Thursday, May 24, 2012

tramps and stamps

This falls right into the Oxford comma and Billy Joel sucks department of “I didn’t see that diatribe coming.” Someone suddenly opens up on what might have been an innocent topic and before you know it the wraths of hell are upon them. I wonder if anyone has established an on opinion parking lots? I have! I have!
I’ll be succinct since I have something else to rail on about. If I’m driving through a lot looking for resting place for Galactica I don’t stop unless I see reverse lights on. Period. There are two sets of folks (see how I didn’t yet call them names?) in the lot scenario*: the vultures and the slow motherfuckers. The only one of the two who affect others is the vulture. If 'Bobby Sue" (nom de guerre: fukeris slowis) wants to take three days to load up her groceries, her baby, her other baby, and then spend an hour figuring out how to work her seatbelt and key, so be it. For all I care, she can sit in her car and listen to Lady Antebellum sing her favorite song.  If you decide to sit and wait for her to get settled in, figure out the equipment in her rig, and belt the last chorus (“But it was perfect; I never will forget; When we owned the night; Yeah, we owned the night !”) of the Lady then you are on my list. What you’ve decided to do is block traffic in that row (some of us are actually trying to depart the Circle of Parking), and will more than likely further exacerbate the problem by debating with the wedge you’re intercepting from the other direction, who also thinks he has the right to that spot, exactly what is going on in this now completely fucked up situation. Mix in a bit of bad space extraction ability from Bobby Sue and we’ve got a serious jam up. Keep moving, you won’t drive off the end of the earth. It’s like the internet, the lot goes on for a very long time. By no means am I condoning Bobby Sue, but in the grand scheme of life - my life - what you are doing as a vulture is actually expanding a bad situation (Bobby Sue) into a disaster – you are willfully taking everything a second step beyond the problem. Bobby Sue is simply one of the 325 million Americans who have no awareness of what is going on around them.
I promised another one: the Post Office. The endless chants of how the USPS is horrible and loses money all the time is complete bullshit. I don’t have the patience to link to all the studies and reports, but I’ll tell you that the USPS in the first quarter of 2012 (Oct-Dec) had revenues of $1.7B and operating expenses of $1.5B. Up through about 2007 the USPS did not operate at a loss. The USPS does not receive taxpayer money. The USPS does a pretty good job of getting my stuff from A to B. They also can be a bit of a pain in the ass if you have to go inside an actual USPS building. Around 2007 Congress passed some crappily named bill that requires the USPS to fund pensions forty years in the future. In order to meet this requirement the USPS has to pay about $5.5B per year in advance payments in one lump sum; the kicker is that the money is then used elsewhere to help alleviate the annual government deficit. When you read the “USPS loses $5B last year” headlines you have to understand that the $5B shortfall is the advance payment. No other government agency is required to pay 40 years in advance; they aren’t required to pay at all. If the DoD were required by law to pay, in a lump sum every year, pension and retirement benefits (including VA) for all the soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines, they'd have to cough up some unbelievable amount of money that would indicate that the DoD was operating at a $65B loss per year.  It’s easy to hit the low fruit when complaining about government, but the USPS thing (no doubt taken from the ‘going postal’ thing about 30 years ago) is such a hackneyed diatribe that it’s embarrassing. Don’t embarrass yourself.
 * handicapped, ladies with kids (questionably), and old people are generally excluded from my ire.

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