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.

May 28, 2011

Words That Hurt To the Quick.

It is amazing how you can go through life believing your are immune to silly contrived situations.That your emotions are well under control.You’re a rock.

Then – BAM! – out of the blue you’re TKO’d by an otherwise harmless sentence or phrase. In a brief New York second your emotional defenses are down and you’re human again.

MasterPo just had one of those moments.

A few minutes before writing this article MasterPo was reading an e-book (title doesn’t matter). One of the characters described the death of some puppies by starvation and dehydration. A truly horrific image.

Why did this particular description hurt so much? The entire book is all about the horrors of a fictional war with millions upon millions of people also dying horrific deaths. So why do some fictionalpuppies dying hurt so much?

In time the imagined image of the story in MasterPo’s mind will fade and be buried under layers of other more urgent (and mundane) events of life like an oyster coating an irritating sand grain under its’ skin. Yet this story won’t yield a beautiful pearl.

MasterPo will leave it to the shrinks and mind tinkerers to give a mumbo-jumbo explanation as to why humans react this way. It will sound good, and sound BS.

Thus is the nature of being human.

Something to be glad for these days.

May 25, 2011

Yes I can! (maybe)

Employers love to say how much they want/admire a “can-do” attitude. Not a Yes-man per se. But a person who can take on a challenge (read as hard and thankless work) and get it done.

There is no question that a positive “can-do” attitude is both a sales point in business when applying for a job as well as taking on tasks once on the job. Victory is often won in the mind first before the battlefield.

MasterPo totally agrees with the positive “Yes I can!” point of view. So when a hiring person asks “Can you do this-or-that work?” replying “Yes I can!” is an honest answer (presuming you do in fact have the knowledge and skills to perform the function).


Then you have to take into account all the caveats that come with it.

Can you do the work:

  • Within the budget your provided?

  • With the personnel assigned to your task?

  • With the tools you are given and required to work with?

  • Within the standards and methodologies the employer uses?

  • Within the time frame the employer wants it done?

  • Within the legal and regulatory frame work?

  • While working on 3 or 4 other urgent projects?


In short, once you start adding in all the variables the can-do attitude quickly becomes a maybe-can-do.

That is reality. Nothing is ever cut&dry. But before agreeing to can-do be sure to take into account all these (and more) variables. It’s a great ego boost to think you can take on a tough job and be successful. Maybe you can be. But there are usually variables below the surface you may or may not be aware of at the time.

Look before you leap.

May 21, 2011

Who Cries For Apollo?

As debts and deficits soar on both the national (nation debt has just past the $14 trillion mark as of writing this) and state levels (CA has a $9 billion dollar debt as of writing this) once again the great villain of it all is “the rich” and their “greed”. Never mind the other 90-99% of the population (depending whose statistics you reference as to what income or wealth level constitutes “the rich”).

Never mind the laws, regulations and policies enacted over 40 years by politicians – most of whom themselves are rich by anyone’s definition! – and the impact those have had on growing this crisis. And never mind the same politicians and pundits who, with a spine of unset Jell-O, refused to stand up and say this or that social trend was self-destructive, childish whining, or just plain wrong but instead catered in full to those trends and destructive behaviors.

And, as sure as the sun rises in the East (do we need a law for that too?) more and more the talking heads are calling on retribution – that’s the only way to describe it – on “the rich” for being “rich”. With phrases like “income inequality” and “hoarding wealth” being the table talk of the day on so many opinion shows and in editorials (and editorials disguised as news stories).

Now stop and really think: What would America be without “the rich”?

Besides all the businesses, industry, inventions, and services that have been created and distributed by “the rich” who own these businesses, “the rich” are also the ones who contribute the most philanthropy (i.e. charity). All the hospitals, schools, neighborhood centers etc funded at least in part by “the rich”.

Why do you suppose every major (and a lot of smaller) hospitals have dedications such as ‘Joe Smith Cancer Center’, ‘Mary Jane Rehabilitation Facility’, ‘The Goodwin Family Pediatric Trauma Center’, and so on??

How many ‘Congressman Jackson Burn Center’, ‘Senator George Kapslin Geriatric Care Wing’, or ‘President Infectious Disease Research Department’ have you seen? The names sometimes show up on airports, highways, bridges and tunnels but rare if ever on hospitals.

Same for schools. There are places such as “The Carnegie School of Technology”, “The Cohen Children’s Hospital” and “Ann Scheiber School Of Nursing”.


Because these people willingly gave their own money – often earned and saved over an entire life time – for the benefit of others. It was not confiscated because someone in a legislative chamber or administrative office decided to take it from them for the betterment of someone else.

And, just as equally, as it was their choice to give their earned wealth it is their choice not to give it.

That does not constitute “hoarding”. It’s their money!

But who is going to stand up for “the rich”?What PAC or grass roots effort will stand for “the rich”?How many people will bleed tears for whoever is defined as “the rich” based on some arbitrary income or wealth level of the day?

No one.

They are an easy target.

And as such it is the height of tyranny to rob some person’s fruit of hard labor to give to someone else just because the former has more than the latter. A nation that adopts this social policy is doomed to slide quickly from greatness to mediocrity or worse.

By the way, Star Trek fans may recognize the title of this article. It didn’t end well for him either.

May 12, 2011

Look Who MasterPo is Sleeping With! (or, No Cowards Allowed in This Bed!)

(Bet that got your attention!)

The proverbial line about politics making for strange bed fellows is alive and well. MasterPo finds himself joining the ranks of unusual partners under the sheets on a certain topic.

If Social Security is the 3rd rail of politics then Abortion is its junction box (to keep the high voltage analogy going, not that the two are related).

That is to say, MasterPo finds himself taking sides on abortion – strongly.

Until now MasterPo has considered himself ambivalent but leaning to the pro-choice side.

That is, until now.

Now MasterPo finds himself leaning more strongly on the pro-life side.Parenthood will do that.

Especially when parenthood is the result of adoption.The idea that MasterPo’s children’s birth mother could have aborted them instead of placing them for adoption is chilling. MasterPo and Mrs. MasterPo would never have known our wonder children.

The circumstances of the birth mother were (and still are) such that she is barely in a position to support and care for herself much less a child. While details are unimportant the aspect is she could have aborted her pregnancies. But instead sought a better life for her children than she could provide.

MasterPo isn’t going to debate why she produced children at a time in her life she couldn’t support herself much less children. People cause accidents and accidents cause people.

But she did produce children and took the responsibility to seek out a better life for them instead of ending their lives.

A small decision that leads to a big honor.

May 7, 2011

Financial Lessons from Chernobyl

The American economy today, especially all the attempts at “stimulus”, bears a striking resemblance to the events that lead to the April 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident.

On that fateful day in the Ukraine the nuclear reactor operator s were trying an experiment to generate emergency power from the turbines in the event of a reactor scram (an emergency shutdown). Problem is nuclear reactors (especially of Russian design) don’t turn on a dime and controlling the output of the reactor at low levels proved very difficult. In order to try to achieve the minimal power levels needed a large number of the cadmium control rods were removed from the reactor.

Nothing changed. The power level remained low. So more control rods were removed.
Still nothing. So even more were removed, violating well established safety and operations procedures (not just Russian but worldwide throughout the nuclear industry).

Sudden – the power spiked off the chart!

The reactor operators pushed back in all the cadmium control rods.

But it was too late.


The Chernobyl nuclear accident was now history.

Now compare what the Obama administration has done with the American economy in terms of bailouts and stimulus.

Billions for the AIG bailout
Billions for the bank bailout
Billions for “stimulus”
Cash for Clunkers
Cash for Caulkers
Tax credit for home buyers
"Shovel Ready" jobs
99 weeks (so far) of unemployment benefits

And yet as of writing this unemployment is at 9%, up “unexpectedly” (yea, right!) from 8.8%.The market is down and shaky.New home sales have hit a 15 year low.Consumer confidence is poor.Consumer spending is in the tank.Business hiring is very slow.Gasoline has soared.

Yet the Federal government keeps pouring more and more money into the economy and bailing out or saving this or that business and sector. This is equivalent to essentially removing all the controls and safety devices of the economy. Meanwhile, the expected boost just hasn’t come.

And just like with Chernobyl when enough of the controls have been removed – Boom!

More likely Crash but the end result is the same.

History repeats.