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Cops N Coffee

December 10, 2016 Leave a comment

SWBSoStupidHow did “Cops N Coffee” and up in “so stupid it could actually happen”?

Well, read on ….

But, let me bore you first by filling you in on a little bit about the writer (me): First, I was never military or a copy, or basically anything of legal authority recognized by a uniform. I did grow up for over twenty years next door to the Deputy Sheriff of Allegheny County and his sons. Some of his children became local officers and mayors of our community. The community I grew up in was Brentwood, similar to the one I live in now (Glen Osborne / Sewickley Area). Originally my wife and I did a little stint in Leetsdale after we were married, but opted to move into the Glen Osborne / Sewickley community next to us – not for status, but simply it reminded me of my old neighborhood (many people knew each other, the law enforcement and people in the local government were integral parts of the community, and it was a safe place where you want to raise a family … whether you owned a mansion or BMW or a small house and a Dodge {BTW, a little trivia note — there were more BMWs in the Brentwood/Whitehall area than in the Sewickley area when I grew up}).

Again …. I love my community because it was safe, the same as I love the one I live in now.

I also respected the police officers and other officials not because of uniform, but because they were tightly integrated with the community – there were no false arrests, or brutality, or abuse from police officers or other government officials towards people in the community … incidentally, the people in the community rarely ever had run ins with the law or otherwise.

So why did this work out so well?

Community … the officers were your friend’s dads or moms, your parents friends, your friends, your neighbors – yes, even the ones that lived outside of the community became part of it. The most effective safety system in a community is everyone in that community becoming an integral part of it and accessible in it – this it most critical with government representatives and officers of the law.

Why the long-winded explanation?

When I look at a community and see the local cops congregating at a local diner, convenience store, coffee shop, etc it communicates one thing to me … this place is safe – I would raise my family here.  Why? They are completely accessible to the members of their community, of which most communicate with them daily. This also shows me the connection created hampers things like police brutality (ie. why would you harass your neighbor if you just had Christmas dinner with them or simply shared conversation over coffee?), government corruption, etc. When I see officials from the local government hanging out in the local places being accessible, it lets me know I really can have a voice in the community (and a better chance to have their actions in governing reflect what the community really wants). When I watched this disappear from other communities I’ve lived in I’ve watch crime, police brutality, and political corruption become rampant and take over those communities … some being very well established, very wealthy communities. I not longer live in them because I no longer feel safe in them. Many left those communities feeling the same.

Why did this happen?

Complaints: “The cops aren’t doing their jobs because they are hanging out drinking coffee and eating donuts”, “The government officials aren’t doing their jobs because their hanging out talking to people in the communities”, “They should be out fighting crime (even when there isn’t any)”, “They should be cutting costs – not sipping coffee”, etc.

The summary after all of the boring rant:

When your community is safe because your police officers and government representatives are hanging out in your local businesses you don’t complain about their presence or the $3.00 they spend on a cup of coffee or take up parking spaces when these actions bring complete accessibility in your community simply because this brings to them the knowledge of the people they are protecting and representing – this is a gift, not a liability, nor an expense.

For the simple:  You don’t hinder your officers, borough managers, mayors, clerks, etc from hanging out together in your local businesses … because them being on the community’s payroll isn’t what makes your community safe – it’s those people becoming an effective, integral, and accessible part of it that makes your community safe.

Share this out if you support your local police offices, local government officials, and local government workers hanging out in the community and becoming part of it instead of folks you know see in the papers or on the news. In other words, share this out if you want “Cops N Coffee” to continue in your community or start in it.

So, why did this make “So Stupid It Could Actually Happen?” …. simply because it does, and then people in communities wonder why the cops can get away with abuse of power, local government clerks can steal, mayors can waste a community’s money …. all because those people that were initially accessible in the community are eventually pushed out of it into inaccessible offices and cars.

-LC

Thinking Inside The Box

September 26, 2016 Leave a comment

thinkinsidetheboxYou read it right … “think inside the box”.

It’s the new buzz phrase around the water cooler (or Redbull dispenser – whichever you have).

Confused? Yes – Good. I don’t have throw my coffee cup away yet.

Here is a little bit the chew on. We’ve been thinking so hard “outside the box” since the latter 80s that, well, “thinking outside the box” is now THE BOX.

The idea behind “thinking outside the box” is doing things differently than everyone else, or truly failing differently than everyone else has been years before you to discover newer, better ways to do the things you do (hmmm … that sounds like a tag line for a really bad millennial commercial). Just to be specific … a really bad millennial commercial is one of those ones where you reach the end, and if there isn’t a company brand floating all over the screen you basically end up thinking “WFT????????????????????? (not WTF … see, now THAT’s being different – we think outside the box here at SWB on a regular basis).”

Considering I work in two ever changing tech fields (Information Technology and Sound Engineering), thinking differently with a good baseline of a solid box to sit new advances on is critical. It’s the only way solid advances are made – along with a little bit of user beta testing and QA processes. Oops, sorry, too many corporate words in that sentence … get over it, and don’t judge me (this is a free country and I’m allowed to enjoy my stereotype).

Want an example? (you guessed it, I’m going to pick on the millennial kiddies again):

Well, whether you like it or not here it is: The big news item on millennials is them living in shared housing. Guess what?  That’s hippie communal living ….. from the 60s. Yep, the newbies couldn’t think of anything but what was already done. If there a difference between the two groups?  Yes – the millennials, even though living in a shared enviro are still materialistic entitled nerds trying to look like they are helping the world by living in a shared environment (filled with many things created with manufacturing processes that are massively toxic). The hippies actually lived together to try and help each other live off the land and share resources, in theory bettering the world (then they discovered mini vans and some of them became hot soccer moms, so that ideal went south). Basically the hippies in today’s world became the box. The millennials are the box too, they just built one that was translucent so they could be in denial about being in it (ya know – if you can’t see it, it’s not there).  BTW …. lots of corporate people do that too.

To get a grip on things – thinking outside the box became the inside of the box and the only way to actually think outside of the box was to get back in the box thus avoiding the outside of the box standard issue thinking that was actually inside the box and in reality only a facsimile of the outside of the box which is limiting your ability to create and innovate inside the box while trying to claw your way out. Simple.

{{place confused dog head tilt here}}

This is not insanity … hang in there, we just bought a new bag of treats and we’ll give you one once you “get it”.

The latest big deal is gamification. See we’re already doing it here at SWB … you get a “treat” if you “get it”. Goal!!!

Keep in mind this doesn’t mean we have to “get it”, just as long as you do. We’ll have no idea what you are actually “getting”, but what the heck, we’re too old to care.

Gamification …. for those not familiar, it’s basically setting a goal and leaving a trail of chocolate chip cookies to it. For those that may have issues getting to their goals because they may be allergic to the chocolate, or the nut particles that may have ended up in the cookies … they can always get a second mortgage on their house to purchase an EpiPen from Mylan helping them get back on track.

Granted, with all of the millennials around me, I was starting to feel left out … so I ordered myself two boxes of trophies from Oriental Trading to make up for all the ones my teachers, coaches, and parents never handed out to me {sniff!}. I want gamification too … hopefully today’s trophy will be a Pez dispenser filled with cola flavored candies.

So, do you get it? … I know you’ve chewed a bit (and we do realize that might be your own tongue you are chewing … you might want to realize that too) … which means you have to be close to “getting it”. Remember, we have fresh treats.

Got it?

It’s all a game of making your outside the box thinking last long enough to allow you to make a difference before someone defines you as “the box”.

… or you can just grab a coffee, go fishing, and allow someone else to stroke out over it.

-SWB

  • Reality shows were initially created to give you a peak into someone else’s real life freeing you from the typically scripted shows with tons of writers … now the reality shows are massively scripted with more writers than a sitcom of the same length. Reality shows are now hated and have become a box that’s worse that the previous box.
  • A great film maker named George Romero was best known for creating an entirely new film experience – zombie movies. The Walking Dead did an excellent job of thinking outside the box and improving on George’s innovation in an actual TV series … then everyone copied and created endless amounts of copy cat zombie movies … enough to induce vomiting by 1 in 5 people on a daily basis. Overkill made an even thicker box that may never be broken out of.
  • IBM created and innovation called the “PC” by thinking way outside the box of their room sized behemoths that even large corporations struggled to afford. Others thought even further outside of the box making those “PCs” the mainstay of data centers, but drove that into a level of overkill that convinced IBM to go back to their old “in the box” creation “the mainframe”.  Guess what you are on most of the time when you use “the cloud”? BTW … the cloud is an innovation that’s been around since about the latter 80s.

The Art of Photography While Driving and How it Pertains to Politics

September 17, 2016 Leave a comment

roadway091716A great low-res pic of the roadway in from my car.

As you can see, my fancy new windshield wipers are working flawlessly.

… or maybe you can’t see.  It’s taken with my fancy $10 Vivitar key chain camera bought at Rite Aide 5 years ago. Beats my $2400 Fuji Pro2 any day 🙂

So why post a really bad photo from a camera where it’s in high debate that it actually has a lens in it?

Well, a bit of nostalgia …..it really capture images like those very crappy film camera you bought in the gum ball machines in the 70s and 80s – a really distorted, although recognizable view of what’s really there.

BTW …. before we go further, a little clarification for the thin-minded: I really didn’t take this while I was driving the car, I was stopped in a legal area to do so with someone behind me for safety. Why do I have to clarify that? … Well, because I’ve been around long enough to know if enough people read this, some of the more dim-witted will buy a few key chain cams and start taking pics around the ‘burgh in their cars while forgetting to actually drive their cars. I would feel bad about any accidents(well, not that bad … they’re the stupid idiots taking pics while driving their cars), considering I’d already have to deal with dumb questions like “how do I get the pics off the cam, it doesn’t have a screen”. I get the same question from people that buy modern day film cameras, failing to realize they bought a film camera (you can’t make that one up).

Ok … now past the incoherent babble, what does this even have to do with modern day politics??

Well, it’s exactly the same thing … a view that looks like what our founding fathers created, blurred a bit so you can’t see the details, but cheap enough you’ll but it anyway (when I did an art project with keychain cams I sold some of the pics at shows for $30 a piece … more than I ever sold with shots taken with my pro camera).

It’s sort of like reality shows (I’m REALLY hoping you don’t think any part of those shows are real), which our elections are starting to get like – well produced marketing with enough blur so you think you are really getting what you ordered until you actually open the box and find a really crappy picture of a road taking with a camera that cost three times less that what you just paid for the picture.

The art of photography and how it pertains to politics … it’s really an unsafe stupid way to get a really crappy blurry image of reality.

Realize what’s around you, look at what’s around you, make informed decisions, don’t let modern day marketing make the decisions for you.

This is our political contribution to the 2016 reality show (ooops … I mean election).

-SWB

The Glory of Windshield Wipers

September 16, 2016 Leave a comment

SWBBlahBlahHuh?!?!?!?!?!

Yeah, we expected that response with the title.

Let me explain a little further.

You’ve  been married for a long time, even though the amazing intimacy has disappeared a long while ago, you still have your best friend.

You now have a teenager, so your Dodge Viper has been traded in for a used mini-van, and you are toting your teen around to every event because you could buy a new car for the yearly insurance on a teen for your auto.

Your teenager has now discovered the joys of human attraction … so the boy “friends” or girl “friends” are now showing up droves and you can’t keep the names straight (let alone which one your teen is with).

The joys of a brand new tech toy, brand new sports car, brand new boat, brand new house, etc have fleeted away a long time ago …. with most of you personal time and pocket change.

So what do windshield wipers even have to do with this (remember this IS a blah blah blah article)?

You finally skimmed enough off the top of the family funds to afford your new set of $12 snazzy windshield wipers from Wally World.

The moral of the story – you’re old.

Next week the kiddies will have you in a retirement home.

Enjoy.

-SWB

 

The big screen from the past taking on an 8mm cast.

September 14, 2016 Leave a comment

sewickley-theaterSo, the predictions of the big screen being gone due to the lcd bigs screens blowing them away seems to be much less of a valid vision in modern times.

The pic on the left is a new theater in a small community (Sewickley) being built from scratch containing a community room (for about 145), a 160 seat theater, and a 90 seat theater. along with that many communities like Lawrenceville, and Zelienople, etc have remodeled old theaters, or old buildings refitting them for theaters realizing that dinner and a movie in your own community is still better than dinner with a two hour wait at a corporate restaurant, moving to park again, and a thirty minute line for the movie, along with waiting in traffic to get our of the theater parking lot.

In other words spending a whole days with friends, dinner, and a movie is still loved a bit more than jockeying your car around to get to the dinner and a movie – spending most of the time complaining with your friends how long it took.

So, this is cool. With losing many traditions for families and friends, seeing one brought back (other than sports, drinking, sports, drinking, sports, drinking) is great. Even movie directors and film geeks are following suite in their own way … with a what was though to be dying along with the local theaters, the Kodak Super 8 film camera.

How so?

super_8_lcd_white_v1Well Kodak, thought to be a dying company is catering to the wishes of a current batch of film makers and directors that want to shoot with the inspiration of 8mm film, just like their mentors from the past did. Sort of like current artists producing vinyl, because they came to the senses and realized digital takes away from natural sound(unless you have a small super-computer the size that most medium level governments can’t afford). The pic to the left is (c) Kodak and a shot of their new hybrid super 8mm camera. You get a digital copy of the film from the film after it is developed. If you still shoot still film, you understand as a photographer that light passed through actual film differently than an lcd and images on paper differently than a paper producing more natural shading and color tones. The way an image is projected onto a screen is also affected by this. Surprisingly, even the newest of film makers have to be given credit for realizing this.

cluelesstrophyBut a clueless award has to be given to the movie industry as a whole to forced small theaters to invest 60k or more in refitting completely to digital …

 

but kudos to those theaters that decided to keep some of their old analog projection gearswbkudos2 in place – and even one or two new theaters are rebuilding and placing some of the older projection equipment to accommodate film makers truly wanting to use and project on film.

If you have a local theater reopening or remodeling, please support it … most of the films they most likely chose will be much better than the ones the corporate clones show (and most likely make it to Netflix free within a month anyway).

A couple of theaters to check out:

Support your local theater, and keep your family memories on film!

Add any local theaters you know of via the comments!

-SWB

 

Stupidity Persists – the liberty bridge burning

September 12, 2016 Leave a comment

liberty-bridge-fire-1Image (c) pittsburgh.cbslocal.com … see article: http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/photo-galleries/2016/09/02/smoke-rises-over-city-during-tarp-fire-on-liberty-bridge/

N’uff for the credits (we thank CBS for posting the pics and article), now for our bit:

Most of us that have giving ideas to SWB or written the rant, smack, and whining we put into words in this blog have also worked many years with events and other goings on in Pittsburgh (city and surrounding) and we’ve dealt with the safety harassment of the city’s demands on fire retardant ratings for anything during those events.

Basically that means when something started burning it has to stop after so many seconds or minute (I don’t remember all the direct specs).

BTW …. by harassment, I mean having your event shut down or delayed … having artists break their tents down until they can get a fire retardant tent or you can provide one, etc, etc.

Which makes SWB ask the question —– how did this even happen???

IF the city pushed and harassed those bridge contractors as they do the common folk running events within the city limits, that fire should have put itself out minutes after it started with NO damage or safety threats to anyone.

In other words, this should have never happened ….. but as we can see the same tarps are the ones still covering the work areas on the bridge – lovely.

It’s great the contractor or paying $200k plus per day along with the damages to the bridge on top of that … but it’s not like the people that are actually inconvenienced are getting free gas or wear and tear money from the contractor – but I’m sure if those same inconvenienced people decide to work at or host an event in Pittsburgh they will confronted with the fire retardant safety demands of the city … unlike the contractors working on it’s critical infrastructure.

So … the first SWB Clueless award goes to both the Liberty Bridge contractors along with the city itself (sorry, it was too much of a tie to give either one total credit for that level of stupidity considering many lives could have actually been lost).

-SWB

The Friday that is a Monday

September 21, 2012 Leave a comment

See the fog in the picture?  No, it’s not a photoshopped image of how Pittsburgh was supposed to look 30 to 40 years ago.  It’s how my head feels. Because of that, it feels like Monday.

… and for some reason the line in the coffee shop is never ending today, when normally at this time nobody besides the local police are hanging out here (not that it’s a bad place, they just like the coffee – although a little action would be entertaining in the morning).

It’s a great morning {note the sarcasm here} … I can’t get the new caulking around the bathtub to cure well, the kid was whining about not having pop-tarts for breakfast (possibly the most unhealthy thing there is first thing in the morning), the garage door is breaking, and our school board gods are starting to think they are actually god – I had to read about that in the local paper because obviously it was a sucky news day.

I’m sure some idiot will cut me off on the way to work, and my coffee will spill in the car again avoiding him.

The only perks I’ll get today is the view of the city driving into work, preceded by the aroma of Alcosan on the way.  You know your life is on the down side when you look forward to the aroma of Alcosan.

-SWB

Happy Friday