So after numerous delays Southern Man finally gets his first appointment with the surgeon-recommended physical therapist to work on that ankle. But when Southern Man found out what it would cost ($200 per visit with insurance!) he decided that walking to distant geocaches would be both cheaper and more effective so he tackled one near the therapist called "Deer Trail" that was about a half-mile in to an undeveloped area.
One of the deer didn't make it.
So there will be no physical therapy this month, just lots of backwoods geocaching. Wait, isn't that how Southern Man broke his leg in the first place?
Winter just will not let go, with another cold weekend and two, count 'em, two snow days for the public schools. Alas, Southern Man's employer only took one of them.
On Friday Southern Man went to a concert of local musicians hosted by a friend (from whom Southern Man once took guitar lessons)...
They are terrible cell phone snaps but they will have to do.
Saturday was spent running errands and eating out (Southern Man ate out a lot this weekend) and Sunday was too cold for much of anything after church and lunch and laundry and Monday was a snow day!
Bright and clear and very, very cold...
But by mid-afternoon it had warmed up a bit and Southern Man set out on a geocaching trip to pick up a few more in a series commemorating the Monopoly game board. One was in this snow-covered tree.
This one is "Income Tax" and Southern Man got nearly to "Jail" before quitting for the day and heading back into town to eat, again.
So a fun if cold weekend. Next weekend is a Teen Daughter weekend but we're supposed to get one more wintery blast. Southern Man is ready for winter to be over!
This one claims to be able to predict your political outlook based on whether you prefer dogs to cats and your choice of web browser.
You may have to click on it to actually read the text.
So apparently Southern Man's only "liberal" qualities are a slight preference for cats over dogs, his use of a "modern" web browser, and his proclivity for fine art over crowds. But there's no arguing with the results.
This is a Teen Daughter weekend and it turned out to be fairly low key but much to Southern Man's surprise when he offered her the choice of a movie to see she selected RoboCop.
Southern Man had his doubts (the original was a favorite and he wasn't all that excited about a PG-13 remake of a hard-R film) but went with an open mind anyway. And indeed the new Robocop film has quite a bit going for it. There was considerable exploration of the impact on his wife and son, for example, so with her as the love interest "Lewis" was transformed into his male partner. They throw out a few lines from the old movie ("I wouldn't buy that for a dollar") and some interesting takes on RoboCop-1987 scenes to amuse us older fans. The principle antagonist was a criminal kingpin in league with crooked cops, rather than with the corporation. And there was even quite a bit of emphasis on Robocop's abilities and vulnerabilities ("You're tough, but not invulnerable") so Southern Man was hoping for action scenes with actual tactics.
He would be disappointed. Robocop's preferred strategy was (again) to blast his way into a crowd of bad guys, shrug off their (sometimes considerable) firepower, and shoot whatever he saw. At one point he even takes ED-209 fire right to the back - which according to earlier dialog should have perforated him like Swiss cheese - with little ill effect. But later RoboCop does manage to shoot off his own (robotic) hand. RoboCop, again, is as vulnerable (or invulnerable) as the plot demands.
The new and improved ED-209. However, no stairs were attempted in this film.
The PG-13 rating meant minimal blood and gore and "taser bullets" that incapacitated without killing and so on but we do get a startling look at RoboCop's remaining human innards.
Followed by the obligatory Iron Man-esque automatic suit assembly.
So Robocop 2014 gets a "meh" thumbs up but Southern Man may dig through the DVDs and watch the original one day soon.
Cribbed from the USS Gunston Hall Facebook page...
That's Southern Daughter on the far right.
Southern Man is very proud of her. Can you tell?
While Southern Man has been in computers for a long time he had never owned an Apple product of any kind - no Apple ][, no Mac, no iPod or iPhone (although he's purchased plenty of both as gifts for the Southern Children) until his former employer bought iPads for everyone.
And, yes, the Apple Kool-Aid is sweet indeed and Southern Man loved his iPad enough that he bought it from them when he left their employ.
That said, Southern Man is firmly convinced that the unholy abomination that is iTunes is of the Devil's Software Workshop.
But as Southern Man was "synching" the iPad the other day iTunes suggested that it install the latest and greatest version of IOS. Southern Man agreed. And when the update was finish the iPad's Wi-Fi was greyed out.
That is a bad thing as the iPad isn't much good without a 'net connection so Southern Man did a little Googling and found that, yes, IOS updates occasionally knock out the Wi-Fi and so even though it was years out of warranty Southern Man took the iPad to the Apple Store to see if they had a fix. And here is what the "genius" at the genius bar had to say:
Well, we do see this a lot. It's because when you update the operating system the iPad is under a lot of stress and that causes the Wi-Fi hardware to fail.
Yes, he really did say that.
So, the iPad is now a very pretty brick. Southern Man must now contemplate just what he should do with it.
The Lockheed SR-71 production floor. Date: unknown. Location: fourth moon of the planet Yavin.
There has been much wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth of late about "income inequity" or the idea that some people having more money than others is a Very Bad Thing. Southern Man will now explain why income inequity is inevitable and why you shouldn't worry about it and why it is actually a Good Thing.
Capitalism and free enterprise are the greatest engines of wealth that the world has ever seen. They are engines of wealth because they enable people to provide goods and services that other people want. And even in their highly regulated and overly taxed form here in the good old United States of America capitalism and free enterprise are the means by which anyone - anyone - can better their lot in life.
Case Study 1: Some dude named Wayne, the son of Oklahoma sharecroppers, thinks that people need places to store their stuff. He leases some land and puts up some sheds. He was right - people will gladly pay him for storage. He now has thousands of buildings and is worth millions of dollars. His thoughts? You can get money if you're smart or work hard. I'm not smart, but I worked hard. Full story here.
Case Study 2: Some other dude named Bill drops out of school to implement a programming language (BASIC) for an early microcomputer (the Altair 8800).
You don't even know how to turn it on, much less program it.
It's successful enough that he and a friend hire some other dudes and start a company that they call Micro-Soft and write a lot of other software. A lot of that software was for an operating system called QDOS. When Bill learned that IBM was shopping for an OS for their upcoming line of personal computers he took a chance, borrowed a stack of cash, bought QDOS, and marketed it to IBM. Now we all run Windows.
Case Study 3: Yet another dude who goes by the handle of Southern Man had this notion (back in the early nineties) that he can buy components and build PCs and sell them for a lot less than the stores were charging and still turn a tidy profit. He's right and he builds and sells (and buys at auction and refurbishes and sells) thousands of desktop computers. After a while desktop computers become commodities and he closes the business but not before it paid for ten acres of land and two (used) cars and countless tanks of gas and trunkloads of groceries and many many thousands of dollars in taxes.
Case Study 4: Southern Man's neighbor José worked his ass off mowing lawns in the summer. Pretty soon he has more clients than he can service so he buys a couple of used lawn mowers and hires a couple of other dudes to help him out. Now forty guys drive around in green F-150s with "José's Lawn Service" painted on the side while José sits in the office and works the phones drumming up more business.
That's actually pretty typical of how people gain wealth: they have ideas about goods or services that people might want, they put those ideas into action, and sometimes it takes off. However, apparently Wayne and Bill (to pick on the big winners) are EVIL because they now have all this money. It does not occur to critics that they have all this money because they produced goods and services that people want. It also does not occur to these people that Wayne and Bill have created countles jobs and pay enormous amounts in income tax that support all of the social programs that are so precious to their critics. And that's not to say that Southern Man and José aren't doing well, either. Southern Man has ten acres of land, paid for, and José has a new mini-mansion just up the road. On the world income scale we're both one-percenters by comfortable margins. And we did it by figuring out what people would pay for and providing it.
According to the Global Rich List if you make 25K per year in the USA you're in the top 2% of global incomes.
In other words: capitalism and free markets provide the goods and services that we crave, and income inequity is an inevitable result of those very same free markets.
You may argue that these guys were fortunate and lucky and privileged and not like the rest of us. To some extent, yes. Bill, for example, was born of relatively wealthy parents (he borrowed the money for QDOS from his dad) and had opportunities that many of us do not. The same goes for Southern Man. But Wayne, the son of sharecroppers? Nope. José, who never finished high school? Nope. These guys got where they were by sheer hard work and determination in a country where hard work and determination can result in great rewards. Southern Man spells out his privileges this way: born in the USA (which is like winning the birthright lottery, right there) to parents who stayed together, raised him in the church, taught him the value of both education and hard work, and made sure he had a shot at college. Not everyone was as lucky as he. And not everyone avails themselves of the opportunities that they had (Southern Son comes to mind) and Southern Man is fortunate that he did. And not everyone is really aware of how the system works - the über-liberal Southern Sister, for example, who rails against the evils of income inequity and the injustice inherent in our economic system but who recently borrowed money (capitalism) to open a coffee shop (free enterprise) so that she could (surprise!) convert her ideas and industry into more stuff for her and her family. For all its faults, we do have an economic system in which everyone - everyone - has a shot at becoming more than they are.
Now Southern Man will argue that income inequity really doesnt matter because we have for the last fifty years fought the War on Poverty and we've won. Poverty has been largely eradicated in the First World. And by that Southern Man means that most "poor" people live in constructed homes with indoor plumbing and running water and electricity and refrigerators. Not to mention cable television and cell phones and cars. To call them "poor" is a grave offense to the few who are truly poor - who sleep rough, who have no idea where they will get their next meal, who have no access to medical care. Fortunately, to be truly poor in the First World is increasingly rare. The First World has performed a miracle - in their corner of the globe, for the first time in human history, almost everyone is pretty well off. And they are pretty well off because of the wealth produced by capitalism and free markets. In other words, income inequity is the rising tide that lifts everyone's boat.
It didn't used to be that way.
How did they know he was a king? Because he wasn't covered with sh*t!
So it doen't matter to Southern Man that Bill has ten thousand times as much money as he. Is Bill's water ten thousand times as pure? Is his gasoline ten thousand times better? Bill may drive a Mercedes and Southern Man a Hyundai but we drive on the same roads and burn the same gas. Is his health care ten thousand times as effective? Truth is, had Bill broken his leg while in Southern City he might well have ended up with the same surgeon as Southern Man. Bill may live in the House Of 95 Windows and Southern Man bunks in The Trailer but we both sleep with equal comfort at night; he may dine at $300-per-plate eateries but his meal is not that much better than a good $12 steak at Chili's.
So stop fretting about income inequity. It's inevitable and does a world of good through goods and services and taxes that we wouldn't otherwise have. Except to liberals who erroneously believe that income is a zero-sum game and sing "tax the rich, feed the poor, until there are no rich no more." 'Cause then we'll all be poor. Southern Man suspects that's what they really want.
Why, yes, we are that old.
A few random family photos...
Teen Daughter by the gazebo at the Ancestral Manor.
Southern Cousin watches as Teen Daughter launches into a cartwheel.
Southern Father contemplates his firewood stash.
So Southern Man arrives at the high school for his early-morning concurrent-enrollment Astronomy course only to find that the public schools were cancelled because of - cold. They sure didn't do that back when he was a lad. So instead of teaching this morning Southern Man is scouring the web for the morning's entertainment and came up with some trance music by French composer VJ Aurel set to a mash-up of footage from dozens of science fiction films from the past several decades.
Hat tip to Optimal Human Modulation.
What used to be a 19 oz can is now a 14 oz can. Same price. Same spot on the shelf. No warning that we now get a third less chili for our money.
Tragically, this is "lunch" most days at the office.
Southern Man's colleague Mary (the same girl who treated us to lunch the other day) celebrated her sixtieth birthday today.
The Birthday Girl.
Let Them Eat Cake!