Cold weather and cold hearts


I haven’t commented on this, but it has been cold in Pittsburgh. Really cold. A “bomb cyclone” brought a little snow to Pittsburgh, but mostly cold temperatures and gusty wind. Temperatures were below zero on Friday (December 23), in the single digits Saturday, and mostly in the low double digits Sunday.[1]

So I guess Texas Governor Gregg Abbott thought it was the perfect time to send more inadequately dressed migrants to Washington, D.C.,[2] where it hasn’t been as cold, but still, mostly below freezing.[3]

Just so we’re keeping track of the alleged Christianity of white Christian nationalism, they arrived on Christmas Eve. The temperature was reported to have been 18 degrees. It hasn’t been confirmed that Abbott sent these particular migrants,[4] but he and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis have previously been culprits,[5] and on this occasion, the White House blamed Abbott.[6]

Several busloads of migrants were dropped off in front of Vice President Kamala Harris’ residence in Washington, DC, on Christmas Eve in 18 degree weather late Saturday.

An initial two busloads were taken to local shelters, according to an administration official. More buses arrived outside the vice president’s residence later Saturday evening. A CNN team saw migrants being dropped off, with some migrants wearing only T-shirts in the freezing weather. They were given blankets and put on another bus that went to a local church.[7]

I have previously remarked on the delight white Christian nationalists take in cruelty toward their fellow human beings.[8] But of course, I’m the radical for suggesting they need frontal lobotomies.[9] If so, then you need to explain to me how a decent human being does this, is complicit in it, or supports it.

Noah Gray, “More migrants dropped off outside vice president’s home in freezing weather on Christmas Eve,” CNN, December 25, 2022,

So-called ‘customer service’

Steve Hendrix, “Cutting through customer service doom-loops by calling in a ‘Karen,’” Washington Post, December 26, 2022,

So-called ‘ridesharing’


Fig. 1. “Clarkdale Classic Gas Station, Clarkdale, Arizona,” Photograph by Alan Levine, October 28, 2016, via Wikimedia Commons, CC0.

I mentioned the cold in Pittsburgh in the section on Migration. On Friday, I felt so desperate with Uber’s pay cuts, I tried a shift with Amazon Flex. I did another on Saturday.

Imagine having your car loaded with dozens and dozens of packages, which if you are wise, you will arrange according to the route you will take to deliver them. But of course, I had no idea what route I’d be following, and there are packages of various sorts—try to remember all the various sorts of packages you’ve received from Amazon, including recently, their lighter packing materials, which I infer are supposed to be better for the environment (but plastic is still pretty much plastic and pretty much not recyclable). They’re all here.

You begin your shift by waiting with a bunch of other Flex drivers to be admitted to a loading area. They bring monstrous plastic zip cases loaded with packages to the back of your vehicle. You have to scan each one in and confirm that you’ll deliver the package. Have you ever noticed that gloves don’t work so well with the touchscreens on phones? You’ll certainly notice it doing this.

There are a lot of packages, so this takes a while. Though it’s fair to note that somehow I was the slowest of the bunch on Saturday, as I struggled to try to do this with gloves anyway because it was so fucking cold.

One thing I’ll give Amazon credit for, though: Elon Musk may whine about “assassination coordinates,”[10] but the navigation built into the Flex app is far and away the most accurate I’ve seen. They know, with remarkable precision, where every address is, and, in the limited areas I covered in two days, it never gave me a wrong turn. The one place I felt it in any way lacking was a large multi-building apartment complex, where I had to confirm how their apartment numbering scheme worked with floors. Surprise, surprise, three dimensional information loses something when rendered in two dimensions. Musk might bear that in mind as Amazon works on delivery by drone.

As I navigated to each delivery location, though, I was often in despair trying to find the package(s) I needed to deliver to that location. I had a lot more packages on Saturday (Christmas Eve), the numbers which are supposed to hint at delivery order were often in reverse, and sometimes just completely out of sequence. This is worst at the beginning of the route; it steadily gets easier as you’ve delivered more packages and thus have fewer to search through. Even so, each route took hours longer than promised. According to the schedule I signed up for, I was supposed to have been done at 6:30 pm on both nights; I didn’t even come close to finishing on time. On Saturday, I was in Brentwood right up until a few minutes before 9 pm on Saturday.

Sunday was Christmas. Amazon Flex wasn’t in operation so I was back with Uber. I maybe cleared twenty dollars. I don’t know how I’d survive on that even if I didn’t have debt. But now that it’s past Christmas, the “blocks” that Flex offers are much more limited, both in number and value: To get around the problem of searching through a deluge of packages, my idea is to choose shorter shifts, then go with Uber if more short blocks aren’t available. As I write this, that’s not looking tenable; the shifts offered are long and late in the day, raising the prospect that I’d be working late hours at the very times when Uber is less awful.

The miles driven with Amazon Flex are much, much, much reduced from those in a typical day with Uber. But they advise stopping the engine at every stop—these are often very short distances apart—and locking all the doors. I was grateful for the keyless entry system on my hybrid, but my gas mileage went straight to hell and I think the carbon build-up on the gas engine would be worse. I did clear more money, I think, doing this, but still nothing like what it takes to live on, and probably only because they had increased pay for the holidays: The blocks I see available as I write this are for too little money overall, and given that they take more time than anticipated, likely a loser for me.

I don’t know what I’m going to do. My debt is skyrocketing and already stratospheric, because while I’m still making payments, I’m not making the payments in the amounts I need to be making and had assumed I would be able to make. Even bankruptcy will not solve the problem of making so little money. And even going on welfare and food stamps would fall far short of what anybody needs to live. There is nothing legal here that makes any sense. And I lack the criminal imagination to do anything illegal.

All because, even with a Ph.D., and for all their whining about a “labor shortage,” none of these mother fuckers will give me a real job.[11]

  1. [1]Weather Underground, “Imperial, PA Weather History,” December 26, 2022,
  2. [2]Noah Gray, “More migrants dropped off outside vice president’s home in freezing weather on Christmas Eve,” CNN, December 25, 2022,
  3. [3]Weather Underground, “Arlington, VA Weather History,” December 26, 2022,
  4. [4]Noah Gray, “More migrants dropped off outside vice president’s home in freezing weather on Christmas Eve,” CNN, December 25, 2022,
  5. [5]Lisa Kashinski, Sue Allan, and Gary Fineout, “GOP governors put focus on migrants with Martha’s Vineyard transport,” Politico, September 15, 2022,; Alexander Thompson et al., “‘At first they were surprised, just like us.’ Martha’s Vineyard responds to surprise arrival of planeloads of migrants,” Boston Globe, September 15, 2022,
  6. [6]Noah Gray, “More migrants dropped off outside vice president’s home in freezing weather on Christmas Eve,” CNN, December 25, 2022,
  7. [7]Noah Gray, “More migrants dropped off outside vice president’s home in freezing weather on Christmas Eve,” CNN, December 25, 2022,
  8. [8]David Benfell, “The Donald Trump supporters’ campaign message: Fuck Your Feelings,” Not Housebroken, December 11, 2022,
  9. [9]David Benfell, “It might be time to bring back frontal lobotomies,” Not Housebroken, October 27, 2022,
  10. [10]Adam Clark, “Musk’s Twitter Suspends Accounts of Some Journalists and Rival Mastodon,” Barron’s, December 16, 2022,
  11. [11]David Benfell, “About my job hunt,” Not Housebroken, n.d.,

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