Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nothing New Under The Sun

If you have a library card, you can't help but be a little amused at many of the highly educated people staggering around the halls of governance, education, and media these days. They claim they can and should minutely supervise the activities of all of us, but they can't even figure out if the Second Bank of the United States should have been abolished or not; never mind what to do about something in this century.

The people who say they are qualified to micromanage the affairs of the world and everybody and everything in it can't do arithmetic well enough to be a successful bank teller, and can't figure out whether to put an apostrophe in it is.

I've broken ground on many substantial construction projects. We used to paint a shovel to look like it was made of gold, and the bankers and politicians would turn a shovel load of dirt and have their picture taken. Then we'd mount the shovel on a board with an inscription and present it as a keepsake. We used to fashion a box and fill it with sand for the participants, as it was unlikely anyone involved would be capable of turning even one spadeful of real soil from the site.

It's the greatest metaphor possible for today's Zeitgeist. People completely unaware of how anything actually gets done or paid for using an instrument fraudulently tarted up to look valuable to perform a meaningless operation in order to be given credit by the media for everything.


dick said...

I was just remembering my early days in computers. When I was first starting out we used to have the executives come down to the computer room when we were implementing a project. They would get their picture taken as if they were operating the computer.

We always took the photo with them all set to push the button that would disable the whole computer if they pushed it and they never noticed or asked why that button. Just for giggles.

Darcy said...


blake said...

Just so, Sipp.

I try to reassure myself that this is just another blow against freedom, and not the killing blow.

Ron said...

Damn it man, you scare the hell outta me!

Dick: I busted my ass for three days so the media could see The Mayor of LA push a button and see some sacks of mail move down a conveyor, 5 minutes tops.

But I got more praise for that than the 6 months real work I did on it!

TmjUtah said...

My project is going well.

Better than well, actually. I have top of the line equipment that has lived up to specification. I started out with good site control and have refused to compromise when the data indicated it was time to reestablish existing points or to set new ones.

The different crews working different parts of the job respect my layout. They don't just build to the marks or lines, they check them against plan and let me know if they find a bust or are ready for me to check their work.

My super(s) and the foremen have found out that "give me a day" forewarning of requirements really does work best for everybody.

Three survey companies, independent of the lead layout person from my outfit, have shot through my control networks (I use a benchmark network to maintain vertical control) and spot checked my structures completed since November, all with results well within allowable error.

My crew has been "mentioned in dispatches" in very favorable terms. People I don't know have shown up on site and said "you're that surveyor, aren't you?"...Did I mention, yet, that my second man would have been outstanding on any crew I've run before?

But in the end I have just done my job; done what I agreed to do when I signed on. I've been blessed with good people and amazing gear.

Sure feels good though. I still miss Saturdays, and have made getting one or two of those back per month a part of my objectives list.

On topic... there must come a time when some creature like Frank or Schumer or Dodd steps in front of a microphone and is either laughed or shouted off the podium.

I see a time coming where the streetlights in DC get accessorized.

No EIS involved, either.

Sam said...

Not too impressed with the politicians these days I take it. Me neither.

Amy said...

Where did you find the "Ghost of a Dollar" cartoon? I do research on our early republic (for fun) and need a better understanding of the free-for-all financial system that was used in those days.

SippicanCottage said...

Hi Amy- I don't have any notes appended to this picture except "William Charles." It's probably in the Library of Congress, or maybe a British museum. I can't remember.

Amy said...

It is from the Library of Congress. Thanks for posting it!