atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#261: HO stuff found

fter getting a wild hair in an unlikely place, I did a little digging in the attic and found my old HO rolling stock.

I put on my rollerblading knee pads and crawled from the in-house access hatch all the way over to the garage attic, and found two boxes with HO railroad stuff.

The first box was mostly other junk but there was a literal handful of old Tyco HO track (mostly brass rail) in there.

The other box was, of course, the rolling stock.

And a good fraction of the cars have no trucks on them! I have no idea where they could have gone. Fortunately it's not hard to get replacement HO trucks; but if I ever decide to use this stuff, and resurrect these cars, I'll have to convert everything to Kaydee or Magne-Matic couplers, because it's for damn sure that no aftermarket HO-scale railcar tuck will have Tyco-style couplers on it.

I seem to have almost as many locomotives as I do cars. My "injun-to-chief" ratio is off... Yes I know that pun is pathetic. Excuse the hell out of me.

I'm also having trouble figuring out where some of this stuff came from. I have two Alco switchers, one of which was converted partway into a "slug", a cabless locomotive which is used solely as a booster, or "B" unit.

The model "B" unit was unpowered from the factory, of course, but the "A" unit was disassembled at some time in the past...and I can't figure out how to fit it back together. There are two wires which go to the motor, with formed brass tabs soldered on; and as far as I can tell there are no brushes--but these two tabs won't actually fit against the motor's armature, either.

None of the locomotives have handrails, even though they have places for them. The handrails were never applied. The two Tyco "spirit of '76" locomotives I have--both Alcos--are missing one truck bolster each. It's a cosmetic part but it makes them look like ass.

* * *

More of the stupidity from #260

Actually it's not from that entry, but it's the same kind of thing. I got this link from the Neal's Nuze of Feb 12, 2007. It is a sob story about a single mother of six who is living on minimum wage in Charleston, SC.

She had two babies by a man; when they split he eventually got custody. She has to pay child support for them.

She then married another man and had two children by him. They divorced. And after that divorce she had two more children by another man. She gets no child support for those children.

When she had her third child--her first child by her second husband--she quit a job that paid $35,000 per year. That was 10 years ago; and she has only a high school diploma.

You know, I really do feel sorry for that woman; I do. But she's had six children by three different men; she quit a good job to have one of them. Not "got fired" or "laid off"; QUIT.

What kind of conclusions does she think people are going to come to, looking at her resume? The article doesn't say how long she worked that $35,000 job nor does it explain how soon she tried to re-enter the job market after she had her child.

The story also mentions that she had a job which paid more than her current job, but she quit it because she "never" got to see her children.

You know what? I don't have sympathy for someone who quits jobs for bad reasons. When you fill out the "previous employers" section of a job application, employers take notice of how long you worked a job and why you left it. If you keep quitting good jobs, sooner or later you'll find yourself having to work for minimum wage because no one who pays more will want to hire you.

Besides that, why on earth did she keep having babies? She already had four children when she divorced her second husband; why did she then have two more?

Oh, wait a second: "She and their father had ended their eight-year relationship and agreed in court to share custody," the article says of her first children. Doing the math, it looks like she had her first child at age 20, her second at 23, her third at 28, fourth at 29, fifth at 33, sixth at 35. Now she's 38. Looks like she married the father of the middle two kids; but it says nothing about a divorce (just "separated") and it says nothing about her marrying the father of the latter two kids. (The father of the youngest two makes $6 per hour himself.)

So here is the situation: this woman never went to college; she had six children by three different fathers, starting at age 20; she quit a decent job to have one of them, and then couldn't find another similar job. She quit a better-paying job in favor of a minimum-wage job because it limited her chances to be with her children (this is expressed, in the article, as the reason she left the job--not "I had to take care of my children" but "I never got to see my children").

All of this is, we are told, why the federal minimum wage must be increased to $7.25 per hour!

This cretinous woman is a very, very small minority. There are very few people trying to support a family of seven on minimum wage in the United States; and I would submit that many of them are in such situations for reasons similar to ones given in this story: poor choices.

The formula for avoiding poverty in the United States is amazingly simple:

1) graduate high school.
2) do not have CHILDREN while in high school.
3) go to college.
4) do not have CHILDREN while in college. College lasts for 4 years, for most people; surely you can put off having children until after you're 22 years old.
5) get a job. Go to that job every day you are scheduled to go. Get there ON TIME and stay until your shift is OVER.
6) when you do decide to have children, get married FIRST. Make sure that he is as committed to the marriage and the children as you are.
7) if you must get a divorce at least wait until the kids are in college to do so. This will help ensure that YOUR CHILDREN do not end up in poverty.

It is not always possible to follow this formula, of course. There are good solid reasons for people to divorce--spousal abuse, substance abuse, pope abuse--but the answer to this situation is not to get a divorce, remarry instantly, and immediately start squeezing out babies with the new hubby.

And, by the way, divorcing someone just because you've decided you're no longer in love is a bad idea. It's bad for the children and it shows that you weren't all that interested in serious commitment in the first place--marriage is supposed to be "until death do you part" not until "well, I got bored with him...".

Besides all this, however, the article is a bit disingenuous about this woman's situation. She shares a home with her sister and her sister's three children (!). Her sister doesn't seem to work; she gets $1,200 per month of "federal assitance", and of course everyone involved is getting medicaid, food stamps, WIC, etc, etc. The woman has worked at her latest job for six months and it may lead to a promotion and raise--but come on, she's worked there for six months. What does she expect, the keys to the city?

I don't feel the need to argue, here, the case that raising the minimum wage will cause unemployment. It's a fact of life that if you make something more expensive, the demand for it will fall. The Democrat desire to raise minimum wage is simply a payback for union support, because many unions have their base wage tied to minimum wage (Joe Autoworker, for example, is guaranteed to have a wage of at least $X greater than minumum. If minimum is $5 and X is 20, Joe gets $25 per hour; if the federal minimum is raised to $7, Joe gets $27 per hour and gives the union his undying fealty).

Ultimately, whose fault is it that this woman has six children by three fathers? Whose fault is it that she quit a great paying job to have one of them?

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