Monday, March 19, 2012


The media, especially those who claim to be experts in financial matters, like to say that the markets don't like "uncertainty," I think they are wrong. Some investors don't like uncertainty, but that creates opportunities for other investors. All-in-all, as usual, the big players win.

The rest of us?

We are the ones who really don't like uncertainty. Even in a so-called recovery - where all of the benefits of the turn around have accrued to the One Percenters - we are left with uncertainty. As a microcosm of that take my wife and I.

I've been laid off twice in the past two years. The first time was when the (then) largest company in the world figured they weren't making enough money (that was the year they made more money in a year than any company ever) and outsourced the work of the group I was in to Brazil. The second company was just a mess, but here I am again: unemployed, over 50 and trying to find a job. My wife has a great paying job for that same large company (still in the top 5) but - once again they are claiming they are not making enough money - there are rumors that the division she works for is up for sale. The corporation has not said anything to its employees yet - they discovered their new helping of uncertainty in an article in the Financial Times. What will happen to her when they are sold? What will happen to her if they can't be sold?

You want to talk about uncertainty?

Here in Rochester, Xerox has sent most of the jobs paying liveable wages overseas; engineers, researchers, etc. But they've gotten big press here lately for opening up a call center where they will hire 500 workers. I got a call from a recruiter recently about one of these "wonderful" jobs; it pays $25K a year. What a great deal Rochester got for the tax breaks I'm sure they gave Xerox to bring those jobs here!

Meanwhile, the One Percenters only have to worry about where they will buy their next home or where they will shelter their next million dollars. They are uncertain about how they can keep their tax rate in the single digits. They worry about how their companies can outsource more and more services so their earnings can get larger and larger. They are uncertain about how to get the unemployed to take a urine test for drugs before they get their unemployment payments so they can keep their single digit tax rates (there's your trickle down). They worry about how they can funnel more money to their favorite lawmaker so that those tax rates will never rise.

That's uncertainty I could live with.

Friday, March 09, 2012

My Creative Side

If you've visited here for long enough you know that I've occasionally posted photographs. Photography has become quite important in my life; maybe someday I'll make a business of it. But for now, I do it for fun, for relaxation and to scratch that creative "itch" I've had all my life.

To help myself along that path, to try to learn a bit more and to widen my audience a bit, I've started a photo blog. My intent is to tell the story of one of my photos; maybe about how I took it or where I took it. Maybe it will be about how that particular picture makes me feel. I want the blog to be a conversation, I want to learn from those who visit.

In any case, go visit my new photo blog, it's called Robot Retina. The tag line is "Exploring Photography and Inspiration Where Photons Meet Electrons; at the Robot Retina." Let me know what you think. Join the conversation.