Bear Mountain, Connecticut
I just went seven whole days without spending a single, solitary dime on anything. No food, gas, movies, internet shopping. Nothing. It helped that I worked all seven days, but it’s actually not that hard, if you plan ahead a bit and are resolute. I almost went to Chipotle and then backed off once I realized I would be failing in my goal.
Point is, if you needed to save money for some reason(i.e. traveling the world), you can do it. Just gotta make a little game of it.
Connecticut Historical Society - Hartford, Connecticut
I spent the day yesterday volunteering for the Red Cross at E.C. Goodwin Technical School in New Britain, Connecticut. The work itself was madness, as high school kids tend not to listen to anything I say(or even talk to me). All they seem to talk about is partying. I don’t think relating to them by telling them my stories would be helpful, so I had no idea what to say. How do parents raise teenagers? It boggles the mind.
Nevertheless, I found the school itself interesting. The kids, mostly minorities, are placed into ten different trades to learn, such as plumbing, culinary, electrical, woodwork, etc. The kids learn these crafts extensively, along with general studies. Those that aren’t able to continue their studies at university now have something to fall back on once they finish high school.
Maybe I’ve been out of the loop for a while, as I had never heard of a school like this before, but these are fantastic schools for children in today’s economy. There aren’t enough workers in these types of jobs, partially because of the costs of education, but also because the job market is transforming itself and the American worker hasn’t adjusted to the new reality as of yet. Services are at a premium, while low-skilled manufacturing jobs, the bedrock of the American economy in decades past, are slowly disappearing.
If these schools become more prevalent for young children, unnecessary college-costs could be avoided, and the American economy will be helped in the long-run. A win-win.
After a lifetime of being a proponent of unions, I’d wavered the last few years on their importance. Seeing some of the opulent benefits afforded union employees, it’s hard for many Americans not to become disdainful toward them. However, after recently beginning a temporary job at a major American retailer (I move to Denver in July to begin graduate school), I’m once again a firm believer in unions, their worth, and am in their corner.
President Theodore Roosevelt was also a firm believer in unions, advocating them because of their stance on workers’ rights against big business and employers. “It is essential that there should be organizations of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize,” he said in 1912. Around the turn of the century, with unions beginning their upward ascent, workers began securing more rights in the workplace, to the benefit of American society as a whole. This increase in unionization reached its’ zenith after World War II, when workers rights were at their maximum and income inequality reached an all-time low. The middle-class had their hey-day during this period. Since the 1960’s, unions have lost influence and manpower, with, not coincidentally, income inequality increasing the previous four decades.
….through the first four months of the year :) I’ve been on a bit of a roll since I returned to the States, having rediscovered my love of cinema. It’s a pleasant place to be and a nice distraction. Since I work weekends until July, I generally go on weekday afternoons, with nearly empty theaters. Amazingly, there have been a ton of great movies out so far, which is surprising, as traditionally the late winter and early spring is movie wasteland. Not this year.
Trinity Chapel, Hartford, Connecticut
Connecticut State Capitol, Hartford, Connecticut
Mark Twain House