Friday, January 11, 2013

Whew!

We made it through that year, huh? There were some folks out there, claiming the world would end at the close of 2012, because the Mayan calendar ended on that date, or some such nonsense. Believe what you will, we're still here, crawling around like parasites on this little blue planet. Human beings have done some serious harm to this earth, as parasites are wont to do to their hosts, but I don't see the earth ending overnight -- unless a big enough comet slammed into us; or we finally do ourselves in with nuclear explosives.

We all want to have a discussion about gun control in this country right now -- and we should -- but we never talk about the big glowing elephant in the room: Nuclear weapons. The conservatives/republicans/morons are always clamoring for more nuclear power plants in this country, but we never address the whole nuclear weapon thing. I get those nagging thoughts about thermal radiation and blast zones. I have a little more knowledge than some about the effects of nuclear weapons, because when I was in the air force I was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, and missile technician, specifically Minuteman III nuclear missiles.

I'm not talking about all kinds of top secret information, just information that is readily available to most citizens, but out-of-sight, out-of-mind. All you need to read about the effects of nuclear weapons is contained in the classic book  The Fate of the Earth by Jonathan Schell. There is a well-done, and emotionally moving film called "Testament," starring Jane Alexander, about the effects of a nuclear blast on one particular family.

I guess the beginning of the new year, and the supposed demise of earth at the end of 2012 got me on this subject. My job has been getting me down, as it occasionally does. I tried one possible path to a career, which included the air force and then a two-year electronics school. Keep in mind, this is back in the day when the flashy new computer was the Commodore 64. Sixty-four bits of data, contained right there in your keyboard. I continued on through a few high tech jobs, never earning more than twelve dollars and change, because they pay engineers the big bucks, not the technicians who carry out the actual tasks. Thanks to a cross-country relocation, I ended up doing custom picture framing for a while, until I shifted over to being a bookseller.

Bookselling is fun is you love books, and getting a discount on books and talking about books. But otherwise, it's a pretty thankless job. In most ways, it's just another retail job that underpays it's employees, and keeps us on a short leash as far as other benefits, such as vacation time. (A sore spot with me.)

On the plus side, tomorrow is Friday. My paycheck was short, because we are not paid for Christmas or New Year's. I also took a sick day in the past two weeks, and I didn't have a full 8 hours of sick time to cover that. On the plus side, I start early, which translates to leaving early. My sweetheart of a son comes over for the weekend. There are forecasting a sunny day. Not a warm day mind you, but sunny. A little sunshine will at least boost my inner strength, which has been lagging with all these damp dark days of late.

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I knew I that I had been in the mood to write lately. I could probably go on for another hour or so, but I need to be out of bed by at least 8 am. And I still need go out onto the deck and gaze up at the stars for a bit. It's a beautiful night outside, albeit a bit cold.

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