Political Stuff – Will Political Pundits Please Quit Calling themselves Conservatives?

Political Pundits Use up too much oxygen?

An alternative headline is Life is too short to dance with ugly women

Saw an article in my local Denver post.  I think the most humorous item to me is how audience grabbers like these people always beat up on the government but then their usual aim is to get elected in some capacity. Nice Work If You Can Get It by Grusin sounds good right now.  Meanwhile while sporting their conservative label out front for everybody to see (like a mask), they decry masks. It’s a lesson in absurdity but then that’s how it seems to work more and more these days.

At least all of those participants like to think so…

Here the so-called conservative is more akin to a radical anarchist.  Substituting government for “respected medical authorities” is fine with them. Heck, let’s go to Vegas and we can place our bets. Wait, we don’t have to travel. Sports betting on our phones has exploded and is now larger than the lottery (I would wager).

Anyway here is a different point of view for the Kafer column

Krista Kafer: I will not wear a mask despite the mandates
There is no way to eliminate COVID entirely. We must adapt to living with the risk rather than believing the government can eliminate it through disruptive edicts.
Here was my letter to Denver Post
Krista Kafer column 11/28 — While it is good to hear a variety of viewpoints regarding an issue, it is inaccurate to consider Kafer as a conservative voice. Better to take a chance and adapt to a virus, than take steps to medically mitigate is not very conservative in my book.  She is hard right more so than conservative cautious incremental change type.

I liked her opener “Let’s look at the facts” but then she quoted a “review” by another journalist referencing no medical studies. I checked with Mayo Clinic and Cleveland Clinic and the facts according to them are much different than audience-vested writers looking to cater to an audience. Or potentially get themselves enough visibility to get elected.  Vested target journalists writing articles in conservative sounding magazines is no different than oil lobbyists forming nice sounding “independent” groups to proselytize their way.

For “conservatives” who use the word “government” as their whipping dog, then, why do they try/angle so hard to be a part of it (e.g. Littleton city council failed run)?

The Taliban are in charge of Afghanistan now. How is that working out now and will work out in the future for them? Reminds me of Douglas County.
It’s certainly easy to see she has constructed a “conservative” profile but looking at her columns she seems closer to anarchist/radical in her prescriptions. Throw in a dash of militant.  Heritage Foundation and Hannity are totally predicable in their viewpoints. YOu know in advance what they will say and how they will say it. That proferred credential badge is their own form of mask-wearing and immunization shot ironically. I understand she has to make a living

If we are going to use the acronym RINO, then by all means these “gamblers” like Kafer should be termed CINO (Conservative in name only). To what extent have people like this only serve to extend the public health crisis?

My suggestion is that if one of your columnists wants to write about a medical condition, then make it mandatory that at least 3 actual genuine medical authorities are referenced.  Hop skipping where they quote another writer in another opinion column who doesn’t quote any actual medical references does not satisfy that condition.

For the record I am a long-time ex-republican now registered unaffiliated. I have worked with EHRs, Telemedicine and health technology for 20 years. I have to deal in facts, not predictable role-based pundits.
Last time you did that I got an anonymous letter written in ALL CAPITALS threatening me and my wife from “conservative” people. Not very conservative in my book.

Opinion Column From LinkedIn on Restaurant Drive-Thrus Driving People Away

Etta, Editor in Chief

Etta, Editor in Chief

Opinion Column — Drive Thrus Driving People Awaysee linkedin article.  This looks at how fixing one thing often breaks another. Posted as well on kioskindustry.org

Craig Allen Keefner  Consultant Self-Service Technology 65 articles

Much of my career has been devoted to websites and internet properties. High Availability and Burst Capacity are two of the big factors considered.

Having a nice website being overwhelmed by large traffic and sometimes a Denial of Service attack is very common and any internet manager worth his or hers salt has experienced that situation, and vowed to mitigate it in the future.

It’s not surprising them that when I drive by a Chick-Fil-A restaurant (or an In&Out) I see long lines, closed dining rooms, and cars driving off after getting in line and deciding they will just get a Wendys or whatever.

I use Drive-Thrus. My ad hoc experience is that they mess up the order/food probably 25% of the time, and I don’t like handing them my credit card.

There are many factors driving this and the pandemic is just one.

Drive-Thrus are Driving People Away

From Business Insider November 2021

  • Workers in fast food and full-service dining say to-go orders are making their jobs harder.
  • Drive-thru and to-go orders exploded during the pandemic as dining rooms closed.
  • Some workers say they can’t keep up normal standards with multiple orders coming in each minute.

ZDnet wrote up Chick-Fil-A recently as well

In a recent interview with the Atlanta Business Journal, Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy admitted: “We estimate about 30% of the people are driving off, driving away, because the lines are so long.”

Chick-Fil-A has tried the Los Angeles approach to mitigating traffic (add more lanes) and has found that doesn’t work, as it hasn’t worked for Los Angeles.

But Chick-fil-A has some particular challenges. It’s often been set in very successful ways. It’s very often been voted the slowest drive-thru — could it be that its employees try and be nice to customers?

In fact, rather than instantly inject technological enhancements, Chick-fil-A has sometimes resorted to just building another Chick-fil-A down the road.

Sadly, Cathy confessed: “We found that doesn’t solve the problem.”

Certainly the lack of interest in being an employee for certain companies has compounded the problem. Example would be the difference among McDonalds franchisees who set their minimum wage. Why work for $9.50 when you can work for $15?

Solution Tactics

Ghost Kitchens is a big trend.

Ghost kitchen as Google Trend chart for past 5 years. Yes it has increased.

I liked the long article on NRF and Ghost kitchens.

Small wonder, then, that ghost kitchens were a $43.1 billion industry in 2019, and expected to reach $71.4 billion by 2027, according to Hospitality Technology.

The most promising and explainable (though not understood) solution is AI. While finding a home in retail inventory and backoffice processes, it seems to be still a shiny button when it comes to direct interaction with consumers. Sounds good. Limiting out of stocks, save time and increase speed of stocking. You might have to wait for that boat off the coast of California before any of that matters of course.

Problem with AI is the very problem it needs to be able to handle, it is totally unable to do. That would be nuanced orders. Just ask yourself how AI conversations either on a website or over the phone inevitably lead to the plea “Customer Service” aka as a real person who can understand the nuance of your situation.

And for sure there are majority of requests. Amica Insurance handles “majority requests” like I need to print a new insurance card by putting a link to do so right on the homepage, thus eliminating 100s of phone calls (or time navigating/searching website).

Robots and Automated Food Preparation is another “maybe this can help?”. See CNBC article Restaurants prep for long-term labor crunch by turning to robots to work the fryer, shuttle food to tables

Panera Bread set a great example before it went multichannel. First thing it did was modernize its kitchens to increase efficiency and thruput. It increased available capacity first. Blaine Hurst was instrumental in that. Investing in infrastructure to support higher number of transaction would seem to make a lot of sense.

Right now mostly what I see are restaurants flailing a bit with the Los Angeles traffic solution.

Announcement from The Industry Group

The Industry Group Announcement

The Industry Group logo

The Industry Group logo

The Industry Group announcement —  is a network of news dedicated to technology in the self-service market. This includes websites, magazines and social sites such as LinkedIn

Here is a list of news we cover:

Magazines We Publish

The Industry Group and More Web Content Changes

The Industry Group Comes To Life

the industry group

And we do beer taste tests

I’ve created a top level url for all the sites that I manage.

Around 25 these day and they range from rockwork to patient kiosk to POS to kiosk to others.

The top level URL is industrygroup.org and that means the Kiosk Industry Group and others fall underneath that umbrella.

A short description of some follows:

Website Verticals include:

  • Digital Signage Blog — more accurately interactive digital displays but we are stuck with “digital signage” for now.
  • Menu Board — here we focus on digital menus, indoor and outdoor. Panasonic and LG are two of our members and contribute.
  • i-Telehealth — remote health monitoring and treatment by consumers themselves, sometimes with assistance
  • Touch Screens — touchscreens come in sizes from 5″ to 100″. You have LED fine pitch which are only displays
  • PatientKiosk — patient registration kiosks in healthcare along with EHRs like Epic with Welcome Kiosk are covered
  • Digital Business — looking for software like browser lockdown or commercial grade tablets and All-In-One computers?
  • Automated Retail — lockers and smart vending along with innovative drive thru and retail robotics
  • Thin Client Computing — Touchscreen Chromebooks, Zero Clients and your usual Wyse (oops I mean Dell) and HP thin client news
  • Point Of Sale RFPs — website for tracking and listing RFPs issued for POS primarily in SLED market
  • Smart City Design — we see growing interest in smart city especially in renovating downtowns for better pedestrian access longterm
  • Kiosk Industry Group – covers all the news and provides resources

Also for new for 2021 are the flip.it channels

Here are the main ones

Review Costco Firestone Walker 24 Pack Taste Test

costco firestone walker review

Review Costco Firestone Walker 24 Crafted Thru Hops Review

Review Costco Firestone Walker

Costco Firestone Walker Beer Review – Click for full size

October 24, 2021 — I  have been a beer drinker for a long time and there are all sorts of situations where one beer works better than another. In the summertime in Oklahoma working on the ranch, Miller HighLife in bottles was excellent “drink during the day” beer, especially in Oklahoma which was limited to 3.2%.  In Minnesota Bud Light works really good as slug bait for slugs eating your hostas (little known fact I think). Back in the day it was a Leinie Red or Goose Island IPA or occasionally Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for me back in Minnesota (way before craft breweries took off).

Shopping at Costco here in Colorado, I see some “specials” and this week I decided to ante up the $26 for a 24-pack of mixed Firestone Walker IPAs.  Usually I keep an eye out for the Stone IPA 24 variety pack (Tiki Escape). Not a big fan of the Salt and Lime but the others are outstanding. You just have to be careful not to drink too many.  For that matter there are several very good IPAs from Colorado microbrewers.

Anyway, back to the Firestone Walker, here is my drink order (lowest alcohol to highest was the order chosen:



  • Flyjack
  • Luponic Distortion
  • Union Jack
  • Mind Haze
  • I used my Wellness for Coffee Stainless Steel Tumbler to drink from. Double wall vacuum insulated to keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold and made from kitchen-grade 18/8 Stainless Steel. That provides a robust “nose”
  • Generally I smoke cigars and along with the beer had some cheap C’est La Vies

Some technical background on the cans — the cans look to be Ball origin and identical to the green Costo IPA cans where they sell 30 cans for $19.  Not bad stuff (Gordon B. actually makes its), would’ve worked good in the summertime on the ranch…But there are technical details on the Session IPA — from my pals at Ball.

See "quirky things" note

See “quirky things” note

Sooo, There are a few quirky items here – notice the ”bumps” in the neck of the can means this is a 2 6/16ths end diameter vs. standard cans you see which are 2 and 2/16ths ends. Offers a slightly larger opening for more aroma and better pour. We discussed and this can is made by Ball Williamsburg VA which means only a select few can lines (breweries) can fill this type of can. Likely Matt Brewing in Utica NY or Boston Beer brewing in Breinigsville PA. The can label identifies Hopfen Und Malz which is Gordon Biersch who likely manages the distribution to Costco…supply chain!

Individual Impressions

  • Flyjack [75]  — maybe a cut above the Costco Session IPA, maybe. Not much bodyweight though finish hung around
  • Luponic Distortion   [82]– a fuller body than flyjack. Not much after finish.
  • Union Jack [86] – bit more bite to this one. good finish
  • Mind Haze [90] – strong aroma nose, very good bite, slow after finish

Bottom line on all this?

  • I suppose it’s a pretty good deal (20 cans left to drink and will add additional notes here)
  • I’ll keep looking for the Stone
  • For Octoberfest, I did get some of the Hacker-Pschorr. Very drinkable stuff. Definitely reminded me of the times I spent in Munich beer gardens
  • And for reference when it comes to whiskey (with an “e”) my favorite brand is Redbreast which is Irish whiskey. Hard to beat and I have had up to 50 year old scotch.


  • Went thru a second iteration this week and basically confirmed all of the above.
  • I might lower the rating for Flyjack
  • Definitely enjoy the Mind Haze
  • For a nice clean German beer the Hacker is tough to beat.
  • I’ll add updates to this as I work thru the remainder.

Contact [email protected] for more information


Tony Rice Passes On – One of the great guitarists

skaggs and rice where the soul never dies

skaggs and rice where the soul never dies

Bluegrass Today obit

Tony Rice, surely the most influential guitarist and vocalist in the history of bluegrass music, died on Christmas morning. He was 69 years of age, and died swiftly without pain.

Tony changed forever the way bluegrass guitar is played, both as a lead and an accompaniment instrument. Audiences saw hints of his genius during his stint with Bluegrass Alliance in the early 1970s, but it appeared fully formed with J.D. Crowe & The New South in 1975 on their classic recording for Rounder Records, known colloquially by its catalog number, 0044.

Those of us fortunate to be alive at that time will clearly remember the first time we heard it. By the end of the banjo intro to Old Home Place, it was obvious that something new and different was going on. Rice’s guitar filled the track from top to bottom and side to side with an aggressive rhythm style that brought together the power of Jimmy Martin and Del McCoury, with the dexterity and grace of Clarence White. It propelled the band forward like nothing we had heard before.

And then he started singing! His deep baritone voice crackled with soul, and transformed that Dillards song into bluegrass majesty. Over his multi-decade career, Tony Rice’s voice became a favorite in and around bluegrass, a rare treat combined with someone of such singular instrumental capacity.

He showed those skills on Old Home Place as well, laying down a blistering half-break near the end of the song that had flatpickers scratching their heads in wonder. There was more throughout the record, and on the many others released over a career that endured for 40 years, until arthritis took away his ability to play proficiently, just as a nervous system condition had robbed him of his voice a decade earlier.

Skaggs and Rice tune

3 cities in the U.S. have ended chronic homelessness: Here’s how they did it

Excerpt below. Read full article at Fast Company

Nine more have ended veteran homelessness. It’s part of a national program called Built for Zero that uses a data-based approach to help officials figure out exactly who needs what services. Now it’s accelerating its work in 50 more cities.

“By ending homelessness, we mean getting to a place where it’s rare, brief, and it gets solved correctly and quickly when it does happen,” says Rosanne Haggerty, president of Community Solutions, the nonprofit that leads the Built for Zero program. “That’s a completely achievable end state, we now see.” The nonprofit, which calls this goal “functional zero,” announced today that it is accelerating its work in 50 communities.

[Image: courtesy Community Solutions]

One key to the process is data, and a visual dashboard that lets agencies track people experiencing homelessness in real time. In Abilene, with a population a little more than 120,000, for example, the city located every homeless veteran, gathered information about each individual situation, and stored this information in a “by-name list” that was continually updated. “It basically just forced us to continuously look to change improvements to our system, and how to use real-time data to improve our performance,” says John Meier, the program manager for supportive services for veteran families for the West Central Texas Regional Foundation. “We’ve always had lots of data sitting around, but haven’t had it in one place and [haven’t been] utilizing it to our advantage.” Every agency in the city began working together and meeting to discuss how to get each veteran–21 people, as of February 2018–into housing. While watching the data, they could test interventions like working with local landlords and the public housing agency to prioritize people on the list. The average amount of time to house a veteran shrank from more than 40 days to 26. By November 2018, 10 months after joining the Built for Zero program, Abilene had reached the goal of “functional zero” for veteran homelessness. (It made the announcement in February in part because it was waiting for federal confirmation, which was delayed by the government shutdown.)