Down with work

 Posted by at 18:09  Uncategorized
Jul 292014
 
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“I do not like work, even when someone else does it.” Mark Twain

work‘Work’  I struggle with with the word. It’s supposed to be something to respect and admire. You work to earn your daily bread and pay the bills. I’m OK with taking responsibility for myself and doing what it takes to earn that paycheck, Where I have trouble is liking that activity. If they have to pay me to be there, what makes anyone think I should like working? Society wants it all to be simple. Work is proper and satisfying. Work is what you do most of the time so you can play some of the time. The problem is that it is still work and most of the time is a lot of time. Then I retired and life got more complicated.

At first it was a relief not to have to drive 25 miles to sit in a place with uninteresting people and pretend to believe that the projects I was assigned were important. It was fantastic to wake up each day knowing that I did not have to go anywhere or do anything but that didn’t last. It seems that somewhere along the line, I started to believe that my value was defined by what I was hired to do. If I wasn’t being paid, did that mean that I was worth nothing? It was troubling. Continue reading »

Jul 072014
 
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Originally posted 2010-11-08 06:54:42. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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Folks who know me know that I am a very retro type guy.  My tastes run retro in music, in politics, in lifestyle…in almost every aspect of my life.

I love to cook…and don’t own…or want…a microwave oven, even to boil water or melt butter for a recipe or to reheat leftovers.

I love to fish, but I’d rather do it with a cane pole or cheap spinning rod/reel combo from a creekbank or the banks of a farm pond than with a lot of high tech fishing equipment from a 60 MPH bass boat.  Folks sometimes think I’m so retro that the term “luddite” is a fitting description for me, but I’d like to dispel that notion and tell y’all that I’m retro because I’m so dumb.

Yep…I’m dumb, and my retroness comes from that.

My overall retroness is an outward display of a desire for “the way things were” socially and an acknowledgement that I’m not smart enough to re-invent the wheel, instead looking to the past to find what has worked before and a desire to “fix things” by a return to those times.

A few examples would be:

Today’s youth’s disrespect for rules and authority.

When I was a kid if I screwed up 2 blocks down the street from my house while out playing, the neighbor (stay at home) mom gave me a swat on the ass and sent me home, where my mom’s reaction was to send me to my room until my father got home when my butt got rally blistered.  Now, the neighbor mom isn’t home, and if she were and even looked crosseyed at Little Johnny his parents lawyer up.

The other side…authority…has done it’s share to cause it’s own downfall too.  When I was a kid my parents taught me to “look for the cop on the corner when you have a problem.  He is your friend.”

No more.  Law enforcement has become, in large part, jackbooted Gestapo-like thugs.  If two kids hav a schoolyard fight, rather than being sent home with a note for the parents the kids leave school handcuffd in the back of a police car.  Hey…authorities…listen up!  Every rule infraction doesn’t require criminal charges!

In the 50’s and 60’s the family unit included a father and a mother.

Single family households were rare.  Also in the 50’s and 60’s dropout rates were much lower, drug useage was not as bad, teen pregnancy was an anomaly rather than something normal…

…can you imagine an out-of-wedlock birth in the 50’s being cause for celebration, complete with baby shower and proud grandparents?

So…I’m retro…because I’m too dumb to come up with new ideas to fix societies ills…but I see solutions in the past.  I’m a big believer in “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.  I’d kinda like to return to societal mores that weren’t broke.

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Down with Neglect!

 Posted by at 18:17  Down with
Jul 072014
 
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Originally posted 2010-12-03 10:46:09. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

SONOMA, CA - NOVEMBER 24:  With less than one ...
Image by Getty Images via @daylife

It is easy to sit here and come up with little things to complain about.  But that is not Cantankerous, that is just crabby.  Some days it is hard to find the Cantankerous side of things, especially with a holiday like Christmas staring us in the face.

I recently moved my desk to the other side of my living room in preparation for Christmas decorating.  we have to find a place for the tree.  This move was good though, because now I have a window to stare out of.  I try to justify it to myself as creative thinking when I am staring out the window but I am convinced that most of it is wasting time.

I keep thinking of what I could write about for this site based on what I see out of my window.  I could complain about all fo the leaves that have fallen on my lawn, or the wind that blew them around, or even the rain that will make them harder to rake up, or even the snow that now covers them.

I could complain about the snow plow that keep filling up my driveway approach with snow that I get to shovel out again and again.  Or I could complain more about the TSA, airports in general, or the fact that egg prices have gone up almost double since last month.  Again, mostly not Cantankerous.

Here is what I can wax cantankerous about.  People who don’t do whatever it takes for their kids.  I have seen way too many kids at the elementary school who are outside in the cold wearing 2-3 tshirts or a parents flannel shirt.  It has been running at less than 30 degrees in Salt Lake for a couple of weeks now, this week is the warmest and will barely be in the 40′s.  Now I understand that some people just can’t afford to buy new coats all of the time for their kids.

I get it, times are hard.  But, there are 2 goodwill stores, one Salvation Army and one Deseret Industries within 2 miles of the school.  Coats can be had for cheap at either of these places.  Sometimes even that is too much for people, yet a good portion of the time, these people have a perpetual cigarette in their mouths.  I can’t imagine letting my kids go without anything that they need.  I don’t buy myself stuff most of the time because A-I don’t need it and B- I can use the money for my kids.

2 years ago my daughter had her coat disappear at school.  A few days later we saw another little girl with the coat on, and she was one that needed it.  We never pursued the fact that it was stolen, my daughter had another coat anyway and we figured that this girl needed it worse.  But what are some people doing when they let their kids resort to stealing from other kids just so they can be warm?

This post has gone from a rant to a sad commentary on society.  I don’t know the answer to this problem.  We can donate to all sorts of charities and some people get the help they need but there are others who are not quite poor enough to qualify for some programs but not rich enough to keep their growing kids in clothes that need help too.  Go out and see what you can do in your community to help those who need just a little bit. And it doesn’t need to be coats, some climes do not require them.  I am sure if you looked you could find something that needed to be done.

Consider that your homework for the week, do something for your community.  See we here at the Coots do believe that it is a good thing to help out your fellow man.  We just don’t believe in letting people suck us dry taking advantage of us.  Get ready for the Christmas season, no matter your religion, there are people out there who need you and your support.

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Googlephobic

 Posted by at 18:17  rants, Reflections
Jul 072014
 
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Originally posted 2013-02-11 04:00:17. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

The Cantankerous Old Coots evolve.

Al Gore

Cover of Al Gore

Expose three ordinary guys to the internet and you don’t know what might happen.  They might just reject it outright as an irrelevant and irresponsible time waster.  Then again, they might just decide that it is a way out of a drab and mundane existence- a path from ordinary to extraordinary.  Well what I see looking back over our journey is chaos and confusion.  There is no path through the web, just a tangle of conflicting threads.  What seemed simple in the beginning has become a maze- a sideshow carnival with a multitude of barkers hawking miracle cures, not to mention fame and fortune if you take their ride.  We are as susceptible as the next guy and each of us has been down a few rabbit holes since embracing the internet.  We certainly haven’t reached the pot of gold yet and each time we attempt to retrace our steps from the last dead end we find ourselves in yet another strange new world full of promise and impending doom but we persist.  Today as I appraise the landscape and the state of the Cantankerous Old Coot, I find that Justin is Twitterpated, Bob is a Facebook Fool and I am in a Googlephobic funk.  How’s that for diversification?

Understanding my own mind is a serious enough challenge.  I don’t have a clue what, if anything, is going on upstairs for Justin and Bob.  For me the boundless opportunities of the web are beginning to look like a mirage.  The freedom of opportunity and access which seemed to mean that the best man would win is starting to look like a con job.  It’s like this.

It seemed so simple!

When we started Cantankerous Old Coots back in the dark ages of the internet, we were innocent babes.  The internet was a simple place- at least so we believed.  Somebody (I personally never believed Al Gore) created the place and out of the goodness of their hearts they let common folk like us publish whatever we wanted.  What could be better?   Some folks got the knack of it right away and became so popular that they were considered authorities, developed a big following and after a while started making money with their blogs.

Content is king

The secret, as the story went back then, was all in creating ‘killer’ content.  The details about how that ‘killer’ content actually found readers was even less clear than the definition of ‘killer’ content.  It was always my belief that ‘killer’ content was what I turned out.  I thought that ‘killer’ content meant good writing (like you used to learn in school), logical construction and original insights.  I thought that web publishing was like old fashioned publishing- quality ultimately wins.  I’m a pig headed cuss unimpressed by signals to the contrary.  The fact that my ‘killer’ content was not finding an audience sailed right over my head.  To my mind, I needed more time and more exposure.

As I said before we were naive in those days. We thought that Google was a search engine- something to help us find information on the web.  It never crossed our minds that a dumb search engine could possibly have anything to do with defining ‘killer’ content.   I remember wondering to myself how Google made any money because I never paid them anything.

It took several years before I began to understand.  First I noticed that there were ads on Google but I have to confess that for years I couldn’t tell an ad from a search result.  As a result, I must have clicked on the ads before moving down the page to the search results.  I no doubt bought some products, innocently unaware that Google received money for that placement.  Who knows how many second rate products I bought just because Google shoved them in my face by displacing the ‘killer’ content sites recovered in the search.

Ultimately I found out about the ads and became more sophisticated in using Google to find information.  I became more suspicious about the prominently placed ads and no longer assumed that they were high quality.  But I still had a long way to go because I didn’t yet understand the definition of ‘killer’ content.

That came later.

I should have caught on when I learned about SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  If you aren’t getting the attention you want, I was told, it’s because you aren’t writing for the Search Engines.    “Duh,” I thought, “Of course.”

I began checking for keywords.  Was I using the right keywords?  Was I using them enough times? Did I need ‘long-tail’ keywords or were regular ones good enough.  Did I have back links?  Was I ‘black hat’ or ‘white hat’?  It was so strange, complicated and magical that I never stopped to think about what this all meant.  It never occurred to me that search engines can’t comprehend grammar or syntax.  They have no way to evaluate good writing.  The truth is that ‘killer’ content on the web has nothing to do with literature, good writing or even communication.  ‘Killer’ content is simply whatever Google says it is and Google isn’t a person.  Google is a computer program.

So, it turns out that ‘killer’ content (and success on the web) is determined by a computer algorithm not by real human beings.  Google makes money the old fashioned way that the government has mastered- regulation.  You never see Google charge you for anything if you are a normal person.  You just enjoy all the free services and never see the real cost.

Google’s legacy.

The legacy of the Google dominated internet today is the death of literacy.  Nobody reads newspapers anymore.  Nobody has the patience or time to actually read a carefully crafted news story when they can get a titillating headline while they check Facebook or a snarky comment on Twitter.  Magazines used to publish creative writing.  Ordinary people used to read literature, savor beautifully constructed prose and emulate what they discovered in their speech.  These days ‘Killer’ content has nothing to do with beautiful writing.  ‘Killer’ content means nothing more than using enough keywords and in the proper number.

No wonder Justin worships Twitter and Bob sucks up to Facebook.  Why waste your time crafting deathless prose when Google- the overlord of the internet- deems it irrelevant.

This leaves me in a quandary. Now that I see the truth how to I proceed with my life?  Do I accept reality and embrace Google’s new order or take a stand on principle and tilt at windmills?  Maybe I should Google it.

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Jul 072014
 
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Originally posted 2012-09-24 18:32:20. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

President Obama enjoyed telling us that we “…didn’t build that!” Despite that, I think it only fair that we give credit where credit is due. That means that when Obama does something…when he builds something…we ought to give him credit for

English: Photograph of Iman Crosson holding ne...

whatever it is he built.

In today’s video I am more than happy to give him credit…full credit…for his construction skills. Let’s take a look at just what Obama HAS Continue reading »

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