Journal of the Great Shutdown, Day Seven

My trip to Maryland over the weekend was bad.

Really bad.

Houses boarded up. Shirtless men sitting on sidewalks, listless and defeated. Graffiti. Fist fights. Broken glass on cracked pavement.

At one point I even saw a gang of street children dressed in black leathers, playing a game of football with the skull of a dog. I tapped my second cousin on the shoulder, pointed, and whispered "The Shutdown".

She shook her head and said "No – Baltimore's always like that."

My cousin is nice, but she clearly doesn't know what she's talking about. I've reviewed the amount of money that the government normally sends Baltimore and there's no way that the place could possibly look like this normally.

Anyway, my mind was on the family emergency (thankfully resolved) and before I quite knew it I was being dropped off.

…at the Amtrak station.

Wait! Wait!!

As the car drove away suddenly I realized the danger I was in. I looked around nervously. The Amtrak station behind me was closed because of the shutdown, the neighborhood ahead of me was blasted, burned and covered with garbage for the same reason.

I needed to get out of there, and ASAP.

Without much hope I pulled on the door of the Amtrak station – and it opened!

Inside the air conditioning was blasting, the lights were bright, the marble gleamed, four agents sat behind their desks.

Amtrak was up and running? The shutdown was over?

For the first time in a week I felt hopeful, thinking that our country might yet survive.

I smiled and bought a ticket. Twenty minutes later I boarded the train and made my way to the dining car where I bought a cold sandwich on stale bread for $9.50 and a Sierra Mist for $2. As I bit into the cardboard-like food I smiled. The thing libertarians will never understand is that we can't just go it alone. The sand-which is the perfect example. I know, it might seem like a small thing, but if I and other yuppies were forced to pay Amtrak's actual $20 cost to deliver this food to me, we'd have chaos. People need to understand that government is just a word for things that we all do together, like subsidize food for yuppies traveling by train to the tune of $833 million.

Anyway, the sandwich is done and I'm going to take a nap. And I know I'm going to sleep well, because America is safe. It looked bad for a few days, but we came through it. Together.

UPDATE: Just woke up and overheard two people talking. The shutdown is still going on!?!? Not quite sure how that can be given the amount of government subsidies that Amtrak needs to operate, but I'll worry about that later. Right now I need to get home to Mrs. Clark to make sure that she, the salted beef, and the gasoline are safe.

More tomorrow.

UPDATE #2: Between setting up a defensive perimeter around the condo and trying to find generator parts on Craigslist, I'm not sure how much time I'm going to have to blog. Follow me on twitter: @ClarkHat

Last 5 posts by Clark

Comments

  1. Richard says

    Shame on you, for making us worry so over the weekend!
    Haven't you seen the frantic posts Patrick has been making looking for you?

    Glad to hear you're alright. We're all pulling for you.

  2. JonCB says

    Was there Chains and various other makeshift weapons involved in the game of football? If so… "Wooo! Jugger!" An appropriate game for this Post-Apocalyptic world we live in.

  3. says

    I would overpay to take the Surfliner to San Diego for court more often, because I can work on the train, so it makes economic sense.

    But Amtrak's wifi is run by the same people who optimize its food service.

  4. Geek Chick says

    How in the world can you lose money on a $2 can of soda? Even if cases of 24 sold for $24 (which they don't) you'd still be making 100% profit.

    Oh and nice to see you made it, Clark. On a slightly related tangent, why does TEOTWAWKI always seem to feature gay bondage biker gangs? Or is that just an Australian thing?

  5. En Passant says

    I wouldn't trust those railroad men. I've heard they just drink up your blood like wine. Better to be stuck inside of MobileBaltimore.

  6. says

    why does [ the end of the world as we know it ] always seem to feature gay bondage biker gangs?

    I assume it's because freed of constraints we'd all give in to our innermost desires.

    Wait.

    They.

    They would all give in to their innermost desires.

  7. Kevin says

    I realize that Clark isn't following the Republican's talking points, but their talking point is nearly identical. As political strategy I am not sure I understand why they are arguing this point. If I looked at the shutdown for guidance on what the government does, I would think all it does is run the national parks. That doesn't seem very intrusive into my life, so why is big gobernment a big deal?

    Simultaneously, if you convince everyone that your hostage is worthless, then why should anyone negotiate with you?

    I just don't understand any of this mess, but I am glad you made it home alive Clark.

  8. Tyson says

    Shame on you, for making us worry so over the weekend!
    Haven't you seen the frantic posts Patrick has been making looking for you?

    Glad to hear you're alright. We're all pulling for you.

    Via Angus was thiiiiiiiis close to making a post about searching for Clark over by the other big barn.

  9. Geek Chick says

    Clark, but wouldn't you expect that if they gave into their inmost desires there would be a more definite pony element? Even before the fall of decent civilization, there were far too many bronies.

  10. Erwin says

    I wonder about the long-term plan of the Tea Party. I wonder what the most effective way to reduce the government size would be? I'd guess it would be forcing the US into a semi-sustained default. If that can be managed, borrowing costs would increase exponentially and government spending would be rapidly cut to levels sustainable by taxation.

    Now, there'd be some side effects – as currently – the US making quite a profit over having what is perceived as a stable currency and safe bonds. (It seems possible to fund roughly half of all federal spending through near-zero interest loans and occasionally printing money…)

    But, it'd be a sure way to shrink the size of the government. The only issue is that it would effectively shrink the US economy by about 10%.

    Overall, it might even be a good thing. Sure, SS and Medicare would be cut and some old people would die. But, on the bright side, US military spending would also be crippled – and other nations would obtain a fairer shake. Or possibly massive wars. Longer-term, it'd set the stage for a significant rebalancing of wealth in the US, once all the subsidies were cut. I'm not sure – as the costs occasioned by switching to a different reserve currency might be substantial for the rest of the world.

    Meh, or taxes would just go up by 20%.

    –Erwin

  11. JScarry says

    The first post wasn’t funny. Neither were the rest. Now you just look like an entitled git. You really have no clue or empathy for people who are impacted by the shutdown. Stop now before you damage the Popehat brand even more.

  12. says

    @JScarry

    The first post wasn’t funny. Neither were the rest.

    I'm trying to understand the thought processes of someone who would eat a bowl full of shit, and then complain that not only did it taste bad but so did the next six bowls.

    …and I'm failing.

  13. TomB says

    Stop now before you damage the Popehat brand even more.

    First this, then the ponies, can things get any darker for the vaunted Popehat brand?

    Govern yourselfz accordionly, yo.

  14. says

    I don't post much anymore, except on Facebook, which is an adjunct to this blog, but over there I mentioned that I was going to ban people who complain about this author or that ruining the brand.

    So I did.

  15. Allen says

    I heard a rumor that at one of the wild horse and burro facilities run by the BLM they had to shoot all of the animals because they couldn't feed them anymore. On the plus side the carcasses are available for the ravenous hordes. Deep-pit burro umm, umm, umm.

  16. Irk says

    If the Popehat brand is damaged too much, spammers won't ask to send in guest articles anymore, and this world would have less mirth in it for the loss.

  17. Shane says

    @Geek Chick

    How in the world can you lose money on a $2 can of soda? Even if cases of 24 sold for $24 (which they don't) you'd still be making 100% profit.

    Silly Geek Chick, you forgot the most important part of the equation to calculate profit, volume. It is ok though because it is probably not your job or profession to do so, but imagine that for those in the government whose job it is and they can't. By default though you would be better at it than them because at least you could understand that you don't know how to do it and would probably be amenable to learning, whereas those in the government staunchly believe that markup is the only factor in any profit calculation.

  18. Shane says

    @Patrick Non-white

    I mentioned that I was going to ban people who complain about this author or that ruining the brand.

    So I did.

    Popehat has a brand? Like Anugus'? I like your solution though.

  19. FlyingDogs says

    @Clark

    I'm trying to understand the thought processes of someone who would eat a bowl full of shit, and then complain that not only did it taste bad but so did the next six bowls.

    Classic, I can hardly wait for the response . . . . if there is one.

    Standing by with popcorn . . . .

  20. DRJlaw says

    The first post wasn’t funny. Neither were the rest. Now you just look like an entitled git. You really have no clue or empathy for people who are impacted by the shutdown. Stop now before you damage the Popehat brand even more.

    The universal judge of funniness, entitlement, clue(less)ness, empathy, and proper non-commercial blogging has spoken.

    Now pack it in and focus your efforts on things that JScarry approves of, or at least does not find objectionable.

  21. Geek Chick says

    @JScarry

    I have no empathy for anyone who uses the word "impacted" in any way other than referring to a wisdom tooth. It's a sure sign of a bureaucratic pencil pusher.

  22. Allen says

    Ooo, ooo, pick me!

    I can do a Popehat Brand. But you need some livestock first.

    The basic brand: (+)

    A half circle underneath makes it The Rocking Popehat.
    Tilted to the side would make it The Lazy Popehat.

    The possibilities are endless.

  23. says

    @Clark – When you didn't post for two days and then we didn't get a follow up from Patrick, I was sure you had fallen. I'm elated to see you're alive and well but you left us worried sick for a good 48 hours. I know you'll probably use that Dinner guests/My Wife stuff again but it really is hard to swallow in the middle of the world falling apart like this.

  24. orvis barfley says

    i snicker while the greatest of all time coughs in the field overhead, and . . . uh . . . clark writes swell.

  25. Ryan says

    And here I thought Clark had gotten chopped up and canned with a little lemon for seasoning.

    Oh well, there's always tomorrow. Doesn't look like this shutdown is ending anytime soon =)

  26. Nick says

    So my takeaway from this is that Clark has been massively underestimating the profitability of the Northeast Corridor Amtrak lines.

    Which..yeah that actually sounds pretty plausible to me.

  27. Dave says

    Clark, as Marylander all my life I can say Baltimore is not that bad, it's Rockville you have to worry about. You don't go back to Rockville.

  28. gramps says

    @geek chick; @don: such use of "impacted" is almost certainly a cover for not knowing the proper use of "effected" versus "affected". Think: Hanlon's Razor.

    Disclosure: I've been using this trick/cover for decades, in spite of Strunk & White holding a prominent place on my desk.

  29. Allen says

    Branding is such a tricky thing. Would the brand meet the CFR (as accepted by your state.)

    Tricksey.

    I vote for the Flying Popehat brand BTW.

  30. Anony Mouse says

    I thought the Northeast Corridor was only profitable when you assumed the massive government subsidies just fell out of the sky like manna from Heaven. And as long as you don't count the $300+ million it needs for infrastructure and equipment.

    Or, in other words, its profitability is nothing but smoke and mirrors and it's just a slightly smaller sinkhole than the rest of the lines.

  31. Tarrou says

    Glad to hear you made it, Clark. I myself went to Canada, where their government works so well they wouldn't let me in. I would have been back sooner, but the sled dogs had a hard time mushing with no snow on the ground. Couldn't use the roads, no government you know. And bicycles are for hippies. I returned to my hometown to find it riddled with violent crime and burnt out abandoned buildings. I really thought the shutdown would have affected us by now.

  32. Reformed Republican says

    You really have no clue or empathy for people who are impacted by the shutdown. Stop now before you damage the Popehat brand even more.

    Which people would those be? The ones who collect a paycheck for doing nonproductive jobs for the government, or the ones who collect welfare without even the illusion of doing a productive job?

  33. TomB says

    Which people would those be? The ones who collect a paycheck for doing nonproductive jobs for the government, or the ones who collect welfare without even the illusion of doing a productive job?

    Disability is the new unemployment.

    Damn lawy…….
    …..uh, never mind.