Pick Wayne's Brain

November 30, 2013

Small Business Saturday®

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: — Wayne A. Schneider @ 12:26 AM

Today, Saturday, November 30, is what is now known as Small Business Saturday®. From the website Snagajob, “The annual event was established by American Express in 2010 in an effort to recognize the small businesses that create jobs, boost the economy and preserve neighborhoods around the country.” Since then it has grown in popularity gaining Congressional and even Presidential recognition. More than a marketing campaign to get people to go out and charge things on their American Express cards, Small Business Saturday® has become a way of making a statement against the big box stores, whose names shall remain nameless, but whose worker mistreatment, trade deficit contribution, and shamelessly profit-driven operation, have helped contribute to the loss of the small business, owned by your neighbors.

Government assistance to employees of the big box stores, the ones in which you were implored to go spend your money on “Black Friday”, is much higher than the national average. You are, whether you want to or not, subsidizing the workforce of some highly profitable corporations. So instead of helping the already profitable corporations, why not help out the small businesses in your local communities? They’re your neighbors and, sometimes, your friends, too. And if you’re like me and don’t have a car that gets the greatest of gas mileage, you can save money, too. My local book store, The Book Cove, is within walking distance (if I was that ambitious), but only about a mile into the village. By comparison, the nearest Barnes & Noble, would cost me at least two gallons of gas to get there and back. Around here, gas goes for more than $3.50 per gallon, so if I have to pay even $6.50 more for a book from my local book store, it’s worth it. And it helps keep them in business. Whenever I want to order a book I don’t go online to do it, I go to The Book Cove. They’ve never failed to get me a book I wanted. I’m sure your local book store can be just as helpful.

Small Business Saturday® is a great idea, and one I encourage everyone to support. Your friends and neighbors will be glad you did.

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November 23, 2013

Does Freedom of Religion Equal Freedom to Discriminate?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 12:44 PM

An interesting vote is going to take place next year in Oregon. A group called “Oregon United For Marriage” is close to collecting enough signatures for a ballot initiative making marriage equality the law of the land there. This past week they announced they were about 1,200 signatures short of the number needed, and Nike announced they were donating $280,000 to help them collect more, in case any of the signatures are ruled invalid. They aren’t the only ones collecting signatures. The group Oregon Family Council, conservative Christians (an oxymoron, as there is nothing conservative about Christ’s teachings), filed a ballot initiative to “guarantee the right of people and businesses to refrain from participating in or supporting ceremonies for same-sex civil unions, domestic partnerships or marriages, if those violate their religious beliefs.” Actually, the proposal specifically says “deeply held religious beliefs.” And that leads to an important question. Does the freedom of religion equal the freedom to discriminate?

The First Amendment (the one that comes before the one about guns) begins, (more…)

November 15, 2013

Taylor Swift and The Gettysburg Address

From the website “Learn the Address“:

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, documentarian Ken Burns, along with numerous partners, has launched a national effort to encourage everyone in America to video record themselves reading or reciting the speech.The collection of recordings housed on this site will continue to grow as more and more people are inspired by the power of history and take the challenge to LEARN THE ADDRESS.

The site features this mashup of all five living presidents and a slew of politicians and celebrities, including Taylor Swift, who ABC considered the most important of the celebs to be featured in the video. (Each recorded his or her own.)

At the site you are invited and encouraged to share your own Gettysburg Address reading. You can upload a YouTube video of yourself, then give them a link to it. If accepted, they’ll post it at their site along with the presidents, politicians, and celebrities already featured there. Here is the complete Gettysburg Address, which takes about two minutes to read (more…)

November 9, 2013

Nothing To Worry About

Filed under: Commentary, Science — Tags: , , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 7:52 AM

Sometime over this weekend, or early next week, a one-ton satellite will come crashing to Earth. Where it will land is unknown right now. It could be in the middle of Central Park in New York City, or maybe it will come down onto an elementary school in Los Angeles, or maybe it will come down on your house. Despite how frightening any of those scenarios may sound, I wouldn’t worry about it if I were you. It’s only a ton. And it’s not like the whole thing is going to come down on any one spot. It’s going to come down on 35 spots, give or take ten. Still, a whole ton and there’s nothing to worry about? Yes.

You see, in the grand scheme of things, a ton of something crashing down towards Earth really is nothing. According to Cornell University’s Ask an Astronomer webpage, a total of anywhere from 37,000 to 78,000 tons of materials fall from thje sky every year in the form of meteorites. That’s roughly 100-200 tons per day! One more ton on top of that would just be adding about 0.5-1% more. Like I said, nothing to worry about.

November 2, 2013

The Fall Back Position

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , — Wayne A. Schneider @ 12:06 AM

Tonight Daylight Savings Time ends. For now. We move to the Fall Back position. If you live in a part of the United States that, oh, what’s the right word, “celebrates”? “participates”? “recognizes”? maybe it’s “observes”, Daylight Savings Time, you should set your clocks back one hour before going to bed. If you don’t, you may end up attending Sunday Morning Worship Services an hour ahead of everybody you know from your usual service. Who knows? Maybe it’s worth a try. And on the bright side, you’ll be back in time to watch “Up with Steve Kornacki”, who should be good and awake what with having an extra hour to sleep. And if you live in a part of the United States that does not observe in DST (as the cool kids call it), life will be unchanged for you. Congratulations, the Chinese envy you.

But why do we do this? What’s the point? Well, the idea was, (more…)

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