9.20.2022 – occupational

occupational
citizenship behaviors
leaving work on time

In an article about the quiet quitting concept, Mr. James Tapper wrote:

Rather than working late on a Friday evening, organising the annual team-building trip to Slough or volunteering to supervise the boss’s teenager on work experience, the quiet quitters are avoiding the above and beyond, the hustle culture mentality, or what psychologists call “occupational citizenship behaviours”.

Instead, they are doing just enough in the office to keep up, then leaving work on time and muting Slack. Then posting about it on social media.

Occupational citizenship behaviours.

These, I think used to be called ‘Conventions‘ as in, “The conventions demand it.

In the movie Revenge (which is based on a Jim Harrison short story but achieved more fame when Kevin Costner told the story that he was signed up to do the movie ‘Revenge’ and the script went into re-write and Costner asked how long it would take as if there was enough time, he was going to go do this baseball movie in Iowa), the killer anti-hero says out loud something along the lines of , ‘I have to do this. The conventions demand it … I don’t even know what means.’

Occupational citizenship behaviours.

I do know what that means and while I am back in the office only two days a week so far, I just don’t want to have to follow through with them anymore.

Suffice it say, leaving work on time used to go against the conventions.

9.19.2022 – ameliorations

ameliorations,
all of the human lot, these
strivings towards light

Adapted from Victoria of England by Edith Sitwell, 1936, BY FABER AND FABER LIMITED, 24 RUSSELL SQUARE, LONDON.

Dame Sitwell wrote in the final paragraphs, “Hers had been such a long life, and it had seen the beginning of a new era. On the day of the Diamond Jubilee, by means of touching an electric button, her message had been sent to her people of the Dominions. Hers had not been the same world as that which was known by her father and her uncles. She had used a telephone, travelled in a train, her voice had been recorded on a gramophone, her photograph was familiar to those over whom she ruled. The whole of the hospital system had been reformed, the use of chloroform, which had so astonished Mr Greville, was now general; the sanitary system was now in good working order, so that the country was no longer swept by appalling plagues of typhus and cholera. The penal system, too, had been changed, and the horrors of transportation and of public executions were abolished. No longer were the work-houses the People’s Bastille, nor did the terrible Debtors’ Prison exist. The state of the workers was much ameliorated, their wages were put on a better scale; the divorce laws were less cruel, and there was some attempt to ease the hard lives of children born out of wedlock.

All these ameliorations of the human lot, these strivings towards the light, had been brought about in her lifetime. But now the Queen of England was tired, and she wanted rest. The trees were silent because of the secret of the coming spring that they held within them, and as the carriage drove beneath the violet boughs the shadows seemed to grow longer.” 

Victoria was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and seven months was longer than that of any previous British monarch and is known as the Victorian era.

It was the record for almost over 100 years.

9.17.2022 – I always had a

I always had a
motto – I make the number
number don’t make me

Reading the article, Julio Jones primed for a revival with Buccaneers after strong start as Tom Brady target, I enjoyed a bit of writing and a quote from Mr. Jones.

Jarrett Bell of USA TODAY wrote that:

“Julio can play,” Bucs coach Todd Bowles trumpeted on Sunday night, echoing the tone he expressed during training camp. “We keep saying it all along. He got in shape. He got healthy. He’s a warrior. He’s one of those guys that’s going to come out every week and compete.”

He’s also a guy with a new ID.

Jones is wearing No. 6 for the Bucs. It’s nothing sentimental, nothing superstitious.

“It’s just a number, man,” he said. “I didn’t want to take nobody out of their number. It was, ‘Whatever’s available, I’m going to take it.’ No significance.”

Brady’s backup, Blaine Gabbert, wears No. 11 for the Bucs. Third-string quarterback Kyle Trask is No. 2, the jersey number Jones had last year with the Tennessee Titans.

“I always had a motto, man: I make the number, the number don’t make me,” Jones declared. “That’s how I go about it

I liked that.

I always had a motto, man: I make the number, the number don’t make me.

I am reminded of being back in High School at Grand Rapids Creston in the late 1970’s.

This was in the OLD GYM Creston before they built the new gym and way before the decision was made to close the school.

The OLD GYM was so small that in winter months gym class took turns between the boys and girls and who got to use the gym and who had an alternative class.

Alternative meant a movie or maybe a Gym Teacher led lecture class on some topic.

One teacher I had like to give a quiz on sports rules to see what we didn’t know about sports.

He would call on individual students one at a time.

One time, I got this this question.

What are the limits on numbers on basketball uniforms and why?

I did not understand the question.

The teacher rephrased it as what numbers can you have on a basketball uniform and why?

That didn’t help.

The teacher, Don Edwards, who really was pretty cool but thought I was one of the oddest people he had ever had in class, stared at me and said, “Come on Hoffman.”

I felt out of place in gym class often but rarely did I feel stupid and at that moment I felt really dumb.

I stared right back and said, “Okay, I give up. What numbers CAN you have in basketball and why.”

Coach Edwards shook his head and said, “Oh come on. You can only have combinations of 1 thru 5.”

That was the dumbest thing I had ever heard.

“You know, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 or 51, 52, 53, 54, 55 … 31,32, 33, 34, 35 … only combinations of 1 through 5.”

My eyes must have glazed over as I listened but I did manage to say, “Why?”

“So the ref can signal the scorer with the number of any player with two hands.”

Coach Edwards them demonstrated, “Foul on number 15.”

And he held up 1 finger on the left hand and 5 fingers on the right.

“Basket by number 33” and he help up three and three.

At once I was struck by the meaning and the simple magic in it.

Basketball numbers had limits.

Limits created by the five fingers on our hands.

I understood.

That made 33 THE number to have.

Think of the great 33’s (starting the list with Cazzie Russell)

I understood.

And in that moment I suddenly understood the magic involved in the silent protest and statement of using an illegal number.

DR J and number 6.

Big Bob Lanier wearing number 16.

I understood.

I make the number, the number don’t make me.

9.16.2022 – but the truth that

but the truth that
nobody knows does nothing
to settle debate

In an article about the US and World economy, Mr. Paul Krugman used some very interesting words when discussing the ecomony.

Mr. Krugman, according to his short bio, joined The New York Times in 2000 as an Op-Ed columnist. He is distinguished professor in the Graduate Center Economics Ph.D. program and distinguished scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the City University of New York. In addition, he is professor emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

He is, all at the same time, a distinguished professor and a distinguished scholar as well as a professor emeritus which should be good enough for anyone.

Mr. Krugman’s latest observations appear in the NYT Opinion piece, Who’s Afraid of the Consumer Price Index?

Like any good opinion piece on economics, Mr. Krugman uses all the standard terms like inflation expectations, Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumer prices, alternative formulation, immaculate disinflation, significant cooling off, job vacancies, higher unemployment and the ever popular, temporary phenomenon.

Entirely appropriate and expected use of language.

But unexpectedly Mr. Krugman also uses the terms If you still believed, I guess and But the truth is.

If you still believed.

I guess

But the truth is.

NOW that is a gutty enconomist.

Mr. Krugman wraps up his piece with this paragraph:

But the truth is that nobody knows for sure, and the fact that a hot economy is still producing heated inflation does nothing to settle the debate.

Mr. Krugman wraps up his piece with these paragraphs:

The good news, sort of, is that the Fed seems to know what it doesn’t know. It’s talking tough on inflation, as it must to retain credibility, but it’s also talking about looking at the “totality of the incoming data,” which means that it’s prepared to ease off if and when inflation is clearly coming down.

My guess is that this moment will come sooner than many think. But we’ll just have to wait and see.

But we’ll just have to wait and see.

But we’ll just have to wait and see?

I would like to refer Mr. Krugman to Chance the Gardener in the old movie, Being There.

Mr. Gardener said: As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden. In the garden, growth has it seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again.”

In the movie, the President listens to this and says, “I admire your good, solid sense. That’s precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.”

BTW, the movie Being There was released in 1979.

We’ll just have to wait and see.

9.15.2022 – against the swell of

against the swell of
history in the room future
felt like a footnote

Reading this wonderful article about The Old Printshop, that asked the questions, How do you relocate more than 100 years’ worth of (haphazardly organized) fine art, maps and prints?

The last paragraph of the story read:

During a lull in the packing, Scott and his uncle paused to admire a wall-size map of New York City commissioned by the British government in 1766 (and now priced at $325,000). Their conversation rolled back in time, from Revolutionary War strategy to the burning of the Library of Alexandria to the fall of ancient Carthage and beyond. Against the swell of history in the room, the future felt like a footnote.

9.14.2022 – the little waves with

the little waves with
their soft, white hands efface the
footprints in the sands

Adapted from The Tide Rises, the Tide Falls By Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The tide rises, the tide falls,
The twilight darkens, the curlew calls;
Along the sea-sands damp and brown
The traveller hastens toward the town,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

Darkness settles on roofs and walls,
But the sea, the sea in the darkness calls;
The little waves, with their soft, white hands,
Efface the footprints in the sands,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

The morning breaks; the steeds in their stalls
Stamp and neigh, as the hostler calls;
The day returns, but nevermore
Returns the traveller to the shore,
And the tide rises, the tide falls.

clouds mirrored in a very still ocean

9.13.2020 – the seven decades

the seven decades
of history-making reign
bore witness to an age

Adapted from A Proclamation on the Death of Queen Elizabeth II by the President of the United States.

The line in question states, “The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity.

An age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity.

Well, as Arlo Guthrie liked to say, in a World were everyone got along, anyone would have to accomplish as awful of lot of good to stand out. But in a world that sucks, you might be surprised what you can accomplish with just a smile.

The Proclamation reads:

 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was more than a monarch.  She defined an era.

    In a world of constant change, she was a steadying presence and a source of comfort and pride for generations of Britons, including many who have never known their country without her.  Queen Elizabeth II led always with grace, an unwavering commitment to duty, and the incomparable power of her example.  She was a stateswoman of unmatched dignity and constancy who deepened the bedrock Alliance between the United Kingdom and the United States.  She helped make our relationship special.  The seven decades of her history-making reign bore witness to an age of unprecedented human advancement and the forward march of human dignity.  Her legacy will loom large in the pages of British history, and in the story of our world. 

   As a mark of respect for the memory of Queen Elizabeth II, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, on the day of interment.  I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

     IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.

                               JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

Hereunto set my hand this eighth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty-two, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-seventh.

2022 years of Our Lord and 247 years of us.

Interesting that no one seems to notice how this country finishes off a proclomation.

9.12.2022 – it’s unexpected

it’s unexpected
in a way, it was exciting
was among the first

The article, King and country: brief delay as new Canadians swear oath to Charles III, with its sub-headline, Citizenship ceremony starts belatedly as officials adapt oath in moments following death of Queen Elizabeth II, caught my eye.

The article told the story of a citizenship ceremony that took place in Canada via ZOOM with 140 ‘excited, polite faces’ waiting for presiding judge to come on screen to greet attendees.

The Judge was late and the ceremony was delayed.

When the Judge did log in and show up he said, “Now, just to inform you, the Monarch of the United Kingdom, the Queen, has passed away. Our sovereign is now King Charles III, the King of Canada.”

It reminded me how here in the United States, we are citizens united by a Constituion.

In Canada, the UK and other places, they are subjects of the realm, united by a common monarch.

That’s what 1776 was all about, in a nutshell.

I also read how not only will oath’s have to be updated but after 70 plus years of Elizabeth, with 5 different likenesses, there will be some new looks to the money.

I happen to have some older Canadian coins in a box and I found some nickels with King George VI and a penny (that I bought a long time ago) with King George V.

If you are around my age, and you grew up in Michigan you saw a lot of Canadian coins.

If you are really old, you will remember how vending machines had stickers that said, NO CANADIAN COINS.

I don’t think the warning was so much for the difference in value as much as it was the weird 12 sided Canadian nickels that would jam up the machine.

The 12-sided shape had been introduced in 1942 to help Canadians distinguish the wartime bronze-coloured tombac coins from copper cents.

Tombac, also used on British three-pence coins, was adopted to save on nickel, in high demand during the Second World War for the production of armaments and munitions.

The coin had returned to nickel after war, while the shape had been retained for 20 years.

While distinctive and popular, it was causing problems at the Mint.

The coin was composed of nickel, a notoriously hard metal which required a high striking pressure.

The unusual shape created a weakness in the collar dies, which tended to develop cracks at the corners.

On Nov. 8, 1962 the Government of Canada issued a proclamation to authorize the production of round five-cent coins.

Oddly enough when I started working in a bookstore in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1979, the 12 sided nickel was still common enough that I collected a box full.

My plan was to save up enough to make a $2 roll of 12 sided nickels that I could turn in at the bank.

I was in the bank near the bookstore almost everyday and I figured that whoever ended up with that roll of nickels would have screamed and gone back to the bank to complain.

The thought of being in the bank and hearing about it and then looking at the tellers and saying ‘now who would have gone to all the trouble to save up all those nickels’ was a funny thought.

I never followed through and here I sit with a box of Canadian nickels from 1962.

They all have the likeness of the Queen as she looked in 1960.

As I said, I understand the likeness of the Queen was updated 5 times and she got older.

Charles III gets to start out older.

And don’t bother looking for any Edward VIII coins.

They were all set to start being minted but a month before the start date, the feller walked out on the job.

ABOUT THE PICTURE – You can see the likeness of George VI on the Canadian nickel and quarter – in the center in the George V penny from 1920 with the inscription GEORGIVS V DEI GRA: REX ET IND: IMP which translates “George V, by the grace of God, the King and Emperor of India” Also in the photo is a gold colored 3 Penny Piece or thruppence from 1953, with the inscription ELIZABETH II DEI GRA BRITT OMN REGINA F D or Elizabeth II by the Grace of God, of all the Britains Queen, Defender of the Faith – The copper colored coin with George VI is the famous Brass Farthing as in the line from My Fair Lady, “Not a brass farthing” when Eliza’s mooching father comes around.

At some point in my life, when I realized I was never going to travel I would tell friends and coworkers they had to bring me coins back from wherever they went.

This led to lots of bizarre stories of people leaving planes and boats to buy quickly, something, anything to get some change and ‘coins for Mike.’

Once when a friend left for England I asked for some old money coins which is how I got the thruppence and farthings.

My friend had to go into an antique store to find them and actually pay for them. A fact I always felt a bit bad about but I always loved having the coins.

Old Money you ask?

Prior to 1971, there were 12 pennies to the shilling and 20 shillings to the pound. There were guineas, half crowns, three penny bits, sixpences and florins. This old system of currency, known as pounds, shillings and pence or lsd, dated back to Roman times when a pound of silver was divided into 240 pence, or denarius, which is where the ‘d’ in ‘lsd’ comes from.

To add to those 12 pennies, each penny was worth 4 farthings so a brass farthing was 1/4 of a penny.

As Thomas Jefferson wrote “… puzzled with adding the farthings, taking out the fours and carrying them on; adding the pence, taking out the twelves and carrying them on; adding the shillings, taking out the twenties and carrying them on.

Jefferson was one of the earliest Americans to consider a decimal currency. He gave it, in 1784, its most articulate and persuasive expression in his “Notes on Coinage.” Congress, convinced by these arguments, adopted it with little dissent. It was eventually implemented because of the agreement of major figures in the U.S. government with the basic principles of Jefferson’s argument. Jefferson also became part of the realization of the system through his involvement with the establishment and first years of the U.S. Mint.

It only took the Brits another almost 200 years to catch on.

9.11.2022 – suppose there always

suppose there always
gonna be April 7
it just hid there like

In the 1991 book, Rivethead : tales from the assembly line, by Ben Hamper, (New York, NY : Warner Books 1991), a book about life and work an the GM assembly line Flint, Michigan, the author tells the story of the day he suffered a mental and physical breakdown on the job.

Mr. Hamper wrote: “I suppose there was always gonna be an April 7, 1988. It just hid there like a heartless sniper behind the diesel haze and the minute hand. It knew my name. It knew my brain. It could smell fear a mile away. Its aim was true.”

Crossing the Rubican.

At the crossroads.

Day of Decision.

Days that stand out.

April 7 was that day for Mr. Hamper much like September 11 is that day for this country and maybe, much of the world.

Not much of a stretch to write, I suppose there was always gonna be an September 11, 2001.

It just hid there like a heartless sniper behind the diesel haze and the minute hand.

It knew our name.

It knew our brain.

It could smell fear a mile away.

Its aim was true.

Waiting now for life to return to normal after covid but it is hard to return to normal when normal isn’t there anymore.

A lot of normal went away on September 12th.