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June 14th, 2017 by mch

Terrible word this morning from Alexandria that Rep. Steve Scalise has been shot with others at a ball field in Alexandria. Almost as terrible have been some of the responses posted on the web. Left and right wing trolls alike are using this tragic event as an excuse for more partisan venom. Instead, we all should be hoping (and praying if that is your wont) for Scalise’s and others (at the time of this writing, I do not have a full list of victims) full recovery.
To those who are asking of us liberals, “Are you happy now?,” the answer is, “No we are not!” We know that democracy is absolutely dependent on the free exchange of ideas from all sides. The violent silencing of any voice, liberal, conservative, moderate alike, is a great tragedy to our nation.

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December 23rd, 2010 by mch

above Orion

the Moon glows dull burnt sienna in a cold crisp night

wisps of moisture as thin clouds, almost mistaken for the Milky Way

a rare night on a special day, the first of Winter

our entire family and a few friends gathered to watch the spectacle in the wee hours

it has been centuries since this could last be seen

our children, if they live very long, but more likely our grandchildren, could see this the next time

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December 23rd, 2010 by mch

Perhaps it is because of the industry in which I mainly work – information technology – that I haven’t fully identified with the statements I have heard or read in the news media: that the world of work in America has fundamentally changed over the past two years.  It seems to me that the rest of the country is simply catching up to the reality that I have been experiencing for decades.

Admittedly, more than once I wished I could have had the dependable, single-employer type of career that my parents’ generation enjoyed – that might have been less stressful and not taken such a toll on health and family.  But that was not to be the case.  In my business, so many of us had to take charge of our own future and deal with continual change.  Contracts come and go, and companies form and fall apart, in only a few years at best.   For a period, I could count the number of managers I had worked for as a multiple of the years I had been employed.  Any stability I might have perceived at the time – mostly earlier in my career – was illusory.  

So how did we deal with this emerging world where the traditional relationships among employers and workers were breaking down?  Many of us had to continually retrain ourselves – including spending our own hard-earned money – to keep up with the rapid changes in the industry: new technologies, new modes of service delivery, constant intense competition (from other companies, but also from our aggressive peers).  We became accustomed to the fact that our work was in the form of mostly short-lived projects – all temporary, and each one different (unlike Crowther’s twisty little passages, all alike, or not?). 

On the plus side, especially for those of us with short attention spans, there always has been something new – a new problem to solve, a new technology to learn, new people to meet, new spaces to experience…  On the down side, there have been periods for many of us when we have been un- or under-employed. 

In defense of the media I have been questioning, the current unemployment situation is much more serious than has occurred in our or the previous generation – this is not normal.  But I have yet to be convinced that it is the new normal.  That being said, for those who had been fortunate enough to live in the old world of work for a few years, perhaps there is a new normal for them.  But this has been the normal for us in the information technology industry for many years now.  If you are new to this normal, then you will have to learn to shift with the times – to be more agile and constantly learning.   Welcome to the future! 

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