Occupy MY Street

OK. I have tried to read both sides of the OWS. To a certain extent, I appreciate the fact that OWS does NOT have demands, or leaders, or anything resembling a real protest. Wait, I mean a real desire to leave until change is effected.

But some of the crap I’ve seen? The YouTube videos with the OWS folks asking for someone to pay their tuition? Demanding a good-paying job with benefits? Saying that jobs are a RIGHT?

I have worked my entire adult life – I got no help whatsoever, except from corporations who were willing to hire me, train me, allow me to succeed or fail on my own merits, and rewarding me commensurately.

Some corporations I have worked for have been abysmal at managing their people – one of them was a really big bank. Others have been outstanding at leadership and inspiring to work for and with – the bank I am with now comes to mind. But do these companies owe me anything? Not at all. I contract to work for them, as long as I am able, to do the job as best as I can, and to provide as much value to the company as I possibly can. In return, I am compensated. I have no complaint with my compensation.

But I am in the 99%. I pay my share of taxes. All said and done, I think my total tax burden (after deductions and everything) is between 35% and 40%. That means I keep 60+ cents on the dollar for every dollar I earn.

And with the recent economy, I am falling behind. I get that. But I still need to get up every day and give my all with my company so that together we can succeed.

I put myself through college – I mostly paid my own tuition while working full time. My company paid for part of it, and for that, I am very grateful.

So what does OWS want? It’s not completely clear. Do they want to change the banking system? I guess so. When banks were FORCED to lend money to people for mortgages they could never repay, the banks had to find ways to protect themselves. This is now a crime, apparently. Agreed – banks created derivatives that they then used to bet against the mortgage debt and win. But really: if you force someone to do something, but allow them to escape, they are going to escape, right?

Also, once I Googled images for OWS, I noticed early on they put the hot chicks up front, for once. At least they learned that image matters. Most left-leaning protest have the ugliest women (and men) I have ever seen.

But again, what is it they want? If you know, leave me a comment.

Peace and protest-signs – Chester

Khaddafi is dead

“Sic Semper Tyrannis”.

This is what John Wilkes Booth is supposed to have yelled when he leaped from the balcony at Ford’s Theater after shooting President Lincoln in the head. Thus ever to tyrants, in Latin.

While I appreciate that Libya deposed their dictator (and Khaddafi WAS a bad man), they might have liked a trial for him. Like Saddam Hussein. But maybe this is better – at least he is gone and cannot affect their lives any longer.

Of all the dictators in history, how many get statues built of them, and how many die in the streets, fleeing their own people? It just doesn’t seem like a job with a future, unless your name is Castro or Kim. But their days are coming…

Have you ever wanted to be a dictator of a country or the whole world? If so, how would you govern? Leave a comment – I’d like to hear from you.

Back on the blog….at least for a while

“Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been? It’s alright we know where you’ve been.
You’ve been in the pipeline, filling in time,
provided with toys and Scouting for Boys.
You bought a guitar to punish your ma,
And you didn’t like school, and you know you’re nobody’s fool,
So welcome to the machine.”

Mrs. Chester has been really sick, and anyone who knows me personally knows what that means. Oh I’ve been filling in time – I know every single crack and line on the road from here to West Chester. I could drive that road backwards, in my sleep without a mirror, and still arrive in one piece.

It’s no one’s fault. Nobody WANTS to get a serious illness. It just happens, sometimes. Not genetic. Not lifestyle. Not living over a toxic waste site. It just happens. So you deal with it.

Welcome to the machine.

No More Tin Grin

Finally got the braces off. Boy, do my teeth appreciate that! I still have to wear a retainer at night, and I have a permanent one put in my lower teeth, but it’s way better than those brackets and wires.

After nearly 50 years of crooked teeth, I finally have straight ones. I don’t mind smiling for pictures now. And a big shout out goes to my orthodontist, Smedley Orthodontics of West Chester, Downingtown and Coatesville. This ortho practice was the one of the most efficient, friendliest and easiest places to work with I have ever experienced. They were great from the first visit, always checking to make sure things were going well, giving me updates on the progress. Dr. Larry and Dr. Chris were really outstanding, and their staff of technicians were also really gentle (well, as gentle as they could be) and fun to work with.

“We have some planes…” No. “Let’s roll.” I like that better.

Sunday is September 11, 2011. The ten-year anniversary of  9/11.

My prayers go out to all the surviving family members,  friends, colleagues and associates of the 9/11 citizens who were viciously killed that day. A special prayer of thanksgiving goes to the families of  passengers of Flight 93. These passengers are the people who took the first steps in fighting back extremism.

An equally heartfelt prayer of thanks goes out to the families of the first responders who willingly gave their lives so that many others would live.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 was a beautiful cloudless early Fall day. I went to work at one of the “big four” banks at an office near Wilmington, DE. A co-worker and I had made plans to go up to Philadelphia after work that day, to have some drinks with our former colleagues at a Center City brokerage firm.

I got an email from my co-worker – “a plane hit the World Trade Center”. I immediately thought “Piper Cub. Some amateur pilot got completely off-course, or had a heart attack. Boy, I hope nobody else got seriously hurt.” Then another email – “No, it was a jumbo jet. A big passenger jet.”

Hmm. That didn’t make any sense. No one can fly a jet that big anywhere NEAR lower Manhattan, or even over the city – it’s restricted air space. We walked out to the hallway where there were TV monitors so you could catch the news while getting a cup of coffee. On the news, the TV was showing the World Trade Center burning, but BOTH towers were on fire. Then we heard a second plane had hit the South Tower. Then we heard a plane had crashed into the Pentagon. Then we heard another plane had crashed in Pennsylvania, a few hours west of us.

That’s when it began to dawn on all of us that we weren’t going to Philadelphia that day.

We were sent home, and my wife and I were glued to CNN the rest of the day. It was hard to watch, of course. My wife is from New York, and my youngest daughter was born there. My wife’s family was still there, and her brother worked in Manhattan at the time. My family is mostly from Washington, DC, and my mother worked in various places around the city. So we were very concerned about them.

The kids were let out of school at the regular time, and I walked across the street to meet them. I told them that something bad had happened today, and my wife and I tried to explain the best we could to 12, 9 and six-year old kids what Islamic extremists were, and why someone would fly passenger jets into buildings.

I had an enormous American flag that a friend had given me many years earlier. This flag was silk, and at one time was one of the 50 flags that fly continuously around the base of the Washington Monument in DC. I hung that flag up in my picture window in my family room, and left it up until I could get a new flag to fly in the front of the house, with a light on it so it could fly 24 hours a day, rain or shine.

I remember that it was so quiet outside. We live 50 miles from Philadelphia, so westbound jets fly overheard, but they’re pretty high up once they get near us. For days afterward, of course, no planes were flying.

In October 2001, I attended a class in NYC for work. The class was held in Brooklyn, so one day after class I took the subway over to my old neighborhood. I used to work at 120 Broadway, almost directly across the street from the plaza at World Trade Center. I used to shop at Century 21 in the WTC mall. The city still smelled very much like dust and ash, one month later. I walked past St. Paul’s, and the number of Missing posters made me cry. The tributes and memorials were overwhelming. The really sad part was seeing the parking lots at the Long Island Railroad train stations – there were a few cars that had been parked there on September 11, and they hadn’t moved since. Still waiting for owners who would never return.

I hung up my American flag, and once I put the flag out front, I prayed for the troops in Afghanistan, and later Iraq. I promised myself I would not take the flag down until the last American troop has come home from Afghanistan and Iraq. Many flags later, it still flies 24/7, and I still pray for the troops and their families. All the old, faded flags are folded neatly into triangles, blue field of stars on the outside. Waiting, respectfully, for the last troop to come home. It’s my own personal 9/11 tribute, and I’ve never mentioned it to anyone before this post. I thought maybe the tenth anniversary might be a good time to talk about it.

I have shaken a lot of hands, and thanked many service members for their service. They are, without question, the next Greatest Generation. They stood up when we needed them, and they answered the call over and over again. We owe them.

I will try to get out to Shanksville this year. It’s only a few hours’ drive from here, and I really should go to see it. See where it all began, 10 years ago this Sunday.

America, let’s roll.

Sometimes, “Green” = “Idiocy”

Bike lane in Cardiff, Wales is 8 feet long, designed to encourage “green transport”.

Here’s a link to the article:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/7547129/Council-condemned-over-Britains-shortest-cycle-lane.html

The article mentions that the bike lane was installed for around $3300 dollars, is 8 feet long, and takes about 1 second for cyclist to traverse it. The article also says that the purpose of the bike lane to allow cyclists to turn safely against traffic at a busy intersection. Somehow the part about encouraging “green transport” crept into the article.

This is probably not the best example of green idiocy, but I found it amusing. It seems like the trend is to make something “green” in order to make it acceptable for the biomass of people who swallowed the whole “global warming” scam without question. Remember “global cooling”? That was only back in the ’70’s, folks, not THAT long ago.

I agree that the planet MAY be changing, and that man-made causes MAY have something to do it, but I don’t think we need to radically tax the living crap out of everyone and everything in order to “fight global warming”. Only to find out 20-30 years from now that global cooling was all wrong. I mean, global warming.

What does “Circle” mean?

Today, there was a car accident out on the main road near our house. The accident took out a utility pole, including downed wires. I do not know the state of the driver, but I sincerely hope he was not badly injured, or that he was treated quickly and successfully.

In any case, the accident caused the main road to be closed. PennDOT closed the road with a piece of red tape stretched across the road. Earlier in the day, a ROAD CLOSED sign was in front of the tape, but later the sign was removed. Cars approaching from the south had to turn onto the side road to leads to our cul-de-sac, a street with the name “Circle” posted on a street sign on the side road.

So what seemed like a nearly endless stream of cars came into our circle, turned around and went back out. I know they were trying to find a way around the block to get around the accident site and back to the main road. But seriously? If you see a street named “So And So Circle”, would you guess it is a through street?

Usually a street named “Something Court” and sometimes “Something Terrace” are not through streets. But “Circle”? Pretty much guaranteed not to get you out.

So I went out to the side road, and put up a sawhorse with a hand-lettered “Detour” sign with an arrow on it, showing motorists the way down the side road so they could get around the block. This slowed down the traffic in the circle a little, but didn’t stop it all together.

I realize that when you are driving down the road and something unusual happens, it throws off your concentration a bit. But when did we become a people who just stopped thinking for ourselves? We learned in Kindergarten what a circle is – a hoop with no openings. Does “Something Circle” sound like a street that will get you around the block?