Breath & Shadow
Fall 2011 - Vol. 8, Issue 4
"Everything Is Just As I Left It" and "After Brain Surgery"
lesson plans in careful cursive
papers organized by class
pens and pencils upright
in a shining cup
textbooks arranged just so
desks straightened into neat rows...
Tim could do a whole range of brum, brum sounds long before he learnt how to talk. He loved anything to do with engines.
Once when he was playing with his Matchbox Cars on the floor, our friend Margaret exclaimed, “Oh listen to him, he’s even changing gears.”
Tim heard an engine down the street while I was reading to him. After his last story we decided to go out and investigate.
I reckon it could be a big lawn mower or a digger. What do you reckon mate?"
"Hot Cross Buns"
David C. Kopaska-Merkel
I had developed a Saturday morning habit of stopping by the bakery on my way home from my run. The Three Boatman Bakery, despite its odd name, was not owned by a retired sailor. I never did hear the story behind the name. Anyway, I'd pick up a couple of hot cross buns and by the time I got home with them, Alma would have made tea. We couldn't afford a house with a garden, but we had some potted plants in front of a big living-room window, and we'd have breakfast there. One Saturday when I got to TB2 it was closed. It looked like Harold Baker had not even been in that morning.
"The Productivity Fallacy"
When Congress passed the sub-minimum wage components of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) of 1938 [Section 14 (c)], it is clear the intention was to assure that workers who were not able to meet employer productivity standards, because of the impact of disability on work performance, would not be excluded from earning a wage. Unfortunately, the consequences of this well-intended legislation have been more negative than positive in the 71 years since its passage. From its onset, the provision was based on an outmoded concept that the FLSA sought to replace - reliance on an absolute connection between pay and productivity. In the years prior to the FLSA, employers were free to connect pay and productivity in a way that too often placed productivity targets outside the reach of even the most ardent efforts by workers. Theoretically, one could make a decent wage if one's production was high enough, but workers wore themselves out trying to meet impossibly high standards. Congress sought to remedy this through the FLSA by establishing a minimum wage for most workers. Of course employers could still set production standards and even offer incentives for increased productivity but, at the end of the day, employees could expect to receive at least the minimum wage for their hours worked.