Monday, February 16, 2015

Lessons In Civility From My Printer

Indeed, my friend, if measures are not soon taken, and the most vigorous ones, to root out these pernicious weeds, it will be in vain for America to per-severe in this generous struggle for the publick [sic] liberty.
-Sam Adams to James Warren, February 16, 1777

My copier/printer constantly beeps, flashes and taunts to remove and check either the black or the color cartridge. I think, man that’s pretty racist that my printer believes the problem is caused by either the black or the color cartridge. Must be though, right? After all, there’s no white cartridge stirring up the trouble. It’s black against color, and vice versa.

Then I think about the white paper. Just lazily sitting in its tray, even being indolent while others do all the work – i.e. the black and color cartridges – as it slowly glides thru the printer. Who gets all the glory? That lily-white piece of paper with all the neat words, pictures, etc, on it. Meanwhile, the black and color cartridges that printed them are sent back to their compartment, hidden away inside the printer without thought or recognition. Without either, though, neither could do their job. It’s a harmonious coexistence, which must be maintained for flawless operation. If the ink goes out, neither words nor pictures can be displayed on the paper; if the paper goes out, neither cartridge can perform their duty.

Now imagine what would happen in society if half suddenly stopped “working,” no longer cooperating – willfully or otherwise – with the other half. We all have our “jobs” in society to do; the first, and frankly only, priority should be to work together in our daily lives in creating a better one for the future. Instead, there is the constant drone of beeping, flashing and taunting for attention that serves no useful purpose toward that end. It’s time we give thought to recognizing that for what it is, rather than giving credence to what it unfortunately has become.

When your printer jams, you clear the obstruction. When it breaks down, you repair it. And when it is beyond such remedies, you replace it – hopefully, with something more efficient and reliable, yet with similarly familiar useful features. Perhaps, it is time we gave some thought to that as well. At every turn and on every level the system – government, education, society – is broken. Why is this? Because, as Green Arrow would say, we have failed it. We have failed to provide the proper maintenance to maintain it, while expecting it to function more reliably and efficiently. As the situation is allowed to continue, it is almost seemingly beyond any remedy.

Is it time for a replacement? Or, just more civility rather than increasingly less?

©2015 Steve Sagarra

Friday, February 6, 2015

No Guarantee of Quality Intended

For several years, I have been attempting to turn a few family recipes into marketable products. I researched, read, analyzed and studied the process. However, since I do not have the necessary capabilities or facilities for large-scale production, I have contacted numerous contract packers/private label distributors (“co-packers”) for the task. How many have returned a reply? None. Zero. Zilch. Probably because I don’t have a famous name like John Q. Celebrity, who slaps their name on every bowl, box or can of craptastic mediocrity and runs laughing to the bank. Granted there are some that are worth it, but, typically, it’s more like Famous Persons Overpriced Garbage.

I’ll let Tommy Callahan explain it further…

*WARNING:  SALES PITCH ALERT* A runner-up recipe in the 2008 Pillsbury Bake-Off Contest, there really is nothing on the market like our Lasagna Florentine Roll-Ups. They’re based on the 40+ year-old family lasagna recipe – which in our haughty, biased opinion is far superior to many, if not most, available major national brands. Likewise, most, if not all, currently available chili brands cannot compete in taste or texture to our three flavors. Far too often, they either are skimpy or, worse, soupy; ours are neither of these, filled with a balanced mix of natural ingredients including ground beef, beans, vegetables and spices. (At one Super Bowl party years ago, my fire chili recipe almost sent two people to the hospital from the spiciness but they continued eating…if that isn’t marketing gold, Mr. Draper, I don’t know what is!)

My point is to take note in buying quality brands – even if they’re generic store ones, some of which are competitively better – rather than following herd mentality because of the name on the brand. (And also that you should purchase my creative works today! *Not John Q. Celebrity endorsed* -

©2015 Steve Sagarra

Sunday, February 1, 2015

There Is No Spoon...Or How I Started To Believe & Went Insane

What if we are inside a Matrix-style structure?
What if the entire universe is this Matrix-style structure?
What if this Matrix-style structured universe is Plato’s Cave?
What if there is no way to leave this Matrix-style structured universe?
What if everything in this universe is real, and it can communicate with us?
What if the universe communicates with us by way of seemingly random numbers?
What if those who connect with this communication perceive the true nature of reality?
What if we could see beyond the truth of this reality?
What if we could reshape this reality as truth?

Further reading (for the mental institute's psychiatrists):

Coincidence, Synchronicity, Karmic or Crazy

What Would Jack Shephard Do?

That Crazily Karmic Synching Feeling 

©2015 Steve Sagarra

Can't Stop the Signal

By all measure, I am no savvy expert when it comes to fully realizing the usefulness in technology and advancements thereof. I leave that to the savvy experts. Yet, I find it bizarre in this day and age of the 21st century that there are still those who have not embraced the potential. I find it especially worrisome with media companies and publishers who do not nor understand how to use or maintain an online and social media presence. This includes even the simplest capabilities of email, as they continue utilizing obsolete means for submissions and correspondence. Snail mail? Really? Email takes a split second to send, and another to receive an immediate response. I don’t have the time or the inclination to wait for the Pony Express to arrive 3-6 months later, if at all, with your acceptance or rejection.

I am old enough to remember when the Internet/World Wide Web (WWW) was in its infancy, and equally feel privileged to have experienced first-hand that new virtual frontier. I was in college. My buddy “Dan” (his real name) was going to the computer lab, and invited me along. I had no reason, other than to goof around. Sitting before a behemoth of a desktop computer, I clicked on the Netscape Navigator icon…and, literally, an entire world opened up. I immediately set about looking up, and printing out a forest, of song lyrics. (Like many, only later after the discovery of more risqué material did the downloading of song lyrics no longer hold my interest.) A few years later, during my short stint in education school, I even wrote an essay for an English class entitled, “Internet As Pop,” that when reread comes across as supportive yet also very dated.

Back home, my buddy “Pete” (his real name) was the first among my friends to have an America Online (AOL) dial-up connection. I had no clue that such a thing existed; I had just clicked on an icon on the school’s computer. Thus, I had not realized the need for an Internet Service Provider (ISP) subscription when setting up my own family’s home computer, as we sat futilely clicking on the Netscape icon trying to reach the sacred lands of the WWW. After such laughable trial and error back in the day, nowadays none of us barely even need to call tech support when the wireless goes down (at which points seems like the dark ages of the 20th century returned).

As it is, I am a reluctant techie. I was never going to read the news online; undoubtedly, I have contributed, even in the smallest way, to bring about the end of hard-copy print journalism. Even when I worked for a community newspaper, I was checking the news online rather than reach for my own news source. As for social media, I was never going to join; now, a handful of websites are checked daily. And, I was never going to embrace digital publishing; now, I have several eBooks ( (I also was never going to blog…you see how that worked out.) When my buddy “John” (his real name) got a DVR, I thought it was some sort of voodoo black magic to pause and rewind “live” television; these days, I don’t know how I lived without it. So, while my curmudgeon heart bitterly protests about newfangled fancy thingamajigs, I still reluctantly accept them as the way to the future.

But, how anyone can continue being tech unaware and/or unacquainted in the 21st century is beyond my comprehension. (Unless, of course, you’re living in a cave denouncing western civilization, butchering innocents and beheading opposition out of some misguided 7th century ideology, as your message of jihad is spread by technology developed and utilized by the former. Then you’re just a stupid Islamic terrorist who deserves some good old fashioned 20th century reckoning.)

©2015 Steve Sagarra