Archive for the “Random Thoughts” Category

Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve written anything and if you’re really interested I could go on and on about a couple months of family illnesses, but at this point, it would just feel like whining.  So instead I’ll talk about something else.

As a federal employee in a safety-related profession, privatization is usually something on my mind…as something to guard against.  Despite what “Corporate America” might have people think, I believe, on average, federal employees give good value for the taxpayer money.  Too many times, nations have privatized safety-related professions and seen a degraded level of safety and service and end up paying more for less.  Contracting out Flight Service here in the United States has proven to be more costly, in terms of money, and definitely in terms of safety and service…not only to pilots, but also to air traffic controllers.

Last month, I was able to read a book called The Unincorporated Man written by Dani & Eytan Kollin, their first, and hopefully, not their last offering.  The premise is that, in the future, every individual is incorporated at birth, with the government holding 5% of the stock, parents 20%, and corporations and individuals owning the rest.  Your “stockholders” can make you take certain jobs to get a decent return on their money, and it’s a shock for the protagonist (a billionaire who underwent a cryogenic procedure 300 years prior) to find that society has changed so much that the idea of being unincorporated, as he is, is anathema to many.  If someone wants to disappear, “stockholders” can track you down.

Today I found out about the contest at Wired magazine to locate writer Evan Ratliff (sidenote: Ratliff was my great-grandmother’s maiden name; I wonder if he’s distantly related).  It made me think again about The Unincorporated Man, how much of our living is able to be tracked digitally and how such a contest could not take place in the imagined (but not out of the realm of possibility) future of that book.

I could wax poetic about it all, but it sure seems to me that if we go overboard on the whole “privatization” mindset, it’s really not too far a jump to privatize or incorporate individuals.  And the sad part is, I could see people voluntarily giving up their personal liberties to go that route.  Read the book.

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I was at work today while our 44th president was inaugurated.  A coworker and I made a deal about how to arrange our breaks; he’d get to watch the swearing in and I’d get to watch our new President’s first speech.  I think I got the better end of that deal.

I heard President Obama make a speech I was proud to hear our nation’s leader make.  It struck me as honest.  I can’t always say that about our politicians.  What I heard is our President expecting us to own our contributions to this country and its change.  Don’t expect it all to be done for you; pitch in and help.  Don’t just complain, don’t give up; come up with solutions, and help implement them.  Claim it, work for it, be proud of it, be cognizant of what you’ll pass on to your grandchildren.

My suggestion is to start here.  Sign up for the updates, be informed, offer opinions.

But it’s funny the things that catch your eye and make an impression.  Two things I’ll remember most from today’s speeches and immediately afterward have absolutely nothing to do with the dichotomy of the fervor and solemnity of the celebrations, the hope for our country’s future, or even the history in the making with our first black president taking office.

The first was seeing Vice President Joe Biden taking the time to snap a photo from his vantage point for Malia Obama with her camera and handing it back to her with a real – not a “I’m just being polite” – smile.

The second was observing Michelle Obama being a mom, keeping an eye on Malia and Sasha, ensuring they behaved as well as you can expect children their age to behave in public.  Seeing her send the reassuring and encouraging smiles to them touched my mom’s heart.  Knowing that no matter how proud she is of her husband, some of her attention was rightfully (and inevitably) diverted to their kids.

My personal opinion is that our First Lady has the tougher job right now.  She needs to aid her children and husband to transition to their new roles without any of them losing sight of their family and their family values.  She needs to be the rock and earth that grounds them all and keeps them focused on the most important thing in their lives – their family.  Because without that personal nexus, President Obama will not be the best POTUS that he can be during these trying times.

In other words, she needs to continue doing what every other wife and/or mother does…only on a grander, more public scale, but with less recognition for her contribution than most. Keep them human and real, Michelle.  I wish you the best of luck.

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Why is it whenever you have a flat tire or your muffler decides it needs to drag along the pavement and announce its presence to all on the highway, it’s during a 95 degree day with high humidity, a blinding thunderstorm or an icestorm?

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…that I was working air traffic in one of those super high-rise buildings. You know the ones with the express elevators, needed because it’s so damned tall.

Crowded with business-casual and business-professional dressed people looking like clones, jammed in like sardines and not just in the elevator. I couldn’t see anything but buildings when I looked out the window; no aircraft, no sky. Bright overhead lighting when I tried to look at my radar scope. What a nightmare.

I woke up in a cold sweat. I’m going to have to think on this and try to figure out why it disturbs me on so many levels.

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whenever you’re in a hurry, you find yourself in lines where the people in front of you pay in pennies….and they’re always short a few cents?

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Have you ever just stopped and really appreciated a fresh snowfall? Everything’s covered in a pristine fluffy white, sparkling and dazzling in the light – a clean, unbroken outline that hints at wonders underneath.

For a short while, you only see the surface. You don’t see the frozen ground that can turn to slush or mud. You don’t see the backbreaking labor to shovel the driveway or the walkways. You don’t see the salt eating at the undercarriage of your vehicle, or the commute that just doubled and became life-threatening. You don’t feel the cold and blustery winds.

Nor do you see the hints of the new growth underneath the mud. The promise of the green and vibrant colors of the spring to come is dormant. The warmth of the sun in summer eludes you. The scents and sounds of crackling leaves and fireplaces in autumn are, as yet, untasted and unheard. You think you remember them all, standing there in the snow-covered world, but the memories are pale in comparison to the reality.

It occurs to me that infatuation is the fresh snowfall. But love is seeing and appreciating beneath the surface, not just the hints and promises of brighter seasons, but knowing the slush and the muck and the labor make those seasons more meaningful because you’ve earned them.

And if you’re lucky, infatuation deepens into love…and you get to be infatuated with the same person again and again with the love growing deeper each time as the seasons turn.

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