Sunday, July 31, 2022

Goodbye Nichelle Nichols

My impression of Nichelle Nichols from our brief meeting is that she was a thoughtful and friendly sweetheart. The world is less bright without her.

Nichelle Nichols, 12/28/1932 - 07/30/2022

Saturday, July 30, 2022

George the Welder

On a whim, I decided to get myself Krispy Kreme today.  I drove to the one nearest to my home.  As I approached the entrance to KK, a mother opened to door for her young son while holding her baby and bady bag in her left arm.  Then she did something rather strange. While juggling her baby and baby bag, she actually attempted to hold the door open for me as well.  I was like "Thank you, but I should be holding the door for you" as we exchanged smiles.  I politely reached over her to hold the door for them, and then again for the inside door.  She then took her son to check out the donut making machinery while I went to the counter to order my donuts.  

I got a warm and gooey glazed donut, along with a raspberry-filled donut, and a milk.

As I left the counter with my order, I decided to sit in the dining area.  After quickly devouring my glazed donut, I then pulled my raspberry donut from the bag to eat it.  That's when I was approached by a tall man, a gentleman.  He was wearing a rather colorful and intricately patterned shirt.  His hair and beard were long long since white, his face weathered, his stance slightly crouched, and his demeanor friendly.  I hadn't noticed at first though.  My face was down in my phone, playing a tired but engaging game.  

This gentleman approached me and got my attention by mentioning the fact that we were both eating raspberry-filled donuts.  He then asked me if I fish or hunt.  "I don't."  He asked how long I've in Colorado. "It's been a few years.  How about you?" I asked with expressive interest.

This sparked a conversation that lead to him asking if it OK to sit down at my table.  "Of course!" Our conversation continued.  He asked,  "what do you do for work?"  I replied with "software design", knowing full-well he wouldn't have the first clue what that is.  However, I answer this sort of question forthrightly and directly as a matter of respect.  As expected, he didn't know how to progress with that topic, so he just took the opportunity he needed to talk about his life, his father and family.

As we talked, I caught a glimpse of the mother as she was grabbing a table for her family. She give me knowing expression, like she briefly sympathized with me for getting roped into my situation.

Well, it turns out this gentleman has seen a few things in his long 88 years.  He has a sister that is 94. He moved to Colorado in the 50's from Chicago.  He was a welder.  He was in the Air Force, though I'm not sure if he was a welder in the Air Force, or not.  He mentioned how he was on the basketball team for the Air Force that won a championship.  I inquired about this further, thinking he might be someone I could look up later.  However, it turns out it was a league made up of the various squadrons, not college.  His team was the only team to have a black player.  It's my impression that he felt the need to make an excuse for this fact by saying the black guy was the only other member of his squadron willing to do the required daily run of four miles.  If so, it's interesting that he felt the need to make such an excuse. He was clearly proud that he was a part of the championship team.  I'm guessing that others at the time felt like his team cheated by accepting a black guy in the team?  However, my impression could be wrong; maybe he had other reasons for mentioning this fact in this manner.  Either way, this makes me question, what excuses am I making now for something that will be perfectly normal in 30 years?  

He talked about his time at Rocky Flats (backup link) working on equipment for the production of nuclear bomb triggers, I presume as a welder. This was his segue to discuss a particular incident that lead to multiple diseases that he now suffers.  I'm not going to talk about specifics of the incident or his resultant diseases, other than to say some incidents at that site are public knowledge and can be read about separately.  However, hearing his first hand account solidifies concerns over the defunct Rocky Flats facility.

We talked about other things too, but I did more asking than telling because I can see he was man facing his own mortality and seeking to share his experiences.  He just needs someone to listen.

His name is George.

No one knows why humans have chins? Hmm, maybe I do...

"Humans are the only animal that have a chin, and no one knows why."  Well, I think know why.  Chins acts as a third hand to hold things against your chest when your actual hands are full or otherwise occupied in some sort of tool. Chins are very important for rudimentary tool use, or just lugging things from one place over short distances when your hands are full.  

Thursday, July 07, 2022

Found clickbaity video entitled "Stop the government from buying your home (the SOLUTION)"

It's hard to use a blog article to criticize a YouTube video.  I've tried before, and will keep trying.  I'm just not interested in the idea of making actual reaction videos (yet).  Anyway, sometimes I run across an op-ed that's so bad in my opinion but presented so slickly, it makes me want to respond.  "Stop the government from buying your home (the SOLUTION)" is one of those videos.  In this video, the presenter is someone who claims to be involved in real estate.  However, he provides opinions that ultimately seem to me to be questionable. 

There's a lot of conflation of information and opinions in this video.  In my opinion, this leads the video to support a conclusion that really doesn't amount to much.  This is a very disappointing presentation.

As someone who grew up in low-income housing, I find the presenter's comments about government-directed affordable housing to be rather nonsensical.  He pulls some very specific and extraordinary examples of supposed failure and presents these as if they are the norm.

Worse, the presenter comments about specific problems for some affordable housing projects in NYC as if they are general to all affordable housing projects in NYC, or anywhere in the US.  Ironically, at least some of the problems he ties to affordable housing are actually pretty common in NYC, even in the most expensive skyrises.  

Hell, the presenter even conflates affordable housing with eminent domain, as if every effort for affordable housing by government requires the use of eminent domain.  This simply isn't true. 

The presenter's solution is to rely on developers, but in a way that appears to ignore local democracy.  A major portion of this video shows a developer talking about process for a real estate development project.  Nothing talked about by the real estate developer seems unreasonable. The process for real estate development includes the sited steps in order to protect the interests of the people already living within the city and provide adequate support for new denizens.  Further, the presenter completely ignores the fact that such projects also sometimes require the use of eminent domain. 

To me, this video feels like watching a "60 Minutes" hit piece more than something that's actually factual and useful.  Worst still is that the title of the video appears to be pure clickbait, as this video doesn't address how to actually stop the government from buying your home.  A more accurate title might be "One idea on how to address housing shortage over time."