Weekly Wrap Up #2389

Thoughts for the week. Because thoughts posted on a Friday probably won’t be read and I can’t think of anything else to post on the Instagram. Even I’m tired of posting dog pictures.

– I finished “Suicide of the West”. I do recommend it. The author has an understanding of classical history that makes me wonder what classes I took in school. I vaguely remember learning something about the pilgrims and I think there was something about robber barons and Egyptians. Definitely pyramids. I remember pyramids. The libertarian in me mostly liked the book, but I’m probably not smart enough to know if I really do or not.cruise2

– After swearing I wouldn’t watch another one, I sat through most of the second Jack Reacher movie. Firstly, what the hell did Tom Cruise do to his face? There’s a weird Wayne Newton thing going on. Second, on what planet did someone think Tom Cruise would make a good Jack Reacher?

– Sticking with the movie theme, I finally watched “The Last Jedi”. Brace yourselves Star Wars geeks… it was unwatchable. Horrible. I’m out.

– On the golf front, I’ve spent approximately 83 hours at the range in the last few days. I’ve got the ball going in the air about 40% of the time. Only a few clubs have been thrown. To the ten year old having her first lesson, I apologize for the words you heard. Those are golf words and you’re going to have to learn them at some point.

– Here in Idaho we went from cold and wet to 100 degrees. To all the friends and family we convinced to move here… you actually believed me when I said we don’t have much heat until late August? <insert Dr Evil sinister laugh>

– Several hundred dollars in ice cream (don’t ask) sitting in the freezer is not conducive to the diet. If this is some sort of Zen/Buddhist/navy seal willpower thing, I’ve failed.

– I’ve been mountain biking with the hound quite a bit lately. It’s pretty hard to tire out a Vizsla when you can’t keep up with him (see ice cream note above). mtb dog

– I’m going down the vitamin/supplement road. I saw some stuff on YouTube, so it’s got to be legit. D, B12, apple cider vinegar. I chase it down with bourbon. Not sure which one is making me feel better.

– Been doing the time restricted feeding thing for a bit now. Down 10 pounds. If I could keep my feeding window from being mostly nachos I’d probably be able to ride uphill better. The downhill part is going well (something about mass + velocity).

– Mrs Troutdog and I officially cut the cable cord. Doing the streaming thing only. The interface sucks and I don’t have the patience to find anything to watch. The end result is that I rarely watch TV anymore. I’m not sure what I’m doing with my time now, but it’s not TV.

– I’m developing a serious love/hate relationship with old people. Some of them are the coolest patients and I could spend all day listening to their stories. Some of them are the nastiest human beings you can imagine. Generally, If they weren’t a nice person to begin with and managed to make it to 80+, there is no filter anymore. Don’t be one of those people.

Until next week (unless I win the lottery, turn pro on the senior PGA tour, get picked for Dancing with the Stars, or the zombie apocalypse)…


Dean Vernon Wormer: Here are your grade point averages. Mr. Kroger: two C’s, two D’s, and an F. That’s a 1.2. Congratulations, Kroger. You’re at the top of the Delta pledge class. Mr. Dorfman?

Flounder: [drunk] Hello!

Dean Vernon Wormer: 0.2… Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.

On Star Trek, And Tricorder Repairmen

We are at a crossroads in America. We no longer have a middle class. It’s disappeared. Poof, gone. You can work in the retail or service sector for low wages, or you can try and get an advanced degree and work in the tech world. There’s almost nothing in between. We cannot compete with the global economy when it comes to manufacturing. Period, game over, it isn’t coming back.

Of course there will be niches here and there we succeed at and offshoring isn’t quite as cheap as it once was. At the end of the day though, you cannot compete against a country whos workers are paid pennies on the dollar compared to the U.S. The sooner we come to grips with that the better off we’ll be.

I was listening to Department of Commerce Secretary Pritzker on a morning show today and she made an astounding comment. When asked what U.S. sectors are doing well right now her answer was “construction, housing, and consumer retail”. That’s it. That’s our economy in a nutshell. Sectors that are based upon low skilled labor and are volatile and bubble-prone. That oughta scare the holly bejeezus out of you. I don’t know about you, but I’m not all that comfortable banking our economic underpinnings on the hope that Americans will continue to embrace the iPhone 9s with a screen size .02 cm larger or the resurgence of the hover board craze (guaranteed fire resistant!). It’s ok though, ’cause you’re going to need a bigger home to store all that stuff – and boy, do we have some exciting new mortgage options for you!

So what will be the economic engine for the middle class in the future? I’m certainly not smart enough to figure that out or I’d already be investing in it. It clearly won’t be the manufacturing of “things”. It has to be a commodity that can’t be easily shipped from overseas. Something that takes development of an actual skill or expertise, yet doesn’t necessarily require years of schooling and advanced degrees. A job that is valued and recession-proof enough that the average Joe/Jane can support a family and, with some prudent saving, can afford to go drink fruity adult beverages with tiny umbrellas on a beach occasionally.

While I don’t know what that sector will be, if I had kids or if you’re just starting out in the job world, I’d make damn sure I was comfortable with data, information management, and device connectivity. Learn how to create a website beyond just using a canned template. Can you connect a device to a network and troubleshoot problems? Can you write simple scripts to connect various programs and do something with their output? Can you take data from a program and do something with it to present it in a compelling way? None of these things take years of advanced math or electrical engineering to understand. These are skills anyone who applies themselves can master.

What is clear about the future is that we will be driven by data. Billions of cheaply manufactured devices will all be connected to various networks and attempting to communicate with each other. Yes, eventually your refrigerator will be not only ordering your weekly groceries, but will be preparing nutritional summaries for your health care provider. My report will be exclusively cheese, beer, and hummus. Beef and pork will be too damn expensive for anyone but the evil one percenters.
medical_tricorder
I’ve  gone the route of helping sick people. There will always be sick people, right? Meanwhile I’ll probably be replaced by an $11 an hour, 17 year old medical assistant wielding a Star Trek medical tricorder. I should have been training to be a tricorder repairman. Or an Obamacare v.12 website administrator.

 

 

Let Me Solve That For You

Today I started working through some chemistry refresher lessons. I quickly realized two things. First, it’s been a frighteningly long time since I thought about this stuff. Second, how I approach things is much different as an adult than it was as a first-time student. I found myself fast forwarding the second I thought I knew something. I whipped out the calculator as soon as the instructor mentioned a formula. Worse of all, I kept checking mail and social media every five minutes. It wasn’t very long before I was a bit lost on a simple concept. I’m clearly not the sharpest crayon in the box, but I’m not the dullest either. How did this happen?

Our world has become one of instant access to everything at all times. Always connected. Real-time analysis of speeches, world events, sports. Accuracy can always be “tweaked” in a subsequent blog or story. I’ve clearly developed AADD (adult attention deficit disorder). Paying attention to something and ensuring you really understand it is hard. Making the commitment to study, learn, and not just do enough to pass a test will be challenging for me.

You hear a lot that the younger generation, having grown up with multi-tasking – information overload, simply manages all this intuitively. Part of me mostly agrees. Watching my young nieces and nephews playing video games or working on the computer can be exhausting. Thirty-plus years their elder, I cannot process the on-screen information fast enough to keep up. How are they absorbing information that quickly? Easy to be intimidated… and then I followed a popular (in the college-age/hipster world) blogger looking for a research assistant. He posted the application requirements to make it the next level of applicants. Five simple instructions. Of the four thousand who applied only 1500 were able to successfully follow the instructions. Perhaps taking your time to understand something before acting is becoming a lost art?

Since my new path is in the medical world, I think I’ll learn to take my time and ensure I’m really learning. The consequences of not understanding might be a bit higher than a poorly written blog post <grin>.