April 15th, 2013 by Richard
Nobody likes paying taxes. Let’s just get that out of the way really fast.
No one likes it. Period.
However much we grit our teeth, mumble under our breath or whine and complain, though, we gotta do it. What’s more, I’m thinking we might actually want to try and feel a bit better about the whole thing.
I know a lot of dudes have difficulties with paying taxes because of all the fun stuff certain people in government like to bring up to rally their base. They like to bring up what they consider to be wasteful spending. Then make fun of it. They like to talk about all the pork in every budget and say it should all be cut. Then under their breaths, whisper something along the lines of, “Well, except for mine because that’s not pork that’s just good sense.”
So, yeah. There are problems. There is waste in the budget, but I’d argue that the good far outweighs the bad.
Our taxes don’t only go to fund (insert your idea of a wasteful project here [but, again, I'd probably argue with you about it because it might actually be of benefit, just not an obvious benefit]), but also go to fund things we all need and use.
Taxes go to fund police and fire and ambulance. They go to fund schools, which try their best to educate our children so they will become productive, happy members of society. They go to fund building inspectors, so that great new house you just moved in to doesn’t fall down around your ears.
Taxes go to fund infrastructure repair and improvement. Though I’d argue that not enough goes to fund that sort of thing. The sorry, scary state of our nation’s bridges alone are enough to give any dude nightmares and make us think twice about crossing most bridges. In addition, taxes go toward funding our national defense. We have a volunteer armed force, so we’ve got to pay these people. We don’t just force them into the army or air force and then expect them to serve free.
We also can be thankful that our taxes go toward helping out many of those in our society who need our help, who were failed by our school system and didn’t get the education they need to successfully compete in today’s job market. And, yes, for Medicare, Medicaid and our country’s latest foray into medical care, Obamacare. Which I think is working out just swell.
So, yeah. Taxes are a pain in the butt and, yeah, I’d certainly rather not pay them. But I understand that, no matter how much I dislike them, and no matter how much I dislike some of the things our money is spent on, I realize that taxes are necessary if we are to remain a somewhat fully functioning democracy.
Have fun, today.
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, Wasteful Project
April 12th, 2013 by Richard
I’m very sad today, dudes. Horribly sad. And it’s the fault of, well, I’m not really sure, actually. But it’s horribly appalling is what it is.
Newspapers are no longer a trusted source. At least they’re not, according to the stringent requirements of the fifth graders at Awesome Elementary School.
A little background probably is in order.
The fifth-graders in Ms. R’s class are, like the rest of the fifth graders, responsible for creating a study project. They need to research their topic, put together a nice package of all the relevant information they found, and then come up with an action plan based on that information. The action plan should be something to benefit the community, in some way that relates to the research topic.
Being that these are kids who barely have reached the double digits in age, they’re not the most savvy in the world. Okay, they’re barely able to think their way out of a paper bag, but that’s most fifth graders everywhere. Our dudes and dudettes aren’t unique that way.
Anyway, before we let them loose on the wild and wooly world of the infosphere, we had to give them a little bit of a precis on their own on where they should look for reliable information and where they shouldn’t.
Wikipedia, of course, topped the list of the DO NOT USE section of that lecture. Because, Ms. R said, “Anyone can go in there and write down anything!”
It’s a somewhat jaundiced view of Wikipedia and not really very nuanced in that I think it’s a great resource as long as you don’t take things at face value and start to actually follow up on the research suggested in the article. To me, this makes it a great place to start.
Apparently, that’s not a good thing to say to a bunch of fifth graders. Hence, the NO-WIKIPEDIA stance. That I can understand. I don’t really believe it, but I understand it.
It’s these next two that drove me absolutely bat-guano crazy.
On the trusted list was books. Just books. It seems that, according to the high muckety mucks who create these lists in the upper stratosphere of Awesome Elementary School administration, if you’ve got a printed book, it’s pretty much infallible. Which I, as a writer who has actually published a book but would be aghast if someone used it as a reference book, find a little hard to take.
Anyone can print a book and get it out there. All it takes is money, not truth, not solid, peer-reviewed research. Only money. And yet, because these administrators come from an older generation when print was venerated, they’re steering these kids right the wrong way.
Which leads us to the bit that almost made me scream when it was shown.
Newspapers were on the DO NOT USE list because of — hold on while I try not to scream this last bit — bias. Yes, bias. From an institution that is famous for trying to hard to be fair that it will let politicians knowingly tell lies and never call them on it.
I blame a few certain television news organizations for this one. A deep-set distrust of news organizations has set in so deeply in our culture that even our elementary school teachers and students no longer trust what used to be considered the bastion of impartiality and trustworthiness.
What has this world come to?
I have so much more to rant about on this topic, but I’m going to have to stop here. It’s late (for me) and I’ve still got other work to which I must attend before I hit they hay. Miles to go before I sleep, if you will.
Maybe. It’s possible I could calm down in the interim. Possible.
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February 19th, 2013 by Richard
On my way to work at Awesome Elementary School the other day, I started yelling at the radio. Okay, sure, not that unusual, but this was because of a commercial.
It was a commercial for some sort of remote-desktop software that lets you see and manipulate files on your work computer even when you’re not on site. I’m not going to put the name of the company here because I don’t want to give it any sort of pub.
The gist of the commercial went along the lines of “why drag yourself in to the office when you’re sick when you can work from home with . . . (insert name of silly company here.)”
This is what we’ve come to?
When you’re sick, when you should be concentrating on getting better by getting rest and possibly some extra sleep. . . we’re supposed to feel guilty about not being at work?
I know the economy is horrible and it’s a hiring market out there, but this is getting ridiculous. We’re expected to have smartphones on and with us at all times so we can check on work e-mail as soon as it’s necessary. We have to be in contact at all times. It’s almost like we’re a nation of doctors, all on call every night, waiting for something of importance to be delivered. And when it is, we’re supposed to act on it at once.
The American worker has the fewest paid vacation days in the entire Western world. The fewest. And there actually are people who see that as a serious plus to our industrial/service organizations. I consider it a horrible minus. Study after study has shown that a relaxed worker is a better worker, someone who will do more creative work than the dulled-by-endless-days-of-drudgery worker.
And yet we still limit people to, if they’re lucky, two weeks of vacation out of the entire year. Two weeks. A mere 10 days out of 365, not even 3% of the year.
Still, it’s not enough. Now we’ve got a company that wants to guilt us into working from home when we’re sick. When we’re sick, and this company actually has the gall to make it sound like working from home when you’re sick is something you should be proud to be doing.
Dudes, just be sick. Focus on getting better. Really.
Take it from me, when the revolution comes, that company will be the first up against the wall.
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Tags: A Dude's Guide to Life
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