Libraries: The Pros and Cons

Pros and cons, you say? What reason could possibly invalidate the use of libraries? Why would some stay away from this resource, this goldmine, so essential to our expansion of knowledge and understanding, which anyone can access, and which many do? It is beyond me to fully explain the reasons for this, for I do not possess that authority. However, I can submit an uneducated guess. But in order to do so, we must first begin with the pros:

The benefits are exponential. The brains of persons who consume immense knowledge are strengthened. Harnessed with the power of the Sun and the wind, branches are flooded with the energy of electricity, the lightning of thunderstorms, all bathing under the supervision of the most beautiful star, which is the source of our existence. The brain is irrevocably altered, brightened. Our brain function capacity increases. This brain is the master system of our existence. It controls our every movement, both internally and externally, and responds at the speed of light, while allowing us to remain blissfully ignorant of its power — perhaps intentionally.

For if it were possible to understand its vast complexity, we most likely would not survive that knowledge. We would be instantly struck down from the intensity of that light. And so, the brain is a benign organism, as well, for it knows us better than we know ourselves. It has its reasons. And those most likely act as a protective shield. It knows, for example, how many challenges we already experience while trying to understand a minuscule portion of its system, and so deems it wise, to maintain that percentage in perpetuity. Why? Because, though we are the most pitiful specimens it has ever come across, it still loves us. It knows it would be an exercise in futility (and cruelty) to grant us the authority to access the maze of its peaks and towers. Such a foolish expedition would be the last line in the slim volume on “The Wisdom of Homo sapiens,” as recorded in “The Books of Time”  … And so on their hands and knees, begging, knowing at that moment they were nothing more than a faint and imperceptible object, pleading and begging their soul to flee its paltry shell…their spark expired.

And so, those disciplined souls who cherish the ritual of the revolving doors of knowledge granted through the lending of books may one day reach a conclusion similar to the one above. But those who are utterly incapable of participating in this ritual, mostly for reasons of discipline deficiencies, well, they may be, unwittingly, granted some added protection.

I once borrowed a recording of Beethoven’s Piano Sonatas, and I became mesmerized. Several months passed — perhaps six, or more, or even a year? — before I appeared before the librarian and explained what had happened. Oddly enough, the librarian chose not to punish me. Instead, she told me:  “Just keep it.”  Perhaps she did this out of pity? Or perhaps she knew I was a vulnerable soul would forever be shielded from experiencing the consequences of the knowledge stated in the previous paragraph?  If so, I am thankful. And I dedicate this piece to the stewards of scholarship and knowledge throughout the world who alone preserve the history of civilization.

 

DOJ ADA Complaint

Apparently, this was never filed. I thought I had filed it, but while searching earlier, I realized I had no confirmation of receipt from the DOJ.  Excuse the formatting. The Complaint Form has a specific allowance for characters (which may be why they never received it, since I used paragraphs, which exceeded the limit.) So you have to scrunch everything together. Sure would be nice, if they let you know that, you know, had, oh, whatever.

COMPLAINT

GREATER BALTIMORE MEDICAL CENTER (GBMC)

“I was under the impression that I had filed the following complaint with the DOJ on July 23, 2015. However, I cannot find receipt of acknowledgment from your office. This is what I wrote on July 23, 2015, addressed to the ACLU, now edited to provide further details. This past week, I experienced a nightmare when I went in GBMC ER for an allergic reaction. I had been to the ER on Saturday night, suffering from heat exhaustion. The previous night, Friday night, Paramedics pulled me from my car and took me the Hopkins ER. On Saturday night, the symptoms of heat exhaustion were still present and my psychologist recommended I go to an ER other than Hopkins and I did. There, once the Attending Physician discovered I had a psychiatric diagnosis, left the room. A Fellow doing his Residence in Psychiatry, then came (I never saw the MD again) to discuss my psychiatric diagnosis, which is fine. That seemed to go well – at least that was my impression. The next night, however, was when the nightmare emerged and the sadistic behavior of the staff there was clearly visible. I had a systemic allergic reaction after I had eaten something and my hand became swollen. The same physician who had attended me the previous night also saw me that Sunday night. But before I saw him, a nurse attended me, and gave me 50 or 75 mgs of Benadryl to reduce the swelling on my hand. After that, a Physician’s Assistant saw me, and the first thing she said to me: “I can see that your Bipolar symptoms are exacerbated.” I looked at her and said: “What are you talking about? I’m here because of a severe allergic reaction.” My body was producing hives as we spoke. “Where did you get that information, about the exacerbation of my Bipolar symptoms? “It’s in your chart,” she said. “Really? And who put it in my chart?” The psychiatric resident,” she said. When the doctor arrived, I immediately addressed staff treatment of those with psychiatric diagnoses. He became hostile. And refused to examine my hand, and from a distance, called it a “superficial bruise.” Then, I said, there is no reason for me to be here. And I left, walked out. He didn’t stop me. A friend who was with me that night (an Epidemiologist) returned to the ER and discussed the reason why I was there. The Attending Physician then said, I could come back and be examined by another physician. However that is not what happened. I was tricked and escorted without my knowledge and locked in a ward with 2 security guards present and additional nursing staff. “What is going on?’ I said. They said they wanted to evaluate me. That is NOT why I returned to the ER. Furthermore, they had no right whatsoever to do this, as it was not the psychiatric diagnosis that was problem, but the allergic reaction that brought me to the ER. They had incarcerated me against my will, but in a most sinister fashion, through trickery and malice, because I had earlier challenged their treatment of psychiatric patients. If my friend had not been there, they had the power to hold me, a clear violation of my civil rights, and a dangerous breach of ethics. I demanded I be released, and they were forced to comply.

This type of behavior needs to stop.”

Americans with Disabilities Act Discrimination Complaint Form

Thank you for your complaint. Please retain and refer to the following reference number for any correspondence concerning this complaint:

16-1nz41-2u9a

Where Are My Ear Buds! Oh.

It was one of those days …

When you got too much going on up there, and not enough sense of the world, outside of there, the 3-dimensional one — ‘ya know, the one I’m talking about, this one here — when the wires get crossed — and you start to get lost — when you start to rhyme, then ‘ya start to screech, cause ‘ya never did intend to rhyme — whether it’s up there or here, when you start to ask questions — you shouldn’t have to ask, when ‘ya start looking for things, you don’t need to be looking fer,  going up and down stairs, —

If only things were just a bit more copacetic, but they’re not  —

And you’re tickled to discover

When you see you’re still here —

Relatively
intact

unproofed

And you jus’ can’t help but smile at yourself.

 

Where Are My Ear Buds!  Oh...

 

The Decline of American Manufacturing and Education

Bitching and Moaning

I am always bitching and moaning about the service economy we have become, but really offer little in terms of service, as the stupidity of people seems to increase exponentially each year, likely because of the impoverished educational skills we now teach, which require no thinking whatsoever, and reward rote learning and test skills over thinking and asking lots of questions, which seems to me is exactly the meaning of learning — not parroting facts and figures, but actually questioning where those facts and figures come from, instead of blindly accepting them on some elusive authority that hangs in the air.

Retail Industry

So let’s just look at the first contact in service fields — the Retail Industry.

First I have to state that I have always been a compulsive label reader.  I’ve always wanted to know what I’m eating, so I’ve been scouring labels on supermarket shelves forever, and the same with products that I purchase — I want to know where they are made, so I can decide if I want to support that economy or not.  And let there be no mistake, the biggest manufacturer in the world today is China.

At first, I noticed the label Made in China on toy products, decades ago — the kind of things that didn’t cost much and broke easily, trinkets. Gradually, the list of items manufactured in China grew, and now it is difficult to find anything that is not made in China.

It’s depressing.  Personally and economically.

But although China is the main manufacturer of most products made today, it is not the only one.  Cheap labor is also had in the other Asian Countries, from East to West.  However, the most pathetic item I ever came across that had been outsourced was a plastic laundry bag in a hotel room — Made in India!

Another depressing thought. Are we so stupid that we can no longer manufacturer cheap, plastic laundry bags?

While this shift was occurring, it seems we also developed a bigger and bigger appetite for objects that conveyed status, either from handbags or the name of a designer on clothing purchased, which afforded the designer free advertising, the name emblazoned there for all to see.  Ironically, there was a period when designers, especially of handbags, waged a minor protest about knock-offs, clones of the real thing. But as designers also succumbed to the realization that if they manufactured their products in Asia, they would make shit-loads of money, as opposed to paying workers here to make those products, which, alas, would require they pay a decent salary and demonstrate humane tendencies, and help those struggling to survive in this abysmal economy, which is so not in the Bible of Corporate Philosophy, that protest dissipated.  So, really, at this point what is the difference between a knock-off and the real thing?

Not much.

Our market has become over-saturated with designer labels that for me, at least, has led to an aversion response whenever I see this stuff.  I first noticed it while subbing in high schools in the affluent Montgomery Country School System, Maryland.  I reached the point where I felt if I saw another — See?  I have blocked the name, and can’t remember it! — I would gag.  Everybody had these jackets, from Gang Bangers to the Preppy Population.  The air become polluted, and my eyes, fatigued, from the constant monochrome message pasted on student bodies.

(Nor do I understand the appeal of those cheap-looking, plastic bags that sell for over a grand, with the YSL logo emblazoned on the them. What’s up with that?)

The Extrapolation of Education

Going back to that anemic learning environment we call Education today, I find that there are parallels between that and the intelligence of the work-force.

The lack of curiosity has turned people into working and shopping zombies.  Go to any upscale shop today, and the sales associate is clueless about the product’s manufacturing history.  My favorite is Coach.  What a status symbol that is, huh?  Now there was a time when Coach manufactured its bags in America — not so, anymore.  How long have they been manufacturing in Asia? Not sure. But long enough. I think I bought my first Coach bag 3 decades ago. That bag was manufactured in the U.S. But the name has become so synonymous with prestige, that most women don’t even realize that these bags are all manufactured in China. So as Coach reaps substantial profits, while its headquarters building in NYC appears abandoned, even if you point out where the bag was made, after asking the sales associate where the bag was made, they give you a dumb look,  a blank look, like nothing  whatsoever is there, empty minds —aside from designer logos floating around.

Check any designer label, and you’ll find the same manufacturing label.  You would be hard pressed to find something that is actually Made in America.  Calvin Klein,  Ann Taylor, GAP,  J.CREW,  Madewell, Michael Kors,  — I’m drawing a blank here, but go ahead and play Hide ‘n Seek with designer labels, especially now that they bury the origin of production deeper and deeper into the pockets of the items they sell.  They’re catching on.  Especially disappointing are those designers who exclusively produced their clothing in America then succumbed to allure of Asian manufacturing.  Eileen Fischer, for example.

 

Correlations?

Now whether there is a correlation between our decline in critical thinking skills because of the frenzy to keep testing students for what they already know, which is not much, but surely makes testing companies happy, and the absence of producing anything of significance in this country, may be an unknown, especially since I have not seen any researchers tackle the monumental task of measuring Stupidity and the Decline of Manufacturing in America.