Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas To All

...and to all a good night!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Unemployed? It's All Your Fault!

Since 2005, I have experienced three periods of unemployment

There were those nine months between April and December, 2005. (My unemployment insurance ran out after six months, by the way.)

Then there was those other nine months after the dishrack factory lost the Bosch account. I received unemployment insurance payment for all nine months that time.

I was re-hired at the dishrack factory at a lower rate of pay for almost a whole year. Following weeks and weeks of being laid off for lack of order volume, the factory was shuttered earlier this year. That brought about another three more months of unemployment.

I figure I've experienced about two full years of unemployment during the last six years.

Now, there are those, like my erstwhile friend, who are so eager to spout their talking points that they would call me lazy, fat and happy for being out of work and collecting my unemployment insurance benefits.

The on-going narrative from the right wing noise machine is that the jobless simply are lazy and have chosen not to work for a living.

To this I must reply, "...and the horse you rode in on."

HERE is a link to an article written by Dennis Palumbo that expresses some understanding of what it is like to suffer through extended bouts of unemployment.

In summation, I will quote Dr. Palumbo:

What we–as a people, as a society–have to realize is that prolonged unemployment is a national disaster, like a flood or an earthquake. That its victims are no more responsible for the havoc that it brings than they’d be for the ravages of a wildfire overtaking their homes. That whether as friends and families, colleagues and neighbors, or politicians and mental health workers, we need to reduce the corrosive effects of blame—either of ourselves or others—and endeavor to provide instead support and solace, both pragmatic and emotional.

How do we accomplish this? We need policies that work, not sound-bites that inflame. We need the humility to understand that large-scale calamities are a part of the life of a nation, just as we need the grit to face the dilemmas squarely and honestly. We need to hold those truly responsible for the economic crisis accountable. Seriously, legally, accountable.

Moreover, we need to understand and accept the interconnected nature of the global financial apparatus in which we are all, each and every one of us, embedded. And to develop and set in motion the mechanisms that will lessen the likelihood of another such world-wide crisis in the future.

Will any of these things happen? I couldn’t say; the answer to that is above my pay grade. But whatever we do in the coming months and years to address our economic woes, unless we challenge the idea that unemployment is a character flaw, that the “blame” dwells either within ourselves or in some alien, dangerous “other,” we’ll remain divided and disheartened. Traumatized by long-entrenched beliefs.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

It's October Already?

Mariel says, Hi!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thanks, Tim. Thanks, Pete.

Last month, I had a Nostradamus-like vision of pending economic collapse and moved my 401(k) funds to my IRA account.

You see, the same group of people who, ten years ago, cheered when their Vice-Deity Chaney said, "Deficits don't matter" are now cheering when Tea-Party Tim now says, "Defaults don't matter!"

So what happens when the remaining global superpower announces to the world that they will consider NOT paying their debts so that Tea Party Tim can defund programs he personally doesn't like?

As they would say on Jeopardy, "What is world-wide economic collapse, Alex?"

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Information Super-Dead-End

In my previous entry, I had posted a powerful graphic depicting a "going out of business" sign.

But, you know, I am tempted to fold my internet tent and scrambooch out of here once and for all.


In a word, "connectivity."

In today's "powerful graphic" we see a screen shot of my internet status window.

Yes, I am connected at the blistering speed of 37.2 Kbps!

If you also note, when this snapshot was taken, I had been signed on for eight minutes and had sent and/or received a total of about 1.1 Mbytes. (That's less data than fits on one of those those antiquated floppy disks you can't hardly buy any more.)

Not shown is that in the simple act of signing on, going to dictionary .com and looking up one word, it had taken ten minutes for the definition to finally appear on screen.

The page kept loading and loading and loading...

At the thirteen minute mark I bailed.

It was still loading, even then.

I took an html course at the local community college ten years ago.

One of the main considerations in creating web pages back in that dark era was to make your pages so that they would load quickly.

Now, a decade on, the assumption is that everyone has a T1 internet connection and there should be no limit to the amount of java applets, media files and other digital albatrosses connected with even the most trivial of webpages.

My understanding is that there is an on-going concern about "net neutrality." The worry is that ISP providers would purposely slow down web traffic for certain urls, while allowing others to have faster service.

I now offer my own simple suggestion, which will cost nobody anthying and avoid an extra layer of regulation and oversight.

If you make YOUR webpage smple and easy-to-laod, YOU'RE the winner and your fancy-pants, bells-and-whistle competitor is the loser.

So, come on, programmers! Streamline your webpages. Enhance functionality and eschew life-shortening nerditity in your page designs.

After all, it is, and always has been, all about me.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Who, Indeed?

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Grounding and Bonding

Well, what have we here?

This is called a "shelter" and it sits on the back of a Humvee.

Not the Mr. and Mrs. Yuppie-McMansion version that ferries Buffy and Chip to their polo lessons.


I'm talking about the heavily armored tanks-on-wheels that we work on over at Fort Bragg.

Yep, I just completed my first full week as an "Electronics Helper" on base.

My job has been to do the "grounding and bonding" on the shelters that have been tricked out as communications centers and have been returned for maintenance.

My tools?

A few socket wrenches, a couple screwdrivers a dremel tool, commercial bathroom cleaner (Scrubbing Bubbles!) and a scotchbrite pad.

The deal is that I have to demount and disconnect the connector panels and antennas, clean them up shiny-new and put them back together.

We use the dremel to create clean grounding areas at various points on the panels. An improperly-grounded antenna is a useless antenna.

It's about that interesting.

But I needed a job and, by golly, I got me a job!

Thanks for everyone's support and well-wishes during my most-recent jobless period.

More random thoughts to come.