Exactly how “high tech” is our tech?

Look at the advancements we have made in just the past 200 years….

  • Electricity
  • Land based transportation
  • Air travel
  • Improvements in agriculture & food storage
  • Modern medicine
  • Computers & the internet

And yet, so many people are still stuck in the past, trusting an ancient book written by uneducated people.

Where would we (as humans) be if we did not spend so much of our time on this planet trying to make a buck?

Where would we be if the 138,000 people that were employed to build the first nuclear bomb were instead tasked with space travel?

Let’s assume that intelligent life does exist on at least one other planet. Planet Earth is approximately 4.5 billion (4,500,000,000) years old. And let’s assume that both planets evolve at the same rate, but the other planet started just 1% sooner. That’s 45 million (45,000,000) years of improvements & advancements that we have not gotten to. 45 million years of making life better for everyone. 45 million years of peace & harmony (because quite frankly, if it was 45 million years of wars, intelligent life would not survive that long).

Just think what kind of technology we could have with only a 1% improvement…..

 

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Happy Tax Day!

Today is the day (here in America) that everyone is supposed to file their tax returns for the previous year. And since this day happens to fall on a weekend this year, the IRS is nice enough to extend the deadline until the 17th. “Why?” you might ask? Time Magazine has the answer:

As per the I.R.S., the regular April 15 tax day is postponed when that date falls on a weekend or legal holiday. This year, April 15 is a Sunday, which ordinarily would push the deadline to Monday.
But Monday, April 16, is also the observation of Emancipation Day, a legal Washington, D.C., holiday commemorating Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which ended slavery in the nation’s capital on that day in 1862. Under federal tax law, District holidays get the same legal clout as their national counterparts when it comes to determining tax deadlines.

There is an old saying: “Nothing is certain except for death and taxes”. According to one web page:

This is usually attributed to Benjamin Franklin, who wrote in a 1789 letter that “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” However, The Yale Book of Quotations quotes “‘Tis impossible to be sure of any thing but Death and Taxes,” from Christopher Bullock, The Cobler of Preston (1716). The YBQ also quotes “Death and Taxes, they are certain,” from Edward Ward, The Dancing Devils (1724).

Though death might be unavoidable, I am certain that taxes can be both minimized as well as completely avoided. Lots of people and corporations do it, so why not you? Oh wait, not paying your taxes would be un-American, right? Sounds like you’ve bought what they are selling, hook, line, and sinker.

To partially quote Ron Paul:

In 1913, two very important changes occurred in America.
First, was the adoption of the income tax. From 1913 onward, all of a person’s earnings **belong to the government first.** The government then decides how much they permit everyone to keep.
Second, the Federal Reserve was created in 1913. If the government wants wars and welfare, it now had a monopolistic central bank that could create money out-of-thin-air to pay for them.

So here’s the truth folks, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – capitalism is a *GAME* and we are all being played. Those people in power want the rest of us to continue playing the game, to continue fighting over scraps; while they prosper and some even get wealthy. Money itself is not “the root of all evil”, it’s the *love of money* that is. Have you ever wondered why America spends so much money on the military? Because there is no profit to be made in peace.

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And here we go again; Spring 2018, and we’re dropping bombs on another country. But not enough bombs to wipe those people out, just enough to continue the war effort, just enough to keep our military employed, just enough for someone up the ladder to make a tidy profit.

So when you file your taxes this year, sit back and take pride in where your hard earned money is being spent. You have allowed this to happen, you’ve paid for it and it will continue until everyone wakes up and puts a stop to it.

 

 

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The continuing adventures of Chris, “The Maniac”…..

The summer after I graduated high school (1983), I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had tinkered with cars & engines for a few years, but I had taken electronics classes in high school (on my father’s prompting); but truthfully, fixing TVs did not interest me. So I decided to take auto shop classes at the local community college. I was also looking for a job, and that’s when my buddy Mark told me that his older brother, Chris, was looking for a helper at the diesel engine machine shop that he worked at. I applied and was hired on the spot (at minimum wage, of course) and the boss, Bob Kirk, was pleased that I was taking the classes, even though it meant I worked a modified schedule (7 – 3 at the shop, then classes from 4 – 10). It was a grueling schedule for the next 12 months or so.

Chris was your typical beer drinking, truck fixing, rather-fight-you-once-than-look-at-you-twice kinda redneck that movies are made of. Chris had lost his driver’s license in Virginia because his 5th DWI resulted in a fatality, not his own; so he walked everywhere. And his personality made him the kind of character that makes “reality TV” so popular today. Little did I know that the adventures with Chris were just beginning….

I think it was the first week (or so) of working with Chris that his “unique” personality showed up. He sent me into the parts room to find…. hell, I forget; probably some 1/2″ lock washers or something. I was looking around, trying to (a) figure out what it was he had sent me in there for, and (b) how this cluster-fuck of a parts room was laid out. It didn’t take long before Chris entered the room, grabs a handful of whatever it was he had sent me there for, then he gets up in my face….. “Fuck you Bill, you’re fucking useless, FUCK YOU, you got any friends?, FUCK THEM TOO!” He then stormed out of the room, leaving me to contemplate whether or not this job was a good fit for me. I thought it might be prudent that I start looking for another job. ……  So about a week goes by and I’m trying to watch my Ps & Qs, but of course I did something small and insignificant; but it pissed Chris off, so he got in my face again… “Fuck you Bill, you’re fucking useless, FUCK YOU, you got any friends?”  And that’s when I interjected “Just you Chris!!”  😉  He stopped mid-rant, smiled and walked away.  I had thought of that reply 10 minutes after the first incident and I had been waiting to use it since then. Timing is everything and I had broken the ice. Chris & I worked together pretty good after that.

I needed to replace one of the rear brake cables on my ’67 VW Bug, so I borrowed a long breaker bar from Chris to turn my 36 mm socket, to get the drum off. All went well with this task until the time came to re-tighten the nut. Hindsight being 20/20, I now know that an air impact wrench would have been the better choice for tightening that large nut, but since all I had was Chris’ breaker bar, I proceeded to put my full weight on the end, hoping to get the nut to turn just a little bit further, so I could get a cotter pin through it. Unfortunately, the stress & strain was too much for the tool, and the square end sheared off.  FUCK!  It was a Mac brand tool, so I knew it would be covered under warranty, if I could find the local Mac tool truck. I think it took 2 days of driving around after work, but somehow I lucked into seeing him at another shop. I quickly popped in, showed him the breaker bar, and asked for a replacement end. He said he did not have any replacement ends, but he did have another complete breaker bar; he also suggested that I buy the new bar, swap the ends myself and he would order me another replacement end. This sounded like a reasonable idea, so I bought the bar and swapped the ends. The next morning I went into work waving the bar at Chris (who was across the room), and shouted “Here’s your bar back, thanks!“. About 10 o’clock that morning, Chris comes over to me and says “You sneaky fuck. You thought I wouldn’t notice that you broke the end of my bar and got a replacement?” I hung my head as he verbally berated me up one side and down the other. My pleadings of “Hey, at least I didn’t return it broken!” held no weight with him. After what seemed like an eternity, he admitted: “Well, to be honest, I’ve broken the end 6 times and the handle twice.” I was livid, but Chris thought my torment was funny, because…. well, he’s Chris.

One day a customer dropped off a Detroit Diesel exhaust manifold that had one of the bolt hole ears broken off and brazed back on. He wanted the face surface of the manifold to be milled so that a new gasket would seal against it. The problem, for those not familiar with Detroit Diesel exhaust manifolds, is that the other side of the manifold is round, thus making it extremely difficult (if not impossible) to mount it against the flat surface of the milling machine. Chris was trying his best to get this mounted up, but as luck would have it, as soon as he got the manifold level, then tightened the mounting strap, it would not be level any more. And having the customer watching Chris’ every move from only a few feet away did not help the situation. I was wrapping up my day, so I gave Chris a quick status update of the tasks I was working on and I closed out with “Don’t let this manifold get to you. You’ve got this handled.” He thanked me for the update, said the manifold would be no problem, and that I should take off for class lest I be late. I took off not thinking twice about the situation. The following morning when I turned on the lights in the shop, I first saw the manifold on the machine, still un-milled. Then I looked towards the rear door and I saw the forklift sitting there, with a small puddle of coolant underneath and a wrench sticking out of the radiator. Before my sleepy brain could connect the dots, Chris walks in, bright & cheery, with a coffee in his hand. I looked at Chris, then the radiator, then back at Chris. “Uhh, what happened here?” I shyly asked. “Well, it was the damnedest thing,” Chris responded, “I was trying to get that manifold level, but it kept slipping, then I’d get it tight, but it wasn’t level. So I got mad and threw a wrench out the back door and into the back parking lot.” I pointed to the radiator and he said “Oh, it started up all by itself and jumped right in front of the doorway”. So there we are, 7-o’clock in the morning, trying to braze a hole in the radiator before the boss showed up.

One night, I stopped by Chris’ parent’s house (where he was living). Chris was there and surprisingly, so was a lady that he had arranged a date with. I was introduced, Chris said they were just getting started on making some BLT sandwiches and that I should stay for one. Not wanting to interrupt their date, I tried to excuse myself; but Chris insisted that I stay. I sat at the table next to the gal and we made some small-talk while Chris started to prepare to cook up the bacon. Just then, Pam & Bert (2 other friends/drinking buddies of ours) showed up. Both of them had already been drinking and Chris insisted that they also stay for some BLTs. At some point, Pam spilled her beer and she snagged the paper towel that Chris had placed on a plate in preparation for the freshly cooked bacon. Chris noticed the paper towel was missing, so he got another one and put it on the plate. Pam turned around, saw the new paper towel, and snagged it too. By now Chris has scooped up the bacon, but alas, he doesn’t have a paper towel at the ready; so he put the bacon back in the pan and got another paper towel from the roll. Just as he put it down, Pam snagged it and that was the final straw for Chris. He blew up, yelling “WHY DON’T YOU JUST TAKE THE WHOLE FUCKING ROLL?!?!?” and threw the plate at Pam. Quickly there were dishes and food flying all around, Pam was ducking the barrage, and Bert was trying to get Pam out of the line of fire. Meanwhile, Chris’ date was ready to bolt out the door when I grabbed her hand, quietly telling her “Just let it go around you“. We sat there quietly while Pam & Bert exited the house with Chris following, still throwing dishes and verbal assaults at them. After they left, Chris comes back in the house, picks up the dishes, takes a big breath, and asks “OK, who’s up for a BLT?” I shyly replied “If it’s not too much trouble”  😉

Chris would leave that shop after having a verbal altercation with the boss, but the adventure didn’t stop there.

A few years later I packed all my stuff in my car and drove 3000 miles, to Long Beach, California, to start a new life. A few months after I got settled in, Chris called me out of the blue, asking about the job market on the west coast. I told him that I thought it was good and that I had found a (better paying) job just 2 weeks after I arrived. He thanked me and I thought that was the end of it. Then, a few weeks after that, I got a knock on my door (at 7:30 am !), and guess who it was? Chris, of course. He had hitch-hiked across the country, carrying only a small bag of clothes, a welding helmet, and welder’s gloves. I invited him in and notified my girlfriend (who was in the bathroom at that moment) that we had a guest. Chris would end up sleeping on my floor for about 6 weeks. In that time, he said he was looking for a job but I knew his choice of employment would be limited (mostly because he did not have any form of transportation). One day, while “looking for a job”, Chris was in a bar when he struck up a conversation with another guy. This guy was the owner of a security agency, so he asked Chris if he had ever considered being a guard? Chris was open to the idea (since he had no other options at the time). The guy asked if Chris had a driver’s license, and Chris told him no; so the guy said “Let’s get you to the DMV!” He also asked if Chris could shoot a pistol and Chris replied that he could (leaving out the part of not being allowed to have any guns). The man said “Let’s get you to the range!” and off they went. At the DMV, the clerk asked if Chris had a valid license in any other state and Chris (honestly) answered “No”, so the clerk had him take the written test, the driving test, and an eye test; all of which Chris breezed through with flying colors. Later, at the range, Chris easily qualified, and thus is how he got his first job in California.

That job, like many others, did not last long. Chris got another job at a concrete cutting & demolition company, which truthfully was a better fit for his skill set. I was surprised when Chris announced that he was moving out but then he said he wasn’t going far – he had befriended the (older) woman who lived in the apartment building just ahead of mine. Her name was “Mary” and I think she was just lonely, so having a new live-in boyfriend was probably like heaven to her. By this time, Chris had bought an El Camino as a driver. It was beat and mostly primer, but by his (Virginia) standards, it was a cream puff. A quick trip to the local Pick & Pull junkyard netted him a pair of bucket seats to replace the drab bench seat. The bucket seats needed a little “sprucing up”, so he got a spray can of vinyl dye, and douched them in a fresh coat of black coloring. He was so proud of his handy work that he didn’t even wait for it to dry completely before trying them out. By now Chris had a puppy dog as his new side kick and they hung out on Mary’s front porch in the cool evenings. All seemed good….. until one day Chris told me he was leaving. Chris was homesick for Virginia and had just gotten his tax refund check, so while Mary was at work, he grabbed all his stuff & the dog, then headed east. Later that night, I had to console a heart broken Mary.

Back in Virginia, Chris went to the local DMV to get his license & registration updated. The clerk there asked if he had a valid license in any other state and Chis replied “Yes I do”, handing over his California license. The lady told him he would simply need to take the eye test, which he easily passed. 9 months after leaving Virginia on foot, he was back, with a license, a car and a dog. It would take another 9 months for Virginia DMV to figure out that this was the same person who had lost his license for 10 years. (Not like THAT would ever slow him down)

Chris bought a small, cheap fishing boat. One Friday he decided to drive to Tappahannock Virginia, sleep in his car, and get an early morning start at fishing. Soon after arriving at the local public dock, Chris was greeted by a local “working woman” who asked if he would like to join her and another gal back at their hotel room. Thinking with the wrong head, Chris agreed and followed her to the hotel, where the 3 of them had a wonderful evening together. Chris awoke to find his clothes, wallet and keys were gone, along with both of the women. The car & boat were still parked outside, so he called his brother, Mark, to come & rescue him. The weekend of fishing was not going to happen this time.

The following weekend, Chris decided to go fishing a little closer to home. Early Saturday morning he put his boat in at Occoquan, Virginia. Chris was arrested for being drunk before he got out of the harbor. Another call to Mark (for bail) and another weekend down the drain.

The next weekend, Chris decided to stay even closer to home, putting his boat in the Potomac River. He was quickly detained & arrested by the park police for drinking while boating and discharging a weapon (“fishing” with a gun). Mark was needed for bail yet again.

The 4th weekend, Chris once again put in to the Potomac River, because dammit, he just wanted to go fishing! The same park police saw him and called for back-up before approaching Chris’ boat. Chris was not having any of this and for a brief time, he held the park police under duress. For those who do not know, the Potomac River is actually owned by Washington DC, so Chris was now facing a federal charge of “piracy”. Luckily the charges were dismissed by the judge because in his words “No one gets charged with piracy!”.

Chris was “between jobs” and he decided to sign up for the Army. The recruiter said he could defer entrance for up to 12 months and Chris replied that he was available immediately; so he got a spot for the following week. When the recruiter asked what type of job training Chris was interested in, Chris replied “Cannon Division”. Basic training was a breeze and quickly Chris found himself learning how to aim a tank. One day he had a “verbal altercation” with his trainer, so he spun the turret around and drew aim on the trainer’s car in the parking lot. Chris was given a “general” discharge, which comes with one stipulation – stay out of trouble for 6 months and it turns into an “honorable” discharge; mess up and it turns into a “dishonorable” discharge. In true Chris fashion, he stayed out of trouble just long enough for the honorable discharge papers to arrive.

Chris had meandered his way up to Alaska where he was working on oil rigs. As the weather got colder (and possibly loosing his job), Chris decided if he was going to be homeless, it might as well be somewhere warm. Corpus Christi, Texas seemed like a nice place to be, but how would he get there? Chris had previously started taking pilot’s license lessons, but because of his previous legal run-ins, he could never actually BE a pilot, but he could be a radio man or navigator. After checking an on-line pilot web board, Chris found someone who was flying a private plane from Alaska to Texas and he happened to need a radio man. So Chris hopped the flight and south he went.

Another time, Chris was living in his POS car in the winter, in Wyoming. After spending a cold night parked at a highway rest stop, he was awoken by a police officer tapping on his window. “You can’t sleep here, move on” said the officer. Chris got out of his car, thought about his options, and decided to punch the officer in the face. That got him a free ride to the local jail where he remained for the rest of the winter. He got “3 hots and a cot” for 6  months, then was released on a warm summer day.

Some of the stories about Chris are from his younger days. When Chris & his older brother, Paul, were in their teen years, they were hanging out in their room, contemplating what to do with 3 LSD blotter squares. Just then, their mother walked in (probably with an arm full of folded laundry) and she caught them red-handed. Quickly she grabbed up the squares and loudly asked “IS THIS DRUGS?“. Both boys were wide-eyed and speechless. So in a self-less effort to protect her oldest boys, mom downed all of the squares. Chris told me that his mom spent the weekend sitting in a corner, talking to the wall; and of course he & Paul had a wild weekend with no adult supervision. Their youngest brother, Mark, would later verify these events as accurate.

One time back in high school, I was visiting Mark at home. Mark had a large photo of a tree trunk that had one side of a handcuff attached to the tree and the other side hanging open. The tree was slowly growing over & around the cuffs as the leaves piled up around the base of the tree. I asked Mark if this photo represented man’s escape from nature or some other sordid nuance. Mark said that Chris had handcuffed him (Mark) to the tree because Chris didn’t want to watch him while their mom went shopping……

 

 

 

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It pains me to say this……but…

I am not invincible.

The human body can take but only so much, before things start to go wrong. Bones can take only so much strain, muscles get pulled beyond their means, and the mind is actually one of the most frail organs ever.

And I’ve had my share of pains through the years, both physical & mental. Sometimes more than one would think  was normal.

  • I was about 6 years old when I decided to help feed our dog by myself. Somehow I had my left thumb on the top of the dog food can as I ran the power can opener and sliced my finger nail right off.
  • In the 2nd grade, my sisters, the neighbor’s kids, & I were playing in the neighbor’s yard. Long story —> short, I took a bad tumble and my left hand was 1 inch higher than my left arm. A quick trip to to hospital and a cast up-past my elbow for 8 weeks, and I was as good as new.
  • In the 8th grade, my younger sister & I were playing tennis in the street in front of our house. The street had a moderate downhill slope, so I let her have the upward side (to even things out). After a while, so got pissed off at me and lobbed the ball far over my head, then slammed the racket down on the ground, and stomped her way back inside the house. After watching the ball fly overhead, I walked down to street to retrieve it, then returned to our house, retrieving her racket from the gutter where is lay. I was angry and tossed the equipment back into the shed, then stomped around the backyard, brooding. I wanted to punch *some*thing, ANYthing, but I new that if I punched my sister, mom & dad would kill me. Looking around I spied an empty rabbit hutch next to the shed. Instantly I unleashed a punch with my right fist and a split second later, I knew I had fucked up. I slowly walked into the house, holding my right wrist under my left arm. I asked my dad if we could go to the hospital and he obliged. 3 X-rays later confirmed that I had fractured my wrist in 3 places. Luckily none of the bones were out of place, so this cast only extended up to the elbow.
  • In the 10th grade, I was playing soccer in gym class at school and took a direct ball hit to my right middle finger. The splint the doctor gave me looked like I was “flying the bird” to everyone around me.
  • Throughout the years, our family utilized dentists that, shall we say, were…  not “up to par”. Tooth #19 has quite a long history with me.
  • In the late 1980s, I was helping a friend put lower control arm bushings in his ’70 Duster. Since I did not have a hydraulic press, I decided to use an 8 pound sledge hammer and a drift to try to drive the old bushings out. One stroke of my mighty “Thor”, I missed the drift and mashed my left thumb squarely against the work vise, turning my left thumb into what can only be described as a “Pez dispenser”. That would be the first of several times that my left thumb would (literally) take a beating.
  • While working at Manassas Dodge, I got a small speck of metal lodged in one of my corneas. I went to the doctor, who numbed my eye, then strapped my head in a skull-shaped vice. “Don’t blink” he says, as he slowly moved a micro-drill ever closer. 3 small drills and the metal bit was gone. I wore an eye patch for a few days, then it was back to normal.
  • One Friday at this same dealership, I got a tiny cut on one of my knuckles. As a mechanic, your hands take quite a beating, and even though this cut was minor, I washed it, coated it with medicated salve, covered it with a Band-Aid, and reported it to my supervisor. “You gonna live?” he asked and I agreed, then went back to work. The following Thursday, as I was driving my motorcycle to work, my wrist seemed stiff. The next day I decided to drive my car, but on the way to work I noticed my wrist was even stiffer than the day before. When I got to work, I walked into my supervisor’s office and said “You remember that little cut I got last week?“, then I turned my arm over, showing him a blood vein with a dark streak running towards my hand. He turned pale white and said “You get to the doctor, NOW“. Off to the doctor I went, who admitted me to the hospital (the only time I’ve ever had to stay in a hospital) where I was pumped full of medication, kept my arm elevated, and watched TV all day. My stay ended on Sunday afternoon, just in time to go home for a good night’s sleep before returning to work Monday morning. As an interesting side note, about 6 months later I saw the doctor who treated me on TV. I turned up the volume and heard the reporter say the doctor had been arrested for writing prescriptions to herself.
  • In the early ’90s, soon after I had moved to NorCal and landed a job at a computer company, I was out back feeding the cats on yet another non-descript day. And as usual, the 4 chickens that happened to be living on this farm when we rented it came over and started to eat the cat food. Our cats, being tame city-dwellers all their life, would allow the chickens to eat the food, and then start meowing at me because they now had no food; so I’d have to feed them again. After a few days of this game, I decided to take matters into my own hands. One morning I placed a spring-loaded rat trap with just one piece of cat food on it. As expected, the chickens came pecking around and the largest one took the bait, getting his head snapped in the trap. All 4 of them are flailing around and 3 of them quickly ran away. I walk over and pick up the rat trap, expecting to carry it (and the chicken) out to the barn for a swift kick in the but, but instead the chicken dropped out from the trap and begins to flail around. In my efforts to avoid the chicken, I lost my balance and fell against my father-in-law’s pickup truck. As my body descended, my left arm was bent up and over my head, dislodging my shoulder from the socket. The chicken ran away and I, mostly defeated, picked myself back up and slowly worked my arm back down to a point by my side. It was painful and I knew the joint was not in the socket. I knew what had to be done, so I ran my shoulder into a tree; trying to reset the arm back into the socket. It took 3 attempts, but my “pioneer medicine” did the trick. Once in a while, my left shoulder still reminds me of the event even today.
  • Then one time, one of my eyes started turning red. Not irritated red, but the white part of my eye started to turn blood red, filling from the bottom up to the top. The doctor said “It happens“, but not to worry. It wasn’t painful and my vision was not affected. Slowly over the next 2 weeks, the red color slowly drained back out ans my eye returned to normal.
  • In the early 2000’s, while working for a friend’s heavy equipment company, I stepped out of an 18 wheeler while carrying a steering column. There was only an empty bucket as a step, and of course it flew out from under my feet. I hit the ground back first, knocking the wind out of me. Then, to add insult to injury, the steering column I had been carrying, came crashing back down from orbit with me being in the landing zone. I rolled around on the ground for a few minutes before calling my girlfriend (now wife) to tell her how I had fucked up.
  • One day, while working to straighten a bent trailer draw-bar, the piece of 2×2 angle iron that I was pressing on with a hydraulic jack flew out and smacked me in the nose, knocking me on my back. A major bloody nose was quickly quelled by a semi-clean red shop rag, and back to work I went.
  • And then just last week, I stepped down from a structure onto an un-even surface, which rolled my left ankle. It’s a pain that is quite unique, and I know that my aging body is going to have to live with this one for quite a while.

ankle.jpg

  • And if that wasn’t enough, I badly sliced the tip of my left pointer finger on the edge of a large bolt that had been sharpened by constant wear against the ground.
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What’s in YOUR wallet?

Lots of people (including myself) have railed about how the USA currency is backed by nothing but the belief of the people. Today the latest “fad” in the financial world is Bitcoin. Let’s take a look at how it stacks up.

Bitcoin was originally claimed to be “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” which gave the users complete anonymity.

  • The coins are not connected to any government agency, so they are supposed to be stable and unaffected by government decisions. (Yet their “value” does fluctuate based on many decisions)
  • New bitcoins can be created by “mining” them, through the process of solving a complex mathematical problem. (Why do I have to solve a complex math problem just to earn some money? I already have a full time job!)
  • Subsequent coins are created out of the original coins. (Just like any other fiat currency)
  • Like any currency, Bitcoins are vulnerable to being lost or stolen. Hackers can break in to bitcoin exchanges and steal them from their rightful owners. (What happened to them being “safe”?)
  • Merchants can accept Bitcoins as payment for goods & services. Since the exchange is anonymous, Bitcoins can be used for purchases that may be “less than legal”, such as illegal drugs. (And how can the government get their cut if no one knows who, where, or how the money is used?)
  • The actual value of Bitcoins does vary, which causes up & down surges. (Much like the stock market)
  • Bitcoins only exist in the digital world, no actual physical coins exist. (They are imaginary!)

So in the end, is Bitcoin or any other “crypto-currency” better than the good old US dollar? Nope, they are all flawed and only work to keep the working class of people perpetually in debt (and thus, enslaved just to survive).

 

 

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It’s beginning to smell a lot like Chris-mess

So there I was, 12th grade of high school (roughly late 1982), sitting in Trigonometry class and day-dreaming as I stared out the window, hoping for snow. The teacher, Mr. Slivoskey, asked one young, female, Asian student to solve a problem on the board, and of course, show all her work. She started working furiously on the left side of the board, and proceeded to fill the entire board, mapping out a hugely complex equation that no sane human being would ever use in real life. Her breakdown of the equation literally *FILLED* the board from end to end and as she was writing it out, I was mentally checking her work; as was the teacher (and probably the rest of the class too).  Half way through, she missed a negative symbol, and my heart sank for her because I knew there would be hell to pay.

When she was finished, she stepped back to allow the teacher access to the board. He started at the upper left corner and weaved his way through her calculations. When he got to the missing negative symbol, he stopped and pointedly mentioned “Because you missed this, your final answer should be a negative number; not a positive number”.

From 1/2 way back of the room comes my voice in the most sarcastic tone one could imagine: “Mer-ry Christ-mess!“.  Mr Slivoskey turned and stared directly at me, but my job was done, and he knew it.   😉

Mr_Slivosky

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I’m the FNG

Here I am, 53 years old, and once again I’m starting a new job, hoping to make enough money to make ends meet and maybe, someday, retire. It’s a great shop – clean, quiet, and a wonderfully short commute. And like most mechanic’s shops, the Fucking New Guy takes all the heat, whether he’s deserving of it or not. It’s a scare tactic that can either make or break a new employee, quickly weeding out the ones that can’t handle the pressure. Being the oldest guy in the shop does have it’s advantages, but I remember many decades ago when things went a little differently.

I was 18 years old, just out of high school and in search of my first full-time job. My buddy, Mark, said his brother, Chris, worked at a diesel machine shop and he needed a helper. I had just signed up for automotive classes at the local community college, so between that and just a smattering of automotive tinkering, I talked my way into the job; even though I had to adjust my work schedule around my class schedule. Working 7 – 3 then going to class from 4 – 10 seems grueling now, but it was a snap for the younger me.

Probably within the first week, Chris had sent me to the parts room for something simple, like 1/2″ lock washers. Me, being green and not knowing how the parts room was laid out (and probably not knowing what a lock washer was), I was unable to find the parts quickly. Either way, Chris came storming into the parts room, grabbed a handful of washers, then got in my face….. “Bill, you’re useless, FUCKING USELESS! Fuck you Bill! FUCK YOU!! YOU GOT ANY FRIENDS? FUCK THEM TOO!!!!“. Then he stormed out of the parts room.

I stood there, dumbstruck, and thought to myself “I need to start looking for another job“. But I stuck it out and I tried to watch my Ps & Qs; but as luck would have it, the following week I did something small & stupid, something that pissed off Chris. Again he got in my face… “Bill, you’re useless, FUCKING USELESS! Fuck you Bill! FUCK YOU!! YOU GOT ANY FRIENDS?” and this is where I interjected “Just you, Chris!

He stopped mid-rant, smiled, started to laugh, and quietly walked away.

I thought of that reply 5 minutes after the first incident and I had been waiting all week to use it. And it worked perfectly. Chris & I worked together as a great team for another 4 months before he quit and moved on to another shop.

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