Sunday, December 17, 2006

Living space versus number of residents: A seven Christmas study

Christmas 2000---
Lodging= 900 square foot apartment shared with four college roommates.
Christmas 2001---
Lodging= 120 square foot room downstairs at my parents house.
Christmas 2002---
Lodging= 450 square foot duplex shared with one roommate.
Christmas 2003---
Lodging= 750 square foot apartment shared with wife.
Christmas 2004---
Lodging=750 square foot apartment shared with wife.
Christmas 2005---
Lodging=1500 square foot house shared with wife and one child.
Christmas 2006---
Lodging=1500 square foot house shared with wife and two children.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Last Man Standing---Blue Tooth

Dignity clothes both the man of the hour and a man who can genuinely be called a man of his time. Likewise, modernity is served when a fresh mind couples his widespread learning with a vogueful stride. For stale and blunted is a task where the steel of innovation has been nicked. All men benefit from their forbears as well as the temporarily veiled work of their peers.

Several nascent applications of technology, however, may do more harm than good. Consider three businessmen recently observed casually dining and chatting. Bedecked with ear-pieces, these men ignored their physical proximity to each other while using Blue-tooth technology to further their workaday aims. This restorative lunch featured an historical comradery severed by a technology that prefers faceless conversations over warm-breathed goodwill. This mutation of the business lunch is obnoxious for several reasons.

First, the snail-like contraption wedged onto a man's ear appears as something akin to a bit jangling correctively in a horses mouth. Rather than purchaseable apparatus signaling status, modern cellular ear-pieces remind observers that the posturing individual is hard-wired into believing that their career is a remunerative, all encompassing deity.

Furthermore, opportunities lost to cipher non-verbal cues signaled by friends and colleagues will breed a fear of the fellow man in those who are used to communicate digitally.

Finally, the Blue-tooth headset, stoppered in one's ear like a rubber-shoved beaker, salutes would-be conversers as a plastic stop sign. Those interested in speaking to someone wearing a headset are put off by the outlandish blend of plastic and flesh. Sub-consciously, we wonder about robots and the interaction between computers and men.

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Family Gift Exchange

Viewing the family gift exchange as a microcosm of the free-market economy is both an incendiary and instructive exercise.

One's goal as the blacksmith or the butcher is to market one's expertise in a trade as infinitely more valuable than other competing trades. If a man trained in bending iron can convice a fellow man who butchers hogs that smithing is the trade of an artisan rather than a mere blood and gore laborer, he will have a decided advantage when trading with the butcher. In the end it is beneficial to every man to make his particular skill or art seem steeped in sublimity when held next to other trades. Keep in mind that the appearance and not the reality is what is weighty when establishing relative values.

As goods begin to trade hands, the man who can hold up his mastered trade and treat it as immeasurably more worthy will exert little effort while gaining much. Hence, the goal of the enterprising individual is to reap a large harvest with minimal investment.

Leverage is a good gig! However, practicing this amongst family members quickly gets one labelled as a cheapskate!

Certain family members in my wife's family have been rigging the family gift exchange for the last few years to great effect. These swindlers, who give trinkets under the auspices of holiday cheer (and perennially rope us into the gift exchange) must be stopped. In exchange for gawdy garbage and thoughtless momentos, we offer up the bread of our labor ($20 gifts as specified in the gift exchange agreement). The patriarch and matriarch of the extended family have a duty to maintain neutrality as the bonds which keep disparate tectonic plates aligned. However, I declare that I am forever finished with the rest of the lot and their gypsy dealings.