Book Review #25

The status quo is not working!
The Republic is disintegrating!

And all of this was foreseen as far back as the early 1960s.  It is a wonderful, empathetic, humanistic thing for the government to help those in need.  The author saw how socialistic support needed to be overseen and controlled – but wasn’t.

Pay a farmer not to raise a particular crop, to protect the income of other farmers who did.  Pay a single mother, so that she and her child could be assured food, clothing and housing.  Pay welfare to a man put out of work by social or technological changes.

Soon, the farmer neglects the maintenance of his equipment, and can’t go back to his trade, even when it is allowed.  The single mother has another child(ren), to increase her guaranteed monthly stipend.  She feels no urge to obtain a provider (A man, in the ‘60s), an education or training, or a job.  The guy on welfare deals drugs or robs corner stores on the side, because it’s easier than getting a real job.

Human nature being what it is, millions of people get lazy, and get used to the new status quo.  There is no impetus to do for themselves.  They become comfortable letting the government provide a reduced, but assured, standard of living.

The book: Space Viking
The book: The Cosmic Computer

The author: H. Beam Piper

The review:

Originally titled “Junkyard Planet”

Born in 1904, Piper was too young for World War I, and too old for World War II, but he must have observed the mountains of materiėl that was left when peace was finally, suddenly, achieved.  In 1963 and 1964, after the Korean War, he wrote these two cautionary, laissez-faire tales.

In each of these books, both initially set on the same planet, after an interstellar war, the people – the society – are poor.  Despite Billions of (dollars) credits worth of goods and equipment being left behind, aside from the occasional prospector/scavenger, no-one bothers to look for it.  They are so used to Big Government taking care of them, that they don’t rouse themselves to improve their own lot.

The two stories are essentially the same, only in one, Piper offers a social/financial solution, while in the other he shows a more political/military answer.  It’s the Stone Soup Theorem.  In each case, an exasperated, instigator protagonist starts a cycle of getting individuals and groups off their lethargic asses, by promising them something for nothing – if they’ll just put some work into his plan.

His credulous followers do not receive what he promises them – they get something much grander and better.  Companies are started, jobs are created, construction and trade is stimulated, unemployment almost disappears, wages go up, welfare goes down, taxes are paid, and infrastructure is rejuvenated.  The people are given back their pride, self-respect, and an incentive to continue to improve themselves and their society.

If only this would work in real life, but it won’t happen until we get a real leader – an honest visionary – who can convince a populace of passive takers, and a government of enabling vote-buyers, that more projects like the TVA – the Tennessee Valley Authority – and the Hoover Dam, will ultimately give back far more than they cost.

Salvation By Mail

The daughter was Jehovah’s Witnessed – by mail.

Getting ready to go on a two-week trip, her computer refused to boot up.  It was perfect timing.  I drove her to Staples for repair.  It should be fixed and returned about the same time she gets back.  On the way home, she asked to stop at her housing complex’s community mailbox.  She was expecting a package, and didn’t want it left in her box, or the larger package delivery box, for two weeks.  Instead, among others, she received a letter from a JW.

The envelope, and the letter inside, (wrapped around a small flyer) were carefully hand-printed in pencil, on blue-lined, three-ring binder paper.  The address was quite precise – no name was given but her Suite (unit) number was specified.  It almost certainly came from one of the other 80 units in the complex, but to conceal that fact, it was mailed.  When I investigated the return address, I found that it was a rental mailbox in a nearby UPS depot.

My Father often said of the persistently tardy, “He’ll miss the second coming of Christ.”  This one didn’t do much better.  I don’t know whether to blame Canada Post, or the sender.  The letter spoke of COVID-caused, virtual, online webinars being released incrementally, over July and August – but the letter didn’t arrive till August 4th.  All of July, and almost a week of August had expired.   Our only chance to go to Heaven was lost because of poor mail delivery??!  😯

I sense the presence of someone who doesn’t really have the strength of their convictions.  Or possibly someone who thought that the safety of an anonymous letter was better than being chased off a porch with a mop handle.  In any case, they’ve discovered a new, devious way to irritate us, long distance.

’21 A To Z Challenge – C

(The un-named) They say that curiosity killed the cat, but I say that some curiosity, mixed with a healthy dose of skepticism, and cynicism, can prevent you from becoming a manipulator’s cat’s-paw.

I once worked as a Purchasing Agent for a Bernie Madoff-wannabe owner of a small business – a little metal stamping shop with 25 plant employees.  He apparently had dreams of more and larger automotive contracts, a bigger plant, and 250 employees – or 2500…. Or 25,000!  😯

He had loyalty and honesty only for himself and his company, and no commercial morality.  Management staff were told not to ever allow any barricades to his business – “over, under, through or around.  Don’t come to me with problems!  Come to me with solutions.  Rules are for fools.”

I hired a young man in his early 20s, as a Production Control Clerk.  He was getting married, and he asked the company President for a mere two days off, for an abbreviated honeymoon.  The boss gave him an extended lecture about how he should not even get married.  He should reserve his time and energy for the company.

The Boss was on his second wife.  I don’t know why they bothered to marry – social propriety??!  He put in 12-hour weekdays, often 8-hour Saturdays, and sometimes came in on Sunday.  I don’t know if they ever dined together.  She was a Middle Manager, putting in lots of hours herself, and had girlfriends and hobbies.  He had…. the company – and a disturbing habit of drinking in his office at the end of workday.  He often chivvied me and other staff to remain and keep him and his booze company.  😦

Back in 1982, debit cards didn’t exist, and credit cards weren’t common.  One day he asked me if I had a credit card.  I answered, yes.  “Well, you should get yourself another one.”  Why??!  “So that, when I tell you to buy something for the company, you can keep the charges separate.”

He was already paying 30-day invoices at 120 days.  He expected me to use a personal card to purchase company supplies??!  What assurance was there that I would ever be reimbursed?  I quietly declined to get sucked in.

One day, he wisely decided to computerize the entire office system. (Yes, there was a time when computers weren’t everywhere.)  He hired a tech-nerd who could do the job.  Coincidentally, the guy just happened to have experience in the Purchasing field.

He interrogated other office staff, but, for three weeks he spent a lot of time with me, finding how I had set up my process.  Finally, the boss came to me and said, “Business is slow right now.  You’ve got your paperwork well-organized.  If I give him some assistance, Roscoe and I can handle it.  I’m scheduling your hours to zero for now.  You don’t need to come in.

I never even got fired.  He just stopped paying me.  Losing any job and its income can be quite traumatic, but I was actually (eventually) happy not to be employed at this one, when the police, or the bankruptcy bailiffs, showed up.  Rules are for fools eventually killed him, when he violated flight regulations and splashed a rented 4-seater all over a friend’s pasture.

Down-To-Earth Comedy

Every year, Fred and Ethel would spend a day at the State Fair. Every year, Fred would say, “Ethel, I’d like to ride in that airplane.”

And every year, Ethel would say, “I know, Fred, but that airplane ride cost ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars.”

One year, while they were at the fair, Fred said, “Ethel, I’m 74 years old. If I don’t have a ride in that airplane this year, I may never get another chance.”

“Fred, that airplane ride cost ten dollars, and ten dollars is ten dollars,” Ethel replied.

The pilot happened to overhear them and said, “Listen folks, I’ll make you a deal. I’ll take you both up for a ride. If you can stay quiet for the entire ride and not say a word, I won’t charge you anything. But, if you say one word, then you’ll have to pay the ten dollars.”

Fred and Ethel agreed, so up they went. The pilot did all kinds of rolls and dives, twists and turns, but not a word was heard. He did all his fancy maneuvers again, but still not a word.

When they finally landed, the pilot turned to Fred and said, “Gosh, I did everything I could think of to get you to yell out, and yet you never said a word.”

“Well,” Fred replied, “I was going to say something when Ethel fell out, but ten dollars is ten dollars.”

*******

During the wedding rehearsal, the groom approached the pastor with an unusual offer:

“Look, I’ll give you $100 if you’ll change the wedding vows. When you get to the part where I’m supposed to promise to ‘love, honor and obey’ and ‘be faithful to her forever,’ I’d appreciate it if you’d just leave that out.”

He passed the minister a $100 bill and walked away satisfied.

On the day of the wedding, when it came time for the groom’s vows, the pastor looked the young man in the eye and said: “Will you promise to prostrate yourself before her, obey her every command and wish, serve her breakfast in bed every morning of your life, and swear eternally before God and your lovely wife that you will not ever even look at another woman, as long as you both shall live?”

The groom gulped and looked around, and said in a tiny voice, “Yes,” then leaned toward the pastor and hissed: “I thought we had a deal.”

The pastor put a $100 bill into the groom’s hand and whispered: “She made me a better offer.”

***

“Has your son decided what he wants to be when he grows up?” I asked my friend. “He wants to be a garbage man,” she replied. “That’s an unusual ambition to have at such a young age.” “Not really. He thinks that garbage men work only on Tuesdays.”
***

A man was stopped by the police around 2 am. The officer asked him where he was going at that time of night. The man replied, “I’m on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late.” The officer then asked, “Really? Who’s giving that lecture at this time of night?” The man replied, “That would be my wife.”

***

I was devastated this afternoon when my wife told me my 5 year old son wasn’t actually mine.

She then said I need to pay more attention at school pick up.

***

A young lady visited a computer dating service and requested, “I’m looking for a spouse. Can you please help me to find a suitable one?”

The matchmaker said, “What exactly are you looking for?”

“Well, let me see. Needs to be good looking, polite, humorous, sporty, knowledgeable, good at singing and dancing. Willing to accompany me the whole day at home during my leisure time if I don’t go out. Be able to tell me interesting stories when I need a companion for conversation and be silent when I want to rest.”

The matchmaker entered the information into the computer and, in a matter of moments, handed the results to the woman:

 “Buy a television.”

***

THEATER LIGHT BULB JOKES

How many actors does it take to change a light bulb?
Three.  One to actually do it, and two more to discuss how they would have done it.

How many directors does it take to change a light bulb?
“Interesting….  Why does it want to change?  What is its motivation?”

How many playwrights does it take to change a light bulb?
“I ain’t changing anything!”

How many producers does it take to change a light bulb?
“Why do we need another light bulb?”

How many theater publishers does it take to change a light bulb?
“We don’t actually change light bulbs.  We just tell you how somebody else did it earlier.”

How many stage managers does it….
“Done!”

Piss-offily

If you are looking for a good chuckle, here are a few of the funniest quotes ever.

Crossing the road

“I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.” —Stephen Hawking, physicist

Insurance gods

“The only people who still call hurricanes acts of God are the people who write insurance forms.” —Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist.

Open-minded

“By all means let’s be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.” —Richard Dawkins, scientist

Narrow-minded

“He was so narrow-minded, he could see through a keyhole with both eyes.” —Molly Ivins, author

Family debate

“I’ve come to learn that the best time to debate family members is when they have food in their mouths.” —Kenneth Cole, fashion designer

Marriage from heaven

“They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.” —Clint Eastwood

Get married

“My advice to you is get married: If you find a good wife you’ll be happy; if not, you’ll become a philosopher.” —Socrates

Slow computer test

“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow Internet service to see who they really are.” —Will Ferrell

Someone you love

“Life in Lubbock, Texas, taught me that sex is the most awful, filthy thing on earth, and you should save it for someone you love.” —Butch Hancock, country musician

Marriage gift

“Instead of getting married again, I’m going to find a woman I don’t like and just give her a house.” —Rod Stewart, rock star

Everything has a consequence

“All the things I like to do are either immoral, illegal, or fattening.” —Alexander Woollcott, actor

Bacon is everything

“When you have bacon in your mouth, it doesn’t matter who’s president.” —Louis CK

Spending foolishly

“Part of [the $10 million] went for gambling, horses, and women. The rest I spent foolishly.” —George Raft, film star

No character

“I was going to sue for defamation of character, but then I realized I have no character.” —Charles Barkley, TV basketball analyst

’20 A To Z Challenge – H

A To Z ChallengeLetter H

I never forget a face, but for you, I‘ll make an exception.
You look familiar.  Have you visited my site before?

I’ve got a word all picked out for the letter H.  It’s……. Uh…. around here somewhere.  Now where did I put it??!

Memory Loss

Ah yes, I wanted to tell you about

HYPOMNESIA

noun: Impaired memory.
Abnormally poor memory of the past. As compared to hypermnesia and amnesia. From hypo- + the Greek mneme, memory.
Excessive deposits of copper in the brain may cause neurological disorders such as Parkinson-like symptomsincluding bradykinesiatremor and dystonia, or neuropsychiatric symptoms, such as hypomnesia, dysgnosia, and personality abnormalities.

This is the ‘Learning Disorder’ that I’ve been fighting all my life, complete with essential tremor and lack of social connection.  I can forget someone’s name, while I’m still shaking hands with him.  It’s why I did not go far in school.  I’m not stupid, far from it.  I can understand complex concepts, but I just couldn’t remember them for exams.

I envy people like my son.  I have an extra 25 years of experience, but our heads are both stuffed with about the same amount of trivia.  Where he can recall an esoteric fact at the drop of a pun, I’m like Rain Man, from the movie.  Three days too late it’s, “Qantas!  Definitely Qantas!”

While good, he does not have my opposite, hypermnesia.  Some people mistakenly call that ‘Photographic Memory.’  That term only applies to things which are seen, like text, or pictures.  Eidetic Memory is a better name.  That includes sounds, physical and emotional feelings, aromas, and tastes.

It’s too late in my life to be successful, even with their help, but I adore the advent of computers.  I often use mine to be my memory for me – if I can just recall where I cached my list of passwords.  Even with their assistance, I will never have Total Recall, like the movie title.  I prefer We Can Remember It For You Wholesale, the title of Philip K. Dick’s book, that the 2 movies were named from.

Forgetful

I recently ran into a man I worked with for 15 years, up till 15 years ago.  Use It Or Lose It!  We chatted for ten minutes about the bad old days.  I knew that he was from Uganda, 30 miles north of the equator, but it wasn‘t till after he’d walked away, that I finally remembered his name – so good they named him twice – Karim Karim.

Thoughts, memories, ideas, blog themes – as fleeting and ephemeral as mayflies, or moths around a porch light, I have learned to jot them down, or enter them into an electronic file WHEN they happen – or I lose them.

I’m sure that there were a couple, or several, other points that I wished to add to this post.  They are gone like dew on the grass on a sunny morning.  I forgot them.  Please, don’t you forget to stop by again in a couple of days.  When I do finally remember to compose something, it is often interesting and informative enough to be worth reading.

’19 A To Z Challenge – S

AtoZ2019Letter S

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The judge asked the accused in a paternity suit, “Have you ever slept with this woman?”
He replied, “Not a wink, Your Honor! Not a wink!”

Bed

Without even thinking about it (and that’s what causes problems) most people expect social conformity.

Despite my liking for archaic language, there are just some 19th century insults that should not be brought back. Have you ever been called a

SLUGABED

a lazy person who stays in bed long after the usual time for arising

Neither have I. Not quite.

Late one Sunday night (by my calculations), about 4:30 AM, I walked down to the end of my driveway to pick up Monday’s newspaper. I arrived at the same time as my neighbor across the street, who was putting out Monday’s garbage.

Full of perk, and perhaps perked coffee, he brightly said, “Oh, I see that you’re up early too. I have to drive to Ottawa today (5/6 hours), so I thought I’d get an early start.”

I told him that I wasn’t getting up. I was about to go to bed at 5:00 AM, and would be back up at 1 PM. “You sleep in till 1 o’clock??! How in Hell do you get anything done?” I had just spent four quiet, productive hours – half a workday – on the computer. It was fine for him to modify and set his sleep hours, getting up at 4 AM, rather than at 7:00, to suit his needs, but he felt that I was wasting time by doing the same thing, to fit my schedule and my usual time.

There was no ASSUME here. The only ass was the one trapped in a car for hours, while I recharged my energy in a nice soft bed. He didn’t make me into one. 😯

Now that I’m awake again, feel free to comment.   😀

Time Travel

I read about time travel. I am intrigued by the paradoxes of time travel. I just LOoove time travel…. except when Daylight Saving Time rolls around. Remember, tonight’s the night. At 2:00 AM, we need to turn all our clocks back one hour, to 1:00 AM. Then we get an extra hour of sleep. (Sure we do. We just party an hour longer.) We’ll probably spend that extra hour trying, and failing, and cursing, to turn all the clocks and watches in the house, back. Thank the mystical gods of silicon, that computers, tablets and the like, are smarter than we are, and do this automatically.

For those who are as chronologically challenged as I am, I have obtained a graphic to aid you with this task.

Daylight time

I hope this helps. I’ll see you tomorrow…. or was that yesterday??! 😳

Flash Fiction #205

Memory

PHOTO PROMPT © Ted Strutz

I’VE GOT A GREAT MEMORY: IT’S JUST REALLY SHORT

Now what was I going downstairs for?? I’d better go back up to the kitchen to find out.

Why am I in the kitchen? I was supposed to be going downstairs for…. something….

Senior citizens’ memories are not necessarily faulty, often just overfull – recollection upon recollection – experience after experience.

Science fiction offers us a future when we might upload our consciousness to a computer. Might be a good idea. Occasionally run a de-frag – do a sort and delete. I don’t need to remember that Bobby peed himself in First Grade. Where is that cake mix we bought the other day?

Black Forest Cake

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

friday-fictioneers-badge-web

An Irish 911 Call

St. Patricks

An Irish woman was cleaning her husband’s rifle, and it accidently went off and shot him.

Irish woman: It’s me fooken husband, I’ve accidently shot him, I’ve fooken killed him.
Operator: Please calm down ma’am. First make sure that he is actually dead.
‘Click’ BANG
Irish woman: Okay, I’ve taken care of that. What next?

***

Paddy thought his new girlfriend might be ‘The One,’ but after snooping through her underwear drawer, and finding a nurse’s outfit, a French maid’s outfit, and a policewoman’s uniform – he decided that, if she can’t hold down a job, she’s not for him.

***

Paddy and Murphy are on a holiday, and are running out of money. They see a sign that reads, “Challenge! Spend 10 minutes in a room with a million flies, and win £200.”

Murphy goes in first, and spends 1 minute in the room, before running out yelling, “Fuck that! I couldn’t do it. Them flies was in my mouth, and I couldn’t breathe. You’ll never do it Paddy.”

Paddy says, “No sweat Murph. Get me in there.”

So, Paddy goes into the room and spends the full 10 minutes in there, and then comes out….

Murphy says, “Fucking Hell, Paddy! How did you do it?”

Paddy says, “Easy! I shit in one corner, and sat in the other.”

***

Paddy and Murphy are at the airport, waiting for a flight.
Paddy says, “I wish I brought the TV.”
Murphy says, “Why, are ya bored?”
Paddy responds, “No, the passports are sitting on it.”

***

An Irishman went to the liquor store yesterday on his bike

He bought a bottle of whiskey and put it in the bicycle basket. As he was about to leave, he thought to himself that if he fell off the bicycle, the bottle would break, so he drank all the whiskey before he cycled home. It turned out to be a good decision because he fell off his bike seven times on the way home. Imagine what would’ve happened to the bottle.

***

Paddy is painting his lounge. His wife walks in and can’t believe the good job that he’s doing, but the sweat is just dripping off him.
She says, ”Why are you wearing a leather jacket, and a parker?”
He replies, “Helloooo… Read the fuckin’ tin. It says for better coverage, put two coats on.”

***

I was in an Irish couple’s home trying to fix their Internet connection. The husband called out to his wife in the other room for the computer password. “Start with a capital S, then 123,” she shouted back.

We tried S123 several times, but it didn’t work. So we called the wife in. As she input the password, she muttered, “I really don’t know what’s so difficult about typing Start123.”

***

 

What’s the difference between an Irish wedding, and an Irish wake?
One less drunk.