A light upon the wall
I have succumbed to the blandishments of my inner boy. For many years I have had a twenty five inch TV. In the last century it illuminated my evenings in Concord. When I trekked to South Dakota I brought it with me. That was an adventure. The TV would not fit into the trunk and could not be squeezed into the back seat of my two door civic so it went into the passenger seat, properly buckled in, of course. Not only did it go into the passenger seat, it overflowed the passenger seat, covering up the gear shift. Thus it was that for 1700 miles I had to lift the TV any time I wanted to shift gears.
If its mode of travel was dubious, nonetheless it worked quite well once it arrived. Of course there really wasn't much for it to do. There were only three channels available in Highmore, and the reception on those was erratic. I could have been content with that. I should have been content with that. However I let some sweet talking stranger talk me into getting a dish. Violet. Now I had dozens of channels of mindless electronic swill to view instead of the three with which I formerly had to be content.
That should have been enough for any boy. Alas, it wasn't. My venerable TV has been retired, and a 50" plasma TV hangs upon the wall instead. It's sweet.
A man should always listen to his inner boy.
In the early days of January I chortled as SD basked in the balmy forties in contrast to the frigid air of MA which was making Mars look warm. I laughed too soon. This January, having come in like a cool spring day, has departed in a flurry of icicles and subzero weather. Move over, April.
Of late Our Lady of the Large Black Dog has felt the need to do something about her weight, and in consequence has undertaken a diet called "The thirty day diet". This diet has a thirty day schedule of meals that are long on things like spinach and mushroom salads, steamed vegetable plates, and small pieces of dry bread. Of I apprehend matters correctly, the diet is the brainchild of one Victoria Principal who has devoted an entire book to the diet. I may have that wrong and it is really Victoria's Principles. I begin to be very suspicious of this Victoria business. If Victoria has principles, how can she have a Secret.
Since milady and I dine together, it inevitably followed that I am on this diet too. More precisely, I eat what she eats plus what more is needful to keep me from wasting away. Given the five pounds that I gained over the holidays, I expect that my chief concern should be about waisting away.
One of the merits of this diet is that it puts the steamer into use. Steaming is one of those cooking modes that IS REALLY GOOD FOR YOU (TM). Most things that are really good for you are dead bores. (Why is that, anyway? One would think that in a more orderly universe the things that are good for you would be extra special fun.) Once upon a time, not so very long ago but not just yesterday, I purchased a bamboo steamer, in large part because I thought that steaming food would be A GOOD THING TO DO (TM). As you might imagine, it was used once (but the food was very good) and then retired to the pantry where it diligently gathered dust.
However the DIET calls for steaming all sorts of things, so the steamer is getting a workout every day. The rule seems to be that either you use something regularly or not at all. (This may explain why I leave my xmas lights on all year around.)
It turns out that steaming is a good thing to do (no caps) with vegetables. I doubt, however, that it is appropriate for making grilled cheese sandwiches, or that it would do much for filet mignon.
Sometime in the last century (I do love referring to the last century) about a dozen years ago we were treated to the spectacle of Ross Perot running for president, (For my younger readers, Ross Perot was a twentieth century version of Howard Dean.) Ross's trademark was the Ross Perot Whoosh, the sound, he said, of jobs moving south of the border with NAFTA. I begin to think that old Ross had the right of it.
President Bush has been getting the blame for the low growth in jobs. That's as it should be - one of the duties of the President is to take the blame for whatever happens. Still, it's somewhat of a bum rap. The true villain of the piece, if there is a villain, is globalization. It's Ross's Whoosh written large.
Many of my friends are unemployed programmers. Why is this? One reason, the major one among many, is something called outsourcing. Companies don't do programming in the USA any more; they contract the work out to people in India and Ireland. It isn't just programming that has moved out of the USA. Manufacturing of all sorts is being done in Asia.
The upside of the Big Whoosh is that here in Amerika we get cheap goods. The shelves of our palaces of consumption are bulging with consumer goods produced in Asian sweatshops where wages are low and hours are long. Fat, dumb, and happy we are as we swill away at the great trough.
There is a catch of course. The fortunes of the middle class are being eroded as jobs flee overseas. The jobs left behind are the dead-end, low-end jobs - Walmart greeters, McDonald clerks, and the like.
This page was last updated February 1, 2004.