Monday, November 29, 2010

Our Giant Is Laying Down Quietly

Have you noticed the erosion? Factories are closing everywhere. In the larger cities, it might not have quite the obvious impact that it will in a smaller town, but don't kid yourself, we are circling the drain as a nation.

Take a small town of say, 57,000 people. Say that town has a large factory that employs 1,200 people all earning a decent middle-class income of $45 to $65K. Life is sweet in our little town. There is a whole infrastructure built around the existence of that plant. One that was necessary for it to survive. Stores, restaurants, hotels, services of all kinds. Banks, churches, schools and hospitals for the employees, entertainment centers of all varieties. The community serves the plant and the plant supports the community.

One day the factory says they are closing down the operation. With this decision, our little town will loose over $60 million every year from factory employees alone. All of these support businesses have to keep rolling because they are still here and with all of that activity the little town seems to have absorbed the loss of the factory, but all of the support businesses feel the loss and it starts a landslide. Soon our little town is more of a ghetto than a community. Crime rates soar as more and more people live in despair and on welfare. More of their children never complete high school and the crime rate soars again.

If we could peek around at the other side of the world, and, you know, through the big wall, we would see a nation on the rise. A huge industrial monster standing up to flex it's muscles and growl at us from across the ocean. This monster is running on steroids, because it is not restricted by pollution regulations or even quality standards. It has negligible concern for employees wages, benefits or working conditions. It is not burdened with invention, design or research and development. It's only mandate is to be cheaper, and we all cheer it on.

It seems our industrial giant has grown tired of carrying the crown and wants to retire in a recliner in front of a large screen tv. We want to cheer on China because we feel entitled to the good life, but we are too lazy to earn it. Consequently we need our good life to be easier to obtain, or more plainly - cheaper.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Award-Winning Photographer!

Halloween has come around again and, as is my custom, I decided to take a photo of Stevie in his costume. This year it was a fireman.

It is not hard to pull the character out of Stevie.

Ok, no biggie, shoot it and put the camera away. The evening's festivities ensued.

The next day, there is mention of a photo contest with a fall/Halloween theme and it looks like everybody is sending in pictures of their kid in their Halloween costume. I'm thinkin' I got one in the bag of Stevie, why not participate? So I sent it in.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the contest has nothing to do with the merits of your photo, but everything to do with how many of your friends you can get to go online and "Like" it. Now it is a campaign. We rallied as many of our friends to go online on our behalf as we could. (If you responded to one of these pleas, you have my heart-felt thanks). Unfortunately, the winner had a gazillion friends mobilized for a landslide victory. We were, however, able to maintain our status in the community with a very distinguished finish at third place.

If you have ever been to our little town, you will have noticed a landmark in the form of a giant pink elephant hoisting a martini in front of the liquor store. It is in the spirit of our fabled landmark that I reveal to you my distinguished prize.

Obviously, I am going to have to address my rates in light of this accomplishment. I recommend you book your project before they go into effect! :)