Sunday, December 19, 2004

Taking care of business

Ah, the bugbears of start-up enterprises! This is the second time I am writing this. The first time was ready to post when I committed a totally asinine blunder and lost the whole blog. Due to the vagaries of human nature this episode will perforce, be shorter.

I am in the market for a pellet stove, an insert variant, parce que, I have a fireplace. Necessity is the mother of invention and due diligence and after looking at my latest electric bill (we have electric heat) I thought I was paying off the national debt all by myself. So, I girded my loins and placed myself in front of Mr. IBM's clone and Googled and Yahooed my way through the intergalactic miasma known as cyber space to find the one true stove destined for the Captain's Dungeon.
With great anticipation I e-mailed manufacturers and dealers and distributors hoping all would be revealed. What a dumb thought that was. It has been over two weeks and with only one exception, (a dealer in
Kamloops BC) I have received nothing but frustration. I have heard from only two manufacturers but only after e-mailing twice and then phoning.
These little pellet firepots can cost over $3,000.00 and the industry doesn't seem to give a rat's ass about a potential buyer!
Now for the coup de gras! One company located in the Provincial capital of a mid
Canada Province sent me the following e-mail (parts deleted to save the guilty embarrassment)

Good Morning;

We sell our stoves through a network of dealers and distributors. We are the manufacturer. To get pricing you would have to contact a dealer or distributor in your area.

I am sorry but I am unsure where NL is. Please be more specific.

A few thoughts spring to mind:
1. Good Morning who? Duffus?
2. Geography is not her strong suite even though she is the "Director of Accounting" and presumably has post secondary education.
3. She could have asked an associate and saved herself the embarrassment.
4. She could have looked at my E-mail addy and figured out in what neck of the woods I hailed from
5. She could have hit Google, entered NL, hit search.

Makes me wonder about the quality of education in this country and others, notably the
US. that's my segue into ......

Dumb and Getting Dumber

Walter Williams is an economics prof at George Mason U. and a sometimes stand-in for Rush has a two column piece that comments on such things as a grade school teacher who thought Alaska was an island because it looks like it on most maps. A university student who passed in an assignment with crayon pictures of a beach when asked for an essay on her summer vacation. She was pissed with the F and said, "I don't know what an essay is." Another student couldn't subtract 600 from 30,000 without a calculator.
A large part of the problem is the left wing wako concept of symbolism over substance, Walter notes leftist courses such as:
"Canine Cultural Studies" (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill), "I Like Ike, But I Love Lucy" (Harvard), "History of Electronic Dance Music" (UCLA), "Rock and Roll" (University of Massachusetts) and "Hip-Hop: Beats, Rhyme and Culture" (George Mason University). There are many more. Check out Dr. Williams here: and here

From Walter we move to Dr. Maureen Stout just so those who are saying, "Yah, that's only in the
US." Well, Stout, a fine looking woman, whom the feminazis love to hate is a Canadian who has a hell of a background and has spent time in England as well as the US.
Her , "
trouncing the well-known shibboleths of modern educators" is music to my ears. to wit:

1. High expectations for students are damaging to self-esteem;

2. Evaluation (grading, testing, report cards) is punitive, stressful and damaging to self-esteem;

3. Teaching and learning must always be "relevant" and student-centered;

4. Effort is more important than achievement;

5. Competition leads to low self-esteem and should be replaced by cooperation;

6. Social promotion should continue to preserve students' self-esteem;

7. Discipline is bad for self-esteem and should be dispensed with;

8. Teachers should be therapists;

9. It is the teacher's, not the student's responsibility to ensure learning;

10. Feeling is more important than thinking.
The good doctor is bang on and I couldn't agree more especially #10 which cost me a marriage.

One last item.
The Diplomad is a
US diplomat located in Outer Lostdirtistan and he is a hoot.
Check out his "Ratman" the salient points carry more than a modicum of truth.

Per Ardua Ad Astra


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