Category: Opinion

I just saw on the news that Cathedral Prep bought the Hoffman Rigging property to expand the facility and add “a few hundred parking spots”.
That’s all well and good for the people that go to that facility, but for the other 240,000 people who live in Erie County I’d like to ask a few questions that Sean Lafferty failed to answer in his cheerful reading of this news item:
1. What’s happening to Hoffman Rigging? I personally did business with them last year. It seemed things were going well there, the ladies in the office were very cheerful. Do they still have a job? I’d guesstimate that they might have twenty or so employees. I certainly hope this hasn’t been at their misfortune.
2. What is the Catholic Diocese going to do to offset the lost property tax revenue to the city, school district, and county? Yet more property off the tax tools while Mrs. Dahlkemper raises taxes on the homeowners. Additionally this is income tax revenue the city is likely losing. Our elected representatives need to get on this ASAP. I’d like to hear from Jay Breneman, as he seems to be willing to engage the public and answer questions honestly (I’ve appreciated that in past discussion). I don’t know of any city council members on Facebook that might be willing to read this.
3. Why wasn’t this move publicised as their initial purchase of the main property was? Surely this at least requires a zoning change, I do believe council would have to approve that. Again, where do they stand on this issue?
I’m sad to see more bread taken off the table in the city while more and more look to get a piece.

I didn’t even make it one week.  Ten days ago I promised you, dear reader, a new post every week this winter.  A delayed resolution as it were.  Clearly I didn’t do this.  In my defense, my “slow season” has not arrived and I’m not complaining about it at all.  Lamenting, sure, complaining, no.  The winter months are the closest I get to having any sort of vacation time as I am self employed and cannot allow for such luxuries.

This is a double edged sword.  If there is no work, I have extra time.  Unfortunately this also means that I have zero income.  That’s a problem I’ve got to resolve.  I’m going to find a fix for it this year and I hope I’m working towards that goal.  One actual resolution I made for the new year was to take a vacation.  A real vacation.  I want to get on a plane or drive for hours and hours and end up at a great destination and stay in a hotel and have fun and relax.  Most of my “vacations” recently consist of driving for a few hours, sleeping, and driving back the following day.  This is unacceptable and quite honestly I feel my family deserves more.  I know my Dad wanted me to take this business and “do better” with it, and even though he didn’t know it this is something I consider better.  He never took enough time for himself, and conjointly, us.  We took many family vacations without him and I’ve already sent my wife and kids on short excursions without me (not over night… yet).

Friends and family have invited us to visit countless times over the years and have been rejected so many times I think most have stopped.  Watch out, maybe it’s your year.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro launch marred by supply shortages | ZDNet.

Microsoft's Surface Pro launch marred by supply shortages | ZDNet

As a rule, I’m not a defender of Microsoft.  Not like they need much defense, they can afford to defend themselves.  I am, however, an Apple hater.  I’ll readily admit that, I’ve never been agreeable to the platform going way back to the early Macintosh computers.  I’m saying that some of my best friends use Apple products, but they’re not for me.

My device choices have reflected this, owned nothing but PC’s (with light dabbling in Linux), I’ve had two iterations of Windows Mobile, and I’m with Android right now.  I haven’t used Windows 8, but I’m open to it.  I think the new windows phone platform looks interesting, and applied to a tablet, even better.  Upon first glance I wanted a Surface tablet.  Now, with the Surface pro, I’d probably choose that over an iPad; check that, I’d definitely pick it over an iPad.  Superior power, flexibility, PC functionality… I’d take that thing everywhere.

So why the hate from the tech bloggers?  You’d think that these people were somehow wronged by Microsoft personally, as though Steve Ballmer knelt behind them while Bill Gates pushed them backwards then stole their lunch money.  The situation reminds me of a report I did way back when I was in 7th grade and Microsoft was preparing to launch Windows NT and a corresponding handheld OS I’ve forgotten the name of to compete with Palm (then Palmpilot).  The Unix and Macintosh crowds couldn’t get over themselves to give either a chance.  They slapped and slandered NT for having a GUI, for being user friendly, for not having the direct control like Unix.  We know how that ended up, Windows became a major player in the server world.  Times have not changed.  I’d put money on most of the tech bloggers being iPhone carrying, iPod listening, iPad playing, and iMac publishing Apple honks.  Their bias is thinly disguised.

So, upon its launch, the Surface Pro quickly sold out.  This was due to short supply in some areas, and high demand in others.  When the first iPhones and iPads came out, the situation was exactly the same, and these writers couldn’t have been more excited that their beloved Apple was so popular that people couldn’t get enough.  Apple no longer has this problem, their (contemptible) Foxxconn operation in China can pump out their products like no other manufacturer can.  Microsoft has never had this problem, their ventures in to the hardware world haven’t ever been particularly successful aside from accessories like keyboards and mice.  So when they’ve finally sold something out, something well reviewed by those that gave it a chance, maybe they’d get some credit for getting it right?  Nah, they’re lambasted in online media for “intentionally cutting supply to sell out the product”.  That’s the most ridiculous premise I’ve ever heard.  It’s not as though they’re going to get lead story room on the nightly news because they sold their product out, so why would they risk damaging customer demand on purpose?  It’s clear they pushed the launch back from January to increase supply.  They couldn’t wait any more, they’d have faced too much criticism and suspicion that there were massive problems with the product that delayed launch.

There, Microsoft, I’ve defended your honor.  I want a Surface Pro.  Hook me up?

I don’t know that I’ve got some sort of greater wisdom to dispense to you, dear reader, on this New Year’s Eve.  Should I give a year in review?  That seems contrite, perhaps boring.  I suppose the thing to do would be to look forward.  Two thousand and thirteen in the year of our Lord, and beyond.

New Year’s resolutions are always a matter of contention, strangely enough, this time of year.  The mere consideration of them seems to irritate some people, almost as though the concept of using a benchmark date to improve oneself is the most ridiculous thing in the world.  I don’t make resolutions every year, but when I do, it feels really good to stick to them.

Stay thirsty...

The most successful I ever was at this was in 2010, I resolved to do two things: 1. Lose weight.  I started exercising with the coaching of a friend from the internet, and lost about 30 pounds in four months or so.  Evelynn was born at the end of May, and by July I had stopped exercising regularly and have not gotten back into it.  2. Go to church.  I’m not sure why I did this one, but it was helpful, and helped draw a few other people back to the church.  Evelynn also kaibashed this one, as she wasn’t behaved well enough during church to go regularly until recently.

In spite of my sobriety (that’s a callback to the Dos Equis guy), I’m going to put it out there this year.  My resolutions for 2013 are to 1. Lose weight and keep it off forever.  Just to lose the weight isn’t good enough, I’ve done that on this roller coaster of fatness.

Going down?

Going down?

2. Drink and smoke less, perhaps not even smoke at all.  I’ve been a glutton of late and it’s not healthy.  Resolution #2 is part of #1, and I must do both to be successful at either.

3. Make more money, and have less problems.  I don’t care what rappers say, if they think mo’ money is mo’ problems, I guess they’ve never had no money and lots of problems.

Wish me luck!

Since the explosion of text messaging years ago, people have lamented the lack of inter-personal contact.  People will sit in the same room and text or IM each other instead of turning around and speaking to each other.  Most of this has come from Baby Boomers and those who do not engage in regular messaging and despite being raised with computers have resisted them and refuse to learn anything about it.  I do not think that this era of texting, instant contact and social media has caused us, as a species, to move further apart.  It has actually ushered us into a new era of contact never before achieved.

Text messaging was invented in 1992 by a guy named Neil Papworth.  Poor Neil didn’t think to patent his new technology, otherwise he might be one of the richest men in the world right now.  In 1992, many people still had pagers and pay phones were on nearly every corner.  You could even see a Mercedes idling at a drive-up phone after pumping $1.05 a gallon gas and filling the car for $15.  Personally, I got a pager when I was 15 and had that until I was 17 (1995-1997).  Cell phones were catching on at that point, and even some people in high school started getting them.  I recall most people didn’t even know about texting, there was no such thing as a texting plan and surprisingly, IT WAS FREE!


I think I sent my first texts in maybe 1998.  I was working at a pizza shop and I’d send messages to people who’d have no idea how to get them, and they’d be annoyed at having an envelope on their screen that they couldn’t get rid of.  In fact, it was a Nokia, I can’t remember the model.  Two color screen, back lit buttons.  I didn’t have a phone with a color screen until 2001, it was a Kyocera.  I’ll stop with the history of phones I’ve had.


This age of instant communication can be daunting and hard to keep up with.  I resisted Facebook and Twitter, but now I use both regularly.  To many, the perpetual feed of information is overwhelming and it causes them to just turn off and walk away.  It’s certainly not for everyone.  However, just because we’re not speaking face to face doesn’t mean that it’s not the same sort of contact.  Facebook has enabled me to reconnect with and converse with people that I haven’t seen in 15 years.  We of the “Y” generation (a term I always hated) are coming up in a world that couldn’t be more disconnected with the traditions of Boomers and 40-50 somethings today.  Personally, every single one of the guys I hung out with in High School moved out of town.  Conversely, my 50 year old neighbor can probably name 20 people he went to high school with that he sees regularly around town.

Social media has been bred of necessity.  Unless we want to spend every waking minute on the phone, there is no other way to stay in contact with so many people who are spread so far apart.  At no time in the history of mankind have we been so in touch with each other.  In order to communicate more we would actually need to have some sort of psychic ability.  It’s surely easy to resent this at times, though, as being constantly reachable can be quite a burden.  I’m not sure what can surpass this, what is next, but I’m sure that I’ll complain about the good old days of texting when I don’t want to learn about it.