WOW #12

The Word Of this Week is

green-collar

Definitions for green-collar

noting or pertaining to workers, jobs, or businesses that are involved in protecting the environment or solving environmental problems.

a green-collar worker. Also, green collar.

Origin of green-collar

1990-1995

Green-collar entered English in the early 1990s. It’s based on the model of blue-collar and white-collar, with the green element coming from the sense “environmentally sound or beneficial.”

See also; boondoggle, porkbarreling, social engineering, featherbedding,

While most of the words in the English language are hundreds, or thousands of years old, it is interesting to see technology cause the invention of new ones within our lifetimes.

I am all for green energy, and saving the planet – BUT….let the politicians get their hands on it, and we’re all fu….bar-ed.  About 5 years ago, I wrote of having to pay for the privilege of being one of the first users in Ontario to have a time-of-usage, smart electrical meter installed.

Ontario was having brown-outs. We were right at the edge, between generation capacity and usage.  We were told not to do laundry, or run our dishwashers during the day.  Wait till night-time, when industrial usage goes down, pay less per KwH, and Conserve, Conserve, Conserve!

We conserved….and the total income of Ontario Hydro went down, and the big bosses’ pay and bonuses were in jeopardy, so they raised the rates. With higher rates, we learned to use even less….and the total income dropped, so they raised the rates again, and ended the time-of-use difference.

A couple of nuclear stations, and hydro plants like Niagara were being upgraded. With reduced cash flow, soon a large debt built up.  The bosses added a ‘debt reduction charge’ to our bills.  I pay an extra $10/mo.  It was ‘temporary,’ like that 100-year-old temporary Income Tax.  5 years later, the debt is retired, but still we pay.  To cover the costs of their own inefficiency, the bosses added a ‘power distribution charge’ to our bills.  I pay another, extra $30/mo. whether electricity flows, or not, as owners of cottages and cabins which are closed-up for six months have found.

Wind Turbine

Desperate to look like they were solving a problem, the Provincial Government signed 25 year contracts for Green Energy. The wind turbines and fields full of solar panels that I also wrote about 5 years ago, were just the beginning.

Since then, the Government has forced the towers into dozens of locations where they are not wanted – and may be dangerous. Often placed so close to housing subdivisions or farm buildings that, if they fell, they’d just miss houses or barns, they continue to grind on.  They produce ground-conducted sub-sonic vibrations which cause headaches, nausea, and vertigo in many people and animals.

Ignoring the wasteful bureaucratic administration costs, nukes can produce power at about 4 cents/KwH. Water can do it for about 5 cents.  Solar and wind power costs us almost 25 cents/KwH.  The nukes and Niagara are back, running at increased capacity.  We are now awash in a sea of abundant electricity.  Having learned to conserve, we now have so much unused electric power that we sell off the excess, including the expensive green, to Quebec and the US for 3.5 cents/KwH!

In the last ten years, the cost of electricity in Ontario has risen by 50%, bankrupting or closing many small businesses, and causing larger ones to move where power is cheaper. It was a strong deciding factor which caused the closing of my last employer.  Gee, thanks politicians – not!

Going Green may be the way to save the planet, but if it’s happening near you, keep one hand on your wallet, and the other on your ballot. Keep the Pols away from it.  I know that private corporations have to make money, but too many Governments waste, lose or just throw our money away.

Flash Fiction # 110

sewing-machine

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

LOOKIN’ SEW GOOD

Grandma had the best legs in town. (That didn’t sound creepy or perverted, did it?)

I asked her one time how she kept them so trim and muscular. With nine kids, she saved money by making clothes on the old, treadle sewing machine.

Grandpa saved, and finally bought her an electric model. The first time the power failed, the old antique got lugged back down from the attic.  “Besides,” grandma explained, “that wimpy little motor can’t handle leather or denim.  How do you think I got the most gorgeous gams?”

Grandpa just grinned.
I think I need some brain bleach.

***

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

 

Flash Fiction #50

Silo

PROMPT -© Marie Gail Stratford

THE COW JUMPED OVER THE MOON

All the corn plants were to be shredded and put into the tower as silage.  The crop was large, so ten-year-old Billy’s job was to tromp it down, so it all fit.

He brought one of their cows in through the little bottom door to help him.  For several boring hours, he and Bossy had plodded ‘round and ‘round.

Finally the level neared the top, and his Dad yelled that they were done.  “Just back out that little hatch, and climb down the ladder.”

MOOO!

“A cow??  You took a cow in there??!  How is she going to climb down??!”

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

#457

In The Dark

On August 14th, Southern Ontario and hunks of Eastern United States, celebrated (?) the tenth anniversary of a giant blackout.  Locally, we did better than many areas; the power was back on in about four hours.  As with so many other things, like jet-stream cold fronts, 9/11 terrorists, and Justin Bieber, Americans blamed Canada.

Local stories range from being five from the front at a giant waterslide, and having to turn around, and follow 150 other disappointed people back down the stairs, because the water pumps shut off, to the canoeist/camper in a National Park, who pulled in the next day, without knowing or noticing that anything had occurred.

I was at work, on a 3 to 11 shift, when we went dark, at about 8:00 PM.  The plant had already started its death spiral.  The General Manager who lied to the Big Three during contract negotiations, had been forced out.  His internal replacement/promotion lasted only six months before getting a good look at the oncoming train, and taking a different track.  The external hire, who thought he was going to helm a healthy company, bailed after only three months.  And so, we got Bill.

Already cynical, I kept an eye on him.  He was touted as the man who would turn things around, but his management style and abilities did not bode well for that.  The first week he was there, he held a town-hall meeting with each of the shifts.  Not in the boardroom – heaven forbid the peons’ sandals leave marks on the carpet, rather, in the Quality Assurance/Packing area.  He looked us all in the eye and said, “My name is Bill Rheem.”  Those first four words were a lie….and it went downhill from there.

He was not a Germanic Rheem (ream), he was a French-Canadian Rheaume (ray ome).  He had worked for Ford in Windsor, but had left to start his own small company.  My suspicious little whiskers were already vibrating.  He might have been an entrepreneur, or maybe, just a guy who did not play well with others.  If he had had his own company, why was he here running ours?  Did his workforce grab torches and pitchforks and riot, or did the company go public and shareholders force him out?

We worked with a cyanide-based isocyanate.  One day a forklift hit a supply pipe, and leaked a couple of gallons on the floor.  Too important to go around, while two hazmat-suited workers cleaned it up, he ripped down the yellow HAZARD tape, and escorted three guys from head-office right through the middle.

We had had a hot, muggy summer, prior to the power outage.  We normally got two air-conditioned breaks in our eight-hour shifts of working with hot vinyl, but every previous manager had agreed to a third, when the weather got bad.  Not Bill!  No F**kin’ way!  A contract’s a contract!  Union executive contacted the Labor Board, who showed up with books of Government regs.  It was so hot and sticky that we had the legal right to a ten-minute break every hour….and Bill had to ensure it was given, and documented.

Eight PM on an August evening is not dark.  When the power died, we did what we could to prevent fires, and other problems, then trickled outside to sit on benches and picnic tables.  We’d been out there for about a half-hour, when our fearless leader showed up.  He checked that protocols had been followed, and gave us what information he had, and a little pep-talk about getting right back to work, as soon as the power came back on.

He took a couple of cell phone calls, and another half-hour later announced, “Well, I guess the power’s not coming back on.  You guys all go home.”  Somebody said, “Well, at least we get paid for the whole shift.” And Grumpy Smurf lashed out again.  “No F**kin’ way!  It’s not my fault the plant can’t run!  You don’t work, you don’t get paid!”

The next day, the union president visited him and showed him a copy of the contract, with a Short Workweek clause, which guaranteed that we would be paid from a special, slowly increasing fund.

I carefully drove 5 Km. home, through a city with neither traffic lights, nor streetlights.  I joined a wife and son in a living room well-stocked with candles, and indulged in more conversation than since the invention of TV.  Well after midnight, just as we were thinking of pulling out a board game, and playing Yahtzee or Monopoly by candlelight, civilization returned in a rush.

When the axe finally fell on me a year later, I tried to access the above fund, to top up my unemployment benefits but, being one of the last to go, I found it empty and plundered by those who had preceded me.  I needed to find a job, fast!

Bill was perhaps, the most ineffectual, adversarial Plant Manager I’d ever worked with.  The Peter Principle had allowed him to bob up to the level of his incompetence several times.  It didn’t take a power stoppage to show that he was uninformed, and poorly trained for his position.  He was in the dark, even before the lights went out, and he kept those around him in the same condition.

Previous corporate decisions and policies had already doomed my plant and my job, but Billy-boy didn’t do them any extra favors.

Where were you when the lights went out?  In a part of the country or the world where you didn’t even notice?  Did you, or someone you know, have a baby nine months later?  A lot of folks did!  No Yahtzee boards or candles, I guess.