Archive for June, 2011

Going Postal: The Postal Service (June 27, 2011)

Posted in Bureaucracy, Pogo Plight, Postal Service on June 27, 2011 by

. . .

C          “Let me get this right.  Because the recipient’s address states both the street address and the post office box number, one of your colleagues sent the letter back to me the sender as undeliverable?”

B          “You can pick the street address or the post office box number, but you can’t pick both.”

C          “It was clear where the letter should be delivered.  The address is a belt and suspenders way to assure delivery.  Or try to assure delivery.”

B          “There were two addresses.”

C          “Both are accurate.  Pick an address, but deliver it in a timely manner.”

B          “We don’t pick an address.  We returned it to the return address.”

C          “Which included both my street address and the post office box number.  You picked an address and returned it.”

B          “We had to return it.”

C          “You are obligated to deliver it.  That is the law.  Those who use the Postal Service are using it as a last resort.  Sounds like there is a willful effort to find an excuse not to deliver a letter and force the sender to pay postage and try again.  The practice may allow the Postal Service to generate more Benjamin Franklins, but that is not what Benjamin Franklin envisioned.  Was this business plan created by an American-trained MBA?”

B          “Who knows.”

C          “What if the return address instead had been the address of the intended recipient and included both the street address and the post office box number?”

B          “We would pick one address and return the letter.”

C          “So it would have gotten to the intended recipient.”

B          “Rules are rules.”

C          “Thus, the one way to guarantee that the letter arrives is to put the recipient’s name in the return address in the upper left corner with both the street address and the post box number . . . address it to yourself with both the street address and the post box number . . . and then to clinch the deal one should avoid putting any postage on it?”

B          “That will work.  Every effort will be made to deliver the letter to the return address.”

C          “If it works for the Postal Service, it should work for me.  . . .  I guess.”

. . .

C          “The office moved next door.  The arrow on the office sign now points to the right rather than to the left.  The name is unique.  No one could miss it.”

B          “The forwarding order has expired.”

C          “So.”

B          “If there is no forwarding order, then the mail cannot be forwarded.  It’s an order.”

C          “Timely receipt of the mail is absolutely critical.  As it is, the letters are returned to the sender who may not make another effort to resend them.  One sender suspected that something was not right and just happened to think to call and inquire further.”

B          “Deliver another forwarding order.”

C          “There is no need to enter another forwarding order unless an order to cease forwarding is delivered.  The forwarding order on line requires payment of a dollar for no good reason.  The mail simply should be delivered.” 

B          “Rules are rules.”

C          “But what are the rules?”

. . .

C          “You charge more because the letter is too fat?”

B         “It’s too wide.  See, it does not fit in this opening.”

C          “Shouldn’t the freight be akin to cereal which is sold by weight not volume.  It is just paper that will be flattened when it is stacked with other mail.”

B          “Rules are rules.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Going Postal

Deliver the mail

A functioning postal system is fundamental to a well-ordered society.

Postal Customer:  Dear Valued Customer:  I am writing to ask you to share your experiences with the United States Postal Service (USPS) and let us know how well we have been serving you.  Please take a few minutes to answer this survey.  . . .  If you would rather complete this survey online, please . . . .

“Needs new postage to remail.  When mailing remove label affix postage and remail.”

Postal Customer:  Dear Valued Customer:   Last week we sent you a survey about how well the U.S. Postal Service is meeting your mailing needs and expectations.  I hope you chose to accept our invitation to participate. . . .

Another Solstice (June 20, 2011)

Posted in Society, Solstice on June 20, 2011 by

. . .

O          “Solstice is a regular reminder of something more ominous.  The Last Sunset.  Seems like a day to mourn rather to celebrate.  The day is heralded as the beginning of Summer, yet the day harbingers the ending of additional day light.  Summer is otherwise just dawning and just finishing the first quarter, yet Nature reverses the rheostat and lowers the lights.”

Y          “Summer is more like a hockey game.  The lights go up during the first period – Memorial Day – and then down before the second period – Independence Day.  The third period – Labor Day – eases the transition to Fall.”

O          “The lights should stay on until half time.  Keep them lit until July 21.”

Y          “It is what it is.  The second period may not offer as much light, yet it is still warm.  There is lots of time to play.”

O          “And each Solstice appears to arrive sooner every year.  We should be inspired by the golden-crowned sparrow that enchants us with its plaintive song all Summer.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Carpe Diem

Why not enjoy the day

Fishing is fast; catching is slow.

Our “Fiat Future” (June 13, 2011)

Posted in "Fiat ______", Banks and Banking System, Debt/Deficits, Economics, Gold Standard, Peak Land, Peak Oil, Spending on June 13, 2011 by

. . .

Y          “So we live in an economy driven by ‘fiat money.’  Should we use the money to buy a Fiat car?  You know it is an acronym for ‘Fix It And Trade’?”

X          “Our fiat currency rolls along, but it is not a convertible vehicle.  I would like to fix it and trade, but we are just trading it.  A ’fiat’ is an order and a directive.  The United States Government orders and directs the citizens to accept ‘fiat money’ or ‘fiat currency’ or ‘fiat dollars’ for ‘for all debts public and private.’  The order and directive are backed by the ‘full faith and credit’ of the United States Government.  See, no worries.”

Y          “But I’m worried.  The credit of the United States government on paper is non-existent.  Why take its paper?  Who has even ‘half faith’ in its credit?”

X          “Only fools and citizens.  Only you and me.”

Y          “Why have faith when the empirical evidence is so clear and so clearly to the contrary?”

X          “Think about it this way.  I will accept the dollar if and because you will accept the dollar.”

Y          “Well then I will accept the dollar if and because you will accept the dollar.”

X          “That is the rationale.  It has worked and it works, but it may not work.  I don’t know if I want to accept the dollar.”

Y          “If you want to get rid of them, I will take them off your hands.”

X          “I will use them for the time being if and because you will accept them.  Half of the physical dollars are in circulation outside the United States and serve as the de facto currency in some countries and regions.  At the same time, the banks and financial institutions in America may have one tenth of one percent of the physical dollars necessary to cover the deposits in the banks and financial institutions.  Our fractional-reserve banking system is fractured, but it has not yet fractured.  A run on the banks, for rational reasons or irrational whims, would confirm what no one denies.”

Y          “So is the refusal to raise the debt ceiling a rational or an irrational triggering event?”

X          “An understandable reaction, but an irrational and dangerous response.  In a country awash in electronic dollars, there are no real dollars and not even enough fake dollars.  When the populace resorts to gold, everyone will discover that it is ‘fiat gold’ even if we are not ordered and directed by the government to accept it.”

Y          “The government took gold out of the equation decades ago.  And if you want to get rid of any gold, by the way, I will take it off your hands.”

X          “Others have put their full faith and credit in gold.  And then fail to see the irony in denominating the value of gold in . . . ‘fiat dollars.’”

Y          “So the dollar is not backed by gold, but gold is backed by dollars.”

X          “Seems to be.  However, there is no fiat bread.”

Y          “So when everyone realizes that the government ‘bread’ is stale, we will yearn for real bread.” 

X          “Bread is the real bread.  But we can’t print it.”

. . .

Bumper stickers of the week:

Bake Bread

Know how to bake bread

He Who Has The Gold Makes The Rules

Officious B-crats. Made In The U.S.A. (June 6, 2011)

Posted in Bureaucracy, Courts, Movie Reference, Pensions, Pogo Plight, Society on June 6, 2011 by

. . .

[0911 hours]

B          “You shall punch two holes at the top of the pleading.”

C          “What if you receive a pleading without two holes punched at the top of the pleading?”

B          “We reject it.”

C          “Even if it is a Motion For Stay Of Execution?”

B          “Don’t care if it’s not right.  Rules are rules.”

C          “I’m not talking about a stay of execution of a foreclose of a debt involving a fork lift, I’m talking about a stay of execution of a person.”

B          “Don’t care if it’s not right.  Rules are rules.  That is why they are rules.  Rules rule.  Two holes punched at the top of the pleading.”

. . .

[0937 hours]

C          “Do you know where the Recorder’s Office is located?”

B          “Do I look like a receptionist?  No, I don’t look like a receptionist.  I don’t look like a receptionist because I’m not a receptionist.  Do I really look like a receptionist?”

C          “You look like a person.  You look like a person receiving a pay chcck from the government.  You look like a person who might know which agencies are in the building.”

B          “Ask the receptionist.”

C          “Where do I find the receptionist?”

B          “There is no receptionist.  We don’t have a receptionist.  I don’t know where the Recorder’s Office is located.”

. . .

[0942 hours]

B          “We don’t record documents with two holes punched at the top of the pleading.  Period.”

C          “The court required two holes to be punched at the top of the pleading.”

B          “Don’t care if it’s not right.  There are rules.”

C          “I can’t remove the holes.  The statute says that every properly signed and notarized document ‘shall’ be recorded.  ‘Shall’ is a mandatory verb.  That wording actually makes life easier for all of us.”

B          “It’s discretionary around here.”

C          “Now today is a Tuesday.  On Tuesdays, some supervisors exercise discretion and record a document even if it has court-ordered holes in it.”

B          “Well, it is in fact Tuesday, we can make an exception this time and follow the statute, if you insist.”

. . .

[“Now the hired help is taking home regular paychecks.  I don’t.  The hired help has generous health care.  I don’t.  The hired help has been promised that they will receive a defined benefit retirement plan until they depart this planet.  I won’t.  The response of the ‘receptionist’ is not dictated by some absurd official policy.  And here on the wall near his office is a sign noting that the Recorder’s Office is down the hall to the left.  He may be a private sector contract employee who suspects that the contractor who may file bankruptcy to shed any financial obligations, yet he is receiving a regular paycheck.  Not far below the surface, Americans are angry, bitter, raging, frustrated and percolating.  Seems that some are working, although something is not working.”]

Bumper stickers of the week:

“Hold it [the chicken] between your knees.”  Jack Nicholson / Robert “Bobby” Eroica Dupea in “Five Easy Pieces” (1970) (With a little finesse, he could have gotten the toast without anyone getting toasted.)   

Tear, fold, spindle and mutilate