Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A dearth of soundbytes

Ok, so I'll admit right up front here that I watched only the first 3 minutes or so of the President's address last night. But apparently that was long enough to hear the only soundbyte to be replayed on the Today show this morning. I find that a bit worrisome. Really. A 50-minute speach and the only part worth replaying in its entirety was said in the first 3 minutes?

And what did he say? He said, in effect, we're going to come back from this. Well, no kidding. We're all working mighty hard to make that happen. Boy am I glad I didn't stay tuned for the other 47 minutes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Toll hikes, stimulus packages, and other super fun news items

President Obama got his stimulus bill signed, sealed and will soon be delivered. How? Well, you should see a decrease in your income tax from your paycheck. That is, if you earn less than $200,000/year (too bad, IANO).

That is all well and good. I'm up for any sort of tax break I can get, especially with this economy. Now, living in Massachusetts, we're not out of the woods by any means. Even with this Federal Income Tax break, we still have our Commonwealth's debts to pay. For example, the Mass Turnpike tolls have just been raised (the vote just passed as I write this). How much? Well, that depends if the governor gets the state tax on gasoline raised. If that bill passes, then the toll increase won't be as harsh. But the gas tax could be as much as 19 cents a gallon.

See where I'm going with this?

While I appreciate the government's attempt to help me while simultaneously paying their bills, it's just hard to see anything as a stimulus plan. It's more like an offset plan and they got the math wrong.

If you want to slash your deficits, there are other ways to get this done. Pull our troops out of Iraq and put that ridiculously enormous budget into combating the debts this country owes. That's one. The other is consumer confidence. Stocks rebounded today when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the recession may end soon. Isn't that just...astounding? Stocks rebound after Bernake said the recession may end. May end. Soon. No real specifics. And lookit that: Wall Street responds. Ben, couldn't you have said that just a wee earlier? Sheesh.

Consumer confidence in the market economy is the only real way we're going to climb out of this recession. Stop giving bailouts to home buyers who can't pay their mortgages. Cruel? Heartless? Let me tell you: there are so many more people out there that stay under the radar, quietly working their asses off to pay said mortgages, and they aren't receiving dime one for a job well done. What do they get? A home to live in. It's not a right, it's a privilege and those quiet Americans who do pay their bills vastly outnumber those who got scammed by the Adjustable Rate Mortgages.

You want consumer confidence? Show some respect to those Americans who pay their bills and, let's face it...ARE the consumers. You want the economy to rebound? Show some respect and cater to those who WILL buy products and bring the whole thing back into the less-red (black is probably a bit optimistic). Everything relies on not reality, but the perception of reality. Just look at the reaction to Ben's statement and tell me that's not the case.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

I just have to deal, I guess

This whole economic crisis is starting to harsh on my mellow. Lots of people are running around all paranoid about job security and where their next paycheck is going to come from. And I don't like it. Not one bit.

Who is next to lose their job? Me? My husband? You can't tell who it will be. There are lots of big companies announcing plans to lay off huge chunks of their workforce. Oh gee, that's GREAT! My boss (I mentioned her in an earlier post...the HR Director of Doom) doesn't really keep me in the loop about all of the big evaluation and review meetings currently going on behind closed doors under the cone of silence or whatever. Whenever she passes by, she gives me a fake smile that screams "I know something you don't know and I'll never tell you and it could include you and you won't know until it's too late but I know you know that I know something..." Har dee har har. Thanks a whole freakin lot. Not as if I don't feel insecure enough about the company's welfare, now you have to throw this fear at me. I swear she does this on purpose. Go ahead and do it, HR lady. It's the only power you have. Still, it's more than I have.

My husband is also worrying about his job security. His company has another round of layoffs happening at the end of the month. He's going to start bringing some personal belongings home now just so it won't be a big mess if he does get cut. Isn't that thoughtful of him?

I know...I'm worried over something that hasn't happened. This is what's harshing on my mellow. I don't like the fact that I'm doin this. I don't know about you, but I don't see the economy turning around any time soon. I keep hearing that it's going to suck for a long time. There are people who will never know what it feels like to be worried about job security and who are all set with money and property and they are "all set". Me? Not so much.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Sunday afternoon hobbies

Sunday, a balmy 50-ish degrees (F), the snow and ice are melting for now, what to do?
So the little lady and I talk a walk "down and around", a brief less-than-a-mile-rt, into the town center and back. Warm by any standard we've seen as of late, but there is a chilly edge creeping into the insistent breeze blowing in from the North - ah, the sub-freezing temps will be upon us again by nightfall. As we stroll along, we are presented with a social conundrum. This takes shape in the form of a guy, probably mid-late 20s, "sleeping" in the doorway of a low rise apt. building that graces the fair boulevard known as "Main St" (It is WEST main, were this the hinterlands of EAST main such a sight might not be so unexpected, but WEST Main, oh my stars, call homeland security please.)
To set the scene, it is 2:00 p.m. on a fair Sunday afternoon. This is a small town, truly small town, and to run across such a scene here is nearly as likely as seeing a helicopter land in the middle of the street. This fella is appropriately clothed for the day, with a reasonable jacket, and jeans, but the zipper of his pants is at an unflatteringly low ebb, and the jeans appear somewhat "wet" - instinct says "wet" in a very regrettable and unintentional way.
So my wife and I stop no more than a step or two past the fella, and we begin to confab on next steps. "Is he okay?" Well, his face is a ruddy red, as are his sockless ankles, and a 30-second stare reveals a slight heave of his chest.
OK, he is alive and the general appearance of things make this all look self-inflicted. Now what? Police HQ is only 100 yards away, so rather than try to wake the "wet" fella with a carefully placed hand and gentle shake "Dude.. Dude.. are you OK?" we decide the constabulary are best suited for the situation.
Before we get 50 feet an unmarked cruiser* comes our way and we flag it down. It's an officer I know (because I'm a model citizen - those other days are many years past), so I lean in the window, point and describe what we've seen.
He asks me a few questions, thanks us, and drives over to the spot.
We stay and watch from our vantage point. No more than a minute has past and an ambulance is rolling to a stop. By the pace & demeanor of the EMTs and the officer, this is not a desperate situation, and they commence a fairly casual and familiar dance to the tune of "oh, he's just stinkin' drunk". By all appearances it seems the fella will be OK - lucky him the weather is not like LAST weekend with the single digit daytime highs.
So I sit here and wonder, did we act accordingly, doing the RIGHT thing? What are my societal obligations, and when does someone else stray into my "freedom" by creating this scene? Am I an ass, and don't realize that he is a diabetic and was simply in insulin shock? Will he be in "trouble" having been found in this state? A bag of weed in is pocket, or a bottle of painkillers not for him. Why should I care or not? And how many people walked right by this guy and didn't do an f-ing thing at all? (a lot of people out walking today, had to be 3 or 4 minimum in the preceding 15 minutes). Ultimately, I can feel OK that the poor bastard didn't freeze to death, and did get professional attention that would surely result in at least one more day for him. Maybe he is a dick, and I'd never like him in person,(it was kind of dick-ish to F with our walk like that..) but I hope he's OK. Just a weird thing to have happen.

*Police refer to an unmarked cruiser as a "low profile" vehicle, so you are now required to say "Low-Pro Po-Po" every time you see one for the rest of your days, crediting me with the witticism. "Low-pro 5-0"?...don't even go there.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

i'm an a-hole


is pretty much what i said when i saw a guy in the parking lot across from me wipe out on the ice.

he got out of his car and was quite animated and agitated whilst talking on his cell. after a minute or so he gets around to closing his car door....hard not realising he is standing on ice, until newton's 3rd law of motion kicks in - every action has an equal an opposite reaction. and down he goes, the icing on the cake was the cell phone flying off as well.

that made my afternoon.

yep i'm an a-hole


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Is it just me...

Or is 2009 feeling incredibly stressful for everyone else as well?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Facebook, Shmacebook

If all the energy people put into Facebook was applied to something productive and useful, the economy could improve in a speedier fashion.

But no...instead of people applying themselves to something useful, meaningful and helpful (ever think of volunteering at a nursing home, animal shelter, etc?) Facebookers are making "Lists about ME".   yawn.  No one cares about you. Those of us busting our asses to pay our mortgages (yes, oh yes, some of us still pay them and care about keeping a house over our heads and yes, we read the fine print before we signed the f***ing papers) and keep jobs and feed our families......well, we don't have time to tell our virtual friends about ourselves.  In fact, some of us still have real (time), living, breathing friends that we talk to in person over the phone (it's a small device that works in real-time and relies on auditory abilities) or we meet for coffee (that's F2F for you virtual-reality-addicts). 

Yeah, ok, some of you Facebookers have mortgages in good standing and productive jobs but let's be real about the majority of you F'ers.  You've got time to type away and share mundane bs....what have you done for me?  And by that question I mean the collective larger "me"...what did you give you back today?  Did you help anyone out of the kindness of your heart? Did you donate anything... clothes, blood, good will?  Did you hold the door for someone or let a car go in front of you?  Now, I'm really lowering the bar I'm actually fighting my natural cynical inclinations.

I can't wait for the Facebook fad to fade...just like MySpace and all the other productivity killers. 

I confess that I'm still waiting for WoW to slow down and die off....but being a former gamer myself....I know it won't happen. It's way to addictive.

ok. i'm done here.

oh...and yes, F'ers....i'm jealous of all that free time those F'ers have.  Why do you think I keep calling them F'ers.   duh.