Monthly Archives: August 2021

Staying true

I have a problem. I can stay true to the evidence or I can stay true to the plot. Sometimes, they’re polar opposites.

Watching Longmire. It’s a Netflix series set in Wyoming. The Sherriff commutes from his Ranch in New Mexico, 90 m north of Santa Fe. Wait, no? Oh, well he supposedly lives in Wyoming near the Montana Border within the view of the Absaroka part of the Rocky Mountains. The series is set in Wyoming, but most of the location scenes are shot in New Mexico. Somehow, he drives to Denver in 5 hours. He’s really MOVING!

Now recall that I am a fan of procedural shows such as CSI, Criminal Minds, NCIS… Longmire’s deputy has been found dead in a stream having been shot in the face by a shotgun. In his truck is his folded uniform. He has texted his old girlfriend with multiple apologies and has left a suicide note on his computer which he left running in his house.

“Click” goes my mind.

  1. Did he take off all his clothes, wander into the middle of the stream, sit down on the rocks and pull the trigger with his foot? (Gibbs would have noticed that.)
  2. Since he has powder burns on his face, he missed his mouth, yes? The muzzle of the gun would have had to be at least a few inches outside of his face to leave that type of wound. I think it would be daunting to look into the barrel and still be willing to pull the trigger rather than putting it in your mouth. Therefore is it really possible to contort yourself into a position like that to pull the trigger? (Dexter would have noticed that.)
  3. Longmire tries to sift for missing BBs to see if he shot himself in the river. There were 196 BBs in his face which means that some of them either blew out the back of his head or missed him entirely. But there were only 6 missing. If you swallow the barrel, wouldn’t all the BBs be inside the mouth or the inside of the skull and more than 6 would have blown through the back of his head. (Temperance Brennan would have noticed that.)
  4. Where did they find the shotgun? Wouldn’t his fingerprints have been on the barrel rather than the trigger and the stock? If the shotgun was in the water and washed off the fingerprints, how did the dirt inside the shell in the gun stay dry? (Horatio Caine would have noticed that.)
  5. If, as Walt noted, Barlow (Branch’s Dad) killed him, texted Longmire’s daughter, removed the cameras and evidence from Branch’s house, moved the body to the river in Branch’s truck and rode his mountain bike back to his house, there should have been evidence everywhere! (Monk would have noticed that.)
  6. There would have been bicycle tracks near the truck. There would have been blood evidence in the truck (head wounds bleed a LOT!). What did he do with the bloody clothes and whatever he wrapped up Branch’s body in? Wouldn’t Barlow’s fingerprints have been on Branch’s phone? Wouldn’t there have been river mud on the bicycle? Wouldn’t there have been river mud on Barlow’s boots and pants? How did he clean up the blood at the scene of the murder (the skeet shooting range)? How did a man of his age ride a mountain bike all the way to his home and still be able to walk the next day? (Grissom would have noticed that.)

The plot is that we don’t know who did it, and Longmire has to puzzle it out. He wants to believe Nighthorse (the owner of the big casino going up) is behind the murder of his wife and now Branch, his deputy. It would still mean that the body would have been moved and posed. Nighthorse had done this with David Ridge, the guy who’d murdered the meth head that had been hired to kill Longmire’s wife. David faked his suicide and Nighthorse helped him fake his cremation. David was an employee of Nighthorse, but was lent to Barlow (Branch’s Dad) to kill the meth head and as Barlow and Nighthorse were notoriously at odds, if they identified David as the murderer, his association would lead back to Nighthorse and not Barlow. They tried to frame Longmire, then Hector, then Henry.

David’s calling card was a peyote soaked crow feather. When Branch was trying to get the DNA from David’s cremation, David shot him and inserted this crow feather into Branch’s wound, and later, he left one stuck in the meth head’s throat, but there wasn’t one when he killed Hector. And Hector, being found dying in a cave, identified David as his killer. OK, now it’s getting confusing because David is seen alive and walking around after his death. In fact, he tries to kill Longmire and lands on Longmire’s knife so he has 2 funerals.

If they’d followed the evidence and had applied logic to the situation, they would have identified Barlow sooner.

This is what messes with my head though: Barlow shot his only son, the heir to his legacy in the face!!!! That is extremely personal. His last words to his son were, “I’m too old to start over and make my fortune. But I’m not to old to have another son.” Blam! He was afraid that the evidence his son had found would send him to jail and ruin his businesses. In the end, he had no son and his insurance would have gone to his brother Lucien as the next of kin. If he had a will, he couldn’t have predicted he’d have to murder his own son, so his legacy would be in probate for decades.

I kinda like it when the evidence and the plot are coordinated. Otherwise, I process this completely differently and it keeps me up at night.

What if you double the minimum wage?

This is exactly what Henry Ford did in 1914. He guaranteed the workers $5 per day for 8 hours of work. At a time, the standard work week was sixty hours, and Ford reduced it to forty. That put his minimum wage at 40 cents/hour. His production before the assembly line innovation was twelve cars in a month. The production time was about twelve hours per car. After the conversion to assembly line, the time per car was 93 minutes. There were 13,000 workers at the plant. (Gets out calculator). The cost to Ford for his labor went up $32,500 per DAY! But…Ford’s plant was making 260,000 cars in the year with his 13,000 workers, and the other manufacturers made 280,000 cars in the same year…but with 66,000 workers. Ford was making an average of 20 cars per worker. His competition was making 4.4 cars per worker.

Ford’s labor costs would have been in the general area of $16,900,000 per year…$5/day x 260 days/year x 13,000 workers. From what I understand, the standard wages for autoworkers was between $1 and $2 per day and 60 hour weeks. Ford’s competitors were spending about $41,000,000 per year to get 280,000 cars. Ford’s process cost was 20% of the cost of his competitors, so even doubling the wages didn’t bite into his bottom line. Further, think on this: The average price of the competition’s cars was over $1000 with some as high as $5000+. That would represent nearly 6 months to 2 years of the yearly wages average worker (outside of Ford’s shop). I got the prices from the 1914 Official Handbook of Automobiles. The Model T is not mentioned here. When the Model T was automated, Ford reduced the price to $440 in 1914, so that represented 88 DAYS of a worker’s wages. Wouldn’t it be cool to own something that you helped make? What affect do you think it would have on the profit margin?

Well, if the Model T was sold for $440 in that year and he sold all of them, 260K, He made $114,000,000 on the sales, and spent only $16,900,000 on the labor. The costs of the materials would be roughly the same for Ford and his competitors. The vast majority of the population at the time made between $1000 and $2000 per year. It is Twice the number of the people at the next level–between $2000 and $3000 per year. The idea of taking out a loan to buy a car was ludicrous.

Now we hear of Dan Price, a CEO that is reducing his own salary so his workers can get $70K per year. Dan Price made his own salary $70,000 and made his company’s minimum wage also $70,000. This is capitalism. In Dan Price’s words, ¬†“Since then, our revenues have tripled, we are a Harvard Business School case study, and our employees experienced a 10-fold increase in home buying.”

True capitalism is collaborative and cooperative. It comes from a philosophy of plenty, not scarcity. The system we have in place is industrialism where those in want are told that it is lonely at the top–that everything in life reflects the triangle model. This is a myth. There is plenty of money, plenty of food, plenty of medicine, plenty of work. It is to the advantage of ruthless and unscrupulous moguls for those beneath them to believe that everything is scarce and they should be grateful for work without a decent wage, insane costs for medicine, and investments that are not available to anyone but the rich. We must abandon the industrialist view!

different eyes

https://goffjamesart.wordpress.com/2021/07/16/spotlight-art-grand-canyon-sunrise-a-painting-by-vahe-yeremyan/

Grand Canyon Sunrise by Vahe Yeremyan

We look at that painting, and we can tell what it is, even if we’ve never been there. Look at the colors used! Look at the shapes!

Red Reflection by Goff James

He uses that same blocky approach but uses curves to break it up, and a completely different pattern than the Grand Canyon. One is representative of a an actual place in the world, and the other is an actual place in the painter’s mind.

You should check out the paintings and the poetry on his site!

Do you trade help?

If I help you, do you feel obligated to help me? If you help me, should I feel obligated to help you?

What if we’re not trading services? What if we help each other because that’s what friends do?

Ah, but what if we’re not friends? Would you help me if I asked you? I would help you, cautiously, if I could see you needed it. If you were stranded at the side of the road and were waving people down, I would see how I could help. If you had fallen and were injured, I would definitely help. If you were hungry or cold or too hot or thirsty, I’d be there for you. If you needed shoes or a blanket, no problem. If you just needed a shoulder to cry on, of course. If you were starting your business and needed someone to believe in you, yes, but with the proviso that you weren’t in it because “squirrel” and you weren’t trying to profit on someone’s weakness or ignorance.

About this time in August of 2016, I went to Orlando for a John Maxwell Conference. I almost made it into the lobby. There was this revolving door and an exit that wasn’t an exit. I walked into the glass and stopped. The revolving door didn’t. It knocked me down and I broke my hip. Some guy I didn’t know but who might have been a guest at the convention center blocked the revolving door so people wouldn’t run into me. I never even got his name. The concierge as well as the security guy checked on me and called the ambulance. I didn’t get their names either. I cannot repay them for their kindness and willingness to help. I remember them fondly. When I see someone who needs help, I will more likely help just because I remember how grateful I was for the assistance I received.

If someone reminds me that they’ve helped me in the past, it’s because they showed a willingness to be as open-hearted and giving as I’m trying to be to those I’ve helped. It gives me a connection I can relate to. No one owes me help, and I don’t owe anyone either. I help because even though my Savior knew me and what a flawed person I am, and even though I never deserve help, he stepped in and helped me anyway. I should do that for those that need me here, so my obligation is not to the people I help but to my Savior.

I asked a friend of mine to help me in a business venture. I reminded him that I supported him in his venture simply because I knew him and was hoping for his success. He said he almost turned me down because he doesn’t trade help. What? He said all I had to do was ask and not bring up the fact that I had helped him before. I will not consider us “even” if he helps me. I will consider us closer, more comrades than acquaintances. I consider trading help with my friends as just something friends do. I will watch your cat. You will loan me sugar. We will chat over the fence. You will recommend a good restaurant. I will recommend a good movie. We help each other and don’t keep tabs.

Not trading help makes no sense to me. How would you respond to a request from me for help? Would I be obligated to you? Would I be a closer friend? Would you help me at all?