Archive for October, 2002

I got these stats from

We’re putting in longer hours on the job now than we did in the 1950s, despite promises of a coming age of leisure before the year 2000. In fact, we’re working more than medieval peasants did, and more than the citizens of any other industrial country! Mandatory overtime is at its highest levels ever, in spite of a recession. On average, we work 350 hours — nearly nine full weeks — longer than our peers in Western Europe do. Twenty six percent of us got no vacations at all last year while the Europeans AVERAGED six weeks!

I can’t vouch for the truth of the medieval peasant claim, but I know we don’t work longer than the Japenese or Koreans (perhaps they aren’t considered industrialized?). Mandatory overtime is likely at its highest levels ever, but that trend has held across boom and recession. I believe the Westen Europe thing.

This is from the NY Times:

U.S. Census data show a rising share of income going to the top 20 percent of families, and within that top 20 percent to the top 5 percent, with a declining share going to families in the middle. That is, it’s not simply that the top 20 percent of families have had bigger percentage gains than families near the middle: the top 5 percent have done better than the next 15, the top 1 percent better than the next 4, and so on up to Bill Gates. A Congressional Budget Office study found that between 1979 and 1997, the after-tax incomes of the top 1 percent of families rose 157 percent, compared with only a 10 percent gain for families near the middle of the income distribution.

I don’t think its fair to bash the rich. Would you behave any differently if you were in their shoes? I think there is a moral though: Wealth doesn’t necessarily trickle down. As the rich get richer they just buy more summer homes and bigger yachts. And I fear politicians.

This is what it boils down to:

If you purchase a train ticket, you have two concerns: where the train is going, and how fast the train will take you there. And those concerns are clearly listed in order of importance. The direction of the train matters most; speed is only helpful if the direction is correct. If we are heading in the wrong direction, or worse yet on a runaway train, does it really matter how fast we are going?

I keep reading about economic growth…growth…increase…more. Our economic model for growth is Cancer. Cancer grows and grows and doesn’t know when to stop or what kind of growth to produce. Who cares how fast the train is going if no one is steering?

I realize its hard to decide where to go. But I think crashing the ship on the way to some destination is better than thrashing about without any attempt at a direction at all.

Growth for the sake of growth will eat us all up chasing it. You can’t just run faster and faster and faster….especially when you’re not even trying to get anywhere.

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Ok. I’m sort of getting things cleaned up around here. I should actually write something in the next few days….if I can think of anything to say.

I leave you with these deep thoughts:

Who invented and trademarked heroin?
The Bayer company, developer of aspirin, also invented Heroin in the early 1900s — and trademarked the name. They were hired to do it by the U.S. government, and it was initially prescribed as a cough suppressant and a cure for addiction to morphine and codeine.

Why is the word “golf” insulting to women?
The name of the game comes from its origins in Scotland, where it was strictly Gentlemen Only, Ladies Forbidden sport — hence GOLF. Some golf courses, obviously, still have this policy.

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Ok. This is my new page. is my domain and you can bookmark the URL.

I would like to thank Adam Parrott for allowing my space on his server. He used to live in my neighborhood and wrote me an email one day because he read an entry from my travel journal. That being said, I think everyone should have a blog so that your entire peer group may know the full joy of your short sighted opinions and pitiful frustrations.


(if you’re looking for the travel journal it is here and/or here.)

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