Ski By Fire

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yogi
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 07 Apr 2019, 15:00

O'Fallon isn't exactly a small town. It has around 80,000 residents. There are two main streets going north/south and at least ten going east/west. Then there are the three interstate highways fanning out east to west. I don't have a feel for how many traffic lights there are in the whole city, but I'd be surprised if the number exceed 300, it's probably half that. I could be wrong in my thinking but this is not a complex setup and likely to be regulated by a computer control center which the Silver Yogi would have no problems handling. For the most part rush hour is a non-event. Well, it seems that way compared to the Chicago expressway system I'm intimately familiar with. Yet there are trouble spots such as the one I described earlier. Lots of accidents there and I don't see why that can't be fixed without spending millions to redo the roadways. There's probably more to it than I can see.

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Kellemora
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 08 Apr 2019, 10:09

I only worked in Highways and Planning for a couple of years, after S&P finished the projects I was working on in Systems Engineering that's where they moved me.
While working on the several highways that all merged to cross the Poplar Street Bridge, we found so many mistakes made by the engineers, it would make your head swim.
Traffic control is a major player in the design of the roads, and even though that department would have things worked out so well the roads would run like a Swiss watch, the road design engineers would ignore most of their advice.
Then of course they have the Budget committee who come in to say, cut this, cut that, and cut this, we don't need any of it. And then they wonder why the beautifully designed road turns out like a drunken goat path, hi hi.
Then they turn around above ten years later, tear it all out and put it back in again like it was originally designed, or close to it, at 100 times what it would have originally cost to do it right in the first place.

A lot of the traffic problems have to do with illegal lane markings, improper signage, and just plain hair-brained wrong solutions to a problem. I saw this first hand back home when they redid Hwy 141 through Valley Park up to Manchester Road. The did the highway OK, but the mess they made of the original 141 afterward caused numerous problems for everyone. Simply because they didn't do what they said they were going to do to get the bill passed. Everything changed after construction started, and continued to change as they kept cutting the budget so no money was left to complete the old 141 projects to keep things running smooth.

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yogi
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 08 Apr 2019, 14:15

I guess I saw the same kind of thing at Motorola as you did with road building. There were three versions of any given product. The marketing people came up with the first version. Engineering couldn't design the hair brained ideas marketing came up with but did come close to something just as functional. When it all got to manufacturing, the accountants stepped in with their budgets and cost controls. By the time this product got to the customer it was nothing like the concept presented by the marketers. There is the creative aspect, the design phase, and the realities of actually building it. None of these groups work together and the customer suffers for it. :lol:

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Kellemora
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 09 Apr 2019, 09:32

Yeppers!

Not only in manufactured items, but in building or renovating homes also.
Architects can draw some really cool stuff, but implementing it with available construction materials will never produce the exact image they drew.
When I was doing some commercial work, in that case, each item required is custom made to match the drawings perfectly.
Just glance around at what building materials were used in the interior design of a restaurant or high-end store. You just can't buy the components used anywhere. Each little piece or big piece for that matter is custom made. This is why it can cost over a million dollars to do the interior of a restaurant.

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yogi
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 09 Apr 2019, 16:43

I believe the problem we are discussing is persistent in any project that involves more than one person being the creator/inventor and the person who actualizes the idea. The more people you throw into the formula, the less likely you are to achieve the desired results. This happens because everyone has a different perspective which they add to and subtract from the original conception.

You must have played that game as a kid wherein you whisper a secret to your buddy and he passes it on to the next buddy and to the next and so on. By the time the tenth buddy hears the secret, it's nothing at all like the original. I suspect this is exactly what happens in manufacturing as well as architecture.

Let me tell you a little story to reinforce my observation. We had an architect draw up plans for our last house. The general contractor thought it was a simple ranch design and gave us a quote. By the time the project finished, the cost exceeded the budget by about 30%. He claims prices changed during the time it took him to build the house. But that's not the point of my story. As you know, several different trades are involved in constructing a new house. They all work off the same plans from the architect. The excavation went well, the foundation was poured, the walls were erected and a roof put in place all to the specs on the drawing. Then came the brick layers. The front door was not intended to be exactly in the center of the house. It was off to the north about six inches - don't ask why. LOL When all the bricks were laid, the opening for the front door was off center, but to the south and not the north. They said they read the plans wrong. Well, that meant the carpenters had to change the framing a bit and it all worked out in the end. But how was it that the brick people got the offset wrong?

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Kellemora
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 10 Apr 2019, 09:58

When we view a blueprint, and the way an architect draws it, is entirely different than how a contractor views it.
Let's say the front of your house faces north instead of south.
This would mean the drawings you are looking at, is showing the front of the house facing the bottom of the page.
A contractor will lay out the blueprints with with North to the top.
Even so, the bricklayers should not have made the mistake of placing the front door too far east or too far west, or in your case south instead of north.

I had to do some construction with very tight tolerances. So tight the architect actually drew the location of each stud in a couple of very critical areas. Apparently he used another builder who hired someone who just slapped up the studs based on normal construction practices and to keep the drywall people happy. When he went to check on the work, it was all way off. He made them tear it all out and fired them, he didn't pay them for either labor or the materials they wasted either.
He called me and said he had a small job for me. He knew I would follow his blueprints perfectly because I've done work for him before with tight tolerances. I figured he had the work previously done torn out, because I could see the markings and nail holes in the header, and a few nail holes in the concrete floor. Whoever did it, didn't even bother to use sealer under the sill plates. I got on the architects good side when I was working on my first job for him. We were replacing a row of picture windows the homeowner wanted gone so he could add another bedroom. Although it was not shown on the drawing, before I placed my sill plate, I sealed the brickwork, used a sealant to hold down a termite shield (not shown on the drawings at all), then a sealant over that before I locked in the sill plate. I thought the placement of the studs he showed on the drawing were a little odd, but I also knew when he showed exact measurements, he meant exact measurements, no fudging of any kind. He was happy with where the studs were, but looked at me like hey what's this doing here. When I told him what it was and why I put it there, even though he didn't show it on his drawing, he slapped his forehead with the palm of his hand and said, glad you remembered, sorry I didn't show it. Got many small jobs from him after that too, but sadly no big jobs like I wished he would send my way.

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yogi
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 10 Apr 2019, 12:41

When I built text fixtures for Motorola I was dealing with tolerances measured in thousandths of an inch. It seems that the people who built my house used 1/4th inch as their tolerance and it drove me crazy. None of the walls were plumb and square, yet they were all within spec. It also never occurred to me that blueprints could be viewed different ways. An elevation drawing is one thing, but the architectural drawings should all be drawn to an accepted standard. Regardless of how you hold the drawing, the dimensions and placement of things remain the same. In theory.

it took me about twenty of the thirty years I lived up north to find a group of tradesmen that I would trust to do repairs on my house. I made some expensive mistakes hiring the wrong and nearly incompetent workers, but I had no other way to determine the quality of a person's work unless I had them do something for me. Down here in Missouri I don't need a lot of help with the new house, but the people I have called in are marginal for the most part. I don't know what it is to be honest. They just don't seem to be up to the quality level of workmanship I've become accustomed to by Chicago standards. I've only been here 2 1/2 years so maybe by 2036 I'll have found all the good people by then. If I'm still alive.

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Kellemora
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 11 Apr 2019, 09:45

Shoddy work is everywhere these days. Nobody takes pride in their work anymore, nor do they seem to care if they get it right or not either.
I had contractor help me with a room addition, and he literally did get the west wall 1-1/2 inches out of plumb.
This made it a nightmare to get the window in square, took a lot of shims, and then to do the drywall around it was a real challenge. The bottom edge of the outside corner is technically hollow. Although we did bring the plywood out so it was square like it should be.

Heck, I can't even find someone who can trim a hedge straight up and down with a fence behind it 2 inches as a guide to vertical. Nutso's come out of the woodwork down here, hi hi.

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yogi
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 11 Apr 2019, 10:29

I complain a lot, but I think I know the answers to my own questions. Say what you will about the cost of living, but the Chicago area is one of the highest paying in the country. It's not exactly rural down here but the lifestyle and the cost of living isn't what it is up north. It's an easy life but the price one pays for it is a lower standard of living. There are some really great schools in MIssouri, but I'd guess a lot of the graduates moved out to other places where the jobs are more plentiful and the pay is higher. My dentist from up north did exactly that. He got his degree here at Washington University (I think) and married a local girl. Then they moved up north where it is more expensive and complicated, but also much more rewarding. So, what is left when all the top people migrate out? Apparently you and I have been encountering them.

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Kellemora
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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 12 Apr 2019, 08:41

The poly-TICK-ians will claim Inflation has only gone up 2 or 3% each year.
That could be based on the cost of EVERYTHING, most of which is unnecessary amenities.
For seniors on fixed incomes, aka SS, the Inflation Rate on the things they must buy to survive is more like 16%.
When they do give SS recipients a small raise, they turn around and take it away by charging more for insurance, often higher than the amount of the raise.
Some years we got no increase at all in our SS, but the insurance jumped up due to zero inflation they claimed.
Way back when I did my thesis on SS, they did not use a percentage to determine a recipient raise in SS, because it was an unfair way of doing so. Those already making the most from SS would get the biggest hike, and those making the least would not really notice the few pennies theirs would go up. Instead, they went straight across the board and everyone got a two dollar raise that year. I think the year after that everyone got almost a four dollar raise. I didn't follow it after that, so don't know when they started using percentages, which only benefited the already rich.
I would have swore when Trump was campaigning he said he would make the minimum SS check 1,200 bucks. But I've hunted until I was blue in the face and never found where he said that, yet. So I'm figuring maybe I heard it wrong.
The only thing I know for sure is one hell of a lot of seniors are having to go back to work over the age of 70 to cover their insurance and pay for their medicines, which have climbed in price exponentially.
A couple of the meds I'm on have jumped from 4 and 6 dollars up to 80 and 295 dollars. I can't afford the 295 dollars so not longer take that med, and I suffer because of it.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 13 Apr 2019, 08:27

Geeze, you are making it very difficult for me to remain silent on important issues. :lol:

I don't know what Trump promised during his campaign regarding SS, but I do know the current Republican agenda is to drastically cut the benefits from social security, medicare, and medicaid (after the 2020 election) -- those being among the highest expenses to run this country. The supposed reasoning behind the cuts is to cover the loss of income due to tax cuts which were directly aimed at benefiting the most wealthy (non)taxpayers among us. Team Trump did promise to lower the cost of prescription drugs, and I take your previous comments as testimony about how that is going.

The truth in the matter isn't that difficult to understand. The cost of providing quality healthcare has gone up. If you attack the source, i.e., the drug companies and healthcare providers, and legislate what profits they can or cannot make, they will cease to be profitable and go out of business. If you increase benefits from SSA et al, that will increase the costs of running the government.

Liberal thinking is that big government is OK, but not so among the conservatives.

And, BTW, the rate of inflation is indeed an average based on the Consumer Price Index. Your mileage will vary depending on what consumables you need to purchase.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 13 Apr 2019, 11:11

SS would not have a bearing one way or the other on the government, if they didn't first STEAL the funds from SS. It was more than solvent, it had massive excess.

The problem with Big Pharma is they have no competition to keep prices within a fair price range.

The formula to make insulin was given to the drug companies for free, to keep the price low.
Instead, they charge more for it than most other drugs.

Epinephrine is another drug that is super cheap, but they won't sell it unless they put it in an expensive pen first.

I'm just lucky I found a couple of the OTC drugs I need to take for pennies on the dollar, else I couldn't afford them either.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 13 Apr 2019, 13:51

Social security, medicare, and medicaid are essential to the well being, and existence, of many people. In other words those type of programs should be accessible by everyone. How the access is implemented and from where the funding comes is an age old problem in this country. Part of the reason it's a problem is due to the differences I cited earlier between liberal and conservative philosophies. You would think that the best system possible would emerge from a government staffed with such a diverse representation. As it stands today, that is not the case.

I'm going to rely on my memory here and not research it, but I seem to recall reading in the distant past that some prime ingredient(s) for making insulin have a single source. I'm thinking someplace like China, but maybe not. That source is drying up, or in today's world retaliating for foreign trade policies it doesn't agree with from our government. Even if the formula is simple and cheap, it requires cooperation from a global community to make it happen. That is not to deny the greed we know about underlying Big Pharma, but greed alone isn't the problem.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 14 Apr 2019, 10:25

There's insulin made from animals, like pigs and cows, and there is synthetic insulin which is what most is, made from e-coli, yeast, and recumbent DNA, all of which is available everywhere.
It took a lot of pork to render a small amount of insulin, which is why it is now made synthetically, which is fast and cheap.

As far as the funding for SS, it became solvent four years ahead of scheduled and was prosperous ever since. It could never have failed even if every baby boomer went on SS at the same time. That is how great the excess had grown. They were already studying how much they could increase SS benefits for those who paid into the system, when the government stole all their money and wasted it. SS benefits have never even come close to keeping up with inflation since then.

Medicare and Medicaid should be available to every citizen, and legal visitor to our country while they are here.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 14 Apr 2019, 14:27

Apparently I was thinking of something other than insulin when I figured the ingredients were single sourced. My youngest granddaughter is going to university here in Missouri, but she has a boyfriend who is studying at MIT for the time being. He, unfortunately, is diabetic and needs to use insulin. Resources are getting scarce in his family and it's going to come down to paying tuition or buying insulin. You and he are not the only two people in that situation either. There is no easy solution, otherwise it would have been put in place by now. They way things are going it won't be long before there is no middle class here in America. There will be the extremely wealthy who can afford to buy private healthcare, and there will be the rest of us who struggle to make it to the end of the month. Those who can't will just have to die.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 15 Apr 2019, 08:38

It's already that way, even at 700 bucks a month SS, I'm told I make way too much money for drug assistance, or getting my real estate taxes frozen at the current price for a year. Out of that 700 bucks, I pay 150 for supplemental health insurance, plus the out of pocket we have to meet before Medicare kicks in. Take from that also the 300 bucks a month for utilities, it doesn't leave much to pay for much of anything else. Add car insurance, an Internet connection, and gas to run to the doctor and I'm below zero funds. Heck with food or clothing, no money left for that!

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 15 Apr 2019, 11:53

I applied for assistance to Johnson and Johnson to lower or eliminate the cost of a very expensive anticoagulant I must take. The hematologist I'm seeing said I can get the assistance when I complained using this drug would put me in the donut hole really quick. He has a special assistant who does the paperwork for people like me and she did all the submission of forms to J&J. Not only that, she also applied to Medicare to lower the tier for the drug just in case I couldn't get the assistance from the big pharma company.

Well, considering all the pensions and SSA benefits me and my wife get, Johnson and Johnson thought I was over resourced by $2000 for our annual household income. This was an incredible statement from them because our income last year was slightly under $60k. I really didn't expect any assistance, but it didn't hurt to try. The shock was how high the limit is on my income. This, of course, only applies to Johnson and Johnson and the particular drug I am forced to take. But it seems to me that if I miss the mark by only a couple thousand dollars, you should qualify for help without any questions being asked. Medicare, by the way, said the drug was already at the lowest tier so I could take a flying leap as far as they are concerned.

I'm all for corporations making a profit and governments containing their costs, but there is something very unfair about your situation there in Tennessee. We are about the only country on earth where there is no national health care plan run by the government. Medicare is such a plan, but it is not available to everyone. Same with medicaid. Then there is the fact that some people who do qualify can't pay the deductibles or copays. We probably have the best healthcare in the world, but it's out of reach for too many people.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 17 Apr 2019, 09:50

I can honestly state that before the government stepped into the arena, more poor folks, or even those only temporarily on hard times got the medical help they needed, as well as their drugs.
Much of this was provided by hospitals and doctors who had funds available for those who could not pay.
Plus many religious organizations had relief funds for folks in all situations.
Many families donated to hospitals, and not only rich families, lower middle class families donated a lot to their area hospitals and some doctors who catered to those in need.

We also had the state run hospitals, not the ideal place to go, but they were there for those who had no insurance or other way to pay for medical care. But the number of turn-downs kept increasing year after year.

I kid you not when I say, when I was young, it was not uncommon for doctors to be paid by barter or trade. My own pediatrician was paid by some folks with chickens, cuts of beef, bushels of grain or flour, or open charges at a businesses that never required payment.

It really wasn't until the insurance companies got almost everyone on board that medical costs began to skyrocket, forcing out those who couldn't afford insurance. This is about when folks were turned away at the door if they didn't have insurance, and probably how the early pre-medicare government assistance programs started.

When I think of all the money our family donated to a certain hospital for around 100 years, and although they took care of my grandmother, one of their benefactors. When my wife's insurance capped out and I was unable to come up with the 26k dollars still owing on her bill. They checked her over and determined she was stable enough to be shipped down to an inner city state hospital. I came up with the money to cover the bill and had her sent back to where her doctors were, but them doing that has irked me ever since. In the old days, they wouldn't have turned anyone away, especially if they were from benefactor families.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by yogi » 17 Apr 2019, 16:14

I know of a young woman in North Carolina who is on Medicaid because she is handicapped and cannot work. It's a shame too because she is quite the brilliant individual. Her handicap is such that it causes her to fall and injure herself to the point where she needs ER services several times a year. At one point she had a brain tumor that was removed as well. Medicaid pays for quite a bit of her bills, but not all of them. She must owe the hospital several hundreds of thousands of dollars by now, but they never try to collect nor do they refuse her treatment. I guess they can't legally refuse an emergency, but she never gets a bill.

She is just one case I know about where the hospitals and doctors simply forgive the debt. I'm sure there are hidden funds available for just such circumstances although we never hear about them. In fact there no doubt is insurance to cover such costs. The equivalent would be something like uninsured driver insurance in the automobile world. My point is that today's medical costs far exceed what was happening back in the bartering days. Healthcare businesses simply cannot stay solvent without reimbursements, be it from private individuals or from insurance companies. There is no doubt that insurance companies contribute to the costs of healthcare because it's one more entity in the grand scheme of things that provides a service but also needs to be profitable. The reason insurance companies exist is precisely because the old system of trade and barter and charitable funds simply cannot cover the costs. It was indeed much better back then as far as finances go. But then life expectancy wasn't what it is today thanks to modern (very expensive) medical care.

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Re: Ski By Fire

Post by Kellemora » 18 Apr 2019, 14:59

I had an aunt who was in a similar situation. She was in and out of the hospital hundreds of times from age 16 upward. There are shelves of books on her case in medical libraries, because based on known science, it was impossible for her to be alive. She fooled them and lived a long time, I think up to either just under or just over 60, I can look it up and give you her exact age if you would like.
All the surgeons could do was keep taking out parts, and never putting any back. One of the things she had was adhesions, which caused all but 1 foot of her intestines to remain. Nobody can live with only 1 foot of bile, but she did. Not well of course but she lived.
In the early years of her illness, after she was married, as the bills piled up, they lost their house, and in order for them to quit garnishing her husbands wages, they got a divorce. It was a good thing too, because afterward is when she really began to go downhill and started requiring more and more surgeries.
Most of the later surgeries were done at teaching hospitals, like Barnes, and were done gratis. Several doctors pitched in to make sure she got all the medicines she needed over the years, mostly via samples if they could.
She didn't get really bad until after she was around 22, and after she turned 40, she was pronounced dead four different times, and sprung back to life, and one of those times was after a night in the morgue. She didn't know where she was, but complained about being so cold, which about gave the doc down there a heart attack.
The surgeons learned a lot from her case, and were able to help others with the same problems more successfully.

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