Perspective

I’m in Arkansas right now visiting family and stealing internet from their next door neighbors’ WiFi. On the way here I was reflecting on my work life. I’m a little dissatisfied with work. It’s more work bores me than it bothers me. Though working conditions kind of suck. But I’m ten years into my career and I do alright financially, so it would be very hard to quit. Especially when you have two kids that are going to be going to college soon.

I was kind of feeling trapped. That my life was getting toward the end and I wasn’t going to be able to have much fun or freedom for the rest of it.

Then I got to talking to my Dad and he pointed out he was 40 – which is what I will be next year – when we moved to Kingwood and I started high school, which is close to where my youngest it.

My grandfather is 84. He’s been retired almost as long as I’ve been alive.

So it gave me some perspective on where my life is. Even if I spend a few years doing something I don’t really enjoy, I still have many many years to do stuff I do. I just need to focus on keeping myself healthy so I can enjoy those years

D&D Geek?

There is currently running a radio commercial for something that uses the voice of a geeky character, talking around a retainer, about his D&D game. The punch line is “Some things are better left in the 80s”. If find this offensive because I lived up to too many of those stereotypes.

One was playing D&D. Did it a lot in high school and kept buying the books but not really playing for a number of years afterwards. These days my kids read the books and kind of play sometimes with their friends. Mostly they just collect roleplaying game books, both D20 and GURPS.

But to break the stereotypes, it appears Vin Diesel is a big fan of D&D. My estimation of him just went up. I always kind of liked him but this makes me like him more. I’m also looking forward to his new movie The Chronicles of Riddick. I just re-watched Pitch Black and liked it. I especially like the muslim character. My favorite line was “There’s my God Mr. Riddick”.

Written while listening to “Lea”
by Toto

NYC Injustice

So yesterday I was tired of reading political blogs. So I started looking for non-political blogs by browsing the blog rolls of people whose blogs I normally read. Mostly I found either blogs I already read or more politics. But Stiletto Philosophy saved me. Her blog roll includes lots of personal blogs. Of course many of them were fairly angst ridden, which wasn’t helping my already low mood.

Then of course I found one with an entry that pissed me off enough to comment on and of course it was political. I just can’t get away from it.

The blog was Go Fish and the entry was Take Their Toys and Go Home.

I left a comment, you can read it if you like and got a nice email back from Mac. I asked if I could quote it and my response, because it was getting big enough to be a blog entry all its own. She agreed.

Yes, they are not taking city money, but I mean ALL public money.
That means United Way funds, government funds, general public
fundraising.

The Boy Scouts raise a good portion of their money through member
dues. Technically, it functions as a private club type of thing.
Therefore, they have the right to enact whatever silly rules they want.

My response was:


What I hear you saying is if someone has a religious conviction about something they should not be able to ask people for money.

I can almost understand an argument that says the government – who forces people to give them this money – shouldn’t be allowed to give that money to support a religious system. (Though I don’t really think that’s the case in this instance. Actually it probably is the case, that the government is enacting rules that are based on the philosophical belief that homosexuality is ok and everyone who deals with them must agree to it).

So all churches shouldn’t be able to do any general fund raising? I think the thing people forget is that the Salvation Army is a church, just like the Catholic church – which has the same kind of problem.

As for the United Way, I don’t think of them as a governmental organization, so they can do whatever they want with the money they raise. I don’t give to them because they give to causes I don’t agree with. Why shouldn’t others have to make the same kind of choice? Let them give to whoever they want and if people stop giving to them they have to deal with those consequences.

Another point I’d like to make is the same reason the Salvation Army is out there running their soup kitchens is the reason they won’t support homosexual partners. Both are based on their religious beliefs. Off the top of my head I can’t think of any agency doing the kind of down in the trenches helping of the poor they do that doesn’t do it because Jesus told them to. I may be missing something here, but I honestly can’t think of any.

When I read the story you have posted I see a totally different injustice. I see a government, that does nothing to help the poor, putting a political agenda ahead of the good of the homeless. The Salvation Army isn’t closing their services because they want to, they are doing it because the city is forcing them to. Will the city run these soup kitchens if the Salvation Army doesn’t? I seriously doubt it.


Since then I’ve thought of a couple of other things.

The issue here is really core and really important. When can the government force others to conform to their philosophical beliefs. My answer is rarely. And this isn’t one of those times. I’m going to sound a little Libertarian here, but they should only be able to enforce philosophical mandates when there is a danger to the people they are responsible for.

Quick hypothetical example, say the KKK had a company that built bridges (as opposed to being a bunch of stupid losers). And they built really good bridges. As a matter of fact they were better than anyone else’s. It was scientifically proven that there were 33% less traffic fatalities on their bridges. Now NYC needs a new bridge real bad. This bridge is going to have a million people go over it every day. A study says there will be 30 traffic fatalities a year on the bridge just because of the traffic flow.

You should see where I’m going now. They bid out the project and the KKK has the low bid, but they say they won’t hire any black people to work on the bridge. So the city council comes for a vote on who to award the contract to. How do you vote?

Remember if you give the contract to anyone else 10 people per year are going to die on the bridge that wouldn’t if you give it to the KKK.

On the other hand hundreds of thousands of black NYC tax payers are going to be giving millions of dollars to the KKK.

You know how I’d vote? I against the KKK getting the contract.

Why? Let’s change the scenario a little. Instead of the KKK it is the Boy Scouts. Now the Boy Scouts are bad because they don’t let homosexuals be Scout leaders. (OK, I don’t think they are bad, but Mac and NYC city council do).

Them I would vote for.

How about the National Organization of Women. I’m pro-life and don’t agree with much of NOW’s political agenda. But I’d vote for them too.

So why would I let 10 people die rather than give the KKK a city contract?

Because the KKK with millions of dollars would be an active threat to the populous. They have a history of violence. Maybe they could create some kind of kinder gentler KKK, but I doubt it. They are basically a domestic terrorist organization. So letting 10 people a year die is better than thousands.

But the Salvation Army, the Boy Scouts, and even NOW aren’t violent, so they can have the job if it helps people.

You know if the City Council of NYC enacts this particular piece of social engineering, people will probably die on the streets of New York. When it gets cold and there is no shelter to go to, they’ll freeze to death. And who will be the most torn up about it?

The City Council? They’ll be outraged because it is politically expedient, but won’t shed a tear.

The homosexual employees partners? They won’t even realized it happen. They’ll be working for someone else and won’t realize the injustice they suffered at the hand of the Salvation Army caused people to die.

No the people who will cry will be the Salvation Army workers. They’ll still be on the street working in the shelters that are still there. The ones paid for by those people who care about the homeless. They’ll be the ones on their knees in tears asking God why another person had to die on the streets alone.

Political Q&A


A very interesting and often humorous set of political question and answers. It was also often insightful. I didn’t realize tattoos, body piercing and swing were foundations of Libertarianism. I do understand Libertarians have a tendency to be move verbose than others.

Written while listening to “Time”
album ^a
by Hootie And The Blowfish
Written while listening to “Accidentally In Love”
album Accidentally In Love – Single
by Counting Crows

The Future: Part II

This is part two (part I ) of my take on Seth Godin’s proclamations.

The number of new products introduced every day is five times greater than now And the vast majority of them go completely unnoticed. Add to this the new means of distributing TV content and the media scream gets louder and less intelligible. People will come to depend on aggregators. These are people who watch particular segments of the new product market and put the cool stuff out there for their readers.

I’d expect to see some scandals and out cry as product providers go for these gatekeepers and their readers get mad when they find out someone was paid to place a product. Most of the hoo haa though will be moot if the aggregators continue to provide quality information. I don’t really car if Icon Productions paid my favorite movie critic/aggregator to review their new remake of the Ten Commandments, as long has the review is accurate.

Wal-Mart’s sales are three times as big Wal-Mart will always be the king of cheap. As more stuff gets cheap, they will sell more stuff. They aren’t the people to go to when you want something cool or complicated.

Wal-Mart is also where the masses, and especially the poor, shop. Do the millions of new products rate selling at Wal-Mart? Or are the often going to be non-commodity items?

Any manufactured product that’s more than five years old in design sells at commodity pricing Assuming it is a commodity and it survives. Most things won’t survive that long and other things are unique creations, for example music, movies and art. Wal-Mart won’t be so central when we get most of these online. And as the proliferation of old TV shows on DVD have shown, even when it is old it can still have non-commodity value.

The retirement age will be five years higher than it is now My bet is it will be even older than that, but the average job will actually be smaller. Many people will build careers that allow them to work less as they get older. So they work longer, but less.

Your current profession will either be gone or totally different I kind of agree with this. All careers will be different when the media landscape changes. But doctors will still be trying to make people well. Lawyers will still be suing people. Computer programmers will still be solving problems with technology. How they do it may be different, but what they do will still be the same.

When I first read this my thought was, “And owning real estate is still a good idea”. None of these changes cause people not to need a place to live. Nor does it change a need for food and water. Nor a desire for sex or companionship. People will still go to church and have hobbies. How we do things may have changed a lot in the last few years, but what we do is still around.

Written while listening to “Be Like That”
album The Better Life
by 3 Doors Down
Written while listening to “Figured You Out”
album The Long Road
by Nickleback

The Future: Part One

Seth Godin, author of Free Prize Inside – which I need to get around to reviewing – has a list of things he thinks will be true in the future.

Lots of people have reproduced his list, but no one has commented on it. Here’s my take.

Hard drive space is free My first reaction was to say nothing is ever free, but my reinterpretation is cheap and plentiful. If that’s true I see a device – probably combined with the laptop like thing further down – that will be a portable TIVO. All your music, TV shows and movies will be on this one device you carry with you. You’ll back it up to even bigger storage on your home server.

Back up is something people like to ignore when they think storage is cheap. Why would I need to keep a copy of stuff on my home machine when I’m going to be able to carry everything with me. The big reason is because you are more likely to lose something you carry everywhere. The iPod gives us a glimpse of this, you carry your music everywhere, but you still sync up with a main computer.

I’ll talk a little more about the concept of home vs portable computer later.

Wifi like connections are everywhere You know I wonder what this will be like technically. Will it be decentralized like WiFi? Meaning I can get an internet connection no matter where I go, but won’t have the same connection everywhere I go. Or will it be an always on cell phone like connection where the same connection stays with me as I move from place to place?

Just being able to have a connection anywhere will change things in one way, but it won’t do as good a job as a communication medium. For instance yesterday I was looking for sunglasses, which are something hard to buy online because you can’t see what they look like on your face. So I went to the mall and tried on sunglasses. I found some I like – Rayban Preditor 18s with polarized lenses – but they cost more than I wanted to spend. I figured I could get them cheaper online. So I got the girl to write down the model number for me. If I had had an internet connection right there I could have quickly checked prices online and known I wasn’t going to find much of a difference in price. (Which probably explains why there were 3 sunglasses shops in the mall).

But if I’m in my car I can’t use a WiFi connection, I need something always on.

Connections speeds are 10 to 100 times faster This will give “subscription TV” a whole new meaning. You’ll connect to a production company’s web site, buy DRMed movies and download them to your home server ala iTunes. Then you’ll put them on your portable, or watch them on your home entertainment system. Networks are replaced by aggregation web sites. Sites that specialize in finding certain kinds entertainment. You’ll probably daily browse these kinds of sites looking for new stuff.

There will also probably be meta data attached to the downloaded files, including everything from episode guides to trailers for related media.

Everyone has a digital camera You know I don’t think this will be that big a deal. Everyone has owned a camera for years. But that doesn’t mean they carry one all the time. They may in the future, but it won’t be that different. People who like to take pictures do it a lot now. Most people do it for special occasions. A few do it for art. Don’t see digital changing this.

Everyone carries a device that is sort of like a laptop, but cheap and tiny
Anyone remember the show Earth Final Conflict? In it they had something called a global. This was a small device that when collapsed was the about 1″ x 1″ x 4″. Then you pulled it open to make it about 3″ wide and there was a display there. It was used as a video phone and as a computer. I envision something like that that people will be carrying in 5 years. Once we have flexible displays cell phones will change.

I also don’t think this will change the fact you’ll still have a home computer. It will probably be integrated into a entertainment system. You’re house will also have a central server, where you put files – including everything from homework to movies – that are shared by the users of the house. Ergonomics will dictate the need for something you can sit at for hours vs something you can carry with you everywhere.

I think I’ll do the next 5 things in another post.

Written while listening to “Shock to the System”
album Billy Idol: Greatest Hits
by Billy Idol
Written while listening to “Six Sirens”
by Project 86
Written while listening to “Flesh for Fantasy”
album Billy Idol: Greatest Hits
by Billy Idol

Jetsons

Did you know there were only 24 episodes of the Jestons? The first season just came out and it was the only one. Very interesting. It was also written for prime-time, but stuck around on Saturday morning for years to come. Came out the same time as the Flintstones, which had the longest animated run before the Simpsons.

An interesting discussion in the editorial review of the Flintsones on Amazon comparing the Flintsones and the Simpsons.

Written while listening to “Mission Impossible Theme”