Monday, April 27, 2009

...More about that story.

The song that brought that story to mind was a song by Maná, Pobre Juan. It recounts the story just as I told it, but with more details about where it takes place. John and Mary are actually Juan and Maria. They live in a small village in Mexico. Juan dreams of providing well for his family. Not being rich, but a modest home, clothes to wear, and food on the table. He wants what all fathers want for their family.

The only way to provide this to his family is to come north to the US and work. He doesn't want to steal a job from an American citizen, but there are many jobs particularly in agriculture that Americans don't want and won't do. He knows that he can work those jobs and still make an hundred times more than the peasants wages he might get in Mexico.

That story is what happened to him. There is another part of that story. What about the employers hiring illegals over and over again attracting people to cross the border and subject themselves to the dangers that exist. What about the US? In 1942 the Bracero program was started to help with the manual labor shortage during WWII. The program didn't end until 1964. That was the US begging workers to flood over the borders and work. Did we really think that just "ending" a program would stop that flow? Employers in the US needed the cheap labor and for decades families in Mexico had supported their families by working in the US. It was all some of them knew how to do.

The immigration issue is complex. Anyone who thinks otherwise has not researched enough. I don't believe that people should just walk across and be citizens, but those drawing them in need to be dealt with too. With illegal drug use both the user and dealer are punished. I don't see too many employers treated the way that illegal immigrants are.

There are many sides to any issue. Immigration is no exception. I hope the tragic story of Juan and his journey helps to illustrate that this issue is about people. We are all people. Children of God.

Here is the text of the song, "Pobre Juan"
Juan se lanzo marchándose al norte iba en busca de una vida digna. Cruzando México por valles y por montes iba Juan lleno de fe.
La historia es que Juan se iba a casar con María embarazada. Pero él no tenía ni un centavo ni un clavo que darle.
Pero este Juan iba muy decidido y a la frontera el llegó con todo el filo. Se conectó con el mero mayor de los coyotes y la historia le conto. Mire usted que yo quiero cruzarme ya a San Diego o Chicago, dígame usted lo que hago qué precio le pago.
Juan ya nunca regresó, en la línea se quedó.
Pobre Juan.
O la migra lo mató, o el desierto lo enterró,
Pobre Juan.
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Juan le ensenó al coyote una foto de María con la cual se casaría. Le prometió que el regresaría para formar todo un hogar.
Pero el coyote a Juan lo traicionó dejándolo al olvido, de tres balas se tronaron a Juan.
Pobre de Juan.
No regresó.
No, oh.
Juan ya nunca regresó, en la línea se quedó.
Pobre Juan.
O la migra lo mató, o el desierto lo enterró,
Pobre Juan.
Y María lo fue a buscar y ella nunca lo encontró.
Here is the song with an amateur video.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I want to share a story...

While driving to Twin Falls yesterday I heard a song on my iPod and it reminded me of a story. I would like to share the story with you. In a following post I’ll discuss the story a little. Read on.

Somewhere in the old world in a small, poor country live John and Mary; they are in love. They want to have a life together, so they get engaged. Mary is expecting and so John decides that he needs to find more steady employment as work in their small, impoverished country is not dependable and pays very poorly. He wants to have a life worthy of his family. To earn money for his young family John decides to head to the neighboring country to find work. He has been told by the men in his town that there is work in that country and that you can easily send money home. John knows that this would help out tremendously with Mary and the baby that will soon arrive.

John sets the date and starts the journey to neighboring country and takes with him the bare minimum to survive; water, a bedroll, what little money he has and a photo of Mary. He kisses his future bride and leaves their small cottage in the woods. He hikes through valleys and hills to reach the country where the work can be found.
John knows that this will not be an easy journey, but he is young and knows that Mary is praying for his success and quick return.

To travel to the country where the work is John finds a travel broker that can help him make his way to where he can find work. John, being from a small town and not knowing the intricacies of getting work in the other country is grateful that he can find a broker to help. The broker he finds is the best in the business (at least he has been told); the broker is Yote. John tells Yote, “I want to work in the City. Tell me what I have to do. Tell me what it will cost.” John has been told that Yote has the experience needed to help him go to the country and find work to be able to send money home to Mary and the baby.

Yote and John start their trek to the country and on the way John tells Yote about Mary and the baby. He also tells Yote that when he returns and he and Mary wed they will be a proper family with a proper home. He even shows Yote his picture of Mary.

Yote however did not have pure intentions. As they walked through the countryside toward the location where they would enter the other country Yote killed John. Yote took his money and possessions and left him to die in the woods. All that he left with John was the photo of Mary.

After a few weeks of not hearing from John, Mary was worried. She began to wonder what might have happened to John. Did he make to the country to work? Had he even made it to the city and found the man to help him get work? Was he mistaken for a criminal and shot by the army? She didn’t know. So Mary went to look for John. Not knowing what happened she could not find him. Mary never knew about Yote, or what happened in the woods. She never knew that John died tightly gripping the picture he kept of her. That those who found his body, not knowing who he was buried him there in the woods with the photo he held in his hand.

Mary never knew what happened to her John. Poor Mary. Poor John.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I had to add one more thing to the previous post... too funny not to share...
from The Joy of Tech (click to enlarge)

More about those Microsoft "I'm a PC" ads...

A few posts ago I wrote/ shared about a new ad campaign from Microsoft to directly compare PCs to Apple computers. The thing is that the comparison is not fair. Because the purchase price of the pc is just where it begins. There are many other costs that will HAVE to be incurred to replicate the out of box experience that a person would get when purchasing a Mac. Arik Hesseldahl writes candidly about this an Business week. (source:
The Price Weapon

Microsoft used earlier ads to defend itself suitably against Apple's nerdiness allegations. Now Microsoft is on the advertising offensive, wielding price as a weapon of choice. It's an effective approach during a recession. But as is always the case with advertising, the full story is more nuanced.

Yes, $699 beats the $2,800 you'd pay for a Mac with a 17-in. screen. But when it comes to PCs, there's still a great deal more to buy.

First, there's security software. The PC in question comes with a 60-day trial Norton Internet Security 2009 from Symantec (SYMC). After the trial runs out you'll pay Symantec $50 a year to protect your PC (and up to two others in your home) from all the nasty viruses, worms, and other malware lurking on the Internet. That's $150 over the three years Lauren is likely to hold on to her PC. No need for antivirus on the Mac.

Next, let's say something goes wrong on the computer once the warranty expires and that it requires the intervention of a third party. Geek Squad will charge you $129 just for a diagnosis. A diagnosis from the Genius Bar in Apple's retail stores? Free.

Then there's iLife, the suite of multimedia tools that comes standard on the Mac. With iLife you can organize photos and home movies and turn them into watchable DVDs. Garageband helps you create your own music and another iLife element aids in Web site creation.

Extras Cost Extra

It's hard to replicate that bundle if you're a Windows user. The Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) machine in Lauren's case does ship with discs for Muvee Reveal, a video-editing program that usually costs $80, and CyberLink DVD Suite, which runs $104. But if she wants Adobe's (ADBE) Photoshop Elements, including a membership in Plus, she'll need to shell out about $140. Sonic Solutions' (SNIC) Roxio Creator 2009, which combines video-editing and DVD-creating tools, will cost another $100. And the closest equivalent to Garageband on Windows is Cubase Sequel and it goes for another $100.

Add it all up and it's not hard to imagine Lauren's $699 computer costing something closer to $1,500.

But that doesn't include harder-to-quantify shortcomings. The HP's battery lasts only 2.5 hours on a charge, compared with eight hours for the 17-in. MacBook Pro, which also happens to be 1.2 lb. lighter and boasts substantially better screen resolution: 1,920 pixels wide by 1,440 high, vs. 1,440 by 900 for the HP.

Even if Lauren doesn't care about pixels and multimedia software, her machine still doesn't measure up when it comes to overall consumer satisfaction. No less an authority than Consumer Reports rated Lauren's computer fourth in a class of six with 17- to 18-in. displays. The MacBook Pro was tops, despite its higher price.
PC Makers Should Focus More on Quality
Usually silent on such things, Apple did give me a comment on the Microsoft ads. "A PC is no bargain when it doesn't do what you want," Apple spokesman Bill Evans says. "The one thing that both Apple and Microsoft can agree on is that everyone thinks the Mac is cool. With its great designs and advanced software, nothing matches it at any price." Microsoft declined to comment.

Microsoft and its hardware partners wouldn't have to make this case had they focused less in the past decade on driving prices down and more on quality. Forrester Research (FORR) recently released results of a study of consumer experiences with computer companies, assessing their view of a machine's usefulness, usability, and enjoyability. Apple ran the table in all three categories, well ahead of Gateway (now a unit of Acer), HP, and Dell (DELL).

PC makers in the Windows camp have done everything possible to make their products progressively worse by cutting corners to save pennies per unit and boost sales volume. There's good reason Apple is seeing healthy profits while grabbing market share. It refuses to budge on quality and so charges a higher price. Rather than running ads that seem clever at first but really aren't, the Windows guys ought to take the hint and just build better computers.
So when you see person with that nice MacBook or visit someone's home and they have an iMac don't think that they spent more than they needed, they only had to spend once!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Friday Funnies...

Friday Funnies....
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart is pretty funny. He calls them as he sees them. Here is a clip from last night's show that I thought was great. You have got to be sure that when you're a TV commentator that you don't contradict yourself eight years later. It's hard to keep credibility that way. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Made Simple...

Don't you like it when things are made simple to understand. A few months ago I was introduced to a site called Mormons Made Simple. The creators Doug & Laurel wanted to create a easy way to learn about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Mormons Made Simple was invented. They do a pretty good job of explaining in a easy to understand way.

Here is a video explaining an LDS church service. If you had no knowledge of how these meetings went then it would be a good way to find out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

News from the job front...

Not to worry, I am not out of a job or job hunting (I happen to like my job and stay pretty busy). There are however many blogs an websites emerging dealing with people that are that situation. Not the typical "Here's what you need to do" mumbo-jumbo, but real people documenting the experience they are having while trying to market themselves and survive in this down economy.

It is interesting to see how people adapt in these trying times. Through other economic turmoil in history there have always been retrospects and compilations of peoples experiences gathered after the fact. But there are many people that you can read about the experience that they are having right now and what they are feeling.

As a people we (Americans) are pretty resilient. No matter the situation whether natural disaster or man-made crisis we tend to pull our selves up and move on. These blogs are examples of people doing just that. Our history is littered with stories of people doing that exact same thing and in fifty or an hundred years we may read about some of these people that overcame hardship and re-invented themselves and learned how to survive in a different economy than they were accustomed to.

Take time to read about these people who don't ask for pity or judgment. They are just sharing the experience of being American.

Laid Off blogs:

Laid Off Loser (Boise guy documenting the experience- videos from media as well)

Laid Off Artists Survivor Guide

10 Steps for Those Who Get Laid Off

Laid Off Dad

Recently Laid Off

Jobless and Less

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Scenes form an Idaho office.

I have about 200 CDs. Before mp3 and iPod became my preferred format I bought CDs. Sometimes I find myself listening to a CD that I haven’t listened to in a while; not just the popular tracks, but all the tracks. From beginning to end like the artist intended.

This week I have been listening to a lot of Billy Joel. Growing up in the 1980’s I heard plenty of Billy Joel on the radio and on MTV, but t
wo people really introduced me to Billy Joel. I have been thinking a lot about them both this week. They are both not around anymore. I can’t call them to chew the fat, like we did back in the day. It’s hard when they’re gone. My uncle Danny was so knowledgeable about music. I had the opportunity to work with him at his band instrument repair shop while I was in high school and we listened to all kinds of music, including Billy Joel. One afternoon after finishing work we went to a record store and he bought a CD, then he gave me a cassette; KOHUEPT (Live in Leningrad). Billy Joel live from Russia. It was a good tape. There are times during his performance that you can really hear his voice straining after being on tour for so long.

Another person Shawn also shared some Billy Joel with me. For my birthday in 1991 he gave me Billy Joel’s THE NYLON CURTAIN.
This was originally released in 1982, so not a new release when I received it. There is a song on that album Goodnight Saigon, about Marines in Vietnam and their experience. Now we weren’t in Vietnam, but we were still good friends.

Both of these men are gone and when I listen to Billy Joel I can’t help but think of them and the experiences we shared. Music is great that way. It can bring back stirring memories of people and places and experiences. We have so many things to be grateful for in our lives. Family, Friends, Life, and Love.

In every heart there is a room
A sanctuary safe and strong
To heal the wounds from lovers past
Until a new one comes along

I spoke to you in cautious tones
You answered me with no pretense
And still I feel I said too much
My silence is my self defense

And every time I've held a rose
It seems I only felt the thorns
And so it goes, and so it goes
And so will you soon I suppose

But if my silence made you leave
Then that would be my worst mistake
So I will share this room with you
And you can have this heart to break

And this is why my eyes are closed
It's just as well for all I've seen
And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

So I would choose to be with you
That's if the choice were mine to make
But you can make decisions too
And you can have this heart to break

And so it goes, and so it goes
And you're the only one who knows

***(The title of this post is a play on a song title by Billy Joel, if you know it leave it in the comments!)***