Saturday, 19 June 2010

Meet the Old Guy

Well, it's official. I'm becoming an old man.

I just spent half an hour sorting light bulbs, seeing which ones work and which I have been saving to dispose of properly. Having separated the two, I then separated the working bulbs into types. Then I realized I had better call my oldest son and tell him to stop buying energy saving light bulbs as we have enough for his entire house, after years of buying them whenever I strolled through Canadian Tire and found them on sale, "just in case".

I then found every power bar and extension cord I had ever bought on sale and made a mental note to call my son and tell him not to buy an extension cord or power bar unless he checked with me first because I probably have just the right size and length, no matter what he needs. They are neatly stored and categorized.

Finally, I found my very first energy saving light bulb that I bought at Canadian Tire back in the early 90's, one of three that cost me $17 each. I couldn't afford to buy all three at once, so I bought them over the course of year. These original energy saving massive bulbs would take about half an hour to warm up and I thought that putting it in the bathroom, the most used room in the house, made sense. Of course, before it got bright enough so that I could actually find the toilet I'd already pissed all over the floor and was back in bed. Now my energy saving bulb lights up immediately.

I still piss all over the floor and I end up lying sleeplessly wondering why I keep getting up at 2 in the morning even though I've stopped drinking liquids at about noon.

And instead of recycling thie still functional light bulb or screwing it into a socket somewhere, I took this thing that weighs about a pound and put it neatly away, saving it like the museum piece that it is. One of my lucky children will get it when I die. I'll let them argue about who gets stuck with it.

Yup - I've turned into an old man. But I still start my day with consecutively pumping out one pushup for every year I've been puttering around the planet, at least I think I can. I've been losing count lately.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Some things can't be Outsourced - in Support of Public Employees

A tornado hit Leamington this weekend. The town is a wreck, by all accounts.

All available Municipality employees are pitching in to clean up the devastated areas of town. Employees who usually collect garbage are now working side by side with Parks and Rec and other outside workers to make it right in Leamington.

Would the low-paid employees of private contractors be first responders if Windsor outsources garbage collection as council is considering?

Here's what can't be outsourced to private interests. It's simple. If 100 of us got together to start our own village and pooled our resources for the good of all, what would we spend our money together on what separately we could never afford? These are not luxuries. What would we provide for all, the richest and the poorest alike?

Democracy - government, governance, elections, the public library
Administration - the public service, civil servants, tax and fines collection, by-law enforcement
Security - police, fire fighting
Sanitation - sewage processing, clean water, garbage removal
Roads - that we share
Electricity and power - the grid and infrastructure
Education - together we'd hire a teacher for our kids
Health - standards, basic medical care, emergency care, social services

For the good of our little village, we wouldn't leave these essential services in the hands of "for profit" enterprises who can just pack up and walk away if it's not profitable to stick around. Yesterday's tornado in Leamington is just one reason. Tomorrow's garbage collection in Windsor is another.

As we grew in size the list of things we'd buy together would grow. Attracting small businesses and tourism might be a good example of expenditures that can yield a remarkable return on investment.

Conversely, there's a list a mile long we'd probably opt not to spend our collective resources (tax money) on. Let's hope the elected officials in our little village would discern the difference.