Friday, 21 August 2009

My 1968 Speech

In most office areas and work environments today.....folks are getting testy, tired, and frustrated with political chit-chat.

Every office has liberal left players...far-right players....extremists of various varieties....who are making a team atmosphere into a some place that you really don't want to work. So this is my speech for this environment.

I'd like for a brief moment....to take what little Socrates wisdom I have and make a persuasive argument for peace and harmony.

In 1968, if I had asked a dozen people to name their governor....less than four would have been readily able to do so.

In 1968, if I asked a dozen people to name their two senators from their state....two might have been able to name both, and six more might have been able to name one of the senators.

In 1968, if I had asked a dozen people to name the vice president....two or less of the dozen would have been able to do it.

In 1968, unless it was an election year....most folks would have been totally lost on political agendas or discussion items.

In 1968, you talked baseball, summer vacations, drive-in movies, NBA basketball, the neighbor who had run off with the clerk at Piggy Wiggly, the cousin who married some hippy chick from Santa Fe, the best beer for the cheapest price, and the best way to bar-b-q chicken.

Somewhere between 1968 and today....we've all wandered off and lost our way.

We want to pick up discussion topics off the fourteen hours of news we watch each week or the seven hours of radio political chit-chat.....and bring them into the workplace. We're making an simple discussion.....into a heated argument.

We are doing this at family reunions, Sunday school meetings, PTA meetings, and even pursuing grand arguments with our wife or husband or kids. We show at high school reunions and then toss some argument out and see who will bite.

There's no shame in having a position on something and being in favor of something.....but what I'm suggesting is a 1968-mentality. Live your life and just stand your own ground....and not on someone else's ground.

Rediscover the feeling of riding a scooter. Find a moment to share with your best friend. Experiment with bar-b-q sauce. Rebuild that guest bedroom. Find that copy of Steinbeck and reread it. Explain to the kid the art of sharpening the mower blade. Take the daughter to softball practice and agree for ice cream later. Offer to wash the wife's car and wax it.

I'm not asking for a massive transformation. I'm just asking you to look back at 1968....and find why it was such a great year.

So there, thats my Socrates moment of the day. A bit of wisdom that I'd just like to offer.

Poverty, Simply

Some report came out today…over 38.8 million folks are believed to be in poverty…or at least the Census folks think this.

Republicans have their message for this….it proves that government programs aren’t working. Democrats have their message for this….that not enough government programs are working.

I sat and pondered over this. Out of 300-odd million Americans….X number are in poverty.

For a while I sat and considered the historical meaning to this. How many folks were in poverty in 1776? Actually….none. The government hadn’t gotten around to this concept of poverty in 1776.

So in 1810….how many were in poverty? Well…the government hadn’t defined poverty at that point either.

Are there more folks in poverty in one region of America than another? Well…the statistics don’t truly prove this fact. Although if you toss the numbers enough….you find that metropolitan areas are more likely to have poverty folks than rural folks. But it’s not true in every rural area of America.

So if you are in poverty…does this say anything about the nation as a whole? Can we just fix it? Can we just hand out more money? Can we do a poverty-for-clunkers kind of program and just wipe poverty out in six months? Could we make a Poverty Czar for the President….to keep him informed of poverty? Could we get CNN to have an hour of poverty news each night or make one of their analysts a person of poverty? The answer here…simply….is no.

The humorous part about this whole sad topic…is that five hundred-odd folks….between various government departments and university research projects….are studying poverty. They can tell you four thousand facts about poverty. They get paid to understand poverty. They would spend hours and hours at poverty conferences. In the end….they are our experts over poverty….while the real experts just sit there and laugh over this mighty effort.

Here’s the thing….in ten years…we will still have poverty. Other than new and fresh programs…nothing changes.

The VOIP Phone

My boss has a secure VOIP telephone….voice-over-IP technology. Well…he has the phone…and that’s about it. It’s not connected.

So about five months ago….he wanted it hooked up. So I did a job order to have the communications guys on Ramstein to hook this up and make it work. So visit one came….no results. So visit two came….no results. Phone conversations came and went….no results.

This past week….Airman Snuffy and his associate showed up and started a new hook-up project….problems continued on. So Snuffy finally set the phone up and needed a number. Some work ensued, and finally he left. Today, someone called up and asked a couple of questions.

An hour later….my boss’s normal phone was messed up (not the VOIP). Nothing worked.
So I called the telephone help desk on Ramstein. The new Airman Snuffy helped as much as he could….but this was really screwed up.

So hours and hours of time have been spent on this stupid single secure VOIP phone….and it still doesn’t work. It would have been easier for me to have arranged for a bunch of Chinese MIG’s to land at Ramstein than get this one phone hooked up and working.