The Random Comic Strip

The Random Comic Strip

Words to live by...

"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."

[Spanish Proverb]

Ius luxuriae publice datum est

(The right to looseness has been officially given)

"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."

Apparently, the crossword puzzle just disappeared from the blog. Sorry!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Grievance

A number of years ago, back when I was a person who worked for a living, I had occasion to test a process. At the time, I didn't know that was what I was doing. It was only after the fact that I realized it.

It was in the early 80's and I was living and working in San Diego. Where I worked, an overtime list was maintained. Overtime was doled out in a fair manner by keeping track of the number of overtime hours each employee worked or was asked to work. Refusing overtime was calculated in because of fairness. Refusing an hour was the same as working an hour. In other words, it was all about the opportunity, not the actual overtime worked.

I usually refused overtime. I didn't need the extra money and, according to my analysis, I actually took home less per hour of overtime worked than I did per hour of regular time. After taxes, that is. There were plenty of others who would willingly take the extra time. I accepted only emergency requests or if everyone else refused to work it (extremely rare).

There was a protocol involved. The overtime list dictated who was to be asked and in what order. The worker with the least hours charged was asked first. A simple, but fair, system.

There came a time when I learned that I was skipped over on the overtime list. Nothing important, the work was not critical or an emergency situation. It was a 2 hour slot that needed to be filled. A two hour slot that happened to be the two hours before my shift (midnight to 8 AM) began.

I brought it to the attention of my supervisor who dismissed my concerns by pointing out how I usually refuse overtime.

So I filed a grievance through the union.

My union steward, John, worked very hard (he said) to win the grievance. That it was a cut and dried offense, clearly laid out in the contract, made me wonder just how hard that work was. I won, of course, and learned this when my supervisor, Elaine, called me over one morning to discuss what work I would do on this two hour overtime... The conversation went something like this:

Elaine: I would like you to perform these routines when you come in early tonight.

Me: Am I coming in early tonight?

Elaine: Yes, of course, you won the grievance.

Me: Let me understand this... you are asking me to work overtime this evening?

Elaine: Yes, I am asking you to work overtime.

Me: Ah, I see. Well, thank you but I would rather not work it.

This, of course, set off some minor fireworks. Elaine was puzzled and frustrated and could not understand why I was refusing the overtime when I had filed a grievance to (in her words) "get the overtime." I explained that the grievance was over being bypassed on the overtime list. This just increased her puzzlement.

John, on the other hand, threatened to never handle a grievance for me again. I told him to re-read the contract and try to understand that the grievance was over the lost opportunity, not over lost earnings.

I wonder, to this day, whether anyone understood.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What about these illegal aliens?

I get around 250 channels. A number of them are in HD most of the time. Until I had HD, I didn't realize that there would be non-HD periods on some channels. Now, I do. You can tell the HD is off because the picture becomes a square box in the middle of your widescreen TV or because everyone looks a bit beefier. This works for men but not for the women. I am not into lady wrestlers... from the 50's.

Even though I get all these channels, I can handle about 35 of them. The rest show nothing of real interest to me. But certain ones do draw me to them. Discovery, Science, History, and Military are ones I peruse on a regular basis.

Which brings me to Stephen Hawking and aliens from space. According to various news reports, Dr. Hawking is against them. To be more precise, he is not in favor of drawing their attention. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see all the warnings since storms in my area interfered with my satellite signal. In fact, from what I did see of the show, I didn't get the impression it was a major concern.

I happen to agree with the idea that we should not draw the attention of so-called "intelligent" alien species. But I don't think it is a major concern. It's a big galaxy and an even bigger universe and the odds are that some species would have to invent faster than light travel in order to expand into solar systems outside of their own.

And then find us on this tiny little speck of dirt and water in an outlying area of a minor galaxy.

Still...


Friday, April 23, 2010

Baby steps and training wheels

My father had a strong aversion to training wheels for children learning to ride bicycles. He thought they hampered the process. The way he saw it is that they just postponed the inevitable; learning to ride unaided. Eventually, the rider would have to learn how to maintain balance. He saw training wheels as crutches, unnecessary ones.

When a child is learning to walk, he hangs onto things as aids to balance and as support. Progress seems slow. But once he learns to let go, his progress increases greatly. Before his parents know it, he is capable of running and jumping.

This is where I am now... letting go of the support; disconnecting the "training wheels". I am slowly giving up the last crutch and learning to walk again. I still need it after I have been sitting or lying down for awhile, the knee is too stiff and movement is painful, but it is getting stronger.

My short term goal is to hit a few golf balls this weekend and to play a round in a week to 10 days.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I am not advocating this

I have found a diet that works. Not that I needed to lose weight, mind you. I am not, and was not, obese by any stretch of the imagination. But I had added a few pounds over the years that bothered me a bit. I am 5'11" and my weight had inched (I use the term advisedly) up to 179 pounds. My best weight ranges between 155 and 165. Though I have not been in that range for some time.

I cannot recommend this diet, however. You see, I only came across it by accident. Literally. Busting my kneecap has allowed me to lose about 14 pounds.

Pain has a dampening effect on appetite. At least on mine. I eat small bowl of the local supermarket's knock off of Honey Nut Cheerios with a handful of Craisins tossed in for breakfast. I may eat a small sandwich for lunch or a couple of oatmeal raisin cookies... and here's the key... only half of whatever dinner is placed in front of me.

Even though I am not getting much exercise... unless you count hobbling about from time to time... I am trimming down swiftly.

There may be a benefit to this after all...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Measured Minutes

What is 10 minutes? In the grand scheme of things, not much. In terms of my present condition, quite a bit. It amounts to the total time I can tolerate sitting in front of the computer.

10 minutes is enough time to go through a hand or two of Freecell. Or to do a crossword puzzle online. Or to solve a jigsaw puzzle online. And maybe sort though my mail.

10 minutes is not enough to peruse the news, read a couple of online news sources (even limiting myself to the headline stories), or read all the blogs that I miss so much. I have a few emailed to me but even those I tend to skip because of time constraints.

10 minutes is only enough time to write this little bit and let you know I will be back and that I do miss you all.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Da Pain, boss, da Pain!

I am back. Momentarily. I would have hoped to be posting regularly but it appears that is not going to happen. It is now the 4th day since my last post and I do not foresee being able to post tomorrow. It is simply too uncomfortable to sit in this chair. Or lay in bed. Or move around. I am not getting much sleep either.

I highly recommend you not trip over any ottomans. Unless someone has conveniently placed a nice soft mattress on the other side.

Most of my time is spent watching TV programs I would never have watched otherwise. Also movies of questionable quality. And a lot of news. Lots and lots of news. I have made the observation that cable news channels cycle 4 stories per hour; dropping one and adding another each subsequent hour. And the stories "coming up" after the break are the ones that will not come up until after the last commercial break of the hour. These are also portrayed as the most interesting. And aren't.

Other observations
Oxycodone and Hydrocodone both induce constipation. And the end of that will eventually come. Painfully. Sitting on a toilet with one leg unable to bend properly is tricky. And painful. All of this makes one appreciate the constipation while it lasts.


Yes, it does sometime hurt to laugh. I watched a performance by a comedian on Showtime (I think) who was hilarious. Faye came running into the bedroom thinking something was wrong because of the very odd sounds emanating from it. Jake somebody-or-other. I'd look him up and give you a link but I am running out of patience and the pain level is increasing.

I would take another pain pill but I need to avoid dependence. I was afraid I was overusing them and laid off for a day. I am assuming this is what caused the hallucinations later that night.
So I am going cold turkey. I am also getting the impression you don't really need to read all this stuff so I will end it now. Hopefully, I will be feeling better by Monday and I will be able to post then. On some other topic.