in the event Jolly Ol' Santa didn't bring you what you'd asked for in all those pointed emails to www.northpole.com or to www.santa.com, it may be some small consolation that he skipped me too. I do actually miss that special Festival of Some assembly Required though. Anyway, he didn't leave any of the traditional nasties — lumps of coal or thorny switches — he just knew that what I wanted wasn't available, yet. I got an IOU, good for when the technology sector (read Intel et al) sees fit to release these items. Never fear, the New Year is directly ahead on a collision course, and will unveil many wondrous surprises. Hopefully, some of them will be good and, if we've all eaten our vegetables and done our homework, we'll get a crack at the brass ring. Sure thing, pal. The six degrees of separation don't mean a thing.
Women see things differently than men do. Measurements of distance and time, width and breadth, light and dark are perceptively different in each species. It's almost like we speak different languages, at times. Somehow we manage to communicate.
Expectations differ too. Commonality of topic argues for rational, precise thought; not always possible across gender lines. We do the best we can with what we've got to work with.
Emotions enter the fray. Communications becomes blurred, the thought process is perverted and all logical discourse ends up being decibel-based. We'll try to hold our collective voices down; sorry.
Beyond mass failures at communication, nursing disappointed expectations and blunted emotions, somehow we persevere as a species, divided in separate and unequal half spheres. Another glass of wine, my dear?
These days, I don't even like to go near the US Post Office, for fear of being attacked and shot. It's awful when one has to wonder what sidearm a postal clerk is packing, and whether s/he will use it if there's a dispute on the cost of mailing a simple package. I've never had a wish to be a hostage either.
Far too much death and destruction occurs at US Post Offices. I used to think it might be due to the glue, but with self-adhesive stamps, there's no more glue to ingest. I'm sure it's a real pressure cooker down there, what with all the dangerous activity of evil letters and packages, but when it gets bad for someone, they should take a walk outside and find another job, instead of Killing everything in sight. Oh, let them go outside and blow their own brains out, but don't take anyone else along to Hell with them. Life's short enough without getting wasted at the Felton, PA, Post Office.
It's difficult to not emote the huge amounts of sarcasm warranted when hearing about the "dangerous and stressful" activity of watching machines do all your work, that makes me despise anyone who goes postal and hurts or whacks others. My postal delivery person at my condo in York, PA, doesn't have that anger problem; she shops at my garden center and always lets me know when the mailbox is getting too full from my not emptying it daily. I only retrieve mail every 1-2 weeks; it's mostly junk mail and bills, so it fills up quickly. My other postal delivery person here at work isn't crazy either; I empty this mailbox ever day. There's usually checks and other important items therein. So we have a good working relationship. Neither delivery person carries a gun, only Mace and Pepper Spray.
Still unanswered question: is it the environment of the US Post Office, or the person themself, which causes the loss of professional rationalism and abrupt adoption of personal destruction?
Occasionally, it all ends on a positive note, and no one dies or gets hurt. Occasionally, but not often.
96 vs 97.
By all accounts, 1996 was a disappointing year for Christmas sales, and 1997 is shaping up to be a mirror image. In an economy that's booming with less than 4.5% unemployment and rising wages, last year and this year are real puzzlement. Unless one knows where to look for the underlying reasons.
What's Killing Christmas gift sales? Simple, flagrant hyper-commercialism. A Yankee trait inherited from P.T. Barnum and 19th century snake oil salesmen. Something I've railed at and ranted and complained about for years. To damned much hype and false shit by starry-eyed shysters and hucksters out to make some bucks.
Most retailers make 80% of their annual business at Christmas. They count on the last-minute crowds scurrying to purchase last-minute gifts. If they don't have a good period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, they go under. To my way of thinking, that's way too much to pin into a two week period. They need to diversify into the other 50 weeks of the year. What do they do for the other 50 weeks? Apparently, not very much.
I have a 40 week window that I work within, and don't count on a dime from Christmas sales; it's too risky to bank everything on that fickle period of consumerism. If things aren't just right with uncontrollable factors — wars, national and world economies et al — then the demand isn't there to meet the expectant supply. It's business suicide.
The greedy retailers have ruined the holidays for me personally. It used to be very special; now I'm ambivalent to this time of year. Crass commercialism, hype and their trash offerings have all contributed to my ambivalence, as did my divorce a couple of years ago. Somehow, it's all not the same.
How to get back to the real Christmas? Not this idiotic way, that's for sure. Who wants to hear a sermon when shopping? There's enough stress without having to listen to more hype, albeit religious hype. Those wild and crazy Brits... no wonder they still live on a shrinking island! Hmmm, my ancestors.
So far, the weather's cooperating in southern Pennsylvania and northern Maryland: no snow or sleet and very little rain. But it won't for too much longer, as the rest of the country gets pummeled with Winter weather.
We're just starting work on a large scale Japanese Zen Garden project in York, PA, and the serious excavation work began Monday. I check the weather reports on the Net almost hourly when my crews are out on site working at various projects. Planning for the next 4-6 weeks requires looking at all the forecasts and making decisions. And because the weather changes by the minute, it also requires contingency plans.
There are always rainy day jobs that they can do around the garden center & nursery's 20acre complex, so I keep a running list of those active just in case we get some inclement weather. In 1997, because of the severe drought and heat, it wasn't a problem. This Winter's a different story.
I'll be posting some digital camera (Kodak DC-25) shots on the site on a special page after the project begins to take some semblance of shape. I know Kay & Jack, the owners, will be interested in reading my running comments and seeing what's going on.
Oooops, spoke too soon about the weather holding steady. It started early this Monday morning: freezing rain, sleet and snow from a storm moving up from the southwest, travelling southeast right through our backyard. Ice covered everything to a depth of 1/2".
The local, county and state road maintenance trucks are spreading sand and cinders all over the roads, as the surfaces are getting treacherous. Schools are letting out early. Everyone's in a panic. But why? It's just weather, and we should all be used to it by now. We all go through this shit every year.
Why is it, right in the beginning and middle of a storm, that schools and businesses let out early hundreds of thousands of people run for their cars (or school buses} and clog the roads just as road crews begin to plow and get the roads safe again to travel? You know the joke about state and local road crews? It takes 1 (wo)man to work and 15 to supervise, they... Sure you've heard that one? Heck, any time the road crews actually do their work is cause celeb!
This combined action of snow removal/ice negating equipment, and tens of thousands of extra cars and trucks rushing for gas stations and convenience store to stock up on useless items such as bread and milk, causes accidents, delays and needless injuries or deaths. Why bread and milk? Do they use the stale bread for traction under their pathetic two-wheel drive cars? And the milk? Instead of fuel? Maybe they have a house full of septuplets? Then the 4wd morons come out, in their 19ft high shitbox pick-up trucks, monster tires, all kinds of f*cking rollover bars and quasi-racing devices, doing the same thing: stocking up on shit. Everyone clogging up the roads and convenience stores for 3-4 hours. Shelves wiped clean. Gasolines and kerosene supplies decimated. Nothing left for the rest of the world. As if we f*cking cared.
I'd rather visit the liquor store and lay in a case or three of the awesome 94 Sebastiani Cabernet Sauvignonor a wonderful 93 Guenoc Cabernet Sauvignon, make sure there's plenty of firewood in the adjacent storage building, and that my cable modem is working at 100%. f*ck bread and milk. I guess it's a conditioned response to those 50s Air Raid Shelter drills. Duck and cover, kids! Yeah, like that would have done any f*cking good. Sure, it would have saved our eyesight, while the rest of our little bodies were incinerated beyond recognition. hey, if we're going to die anyway, don't interrupt the party to bum us all out with the bad news. I don't want to know.
Why don't mayors or governors get some real brass and mandate that no one drives while the road crews are working? Because politicians are truly gutless and afraid of incurring the voter (collectively speaking) wrath. If they did make this an executive priority, they'd surely have my vote in the next election. But don't look for that to happen any time soon. All politicians owe their jobs to someone other than us, the so-called voter.
It was a (meager) nice first snow, anyway. Even if the roads were full of morons rushing for gasoline, bread and milk.
At 5am on Christmas morning, it's raining heavily hereraining heavily here and a lot of new parents are going to have to explain to their starry-eyed kids just how Santa can negotiate millions of homes without snow for his sled. I'm glad that I don't have to take on that chore. Been there, did all that, once.
My friend, Greg Postma in Chicago, did some expert calculations and here's a primer for parents to use in explaining how Santa does what he does:
It's a late-to-work day for me: sleep until 10am, then go in at 11am to check the buildings, greenhouses, heaters, see if any plant material needs watering, do some paperwork, feed Pickle, and then go up to my folks' home for Christmas dinner. Just what I did on December 25th for the past several years.
An Engineer's Perspective
I. There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in
the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim,
Hindu, Jewish, Jehovah's Witnesses, or Buddhist religions, this
reduces the workload for Christmas night to 15% of the total, or 378
million (according to the Population Reference Bureau). At an
average (census) rate of 3.5 children per house hold, that comes to
108 million homes, presuming that there is at least one good child
II. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the
different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he
travels east to west (which seems logical). This works out to 67.7
visits per second. This is to say that for each Christian household
with a good child, Santa has around 1/1000th of a second to park
the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings,
distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever
snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into
the sleigh and get on to the next house. (That's really why it's
pointless to stay up and watch for him...) assuming that each of
these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth
(which, of course, we know to be false, but will accept for the
purposes of our calculations), we are now talking about 0.78 miles
per household; a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting
bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at
650 miles per second --- 3,000 times the speed of sound. For
purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle, the Ulysses
space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a
conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.
III. The payload of the sleigh adds another interesting element.
assuming that each child has nothing more than a medium sized Lego
set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying over 500 thousand tons,
not counting Santa himself. On land, a conventional reindeer can
pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that the "flying"
reindeer could pull ten times the normal amount, the job can't be
done with eight or even nine of them --- Santa would need 360,000
of them. This increases the payload, not counting the weight of
the sleigh, another 54,000 tons, or roughly seven times the weight
of the Queen Elizabeth (the ship, not the monarch).
IV. 600,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous
air resistance --- this would heat up the reindeer in the same
fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The
lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of
energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames
almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and
creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer
team would be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or
right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of
accelerating from a dead stop to 650 mps in .001 seconds, would be
subjected to centrifugal forces of 17,500 G's. A 250 pound Santa
(which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the
sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones
and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo.
V. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.
It's amazing how things have changed since I got divorced. I'm now a hermit at home with my Pentium and lightening-fast, cable modem. Well, it could be worse: I could have a 14.4 dial-up connection and be on that shit service, AOL.
Another Wasted Year.
Slick Willie The Bubba's done it to the Nation again: another wasted year — that makes five now; no surprise to most — and accomplished very close to nothing. What a slimy putz. I still haven't met anyone who'll admit to my face, that s/he voted for Clinton(s). But Clinton did do what he's best at; unfortunately, it's not the role as president.
Lying Clinton Scum.
One by one, the lies, deceit and deceptions are coming out; all it takes it time and eventually that process occurs. This time, a federal judge caught their sorry story after the fact, and the sanctions he's imposed are costing taxpayers, in the form of fines, for the lowlife Clintons.
It's not as though the Clinton filth haven't lied their asses off in the past: virtually everything Slick Willie The Bubba and his slut, co-president, Hitlery have ever said contains all kinds of evil lies. So what's new here?
Stonewalling to protect and cover-up is always worse than the original lie. Somehow, the Clinton liberals haven't figured this out. They continue the evil policy to this day. And we have three more years of the Clinton moron(s) to deal with. Only money counts with this kind of so-called politician. Moral and ideals have been discarded long ago, just the way babies are in NYC now.
Hopefully, this judge will be honest and issue contempt and obstruction of justice charges against these liberal democrats; perhaps prison time will correct their character flaws. The first judge was a crook, too. The Clintons richly deserve a taste of prison, disgrace and the national status of a pair of pariahs. Unfortunately, there are just too many people who either don't care anymore or who are filthy liberals, for this nation to regain some semblance of moral high ground. The first judge was a crook. Like we really ever had any to start with. Sure we did; in the grade school textbooks. In the real world, it's very different.
Even other liberal scum in Slick Willie's own party are stating that there are no moral values left in the Democratic Party, although they then deny it. Coming from the shit-eating, lying, liberal weasel Gephart, the Nation is again getting used to it.
This Was Food?
No, this was bland. What the hell were we thinking when we cooked and ate this stuff? See if it brings back any memories for you. Excuse me, uhh, I think I'm gonna be ill. Be right back.
Happy New Year.
All this pathetic talk of being politically correct in everything we say and do has its insidious roots in liberal conspiracies to make people to unsure of themselves without consulting a liberal scumbag. Then, they own you, as they do all the minorities and welfare people who don't even know when to do what without asking someone else. Sad, but true.
Fortunately, I've never had and will never have that problem. Simply say what you mean, and screw that politically correct shit.
Drive safely, don't drink and drive, and see you next year.