking lot that was once a residential street. And there was a bouncer. Some kind of house party. I wasn't sure it was a safe place, based on some of the partygoers who had spilled into the street and begun yelling at one another. But I am not the father of these youngins, so it wasn't really my place.

    The next time the girls got in the car, they were headed to the bars at the Beaches, which seemed odd, given that there was no way any of the three were 21. Based on the conversation on the way, I know at least one of them wasn't even 18, as she was telling her other companions that she always blocked guys on whatever social platform when they started to ask about her age. What's funny is that I did one other ride of maybe twenty minutes, and then I ended up picking these girls back up, which means for all their short skirts and attitude, they could not convince the pubs to allow them in. 

    On the ride to the bars, it was mostly about the under-18 friend telling the others about her desirability. Beyond the InstaSnap example, she also discussed several guys who were texting her, as well as the one or two she was actually dating. She said one guy said he'd kill himself (or her, or both) if she ever cheated on him, but she also implied that's exactly what had been happening. I'm not sure it was with the other guy she'd been chatting with, but one was, according to her, the top rated high school athlete in the country. That made me laugh, but her friends didn't question it one bit. It reminded me of when I took a bunch of German interns out to a bar in Madison, WI, and two guys there started telling the girls they were actors. My friend and I then started telling the interns that we too were actors. FYI guys, girls will believe you are the top rated athlete in the country or an actor, if you want to play it that way. My friend and I had a girl back in high school convinced we were nationally-ranked ultimate frisbee competitors.

    So these high schoolers were all excited about the bars and online boyfriend's. But, like I said, twenty minutes after the drop-off, I was taking them back home. No one said a single word until the vixen got a phone call from her mom, and she told her mom several times that they were now in the car and heading home. I am sure there is a story I don't know, like mom had the phone lojacked or mom got a call from a bouncer. Either way, it's probably for the best that mom got involved and that these high school girls looking for trouble didn't find it.

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  • Why Are You Wearing a Mask? Teachable Moment Lost
    As an UberLyftGrubHub-type independent contractor, I am supposed to wear a mask when I work the side hustle. I am generally OK with it, but I have been mask-shamed enough in Jacksonville that it's time to write about my experiences so that (hopefully) others don't have to deal with the same bullying. 

    Yes, I (and other people) will be driving around with masks on, even all alone. These people might be driving other people around in a rideshare, they might be delivering food or supplies, or they might be just around the corner from picking up Grandma. The point is that people who are wearing masks all alone in a vehicle, probably have a reason to be wearing that mask, and no one is wearing a mask to ridicule you or your president. 

    I have had three people in less than a month decide to ask me why I was wearing a mask. The latest was potentially the best opportunity to turn the situation into a teachable moment, but I instead acted in anger (with a touch of worry), so I missed the chance. I'd like to take the opportunity to add a little to the initial interaction now. 

    A high school-aged girl rolled down her window as I sat at a red light. "Why are you wearing a mask when you're all alone?" 

    "I am driving for UberLyft and it's required, Babe,"was my first response. I don't normally call girls/women "babes," but I was feeling a little sassy. She smiled and was satisfied, but that's when anger took hold of me instead of reason. "And so I don't have to smell you," I added. 

    She was quick enough to bring back, "Yeah, people are pretty gross," as she rolled up her window. But that's not how it was supposed to end, with her making a Tik Tok video about the mean UberLyft guy who said she smelled bad. Actually, I tamed my response way down BECAUSE she was so young, since I've been preparing some real zingers, but I've also thought of some more important things I could have said. So here's what I really meant to say. 

    "None of us are all alone."No man is an island entire of itself. We are all in this together, and we need to be responsible for each other. This answer would not have addressed the specifics, but it might have gotten an important point across. All the young people, like this girl, deciding to head out for no real reason, may not realize that when the bell tolls, it tolls for them. 30, 40, 50 deaths PER DAY in Florida have mostly been preventable, at least a percentage of them. So what if I over-wear my mask to protect others (or myself) just a little bit more than the CDC even requires? 

    "Why aren't YOU wearing a mask?" This answer might not always work, but this white girl was sitting next to her Blasian/Whack/Blaxican friend. I only mention the other girl's race because it led me to assume they were not siblings (and combining race names is an interesting use of language, and two friends out for a drive during a pandemic should both be wearing masks. If Kaitlyn goes and infects her grandma with Type-2 Diabetes because she got a virus from an asymptomatic friend, then Kaitlyn will feel guilty. I met a guy who said he brought Covid-19 home to his dad and his dad died. While the guy I met did not seem to blame himself (and that's probably the best response), I couldn't help but feel like I would have blamed myself. Anyone who refuses to wear a simple mask and then carries a deadly virus to a loved one should feel guilty. I'd feel guilty even if the virus got through my mask. Yes, you should feel guilty if you show up to school or a nursing home with the flu, but Covid-19 is marginally worse than the flu, AND it's been covered by the media enough to remind you. 

    "I don't want to smell all the BS from people like you." This response is taking it more political. I hear a lot of people who say Covid-19 is overhyped or fake. I assume that people who are going to bother to call me out for wearing a mask (while not wearing a mask next to a non-family member) do not believe in pandemics, masks, or science. 

    "Jacksonville stinks!" I kind of like this open-ended version of the previous answer, since it's not putting her down overtly. But it still is. And it's not making it all political, but it still is, if you read into it. But I am pretty sure these two teens were fairly shallow, so she probably would have just assumed I was being completely literal. 

    "I don't want to have to hurt your grandma/mom if I give her a ride, so I strap on protection." This one is probably my favorite of the comebacks I have considered since the latest incident. I might have even thought of it at the time, but when I saw two teenage girls, I decided to tone it down a few notches. Still, the double entendre here is pretty funny. But it's also true. 

    "I'm a real American." Just reverse psychology here. Most people who think masks are wrong somehow see them as an afront to patriotism, but nothing is more patriotic than sacrificing for the good of your country.

    Don't read the following comeback unless you are over 17 or are being supervised by an adult:
    "Because your / your mom's ________ -_________ed __________ ________ of _________ _________'s __________  that has been used to __________ various _______ stars, _________, and models/wives (who are also basically ____________s) , and your boyfriend/dad has _________ from ______ing too much of _________'s _________, and the only reason your ________ist boyfriend/dad votes for the ____________ is because he wants the government to force __________ to not have __________ but then not force him to wear masks for basically the same reason, and he also probably would rather be ____________ing a super porn whore model star wife than you/your mom. And he wants to be rich, but he won't be through any ability of his own, just like his favorite president." If people want to make simple, proven science into another political debate and say that I am somehow weak for wearing a mask because a self-professed germaphobe and completely amoral president calls the pandemic names instead of encouraging the use of common sense, then I can be just as nasty as anyone, and I don't need a gun or red trucker hat to back me up. And those of you who support Trump don't need his permission to make a decision that might save a loved-one's life. You are the epitomy of stupid Americans and are embarrassing the rest of us, and while being a stupid American is usually just synonymous with being wasteful, this time you are saying your personal freedom to be a stupid American is more important than preserving the lives of millions of older fellow stupid Americans who mostly vote for the same stupid people as you. Play along, at least until we decide whether or not a vaccine is going to happen. If a vaccine doesn't seem like it's possible, feel free to abandon the masks and give your grandma and favorite hooker one last hug.



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  • The Right Way to Update Your Old Website
    I updated a website several years ago for a church in Milwaukee. Basically, it had a website that was broken (and potentially hacker-dangerous) because it was built on Joomla 1.0 technology. The church assumed I would be building a whole new website, but when I saw that several articles were approaching 10,000 hits, I figured it was better to migrate the website. 
  • Shell Fuel Rewards Simple Enough Until it Gets Complicated, But You Should Have It
    When I decided I needed Top Tier gas and then AAA switched rewards from Gate to Shell, it seemed like a perfect match. My 5¢ per gallon discount would make the slightly more expensive Shell gasoline about the same price as the non-Top Tier options. And it's really pretty easy to
    Save Money at Shell.
  • Classic Chevys in Jacksonville
    In the past year, I have seen several classic Chevrolet vehicles in Jacksonville, and as I continue to see them, I will add photos and descriptions. While most older Chevys you see around here are stranded on the side of the road, some still look the way they did on the showroom floor. 
  • Why I Chose a Single-Stage 16 SEER Heat Pump
    I needed two new heat pumps for the house, so I went and got my obligatory quotes. I won't get too much into the process right now (or even the company I chose), since what I wanted to do was concentrate on why a single-stage heat pump is just fine, even in Jacksonville, and even as dual-stage and multi-stage (variable speed) units are much sexier. 

    Cost
    You can expect to pay a few thousand dollars more for a dual stage system, and then a few thousand more than that for a multi-stage. Having two systems (upstairs and downstairs), I could have easily doubled my bill. My lowest quote for a 14 SEER single-stage system was around $7500, while I had two salesmen try to push me into the multi-stage systems for nearly $15,000. These are different companies and different brands, but there is almost no way to recoup the cost. One technician doubling as a salesman (and NOT pushing multi-stage) said you can expect maybe $5 to $10 a month per higher SEER in savings. So an extreme example would be from 14 to 21 SEER. A difference of 7 for each unit or 14 for the set, and a savings of $140 per month (which isn't even possible based on what I pay right now, but whatever). Maybe $1500 a year if you are a total energy hog. So, that $15,000 unit is finally going to start saving you money after its fifth year in service. Theoretically. 

    There is a way to take a lower-SEER heat pump and boost it a bit with a variable speed air handler, but the cost of turning a 14 SEER into a 14.5 SEER for my house would have cost only $400 less than just buying the 16 SEER unit, partially because the 16 SEER qualified for the $150 JEA rebates ($300 on two units). However, you might find that a special air handler can help your budget system operate more efficiently. 

    I should also mention the option of fixing the current system. Since it's the old refrigerant, it would have cost a lot, and I know that both units were leaking. So you figure $1,000 for maybe a year or two of operation (if we were lucky). If the refrigerant wasn't outdated (or if the realtor guy from next door was offering to come fill mine up like he did that one at midnight), then I might have rolled the dice, but my wife would have been very upset had I blown $1,000 now and then still had to replace one or both units in six months. 

    It's also worth mentioning that most AC places will offer revolving credit loans at 0% interest. The one I am getting is for one year at 0%, but some go as high as five years, though that will sometimes disqualify you for other offers. One HVAC owner/salesman said that he would give me a better cash price and that the 0% offers all had fees built in, but he also sold me hard on the variable speed option. And his cash price was still higher than another installer with the same product offering 60 months of 0%, so go figure. Some warnings: 0% credit card loans (through Wells Fargo) are going to lower your credit score until paid off, since they are considered revolving credit rather than a loan. And you'll owe all kinds of interest if you miss a payment, so be careful with them. 

    Efficiency
    I was reading an article from SFGate that said that two-stage units don't tend to get close to listed SEER ratings. It's probably like the old MPG ratings, or some of the electric car MPG ratings. Perfect world ratings. Back in 2006, two-stage units were only getting 60 to 85% of advertised efficiency. I am not sure if a newer study has looked at real-world performance in multi-staging, but the article said that single stage unit SEERs were pretty accurate. Salesmen seem to make you think the multi-stage units are so efficient that JEA will be owing YOU money every month, but the reality is that I spend less than $200 a month on electric, and even if my AC accounts for $150 of that total, there is no way two 21 SEER units are going to save me $10 a month per SEER over my 10 SEER system, since that would be like $220 in savings each month, and I only spend $150. If we instead just say a 15 SEER is 1.5 times as efficient and a 20 SEER is twice as efficient as my 10 SEER setup, then my 20 SEER bill for electric would be $75 per month, and maybe $70 for a 21 SEER. And a 15 seer might be $100 a month instead of $150. A 14 SEER might be closer to $110 a month, or $40 more than the 21, meaning the real efficiency savings of investing in unit double the price would take around 15 years to realize the savings in initial cost through efficiency, right about at the time you'll need to replace the unit. 

    The first salesman also tried to convince me that my 10 SEER units were so old (16 years) that they were no longer operating at 10 SEER. He even had some kind of pseudo-mathematical equation of how much efficiency is lost every year, and he claimed that the 20+ SEER unit he was selling me was going to stop that yearly loss of efficiency. However, he failed to take into account the new unit's own yearly loss of efficiency. It's not like you're installing a NEW 21 SEER unit every year, so it will presumably also be affected by the same loss. And I don't really buy it, anyhow. I have a 1986 Bertone X 1/9 that has consistently averaged 30 mpg highway for me since I bought it in 1996, and that's above the 26 mpg EPA estimate. It doesn't like to start consistently, but the efficiency of the engine has remained pretty constant over time. So I just don't think I buy that there's a loss of SEER efficiency just by a unit running, as long as it's operating properly. Maybe I am all wrong here, but the fact remains that I'm not paying $500 a month for AC right now, and I don't expect that a new unit will slash the prices to nothing.

    Maintenance
    Theoretically, a two-stage or multi-stage heat pump could cost more in maintenance. More parts. More technology running those parts. Fewer techs who can handle the system. Shorter track record. I guess I'd assume it's basically a wash, since most techs probably know what to do, and the warranty periods are the same. No, your great-uncle who can fix anything probably won't be able to fix your multi-stage heat pump, just like you shouldn't let him touch your Tesla for repairs. 

    I read one article that implied that the jury is out on whether or not multi-stage units will hold up over the long haul, since machines are generally created to be on or off rather than operate at all different percentages. I remember people making similar arguments against cruise control for cars, but in reverse, saying that car engines weren't meant to run at the exact same rpm all the time. Mainly, we just don't know if the repair rate will somehow be higher in multi-stage units because they spin slowly for a good portion of the day. It will probably prove to be about the same as single-stage for repairs, but I wasn't sure I wanted to be in the test group for a new way of running AC units. The next decade will tell if variable speed compressors are as reliable (or more reliable) than single speed ones, but I wasn't terribly interested in being part of the experiment. 

    Resale
    I live in a middle-of-the-road neighborhood in Jacksonville. Houses go for $200,000 up to around $400,000. We have to be careful that we don't over-update our house. The house I own in Milwaukee has quartz counters and is probably the highest-valued house on the block, but we'll never recover the investment on the counters because of the area. People shopping for a house in my neighborhood will mostly see single speed heat pumps in the other homes. And looking around, I see plenty of Goodman units, so it's not like the neighbors are all purchasing multi-stage Carriers. If we sell in the next five years, a newish 16 SEER unit will still be about average. If our house was in Ponte Vedra or Avondale, buyers would expect variable speeds and UV filters, but not really in East Arlington. Besides, most people moving to my part of Jacksonville are moving from outside of Florida, often from cooler climates. I didn't even know what a heat pump was until I got here, and I had no clue that central air units could operate at different speeds. Since realtors aren't HVAC salesmen, it would be hard for them to explain why one house is worth $5,000 more than another one just because of some fancy AC. 

    If you really need to be super-comfortable or have breathing or other health issues, then a multi-stage, variable-speed, perfect-all-the-time system might make sense, even in a middle-class house. You might find a buyer with a kid who has asthma or a couple with their first child on the way. I understand that we might have to adjust the temperature once in a while to force the new heat pump to kick in or turn off, but I'd rather save the thousands on the heat pump to invest in windows that will help resale value and to control the temperature fluctuations in the house. 

    Conclusion
    Highly-efficient heat pumps still do not make cooling or heating your house free, so you need to weigh the benefits of two-stage or variable speed compressors against the initial cost. You are not going to make up the difference in energy savings or resale value very quickly (if at all), so it really has to be about the desire to have an extra-comfortable environment inside your home. If you work from home or plan on extended time at home with various pandemics over the next decade, then it's probably worth the money. About half of the sales people coming to your house will push the higher-end models, and the real sleazy ones will try to make sure your wife is part of the conversation so that he can use one of you against the other. You need to make the right choice for you, however. Right now and in a middle class neighborhood, that  best overall choice is probably still single-stage

    Search New Jax Witty
    Related Stories
     
     
     
    Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

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    Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
    Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
    Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
    Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
    Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
    Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

    Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

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  • Get a Job in JAX During the Pandemic

    Lyft is looking for drivers in Jacksonville. If, for some reason, you are sick of collecting you Florida UI AND your federal bonus cheese, then apply for Lyft here. You'll get to get out of the house, take possibly-infected people around for rides, put lots of miles on your car, see Jacksonville, and get a tip from about 10% of your riders.
  • Florida Unemployment Officially Denied Me Anything, I Guess
    I assume this is it. After hours of trying to get my unemployment application submitted (online and through the mail), I have officially been deemed ineligible. I was expecting this, kind of. I understood that I should have received an email or link of some sort in order to at least claim my self-employed federal unemployment. However, I never received an email, link, letter, phone call, or anything. Just a note on my application that says "ineligible." 
  • Profiles in Courage: The "Be as Cool as You Can be" Guy
    I hadn't heard a good catch phrase in a while. Sure, plenty of guys like to greet me with, "Hey, Boss!" or similar. But that's not really a catch phrase. My brother-in-law likes to use, "Living the dream," when people ask how he's doing, but he was thwarted during my past visit when he asked someone else how she was doing and she said, "Living the dream." I am sure he has since worked on an alternative in case this happens again, but he had nothing at that particular moment. A co-worker of my wife, when presented with a similar inquiry, always says, "Mighty fine; mighty fine," so I am offering that as Plan B for my bro.

    I like to use the Airplane line with my wife when she complains about work or schedules or cooking or dust on baseboards: "Remember, we're all counting on you." She probably thinks it's trite of me to say it, but I mean it, and sometimes I blast her with the old standby of, "You can do it, Duffy Moon!" But that's for special occasions.

    With little social interaction as of late, hearing an honest-to-goodness catch phrase was a big deal for me, which I heard from a dude (visiting one of my neighbors) as he mounted his scooter: "Be as cool as you can be."

    I like that. It's not telling someone to go out there and be cooler than he can, and it's not implying that there's some level of coolness Nirvana that is unobtainable. It's like something The Dude might say, not just some dude in a Jacksonville driveway. What I also liked was that this guy was riding a tiny scooter and being safe with a helmet, which means he was deciding for himself what was as cool as he could be rather than social norms or peer pressure. 

    Conventional wisdom might suggest that the capacity for coolness is much smaller for someone riding a scooter or who might not look like The Fonz, but I think this random dude in a neighbor's driveway was channeling The Dude in a pretty cool way. Whether you're out bowling with your buds, scootering with your homeslices, protesting with fellow believers, yachting with the yacht club, or getting Jagd up at a Jags game, you should always remember to be as cool as you can be. I think that if we all remember that, most of us won't yell obscenities at the scooter guy as we pass him on Atlantic when he's doing 35mph.

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