Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2003 > End of January Edition

End of January 2003 Edition

The weather has been the most bitterly arctic for the past week. I mean the temperature never got above -5°C, and the wind was fierce. Sometimes I felt really stiff. There was little snow, but what there was blew over the country roads, making them slick.

The house has barely any insulation in the attic, and none in the walls. I have to run the faucets at a trickle to keep the pipes from freezing. I had to throw up plastic sheeting over the stairwell, one back door and the bedroom windows to keep out the cold.

The cats can climb to the tops of shelves and cabinets near the ceiling, where the warm air is; I have to make do with sweaters and jackets. I can't set the heat any higher than 20°C because natural gas has become pricey.

The bedroom is chilly because the furnace heat does not come out the register in the bedroom ceiling. I had to buy a Black & Decker portable heater for the bedroom to use at night. It does the job—noisily, but I got used to it.

Given all this the weather yesterday was a relief: wet and relatively warm (if 1°C can be considered warm). There was freezing rain all afternoon, which stopped when I got off work. It stayed dry during a brief stop at Marsh (the local supermarket chain) and the drive home.

There was a lot of heavy snow last night, which I had to sweep off my car. But that is OK when the weather promises to be just cool through this weekend.

Work has been slow as the task of replacing computers with Win2K boxes continues. It is not too bad since each type of box has its own image to load into it, and everyone uses a common set of software. But it can be a bore sometimes. Then come the computers with odd programs and other "special" needs. You have to work with co-workers to transfer those odd programs and their data to their new boxes.

I have mailed my 2002 tax forms on Monday. The forms are simple to fill out when you are a wage-earner who has neither wife nor kids nor anything else to deduct. I plan to put most of the refund into my savings.

Indiana General Assembly

The speaker of the general assembly (now in session) compared the current fiscal crisis to that of the 1840's. Then Indiana went deeply into debt to build canals that were never finished and were soon made obsolete by railroads. Indiana defaulted on its debts, destroying its credit for decades.

That was really telling to have brought up that crisis. The legislators then were myopic. The railroad was beginning to prove itself then, but the legislators choose to finance canals instead.

The short-sidedness of the typical legislator has never left us. We've had legislatures:

When we Hoosiers let such funny folk serve as our legislators, it is little wonder that we are often in a world of hurt. And it is not going to end. Are we ready for yearly gasoline tax increases? Impersonal markers for car accident victims? Cold medicines behind locked cabinets in drugstores because your kids have a meth habit? How about layoffs of teachers in our public schools? That will discourage teaching as a profession in this state, and create a massive teacher shortage once the recession ends. And then there's this daylight-savings time nonsense!

At least there was a reasonably good excuse behind the push to make the fire pink the state flower. The fire pink is a native plant; the peony is not!

And—this is the best of all—no Indiana legislator has yet to introduce UCITA! That would be a real economy-dragger to everyone except the lawyers, whom we would have to hire to study the flyprints on those software end-user agreements the average person now ignores. (The best summary of UCITA and why it is detrimental to the use of software can be found at the Definition of UCITA site.

But in all fairness, the follies of the General Assembly are no different from any other state legislature, all of whom (except gas-rich Wyoming) have fiscal crises due to the long recession and the profligate spending of the 1990's.

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 230 November 2003.