Category Archives: General

Student Loans – Fin

Yesterday I paid off my last student loan. It took nearly 16 years to do so, a stretch of time that, frankly, is embarrassing. I financed my college education completely on my own; my parents held to the belief (in the mid-90s) that one could still pay their way through college. You couldn’t, there wasn’t even a chance of that happening.

My college education was financed on the backs of loans, a single grant for 2 semesters, and credit cards. I have paid off the loans. 16 years after the fact, I still have 2 credit cards within striking distance of being paid off (read: less than 5 figures).

I will not claim I was (or am) the best manager of my own money, but the cost of simply attending college set my finances back a decade. The real estate crash simply pounded the lid closed on my financial coffin in the late 2000s. We are working to dig out now, but we are purposely struggling.

There is a movement to reform college financing, something I completely support. I can’t imagine the pressures of graduating today with tens of thousands of dollars of debt. For now, I’m a few hundred dollars closer to being in the black; budget projections here show that is years away, though.

Openly questioning the value of a degree is a smart first step. Evaluating the value to yourself is just as important. Either way, this country needs to have a frank discussion about education, K through PhD. I hope we have it soon.

Myrt Hulst – 1929 – 2104

I’m getting sick of writing these.

On January 19, 2014, Myrtle Hulst passed from this Earth. She was 84, 4 months short of her birthday. She is survived by 2 sisters and countless nieces, nephews, grand nieces, grand nephews, and friends. I am one of those grand nephews and Myrt was like a third grandmother to me.

Myrt never married or had children, but not for any of the previous generations’ reasons for excusing such things. Not that my family would ever discuss such things, but I believe Myrt found companionship in her multitude of friends. I have been to many funerals and many visitations. Myrt’s was easily one of the most well attended.

Myrt was my grandmother’s sister and a constant presence in our family. From my earliest memories, she was there. She spent her life as a hair stylist, first working in salons and then owning her own for more than 30 years. Her partners and staff were as much her family as we her blood relatives and wept as we did at her funeral.

We always referred to Myrt as “Aunt”, not because we couldn’t trace her place in the family tree (a skill we children of Dutch immigrants learned well), but because she was as much a part of our family experience as anyone else.

Myrt left suddenly, diagnosed with Stage 4 liver cancer five weeks before she died. The family is grateful to Holland Hospice for the kindness and expertise they brought to her and her situation. If you have the means, please give generously to your local Hospice in her name.

Rest in peace, strong, stoic, faithful aunt.  You are missed.

A Breakdown of Guns and Ammo’s Response to a Reasonable Editorial

Recently, a [former] editor at Guns and Ammo published what most rational citizens would consider a measured and logical approach to gun control. For that, he was fired, disowned, and earned an official response from the remaining editorial staff. Below is that response, editorialized by me, a current non-crazy gun person (which apparently is now something we have to designate ourselves as). Since Guns and Ammo is such a Constitutionally-minded organization, they clearly understand my First Amendment rights (one better than Second!) in editorializing  their rebuttal.


From Jim Bequette, editor, “Guns & Ammo” Magazine:

As editor of “Guns & Ammo,” I owe each and every reader a personal apology.

If it’s for the following message, yes. Yes you do.

No excuses, no backtracking.

What follows is a metric shit-ton of everything elses. Mostly ignoring the original editorial and begging for you to return to your previous mental patterns.

Dick Metcalf’s “Backstop” column in the December issue has aroused unprecedented controversy.

Mostly in the cognitive dissonance he created in our readers’ minds. Sorry for the overload required to process his pretty basic gun regulation discussion.

Readers are hopping mad about it, and some are questioning “Guns & Ammo”’s commitment to the Second Amendment. I understand why.

Actually, he doesn’t. And, like him, no one emailing Jim has anything remotely resembling a passing knowledge of current Second Amendment Law.

Let me be clear: Our commitment to the Second Amendment is unwavering. It has been so since the beginning.

We think Fred Bear is a documentary. Also, we may not understand what documentaries are.

Historically, our tradition in supporting the Second Amendment has been unflinching. No strings attached.

You should totally be able to own a fully automatic, tripod-mounted, .50 caliber machine gun to compensate for… whatever. Commies! Terrorists! ‘Murica!

It is no accident that when others in the gun culture counseled compromise in the past, hard-core thinkers such as Harlon Carter, Don Kates and Neal Knox found a place and a voice in these pages.

We support the craziest, batshit-insane arguments for the most completely unregulated gun laws you could imagine. Seriously, Google these guys.

When large firearms advocacy groups were going soft in the 1970s, they were prodded in the right direction, away from the pages of “Guns & Ammo.”

I ran out of scare quotes. Please insert as necessary so you take my euphemisms for fact.

In publishing Metcalf’s column, I was untrue to that tradition, and for that I apologize. His views do not represent mine — nor, most important, “Guns & Ammo”’s. It is very clear to me that they don’t reflect the views of our readership either.

Guns and Ammo is a bastion of out-dated and fringe viewpoints, based in a world that hasn’t existed in 20 years, if ever. We promise to not make you think about any stupid-ass position you have internalized. Please continue ignoring all the kids dying in this country and believing that more guns somehow counters the excessive amount of guns already in circulation.

Dick Metcalf has had a long and distinguished career as a gunwriter, but his association with “Guns & Ammo” has officially ended.

The world, embodied in Dick Metcalf, has moved on but we resolutely refuse to acknowledge that so we fire anyone who represents a viewpoint that doesn’t conform to our narrow viewpoint.

I once again offer my personal apology. I understand what our valued readers want.

Armed revolt against a boogieman.

I understand what you believe in when it comes to gun rights, and I believe the same thing.

I don’t actually. We think it’s unfettered access to military-grade weapons, but so few of you can parse scientific studies that say you’re wrong, we default to marketing weapons from the manufactures in the most political way we can. Mostly due to your subscription dollars.

I made a mistake by publishing the column.

This statement was mostly based on your removal of subscription dollars.

I thought it would generate a healthy exchange of ideas on gun rights.

Or pageviews. Either way.

I miscalculated, pure and simple. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.

I really thought we could bring you Neanderthals along into a discussion most of the country finished in the 20th century (for those of you keeping time, that was almost 15 years past). I was wrong and you threatened my livelihood and, let’s be frank, I need this job way more than my integrity or honor.

Plans were already in place for a new editor to take the reins of “Guns & Ammo” on January 1.

No they weren’t.

However, these recent events have convinced me that I should advance that schedule immediately.

Please stop cancelling your subscriptions.

Your new “Guns & Ammo” editor will be Eric R. Poole, who has so effectively been running our special interest publications, such as “Book of the AR-15” and “TRIGGER.” You will be hearing much more about this talented editor soon.

We promise to continue feeding your conspiracy-minded worldview. Please buy the stupid shit we referenced above as we’ve already arranged to get a cut of those sales.

“Guns & Ammo” will never fail to vigorously lead the struggle for our Second Amendment rights, and with vigorous young editorial leadership such as Eric’s, it will be done even better in the future.

Seriously, your ridiculous worldview will be completely justified in these pages. We’ll also promote the various weapons and ammo you can use to threaten the strawmen we set up in our editorial pages.

Respectfully,

Please don’t shoot me

Jim Bequette

Coward

Disabling a Stubborn Field Test Mode

Some time ago, I turned on Field Test Mode on my iPhone 4. I then dutifully backed up that phone for ages, restoring that backup to my new iPhone 5 when I got it last year.

Then I tried turning off Field Test Mode, which came over in the backup. And it wouldn’t stay turned off.

After much searching I found a solution that, for now, appears to have solved the issue: enter the number into Notes and then paste the number into dialer, instead of typing in the number (from this helpful Apple support thread).

Breaking Bad

Perfect.

So much digital ink will be spilled on Monday about this show, I’ll hold my insufficient words. But I think one thing felt so right about the show, and it only works in the context of that Universe.

Walt. Wins.

And that’s the only way the show could have ended.

Breaking Bad, for all the nit-picky things people will detail over the next few days, is a perfect show. Long, in-depth character studies. Creative uses of long-cliched tropes. A story that works for one-time viewers and obsessives alike. But the tone, the humanity of the show; it’s an amazing combination of writing, acting, music, and self-awareness.

It was a fantastic run, a memorable experience, and–what other word is there–perfect ending. I suspect, someday, a show will be better than Breaking Bad. I can’t imaging how that will be and I hope I live to watch it, but for now Breaking Bad is, without a doubt, the best television in a generation.

Site moving, new URL

After years of neglect, this site and blog will be moving to Blogger. The youknowwhatpart.com URL will expire or be sold and all posts have been migrated to http://youknowwhatpart.blogspot.com/. Please update your bookmarks, RSS feeds, carrier pigeons and indentured servants^H^H^H unpaid interns.

 

Update: Nevermind

In Memoriam: Marlene Vis

Marlene Vis, my aunt, passed away this past Saturday, aged 63, loosing a prolonged battle with cancer. I know it’s trite to say that cancer patients “fight” their disease, but if anyone had, she did. Sent to hospice twice, she beat the odds to live more than a year longer than the most optimistic projections. She was–is–one of the strongest people I’ve ever met.

Marlene is survived by her mother, her husband, her two children, four grandchildren, and hard-to-count numbers of nieces, nephews, great-level relations, and friends. To say she had a wide-reaching impact on the community would be an understatement; I think a large swath of Byron Center shut down for her funeral.

Of my relations, Marlene was special. She was friends with my mother for more than five decades. My cousins were near the age of me and my brother and more than friends for years. In the small area in which we grew up, they were secondary family in significant ways.

My fondest memory of her is a Tiger’s baseball game in the post-’84 seasons. The extended family (dozens of us) would venture all the way across the state to DEEtroit to see a Tigers game. It was an event of epic proportions for us in the late 80′s. Marlene and I sat next to each other (I was the Cute Nephew), but had Obstructed Seating. In Tiger’s Stadium, that meant we had a big-ass kind-of-painted-blue steal beam blocking out a majority of the field.

But not the pitcher’s mound. Oh no, that we could see just fine. And so we shouted at every pitch, howled at every K, and taunted every Ball. And, god help him, when Willie Hernandez (aka Whiplash Willie) strode to the mound, he must have heard every invective hurled at him from our two seats.

That memory is nearly 30 years old today. It’s my most precious memory of her and one I choose to hold onto. I know that people change and that the aunt I lost this week is not the same person who shouted at a relief pitcher at Trumbell and Michigan.  But that’s the person I miss most; the infectious laugh, the force of nature who dared you to enjoy yourself.

I hope you’ve found peace and freedom from your pain, Aunt Marlene. Few have earned it more than you. We already miss you.