Milo Yield: Laugh Tracks in the Dust 10-7-13
Damphewmore Acres, Kan.
Hallelujah! Fall weather is here. The fish have woken up in the cooler water and are starting their fall feeding frenzy. And the pesky chiggers have all gone away until next year with the exception of one of the little critters who wuz apparently intent upon pushing chigger evolution into cool weather and put the “last bite” of the season on my ribs — at least I hope it’s the last bite.
My friends Canby and May Bea Handy are spending the week on a sales trip/vacation through Nebraska, eastern Colorado and western Kansas. They’re on the road peddling The Handy Camel, a new product their son-in-law Kiwi N. Venter has on the market to keep bagged feed and other products fresh and easy to handle.
Canby gave me a call soon after they left Gothenburg, Neb., to tell me a story that brought a smile to my face. He went into some bizness establishment in the early afternoon and found a group of old farmers/ranchers sitting at a table sipping coffee and gabbing to their hearts’ content.
The gregarious Canby sidled up to them and said, “Where I come from in Missouri, guys like you gather for their coffee early in the morning.”
One wag from the crowd responded, “We were here this morning … and we ain’t left yet! We ain’t got the world’s problems solved yet!”
Those are my kind of guys.
I watched a program on the boob tube recently about how robots are more and more taking over American manufacturing … at the expense of the working men and women. That got me to thinking. Where are all the future jobs going to come from if factories and warehouses go to near total mechanized, computerized, “robotized” manufacturing?
I even saw last night that the U.S. military is retrofitting six F-16 fighter planes to fly without a pilot in the cockpit.
Now, I understand the economics of why companies are switching to robots. Robots don’t call in sick. They don’t have appointments to keep. They don’t have children to raise and spouses to keep happy. They don’t get married or divorced. They don’t get tired. They don’t need vacations and time off. And, they don’t require salary, wages, health care and retirement accounts.
That said, an economy is still driven by a mix of human needs … and one of the most important need is for jobs to pay for the other needs. I don’t see how that’s going to happen in a “robotized” world. I just can’t envision enuf service jobs to keep the populace employed.
Perhaps it eventually will come down to giving business enterprises tax incentives to provide jobs for people that are sufficient to offset the economics of totally automated business enterprises.
I hope that I’m just so old and set in my ways that I’m seeing the future through geriatric blinders. But, somehow, someway folks have to be able to earn money. Everyone can’t be on the government dole.
As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, the fish in the Flint Hills are beginning to bite. Last week, I caught a few big grasshoppers and went to my pond to see if the fish were biting. Turns out, the normally dingy water in my pond has gone clear and the little channel catfish and a few bass were hungry for grasshoppers.
While I wuz fishing, a good sized bass bit the bait and when it jumped out of the water, my line broke. The fish wuzn’t big enuf to really break the line, so the line had to have a weak place in it.
However, later I did land a nice bass and when I started to clean the fish, I noticed the bass had a length of monofilament coming out of its mouth. Yep, I’d caught the same fish that broke my line in the first place. The hook and the grasshopper were firmly imbedded in its stomach. That bass wuz too dumb to remain the the bass gene pool, but he sure did taste good.
As I’m writing this epistle this week, our government is on the verge of shutting down. Now, if the government does shut totally down, I guess I won’t get my social security check or the FSA payment for my CRP, but my main concern from a government shutdown is the worry about who will spy on me, waste my taxes, have contempt for me, trample on my rights and call me a terrorist because I own a few guns for hunting?
Since I mentioned robots in this column, I’ll end it with a few words of wisdom about robots from Oklahoman/Cherokee Indian Daniel H. Wilson. He said, “We humans have a love-hate relationship with our technology. We love each new advance and we hate how fast our world is changing … robots really embody that love-hate relationship we have with technology.” Amen, brother!
Have a good ’un. ❖