Old Diary

Somebody Nobody Knows About

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I’m not entirely sure whether Alfred Hitchcock actually said these words, but given the kind of movies he made it surely sounds like something he might say.  He loved the surprise ending!

A premise like this could go in a great many ways, not all of which I would be happy to inspire.  There’s already too much suspicion and doubt in this world to want to apply it to secrets people try to keep.  And secrets never seem kept for very long, so that’s not a very positive message for the day before New Years.

What I’m thinking about instead is the inner application of Hitchcock’s words.  Have you thought about the idea that within you there’s someone you haven’t let out to see the light of day?  Perhaps there’s a better you.  Or a more creative you.  Or a kinder you. There might be a quieter you, or a louder you too.  Or a party you, or a recluse you. All of these “you” ‘s may be laying in wait just because you are afraid of what someone else might say, or what they might do if they knew about that secret, hidden, you.

Why are we afraid to let people know who we really are.  A lot of us are.  It’s there to be observed often enough.  Little hesitations; longing glances; and a thousand little telltales that we think we are hiding.  But we aren’t really.  All we are doing is holding ourselves back from being who we really are.

Maybe 2020 can be a year where you let people in to see who you really are.  Or at least one or two people — people you can trust.  Not people you think you can trust, but those who are close enough to you that you are sure your revelations won’t turn them away from you.  If you try it with one or two, perhaps you’ll find that you really aren’t so horrible a person; that you really are pretty great inside; that you’re amazing and wonderful and you’ve been keeping it all a secret for no good reason.

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Old Diary

The new diner

The Baby Boomer generation grew up taking their little kids to McDonalds instead of to the local diner.  What happens, one might ask, when all the kids of all the Boomers are grown and the Boomers are on their own? th-2A recent visit to our local Panera reminded me of the answer to that questions.

It’s been obvious for a while that McDonalds and Panera and those other chain food restaurants that offer breakfast are the new version of the old-fashioned diner.  Gone are the long counters with stools,  gone are the sassy middle aged waitresses.  The menu is now standardized,  it may not be great but it’s consistent: you know exactly what you’re going to get even if it isn’t quite as yummy as momma made.  Or maybe it’s better than momma made, if momma didn’t like to cook, or maybe if she took you out to McDonalds instead of cooking.

On a recent Saturday morning we actually went to a Panera shop for a bagel and coffee.  I could not get over how jam packed the place was with seniors and middle aged folks idly enjoying their morning gab session with friends over a cuppa joe and a nosh.  We don’t do all that many coffee shops, but it really struck me on that morning how much the fast food industry has done to change the landscape of dining options.  And how we, as a population, have made it so.

Mind you, I’m writing this from the perspective of someone who doesn’t understand why in the U.S. we seem to have Cheddar, Mozzarella, CoJack, and not many other kinds of cheese while in France they have more than 365 registered cheeses and more besides. I don’t understand why, in the face of infinite variables in cooking, the majority of the population would rather chow down on standardized fair with a minimum of choices. Just because we buy things that are mass produced by machines do we have to also eat mass produced food?   Are we so brainwashed that we prefer uniformity to diversity?

And is that part of what carries over into our problems with human diversity?  Do we not like people who are different from us for the same reason that we choose a breakfast muffin with sausage and cheese over a plate with eggs, cheese, and a slice of toast?

I don’t have the answer.  But I do know that brains follow established pathways.  We like our habits.  And the things we choose we choose by force of habit.  Maybe we are teaching ourselves to be increasingly less tolerant of all diversity by limiting what we eat to a narrow range of predefined choices?

 

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Old Diary

The Bayview Massacre

The last few years there have not been very many labor union strikes.  It’s been as if the labor union movement has accomplished it’s mission and isn’t needed any more.  Sadly, that’s not really true, other events have taken place that have made job actions increasingly difficult — not the least of which is the difficulty of finding health insurance. Walking a picket line when doing so might lose you your health insurance and make you ineligible for coverage of pre-existing conditions is a mighty big stick to hold over the heads of workers.

Because I live near Milwaukee, I’m never far from the site of the Bayview Massacre. Nowadays we run the two words together and it’s no longer Bay View.  But the reality of the event comes back to me every time I visit our daughter, who lives in that part of the Milwaukee metro area.  In case you forgot, or never knew about it, this is what happened.

I wanted to write about this because of the ways in which power corrupts.  In 2019 we might think that a dispute about working conditions ought never to cause the death of more than half a dozen workers.  But power doesn’t like to give in.  The rich don’t like to be told what to do and in 1886 when times were a lot harder than they are in 2019 the situation got out of hand.  The military was called in to quash this strike and “the guardsmen’s orders were that, if the strikers were to enter the Mills, they should shoot to kill. But when the captain received the order it had a different meaning: he ordered his men to pick out a man and shoot to kill when the order was given.”  This is how simple goes from being simple, to being very complicated.  It’s the same thing that happened much more recently at Kent State university when students were shot — murdered.  And it will happen again when men armed with guns over step their bounds. We see it in cities and suburbs around the country when cops kill blacks.  Guns and power are a dangerous combination.  But sometimes the cause is important enough to stand up.  And men like these have made life better for us all.  If only we don’t forget what they stood up for.


Bay View Rolling Mills Milwaukee, WI

Bay View Rolling Mills Milwaukee, WI

The Bay View massacre (sometimes also referred to as the Bay View Tragedy) was the result of a strike held on May 4, 1886, by 7,000 building-trades workers and 5,000 Polish laborers who had organized at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to strike against their employers, demanding the enforcement of an eight-hour work day.[1] A few days earlier, on May 1, a peaceful demonstration had been held in nearby Chicago, with similar demands.

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By Monday, May 3, the number of participants had increased to over 14,000 workers that gathered at the Milwaukee Iron Company rolling mill in Bay View. They were met by 250 National Guardsmen under order from Republican Governor Jeremiah M. Rusk. The strikers had shut down every business in the city except the North Chicago Rolling Mills in Bay View. The guardsmen’s orders were that, if the strikers were to enter the Mills, they should shoot to kill. But when the captain received the order it had a different meaning: he ordered his men to pick out a man and shoot to kill when the order was given. Workers camped in the nearby fields and the Kosciuszko Militia arrived by May 4. Early the next day the crowd, which by this time contained children, approached the mill and were fired upon. Seven people died as a result, including a thirteen-year-old boy.[2][3] Several more were injured during the protest. Several contradictory newspaper accounts described other possible casualties, but the count of seven deaths is substantiated by specific names (Frank Kunkel, Frank Nowarczyk, John Marsh, Robert Erdman, Johann Zazka, Martin Jankowiak, and Michael Ruchalski).[4]

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Since 1986, members of the Bay View Historical Society, the Wisconsin Labor History Society, and other community groups have held a commemorative event to honor the memories of those killed during the incident. The event is held every year on the first Sunday in May at 3pm, at the State Historical Marker site at the intersection of Superior Street and Russell Avenue, within view of the former rolling mill location.

The Bayview Massacre

weekends were a crazy liberal idea

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Old Diary

Life Expectancy

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Old Diary

Your life is planned out for you

“But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work. We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.”

https://www.raptitude.com/2010/07/your-lifestyle-has-already-been-designed/

 

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