Hubris

NEO:

This says it all about so many today. He’s right, hubris will destroy us just as the sun melted the wax in Icarus’ wing.

Originally posted on Practically Historical:

We know better, perhaps we know everything todaywe of the information age, with the world at our fingertips have all the answers.  Science, literature, culture…even history can be changed by our definitive grasp of what is right, just, and true.  Previous generations were naive, exploitative, and selfish.  Now with the benefit of hindsight which grows from our superior comprehension  of morality and intellectual prowess; we can right the wrongs, free the oppressed, and expunge the perpetrators from our collective memory.      This kind of thinking will be the end of our republic if we allow it to permeate our society. 

Don't Tread on Me Don’t Tread on Me

So, as pseudo-intellectuals Don Lemon and Ashleigh Banfield…  openly discuss destroying the Jefferson memorial in front of millions of viewers, the seeds of our downfall are planted.  Willingly equating the memory of Thomas Jefferson with the deranged ramblings of a homicidal maniac, Lemon…

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Hump Day Pot Pourri

Some odds and ends today that have been hanging about but, never quite developed into full on posts.

Dan Hannan would like to know if the EU is why there is peace in Europe for the last few decades.

His points are valid, and yet I know some people that would answer with four words. The United States Army. Which may not be entirely fair but it ain’t entirely unfair either, I think.

Carly Fiorina would like to remind us that “titles are not accomplishments.”

She’s tight, of course. Carly is not my all time favorite candidate, mostly because I wasn’t all that impressed with her work at HP. but hey howdy, it was actual work and some accomplishments were made, the company is still around.

The Daily Telegraph has a nice article about the reenactors that stated the Battle of Waterloo on it 200th anniversary. It’s here: Portable loos and Belgian officiousness: When ‘war’ breaks out at the Battle of Waterloo, 2015.

And two articles from The Federalist on all the noise about the Battle Flag, both are good.

First: Congratulations! You Oppose The Confederate Flag. Now What?

and Second: Let’s Not Get Trolled On The Confederate Flag.

And finally, my friend Geoffrey Sales wrote this morning on AATW on what is going wrong in the Roman Catholic (as well as many others) Church. As always. worth your time: Buying and selling.

There a few out of the files and back out where you can enjoy them.

Forecasting the Future

Keep-calm-and-carry-on-scanOne of the many secondary duties I do in our business is strategic planning and how it affects us. That might mean that should we buy a new truck, a used one, or let some customers wait, because an electrician just isn’t much good standing around in the shop, he has to get to the job site with his tools.

A service truck these days costs something over $100.000, so you think about it fairly long and hard, particularly if you are hiring new people to put in it. It will last from about three years to seven or eight, so it has to pay for itself in that time. That’s pretty much how we go about deciding whether it is worthwhile to expand.

Frankly in the last seven or so years, it’s simply been too risky to assume anything, and so we, like almost all business has simply tried to get by on what we already have. I know that we could write enough business to support the truck, but the electrician, well, to be honest, I can no longer even guess what he’s going to cost me in five years, because the rules change so much and so drastically all the time.

Part of it is the general economy, part of it is the health care mess that Washington has made, part of it is the work rules that OSHA insists on, and make some operations nearly impossible, part of it is whether the clients are still going to go ahead with their plans, because they’ve all got these same concerns.

That’s us, a little contractor out here in Podunk, Nebraska. I haven’t a clue if we’ll even be in business at this rate in five years, let alone growing. there’s just too many variables. so whatever I decide on this kind of this is basically a SWAG (Scientific Wild A$$ Guess).

Now multiply that by (at least) several trillion variables and you have the problem with forecasting climate change, man-made or not. See the problem with it. The advocates are sure both that the climate is warming, and that it’s man’s fault, particularly CO2 emissions. I can’t say it’s impossible, and I can say it would be a good idea to reduce them, if it can be done at a reasonable cost.

See the problem? In that paragraph, there are at least 4 variables that I don’t have the answer to, and I’m not sure anybody else does either. And the kicker is that they want to spend at least several trillion dollars solving a problem that may or may not exist.

That’s why it’s all government money, not private investment. Nobody who has to answer for the money they spend is going to make this kind of a bet, only those that play with other people’s money, and are unaccountable. You would be wise if you read that as the government. then you add in all the university researchers, crony capitalists, and plain old crooks, who all (every single one) have lobbyists who stand to lose money, if these projects don’t go forward, and you have Leviathan’s juggernaut going downhill (or maybe over the cliff).

Nobody but the almighty can predict this stuff, all we can do is try to react. And here’s the real kicker. What new invention will make all this Stürm und Drang obsolete next week? Remember New York City had a terrible pollution and health problem a hundred years ago, from horse dung, the automobile solved it, even though it created other problems. Technology is like that.

We solved the air and water pollution problems that we had when I was a kid (more or less, anyway). Mostly we exported the pollution and the manufacturing jobs to Asia, now the air is pretty good here but one can hardly breathe in China. It’s fixable but, no one, not even us, is willing to pay the price on everything we buy at Wal-Mart to fix it.

Answers? Frustrating as it is, for you and me both, I haven’t got any. All we can do is live our lives, thoughtfully and perhaps a bit more frugally than we have been. You know, be a bit more efficient, combine trips, carpool, keep your car another year, that sort of thing.

Will it be better next year? I don’t know that either. But I do know that if we leave the creative types in our midst free to innovate as they have over the last five hundred years, it’ s a virtual certainty that it will be in fifty years. And that’s not a bad thing at all.

Respect and Mushrooms

Well, that’s nice, I guess. I’m glad he cleared that up. Personally, I thought respect was defined much as Oxford says,:

A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements:

And by that standard I think he might have misapprehended the world’s reaction, indeed, he might even be deluded. For me, at least this about sums it up

Or maybe the White House Chef really does have a stash of magic mushrooms.

 

 

OF MG, and Lotus, and Jaguar, and Chevy and Dodge

1953_mg_td-pic-7992610729001336577I don’t know how many of you became fans of Top Gear, the UK version, I never really got into the US version. The UK version could perhaps be best described as ‘quirky’. In truth, it was a good bit like a bunch of drunken teenagers playing with their dad’s quarter of a million dollar cars on TV.

Yes, there was some real information conveyed but mostly it was about how fast you can wear out a set of tires. That’s fine, I remember those days fondly, myself, and in many ways that’s what it was about.

The lead presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, whom I gather had much to do with reinventing the show as a ‘bloke show’ as I described above, actually is a fairly intelligent guys, and a British patriot as well. He has a show out about what happened to the British car industry and it’s pretty good.

Like most guys my age, I grew up loving cars, especially those ones with names like Charger, GTO, Cutlass, Camaro, or pretty much anything with a bowtie combined with the letters SS. It was a good world, cars were reasonably priced, and gasoline was about a quarter a gallon. Then the EPA and Arabs showed up and the party ended, and much else besides. When the exhaust recommendation made almost all cars pretty much into boxes as exciting as mom’s washing machine, most of us went to trucks, and that is about the only reason that the US makers survived. Nobody else in the world seems to be able to make a proper pick-up, only Toyota even came close.

But Britain was different. My first encounter with a British car was an MG TC (or maybe TD) when I was in college. It was slow, rough riding, ridiculously small, colder than a witch’s body part encased in brass, completely unreliable, and leaked like a sieve. You know, something else, I loved that fool thing, if dad would have let me, I’d have bought one myself. The thing is, the one I drove, it belonged to a friend, was about a 1960 model, of a pre-war car, and very few changes had been made. It got its start here when some of them came home with our soldiers, next best thing to a British bride, I think. :)

Then somebody showed up with a Lotus, it was all of the above, except slow. My biggest trouble with it was, in fact, that at 20 years old or so, I could just about, almost, get into the fool thing. The one that was around was bright yellow. We called it ‘arrest me yellow’, in fact, and the car was nicknamed the Screaming Yellow Zonker, and it was very apt.

Then like us all, I went to work and mostly drove Chevys and Dodges, and maybe an occasional Buick. They weren’t bad, really, for appliances, but nobody ever called a LeSabre a screaming yellow zonker.

Our nanny state pretty much made it too expensive for almost any interesting car to be sold here, and if it was, it was so compromised by regulation, that it wasn’t worth it anyway, that’s why we got aberrations like Mustang IIs, there wasn’t anything even close to reasonable.

Apparently Britain was a bit smarter, which wouldn’t have been hard, because all those interesting cars kept getting built and sold. Not all were British; Renault, Fiat, Ferrari and such kept on, you just hardly ever saw them in the US. We got what GM wanted, and we the customers were increasingly irrelevant.

In any case, the Brits had/have trouble with the auto industry as well, and Clarkson does, I think a fair job at describing what its problems were that pretty much killed it. It’s still unfolding here, but our auto industry (and many others as well) are following the same path, so this is kind of a prophecy of what the future will bring here as well, if we don’t change our ways.

Enjoy the video, in any case.

What’s in a name?

Jessica wrote this post two years ago for Mother’s Day, and I think it to be timeless. It tells us much that we know but maybe only subconsciously about how important our mothers are to all of us, and how very important they are to our development. Think about this, Jess lost her mother when she was seven and yet, from accounts by those who know, she is a great deal like her mother. Some things are timeless in a society, and the role of mothers is paramount amongst them. I should add that Jess herself continues to improve and when I last spoke (metaphorically) to her, she sounds very much like the girl, I first met, she is recovering well Here is Jess. Neo

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When I was little, I would sometimes hear my father say that something or other was ‘like mom and apple pie’ – it was a synonym for everything good in life, and the clear implication was that mom had baked the apple pie. I don’t hear it much nowadays. Being a Mom is not, I think, much argued as a career option for girls, nor valued by teachers, and home baking (not chez Jess) not in fashion either. Here in the UK we are having an argument about how many children a child minder can care for, with all parties arguing the case for it because we need more women out there in the work place. I have several female friends who work and whose entire salary goes on paying for the nanny or the child minder. All the latter are female, but there is a class thing going on there; it is OK for women who couldn’t have a career in, say TV or whatever to mind children; educated middle class women like myself should get out there and have that career; if we get pregnant then we farm the little one out as soon as we can.

That left me thinking about who, then, will do what my mother did in my case, which was pass on values and moral teaching. I don’t recall being taught right from wrong – it was my mother did that for me when I wasn’t looking. It was my mother who took me to church, and, like countless mothers before her, helped pass on the values she had inherited. She had a career, she used to say – CEO the house and family. My Daddy was a determined sort of man, fond of getting his own way; he used to say he wasn’t always right but was never wrong. On the farm, his word was law – in the house, however, he would leave it to my mother – that was her realm. I am sure I did not get my own obsessive tidiness and love of cleaning from Daddy, who used to infuriate my mother by strolling in, in muddy boots and leaving his ‘clutter’ everywhere. She gave me those things, and more. My sister (who is really my half sister) said recently, after I had persuaded a workman to do something she wanted done that it was like watching my mother at work. I asked what she meant. She explained that my mother had been an expert at persuading our father to do things in just the way I had. It set me to thinking what else of my mother’s I had absorbed without knowing it?

My mother died when I was seven, and my memories of her are fairly dim. Daddy was my great hero, and I never met a man yet who lived up to him. My sister says I am a man’s woman, and I do prefer male company. But I am my mother’s daughter in more ways than I know, and I am glad she made me part of her career. So, for all those mothers who have passed on so much to so many if us, thanks mom.

Mothers' Day Cake crop

Mothers’ Day Cake crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy Mother’s Day!

from us both

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