Five Years In The Bike Shop

Copyright 2013, John Flaherty

There was once a little bicycle shop, ordinary in every way, except for the people associated with it. Brian the owner, the employees, and many of the customers were the most interesting and eccentric people I have ever met. That’s what this book is about. I have changed the location and the names to protect those involved. Everything else is true, exactly as it happened. The bike shop lasted five years before it came to a strange end. Welcome to the story of the shop and it’s people. Continue reading “Five Years In The Bike Shop”

Big Farming

In the 1980s, more than a quarter-million family farms were shut down, as factory-farms took over. More than 900 farmers committed suicide. The number may be even higher, but many of the suicides appeared to be farm machinery accidents.

Now, we’re in an era of super-farming. For instance, 6 mega-dairy farms in Texas produce more organic milk than all 453 organic dairy farms in Wisconsin. Is the organic milk of the same quality when it comes from an operation of that size? Are the cows still grass-fed? Are they raised in pastures where they can live natural, happy cow lives, or merely fed grass (so they can be called ‘grass fed’) in crowded holding pens? Can everything remain organic when huge populations of cattle can rapidly spread a disease? Can the mega-farmers comply with truly organic requirements?


Ridges on Coins

What is the purpose of the ridges on the edges of coins? Without ridges, it is possible to scrape some shavings of metal off coins without being obvious. In the days when coins were made of silver or gold, a person could otherwise have made a good but illegal living from shaving coins and selling the precious metal.

Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

Salary Disparity

In Japanese corporations, the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) is paid an average of 17 times as much as the common workers. In America, the average CEO gets 100 times as much as the workers. During difficult financial times, in companies that have to lay off 100 workers, perhaps they should fire the boss instead. I’m sure the 100 workers produce more profit and I think if they pooled their thoughts, they could run things at least 100 times better than the average American CEO. In fact, one good worker from the trenches might do a better job of decision-making, and he might be quite happy with a salary of only two or three times as much as he was getting.