Saturday, April 18, 2015

In the Shadows of Headframes

Some 45 years have come and gone and I am still here. I never wanted to leave this place. Children in my day and age- didn't have much say in matters like that. My mother and father did not run a democracy.
In the summer of 1969, while descending down the western slope of the Continental Divide, I got my first glimpse of Butte, Montana. I was 8 years old. It was love at first sight.

I can't really describe the immense feeling of hope we had as a family that summer. The excitement was tangible- like great things were about to happen. This feeling I think, is reserved for the young and adventurous. It is something that has only made brief appearances in my life, and now at age 54, most of my adventures and opportunities I think, are behind me. I don't think I'll ever feel the excitement I felt in the summer of '69.

We moved into a place near the top of Caledonia Street, just west of Excelsior St. I could hear the sounds of one or two headframes in the distance. These were giant black iron monoliths that used cables to hoist ore laden rock and miners in and out of underground shafts. The headframes made  a strange "whirring" noise- caused mostly I think- by spooling cable. At first the sounds of the head frames and their occasional creakiness seemed foreboding. Eventually I got used to the noise. It wasn't going to last much longer anyway.The days of underground mining were coming to a close- new operations were moving above ground and into a pit that had already swallowed up a large portion of Butte. 



Today, many of the headframes have been taken down. At one point, there were nearly 100 of them dotting the landscape. Now they have dwindled to 11 or 12. I pray they don't remove any more. I still wince every time there is a fire or some old and historic building collapses. 

As a child, I viewed our residence as nothing more than a base camp. Everyday, I walked all over Butte. I remember every lot we played ball on, the tree I jumped out of which sent a nail through my foot, the path we took over the railroad tracks and across Western Av. on sleds in the winter time. I remember my friends' houses. I remember the fence I was straddling when some older girl gave me a hickey and my parents nearly had a heart attack when they saw it. I remember hitting my first (of only two) home runs on a field now named after my coach. I remember another field nearby where two of my friends got beaten up and pretty badly- by a neighborhood gang. It seemed like something was always happening in Butte. The bars were busy around the clock. Drunken miners everywhere. 

I come back to Butte much like a pilgrimmage, 2 or 3 times a year. I've been doing this for decades. Very often I come by myself. I eat pork chop sandwiches, pastys, donuts from the Town Talk bakery. I stay at the Finlen Hotel. I can't even imagine staying in one of those boxlike, chain hotels down on the flats. The same employees have worked here at the Finlen for decades. The coffee is the same. The hotel is the same. The only thing that has changed over the years is some remodeling, mostly plumbing, in the rooms- and the elevators have been updated. They used to have push knobs on them which were very old and unique.

After a couple of years uptown, we moved down to the flats. So the whole extended town became my playground. 

I learned to camp, to hunt, and to fish in Butte. I learned to play baseball, basketball, football, and golf. I rode motorcycles. I chewed tobacco, I drank a little, and I swore a lot. I learned that while all of those things can be bad- they weren't the end of the world. It was part of the living process wherein you discovered- who you are and who you might one day become. Most of us start making those choices when we are young. I think that happened to me in Butte. 

In the summer of 1975, we moved away. The mine was shutting down and with it- the entire economy of Butte. You became one of two types of people. You either left looking for opportunities- or you stayed knowing that the economy and your livelihood weren't likely to get better any time soon. I admire the people who stayed. Our family left for Missoula and then on to Idaho. 

So what is it about this place that keeps me coming back? What is it about Butte that cements the people that once lived here with the people who stayed behind? What common experience do we all share that has us fondly remembering Butte while so many others, outsiders mostly, seek to detract and diminish all things Butte? 

For one hundred years, Butte was the American dream. Butte was a place of opportunity. This was a place where people from all over the world could come, scratch out a hard living, and live the American dream. It was also a place of great struggle. A place where the rich and elite took full advantage of laborers as a disposable class of people. This was the site of the gibralter of unionism. This is where workers came together and fought side by side for a decent wage with decent hours and a few safety enhancements while the Anaconda Company tried to sabotage those efforts for the sake of greed. There were clashes, strikes, murders, great tragedies, oppression. People and workers rallied. They could distinguish who was good and who was not- even across ethnic boundaries. People took care of each other and they supported each other. Despite all of the adversity, people here were grateful for what they had. Thousands of people died in these mines. The people of Butte have this common thread, this mutual history of shared sacrifice, these memories, and they haven't forgotten. It's like spending time in a foxhole and surviving the ordeal. Those are the ties that bind and you don't forget who was in the foxhole with you.

Historically speaking, Butte played a huge role in shaping America. Stock manipulations, claim jumping and bribing judges, the formation of unions, even a crooked copper king helped shape the fundamental way we elect U.S. Senators. In many respects, the history of Butte is the history of immigration and America. 

I didn't even mention Evel Kneivel.  

That's why I love it here. I stare at copper king mansions and decaying architecture. I wander about the remaining headframes, the Original, the Steward, Mountain Con, Anselmo, Orphan Girl. I go to the Granite Mountain/Speculator Mine memorial where 168 miners died in 1917 just 6 weeks before the arrival of union organizer, Frank Little. Frank was abducted out of a rooming house, dragged behind a car on Anaconda Road, and hanged on a train trestle west of town by Anaconda company hit men. Sometimes I go to the two old cemeteries in Butte or up to the mining museum past the statue of the good copper king, the Irish man, Marcus Daly.

Statue of Marcus Daly, pioneer miner, Butte, Montana
This picture was taken before the statue was moved to Montana Tech

History happened here. There is no other place like this anywhere and you can damn sure bet there will never be another place like it again.  










      





Sunday, April 12, 2015

This Ain't Andy's Mayberry, or....Is This Really the Best We Can Do?

The police have never been popular and from the looks of things, it is certainly not getting any better.

As a young man, I had a couple of run ins with the police. Those incidents went about the way I expected. What I never expected nor experienced early in my life- was a sense of hatred for the police who were simply doing their jobs. I never received a ticket that I didn't deserve. I was once detained and fingerprinted but I never held the police responsible for that grand theft or the humiliation of leaving high school in handcuffs. There is a great deal of inherent power in knowing that not only are you innocent of a crime- but that you actually know who was responsible for the act. I chose not to tell the police who did it- I might have been a little more cooperative had they acted a little more decently. Oddly, I think those cops thought I was guilty up until they found out that I had an iron clad alibi. I threw freight all night long on a grocery store freight crew the night of that theft. My whereabouts were completely accounted for- something they didn't know when they dragged me out of school. So who fingered me for this crime? A city employee that I had been at odds with for a long time. I think that was my first taste of how self centered, devious, and conniving people can be. Suing the police never even entered my mind. As a teenager, I associated with more than my share of sick and twisted folks and when I had my first opportunity to get out of that town and away from them- I did. I was certainly no saint but I didn't run around fingering people for crimes, making shit up, nor did I blame the cops for my poor decisions. As stupid as I was- I still had a sense of responsibility which I thank gawd- came about because my parents did not run around like victims blaming other people.

I shifted gears out of liberal arts and into law enforcement during my third year in college. I still had some personal issues of my own to deal with. I was far from perfect but I believed in the law enforcement mission and I graduated thinking that I'd have an opportunity to help people.

Looking back, I simply underestimated how completely incapable our culture is when it comes to taking responsibility for their actions. They just can't do it. It is an epidemic. That was the last thing I said to the local reporters when I retired in 2007. People just cannot accept the consequences for their poor decisions and they will go to great lengths to blame anyone or anything, desperately trying to rationalize their actions while criticizing the actions of others.

That includes bad cops and sometimes- bad prosecutors. If you think bad cops go unpunished- you should see the shit prosecutors get away with. You don't hear much about those crooked bastards because shit always runs downhill and prosecutors sit at the top of those hills. How else does Hillary Clinton get away with committing perjury and obstruction over Benghazi or shaking down foreign leaders by using her position as Secretary of State to influence foreign leaders while destroying all of the evidence that she had done so.

Hillary gets away with all of that because prosecutors practice something worse than cops. They practice cowardice, indifference, and criminal complicity as they fail to uphold the laws that they swore to uphold. Cops may screw up but they often pay dearly when they do and if not-it's not for a lack of scrutiny. Prosecutors don't. They are some of the most cowardly pussies on the planet and they behave like courtroom bullies. Rarely are they held accountable- one glance at Eric Holder's history tells that story.

But the helicopters don't hover over prosecutors and court rooms. Cameras, installed on every cellphone in America, are capturing cops in action. And it's not good. Last week I stared in awe as California cops literally kicked the shit out of an unarmed pursuit suspect- an incident captured from a helicopter.

What is wrong?

Potential cops are subjected to polygraphs, monstrously long psychological tests and department shrinks, drug tests, oral boards, physical tests, background examinations, and every other inquiry that anyone can think of. If background investigators could remove the brains of potential cops- they'd try it- all in some misguided effort to avoid hiring cops who get the police brass and politicians in deep shit. Like that cop in South Carolina who executed a motorist. The criminal intent was clear. That officer is a murderer who might have gotten away with it if not for a piece of video captured by a witness. Absent that video- you can bet money that the uncorroborated testimony of that witness would have been ignored, discredited, and marginalized out of existence.

Which takes me back to those evil little bastards of my youth. The ones who stole a golf cart one night, destroyed it, blamed it on me, and laughed as I left the school that morning in handcuffs.

I know what's wrong because it happened to me.

You can't subject people (cops) to a never ending diet of vitriol, assholes, and hatred and expect them to behave like Andy Griffith in Mayberry. You can't lie to people, obstruct them, call them pigs, spit at them, attack everything they do on a witness stand or treat them like shit for 25 years- and then expect them to behave rationally. You are what you eat. Serve cops with enough assholes and pretty soon, you have cops that are assholes. They lash out, become depressed, develop health problems, get divorced, become alcoholic, and then one day- they snap. The last one is always just one asshole too many.

The mentally ill are now in charge of policing the mentally ill. That is what you are going to get.

I snapped one night, years ago in the late '90's. I was in a bar taking a theft report and a drunken asshole with a pool cue decided to start a hog calling session. It might have been cute a couple of times- but by about the 15th time he yelled "SOOOey" at the tops of his lungs, I snapped. I walked over to him and asked if he'd like to step outside the bar. He refused. And that's when I whispered to him, "One more SOOOey asshole and you'll leave this place on your head." I didn't want to start a bar riot and my ploy worked. I can't tell you how the hog calling champion would have fared- as I exited a hostile environment with him in tow.

The boss took me off nights. But 17 years worth of swing shifts had taken their toll on me. I never really recovered. I became Chief a year later- but you just can't just shower the stench of 17 years worth of assholes off and get happy again- try as hard as I could. It's some sort of process that I never fully grasped. I do know people in the business who retire with good attitudes and who exit the business relatively sane. Those folks still mystify me. I think had I had access to a good psychologist I might have been salvageable. As it stood, I got my divorce, quit my job, and had the courage to get sober. It took me the better part of five years to get my life back.

There will always be a few homicidal maniacs who slip through the cracks. I busted one once- a cop who had executed a drug dealer by shooting him in the back of the head. As I write this, I remember waiting on a homicide arrest warrant which had not arrived yet and explaining to this guy that we were arresting him for failure to display a front license plate after we detained him on  traffic stop. I remember him looking at us with this incredulous look- and asking us why we were arresting him for such a chicken shit offense. At the jail- when we handed him a copy of the First Degree Murder warrant- it suddenly became crystal clear to him. This guy, a California cop, had actually been hired by one of our local police agencies but hadn't started yet.

I think we are on the verge of some sort of police renaissance. Body cameras are coming for everyone. That's a given. I'd like to go one step further.

I'd like to see all cops given access to mental health professionals. I'd like to see police brass, councils, and citizens support the idea that just like war veterans- our police officers are combat weary. They simply cannot be subjected to years of ritualized abuse and then be expected to behave like Mother Theresa or Ghandi. If police officers had the ability to diagnose what's wrong with them- they would have done it long ago. That's not to say that they aren't responsible for their actions- they most certainly are- but that's not gonna help some guy avoid a future beating nor is it going to save millions of taxpayer dollars lost in defense or judgments on just one of these claims.

I have never met a cop anywhere who told me that he wanted the opportunity to become jaded, cynical, and depressed and then take it out on some bad guy. I don't think that's anybody's plan. But it keeps turning out that way. I don't see it getting any better either. We need to do a better job of identifying depressed, alcoholic, and angry personnel and giving them a fighting chance before they start kicking the shit out of some poor guy in the desert. We do it for military personnel, are cops really that different? No...except that unlike a two or three year military tour of duty for military personnel complete with PTSD counseling- cops do what they do for 25 or 30 years without any kind of counseling or support. Or...

We can just keep denying and ignoring that there is a problem, blaming police agencies for limiting their hiring practices to mean, jaded, and cynical people prone to depression and beating up people. That's the way the public sees it- and that's the way it is starting to look. I don't see this getting any better any time soon.

Cops beating people.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/10-california-deputies-leave-video-alleged-horseback-suspect/story?id=30223280











Tuesday, April 7, 2015

When Larry Whipped Harry- The Unauthorized Biography

On New Years's Day, Nevada's Harry Reid surfaced at a local hospital with grievous injuries to the right side of his face. His claim was that the injuries were caused by his use of exercise equipment. Recently, he has stated that he is permanently blind in the right eye.

We all knew he was lying initially- because he is after all- Senator Harry Reid.

Some of us recognized this as bullshit because Reid is clearly too big of a pussy to actually use exercise equipment. I personally thought that as close as Harry Reid might ever have gotten to a piece of exercise equipment- might have been when he tripped over his wife's "Shake Weight" and hit his face on an empty cognac bottle.

Then the story of his drunken brother Larry kicking his ass surfaced- complete with an AA meeting confession to Gawd knows how many listeners. The media will never investigate this- it would be too easy to prove...but here it is....

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Megalothymia and My Easter Story

While reading last night I came upon the word, "megalothymia." As I write this, my template does not recognize it as a word. Here's a definition of our new word, megalothymia:

Megalothymia is a term coined by Francis Fukuyama. It’s a common mistake to think Fukuyama simply took Plato’s concept of “thumos” or “thymos” and put a “mega” in front of it because we all know from the Transformers and Toho Productions that “mega” makes everything more cool.

But that’s not the case. Megalothymia is a neologism of megalomania (an obsession with power and the ability to dominate others) and thymos, which Plato defined as the part of the soul concerned with spiritedness, passion, and a desire for recognition and respect.

Fukuyama defined megalothymia as a compulsive need to feel superior to others.

The author adds this paragraph:

And boy howdy, do we have a problem with megalothymia in America today. Everywhere you look there are moral bullies utterly uninterested in conversation, introspection, or persuasion who are instead hell-bent on grinding down people they don’t like to make themselves feel good. 

Without a doubt, this caused a tremendous pause as I reflected back upon my own life and experiences.

In 2007, I was absolutely blessed. I unzipped my old life like a haz mat suit and stepped out. Of all the events that happened to me in 2007-2008, nothing caused me to pause longer than when a mentor of mine posed this question, "Why do we hurt others to make ourselves feel better?" 

I wish that I could tell you that I had an intelligent response. I mulled it over for weeks. 

Then one day it hit me. We do that because we feel bad about ourselves. We are trying to justify, rationalize, and cling to some accepted belief or tenet in our lives that we believe to be true- and we are willing to run just about anyone down to make our voice heard and win some battle that exists only in our heads. Some need to feel superior. It is a sickness. A spiritual sickness.

Think about the people in your life, our "leaders", or even ourselves. Do you think megalothymia is a problem? 

Not only have I been subjected to it- I have retaliated in kind. I might very well have soldiered on- like some unconscious egomaniac such as I was- had I not found a God of my understanding who intervened. I became teachable again. 

So here's the 64,000 dollar question. 

What is going to stop a Godless society hell bent on megalothymia? Who is going to intervene? Or do we as a society and culture just soldier on- belittling, condemning, and hating anyone who disagrees with our opinions and positions which then in turn creates more retaliation and hatred? Do you think that is the solution?

If you don't believe in a power greater than yourself or some sort of God- please do the following. Strip down naked, stand in front of a full length mirror, and say out loud, "Behold the greatest power in the universe." And know that if you are correct- we are all in a lot of trouble.

In 2007, I was desperately seeking sanity in my life. I didn't find it by running other people down. That much I can assure you. I found sanity when I became aware of my own world class ego that desperately wants to think it is more intelligent, far wiser, and more emotionally intelligent than every one else. When I realized this of course had always been nothing but faulty opinions- I began to question all of the other ridiculous beliefs which I had been clinging to for much of my life. (I once heard this described by a man who said, "I know how nuts I have become when I actually start believing my own bullshit.")

And oddly, I became grateful and just a little bit humble as I began to feel a little shame for having acted like a superior human being most of my life. I began to realize how lucky I was to have everything I wanted- my family, a home, money, all of my toys. Surely I thought, I can be a better human being than the one that I had been. Maybe a little humility, gratitude, and genuine empathy can help me find sanity. And it did.

It was Easter week, 2008. 

Today I wake up grateful, just a little bit humble, and free from all of that emotional insanity that once consumed me. It's not perfect- but it is a tremendous improvement over what once was.

Easter is about hope and rebirth- and it happens every spring which seems oddly appropriate to me. I wish each and every one of you a wonderful Easter. Thanks for stopping by.    








Sunday, March 29, 2015

Thoughts From Lincoln City

Have you ever heard anyone say they can't stand the ocean?

Lincoln City is a coastal town in Oregon. It's beautiful here, reasonably priced, and as I sit here writing- I am glancing out at some pretty decent sized waves. You can rent homes and condos on the beach here for 150 clams a night- which is about what they charge for a motel room anywhere else.

It's a good place to forget about crooked government employees, sneaky government deals, Bowe Bergdahl, and homicidal pilots. The worst part about being here- is that it has to end. With the exception of 15 minutes worth of the Kentucky-Notre Dame game, we never turned the television on. I just read the news on my computer. The world in all of it's lunacy- is still turning.

I saw that Hillary is continuing her criminal enterprise. A majority of Americans, 52% believe she did nothing wrong by destroying all of the emails she generated as an employee of the State department. That is an unbelievable thing. That's like generating 25 years worth of police reports and then destroying or taking them with me when I retired.

The worst part about the Clinton criminality is that not one prosecutor at any level will charge her. Lawyers are cowards mostly. If they can't advance their careers or make big checks- if they don't see some big payday for themselves in every endeavor- they simply won't do it. Doing the right thing falls somewhere low on their list of priorities and they easily justify it. I love to engage them in this topic- because it makes all but the most sociopathic among them just a little uncomfortable.

I noted this week that they are finally charging Bowe Bergdahl with desertion. I think that is a good thing. In as much as it was a stupid thing to do (walking away from the base) and got a lot of people hurt and killed- I hope they go light on his sentencing. All of the punishment in the world will not bring back the lives of the soldiers who were killed looking for him.

I'm probably in the minority. I hold our government more accountable by engaging in useless wars and then swapping evil Taliban adults for a young and stupid kid who made a mistake. Bergdahl walked away from his post that night- but I feel fairly certain that he simply didn't think his actions through. In other words- he made a stupid and very costly mistake- but I don't think he acted maliciously or meant to get anyone killed. He is exactly what I always thought he was, just a young kid prone to mistakes.

That still won't stop the witch burning crowd from asking for their piece of flesh.

Did you notice how quickly France found the cause of the Lufthansa/German Wings airline crash? They found the in flight recorder, reviewed it, and disclosed almost immediately that the co-pilot had flown 150 souls to their deaths. I note that the plane which was made by Airbus and Boeing's chief rival, is a French company. You can bet that Airbus was doing everything humanly possible to prove that this plane crash had nothing to do with the air worthiness of their planes and thus avoid any liability.

In just a couple of days- we discovered that the co-pilot had locked the pilot out of the cabin and that he was also a clinically depressed madman.

In America- it would have taken the FAA and the NTSB an entire year to disclose anything. We would have forgotten about it in a few months.

Forgive me but the family is packing up and my computer is going dead. One last glance over the waves and I'll catch up with you later...




Saturday, March 21, 2015

The "Chickenshit" Leader of the Free World

Oh how I wished I would have written this. The true essence of our President. From Bill Whittle. Copied in it's entirety here. -Brian

If you'd rather watch than read, here's this:

https://youtu.be/JOtzWwmaGfM



He’s the Leader of the Free World, elected by a civilized nation: militarily powerful because of, and not in spite of, it’s cultural commitment to science and art and medicine.


Although he spent much of his early life overseas, the Leader of the Free World grew up in the Northeast, and graduated from Harvard University. That he has a deep and abiding love for America is self-evident: he admires our energy, our inventiveness; our decency and kindness; our innate friendliness and charity. He loves our culture; he admires our private sector which generates so much innovation. And the Leader of the Free World admires and respects our vast military power, and the restraint which it is used – to him, it is indeed the Arsenal of Democracy.

And even though he has grown up the victim of bigotry and hatred, the Leader of the Free World loves America, even though slurs are applied to him still today. In spite of all that, he loves everything she stands for.

And there he stood, backed by American flags and framed in American glory – on the floor of the House of Representatives; where his predecessors made the case to fight against the great evils in the world: slavery. Nazism. Japanese Imperialism. Communism.

There he stood: The Leader of the Free World; a thoughtful, serious man making a thoughtful, serious case to the World’s Greatest deliberative body. The Leader of the Free World spoke frankly of the need to confront today, as we have confronted in the past, this latest threat to freedom, and science, and medicine, and art, and the basic human rights not only of women, and homosexuals but of everyone to live their own lives as they saw fit. He spoke against the clear and present danger posed by Islamic savages, motivated by religious hatred, implacable in their desire to see the world burn – and especially about the threat posed by the stat of Iran, which is working feverishly, night and day, so see those fires burn not at hundred but rather at thousands of degrees.

The President of the United States declined to attend this speech by the Leader of the Free World, because the President of the United States has called the Leader of the Free World “chickensh**.”

One of them is, anyway. Which one, I wonder?

You know, the internet has a wisdom all its own. Taking a snapshot of both these men in their youth, someone wrote:

Obama smoked Ganja; Netanyahu smoked terrorists.

Just a casual read of Dreams From My Father – and how it was written – show the President of the United States to have been a lazy, boastful, vain, disrespectful, sullen, pot-smoking narcissist who played basketball at the most exclusive private school in Hawaii, got high kicking back on the beach, and repeatedly blew off his book deadline after having spent the huge advance money. His brother, Mark Obama Neh-Des-AND-jo, lived in obscurity and utter poverty in Kenya, utterly ignored and unaided by his brother, The President of the United States of America.

Bibi Netanyahu was described by his teachers as courteous, polite, helpful, responsible, punctual, friendly, disciplined, cheerful, brave, active and obedient. After growing up in Pennsylvania, The Leader of the Free World returned to Israel, joined the IDF as a Special Forces commando, was part of the team that rescued the hostages aboard Sabena flight 571 – during which he was shot in the shoulder – then went back and fought along the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur war before returning to America to get his degrees from both Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. HIS brother, Yonatan Netanyahu, was the only Israeli commando killed during the rescue of 100 Israeli hostages in the Raid on Entebbe on July 4th, 1976.

THE LEADER OF THE FREE WORLD – you know, the chickensh** one -- rescues his people when they are held hostage – PERSONALLY rescues them – and stands arm in arm with world leaders against the endless, savage, Islamic murders of Jews and all civilized people.

THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES goes golfing while hostages are being murdered – PERSONALLY goes golfing – and will not so much say the words “Islamic Terrorists” or “Jews” as our time for chickensh** posturing and preening runs out as fast as the nuclear centrifuges spinning in Iran.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Apple Jumps Shark, Invents Chevy Volt for Your Wrist

It was with absolute delight that I listened to Tim Cook roll out the Apple watch.

Strutting across the stage, all smiles, Cook was talking about all of the fantastic features of the watch. They've been working on this for 3 years. They have 3 basic models. The watch ranges from 349.00 to 17,000.00 for the gold encased one. Apple claims an 18 hour battery life which undoubtedly will be far less if you actually use the thing. You must have an I-phone 5 or newer as a companion piece which is where this new watch gets really stupid and really expensive if not just a bit duplicitous.

So this is where I should tell you- why I once loved Apple and why I now hate Apple- if you don't mind my extremism.

I received my first Apple laptop in 2007 as a parting retirement gift from my girlfriend. Apple laptops cost 750-1500 dollars more than other competing brands. Here is where they succeed.

They are smaller and lighter, they fire up faster, they are easier to use, they do not get viruses, they are fixed fast and usually free at any Apple "Genius Bar", their charger cords are magnetic so that if you trip over the cord it breaks free rather than dumping the hard drive on the floor, and they have better software features for photos and music with superior access to ancillary services.

Where do they fail? Apple doesn't want users who try to hang onto 5 year old laptops. Once they hit 5 years- Apple won't even work on them. They want you to buy a new one- which I did. The funny part is- is that after 5 years and another 1500 bucks- I did not see any significant difference in the new laptop except that it had a silver case and was a little skinnier. Hardly worth the additional 1500 bucks.

I do not fault anyone for buying an Apple laptop. They are simply superior to other laptop brands like this Toshiba I paid 300 bucks for at X-Mas. I especially love that Apple's laptops read all incoming data for viruses- something that Bill Gates could have done with Windows- had he not been such a pirate and screwed people over by allowing viruses in and thus forcing the hoi polloi to pay for a variety of software and repairs.

My hatred for Apple came when I discovered that all of their products are assembled by hundreds of thousands of Pacific Rim employees making a dollar an hour and working 16 hour days- 6 and 7 days a week. I have never been a fan of any corporation which exploits workers by paying sub par wages while subjecting them to horrible working conditions. If Apple wants to dispute this- then I suggest that all of the Cupertino, Ca management staff that are making mountains of money should switch jobs and salaries for one year with Chinese workers at FoxConn. Then we'll see if they find some sort of conscience.

In addition to exploiting slave labor, Apple has 700 billion dollars sitting off shore which is the largest cash horde that any company in the history of the world has ever amassed. Apple will undoubtedly become the first trillion dollar company. They will not pay taxes on that off shored money but they will gladly ask consumers for top dollar for their devices while letting you pay your taxes- which unfortunately- we cannot avoid even if we leave the country like Apple did. Thus there are no Apple manufacturing jobs for Americans beyond Cupertino- nor tax shelters for the middle class who they hope will buy this gadget.

If only people would quit patronizing these pirates. But they won't. People don't think that way anymore.

The problem with the watch is that it doesn't really do anything special. It has a small screen, you still have to have an I-phone with you, you must recharge the watch everyday, and you will look like a dork wearing it. I don't even think it's waterproof or water resistant which means that maybe a nice plunge into a sink will kill it.

With a giant Galaxy screen available to me and a bazillion free apps- what advantage could an I-phone user find with this watch? I think it measures your heart rate- and there is always some nerdy geek at the gym who wears a similar device on their arm- which costs 29 bucks.

How many ways can you re-invent a computer? Will they come up with an Apple necklace next?

I miss Steve Jobs. He always saw the big picture. I can't help but think Jobs would have shit canned this watch. Jobs would have probably shit canned Tim Cook for any number of reasons as well- such as paying investors dividends- which Jobs was adamantly against. Cook surely owes his longevity, and his smiley face, to the corporation Jobs built. Successors can often live on the laurels of their predecessors- at least for a while.

Apple has so much money that it can suffer a few missteps. A few people will run out and buy this watch and we will see what it is really like then. My gut tells me that the Apple watch will go the way of toaster ovens and the Chevy Volt. Rolling it out in April just as consumer spending has all but dried up. It's going to be interesting to see the pre order sales figures.

I wonder if Cook will be talking about this watch and how much it added to Apple's bottom line at their next annual meeting. I have a feeling it won't be taking up too much of his time.