Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sounds Good On Paper, But...

Today, I was Stumbling around when I came across the New York Times article titled "Average is Over". It does make an interesting point about how, when your labor pool is global, any given labor resource needs to have something that makes them a more desirable source of labor than any other given worker.

I think what the author fails to factor in with this race to the bottom for labor is, "who are you producing for if most people have no worthwhile jobs, and therefore no money, to be able to afford those low labor-cost products?" I mean, it's great that you've got nearly a billion Chinese to produce low-priced goods for consumers throughout the globe, but who's gonna employ that cheap labor when the people elsewhere in the world can no longer afford those goods? Eventually, while chasing the cheapest labor, you reach a point where no labor is cheap enough. Then you have lots of idle people out there who can't afford, not only those cheaply-produced goods, but things like entertainment, healthcare and food. It's not a "sustainable" model.

And those idle people that can't afford anything - how do you think they're eventually going to react? What do people with nothing to lose - jobs, ready ability to purchase food and healthcare, etc. - do with all the free time you've given them? If they don't end up dying from their lack of access to food, healthcare, etc., they end up pissed off with a feeling of having nothing to lose. Shortly afterwards, even if your economies haven't failed due to there being no one capable of buying things, your societies fall apart from all of the crime and violence caused by the people with nothing to lose and everything to gain by forcing a change in the new status quo.

Interesting times ahead, folks. It's either gonna get extremely ugly or there's gonna be a sea-change in how the global economy works. Then again, outside factors (such a a global pandemic) might remove this excess and under-utilized global population. 

Clock's ticking. Hopefully, the bell goes off after I'm not around to care about it.

This Is Gonna Be Epic

I'm still really looking forward to this:

However, I fear that it may not get any screenings in the US (or, if it does, none near enough to me).

They are taking orders for a BluRay box-set on their web site. However, at €300 (just south of $400 at today's exchange-rate)  - plus shipping from Europe! - that's a lot of cheddar to drop on something you've never seen. It's an especially big gamble when the best you can hope for is that it's going to be some kind of awesome, cult-worthy  cheese-fest.

Oh well... I wait with bated breath (and, in case you weren't sure, that is the correct spelling of the term: we're not trying to catch fish, here). Hopefully NetFlix or some online streaming service will pick it up (or they offer a more realistically priced BluRay or download option).

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Geico Goes to the All Star Game

So, my boy, Scotty Hartnell (formerly known as "bird-dog", frequently referred to as "Captain Gravity", and now widely known for the #hartnelldown hash-tag on Twitter) squeaked into the All Star Game. Don't get me wrong: I'm really happy for him. He's one of the players that actually seems to really want to be there rather than giving you the impression that the All Star Game is on a par to jury-duty. That said, in an event that's all about the NHL's pretty players and scorers, what's he gonna do there? Do they have an "agitation" or "crashing the net" skills competition?

Any way, congrats, Scott. Know that my wife has a crush on you and is really happy for you. If you're ever in the DC area, don't let her buy you a drink: I can't guarantee that she won't have roofied it so as to have her evil ways with you.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

"The Blair Moon Project"

Watching "Apollo 18" is kind of like watching "The Blair Moon Project". Hopefully, this will be the last "documentary-style", "shaky-cam" movie I ever subject myself to. Really? The moon rocks are alive and look like some kind of space-crabs?

They tried way too hard with this one and it suuuuuuucked!

I've seen worse movies - hell, I have NetFlix, after all - but this was just really sucktacular. Sadly, it's not so sucktacular that you just shut it off and be done with it. No, you sit there hoping it gets better, but it never really quite does.

More Than Joe

I wonder what will have the greater impact on PSU-giving: Joe's death or the actions of the BoT?

I mean, the actions of the PSU Board of Trustees throughout the entire Sandusky affair has been, to be charitable, "shitty". Unlike Paterno, who had the decency to publicly express that he wished he'd done more, I've not heard anything approaching such a sentiment from the BoT. All I've seen is piss-poor attmpts at "damage control". If anyone's done more to damage PSU than Sandusky, it's been the BoT and their shabby actions after the whole thing became public.

That said, I'm a second-generation Penn Stater. JoePa, as the face of the University, was a link between my father and myself. My father's dead, now. With Joe's passing, a link to my father has also disappeared.

My giving patterns that may have been positively impacted by that link, no longer are. All I have left are my own memories of PSU and the image of PSU. Unfortunately, those images of PSU are greatly impacted by the atrocious handling of things by the Board of Trustees. They show an institution that's headed by a group of characterless, soulless old men without a shred of decency or honor. That's not much to make me want to give.

Remembering JoePa

I grew up in a Penn State household. My dad went to Penn State. His older brother went to Penn State. I grew up with Penn State football on the TV every weekend. I was brought up with the lore of Joe Paterno. It was pretty much a fait acompli that I was gonna end up going to Penn State when my time for college came (and I did).

I never knew Joe Paterno, only what his football program stood for and what the associated University also (supposedly) stood for.

During my sophomore year at Penn State, I worked as a cashier at the Giant off of North Atherton (in State College, PA). I was working the express line, that day, and JoePa came through my line. I remember two things from that:

  1. how he didn't look nearly as short, standing there in front of me, as he did on the sidelines surrounded by truly big football players. I've seen estimates in the 5'7" to 5'8" range. That said, I'm a fraction of an inch shy of 6'0" and I don't remember the man standing across the register from me being 4+ inches shorter than me.
  2. how "normal" he was in just interacting with me. Seemed like a genuinely nice and grounded guy.
So, yeah - didn't know the guy and that was my only real exposure to the guy. I just know that he had a tremendously large impact on a lot of people - not just his players - even if just indirectly.

And, for me, with the death of my father in 2009 now being followed by the death of Paterno, it's like one more link to my father has been severed.