Tag Archives: Talking Heads

Bang Bang – Our Government Shot Us Down

The Battle of Gettysburg, by Thure de Thulstrup

The Battle of Gettysburg, by Thure de Thulstrup

I’ll be the first to admit that I just do not understand what is going on inside the talking heads up there in Washington. But I am at even more of a loss than usual these days. This ridiculous government shut down nonsense is simply beyond the pale. I would give me left arm to be a fly on the wall in the room where “they” decide what is essential and what is non–essential as far as government services are concerned.

I’ll bet good money that the government-funded barber shops, restaurants, and private health care for the bigwigs up there in Washington are buzzing along, business as usual. Yet our tax dollars are now spent to shut down national monuments that are just sitting there in the open air and not even manned to begin with. People have been arrested people for hiking in the Grand Canyon. I am shocked and appalled. How on earth or what kind of bizarre disconnect from reality, does it take for a government officials to decide they have the right to close a canyon, for God’s sake??? It is one of the wonders of the natural world. Our national parks, which people come from all over the world to see, are closed. What kind of message does this send to our neighbors on this planet?

I’m concerned that we are rapidly becoming the laughing-stock of the civilized world. As a rather cantankerous grandmother, sometimes I think that our elected officials up there in Washington all need a stern do better talk, a good spanking and all sent to bed without their supper until they stop bickering, learn to work together and do what it is that we hired them to do…which is run our government in an efficient, humane and prosperous way, as they solemnly promised to do when elected.

Right now it reminds me more of school yard shenanigans where boys get in a snit because everyone won’t play by their rules so they snatch up their toys and go home. We the people, who purchased their toys in the first place, are not getting our money’s worth by any stretch of the imagination.

I have to admit that I am more outraged than usual by the absurd twists and turns in our nation’s capital. It hit Mr. Husband and I personally because we had plans with a group of 10 to go to Gettysburg this week and receive a day and half private tour by the director of a documentary which will come out soon on the PBS television station. This came about because a friend of ours was one of the people to fund the documentary. But now we can’t do it and our trip is cancelled because the Gettysburg National Cemetery is CLOSED.

The Tide Turned – A Short Story

consumerism

illustration by Ethan Bloch

Nobody is really sure when it happened. People just stopped what they were doing, put down their arms, or their reports, schedules, phones, parked their car, or walked away. It started as a gentle stirring of the breeze, or the caress of the master’s hand on the piano keys, a soft slow peaceful melody coming to life.

The event wasn’t on the news, people didn’t panic. There was no run on the stock market or the bank. No looting or rioting. People still went about their business to some extent. Children played, school happened, dinner got cooked, the laundry got washed. The necessary things happened. It happened so gradually that it almost went on unnoticed for quite some time.

It may have gone unnoticed for a while longer if it hadn’t started in the late fall, before the Christmas rush. What did come to the attention of those who track such things was that there was no Christmas rush. There was a small uptick in sales, but what was missing was the frenzy. No one maxed out their credit cards, took out usurious payday loans or careened around town in a mad lemming’s rush to purchase, purchase, purchase.

At first, as usual, businesses stayed open late nights or even all night in anticipation of the shopping rush that didn’t come. What little shopping people did happened in the afternoon or evening and then people went home. After a week of this the employees gave up and for lack of customers went home also. Left with no customers or employees for these longer hours, stores closed earlier, no more late night, 24/7 frenzy.

The December holidays found people off the street, dining with family and friends. Restaurants and bars, usually jammed with lonely people escaping the holiday madness found themselves bereft of customers. By the last week before Christmas small shops and eateries threw in the towel, declared a holiday and sent employees home to their families.

December came and went. In January the talking heads started to panic. Since very little shopping went on in December there was no rush to return or exchange gifts. People weren’t in the store so the January “slashed prices everything must go” sales never quite got off the ground. The nation failed to meet its quota of consumerism.

By February, the talking heads came to a startling realization. No one was listening to them except other talking heads. You can’t con a con; the heads were starting to figure this out too. How you use shock and awe…and fear to sell the news when no one was buying, no one is watching their “news?”

No one heard or cared about their sage instructions saying “now is the time to buy” that new car, buy that spring wardrobe, and buy a better house, although the house lived in now is fine and dandy and holds many happy memories.

March came and a new trend developed. Driving around any neighborhood and it was obvious. Instead of buying things people where giving away. Something more profound than the usual spring cleaning was going on. Garages, storage sheds, and packed quest rooms emptied out. Piles of items, furniture, clothing, knick knacks and gadgets, grew on the curb and overflowed the charity bins at the local grocery store. Thrifts shops were inundated with donations.

By April, manufacturers were in a panic. How are we going to sell all this stuff if no one is buying, what will our stockholders say? Production, sales, prices must always go up, must always improve. That is the way of business. If sales and prices go down then we are in a recession and must buy our way out it at all costs. They calmed down somewhat when they realized that with all the improvements and “just in time” manufacturing and inventory policies, there really was not as much of the huge mounds of unsold inventory as they initially feared.

In May the trend watchers heaved a premature sigh of relief. Ah, it’s vacation time, people will buy clothes, and summer gadgets, and gas, and plane tickets, and on and on. People will begin to consume again in a “normal” manner. Everything will be fine; the stockholders will clap their hands and count their beans, except it didn’t happen. Families decided to have family time at home instead of hauling the family and half their possessions elsewhere, only to ignore each other at their destination.

June came and it was just the summer lull. The economist decided to stop freaking out about it for a month. July came and went without much fanfare.

By August it was becoming painfully obvious that something, only who knows what had happened. It all happened so gradually that the average Joe and Jane didn’t really notice it. They were too busy living their lives.

Wouldn’t it be nice?

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