Observations from an old reporter

08 Apr

Here we are by the Canadian Falls, also called the Horseshoe Falls. The water creates a mist in the air that, in cold weather, coats nearby trees with ice..

Here we are by the Canadian Falls, also called the Horseshoe Falls. The water creates a mist in the air that, in cold weather, coats nearby trees with ice.

Here some observations from all old reporter’s notebook:

* My wife Sherry and I recently took a trip during her spring break from teaching. We go somewhere new each year. We thought about not going at all this year because of the economy. Our investments and retirement accounts, like most other people’s, have taken a hit in recent months.

But staying home would be adding to America’s problem right now. Folks are so afraid to spend a buck it’s making things worse for everyone. The decreased cash flow means more workers are getting laid off as businesses try to keep their expenses in line with their income.

Finance expert, Christian, best-selling author and TV and radio talk show host Dave Ramsey ( suggests that Americans, if possible, refuse to participate in the recession.

We like that idea. So Sherry and I decided as long as we have our house, our jobs and the ability to pay our bills, we will go on with life as usual.

By the way, our trip this year was to Niagara Falls, which was awesome even in March, when portions of the Niagara River were still frozen.

* I only fly two or three times a year. But it’s amazing how many times in some distant airport I’ve run into someone I know who, like me, is waiting for a flight to the Quad-City International Airport and home.

Coming back from Niagara Falls, we flew out of Buffalo, N.Y., to Detroit, where we had a layover before getting on a smaller plane bound for Moline.

As Sherry and I waited at the gate for our flight, we spotted, then visited with our friend Char Knutsen, who was booked on the same flight. She and hubby Harry live in Walcott. Char was headed home after visiting a daughter in the Carolinas. It’s a small world.

* “I just want to be happy again.”

That’s what a friend of mine said a couple of months ago after finally finding a job. He’d been without one the better part of a year.

Through no fault of his own, he was fired from a company where he’d put in more than two decades as a faithful employee.

His termination came before the economy took a nosedive. He was downsized, as they say. At many large companies, employees are merely tools, like computers and fork trucks, to get the work done. If the companies can figure a way to get the job done with fewer people, some are shown the door.

Downsizing often means getting rid of the loyal, experienced employees who have worked their way up to a decent wage and replacing them with less-experienced workers, who earn lower wages, and often, decreased benefits.

Downsizing also can mean dumping U.S. jobs altogether and sending the work to Mexico or somewhere overseas, again at a fraction of the cost.

While downsizing can certainly boost a firm’s bottom line, the loss of his or her job can be devastating to the person fired.

Obviously, working provides a paycheck, and that pays the bills. But being employed also adds to one’s sense of self-worth.
A willing worker who can’t find work often gets to feeling he or she has no value to employers. That’s sad.

I suspect that’s how my friend was feeling earlier this year when he finally landed a job. I suspect that explains why he said, “I just want to be happy again.”

I hope he is now. In fact, I’m sure he is.

* I think we should change the name of General Motors to Government Motors.

* Some people say huge companies like GM and Chrysler are too big to let fail. But one of the talking heads on a TV news program said something I think makes some sense.

He suggests reorganizing those big firms into multiple smaller companies. Those that are run properly will succeed. The rest should be allowed to fail.

* Recent figures peg the population of our metro area at 377,000. When it comes to our amenities compared to other places the same size, I think the Quad-Cities stacks up quite well.

With some exceptions like the I-74 Bridge at times, it’s also fairly easy to get from Point A to Point B in this area if you know what roads to take and what roads not to take.

There is, however, one thing many big cities utilize that we generally don’t have. That’s frontage roads. They would sure make a difference if they ran the full length of major thoroughfares like Davenport’s Kimberly Road and 53rd Street and Moline’s Avenue of the Cities.

* What happened to normal names for singers? Names like Petula Clark, Lesley Gore, Gary Puckett, Garth Brooks, Aretha Franklin, Robert Goulet, Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash and Tony Bennett to name a few?

A top song on the Billboard Top 100 is “Poker Face” by Lady GaGa. Yes, that’s Lady GaGa.

Copyright 2009 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises.

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Posted by on April 8, 2009 in Uncategorized


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