I see I haven’t updated this thing since Christmas. I’m the worst. Sorry.
Sitting around the house in quarantine all day gets boring pretty quick. So, I grabbed my old Panasonic Lumix camera (thanks, Brenda!), and went for a walk along the stream behind our house. Nothing much to see, but it was a beautiful day, so I took a few pics. Also took a few pics of the flowers around the house before they all fall off. Love spring in Virginia. To see the pics, mouse over the first pic and when the cursor turns into a finger click on it, then click on the right arrow to go through them.
It’s a beautiful winter day here in Northern Virginia. When I woke up this morning, there was about an inch of snow covering everything, but when I finally got around to walking Amanda’s dog Artemis, most of the snow had melted. I took a few pictures with my Panasonic Lumix point-and-shoot camera with it’s Leica (branded) lens. I often forget how beautiful NoVa can be. Here are a few pics. Click the first one to embiggen, then click on the right side of the picture to run through them.
What’s better before fireworks than Mexican food? Pretty much nothing. Here’s (L-R) Emily, Amy, Don, some random homeless guy, Brenda, Alexis, and Austin about 2 hours before the Rehoboth Beach fireworks.
Turns out I’m now a Scottish Laird – I own one square foot of land on the isle of Islay in Scotland! It came free with a bottle of Laphroaig I bought, like a decoder ring in a box of cereal. Here are pics of my holding. Someday I’ll go over there and build the tallest, skinniest house in the world. I bought the Laphroaig based on a suggestion from Steve Smeekins. The whisky is quite good. You can really taste and smell the peat. Pics – click to embiggen:
As sick as I am of this cold and snow, Julian and I had a great day today. We did a little sledding in the backyard, Julian rockin’ lime green snow pants. Then we made a new bow, arrows and a quiver, just like in the picture in his Robin Hood book, followed by several episodes of Scooby Doo and some popcorn – pretty much a perfect day.
Brenda, Amanda, and I, along with four dogs spent the long Labor Day weekend at the beach. It was glorious! Saturday started out a little cloudy as you can see in the picture on the left. That’s Amanda on her bike, ready to ride to the beach. In about an hour the clouds disappeared. The water temperature was perfect. I spent more time in the water floating like a manatee in 2 days than I have during all the summer visits this year combined. Last night, Brenda and I went into Rehoboth and had dinner at Claws. It was great of course, plus I had a leftover fish breakfast this morning. Bonus!
The only downside is that Labor Day traditionally marks the end of summer. Absolutely unbelievable how fast the summer went this year. Once again, I feel as though I’ve wasted the summer.
Marshall Crenshaw wrote an angry song back in the early 1970’s, called “Summer’s Over.” Some lyrics:
“I put my foot through my TV screen when I got up today…I’m mad, cause summer’s over.”
It wasn’t always about the hot dogs. Originally, believe it or not, Labor Day actually had something to do with showing respect for labor.
Here’s how it happened: In 1894 Pullman workers, facing wage cuts in the wake of a financial crisis, went on strike — and Grover Cleveland deployed 12,000 soldiers to break the union. He succeeded, but using armed force to protect the interests of property was so blatant that even the Gilded Age was shocked. So Congress, in a lame attempt at appeasement, unanimously passed legislation symbolically honoring the nation’s workers.
It’s all hard to imagine now. Not the bit about financial crisis and wage cuts — that’s going on all around us. Not the bit about the state serving the interests of the wealthy — look at who got bailed out, and who didn’t, after our latter-day version of the Panic of 1893. No, what’s unimaginable now is that Congress would unanimously offer even an empty gesture of support for workers’ dignity. For the fact is that many of today’s politicians can’t even bring themselves to fake respect for ordinary working Americans….
I know that these days it’s not kewel to speak well of unions. And a lot of that of that is labor’s fault – some of them have become bureaucratic, some were taken over by organized crime for their juicy pension funds, but mostly they did not understand the relentless propaganda that the 1% would employ against them and they failed to rebut it. They assumed, incorrectly it turns out, that reasonable people would ignore the nonsense, such as “right to work” for peanuts laws.
People forgot that their income is my spending, and my income is their spending. If I (or a bunch of us) stop spending because I’m laid off, or I lose my house, or I’m sequestered, then your income goes down too. You’re better off when we’re all better off. Even crusty old arch-conservative Henry Ford understood this. When confronted by his fellow top-hat-wearing one-percenters over the $5 a day he paid for his factory workers, he supposedly said: “I got to pay them $5 a day. If I don’t, they can’t afford to buy a Ford.”
Back in the 1950′s and 1960′s about 35% of American workers were unionized. It was not so coincidentally, the peak years of the American middle class. Union membership fell off in the 1980′s and the middle class has been dwindling along with it. The data is clear in these two charts to ruin Labor Day. Wages as a percentage of GDP (the overall economy) are at an all time low. Blame it on de-unionization, tax policy, or to a lack of investment in education, but for whatever reason, gains in productivity have not translated into higher wages.
Here’s some Labor Day music from Irish commie union thugs the Dropkick Murphys. Happy Labor Day!
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