Back to not hack

Yes, we’re back to hack
At the dawn’s early crack
On this WordPress thing
Having been on a fling
So pardon canard,
Consistency’s hard
To keep up with steady posting!

So in case you are not of the spam-generating persuasion — and are actually READING my piffle — then take heart:
We’ll try and keep ya posted.

Aside
We went down to Jersey
For better or worse, see?
Her bright sandy shores, yeah, we're lovin' er;
Some months before bomb-blast @ the RNC
From their bellicose portly governor!
Who's now out of the spotlight, not that that's bad
He made room for Slick — that biz-whiz lad
The vulture capitalist & former Mass gov
Who the 47% will soon come to love
He could shill for Vitalis
With help from Above
'Cause it fits his bouffant like hand in a glove! 


Now here's to Slick: Slap it on, make it stick!
Mitt will need it to glide
To the other side
Of the upcoming November pick!
But we know he can
Try to win fair & square
Because he da man
And he's GOT DA HAIR!
On a parting note , we'll try not to gloat: 

 Woo-Hoo! All the grease we can spare!
Aside
CONNECTED-LY  DISCONNECTED

Oh multitasker! I can tell
That you’re not really listening;
But that's okay, it’s just as well
Outside my window I can see
A tiny blue bird in a tree
With light now creeping ‘oer verdant knell
Some sun-kissed dewdrops glistening!

My words slip into thin air I fear
As I hear your keyboard clicking
And distress those words you do not hear;
How much of it is sticking?

So multitasker tell me why
You hug a desk under clear sunny sky?
Don’t answer! I think I know the reply!

It’s the same for me as 'tis for you:
We've way too much to do!

So it’s better to rush than take a breather
Quite frankly I’m not listening, either!

I’ll repeat myself again just once
So put this in the bank:
What do I sound like – some kind of dunce?
You’re DEAF – with computer to thank!
Aside

AN END RUN FOR BIG SODA

A tale of standard corporate operating procedure played out in the life of a high school buddy.

The names have been changed to protect both the innocent and the guilty.

Tom Schultz* was a cohort of long standing when we left high school in 1975, yet unlike me and others – who bopped around from one joker-job to another – Tom latched on to a full time salaried position at a local bottling plant, toeing the line for a Fortune 500 beverage company I’ll call Big Soda. The ‘Big’ moniker is not inaccurate; market capitalization was among the top three such companies in the U.S. who cranked out a nutritionally worthless but highly profitable line of beverages. As an aside, his employer wasn’t Coca-Cola. Lucky for him? Hardly; they, like their sharkish bedfellows, sawed the same worker corpse-strewn bloodied waters of the American business world. Read on.

Tom’s was a pretty good ride, especially for those first few years, as the pay was a bit better than what the standard high school grad could knock down – and his revelations into the machinations of corporate America, while humbling and infuriating, were also illuminating. It was an important wake-up call to the rest of us as expendable potential widgeteers trying to enter the full-time workforce.

Tom’s experience — and enthusiastic anecdotes as an avid company man — gave us a peek into the minds of the rich/owning/ruling class and how they operate, think and connive to keep themselves at the top of the food chain.

But let’s talk about Tom — a deeply religious young man who neither smoked nor drank, assiduously avoided the rampant recreational drug-dabbling of his peers, didn’t cuss, gamble, backbite or hold grudges. He never missed a day of work without a life-or-death reason. Those superlative qualities alone would put him in the upper 99th percentile of employees, and head-and-shoulders above the rest of his peers — especially yours truly! (I worked in a gas station.)
Tom Schultz could certainly have been considered an ace in the hole for any company.

And boy, didn’t they know it. Taking full advantage of his good nature and strong character, management milked Tom for every nickel they could get out of him. His efforts were noticed, and he crept up into lower management.

As he slowly climbed the ladder, being on a salary meant the clock didn’t necessarily stop running at the 8-hour point, and Tom rarely said no to what amounted to forced overtime. Saturdays were a specialty; he got up and went in without grumbling. His long tenure and familiarity with equipment meant that when something broke at odd hours, he would hustle down to the plant and fix it.

He moved among the disgruntled on the shop floor, and remained likeable enough to be trusted.
When brand new shiny trucks and equipment showed up, Tom noted how his co-workers grumbled, “they’ll spend money on anything but the help,” though Tom harbored little resentment. He tried to gloss over negativity with his consistent upbeat attitude, seldom succeeding with his peers, who soothed their simmering daily discontent with the palliative of psycho-babble talk radio, courtesy of host Howard Stern.
On the coattails of his coworkers pithy revelations, however, one can assume that if Big Soda could fully automate the plant, eliminating employees entirely, (an investor’s dream!), they’d be delighted to do so!

But that would be a tad more expensive than moving operations overseas to penny-wage countries, which is no doubt still happening full tilt as you read this.
This is the modern day ‘work ethic’, and would be right in line with a company that would sooner pour surplus or excess beverage down the drain than give it away.

One day in late 1988, Tom showed us a letter that had been distributed to the workers at the plant, denoting a possible change of ownership. It was signed by the then-current owners I’ll call the Brinx brothers, who hailed from a very wealthy local family. One of the toys in their box was the Big Soda bottling operation.

Actually, this was the first time any of us had the ‘Death Tax’ thrust into our consciousness, and this letter was a real piece of artwork. In that precious text, which I wish I had copied — the Brinx brothers railed against the travesty of ‘confiscatory’ taxation, which threatened to chip away at their hoarded pile. The tone of the letter was predictably haughty, pompous and vindictive.

Admittedly, a 55% tax on inherited property is pretty outrageous, but I couldn’t help marvel at the irony: multimillionaires explaining their trouble to guys who were making $8. to $10 bucks an hour!

So the silver-spooners’ settled-for win-win was to broker a sale of the plant back to the parent company, a move they capitulated to somewhat begrudgingly. I guess it was around that point that the sharks came in.

All told, Tom sold Big Soda 30 years of his life, a model employee to the end. Do you think Big Soda would have recognized exceptional service and dedication, then rewarded it accordingly?
If so, you’d better guess again.

Of course his story would have a happy ending if it hadn’t ended so badly. You see, Big Soda didn’t actually care what happened to their lifelong, honest-to-a-fault employee; their real loyalty, in keeping with the suffix “corporation” — was to their shareholders.

What Big Soda saw in Tom’s case was a liability: a thirty year man up for retirement. Their strategy? Simple: boot him before he can collect on what was rightly his. Barring a legitimate excuse for firing him, make one up.

Unbeknownst to Tom, a sneaky plan was in the works and had been for some time. It involved tweaking some little details in the periodic tallying of product. The trap was set, and Tom and his immediate superior — surprise! the two highest salaries — were summarily fired.

I quizzed him, shortly after that sad 30th anniversary of his hiring, as to why he didn’t fight it. Oh, sure, he had gotten a decent severance bonus, but retirement? You’re dreamin’!

Frankly, he didn’t want to subject himself to the negativity of a direct face-off with mendacious management, preferring instead to take his lumps and move on.
Big Soda won that one. They had successfully cheated their way out of their part of the bargain – but then again, who ever said there had been a bargain to begin with?

Is Tom’s an isolated case? I’d venture a NAY. His worker-corpse litters a crowded trail, no doubt.
For this is how great fortunes are made – or at least kept – these days, and we’re all to blame: every boomer who owns mutual funds that buy a basket of ‘blue chip’ stocks probably has more than a smattering of holdings in Big Soda and its ilk. But after hearing Tom’s story – and further, within the context of Enron and Anderson Accounting – we may all want to rethink our definition of “bull market”.

I call Tom once in a while and ask if those brash Brinx brothers have graced the latest issue of Forbes.

David A. Hopkins is a freelance writer and tree trimmer living in Colrain, Massachusetts, where he enjoys NOT hunting and fishing.

 

 
Davey H. is a freelance writer and tree trimmer who enjoys NOT hunting and fishing.
Aside

Ladies and Gents
With no recompense
I now bring you Rustie®
For long life she is lusty
And that in the present-tense!

Roses are Red, Back roads are Dusty; I’ll tell ya, Fred: I sure love my RUSTIE® !!!

She was GREAT in the snow
One of many good points
But, well you know,
She had buggered U-joints!

But that wasn’t so bad
And she didn’t get nixed
We knew we just had
To go get ’em fixed!

Thus onward and upward of Rustie® I’ve railed;
so check out this VID – this guy has it NAILED!


Aside

Way back in 1986, I had a little bit o’ scratch, and it was looking for a home. Having been ‘honorably’ discharged from our dear Navy 3 years earlier, I’d saved a small nest egg – way too small to consider purchasing a house or even remotely new car. So what to do? Buy house-sized speakers, of course!! Therefore, when a tiny ad appeared in the local paper for ‘Klipschorn’, I just HAD to call the guy. Of course, it not being listed in the plural, I thought he only had one speaker for sale, but no, he had a pair! (Guys, no pun intended) The listed price was $1800.00! And believe me, that seemed like a lot of dough at the time. And indeed it was for this struggling lad with a bootstrap tree business. It set me back quite a bit at first . . until I plugged ’em in!

It was 1977 when friend Todd and I happened upon these babies at Sound Studio on Concord Pike – a firm which, I’d suppose, has by now gone the way of the dodo as well as Circuit City.
The Kipschorns in this setting were tucked into a tiny back room – far too small for their Ford Excursion-like girth – and were, fortunately, hooked up to a shiny McIntosh tube amplifier, the audiophile’s plum in its day.
Together with some fancy-ass German turntable and some other accouterments, the system carried a hefty $ 7000.00 price tag.

HOPKO

Grabbed a domain; no idea what I was doing
but copped it anyway, and before today
had gotten started scribe-screwing
and think I’ll keep it clean
after all, this scene
has enough porn
and mental snuff-flicks
nasty comments in lame forums
shock-jocks gettin’ lascivious-ass kicks
and any perverted, demented shit-stink dog-pile
to make even the most jaded, faded observer gag bile.

So this page (after I learn this stuff)
will hopefully contain poetic diatribes
interspersed with pictorial ones
totally original, especially the pix!!
No plagiarism could enter THAT picture!

Dredge swabbed from this thing between my ears
will be inspired perhaps
by the MOST brilliant thinker/writer I’ve recently read
named Buckminster Fuller
who’s stunning, stream-of-consciousness essay
entitled, “How Little I Know”

has been an inspiration.
I’ve gotten to page 16 or so
in typically unfocused, mind-wandering aberration.

And one thing’s for sure: if BUCKY knows ‘LITTLE’.
that means I know NOTHING!
So although I can only walk in his massive shadow,
I’ll make use of this massive storage facility
known as the Web
to spin a few of my own. — DAH 2-24-12

On Charlotte’s Webpage I’ll likely frown
when told to put this mouse-thing down
So addictive, yes, and pleasant
To the fingers in the present
Plinking at the best of these
Ancient laptop’s keyboard keys
Trolling, strolling W3C‘s
Six tabs open, if you please
Better cut it on the double
Lest stay too long — and get in trouble! — DAH 6-01-12

Now look, here’s
a post two damn years
that’s been, well, in the making.
So truth be told
If I be so bold
experience I’m FAKING.

But I’ll post a screed
for no one to read
because, well, I’m a ham;
and again, with truth
if I be so uncouth
seems all I get is SPAM!
DAH — 4-27-14

Bloggin’ is for people with way too much time on their hands

How could it be any different? Could anyone argue with this fact? Or prove otherwise? Moreover, what would bloggers be doing with all the time they spend blogging if blogging didn’t exist?

Think back to pre-Windows® 95 days. What were many of us doing THEN? I’d venture the vast majority of us weren’t pecking away on PC’s; they were way too expensive, unreliable and frustrating to learn. Of course even for those intrepid enough to venture into the consumer-level PC offering, only boring, colorless spreadsheets and stripped down writing and paint applications existed
for use on those clunky boxes. In short, a waste of electricity. Better to go work in the garden!

In the spring of 1983, my friend Todd, a budding systems analyst at DuPont Company, had put together a $5000.00 system that, in retrospect, could barely get out of its own way. In the realm of personal computing, he was definitely the exception, not the rule!

Fast forward to now: we spend way, way too much time sitting on our fannies, pounding out largely useless correspondence that will most likely never be read – at least not by anyone important enough to make a difference. And keep in mind that it takes time to read stuff, too. Was it John F. Kennedy who quipped, “nobody reads?”

Judging from a sampling of the more voluminous post-age I’ve run across, some bloggers have nothing BUT time. One thing seems clear: more than a few of them are pecking away on the boss’s nickel – at work! All the better to enjoy it, then – when you’ve 8 hours to kill. Time in that case isn’t so precious.

I’ve seen the precursor to this, way back in the early 80’s, before even email was anywhere near ubiquitous. I visited a buddy at his workplace, passing some other offices on the way. In one, a dude was sitting at his desk, engrossed in a lively onscreen session of what appeared to be a version of Pac-Man. After about an hour, I passed by again on the way out. The dude was still goin’ at it! Flash forward twenty-six years, and he could have been Tweeting or blogging his memoirs to the tune of a couple of reams a month.

I wondered out loud how much he was pulliin’ down…..maybe thirty-five grand a year?

But back to this bloggiing/time thing: Hey, we’re all writers now, eh? Anyone with a keyboard can slam text and enjoy the livin’ shit out of it. And as I’ve come to like, even dia-lup is viable as long as you’re not working with a ton of images.

And for me, the added satisfaction is in knowing that this free, idle time spent philosophizing online is truly my own. Being self-employed, if there’s time to blog, it’s really MY time; free, fun time – to fritter away as I please!

Got a couple ‘o hours to waste? To quote the Shrub: “Bring ’em on.”

But utility or usefulness – making the world a better place through any given insouciant ramblings – isn’t the point of this medium, which should be free from tedium. I’m beginning to ‘get’ that.

In fact, unless you’re a large, already established news media conglomerate, an arts & entertainment pub or physician’s association seeking a hipper, more casual, or ‘on-the-side’ method of communicating to the masses, blogging may be the only way to get your ass out there and THROWIN’ DOWN!

Who cares if what you put out gets taken in? To reiterate: we’re all writers now; get over it! And as the Web’s newly appointed philosopher-kings, we have an obligation, and that is to make maximum use of all this free storage! And what better way to do that than to utilize WordPress’s top-quality rich text editor?

I’ll expound on this and solve other problems with the universe in future posts, enjoying, however temporarily, this blip in time ‘twixt winter lull and bust-ass spring labors. And when the latter happens, you might not hear from me for 6 months.

Hey, I ain’t no Wendell Berry!

But after all, we call this place a farm; yet for all intents and purposes, it’s mostly a full-time job. But hey, it’s paid for.

d

Down in the friggin’ dumps

No matter how the water pumps

this friggin’ winter we’re down in the dumps!

Of course it’s nice the water flows

and this is how the story goes:

We braved the ice and snow this year

no Florida sun, no fun we fear!

We drank many a cup as the dishes piled up,

fed the birds, cleaned up dog-turds

read some books and forgot most words

sent a few faxes and pondered our taxes…..

They ran some serious specials on tax prep software this January, but we didn’t bite.

And on that gnat note, we bid you good night!

d

Life in the Glare of El Sol

When in Florida, do as Floridians do. Or so goes that overworked, dull-ass paraphrased saw.

When here, it’s interesting how few people are outside, fercrissakes. Why is it that everyone seems to hole up in their caves when the weather is so awesome, so nurturing, so inviting as to envelop you in a veritable blanket of warmth? This phenomenon sure is puzzling for a Yankee pink-nosed boy who just got done moving large piles of snow around his yard as the temps ranged from the teens at night to mid-30’s in daytime.

But hide they do – inside walled fortresses of pink or white, where a few palm trees poke skyward as if to say ‘well, at least there are SOME trees here’.

The palms, of course, provide no shade whatsoever. But that’s precisely their allure: who the hell moves here to stay in the shade? Yet therein lies the catch-22 of my initial observations: why so few folks outside?

We love it here, and relish the opportunity to get down for a visit, though wonder if we could live here long term. Employment wouldn’t be a problem. In fact, as of last year, ’twas mentioned by cohorts that the unemployment rate was 2%!

So even for a moderately skilled laborer/handyman and his gentle skilled spouse – neither of which have college degrees – there would be gainful employment available. At least on the sunny side of the street.

As a tree fan, what a treat it was to stumble upon this massive arboricultural/botanical trove:

http://plants.usda.gov/