Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Scraping the bottom of the barrel

Put me in coach, I'm ready to play...

I have to laugh at all of the politicians saying they are going to bring manufacturing back the the US. I hear story-after-story about people who call ten plumbers, get three who say they want the work and none of them show up. Same for roofers and electricians and drywall hangers.

There is a conceit in government. They think they can throw money on the table and capable people will spring up like mushrooms after a rain.

How many states formed Blue Ribbon committees to start solar cell manufacturing plants? Promising candidates were plugged into all of the key positions. Four years later...not a single functioning solar cell has been shipped to an actual customer.

If brute applications like making solar panels is like pouring slabs of concrete for a parking lot, then semi-conductors are like crafting lost-wax mold for an elaborate, gold, filigree brooch.

One of my neighbors called me this afternoon. He asked if I was available to lend him a hand tomorrow. He said that all he needed was a man with a strong back and a weak mind. Fortunately for me, he doesn't need a guy with two legs running at 100%.

With inflation rearing its reptilian head, it is not a bad thing to have some recent work-history and a friend who calls when he needs a hand.


  1. Thankfully, we have that in our little 'group'...

  2. Do for yourself, that others might learn.

  3. Funny story, neighbor and I were friends of exactly that sort (Hey, can you lend me a hand tomorrow?) We would share carbonated beverages on Friday evening while solving all the worlds problems , too.
    One day I went to work for said neighbors company, caused quite a strain, now I am out of work, he doesn't have a helper, and neither of us can get a hand with something quick on Saturday afternoons.
    Keep that friend of yours very close, at a distance.

    1. I think it was Rockefeller that said business is an excellent basis for a friendship and friendship is a poor basis for a business.

  4. My tale--we have a second story screened deck on our house. It was built 10 years ago, and the screens were finally giving out. I got in touch with six people. Two never answered, two ghosted me, one pulled in my driveway, took one look and left.

    Guy #6 showed up, listened to what I wanted done and give me a price. I got him down a little. I think his price was still high, but I know what it would have cost to rent a cherry picker, do the work myself and go to the chiropractor a half-dozen times. He got the work and did a bang up job. Chances are he's coming back for some more work.

    Funny thing is that I was moving firewood that I had delivered to the woodshed. He was asking me about it, did I heat with wood and so on. We sort of danced around things a bit, but he told me that he had generators and such and was trying to teach his kids how to do things when modern conveniences fail or simply aren't available. Four kids, two who are listening and learning and two who don't care. Guy is from Central America somewhere. Grew up without those things and knows how fragile things like "civilized society" can be.

    Interesting experience.

  5. Here in Texas the problem with Solar power is they wont hook it up to the grid. You can buy solar cells, get them all ready to go but you have to get the electric company to hook it to their power grid ( If you aren't putting everything into your own batteries). Currently they SAY it will take 4-6 weeks but recently it is taking over 12 weeks to get the work done.


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