Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Reasonable Expectation

I think it's reasonable to expect that people didn't listen in on conversations I'm having in public. If I'm speaking loud enough for people walking by to hear a few words, that's one thing. But to lurk at my shoulder as a passive participant of the conversation is another. That's when I take the opportunity to adjust my conversation, and address that eavesdropping individual as an intruder.

There are those who hold private conversations, publicly on the cell-phones. They may be close enough to hear my private conversation, and I might inadvertently hear bit's and pieces of one side of that conversation. It's only reasonable that we tune each other out and go on with our own business. But there's another party, lurking passively in my conversation that I'm not comfortable with; the person on the other end of the cell-phone conversation...

How do I address that other person as an intruder? I can of course go silent, when someone with a cell-phone gets close. But to do anything more would get close to intruding on another person's reasonable expectations. Clearly, we need a new standard, or etiquette in this new digital age.

If We, as a People don't establish some code of behavior concerning privacy and free speech the Government is going to do it for us. And we better do it quick, because there are some really confusing laws on the books ( varying from State to State ), and it would seem that many of those laws were crafted in an age where these problems weren't anticipated. Many have noticed that there are some double standards as well.

How did it come about, that the police can eavesdrop, wire-tap and otherwise over-ride an individuals reasonable expectation of privacy while prosecuting those who use common cell-phones to record common activities involving the police? It seems that the Rights addressed in the Constitution have been perverted, with the effect of limiting the individuals freedoms and at the same time nullifying the restrictions put on Government.

I can only guess that Law Enforcement has for a long time enjoyed a comfortable measure of control of conversations they have while performing their routine duties, such as a traffic stop. If you add a cell-phone to the situation, they may feel much like I do when a person is standing close ( as I mentioned above ). I can understand that, and I suspect the police officers themselves aren't as hostile to the presence of recording equipment ( cell-phones ) as their superiors seem to be. I think the officers just want their tickets to stick in court.

This issue is going to be argued in the Court of Public Opinion for quite a while before it gets to the Supreme Court. In the meanwhile, I'm taking a hard look at my own cell-phone habits looking at what's reasonable ( or not ) in the way I behave privately, in public...


Billy Should Have Kept His Mouth Shut

Billy got a surprise visit from the local police the other day, just before he clocked out at the Noodle Factory. Apparently someone took his words a bit more serious than he would have liked, or perhaps they reacted different than he expected.

"If I don't get that promotion to lead man, I'm come in here and shoot a bunch of folks!"

The next morning, everyone was watching to see if Billy showed up for work, whether he was fired, or maybe even in jail. He showed, and the plant has something to talk about for quite a while. It's not been but a few days since a man took a gun and shot a lot of people down in Arizona, and with those stories still playing in the News Media folks were really wondering how the local law was going to deal with threats of mass violence.

Is Billy a nut? No, he's a blow-hard. Is he dangerous? No, not unless you walk behind his fork-lift while he's busy. Is he going to lose his hunting privileges? Quite likely.

So, what to do now? Is it the Company's duty to point this red-neck to a shrink? Should his friends get closer, and try to figure out what's going on in his head, at home, or in his life that would push him to be so...stupid? Or should everyone at work shy away, and let him deal with this on his own? I like the guy, and really like the venison he shares with his friends so I think I'll keep him as a friend....

You probably will never read about the incident in the papers. I suspect this sort of thing goes on a lot around the world, and goes unreported.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tax Returns, It's the Stimulation Stupid!

A low fire has been burning in me for nearly a year now. It's been that long since I last filed my Federal Taxes.

Things have changed a lot over the decades that I've been filing. I started forty years ago, when I was in High-School. I can remember taking a class that taught us about all the forms, starting with the simple 1040. Today, I still file that simple form taxes and income pretty damn simple to figure.

I give the Guberment a chunk of my money each week, they hold onto it ( sorta like a loan ) until they figure out that I don't owe them very much because...well I don't earn very much! So what's the point? Stimulation Stupid..

I know I'm stimulated, I get this way every January. Just thinking about all my bucks coming back ( well...most of them ) gets my blood pumping. Even though I know most of the Return will go to paying bills and such, I know there's going to be enough this year to buy something I've wanted for several years.

I want a knew computer! And that's the attitude that stimulates the National Economy. I know I'm not the only one anticipating an opportunity to walk into a high-dollar retail store and flop down some big bucks on the latest and greatest appliance. Half the Nation is going on a spending bing in the next month or two. That's got to help the economy a little bit.

And I'm more than happy to do my small part...being a good citizen and all that...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Back to Work in a New Year

I'm leaving for work at the Noodle Factory in a few hours, and I am actually looking forward to seeing those folks. Vacation was just what I needed to pump my motivation up. More than a week idle has given me new energy and even new hope that this New Year will be better than the last. I surely hope so.

I don't expect to be very busy for the next few months at the Noodle Factory, as we have just finished our busy season. Now is the time to check the inventory, pull maintenance and clean, clean clean! It takes a lot of cleaning to keep a food processing plant running.

My wife will no doubt be happy to see me leaving the house, we've both been shacked up for most of the last week or so. She is used to having the place to her self for eight or nine hours every day, and me being at work lets her do all those wonderful and important thing she enjoys like; watching Oprah, The View and such. Blah...

She'll also enjoy using her computer while I'm gone, as mine broke last week and she's been kind enough to let me use her lap-top. Now she can play all those on-line games with her inter-net buddies for hours on end! Go girl! You know you love it!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

He Didn't Burn Wood Anymore

We cut this wood from trees that once stood along the lane to his old pasture, and stacked it along the fence. We would have stacked it outside of his door, but he didn't burn wood anymore.

He had acres and more acres of wood, and an excellent stove that he had burned his own wood in for decades. But no more, as his insurance company pretty much forbid him to keep a fire. They said it was too risky.

An old man without a fire, and with wood to burn.

My Grandfather didn't live long after that, no wood to cut, carry and stack. No ashes to spread over the garden on those snow covered winter days. His axe was a part of him, and his woods were a part of his life too. And that old stove was surely the center of his existence.

Grandma had her chair, and sat at a distance from the stove that was comfortable for her. The grandchildren, and their children had their on comfortable spots too. We played at our Grandparents feet, and learned to respect that old man's authority over his stove, that farm and our family. It was a most natural order of life. And it's end seemed so unnatural, when he was forbidden to have a fire in his own home.

Our home, and our family lost it's flame soon after.