Sunday, October 30, 2011

A non-partisan political rant

I've read a number of articles about the recent "Occupy ______ (pick your place)" movement that say the protests are misdirected. The protestors should be directing their disgust and demands for change towards the REAL source of our financial problems: CONGRESS.

Then I received the following fowarded email making the rounds. It resonates with me.

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: "I could end the deficit in 5 minutes," he told CNBC. "You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."

Here is one idea that really should be passed around:

Congressional Reform Act of 2011

1. No Tenure / No Pension.
A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

2. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.
All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people. It may not be used for any other purpose.

3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in the same health care system as the American people.

6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.
The American people did not make these contracts with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves. Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.


Reminds me of the old saying, "If pro is the opposite of con, what's the opposite of progress?"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Pre-retirement musings

Now that I’ve gone public (told top management at my company) that I plan to retire next spring, I’m not exactly waffling . . . but . . .

Oh, the obvious parts of retirement sound great! No more alarm clock buzzing at 4:45 each morning; able to plan my own weekdays for projects or relaxation; able to travel for a day, a week, a month, or a season without worrying about burning vacation; time a-plenty to write fiction or poetry, get out the old guitar and/or banjo and get some calluses on my fingertips again; spend time with Carol doing whatever is important to her, including housework, meal preparation and clean-up, yard work, and more. Regular exercise to keep the body trim. Keeping on top of current events to keep the mind active. Reading. Golf.

Yep, all of that and more, with few constraints from the expectations of others. Sounds really nice.

So where’s the “but?”

Well . . . If I’m going to be honest with myself I have to acknowledge that much of my feelings of self-worth – and thus of self-satisfaction – derive from things I accomplish on the job. I take pride in dealing with employee problems and resolving them. I find it very rewarding to screen, interview, select and hire the “perfect” new employee and watch him/her blossom, grow and get promoted.

When I’m retired no one is going to ask my opinion. And if I offer one, unsolicited, I’ll either be patronized or ignored. I mean, once you retire, you’re no longer “in the game.” Who cares what the retired guy thinks? He’s no longer got a vested interest.

Can I deal with that?

I sure hope so. But that little niggling doubt makes me second-guess my public declaration, just a little. Hmmm.

Guess I’ll find out in about six months.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

WOO-HOO! I'm gonna be famous!

Just to prove that whatever you happen to post on the Internet never goes away, I received an email today as follows (name redacted):

Hi, Mr. Earle:

I'm a wildlife rehabilitator who specializes in reptiles and I also lecture about reptiles to train other rehabbers. While preparing a presentation, I saw your photo of turtles on a tree. Would you be willing to grant me permission to use your photograph in my presentation? Full photo credit will be given.

It would be great to have such an excellent example of the climbing ability of turtles to educate wildlife rehabbers.

Best regards,
Xxxx Yyyyyy
Turtle Rescue of New Jersey
New Jersey State Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator

She was referring, of course, to my well-remembered post of April Fools' Day, 2008, entitled, "Golf Course Hazards."

What? You don't remember it? Well, go ahead and click the link to the title and read it . . . The rest of us will wait here until you get back.

Okay, now that you've refreshed your memory, I'll tell you the rest of the story. I found and sent to her the full-size version of the two photos (the ones in the blog post were compressed), and asked her a few questions.

Here's her response:

Hi, John:

Thank you so much for your kindness!

Me: I’m curious; did you Google “climbing turtles” or something similar and find a link to that old blog post?

Exactly! I used Google Images and found the photo in your "Romantic Ramblings" blog about golf course hazards.

Me: Would you like me to email you (attachment) a higher-resolution version of the shot(s)?

That would be great. I like to use the best quality photos I can find. I do most of my own turtle photography, but never was lucky enough to see tree-climbing turtles!

Many, many thanks! Your photos will now be famous in the turtle rehabilitation world!

Best regards,


Now, to be honest, I never even knew there WAS a turtle rehabilitation world. (I'm sure my daughter Amy, who has always loved turtles and everything to do with them, knew.) But hey, fame is fleeting and sometimes is associated with fortune (you've heard the phrase "fame and fortune," right?)


And thanks, Xxxxx Yyyyyyy. May you cause many thousands of turtles to be rehabbed by you and your trainees, as needed!