Showing posts with label evolution. Show all posts
Showing posts with label evolution. Show all posts

Friday, May 12, 2017

Two Discussion Posts

          I have now completed my economics course.  My instructor has completed grading all of my work, and so I will go ahead and share what I have turned in.

          On my first post this month I shared a video of a phone service parody.  This is the discussion that went with it:

      "How many of my classmates remember the landline and payphones? Funny how perspective changes from being a child to being an adult. Our responsibilities are not the same, and therefore we view the world in a different way. For example, I never personally had to wait for AT&T to come out and install or repair a telephone, but my mom did. Back then we didn't have the option of cell phones or even provider plans for that matter. The Bell System had a monopoly all across the nation with its "Bell" trademark on every phone booth. Every household that had a phone received a bill from Ma Bell, Mountain Bell, Southwestern Bell and others (depending on which part of the nation you lived).

     "By 1979 AT&T employed over a million people within all of its Bell locations (History). They were the phone company. There was no competition (Easterbrook, 1985). If you had a phone you either dealt with them, or you could forgo dealing with them which meant you also gave up the privilege of having or even using the phones. (Remember all the pay phones were provided by Bell)

      "I was still in high school in 1979 when Ma Bell settled a law suit brought on by the justice department (Barger, 1984). I understood the negative effects that a monopoly causes and was happy about the Bell System's 'break-up" in 1984. My great aunt had worked for and retired from Mountain Bell. I wanted to ask her opinion but was not allowed to bring up the subject. I'd forgotten all about that until I started doing my research for this topic.

     "I think monopolies are dangerous - at least for the consumer. The telephone company is just one example of what a monopoly does to the economy. I wonder how many of my classmates remember the parody included with my references.


"Breaking Up Is Hard On You - Bell System Divestiture . (2011, May 6). Retrieved from YouTube: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

"Barger, M. D. (1984, April). "What Killed Ma Bell?". Retrieved from AT&T Divestiture: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

"Easterbrook, G. (1985, Jan 28). Off the hook: How the breakup is helping AT&T--at your expense. The New Republic (Pre-1988), 192, 18. Retrieved from (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

"History Timeline - AT&T. (n.d.). Retrieved from"

          The instructor as well as eight students responded to my post. Here is a funny story I may have shared in a post before.  I brought it up again as different class members would reminisce over the landline:

            "I have to share a funny story that has nothing to do with perfect competition or monopolies, but rather about the rotary phone (remember those?)  My husband was a realtor who would bring home rare treasures every now and then.  One day he brought home a rotary phone to plug into the jack that was in the hallway - this way the boys could answer calls without having to run to the kitchen.
            "Our three boys (all younger than the cell phone) stood around it and looked at it and at each other.  Finally, one of them asked, "How does it work?"

          For this week's discussion, we were given the choice to speak on oligopolies or poverty.  This was my discussion post:

            "Funny how we were given a choice to discuss oligopoly or poverty as I feel that the two seem connected. I am not saying that Oligopoly is solely responsible for poverty, but I do think it is one contributing factor. Let me use an example of the banking industry. There are hundreds of banks, perhaps thousands, located throughout the country. Yet according to the pie graph (Jennings, 2016) below, there are only four banks which deal with over half the nation's money. Half! That is a lot of power to put into four banks.

            "As a customer, having dealt with three of the four banks, though their initial customer service seems to be professional and friendly, it felt like it is only a facade. Once I had been lured in it felt like the Oligopoly (in this case the bank) preys on my financial weakness and feeds itself out of my pocket (Parramore, 2011).

            "In some cases I had not made the choice to deal with the large bank, but had made a loan purchased from a competitor that may no longer be in business as it was swallowed up by the larger bank as well. I think Bare Truth (2013) explains it best when the comparison is made that the "ideal" is someone believing he may share a small piece of the wealth as it may be "melted" onto him, when in reality, the rich get richer by sucking finances from the poor like an inhuman vacuum.

            "If you live from paycheck to paycheck, you are better off putting your money in a smaller bank or credit union. I personally do not support any oligopolies if I can help it. I bank at a local chain that I would guess most of you have never even heard of. I actually had not heard of them until I moved into this county.

            "I think oligopolies seek power, often at the expense of their own employees  in which the dollar seems to be a higher priority than human welfare (My Reality; 2017). In my opinion, supporting oligopolies seems to be allowing them to have unnecessary power.


"Bare truth how rich get richer & poor get poorer . (2013, August 4). Retrieved from YouTube: (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.

"Jennings, A. (2016, January). Loans and Debt Collection Issues Top CFPB List of Consumer Complaints. Retrieved from consumer financial protection bureau: pie chart

"Parramore, L. S. (2011, October 11). Banking Has Become an Oligopoly Instead of a Competitive Business -- And That's Really Bad News for Us 99%. Retrieved from Alternet:

"Sawyer,D. (host). (2017, January 13). 20/20: My Reality in America [Television series episode]. In My Reality inl America. abc."

          My instructor than asked me to explain why I would recommend a small bank or credit union over the larger banks.  My response was:

            "In my experience, the larger banks have always "charged" me to keep my money in the bank.  If a deposit (biweekly paycheck) is made on the same day that my written checks (bill pay) have cleared, they will do the withdrawls before the deposits and charge me for each check that has gone over which wouldn't have been an issue if the deposit would have been cleared first. 

            "I realize that my check should not even be written if the money isn't in the bank.  Knowing it will be in the bank, I have taken it on faith that the deposit would clear first.  After the bank "robbed" me by charging me for each check, I was short for the next set of bills.

            "This has never happened for me with the credit union.  The smaller unknown bank  that I am currently with in Oregon is very much like a credit union.  Deposits clear before withdrawals are made.  I don't have to have a mandatory savings to open a checking account.  I only had to have a 25.00 minimum to open an account.

            "I struggled from paycheck to paycheck more with the large banks.  I have not had that problem with my credit union or the bank I am with in Oregon."

          I had also used this response to another class member on her post:

            "I agree that this has been an interesting week for topic discussion.  I took a class once in which the instructor picked two people to represent a very small fraction of the world.  He proceeded to carry out his demonstration by distributing groceries that he would pull from a few bags that he had. He had three of each item and would pass them out accordingly:

            "Each of the two students in front received an entire box of crackers for instance.  The remaining box of crackers would be shared among the remainder of the class (there had to have been at least 28 students) and continue with each grocery item until the bags were empty. 

            "His demonstration wasn't on poverty exactly, but rather the wealth in United States as opposed to some other countries.  US gets two entire boxes of crackers while everyone else has to share just one.  But not all US citizens are enjoying the metaphorical crackers - I think his demonstation would now be less than one cracker per class while the wealthy get to stock up on the remainder.

            "It's a problem that has existed long before the Great Depression.  I think it's well past time that we reevaluate ourselves and our values."
             I will post my final assignment tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Lost In a Cloud

            As with everything, there are always pros and cons to having a cell phone, internet service, cloud storage, etc.  I must be old fashioned in my way of thinking.  I would like my phone to act as a phone and my watch to tell time . . . although the watch has nearly become a thing of the past for me as I refer to my cell phone for the time and since I don't wear my cell phone around my wrist, it hasn't bothered me the way a watch often does.  It's a nice feature - though not necessary.  It is convenient.

             My first cell phone was through Voice Stream.  My mom and I had both purchased a phone plan that came with this Nokita - a phone my mom refused to give up until after she got dementia.

            I had mine for over ten years and may have had it longer but it seemed to have vanished during a day trip that I had taken with Roland and the boys.  The weird thing is, I don't remember having even left the car - so I don't know how my phone would have.  But whatever.  I had to get a replacement.

            I liked the size of my new phone and had asked mom if she would like a new phone also. She didn't wish to give it up because it had good reception. She didn't trust that the new technology would offer a very long. I think she was onto something.   Seems like many electronics that are offered today are meant to break down.  They become relics in less than two years anyway - so what's the point of making them to last? I like Adrian Covert's description here.

             When Roland upgraded his phone, he decided he would need the internet and thus got a touch screen phone.  That's all well and good for him, but I cannot use touch screens for the life of me.  Either it will not recognize that I am touching the screen or it will be hyper-sensitive and disappear altogether.  The touch screen for me, personally, is way more frustrating than it is worth.  Besides, if I am going to write something, I would rather have an actual raised keyboard and not a postage stamp-sized keyboard that is even more challenging to my actually small fingers that have somehow grown to the size of the entire keyboard. Not to mention having to read in such a limited space.  Give me a full blown monitor, please.

            Roland's last phone came with the option of a built in speaker to use rather than typing it out.  It didn't punctuate - not for me anyway.  Plus it is frustrating to have your words misspelled or butchered at "Google" thought you were saying something else.  And so I'd have to proof-read and make corrections - which actually seemed to amount to more work than if I had just typed it all in myself.

            Phones do not think - or do they?

            I hadn't charged my camera for quite some time, but Roland has a camera built into his phone.  The quality of picture is actually pretty good. I took only four pictures at Jaime's birthday party before the battery gave out.  We used Roland's phone to get more.  I was devastated when we took his phone home to charge it and it wouldn't charge.  It has been persnickety about its connecting devise.

            Roland took it to the big city of Roseburg to see if it just needed a new battery - or what the deal was.  It was beyond repair.  Oh, no!  The pictures!  I hadn't even looked at them.

            Roland not only purchased a new phone, but is now on a different plan.  Now I am impressed by the technology of the cloud.  Restored all the pictures not only to his phone, but I had him photo/Google the internet on his work computer - and there they were.  Wow.

             I was able to pull up some pictures from my computer of ones we had taken in 2012 - which were also from his phone.  I don't know why.  I could obtain pics through his phone on my computer until Dec 2015.  Everything more current had to be obtained through his computer.  Not sure how that works.

             And, okay, I get that the GPS thingamabob (gadget) that is located in the phone would know where we were when each picture was taken, but what impressed me was how it labeled the photos.  They were sorted into places and things.  So the folders were labeled "Christmas", "Sky", "Rainbow", "Cars" - how did it know that?  Okay, the folder labeled "cars" was more of houses though I suppose there were cars in the photos - but it certainly wasn't the main focus.  Actually, I don't know what was.  Roland said I had wanted the clouds.  How pathetic.  I have been told that I am "trigger happy" when I am taking pictures with the touch screen.

            So here are some pics that we discovered in the cloud:

Her pose reminds me of her brother, Randy 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Simplicity vs. Electronics

When Jenna turned three, we bought her a play yard set which I have mentioned here and here.  Before that, she used her imagination, making the broken lounge chair her slide and the Norditrack Glider her swing – unless we were at the park.` 

Jenna was always so excited to spend time with friends or to go to birthday parties.  She especially enjoyed the company of a cousin she would see only once or twice a year.  She was especially looking forward to seeing her the year Melody turned eight. 

Jenna had hoped to spend more time with Melody after her party, but as I mentioned in this post, there seemed to be some behavior problems on Melody’s end. Evidently, she had purchased a kindle or an I-pad or some kind of electronic device.  She had earned all the money herself and was quite proud of her new purchase.  Perhaps that was one of the downfalls of her attitude that day; the party had taken away precious time she could have been spending on her new tablet.

When she brought the tablet out, there were a lot of “oohs” and comments made and requests to take a turn.  Jenna was crushed.  She felt that she was less important than an electronic gizmo – not even  secondary, not even noticed.  It hurt not to be noticed.  Melody would have that device even after Jenna returned home.  It wasn’t often that she and Jenna were given the opportunity to get together.  The situation had put even more distance between Jenna and Melody.  The fact that Melody desired a material item over her own cousin – or having acknowledged Jenna’s presence at all had influenced Jenna to the point of actually despising electronics.

She hates it when her friends are constantly texting or paying attention to their electronics – leaving Jenna to wonder how it is that she received enough attention to become friends with them in the first place.  I understand where she’s coming from.  I have always put my children before the television or the cell phone.  I haven’t been as good at leaving the computer when I’m in the middle of something – but I will.  I don’t want Jenna to ever feel like she did at Melody’s party – I think the last one that we went to actually.

On Tuesday afternoon, Annett’s mother called to see if Annett could spend the night Thursday and go with Jenna to the school dance.  She asked if we would take pictures of the girls in their costumes – though I wondered why as Annett is hidden in hers.

Her mom’s been good about allowing Annett to stay overnight with us – up until now anyway.  This may actually be the last time this year as a situation seemed to get out of hand.

Nora (Annett’s mom) likes to keep a tight leash on her daughter (which is one reason why I have been grateful for the amount of times she’s been able to come over after school and occasionally spend the night) but requests that Annett call and say good-night – something that Jenna either didn’t understand or didn’t want to. Jenna does need to show more respect to others who are on the phone- because at times they really are necessary.  Apparently, she was yelling at Annett while she was trying to talk to Nora – as to whether the phone got knocked out of her hand or not, I don’t know.  I wasn’t there.  Nora says that is what happened and she won’t be allowing Annett to come over anymore.

I understand where Nora’s coming from.  I also understand Jenna’s frustration.  I’ve tried to teach her to better understand the situation.  She needs to have respect for whoever is on the other end of the phone.  She needs to understand there are many sides to the same situation. 

    Nora isn’t happy with some of the choices she has made in the past.  She does not wish for Annett to make the same bad choices that she did.  She says Annett is a good girl.  She doesn’t swear.  I know she is a lot like my daughter.  I have heard them laugh and play together.  They are good together.  I have not heard Annett swear.  Jenna says she swears at school, but her mom  doesn’t know it.

Annett wants to have a boyfriend.  Both Jenna and Nora have told her she is too young.  Annett told her mom about a boy she likes and Nora texted the boy that Annett was at school to learn not date.  The boy made rude comments about Nora and Jenna defended her.  I don’t think either Annett or Nora knows that.

I don’t understand how a family of five living in a small trailer (that appears too tight to hold five at a time) can afford to pay for the service on the cell phones.  They don’t have a permanent address.  Nora wants Annett to have a cell phone so that they can keep in touch.  I get that.  But at what cost?

I don’t know Nora.  She doesn’t know us. I am saddened by this situation.  I don’t think anybody knows the full story of why Annett isn’t allowed to stay with us anymore.  I don’t know that telling Nora about Jenna’s lack of desire to compete with electronics will make a difference.  It doesn’t seem to make a difference to Jenna why Annett won’t be coming over anymore. I don’t know if Annett will fully get it either.

It’s such a shame when we make snap judgments without fully knowing or even trying to understand the other’s viewpoint.  It’s sad when only one is willing but the other refuses to even consider another option.  I’m sure that I have done that a lot of times – well, I know I have.  I’ve made snap decisions without knowing all the facts.  I wish I would shut up and listen more.  Many opportunities have been lost because at least one person has refused to listen.  Sometimes I have been that person, not always.  I hope I can make it Never.

Allow me to return to the simple things. Jenna had asked if I would take her to Stewart park in Roseburg so that we could feed the ducks.  I looked at the clock and asked if she could wait until Roland got off work as he’d be punching out within the hour.

On the return home, we saw a zebra painted limo.  

 Jenna was enjoying the view of the sun and the clouds and I handed her the night vision no-glare glasses that I had on my face as told her how different the view was behind yellow hues.   

Halfway past Roseburg and Myrtle Creek and all the way to Tri-City, Jenna yabbered about her discoveries in the sky.  “Oh, look how cool this is.” “I really like ___”  “Hey . . .”  It was so fun listening to her joyful enthusiasm and I thought how grateful I am for a daughter who has such a great imagination and enjoys simplicity – and always has, really.  I’m grateful that she would rather grow up in my era than her own (as mentioned in this post)