Friday Fives – how the man keeps you down!

f42811d98b509e3b9551459c84120652

Are you a good worker?

How do you mean?  Like… am I good at what I do?  Am I as productive as I could be?  I’ll answer both, but I remain suspicious of your motives.  The answers are yes, and no.

Ok, since you brought this up, I have a whole rant that has been building in my head for years.  I wanted it to be its own piece, but it ended up being boring and preachy.  Here is said rant >

The right/Republicans/conservatives (call them whatever you want) have this mythological fantasy of the working class.  They say that Americans WANT to work.  They said all these great masses of hard American workers needs only thing – the Govt off their back.  The philosophy of the right is to get government out of the way of the great proletariat working class so they can succeed on their own.

I have worked long enough to tell you I don’t think there really is this huge hulking mass of people eager to be successful on their own terms but can’t because of government interference.  It’s a great idea, and I just love it.  Unfortunately, human nature kicks in.  People are working, very simply, because they have to.  It doesn’t mean we don’t work hard, and it doesn’t mean we don’t take pride in our work.  If American productivity is suffering, it is because of human nature – laziness and sloth and self interest.  This isn’t even an American problem… it is simply human nature.

Here is where it gets sinister.  In the guise of helping the ‘poor and struggling working class’, the conservatives want to strip away govt regulation of everything.  If not to benefit the working class, then who is it for?  So corporations can run amok with pollution, and no regard for labor laws.  This movement means that not only is the government not looking out for you, but they are making it easier for your boss to screw you.  They have an answer to this, too.

It’s known as ‘trickle down economics’.  By letting your boss only pay you minimum wage, and skirt all matter of regulations, he gets to make much more money.  With all that money, he can employ more people, right?  And he can afford to go to the movies, which is good for the local economy at the movie theater.  And he can afford to do out to nice dinners, which is good for the restaurant economy, and the parking valet economy.  And he can afford to pay you more, so that you can do all those nice things that also help the economy.  A rising tide lifts all boats, right?  Except… it doesn’t work.  We have learned that the rich just pocket the net difference and don’t do shit for those below them.  This is why while the rich keep getting richer, the wages for middle class working Americans haven’t moved in 40 years.

All these shortcuts for business owners DOES help the business owners, that is true.  However, the business owners are, by definition, not the working class.  They are the bourgeois (pronounced boozh-wah), which means ‘the owners of the means of production’.  The actual worker bees… doing the actual work… they are the ‘proletariat’.  Of course, this is a simplified explanation of a very complex issue.  Just know that odds are, you are probably getting screwed.  The conservatives not only aren’t helping you, they are actively working against you.   Even worse?  They are so good at messaging and manipulating that they get people to vote against their own self interest.

If the right really wanted to do something for the working class… how about getting rid of the onerous effective 45% tax on overtime?  What good is making time and a half when the government takes half?

Let’s say you make $10 an hour.  You have a chance to pick up another 8 hour shift.  Great!  You will be making $15 an hour!  Not so much.  After taxes, you are only making $8.25 an hour.  It’s explained better here, but the net result is why bother working OT?  Why kill yourself and what little free time you have to make LESS than your regular hourly rate.  THAT is someone could make a real difference in American productively and American quality of life.  Make working overtime actually worth it.

Know what else ‘they’ do?  They tax unemployment.   Every job you have ever legally worked at, you pay into unemployment.  Your employer matches it.  Both of you have no choice, and that is a good thing.  The idea is this is a safety net in case you lose your job through no fault of your own.  I have been laid off a couple of times, and I have received unemployment benefits.  It truly is a blessing and a lifeline.  I sure was pissed, though, when I found it being taxed.  Why are you taking a chunk of my money now?  When I need it so bad?  It is only half of what I was getting paid to work, and I paid into this my whole life… with my earnings… and the Fed gets a cut?  That is how you kick a man while he is down.

I can’t tell you the Democrats are going to save you.  All evidence proves they are just as corrupt.  However, if we have any chance it is with them.  Yes, the Dems put lots of rules in place.  Too many.  However, they are the ones who make sure your rivers don’t catch on fire, and that you can breathe good air and have drinking water.  They are the ones that make sure you get vacation, sick time, leave time, days off.  Like unions, most Dems in power have become as corrupt as the powers they are fighting.  However… they/we remain on the right side of history.

*** whew.  that came out of nowhere!  It is also why it took me an extra day to get these out.  Once I started that rant above, I just kept going and going.  Obviously this is stuff I am passionate about.

 What do you carry?

Always?  A leatherman, my keys, and my cell phone.  I don’t even leave to get the mail without a leatherman.  Let me add this – I firmly believe you have never have enough lights and knives.  Know what else is super cool about the Leatherman?  It’s an American company.   Even better?  It is their name!  The company was started in 1983 by Tim Leatherman.  With a name like that, dude was bound for greatness!  or… gay porn.  Still, what a cool story.  Now, you will see zillions of ‘multi-tools’, as the industry calls them.  Like kleenex and band aids and jello before him… we simply call them all ‘leatheman’ now.  Btw, mine is a real Leatherman, comrade.  Thanks, Tim!

Do you know your neighbors?

Know them?  I LOVE them.  I have gotten very close with our neighbors in the last few years.  They are all wonderful and amazing people, and I am thankful.  I live way out of town, down a dirt road.  No stop lights or streetlights or anything.  Not even city water.  So, we are a bit isolated.  This means are neighbors are even more valuable.  Also, having such wonderful neighbors when you live out in the country is wildly practical.  To go drinking in town is just too far, and then certainly unsafe to drive home.   So, instead, we save our money and drink at each others houses.  Here is what I mean by remote; let’s say I am going two houses over… we drive.

Where do you like to go for a day trip?

If I have the time?  Into the mountains.  Luckily, being in Denver, we are just about an hour drive from being deep into the woods of the Rocky Mountains.  It’s pretty great here.

What is at your feet?

dogs.  Weird thing, though… it’s your dogs.  please come get them.  We have enough, already.

Advertisements

Friday Fives – back to the future edition

You have an extra $500 to frivolously spend each month, you cannot invest or save it, what do you spend it on?

Guitars, Cadillacs, Hillbilly Music.  Ok, good tip, Dwight… but I’ll just scratch out the Cadillac part.  We still cool, right?  Oh, and we can skip the hillbilly music, and maybe put boobs in its place.

What terrible alcoholic drinks did you try as a young adult?

Anything that was in front of me.  Like every young adult before, and after, me.  Cost and access were the primary concerns.  Are we now really all that different?

You wake up, current age, and it’s 1974. What are you going to do with your day?

Go see peak Zeppelin.  Then, catch Bob Dylan on tour for ‘Blood on the Tracks’***  Then, start saving up now for 1977, which is PEAK rock and roll live era… simple as that.  Then catch Bowie, and Queen, and Elton John.  Also, I am 2.   So… I can get in for free, right?

also, at this point… concerts are still a loss leader for record companies.  So, tickets are heavily subsidized.  and Bots don’t exist yet to eat up all the tickets.

In 40 years what will people be nostalgic for?

“a simpler time”, when people had equal access to the internet.  When poor people could google the same results as rich people.  When the speed of loading my uncle’s awesome blog was no different than loading AT&Ts ‘megaserver page’, which has chucked out all of my bookmarks and installed itself as my home page.  And the porn… oh the porn.  Back in the early 2000s, you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting some boobies.  Man, men are pigs!

You have one-chance to steal anyone’s talent. Who’s talent do you steal?

  • Jerry Garcia’s guitar playing
  • Salvador Dali’s painting
  • Hunter Thompson’s writing
  • President Obama’s temperament, diplomacy, and his everything else

 

editor’s note to self

*** 1974-75, Dylan wasn’t touring on BOTT, unless you count that whole weird ass ‘Rolling Thunder’ traveling experiment.  I think we all know if you want peak Bob, live… you had to catch him by 1966.

 

NFL – two ways to fix my football team

 

2-infinity-engine-2

*** update – timeouts.  WASTED constantly.  If anyone on my team calls a time out in the first quarter, they will be vanquished to special teams on the practice squad.  Any team who doesn’t have at least 2 timeouts saved up for the last 2 minutes deserves to lose.  I am still mad at Jake Plummer losing the Rose Bowl for ASU some 20 or 25 years ago because of no timeouts left.  Of course, I could be remembering that wrong.

Two ways I would fix my football team.  There are a couple things I notice in every NFL game I watch – terrible qb protection, and terrible tackling.

Terrible QB protection – with the exception of the Patriots, no team protects their QB.  They don’t even seem to bother.  I joke that Tom Brady could read a paperback in his pocket.  The analysts say shit like ‘Tom Brady doing the dink and dunk tight end passes… moves right down the field.’  That is because Brady gets time to do all his reads.  EVERY QB could and would do that if they had the time.  Most QBs get to do about 1 or 2 reads… then they run for their lives and hope comes gets open.  Except Aaron Rodgers.  He gets to do NO reads.  His protection has been so terrible for the last 10 years that as soon as he gets the ball; he has to run for his life.  Somehow, though, he has made it his own thing.

My point being, if I had an offense, everything they did would revolve about QB protection.  Not routes or runners.  My team might spend all 10 guys just to protect the QB.

Terrible tackling – Ok, that problem solved.  Here is the next big problem – no one is tackling.  There is a legit reason for it.  Teams don’t tackle in practice at all, ever.  There are two reasons for this- 1) they don’t want they players to get hurt in something dumb like practice, and 2) the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) put in place after the last (near) strike dictated that teams could only do 2 practices a week in full pads.  This is why tackling is terrible when you watch, because they literally don’t practice tackling.

Big surprise; I am fine with that.  Football is so incredibly dangerous for these players (CTE, GTS) that I get why they don’t tackle much.  It doesn’t make great tv, but it’s likely best.  What do we do with this, then?  Strip the fucking football!  Listen, you got your arms around the guy, you aren’t bringing him down because you are a pussy who never learned to tackle… so strip that ball.  Every time.  The coaches likely want and expect you to tackle anyone you can touch.  Just like receivers have a rule ‘if you can touch the ball, you can catch the ball’.  Well, your little powderpuff fatties don’t know how to tackle.  Teach them to strip the ball, every time.  Look at this guy, he gets it.  He isn’t even pretending to try and tackle… he is just going for that ball.

Brandon Marshall, Reshad Jones

Friday Fives – waiting on Jamie G

mandala

If you had a year off (with pay, to make it interesting), what would you do with it?

Easy, travel.  Do maybe a third around America… and I want a small motorhome for the wifey and I.  yes, she gets the year off, too.  Or I ain’t doing it.

Then, a third to travel overseas.

Then, a third of the year to do absolutely nothing at home.

Please process this sooner rather than later, btw.

What are two things you would do to improve the country if you were in complete charge?

Stop taking overtime at 42%, and stop taxing unemployment benefits.  Did you know those were taxed?  It is a pot that you have been paying into on every single job you have ever worked.  Just in case, god forbid, you are unemployed and need to still pay rent and eat and stuff while you look for work.

But when you finally get those payments, the Fed takes their cut.  WTF is that?  The one time you need money… YOUR money… they want their cut.  Also, the OT thing is stupid.  Though I haven’t been hourly for many years… there is very little incentive for Americans to work OT when the govt takes nearly half.  Time and a half pay quickly becomes about half time pay.

What three TV shows do you like watching?

I assume we are talking about shows on right now, not classic?   Saturday Night Live, Modern Family, and I can’t think of a third.  I work nights, and don’t have a DVR.  So, I don’t get to watch any of it.  If I am home, and I do get all the over the air networks, it would be PBS.  Frontline is the BOMB.

What are your four favorite ethnic dishes?

Everything Mexican.  Sesame chicken, and Pho.

What are five words you love to use?

Not sure, that makes me self conscious.  It would be a better question to ask my wifey.  how about ‘i am correct maybe wrong

Friday Fives – Uranus edition

space mandala

What’s the worst thing Neil Armstrong could have said while stepping on the Moon for the first time?

Good luck, Mr Gorski.  Take a minute to read that, it’s a pretty great story!

You’re the first astronaut to land on Mars (or another planet). What do you say?

This is the beginning of a brilliant and exciting new partnership!  (I am talking to the aliens, here.  I don’t believe in aliens… but I most certainly don’t NOT believe in them.  To me, odds are they exist.  Ok, let’s just get into it, shall we?  What drives me crazy is Earthcentric observations like ‘there could never be life in _____.  There is no oxygen, and it’s 10,000 degrees.  You would boil in your first breath!  That is stupid, it just means it couldn’t support our life.

I can imagine a class room on Blemar 5, where they teach the kids “earth?  No way there could be life on earth.  Average temperature is 72 degrees.  You’d boil to death.  Also, there is virtually ZERO sulphur to breathe.  Oh, and by the way dumbass… it’s 75% water.  Do you have gills?  Exactly!  There is zero life on Earth and zero chances.  If there were, they would have contacted us by now.   That’s just a joke, we know there are no such things as aliens.”

If you could wander around in outer space, where would you go?

I think that is a moot question. Isn’t it all the same?  No no no, geesh… let’s have fun with this.  Ok, I think it would be cool to go up to, or into, Saturns rings.  That is all I can think of.  I took some astronomy classes in college, and we had a very good observatory.  Not just the famous one in town that discovered Pluto, but our campus observatory was dope, too.  One night, I got to see the rings of Saturn with my own eyes (as opposed to looking at pictures of it).

That was 20 years ago, and I still remember how giddy I was.  It was also a humbling moment, then they explain (and you finally understand) that what you looking at is so many miles away.  “that thing you are seeing?  If you left right now, and went straight in that direction, you would get there in 45 years.”  Again… humbling as I realize we are just ants on a rock here.

1b4843defd91805bc83680bf1a95e2c8

And then I think about this; they say the sun is ___ light years away. (editors note – 4.2 light years away).  Then, they say “so, the light you are seeing actually left the sun 4 years ago”.  Here is my next thought, and I am 100% serious.  I think then, and do now “so… if the sun went out today, we wouldn’t know for 4 years?  Doesn’t that mean the sun could be gone now?”  Everytime I do this, they look at me like an idiot… so I press the question no further.

Wow, this is fun.  I, as always, didn’t write these questions. I am loving them, though.  I forgot how much I truly loved, and love, astronomy.

What would be the most underwhelming overwhelming announcement that NASA scientists make on Monday?

America, we kinda left a guy up there.  About 18 months ago.  Actually, it’s a kinda funny story.  We can’t get into that now, though.  Listen, we think he’s fine, but we are going back after him.

Aw crap, it just occurred to me they made a movie about that.  So, my insight isn’t so great.  Still, I swear it was an original thought I have been thinking about since I read this piece.  It’s a program NASA put together after the last shuttle disaster.  In doing the post mordem, they were asked to put on paper exactly what a rescue would have looked like.  Was it feasible.  The answer is a surprising, and very complex… maybe.  It’s a long read, print it out at work.  Luckily, and con-incidentally, NASA had another shuttle on deck.  It could have been made ready in about 3 weeks.  Man, it’s a hell of a very true story.

That movie was great, though. The Matt Damon movie, you should see it.  Same with the Sandra Bullock one.  Don’t bother with the Jennifer Lawrence one, though.  That was kinda dumb.

Point being… how exciting would that be?  Only then could we, and would we, truly unite as a country.  The planning would be a political mess, and people would complain (rightly so) “how about taking that 53 million it would cost and spend it here… on Earth.  Maybe fix some roads or stuff.”

Once that thing got up in the air, though.. we’d be all in it together.

If NASA came to you tomorrow and asked if you would be willing to take part in a one-way trip to establish a Martian colony would you  accept?

One way?  No.  at least give me the chance of a 2 way.  There is too much I love down here to walk away from.  Even though my attempts at Buddhist studies tell me that attachment is what really causes sorrow.  I can’t walk away from my mom, my wife, the dogs.  No way, man.  The cat, though, I could away from that… you know… for like humanity and stuff.  How could you leave this behind?

monty and willy spring 2015

aw crap, maybe I’d have to take the cat, too.  He really loves that cat!

monty and willy 2016

Friday Fives – Breakfast club edition

sweet-anise-syrup-on-naked-vegan-waffle-2-1024x767

What was your favorite breakfast during childhood?

 Cereal.  You know, the sugary junk.  Man, that was great!  Remember Cookie Crisp?  It wasn’t a cereal that was like cookies. It wasn’t even cereal.  It was just a bag of small chocolate chip cookies.  God Bless America!

Am sure you know by now, but grocers famously kept kids food very low.  They still do this.  It serves two purposes, really.  The first, of course, is so this food is right at the eye level of kids.  Bonus secondary purposes… it is out of the site view of adults.  The idea being, you (as a parent shopper) don’t even notice that garbage.  You don’t have your defenses loaded when that little snotrocket reptository runs up and throws it in your cart.  If you are an asshole, like I was… you might sneak it in the cart and bury it a bit.

That way, it doesn’t turn up until the register… where the parent is likely so eager to get out of the store they put up little fight.

 2  .Why is a muffin considered a legitimate breakfast option but cake isn’t? 

 You are overthinking this.  If I had to hazard a guess, I would say sugar content.  Of course, I can’t help but think of the brilliant Cosby bit where he had to watch the kids.  They needed breakfast, so he fed them chocolate cake.  He reasoned it had Eggs and wheat and milk and butter… like any breakfast.  And we got this little melody out of it – “Dad is great!  Gave us the chocolate cake!”  If I am speaking gibberish, Youtube it.  When I was way young (single digits) my brothers and I would listen to Cosby tapes when we went to bed.  His old old bits about he and his brother Russell sharing a room together (as my brothers and I did) was just the best!

What beverage do you typically drink with each of the 3 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?

Water.  Don’t drink milk anymore, and I have never like soda.  Still don’t.  You wouldn’t see a Coke in my hand unless it was mixed with bourbon.  I don’t even do that much, anymore.  Trying to be mindful of my weight… and look like a grownup.. . I just drink a decent whiskey over ice

What is your favorite grownup breakfast cereal?  And as a child?

Frosted Flakes.  Speaking of that, we are apparently talking about breakfast food and cereal.  I was just reminded of a funny and great compromise I made with my dad.  He was a marathon runner, and so ate very well.  He hated that I was eating all that sugary garbage, and wouldn’t let me have any.  Me being me… I took the business approach and negotiated.  He liked shredded wheat, and thought I should eat that.  No thanks, not even a tiny bit appealing.  BUT… I reasoned… how about if we split the difference?  Frosted Shredded Wheat.  He agreed that was a fair compromise.  What a little shit I was!

What’s the greatest breakfast food invention of all time?

Bacon!  Easy to cook.  Super tasty.  Travels well.  Needs no utensils to manage, Easy to acquire.  Can be found in any restaurant menu in America.

Friday Fives – something or other

2215718810_1da0d2e50d

What’s really stressing you out right now?

 Nothing for you to worry about, but thank you for asking

 What nice gesture actually bothers you?

 When people load my dishwasher.  It is ALWAYS a nice gesture.  But… then I look in there and think – were you raised by blind wolves?  Why not just throw everything I own out the window, as that is pretty much the effect this shit job will have.

 What’s something people do that screams “I’m looking for attention?”

 Everything we do does that.  It’s human nature.  We are the star of our own movies, and think we are absolutely fascinating.  Geesh, like me writing this drivel here.   Really, though, I write 90% for myself… to keep myself sane and amuse myself.  Also, so several years later I can very often say “see, I told you so.  YEARS ago.  Here is proof!”

 What is your best example of ‘two kinds of people’?

 Us left handed folk, and then everyone else.

  How are you trying to be a better version of you?

 Trying to reading my Buddhist book a little every day