Dysmey Blog Archives > Friday Off and Other Topics

Friday Off and Other Topics


I need Fedora Core 6 in the form of six compact disks for reasons too complicated to go over. First, I tried getting the images for those disks via BitTorrent. It did not work well: Probably the torrent port is blocked by the campus firewall for obvious reasons. So I visited a Fedora mirror site at the University of South Florida and found that I can download all six compact-disk images in less than a half hour because both USF and Ball State are part of Internet2. Anyway I will start work on the auxiliary document repository, for which I needed Fedora Core 6, first thing Monday.


I got the day off today. The electrician came by earlier than I expected. He opened the circuit box in the kitchen and found that:

  1. The house is using its original wiring: There is no grounding of the three-prong outlets anywhere in the house.
  2. Most of the circuit breakers in the box are for the appliances, esp. for the furnace.

The electrician helpfully marked on the diagram on the circuit box which breakers work for which appliance; but otherwise he could do nothing, as grounding the outlets would involve rewiring the house.

After that I moved the computer, networking equipment and table to the upper room and set everything up at the far end of the room. Now I can work on my computer while looking out the window. It would look a lot better after the window is fixed!

After lunch at the folks' house, I got my remaining papers, my coats and jackets, and a box of winter clothes. Then I visited the hardware store and bought a faucet for the bathroom. Most of the afternoon was spent under the bathroom sink, where I found the old faucet a lot more difficult to remove than the one in the kitchen. But I did it; and now I have a decent faucet that pours water into the sink instead of all over it.

Then I washed the windows, finding it easier than it would be at the folks' house: There are only seven normal-sized windows and two small windows in the upper room. All have panes that tilt inward for easy cleaning. I have found that the kitchen window, one living-room window and (especially) one of the upper-room windows have serious condensation problems — and they all face west.

Then I took my winter and formal clothes inside and put them on the clothes rack I bought a couple of weeks ago. Now I am ready for the winter.

i did get lucky, didn't I?

I talked with one of my neighbors this afternoon. I was told that the previous owner was just about to take the house off the market when I offered to buy it. I supposed it was lucky (or providential) for him that the house across the street turned out to be too dear for me. I was also told that the line running through the branches of the two dead trees is a telephone line. Now I will have to hire someone to take them down.

the luck of Marion running out

It gets worse and worse for Marion:

The first sign was the sell-off of the local newspaper, the Chronicle-Tribune, to the Paxton Group. Paxton is a Kentucky-based newspaper chain that is notorious for milking profit from its papers and skimping on both staff and journalistic practice. Gannett had already reduced the Chronicle to little more than a real-life Springfield Shopper; it is possible that it will get a lot worse under Paxton.

The next sign is that one of the sole remaining major factories in town is about to lose half its workers and convert to light manufacturing. The company will also dump its retirees from its health benefits plan. The company is Dana, the factory is its number one plant (now) and it is Padre who will lose his insurance by year's end.

I had expected something like this for a long time. Last year I attended a talk at the Business College by a retired marketing exec from Dana. He said (among other stuff) that Dana's overreliance on GM and Ford for its business has cost it dearly when the markets for the two automakers collapsed. He also said that pay and benefits for workers and executives at the automakers is such that it costs $25,000 for an American car before the car is even assembled.

This in itself means that there is a possibility of the last major plant in Marion, the GM plant that was once called Fisher Body, shutting down as GM shrinks further.

the ball state of Marion

I guess this is the reason Marion is letting Indiana Wesleyan University expand as much as it has, and even close off part of Nebraska Street. Indiana Wesleyan is becoming to Marion what Ball State is to Muncie. The difference is that Indiana Wesleyan is a private school and can grow only so much; and it is a religious school (as the name implies) and can be selective in who it hires. It cannot help Marion very much as an employer; but as Marion finds itself with fewer and smaller employers, it needs Indiana Wesleyan more than ever, so it cannot afford to hinder its expansion.

And I can remember Marion (and Grant County) hindering the growth of Indiana Wesleyan and its parent denomination in the past. In fact, the Wesleyan Church has its headquarters in Indianapolis because Marion/Grant County had hindered its growth. But they dare not do that today!

It is not as if Marion is losing anything in property taxes (which Indiana Wesleyan, as a college, is exempt). The properties that Indiana Wesleyan acquires were houses and businesses that were either abandoned or so dilapidated that they generated no taxes at all.

Posted on the Dysmey Blog on 6 August 2007.