Archive for December, 2011

In Communist USSA, BreadKom make buns too big. Bolsheviks too lazy pretending to work and no want to change machines for smaller bun. Komrade Oscar Mayer respond with plan for bun-length hot dog. Proletariat very happy with bun-length hot dog.

In Communist Uruguay, hot dog bun keep shrinking. Smaller and smaller every year. Now need “hot dog length bun” but no have Komrade Oscar Mayer and also no have BreadKom with proper equipment. Only have Komrades Bimbo and Sorchantes and both use same machines, probably because Komrade Pepe make them use crappy machine for small bun. Proletariat say nothing; they still believe Stalin is their friend. Very sad.

They now pretend to make hot dog buns and I pretend to enjoy them. What a country!

 

The road sign that was stolen and found and replanted has now been run over and then stolen again. This time permanently.

DiverBob and I were heading out for a sail, and on the way out of the compound we saw that the sign had been run over. Interesting, that, because it is dug in several feet away from the road, in the grass, up from a very high curb. Someone got creative in their driving.

The sign was laying there on the ground, bent over a good 90 degrees from its now immovable concrete foundation. As we had the boat on the trailer and cold beer awaiting us we made the choice to grab the sign on our way back and fix it later.

Our plans were short-lived, however, as only a few hours later the smashed sign was nowhere to be seen. Someone had taken the effort of bending the pole back and forth until it broke, and removed it completely.

I am designing a new model built of reinforced concrete with razor wire, tank barriers, and explosive charges triggered by proximity sensors. Then I can take pride in the smoking craters filled with bones and burnt meat, instead of feeling sorry for myself at thinking that I could create something functional and expect society to not fucking destroy it.

No wonder nobody bothers to do anything here.

 

As if the Christmas robberies were not enough, they continue to epidemic proportions in the beach resorts of Jose Ignacio and Punta Del Este.

The police commissioner in Jose Ignacio was, in fact, just replaced, because he was performing a grossly inadequate job. How inadequate? Well, there were a dozen home burglaries in Jose Ignacio over the holidays. This doesn’t sound like much, until you find out that Jose Ignacio only has 150 houses. And only one road in and out.

One would think that Jose Ignacio would be patrolled like a TSA checkpoint with complimentary handjobs after the first burglary. It’s a tiny place. Ah, but there’s the mate, and futbol; how am I supposed to find time to look for thieves? Seriously man, you pushy Americans…

Let’s hope that the new guy is less incompetent than the old one.

Over the last few days, quite a few interesting things have happened. I was thinking of writing something about how Christmas is celebrated here in Uruguay, with the fireworks, the asado, families gathering, parties, etc. but then I figured I would write about something that nobody really talks about, the other holiday festivity practiced every year at this time:

Stealing other people’s stuff.

Christmas in Uruguay is about giving. Giving you the opportunity to hand over your wallet before you get shot. And giving you the opportunity to buy replacements for the things thieves steal from your house.

EasternBlocBob’s rental house was just broken into at night, and, while he and his family were sleeping, the thieves went through their things (creepy!) and made away with all of their wallets, several thousand USD in travel cash, and quite a few other items of value.

A group of Canadians were robbed of over $25,000.00 on Christmas Eve.

A pair of Argentine tourists were mugged at gunpoint by two thugs on a motorcycle, in the wee morning hours of Christmas Day, on their way home from a party, and liberated of the US$3000 they were carrying.

Six worthless teenagers, four of them with firearms, attacked and robbed a sausage factory this week as well.

Other thieves stole one of the road signs I had made and installed so that I would be able to have mail and other things delivered or give directions to folks who have any reason to visit my bunker.

Perhaps it was the same thieves who also “relocated” a second sign at the road’s main entry and hid it in the bushes. Maybe it was too heavy to carry alongside the first, with its ball of concrete at the bottom, and they ditched it.

Feliz navidad!

This goes well with other things that happened last year at this time. While construction was going on at our house and another house a stone’s throw away, thieves stole a mountain bike out of my garage, and stole USD$1500 worth of paint from the neighbor’s.

They also stole the planters (with plants) from another neighbor’s house, along with all of their exterior lighting fixtures.

They stole the crappy old door mat (more of a carpet scrap, really) from in front of GermanBob’s house, and were chased away during a second attempt to invade his home while he was inside and his car was in the driveway, no less!

They took the used flip-flops from yet another acquaintance’s spot (I can’t think of a “Bob” name for him at the moment) on the beach during the few minutes he dared to go wading in the ocean.

Some fuckbag also stole a crab trap of mine which I had left tied to a local pier in the hopes of coming back and having a pot full of crabs. I came back to find that my trap had been taken. This I find both funny and infuriating because Uruguayos do not eat crabs. During my various crab hunting trips I have always been asked by locals who end up fascinated, disgusted, and dumbfounded why I would eat a crab, let alone many crabs. Ah well, they are delicious and that leaves more for me.

The trap was taken in front of other people, no less, who were there fishing, saw me put out the trap, and could have, or most certainly did, know that someone else was stealing it when it disappeared (there were still people there when I went back for the missing trap).

But then why steal a crab trap if you don’t eat crabs?

Because it’s there and it belongs to someone else, that’s why. And now it can belong to you! Doesn’t matter whether or not you get value out of the thing, you managed to rob someone else of its use (kind of like socialists and their monetary policies) and that’s powerful stuff. Hooray for you!

I have a prediction: before this high season is over, we will hear a story or three about thieves being “disappeared” by fed-up vigilant citizens who don’t bother calling the police.

Ivan Heyn, an economist from Argentina, was found naked and hanged to death in his Radisson hotel room during the latest Mercosur summit in Montevideo, on December 21. Good riddance.

Kristina Fernandez Kirchner, the president of Argentina, shed a few crocodile tears and called in a doctor to add extra drama to her act of being upset.

You see, she killed the man.

Kristina’s policies have all but made Argentina broke. Her policies have strangled Argentina’s agricultural exports with 40% increases on export tarriffs, which killed their beef, wheat, and soybean industries, the lifeblood of the country.

She overtook the communication industry so that anyone who dares speak against her can no longer conduct business.

She just overtook the newspaper industry’s supply-line of newsprint, in the interest of “defending the freedom of expression of all the Argentines”

Anyone who blows the whistle about real inflation numbers gets arrested.

Now there are newer, harsher currency controls to limit dollar usage in the economy to make sure that nobody bails on the hyperinflating Argentine Peso.

And newer, harsher laws against black-market money-changing “arbolitos” to prevent them from circumventing the government idiocy and actually letting people retain their wealth on the open market.

So how, now, can one function as an economist (the question should stop there) in Argentina, under Kristina’s dictatorial thumb?

One could argue that anyone who knows anything about economics will never, ever need a job as an economist. Because they will be too busy making money hand over fist by turning their hobbies into empires. Simple cause and effect is all you need to know about economics. Get in the way of cause, get in between cause and effect, or take away part or all of the effect, (all of which government does) and you distort the economy, often in dire ways, and make the cause-ees and effect-ees angry.

It is worth mentioning that Ivan Heyn was an extreme socialist and a member of the brainwashed Peronist Youth group, which basically goes around and hazes people until they sing the praises of Kristina. Ask any Argentine.

So this poor sap has no ability to gain his desired effects through planned causes, he sees all the lies and corruption in the regime, and he just knows that if anything goes wrong, he will be the straw man thrown to the angry mob. He knows the time is limited and that there is only so much money they can squeeze out of the already-impoverished Argentine taxpayers.

So he offs himself.

He probably wasn’t the first, and surely won’t be the last. Kristina will kill millions more before she is through, via her policies of starvation, poverty, and the increasingly violent crime born of hungry desperation that already plagues the country.

See the full article here.

Peace at last

Posted: December 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

The folks with the horribly unbehaved dog have relocated it to a fenced in portion of their side yard where it cannot see everything that moves and therefore does not bark at everything that moves. It’s still sad for the dog as they still do not pay attention to it or train it, but it’s good news for my sanity. I suppose they managed to scrape some pesos together and buy a clue from the half-naked man screaming at them from his balcony in the middle of the night.

Warning: I am especially brutal and cynical with today’s post. It’s one of those days. If you are a love-everyone drum circle hippie, don’t read this.

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“Why isn’t anything moving with my residency application?” a concerned friend asks his lawyer.

“They are changing the rules around every month at this point.” comes the reply.

Which is true, unfortunately. I also encountered arbitrary rule changes when trying to help my friend InspectorBob attain his firearm permits. The law states that to do so, one must have a cedula of any kind, whether or not it is “en tramite” (meaning in-process, your package has been submitted but you have not yet received the permanent residency, which takes a wave of a magic wand from deep within the hive where the bureaucrats hum and buzz and do their bizarre dances to tell each other where action and success are happening so they can go and suck out its sweet nectar and lay thier maggot eggs upon the rotting corpses of their capitalist victims… but I digress). He had his “en tramite” cedula but was told he could not get his firearm permit. Nevermind that the same police department in the same city just a couple of years ago had no problem issuing mine, or allowing me to import assault weapons from my collection in the USA, when I was “en tramite”.

Yet another friend of mine must drive 2-3 hours each way to Montevideo and back, and spend untold hours in line, to get a paper permitting his wife to leave the country with their daughter so that they can visit relatives in the USA. This is supposedly a new law to prevent the parental abduction of children from the country. Because it happens, like, never. They have their own building and branch of bureaucrats, and a ministry with a fancy name and acronym, just for that (nothing). Oh, right. Jobs.

Seems that every office in bureaucratia is imposing their own arbitrary rules at this point, and to hell the law. Every little desk chief has his own special way he wants to do things. There is no consistency from one office to another, not even within the same city or district. Now this not only holds up everything, it opens the door for vast amounts of corruption. Which, in short time, will be the only way to get anything moving.

And now the Russians are coming. They know a bit about corruption and making things go even in the face of the iron fist of communist sloth. Uruguay is opening visa-free travel to Russia.

Maybe this is a good thing. Or maybe the Russians will get here and ask, “What the fuck is this?” and take their money to some other place where they can make things happen.

As I have said many times, maybe not here but in many other places, MY KINGDOM FOR SOME CORRUPTION! Maybe that will get things moving and let people actually get stuff done here.

But, in the meantime, all movement is grinding to a halt in just about every government office in the entire country. No new residencies, no new gun permits, strike after strike after strike making sure that no work gets done. Summer is the season of strikes. Christmas, especially. Last year at this time, right on schedule for tourist high season, the garbage workers went on strike and let mountains of trash accumulate, nice to see and smell for all the people curious to come to Uruguay and spend their money! It took a military effort, literally, to come in and sanitize things again. As if the workers need any extra time off from their not-doing-anything-in-the-first-place and their constant holidays and mandatory paid vacations and forced-out-of-their-employers pensions…

So, you might ask, why don’t people take care of their own trash? On top of all the normal laziness and lack of wanting to do things, the few scabs who do go out and try to do their jobs when the rest are on strike tend to get beaten up and/or killed as an example to the others. For specific example, during one of the latest taxi strikes to protest a taxi driver who was mugged and killed, one lone scab decided that he didn’t want his family to starve so he started taking fares. When the other striking taxi drivers heard of this, they mugged and hospitalized him. During their protest against mugging and violence.

Nice, eh? That’s why folks here don’t do anything. They can’t. Their hands are tied from any angle. The only thing that can move at this point will be heavy, insane amounts of corruption. Which I will bet you money on.

A big mining contract was recently dropped here. The mining company had submitted its proposal, the site was prepped, and they had started setting up to hire workers. Uruguay’s government sat so long on the approval that the mining company decided it had other better options, and walked. Then all of a sudden the government is looking around wondering why the mining company left. Then they see all these people that were sitting around expecting a job, and decided to pay them anyways to sit on ass and do nothing. We’re making jobs! I can hear the conversation already when it revolves to:

“What do you do for a living?”

“Oh, I’m a miner.”

“In Montevideo?”

‘”Yes.”

“But where is the mine?”

“Oh, there isn’t a mine. The government took too long to approve their contract and the mining company left for greener pastures.”

“So then who do you really work for?”

“The government.”

“And what is it, exactly, that you do for them?”

“Nothing.”

“Is the pay good?”

“It’s ok. But the paid vacation and aguinaldo bonus is worth it!”

Put this guy in the club of extra-special ñoquis like Cousin Pepe, the elevator maintenance supervisor for a one-story government building.

So why, after all this, would anyone want to start a business in Uruguay?

Well, uh, they don’t. No wonder every good and service costs an arm and a leg here; the poor folks who manage to penetrate the bureaucracy spend so much time and effort doing it, they deserve every last peso.

Top that off with a new 22% increase in BPS *and* a 22% mandatory increase in construction worker salaries (which may also spread into other industries as well; we just found out about it because like true masochists we are preparing to build another house).

Do they want to scare away every last morsel of impetus, creativity, and drive for success? Seems that way.

I think of all the things I would do if there wasn’t a 60% tax on imports plus the 22% vat. I would buy a new truck, for starters.

I think of all the people I would hire for various tasks if I didn’t have to pay them for a half-assed effort and didn’t have to pay them mandatory vacation pay and holiday pay and aguinaldo (bonus) and now 22% more for their labor and then see them go on strike because they want more…

I think of all the things I would import to make my life and other lives easier if I didn’t have to spend all day or several days (or in the case of the Great Motorcycle Caper, post coming soon on that, more than 2 years) to *maybe* receive the thing I had sent to myself…

Then I think of the past few years… new income tax where there wasn’t one before. New BPS tax, which there wasn’t before. New laws that say you must pay a pre-ordained income tax on your OWN labor, say, if you paint your own bloody house, which wasn’t there before. Increase after increase in “protecting” the workers, which doesn’t really protect them but makes them in fact less likely to be hired. New laws banning smoking… new laws banning the importation of vehicles and parts if you aren’t part of the mafia. New laws on requiring firearm permits, which weren’t there before either, and now they may as well never have been because it seems the infectious Ebola of government stupidity has worked its way into that bloodstream as well…

So when you have pretty much banned everything but sitting on ass, drinking mate, and going on strike, and made everything else in the grey areas not-worth-doing because of excessive bureaucracy or excessive costs, what have you got?

Uruguay!