Friday, January 30, 2009

Jabba The Hut

The Star Wars movies have not been big with me, but I did enjoy the first one. I have seen snippets of the others and recall a scene that included Jabba The Hut. Whether he was human or not I don't remember, maybe he was like a character from the Star Wars Bar. At any rate, I remember him as disgustingly fat and ugly. The other day, a News Show played a clip of Rush Limbaugh in his studio. Wow, there was Jabba the Hut sitting there rapidly talking. There are pictures of Rush in magazines and he did not look like those pictures. They must airbrush pictures of him to look so smiley and thin. Other similar disappointments: Mario Lanza, Kathryn Grayson, James Coco, Bridget Bardot, Liz Taylor, Rosemary Clooney, Mickey Rooney and the actor that played the Godfather, just cannot remember his name right now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


The other day I passed by the Flemming Island High School and took notice of the student parking lot that can be seen from the road. It is a large lot and I was struck by the beautiful, shinny cars. Upon reflection, it came to me that this is a very affluent community. Most of the homes here have been built in the last ten years, there are two golf courses and an ever expanding shopping area. The cars in that lot, for the most part, were supplied by the parents of the students. My mind took me back to 1987 when I worked at Scott Brass in Mishawaka, Indiana. We had about 90 people working there on three shifts. One day, I toured the company parking lot and looked at the cars driven by our employees. It was most depressing because the vast majority of cars were only a grade above being moved to the junk yard. There was rust showing on all vehicles, a few had broken windows with cardboard taped in the window to keep out the rain. Many had dents, some being severely damaged. Tires were not in good shape, some bald. The company had jumper cables for employee use in case their car did not start. (The reason for my tour of the lot.) Mishawaka and South Bend had lost much of their major industries in the late seventies and early eighties: Studebaker, Wheelabrator, Goodyear Rubber, Southbend Lathe and some others that I cannot remember. Very large factories were absolutely empty, windows broken and trash in their open spaces. Most skilled workers left for other employment. The community suffered. The contrast between the High School lot and the Scott Brass lot has me searching for a lesson, but none comes to mind. Is Detroit destined to deteriorate to that state? Some may say that it already has, but Ford, GM and Chrysler still have a presence there. Their offices have not closed and the offices still have an opulent appearance. The Detroit problem is a national problem.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Being There

After my classes, I came home to watch the Inauguration. It pleased me that I was warm while watching, and I felt sorry for the discomfort for those that were there. Age has overtaken my desire to "be there." I am not sure that "being there" was ever a big thing in my life. The magic of television allows me to be very close to the ceremony, to hear distinctly what is being said, to be free of distractions like conversations of other people, or being crowd jostled, or fatigued from standing. The driving traffic, parking problems and long walk to the venue are happily avoided as I sit at home with a seat that is better than any $150 seat. While watching, I ate my lunch: grapes, a handful of cashews, water and a half of a sausage and egg McMuffin (left over from breakfast.) The sandwich lost its warmth and I put it in the Microwave for ten seconds. I like the temperature to be just right. I pitied the people on the Mall that they would not enjoy a temperature controlled meal, or perhaps, no meal at all. I took time to go to the bathroom and the seat was warm, felt good. Were the porta-potties on the Mall heated? Did anybody have to wait in line? Being there is highly overrated.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


All statistical studies require data. Data is needed to determine if you are getting better or worse. Also, data must be organized in order to make some sense of it. Once you have data it can be examined, manipulated and studied in order to make use of it. For example: I had an employee who very often came to work late. In talking to him about it I realized that he had no idea how to correct his behavior. All he would say was, "I will try to do better." I convinced him to keep a daily log on the exact time he arrived at work. After two weeks we reviewed the log. The data showed that he seldom arrived early. When he did arrive early it was only a few minutes early. The lates ranged from one minute to fifteen minutes. He was shown that using the start-time as a target he was incapable of getting to work on time all the time. By looking at the data, I asked him to tell me what his target should be. He was a bright person and he answered that it should be ten minutes before the actual start-time. He improved right away after that, not perfect, but improved. The other day, after one of my classes, a lady complained to me that when she lost weight it would not be too long before she would gain it back. She wanted to know what she could do about it. (Opra is having the same trouble.) I asked her to show me her record of the losing and the gaining. Of course, as I knew, she had none. I have asked her to keep a daily log on her morning weight, taking it only after urination. In this way, I will be able to see the swings of high and low, and how long the swings last. Without data I can only guess what the height of the swings are, or what the durations are. From her memory I can only get what she thinks or feels they are. Once she is able to present the data to me I will endeavor to help her.

Friday, January 02, 2009

The Carter Presidential Library

Karen, Sean and Ryan visited Atlanta last week, I decided to take them to the Carter Presidential Library. On the way, I mentioned that the Library did not tell the whole truth about the Carter presidency, but did not elaborate. This is the only Presidential Library I have visited and I would like one day to see the Reagen Presidential Library. We learned that presidential libraries started with President Cleveland, so no libraries exist for presidents before him. I have no desire to see other president's libraries though the Clinton library might be interesting just to see (as Rush Limbaugh has stated) if it is a Presidential Library and Massage Parlor. The books and records are not available to the public to peruse, they are separated from the portion that can be toured. Books and records are available to scholars and others by applying for admittance in writing. Even if allowed I would not have any idea of what to look at. The viewing public has much to see as it is, we spent about two hours roaming around the various exhibits. Sean stated his interest was peaked by the grade school and high school report cards of various presidents. He was surprised that some of them had such poor grades. This exhibit also showed many pictures of them on athletic teams. Ford, Reagen and Eisenhower played football, Carter, Nixon and Bush Sr. played baseball. Some of them also played basketball. I saw no reference to his, "there is a malaise in the land speech" or, "I lusted after her in my heart" comment in his Playboy interview. No mention of his serving on voting commissions to insure honest voting. There was much on the fact that he brought Begin and Sadat together to agree to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. At the time it was heralded as the greatest coop that any peace loving president had ever done. It was supposed to bring an end to Middle East violence. We see today how well that did. Before we left, a visit to the bathroom was in order. Carter, the environmentalist, has agreed to the use of urinals of the future, which are waterless. We all saw and used these urinals of the future and I am here to report to you that the future stinks. Upon entering the men's bathroom, there is a severely unpleasant odor of old urine. Just above each urinal was posted the story about how the urinal "works". The three of us were not impressed. I understand the environmentalists have almost perfected a waterless commode. As evidence that our society is going backwards, Africa already has waterless commodes.