Friday, January 06, 2006

14. Help! (piano only version)

Freedom Fighter is searching for a job. He has to put Freedom Food on the table, and pay his Freedom Bills.

Today I interviewed for a position, and the employer asked me why I had worked in so many different fields. And I started in on my prepared answer, where I talk about how that's actually a big advantage that I hold because it makes me a more rounded person, and I'm able to approach problems and general work in different and thorough ways.

Then a funny thing happened. I realized that it looks like I'm on a search for the perfect fit, for the job that will make both me and the employer happy. It must look incredibly wise to the employer, something that everyone wants, and here's a guy that is actually doing it. "Here's a guy," they'll say, "that really has his values in perspective." I'm searching for life. I'm searching for the American dream. I'm searching for meaning.

But that's not necessarily true. In all actuality, I'm just too lazy to get a real job. I don't want the responsibility that comes with it. I don't want to be yelled at when someone else does something wrong, I don't want to be forced to clean up other's mistakes. I don't want that kind of pressure, always on the cusp of being fired because I lack seniority, not skill.

And what a great example of my generation. That's SO us, isn't it? I don't want the responsibility of having to clean up older people's failures. Let them deal with it, I just want to kick it and chill. Drink a beer. BBQ a veggie burger. Hang. But I'm forced to be put in this situation that isn't really benefiting any of us, now is it? I'm forced to go out there and get a job, like my generation is forced to take the political reins and take everything headon.

Some of us will want to get an important job right out of college, with prestige and responsibility and a corporate credit card. (Hint: They EVENTUALLY pay you back...) Those people out there suck. Think about them. Take a moment and think of all the kids who were excited to get a job right out of college (or high school, at which I hear some kids stop their learning). Now think about if you liked them. Most chances are, you didn't. 'Cause they were putzes.

Do you know what a putz is?

It's a worthless person. It is a person that sucks. People who suck.

But, you know what sucks even more? Those are our shiny examples to the older people that we should have more and more responsibility tacked on. They say, "Well, Charlie Putz can deal with it. He's RESPONSIBLE." Well, good for him. He also won't get laid for any reason other than money. And do you want that to happen to YOUR son, mom? DO YOU?!!?!?

Free To Be You And Me

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

13. I Am A Man Without A Country (Ralph Stanley version)

In Kurt Vonnegut’s new book, “A Man Without a Country,”

Kurt talks about how leaders are nothing more than deranged guessers, and have been throughout time. The leaders know that the way to keep the public on their side is to berate them with snake-oil and false truths.

Loaded pistols are good for everyone except inmates in prisons or lunatic asylums.
That’s correct.
Millions spent on public health are inflationary.
That’s correct.
Billions spent on weapons will bring inflation down.
That’s correct.
Dictatorships to the right are much closer to American ideals than dictatorships to the left.
That’s correct.
The more hydrogen bomb warheads we have, all set to go off at a moment’s notice, the safer humanity is and the better off the world will be that our grandchildren will inherit.
That’s correct.
Industrial wastes, especially those that are radioactive, hardly ever hurt anybody, so everybody should shut up about them.
That’s correct.
Industries should be allowed to do whatever they want to do: Bribe, wreck the environment just a little, fix prices, screw dumb customers, put a stop to competition, and raid the Treasury when they go broke.
That’s correct.
That’s free enterprise.
And that’s correct.
The poor have done something very wrong or they wouldn’t be poor, so their children should pay the consequences.
That’s correct.
The United States of America cannot be expected to look after its own people.
That’s correct.
The free market will do that.
That’s correct.
The free market if an automatic system of justice.
That’s correct.
I’m kidding.

Free To Be You And Me

12. Like A Pebble (Oh, Like a Pebble)


America will lose the title of biggest automobile maker next year or so to Toyota Motor Company. Does this concern anyone else? I’ll tell you why this concerns me...not because GM makes better cars than Toyota. Which it doesn’t. GM makes horrible cars that break down easily while having constant problems. They are also both technologically inefficient and aesthetically displeasing.

And it doesn’t concern me that Toyota will be bigger than GM. I don’t believe that since Toyota is NOT an American car company, they suck and America is always number one. It doesn’t suck at all, and they make great cars at great prices and they are both structurally sound and economically excellent (alliteration is awesome!) It’s because GM, as a result, will cut 30,000 jobs in the next few years to try and make up for their managerial failures. (Source)
It is not the workers’ fault that GM designs, markets and tries to distribute horrible disappointments. When they try to market an SUV with an American-tinged sentimental song called “Like A Rock,” or by having a country star sing about his favorite pick-up truck (Toby Keith), they don’t include the other 95 percent of Americans. Most Americans don’t care about towing a mobile restaurant/home because the waitress made some comment in passing about wanting to go to California. Or lifting an 18-wheeler by towing a system of pulleys with the truck and then driving the truck underneath it to show how stupid the stuntman must be. Or showing a man cliff jumping into his SUV as his way of going from his house to his car. Why do they continue to think SUVs have a chance to survive? Gas prices are too high for it to make sense to buy a gas-guzzler.

GM believes that their 2006 line of large SUVs should boost sagging sales, and that they plan on allowing flexibility between building SUVs and pickups. They believe they need to keep capacity for the vehicles that GM can sell at the greatest profit --the larger vehicles. With these announced closings, GM will be keeping its’ capacity of large sport utility vehicles and pickups intact, even though sales of SUVs have slumped in recent months in the face of higher gasoline prices.

Gas prices have continued to thoroughly SUCK. They're still up16 percent from a year ago, and both GM and Ford saw a MAJOR drop in sales of big SUVs and pickups in September and October. I’m sure they insist not all of that is due to oil prices, but they need to shift their focus from large SUVs and pickups to producing profitability from other vehicles.

The stock has tumbled some 40 percent since July. The three-month drop in GM stock has shrunk its market worth to about $12 billion, which is far less than the $19 billion in cash on its balance sheet. And its 9 percent dividend yield may seem tempting but is also a sign investors believe GM won't be able to keep paying $2 a year to shareholders much longer.

GM has seen its slice of U.S. vehicle sales slide steadily over the last 30 years, taking its share of the U.S. market down to 26.2 percent in the first 10 months of this year, compared with 43.8 percent in 1980.

As recently as 2001 and 2002 it had been able to stem the decline, posting slim gains, but the slide resumed in 2003. (Source)

So, back to the point. This all concerns me because so many hard working Americans will be out of a job. This is like “Roger and Me,” except I’m not as fat. It’s not only the 30,000 people who will be out jobs at GM. Even though, I should point out, that it will only be at most 26,000 who will need to find work after being hired in other car manufacturing plants, or change industries. It also drastically affects companies and factory workers that are related to GM. All the companies that make miscellaneous accessories in the car, they too will lose jobs. Someone makes the seatbelts, and the armrest consoles, and the car stereos. And with GM dropping their capacity, the other companies will be forced to cut back too, and that means losing more jobs there. That number is not computable to me. Maybe someone else can help me with that. Maybe someone else can help AMERICA with that.

Free To Be You And Me