MasterPo says: This blog is about topics and issues that are of importance to me. I am not one of the countless blogging lemmings that are tripping over each other scurrying down the hill and off the cliff of blogging oblivion trying to write the greatest blog on the latest topic de'jour. Your comments are welcome.

December 22, 2008

Happy Holidays!

MasterPo wishes all his readers a happy and safe holiday season.

The Po File will be taking off the rest of the year to celebrate. Besides, not too many people spend the holiday's reading blogs.

Posts will resume in early January.

Peace and best wishes to all!

December 18, 2008

A Lost Generation

Pundits and politicians like to claim that our current young people generation will be the first in American history not to live as well or better than the prior one.

I say they are grossly mistaken!

While much could be said point-for-point about that, I’ll save that level of analysis for a future article. Instead, I want to focus on something I thing is real. Namely, the slowly disappearing concept that you can become rich in life.

The more I speak with young people (20 and 30 something’s) about increasing taxes, increasing government regulations, how harder and harder it is to start and own a business, etc. the more frequently I hear the comment “It doesn’t bother me ‘cause I’ll never be rich!”

That’s awful!!!

Think about it: People (men and women) with their entire lives ahead of them have already made up their minds they can not be successful in a monetary sense so why bother trying? Why bother caring about what crazy taxes or regulations are enacted because they won’t have to be concerned about it?

Part of this can be explained by the constant drum-beat of negative talk from politicians, specifically Democrats. When year after year you are bombarded with talk of how awful things are and about all the people loosing their shirts it takes a toll on you and your attitude.

But part is also the fault of the lack of education about exactly how people do get rich. Gaining wealth takes time. Lots of time. Wealth is rarely attained over night. For every one person who wins the lottery or who makes a killing in the stock market there are thousands of others who are well on the way to becoming rich slowly over time. Slow and steady, not sprinting, is the way to wealth. But that isn’t what is being taught (indeed, being wealthy is being taught as somehow “evil” or “unfair”) or exemplified.

It may be true that we have the first generation that doesn’t do as well as the prior one. But I say a major reason isn’t anything systemic in our economy but rather people not being taught how to gain wealth and given real examples of what it takes to really become wealthy.

The race is long and the winners are only seen at the end.

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December 16, 2008

Tech Support Response Letter

The following is a reall email a co-worker almost sent to a rather non-helpful vendor!

Use it at your own discretion.

Dear Mr. Whatever-the-hell-your-bloody-last-name-is-you-pompus-arrogant-bastard: (replace with real name)

Thank you for very much taking time in responding to my technical support question regarding the java applet “Viewone” not functioning on arbitrary platforms. As much as I appreciate you taking time to investigate my situation, I do not appreciate the manner in which you responded. I found the tone of your responses pompous, accusatory and extremely unprofessional. I also want to point out that the support you have provided as yet been a proven solution to the issue.

I want to remind you that my corporation has paid $1,800 US Dollars for a valid license which includes technical support. Our company pays for technical support so as not to waste time troubleshooting anomalies and to come to a timely solution being left to the hands of a knowledgeable professional. Requiring this support I have supplied to you as much information that was available so as not waste both our times. You as a technical support professional are expected to analyze the information and determine the relevance of the given data. You stated that the information was “rubbish” and made the accusation that the data was “Made up.” It is not my position to know whether the information at hand is pertinent or not - that is your job. Also, since you believe that the information provided was indeed fabricated; I want you to explain to me why you believe it is so. I neither have the time or the place to be sending you disinformation on a production problem that I am earnestly trying to solve because of your company’s errant software.

Again my company has paid $1,800 dollars for technical support and I expect to get our money’s worth. I am also firmly requesting the contact information of your manager. I want your manager to assign me a new technical support engineer who will professionally accommodate me and bring this technical issue to a timely resolution.



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December 12, 2008

When Liberal Worlds Collide

It’s great when liberal policies and ideals contradict each other!

Some classic examples:

Encourage people to stop smoking. A very good goal, I agree. But then state tax revenues from the sale of tobacco drop so the funding for things like children’s health care drops too!

Tell people to get off the couch and get involved in some activity for exercise. Also a good idea. But then people get more injured as they do active sports.

Encourage people not to use their cars as much to save gas and lower emissions. A lot of BS in my opinion. But then complain that people are becoming couch potatoes!

Advise people to add more insulation to their homes, better windows and weather stripping etc. Then complain that indoor air quality is very poor and affecting people’s health!

Tell people how bad meat and dairy is for them. Then arrest parents with starving children who only feed they soy!

There are many others but these are some real classics.

Always remember: No good deed ever goes unpunished!

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December 9, 2008

The True Cost of Home Ownership

By now many have debated what got the current financial problems started. I'm not going to wade into those waters. It's crowded enough.

But clear government policy (whether implicit or explicit) of getting as many people into houses as possible regardless of means to pay for those houses has a great deal to do with it. This is not "blame" the victim.

In general, house owners are what make a community a community. No insult to renters intended but generally renters move from place to place with no real ties to the locality. The permanence of a house ties you to the locality and inspires (if not forces) you to have a deeper stake in what happens locally than someone who may be here today/gone tomorrow. As such, promoting house ownership is generally a good public policy.

But when that ownership is encouraged for the mere sake of ownership that's what causes this kind of trouble. Politicians love to use the term "means testing" when it comes to various financial aid and incentives. Well, like it or not, house ownership is itself a form of "means testing". You need to have a certain level income, assets and maturity/discipline to own and maintain a house. The reality is that if someone can not afford to purchase a house on their own chances are very good they also can't afford to operate and maintain it.

House ownership is much more than just a mortgage payment:

Property taxInsurance
UtilitiesWater/Sewer charges (in many areas)
Maintenance and repairs (even a brand new house will need work more sooner than later)

Then there are the countless unforeseen events of life. Damage from a storm or an accident, appliances breaking down, or as the insurance companies like to say "Acts Of God".

Owning a house is expensive. Even if you own your house free and clear of a mortgage you will still have all these expenses and more. So even just giving a house to someone is not the solution.

Promoting house ownership is a good policy for a nation. But it should be a wake up call to our society that, as with most good things in live, something good comes with it personal responsibility.

And that is something also in very short supply in our nation these days.

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December 7, 2008



unmindful; unconscious; unaware
(source: Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.)

I’ve had it with oblivious people! More and more people are just walking around totally oblivious to what’s going on around them even if it can immediately hurt them.

On a daily basis I’m seeing people walking the streets off in a cloud. I don’t just mean someone who has a lot on their mind or someone who is pre-occupied with something else (like looking out for a small child). And not just the idiots with a cell phone seemingly glued to their ears (wake up people – you’re not impressing anyone being on the phone all the time!).

I mean people that walk behind your car as you are pulling out of a parking spot at the supermarket or mall.

I mean people who just walk across the street, not at a corner or light, and don’t even bother looking bother ways.

I mean people in cars who signal to make a turn and don’t bother looking if someone is coming the other way.

I mean people who just casually drift from one lane to another on the road without even the pretense of signaling.

I mean the people who walk in the door right behind you just presuming you’ll hold the door for them (saw a kid get wacked hard in the head like that once).

Anyone can have a momentary lapse in judgment or distraction. But I would bet a week’s pay these people act this way all day long! Just totally oblivious to the world. Someone else will watch out for them.

Normally I’d say if they get hurt they got what they deserved. But not these days. These days YOU get sued for millions$$ because YOU should have watched out for THEM! And even worse, they know it!!


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December 4, 2008

I want your job!

Dear Mr. Weatherman,

I need a job just like yours!

You see, I’m having some problems at my current job and I think being a weatherman on TV (I’ll take radio too) is just the change I need.

In my current job I have to do my own work. Everything I create is my own effort, my on research, my own analysis and my own conclusions. I could get into big trouble if I took the work of someone else and presented it as my own.

But you Mr. Weatherman only have to reading the statement from the local office of the National Weather Service. True, you do translate their high/low pressure, wind sheer, ionosphere/troposphere, cirrus/cumulous jargon into something us common folks can understand.

But you really aren’t measuring the weather conditions yourself, pouring over wind charts and satellite photos, and drawing a conclusion for a forecast. You can’t I know. That would open you and your station to liability if you failed to predict something like a tornado. So you just spew back what the NSW and NOAA say. What a great job!

At my present job I’m required to be accurate all the time. And if I’m not there are stiff penalties. I may even loose my job.

But not you Mr. Weatherman. You can be as wrong as 3-dollar bill and still keep your job! So many times I’ve followed your forecast for it to be cold and rainy on my day off so I sleep in. When I did get up it turned out to be sunny and warm all day. My day off wasted. And no one calls you on the carpet for being so wrong. In fact, you can be more wrong than right and still keep your job. The next broadcast you just go on with your forecast again, saying how great a day it was and no one asks you “Why did you say yesterday it would be a cold rainy day today? Why were you so off base?”

And don’t forget that indecision factor too. You can change your mind on your forecast a dozen times a day and no one ever tells you to get your facts straight.

But it doesn’t matter. You won’t loose face. You won’t loose any confidence by your customers. People will still tune in the next day and hang on your every word.

Oh boy! What an awesome job you have! I want one just like it!

Please send me the name of a good weather man headhunter so I can get started on my weather man career just like yours.

Thank you so much!

Very truly yours,

MasterPo, future weatherman extraordinaire

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December 1, 2008

Remember When...

This article is dedicated to my wife who gave me the inspiration for it.

Recent we were working in our home office and had the TV on. Playing was a new episode of "House" one in which House's private detective tells the female doctor/director of the hospital Dr. Cutty how much he likes her and has been trying to find excuses to be around her. Surprisingly she seems to like him too and encourages him. But, alas, it seems the show's producers have now decided to drop that story line. Oh well....

My wife said she thought it was cute how he was persistent in his quest to be around her until she finally admits she likes him too and their apparent romance begins. This got me thinking.

Yes it is romantic how his character kept pursuing the woman and finally seems to have won. But is that realistic any more in today's Politically Correct and knee-jerk reaction society? One can say he was tenacious in his goal of getting her to like him. But it can also be said he was stalking her! In other words, remember when it was romantic and sweet to make excuses to be with some one you liked?

Now a day you could be arrested or penalized in some other way as a stalker. Yet supposedly we now live in a much more "feeling", "caring" and "aware" society. But how can we be a better society when the very nature of the interaction of people that makes it a society is redefined to fit the mold of current thinking?

Reminded me of when I was in college. There was a girl I really liked. One semester I discovered she would walk from one building to another past the building I had a class in. I would purposely wait outside until she came and walked with her to the next building. She knew I was there for her, not random chance. Still, in today's age I suppose it could be said I was stalking her too rather then just showing my interest.

Other things I thought of too:

Remember when free sex was safe and sky diving was considered dangerous?

Remember when a walking to school alone was safe and the school bus driver was scary?

Remember when the local police on patrol knew who belonged in a neighborhood and who didn't?

Remember when it was OK for the cop to kick out those who didn’t?

Remember when disciplining a tantrum or obnoxious child was parenting and not child abuse?

Remember when teachers could discipline a disruptive student and not be sued for discrimination?

Remember when if someone got injured while committing a crime it was their fault not yours?

Remember when if little Jonny didn't have money for ice cream it was his parent's fault not society's?

Remember when a drunk was someone with poor character and weak will not a disease?

Remember when being fat was your own fault for eating too much of the wrong foods and not the fault of McDonald's?

Remember when if you almost got hit by a car crossing the street it was your fault for not looking both ways and not the driver's fault for not watching out for you?

Remember when people worked hard and saved every penny to buy a house and it wasn't a right to have one?

Remember when a minimum wage job was your first job on your long road of life and not a "living wage"?

Remember when the police knew how to tell the good guys from the bad guys and not everyone was a suspect?

Remember when parks were for people to use and enjoy and not closed 9 months out of the year because of some bird or frog?

Remember when towns were happy to have visitors bring business in and not make rules and permits for town-only residence?

These are just a few of the thoughts that come time mind.

Feel free to post some more.

After all, we are a far more "enlightened" society today – right?

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