Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Many people who take that chance go with the standard entrepreneur step of opening a store or manufacturing something. How about trying something else? Craft shows, farm shows, flea markets, work-from-home with your knowledge, instead of “buying, selling, or processing” something. Or perhaps a combination of those would work for you. I wouldn’t mind being a freelance writer and a woodworker. Or a old-car parts dealer. Maybe all three. But it is hard to leave the steady income and the insurance and all that jazz.
When I was younger I wanted to write for car magazines, or build hot rods, but those are very crowded fields. Could I have made it with some persistence? Who knows? Perhaps, but perhaps not. Perhaps that is something I should have started at when I was a teenager instead of thirty. A huge part of that stuff is luck of birth and location. If I was born in certain neighborhoods in Southern California as a kid, I would have been able to hang around a famous hot rodder’s shop before he was famous.
Another part of luck is your parents. I once asked the female professional drag race driver of the Western Auto car how one gets into drag racing. Her dad had been an engine builder, but all she wanted to talk about was the challenge of being female in that environment. I can understand that, but my question was, and still is, how does one get into it if they don’t have family involved. As with many things, in the early days it was easier for anyone to get involved in drag racing. Now it’s a hugely competitive, high-dollar sport and unknowns don’t have a chance. It takes hundreds of thousands of dollars to build and run a drag racer now, possibly millions.
Another requisite is passion. Most racecar drivers or writers are passionate about what they do. Most people are not that passionate about any one thing. I have too many interests. Passion creates drive for those who would otherwise not have drive.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
But what really sent the sign that 2005 was a bad year for music is that 4 old-timers were asked to play. (Mariah Carey may be an old-timer, but she has a new album out) Cyndi Lauper played with Sarah McLachlan, The Eurythmics, Carlos Santana with Los lonely Boys, and a satellite feed of the Rolling Stones. You know it's bad when my wife says the Rolling Stones were about the best sound of the evening. Not to forget, Lindsay Lohan did a rotten cover of Stevie Nicks. Now any one of these would be fine, they all did a good job on their songs (esp Eurythmics and Santana), but to have this many on one night says that they are hurting for talent. Another sign that they are hurting for talent is that both Lindsay Lohan and Hillary Duff got stage time.
Besides the 4 old-timers, the 3 teeny-boppers (including Mariah Carey) and 3 other acts (The All-American Rejects, Three Doors Down and Cheryl Crow) all the acts were County or Hip-Hop. I don't mind either category getting fair time at the show, but what about all the other categories? Alternative is still putting out some top-notch stuff, Rock surely has someone that can bring down the joint. Is top 40 radio that bad?
Monday, November 21, 2005
Sunday, November 20, 2005
The free market offers Wal-Mart haters an easy way to hit Wal-Mart right where it hurts. These wizards should start their own companies and pay entry-level retail workers as much as they think is "enough," and of course offer a generous package of health care and other benefits to both full and part-time employees. Problem solved!As much as I don't like Wal-Mart, I don't try to pass laws to discriminate against any one business. The way the real anti-Wal-Marters need to do it, is to convince people to shop somewhere else. Good luck.
Friday, November 18, 2005
Much of the free-market stuff that I read assumes everyone is smart, everyone is mobil and everyone is ambitious. If they aren't all three, that's just too bad. Because the author is all three, and he doesn't feel any pity for them. But living in small towns in depressed areas has convinced me that not everyone has all these options open to them.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
The reason I bring this up is that our campus just showed a movie called Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price. I wanted to go see it, but wasn't able to. A few commentators have commented on it, or the idea behind it, already. John Stossel with "Is Wal-Mart a Problem?", was a bit of a disappointment. It was like a politician answering the question he already knew the answer for, instead of the question that was asked. The issue isn't creation of wealth, the question is, are the workers and the public treated fairly?
The public: mostly yes. We in small towns have more selection of products to chose from at lower prices than we did before. Though still not the all-encompassing selection Wal-Mart wants you to believe it has. And this selection is in one building, so I don't have to drive to TG&Y, Woolworths, and Montgomery Wards to see who has the best price or whichever options I want. The downside is that Wal-Mart started out buying American-made products whenever it could and gained a lot of support that way. Now that Sam Walton is dead and Wal-mart is the only game in town, they get everything from China. I challenge you to find 10 things American made in 10 minutes in any Wal-Mart (other than food items).
I will say that having 10 different stores, each with a local owner, or independent manager, gives a town a different flavor than one national business with a few managers that are moved around till they hit the top spot and then live in whatever town they end up in.
The workers: In a community, does Wal-Mart create jobs, lose jobs, or just re-shuffle jobs? I'm not sure. What about pay and benefits? Well, anyone who has worked for an independent company can tell you that they don't pay so well either. And if they are too small, they can't afford to pay any insurance for their employees. I have a friend that was very happy being a machinist at a local farm and auto parts store, but the owner couldn't provide insurance. So, when the machinist got married he had to quit and work for a factory in the next town that provided insurance. Not as enjoyable, but it paid more and had benefits.
I think critics of Wal-Mart assume everyone has a good job till Wal-Mart moves to town. Not true. More on this later.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I really admire his humility as well as his righteous anger. Johnny Cash was not just The Man in Black, but he was The Man. Christianity Today Movies has a good article on the movie coming out. INTERVIEW The Man in Black Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon, who play Johnny and June Carter Cash in Walk the Line, join director James Mangold to discuss the legend's lifeÂand faith. By Peter T. Chattaway. It's more than an interview really. The movie was planned with the permission of Johnny and June Cash. I can't wait to see it.
Monday, November 07, 2005
Friday, October 28, 2005
I am a moderate living in a world of extremists.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The clearest way to take care of the polarization is to kill half the Baby Boomers. The most extreme right and left. Seeing as how that isn't practical (and I wouldn't want to be the one to decide who is to be taken out), we'll just have to wait it out.
In other (related) news: Respected scholar and sociologist Alan Wolfe has gone off his nut. In this weeks Chronicle (not free, sorry) he continues his anti-conservative rants that the Chronicle editors keep publishing. Oh, you're suprised?
He seems quite convinced that to be conservative is to be mentally unbalanced. See his 4/2/2004 article "A Fascist Philosopher Helps Us Understand Contemporary Politics." In that article he states
To understand what is distinctive about today's Republican Party, you first need to know about an obscure and very conservative German political philosopher.
I believe he is, or was, a moderate type person, and it grieves me to see him go down this road.
Speaking of Christmas someone had a boycott Christmas idea. I'll find it and link to it soon.
Monday, October 03, 2005
Friday, September 30, 2005
I do wonder about Cinderella Man which was supposed to be a feel-good movie, but it didn't do too well I hear. I didn't see it, but I rarely go to the theater anyway.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Sunday, September 25, 2005
I just read an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education where a writer says that the government screwed up with Katrina, so we need more government. HAH! Government only gets you bureaucracy. Take a look at this column by John Stossel to see what the problems of the government response are. The problem is people expect the government to be the one to respond, and what the government does is get in the way. Government is for bureacrats, by politicians, and that is bad. I have seriously considered joining the Libertarian party.
Another problem with the government is it gives out money way too easily. We have a friend who works at a social services office and she told us that at our income with 4 kids we qualify for $800 a month in food stamps! We don't even spend $250. $300 would be nice, but there is no way we need $800 every month. And to answer your question: Yes, it would make our budget easier. No, I am not going to take it. I didn't take WIC when we really could have used that either.
I have a friend who was born with a bad eye. In college he got $300 or so a month from the government. Even though he needed the money, he decided he shouldn't be taking other people's tax money so he told them he didn't want it anymore. They couldn't figure out why. It was so outside the realm of belief that someone would turn down money because of a principle. Amazing how fast we have fallen.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Anyhow, I did see Batman Begins at the theater. Wow, what a movie. As I was sitting there, almost tearing and choking up, all I could think was "What is it that makes this thing so spectacular?" I don't know that I've seen anything that affected me that way before. As I look back I don't remember anything in particular that caused my strong reaction. Anyone have any ideas? Perhaps it is the fact that I don't see the Big Screen very often.
Friday, September 16, 2005
Why do we get migraines? It seems odd to me that I should be attacked by my own body this way. It's not like cancer where cells are devouring one another, it's just a very intense pain for a short while. For no reason.
For those of you who don't suffer from migraines, let me explain: Somehow the brainstem gets over-stimulated, the nerves freak-out, and then one side of your brain decides to get out through the eye socket. The eye vigorously pushes back. The brain then tries to go out through the temple, all the while keeping the pressure on the eye. Then the brain gets mad and send signals telling the stomach to rebel also.
At this point it is hard to think, work, see, hear, or exist.
However, not all migraines are like this.
Sometimes it feels like an ice pick has been put through my forehead just above the eye, with another smaller one just below the eye. They are at angles so they almost meet just behind the temple. The ice pick analogy is about right. It feels like there is a line of pain, just as if something where shoved in there. Perhaps a laser beam.
Other times it feels as if someone has grabbed a nerve about the middle of my neck, just to one side of the spine, and is pulling. The nerve runs up over my head, just off the center, and then goes over and around the eye ball. All the pulling makes one side of the face go numb.
There are drugs one can take. Serotonin-uptake inhibitors. Serotonin is what makes you feel good. Apparently, too much feel good makes you feel bad. Unfortunatly, the drug also makes you feel bad, but not as bad as the migraine. So at $5.00 a pill, you can feel better, mostly. Lovely situation.