Monday, December 22, 2008

Closed that account did you? Think again.

These days we are hearing a lot about "credit", lending, banks, ponzi schemes, unscrupulous financial institutions, etc. Well let me share my own little tale that recently brought a fine bit of sunshine into my life. A while back I got a new credit card from Juniper/Barclays bank. Good rate, etc. Not long after the relationship began I got a statement telling me that APR had been jacked up into the stratosphere. Apparently they had discovered a sixth-grade detention Ms. Moose gave me (yes, really - Ms. Moose...) and the bank felt it was reason enough to treat me as an international flight risk. The bank also used the nefarious shifting cycles, whereby a month never was a month, maybe 26 days, maybe 32 all in an effort to catch me off guard and hit me with a late fee, which would be a reason to raise the APR even higher. Within just few months of opening the account, I said - like a Saturday afternoon UHF feature movie - "forget you", paid them in full, closed the account, & received a letter confirming that I had closed the account (they hate when you close the account, it is supposed to reflect well upon you , but banks are scum and they hold it against you)
So flash forward to 6 months later to last week when I get a statement from the usurious bastards "New charges on your account are $34.95, due date is...blah, blah, blah". My reaction is a predictable "WTF?!"
Turns out that last year when my child was "selling magazines" as a fundraising mechanism for her school band (sidebar: I will write another post the disgusting practice of companies using local student bodies as their extended sales organization, usually under the guise of "charity"), anyway... my wife used the credit card number in question to purchase a magazine. The magazine companies take these opportunities to set you up for automatic renewals that you must opt out of. Sound scummy? It is. So here we are months after I've closed my account, and the credit card company, not wanting me to miss a single issue of the magazine, authorizes the automatic renewal ON MY CLOSED ACCOUNT.
Now I've been and seen the person standing in line, checking out of a store, who is saying "that's weird, I'm not over my limit, I wonder why it won't go through.." to the cashier who is holding a suspect credit card that refuses to authorize.
So what is going on here? My account is closed, but they put a transaction through?
Gee, they wouldn't charge me extra fees and interest while this is all getting sorted out, would they? And any "sister" institutions wouldn't use this silly misunderstanding as a red-flag "troubles" reason to apply more aggressive terms to any relationship I have with them, would they?
So I call the handy 800# "HI, there has been a mistake, you authorized a charge on my closed account". The response from the CSR? "Oh, you'll have to call the magazine company, I'm not authorized to do anything...". Me - "let me speak to your supervisor". The Girl from Ipanema keeps me company for a few minutes until the CSR comes back on - "We don't have any supervisors here right now, they are all...not...uh...here right now, you'll have to call the magazine company and we can put in a DISPUTE on this charge".
Me - "there is no dispute, I didn't do it, not me, not authorized, no account any more, no balance, me no pay you any". CSR - "we'll put it in dispute and you can call the magazine company". AAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!
Is there any wonder why we're sliding down the shitter these days?
So, I call the magazine company. Get through the menus, and eventually get a live person on the line. "Hi, yeah.. mistake, etc". CSR - "OK, well we'll pro-rate a refund since you received some magazines", which would leave me owing $5 to the credit card company. Me - "Uh no, I didn't buy anything". CSR - "Well they shouldn't have authorized it". Me - "duh. I'll send your magazine back, even pay for postage". CSR - "we can only credit the pro-rated amount". I will say, I've dealt with many-a-CSR and I feel sorry for most of them. They have these awful jobs where you know they only deal with angry people all day long, but this one, she was good - she liked arguing, you could tell, and she was good at it, she revelled in the "power" of throwing roadblocks in front of any logic I tried, she stayed professional, but you could hear the MEAN in her voice "ha ha little man, dance on my string". I'm no psychologist, but I'd bet that she takes a whole lot of hell from someone outside of her job. So I take my pro-rated credit and move along.
Anyway... Flash forward to today. I get a letter from the lovely bank card people, which basically said "well, thank goodness we figured that out, you now owe us $5." Fortunately for all, the dog was out of kicking range. Argh, argh, and argh. 800#, menus, girl from ipanema, and live-CSR named Tammy (always write the name down and use it back when talking to them, I always try to get them off "script" also). Me - "look, I didn't do this, I don't have any account, you shouldn't have authorized anything, etc". Tammy - "well, these automatic ones can be forced through, even when the account is closed, it is part of the deal Mastercard and Visa have set up". Me - "I want my account zeroed out, I am not paying for this, and I apologize at my tone, I just find this whole thing to be scummy". Tammy did not like that I called her bank scummy. Tammy does not like how little $ the scummy bank pays her. Tammy does not like that she has to work on Xmas day for the scummy bank. Tammy wishes she could close her own account with the scummy bank, and Tammy does not like being asked "is this your dream job, did you grow up thinking: I want to be a CSR for a credit card company?", but a question like this make Tammy get coldly professional and aloof "that is not relevant to the conversation, we will credit you the amount, we do not normally do these kind of things, but will in this case". I again apologize for my tone, wish her a happy holiday season. I really meant it, what a shit job to have - and to have some angry jerk throw it in her face like that - of course, she also seemed to know that it is only because of the bank's unscrupulous practices that such things happen. She wouldn't even have her shit job if the bank wasn't so damn scummy.
I can only hope that Barclays is heavily leveraged in the credit-default-swap market and they are about to go under (and they have some vengeful IT personnel who'll delight in, ahem... "database alteration" as their last measure of compensation.)
And perhaps a band of disease-borne chimpanzees will escape from the zoo in Wilmington, Delaware and somehow find their way into the homes of senior banking executives and board members, delivering a holiday payload of parasitic organisms to the truly deserving.
I'll let you know if I get a statement next month for some kind of "fee". Just let me know if you've seen the keys to the chimp cages...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Do you have any advice that I can ignore or make fun of?

A friend of mine asked me to post this story/commentary.

"I have some friends that just had a baby, no matter how you try to help them out they want to do things the hard way. Which in some ways I understand like, being comfortable enough to have someone you know look after your baby and such. But I just offered them a coupon for formula, and the guy was like no thanks she’s strictly breastfeeding. So I said yeah I know, but for when she’s not. And he informed me that she will breast feed for the entire year. I pretty much told him to forget it.

"They didn’t prepare for the baby that well and are now wondering why they didn’t have enough diapers or burp cloths etc. Maybe I’m being annoying I don’t know it’s just frustrating when you’re trying to help and they are so friggin stubborn about everything. They can’t even accept valid advice from anyone!"

What struck me about this commentary is that I know many people who outright ask for opinions or advice and then completely shoot down anything I offer.

I mean, sure...my advice may, in fact, be sh*t. But still, have some grace.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

and I thought I was cynical

I belong to a twin group and read this forums post this AM:

Chicken Pox Parties
Posted by: "XXX" Tue Dec 16, 2008 5:19 pm (PST)
Hi Everyone, If anyone out there is unvaccinated and interested in coming over for a "Chicken Pox Party" at our place we have the virus and are contagious, probably through next week.I know the timing stinks what with the holidays and all, but if that doesn't matter to you, come on over. Best playdate times for us are mornings anywhere from about 9 till about noon or so.We are in NameofTownRemovedToProtectTown. There is parking. My guys are 2, so kids around that age would be the best fit. We have a cat. Please email me offlist to set something up if you are interested.


And I thought South Park (when they did an episode on this years ago) was just joking.

I hope...that when this woman's kids are older....that they pay her back the same way the SoPk kids got revenge.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

now THIS is cynical

American kidnapping expert kidnapped
Consultant was grabbed after he taught a security seminar in Mexico.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Nation's Sorrow, A Nation's Shame

National Park Service Bathrooms
Note to Self--#5,328: Never again enter a national park service restroom that closely resembles an adorable adobe cottage.

Exhibit A: The Toilet Seat Too Skeeved Out By the Toilet to Remain Atop It Exhibit B: A Ranger's Plea, Which Continues to Haunt Me to this DayRestroom Ratings to save you the trauma: http://www.restroomratings.com/all/

Intelligence on Big Wave Dave's in San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua--as I know you'll be traveling there this holiday season: http://www.restroomratings.com/reviews/restroom430.htm

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Someone please explain

Please, I will go so far as to beg here. Please tell me how a Marcom department who has more resources than almost all other Marcom departments put together (yet doesn't bring in as much revenue) has no time to do anything.

Tell me how our department who is currently down TWO positions, how I am now magically in charge of thirty thousand different things am supposed to put my time aside to do YOUR JOB.

Guess what buddy, when you receive a promotion and accept, not only is it usually more money but MORE responsibility. If you can't handle it then don't accept the promotion.

I am going to freak out on someone today.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Only the good get overlooked.

OK. I knew this would happen. I hoped it wouldn't, but it did:

Reworked mortgages not working

Turns out that more than half of the delinquent homeowners who had their mortgages reworked thanks to the bailout are once again late on their payments.

May I just say:

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRGH" (and not in a pirate way).

Listen: people who are losing their homes due to being unable or deciding not to pay their mortgages do not need to have their hands held and money given on their behalf. I know that citizens deserve to have a roof over their heads, but there are many, many options available. Get an apartment. Find a home that's not as expensive to pay for. Or, just pay your damned bills.

I have a mortgage and a home in constant need of repair. It costs a sh*tload to keep my family sheltered and warm. Yet, I make timely payments. How about reworking a mortgage for me? I will pay the premiums and you, Mr. Mortgage Lender, will still make a good amount of money off of my interest.

Just goes to show that if you're a citizen that does everything they're supposed to, you ultimately get overlooked. Instead of rewarding the people that do a good job, they instead help everyone who doesn't. It's that damned "no child left behind" hippy legislation that's behind this all, I tell you.

What about the adage, "give a man a fish, he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll be darned sick of seafood and go looking for a handout so he can go get steak?"

Monday, December 8, 2008

Don't Let Christmas Stop You

Ok. Christmas is my favorite time of year. But even with all that yuletide cheer and hohoho, I've no difficulty dredging up some cynicism. Where are my fellow cynics? Helllloooo. Are you out there? Put down that egg nog and let it rip.

A quick nugget of cynicism:

All you charities with your hand out.....Did you hear about the recent increase in unemployment, home foreclosures, and stock market woes? You are part of the problem. You keep sending notepads, stickers, and all that spam junk mail. STOP. You want to do some good? Save the paper and email me or just bugger off. If I want to donate to your cause, I know where to find you. And what EXACTLY are you doing with the donations you do get? Remember the chick who headed up the Amer. Red Cross and her salary? Yes, I said "salary". People who run charities should do it out of the kindness of their hearts. Donate their salary to their charity.
Mail order catalogs. See above. You're killing trees. You're using inks that have lead in them. If that won't stop you then consider that NOBODY wants popcorn as a Christmas present. NOBODY wants a rosemary tree with ribbons. Just. Stop.

Ok. That wasn't cynical. It was just a rant. Sue me.

Friday, December 5, 2008

From a Friend inspired by Amy and Sarah

A friend of mine was inspired by Amy and Sarah and has decided (via me) to share a co-worker story. Since the co-worker might actually read this blog, my friend has had to skimp on details so this will be a short one.

Co-worker says (after much sighing, moaning, and different annoying sounds): This is broken. I don't know why.
My Friend: What are the symptoms?
Co-worker: Blah blah blah broken.
My Friend: Did you check X?
Co-worker : Yeah yeah yeah, I checked X, Y, AND Z.
My Friend: Ok. So then it should be fine.
Co-worker: No. It's definitely broken.
My Friend: The only reason for that is because X is broken.
C0-worker vehemently insistent: No. Nope. No, I checked it and doublechecked it. It's 100% correct. X is fine.
My Friend: Do you want me to take a look at it?
C0-worker: If you don't mind.
My Friend definitely minds as this is the 1 zillionth time similar sitch has occurred.

1 minute later.

My Friend: X is broken. X has a typo.

Backstory:

Earlier that same week, Co-worker blamed a broken thing and the typo that caused it on the boss (let's call boss Hugo).
My Friend's response to the nameblamegame: Really? Hugo? Really? You're going to blame YOUR typo on Hugo?
Co-worker sheepishly: Well, if he hadn't typed the How To doc so oddly......

Seriously???????

A branch in my office hired someone to do all of their online generating lead forms. So this person should know what the internet is right? Right? RIGHT?

Email #1:
Hi Sarah, I’m working on a form for [coworkers name] and one of the questions has multiple possible answers. http://www.fakeform.com/
The two questions on the right of the page should allow for multiple radio button choices. Can you tell me how I can set that?
Thanks

Me: re-reading three times...looking at form 3-4 times...figure I must be reading something incorrectly.

My Response:
Why don’t you give me a call so we can talk more about this. I’m not sure I understand what you’re trying to accomplish.

Email #2 back (spelling errors and all):
Hi Sarah, I was really busy today but can cal tomorrow. I want to be able to allow multiple radio buttons selected to answer one question. I’ll call tomorrow.

Me: re-reading three times again. Deciding this person is plain idiot.

My Response:
Then you should use a check box question, not a radio button question.

Email #3:
Ah! Thanks.

Seriously?? WTF??

I should also say that she has been with us for over a year making forms, so she is NOT new.

Network guy vs. development guy

Background: Offsite person has trouble hitting a report. (There's a screen with a clickable link on it.)

The conversation goes like this...

Development person: What address is that link going to?

Network person: 98

Development person:
No, the web address

Network person:
Yeah. 98. Well, I'm off Monday so maybe I can get back to it on Tuesday.

Development person: Cool. I can get back to Christmas shopping.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Now, Why Didn't I Think of That?

Texas man says God told him to ram other driver at 100 mph

Texan Michael E. Schwab said that the woman driving the sedan on U.S Route 281 near San Antonio "was not driving like a Christian" and that "God said ... she needed to be taken off the road,” according to the Bexar County Sheriff's Office.


So, Schwab, 52, of Blooming Grove, Texas, rear-ended the car with his pickup truck — at more than 100 mph, the San Antonio Express-News reports.


Though Schwab told deputies "God said she wasn't driving right" and "it was Jesus' will for him to punish the car,” he did not describe the other driver's alleged transgressions of the holy rules of the road. Deputies determined the unidentified 35-year-old woman “had done nothing wrong,” according to a news release.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Idiots - yes, you, BFers

In case u missed/avoided my earlier post.. BF = black friday shoppers.

Well, hope you're happy you losers who rushed out to buy a bunch of crapola that you did not need so that you could lock in the love of the people who have to tolerate you on a daily basis.

Wal-Mart worker dies after holiday shoppers knock him down


BTW, I told you so.

Being cynical doesn't make me a big enough person to NOT say I told you so. So, you know what, I'm going to say it twice. I told you so.

nice job BFers.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Here comes "the veldt". I hope the lions are nice.

Pretty wild. check it out. http://oblong.com/
The interface/interaction is very cool, but the obvious thing is that to utilize this stuff you have to completely change the way "data" (whatever it may be) is stored, handled, & viewed. "Shift your paradigm" to use and over-used phrase. Good thing "kids" are such insane early adopters. I think my generation may actually be limited in our ability to conceive the possible ueses. Cartoons were only on Saturday morning. TV went off the air at midnight. You only had 5-6 or channels depending on where you lived. So many things were finite, boxed and boundaried (bound?, whatev..).
Ironically it makes me immediately think of the "blu-ray vs. HD-DVD" monologue by the Kevin Sandusky (Jay Baruchel) character in "Tropic Thunder" (which I gotta say is actually a pretty damn good movie, very funny. Yes, takes some shots, but not completely retarded ones..<---[yes, cloaked joke] And Tom Cruise deserves an Oscar - seriously).
Anyway.. he gives this speech about how technology battles are decided by ...the porn industry, with a nod to gamers. (although I've read the Porn clan ain't such fans of HD at all - razor stubble is much more palatable in SD). SO I suppose to really imagine the possibilities, you have to ask "what would PORN do?"

Nonetheless, a very cool demo on their homepage. Combine this with the "coming soon" (next ten years) super-cheap OLED wallpaper you’ll be able to coat the walls floor & ceiling of a room with - Shazam! that Star Trek holodeck ain't so sci-FI any more, more like My-Sci...

And if you're thinking "oh kev, you're so cool, you can read slashdot". Well thanks for playing. I am cool.

Also - you have to catch Guv'nah Palin(comparison to anyone else) giving an interview. She just "pardoned" a turkey, so she gives an interview... in front of a guy slaughtering turkeys...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-kjM1asH-8
If you can't stomach the whole thing, jump to 1:50 and watch the bird kick & struggle while she just palavers on , blah-blah-blabbity-blah. Is she really that dumb, or is this a visceral threat? "I'll cut ya! Just try me...".

Governor Patrick Just Called Us Dumb

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D94I8AI00.htm

"We are awash in cynicism in the commonwealth, but the cynical are not smart; they're just pretending to be," Patrick said.

Sorry, Governor. Cynics can, in fact, be smart. The reason why we are cynical is because we can see through your ridiculous rhetoric and bullsh*t. Fact is, not everyone in the Commonwealth is part of the heard, blindly lead along by government officials. We can, and will, make our points known and show the elected officials that it's good to question authority. Especially when they're doing a crap job.

Maybe it's Governors who have totally inane slogans such as, "Together we can", who are "not smart" and "just pretending to be". I mean, what the f*** does that mean, anyway? You're missing a verb, there, Gov.

Try your best not to make such idiotic blanket statements. Especially if you want to be part of the Obama administration. Admit it, you're sitting by your phone.

The reason behind this statement is people are questioning the concept of Patrick's administration closing down the Mass Turnpike Authority, doing away with tolls outside of the 128 loop, and raising tolls in Boston to help fairly pay for the Big Dig. Also, the concept of raising the Mass. gasoline tax has been suggested.

Let me ask you, Governor Patrick: why, exactly, are you shocked at the cynical responses to these ideas? Did you know that every governor we've had since the Turnpike Authority was created has promised to get rid of the tolls? The tolls were originally set up to pay for the Turnpike. The payment was complete many, many years ago. The tolls remain. Why? Because it's an excellent source of income for the commonwealth. I'm frankly shocked they haven't put up tolls along 128, 93 or Newbury Street (hey, why not...it's all ludicrous).

To put it bluntly, we don't believe you. We think you will increase the toll amounts, and pass the gas (hee) tax. And somehow...somehow...those tolls marked for removal will remain.

Governor Patrick, isn't it possible that those "cynics" out there are, in fact, intelligent and you're just frustrated that they're disagreeing with your statements? Would you prefer a bovine America where we all just stare at you with large, vacuous eyes while you march us up the ramp to the slaughterhouse? If so, I have some disappointing news for you...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When Black Friday Comes with a Black Mood

What is wrong with people? Not all people but most people. And ESPECIALLY those people who partake of Black Friday (BFers from hereonin).

I feel like Scrooge McTavish when I mine the depths of my irritation, aggravation, anger, dismay and disdain for Black Friday and the BFers.

Is there anything on this planet that merits getting up at an ungodly hour, driving to a shopping mecca/mega center and then elbowing/shoving/pushing just to save X%. An X% that rarely equals the sales tax on said object.

A woman was crushed, maimed and then oh yeah, killed by other psycho BFers at a Walmart because they were all waiting in line for $25 DVD players. When the doors opened, they rushed in, she was crushed, felled and was stepped on. Nice work BFers. Enjoy those DVD players.

Have you seen the Wrenthan Common Outlet mega miles long backup Fox news has been showing each night on the news? I've been to WCO. There is NOTHING at any of those shops that any of us NEED. And the bargains? Ha. Such a joke. The clothing at the major designers is all second tier stuff. The stitching is embarrassing and the quality is laughable.

I admit that my own brood were at the WCO a few weekends ago. We went for a walk and acquried some baby goods as we don't have many baby stores near us. Frankly, the people I saw scared me. We sat feeding the boys and watching the women stream into Coach (having a 50% off sale). Can I just say that buying and carrying a Coach bag will not cover up for that 50lbs of fat you have. A beautiful bag does not make you a beautiful person. We saw roughly 75 women go in and out. Here are a few more nuggets of advice for those ladies: Coach bags will not: make you look younger, or hotter, or skinnier. Coach bags will not make your voice any less shrill. Coach bags won't stop your husband/boyfriend from cheating on you. Coach bags will hold your wallet. Coach bags will get stolen if left unattended. Coach bags purchased at WCO on a sale will not last as long as the ones you purchase from the REAL Coach store and pay full price for.

Don't hand me any "wait till your kids want that 'special' xmas toy." Are you saying that when your kids say "jump" you say "how high"? Grow a pair, will you?

When my kids start asking, and I know they will, I'll be honest and say "Perhaps. But sometimes we don't always get what we want."

I love my kids. I want them to know I love them by the things I say and do every day. One wintery day and a few things wrapped in paper are not a summation of my love and I hope that they never are.

Black Friday is ready for retirement. What if there was a Black Friday and nobody came? Nobody cared? How wonderful. What if everyone stayed home and drank cider/cocoa/tea/bourbon and cuddled with their love ones? Or took a walk or donated time to a food kitchen. I could go on.

But why bother. I know I won't change the mind of you committed BFers.
Good luck buying the love of others on BF.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When Black Friday Comes...

This year I'm actually very curious to see how retail spending fares over the holiday season. Never, ever would have thought I'd have said (typed) that sentence.

There are so many articles saying that consumers will be less likely to shell out big bucks due to the unstable world economy. That's probably going to be the case, but I wouldn't be surprised if buyers turned out en masse and brought a slight percentage profit over last year's numbers. Why? Well, there are a number of reasons.

One, retailers are panicking and are going to offer decent deals, especially on electronics. Hard to resist when you have a little cash squirreled away from the past few months of stock-market stress (that's two).

Also, the populace also tends to spend when times are tough. Sort of an emotional pick-me-up wrapped with a bow.

I can tell you that with my fledgling family, I'm not planning on spending any outrageous sums. There's a house for sale in our town that's basically a steal for the price they're asking...and we're just to wary of the economy to go deeper in debt. We're looking at a replacement cars, and that in itself is daunting...even thought the loan would be 3-5 years and not 30. I suppose I could ride a bike to work, but I won't even think about that until my new life-insurance policy goes through. People around here drive like lunatics.

While looking at cars, I find myself glancing at GM dealers as I drive by. Whether they get this bailout from the government or not, it's quite a good bit of free advertising. I never would have considered buying a GM...and hard pressed to buy from the other big two as well. Especially if I'm going for something small and cheap yet well-built and reliable: a concept long lost on American automobile companies. Yet, here I am looking through papers for good deals on GMs while having Consumer Reports as my guide & reference. And you know? I've yet to hear about any deals. Not a one.

Whatever.

You know, if there was a proposition for the government to bailout the citizens of this nation with that same $700 billion, do you think it would pass? Me neither.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Art Imitating Life

There are those who say that art imitates life. Oh really? Here are some things that disprove that completely.

1. Jerry Seinfeld is not funny. On tv. Or in real life.
2. In real life, how many fat guys are married to totally hot chicks i.e. King of Queens, According to Jim, Mr. Destiny, Simpsons, Family Guy, etc.
3. How many women look like any of the chicks in a Picasso, Renoir, Sargeant, or Nagel painting?
4. Nobody, male or female, looks like any of Rodin's or Maillol's sculptures
5. Fill in your own example
6. If Family Guy in any way shape or form imitates life, I'm booking Dr. Kervorkian tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Christoper Nolan is Being Sued by Morons.

Here's the article:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/27669362/

Christopher Nolan being sued by Batman
The mayor of the city of Batman, Turkey, is suing the director and studio

"...The mayor of the real city of Batman — an oil-producing city in southeast Turkey — is reportedly suing “Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros., seeking royalties from this summer’s box-office blockbuster, according to Variety. "

Oh my, where to begin with this one.

First of all, why don't we have an actual "Gotham City" here in the US? Maybe there is one. I know that NYC is referred to as Gotham, but I fully believe we should rename NYC. The next big question is, which city should be renamed "Metropolis"? Maybe Chicago? Dallas? LA?

Anyway, I digress. Can you believe this crap? Take 'em to court and if "Batman" loses, Christopher Nolan and DC Comics should get the oil profits. Frivolous lawsuits are for the most part, by their very nature, utterly ridiculous. This one is admittedly slightly amusing, but still. Knock it off with these idiot suits.

Otherwise, this will set a precedent for more idiocy:

Will Pope Benedict sue Pope Resources (NasdaqGSM:POPE)? Actually, His Holiness would do well to stay away from the stock market.

Will England sue New England (defamation of character, implying that England is not "new", therefore "old and stinky")?

What about Gap, Arkansas? There's a major clothing store/line they could easily profit from.

Can I sue Intercourse, PA for mocking my sadly celibate state in the mid-90s?

Boggles the mind.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Creepy Weirdo Belongs in Jail...


Okay...for those of you who know me I have had a thing against "Mr. Steve" for quite some time. He's downright CREEPY! Come on! Watch that video and tell me you don't want to ban television from the house! And the worst part? Ava get's all kinds of excited when he comes on. Sigh!



P.S. The kids are obviously creepy robots as well...be warned


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Whither the lowly shower curtain?

My "pretend it's not there and it won't be" blinders had just about taken care of the naked old ladies who sprawl on the benches in my gym's locker room and take their dear sweet time changing when I discovered this: Hardly anyone closes the shower curtains. My husband's comment was, "you get shower curtains?" So I guess it could be worse. But no! It's already worse. Isn't it worse to willfully and knowingly not use the shower curtains you do have? Dear god! So, aforementioned husband suggested I stand and stare until they ask what the hell I'm doing to which I should reply "oh, I thought that's why you left the curtain open." But I'm on my very short lunch hour for crying out loud. I can't spend my precious time being the creepy leering person in the locker room. Plus, I rely on my eyes for my job and I'm pretty sure the sight of all that wrinkly, dimply flesh might blind me.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama wins; Tina Fey relieved

Americans went to the polls and made history. The first African American president. Gotta say, I'm impressed.

Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are now out of a job.

Tina Fey no longer has to schlep over to SNL and do her amazing Sarah Palin impression.

The global response to Obama's victory has been staggeringly positive.

I watched the results coming in on BBC America. Their coverage was by far the best out of any of the networks. Plus, it's fascinating to hear their thoughts and opinions on America.

Most of all, this is FINALLY the end of the disastrous Bush administration. I do not envy the president-elect, no matter who it was going to be. He has a heck of a mess to attend to left in Dubya's wake. The honeymoon period of Obama's presidency is going to be quite short. Voters are going to want results, and want them fast. Patience is required. Even though it may totally seem this way, the catastrophe that we're in as a nation wasn't created in a day. The solution to the financial crisis and the two wars we are fighting is more difficult than successfully solving a Rubik's cube in the dark. Not impossible, but rather difficult.

Back here in Massachusetts, the voters declared in one voice that they're all idiots. I'm not referring to John Kerry's re-election. I'm referring to Question #1: repeal of the state income tax. No recount needed here: 70%/30% against. Seriously. The opposition ran a successful fear campaign and it certainly worked. Question #2 & #3 passed. No surprises there, I suppose.

That all being said, it's time for a change in the United States government. Whether it was McCain or Obama, change was going to happen. And again, Bush's time is nearly over. I cannot fully convey how please I am about this. Buhbye Republican Beast.

Obama hates cynics

I am very happy with the outcome of yesterday's election (except for the overwhelming vote to keep the MA state income tax - I really just wanted to see what would happen.) But in Obama's acceptance speech did you hear him put down the cynics? I mean, what's up with that? He's supposed to be the president for all Americans. Ooh the rejection stings.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Time to vote, Americans!

You can shake off the pre-voting jitters by using the poll set up to the left.

Or, if you've already voted, you can show the world who you voted for (anonymously, of course).

OR, if you voted for one party and regret it, you can make everything okay again in your mind.

ORRR...if you just want to f*** up the stats, go ahead and make a random selection.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Boom De Ya Da!

Ok. Those who know me, know this....I'm a dyed in the wool cynic. My outer, silver lining, it'll all work out shell covers a dark chocolate, the other shoe will drop any second, better carry an umbrella despite the sunny skies, taxes are due, we're all dying, ooey, gooey inside.

THAT being said....I hope that this posting doesn't change your view of me. Props to you Cake. I, too, love this ad. The music, the Tibetan monks, Adam lighting Jamie on fire. Love it. Love it. Lllllove it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

When you forward an email...

I thought everyone understood this, but I'll say it here to make it clear (and make it rhyme, without fear... oh brother)
When you forward an email laced with the strong sentiments, ideas, machinations, or the pure fantasy & fiction of another person... wait for it.... wait for it.... wait... YOU ENDORSE THE MEANING OF THE MESSAGE!!!!! (unless you're just mocking "WTF! Can you believe this baloney??!")
No do-overs, no "Oh gee I didn't read it, and don't really feel that way", no claiming "I just wanted to know what you thought" (unless you say "hey, what do you think?" - duh).
On any given day there is just so much crap rolling around the interweb, getting copy/pasted, FWD'ed. With the election season there has been a 643% increase in utter bullshit FWD'ed by ignorant friends/relatives (Hey Kev, you have data to back that 643% up? No, it is a comedically-ridiculous ironic assertion designed to make a point).
Sidebar: When you must forward something, absolutely must, life-savingly important must, then for the love of baby Jesus BLIND COPY all those you're sending it to (adult Jesus was a miserable prick & show-off, no matter what you've read). That way you lessen the likelihood of turning all your recipients into a verified list of real-live-recipients for the SPAM-clowns who generated the message in the first place & get copied every time it gets reply-to-all'd.

I honestly cannot recall how many times I've been outraged by the inanity of some message, or some easily identifiable hoax emailed to me by a well-meaning friend/relative (who, until that moment, I thought had at least a single clue), and to this great benefactor of knowledge I'll send a what-the-fuck-is-wrong-with-you reply, only to get a "oh gosh, I didn't realize what it said/meant...I DON'T think pandas are evil...".
Like THEY say, "you can't un-ring a bell". And while it seems that sometimes the friend/relative may be just an ignorant fool, lately people have taken to just saying outrageous stuff and then claim they were "taken out of context". I for one, call bullshit, and will cast my ballot to vote you off the island.
I know - preacher/choir here, but I had to get it out. It calms down the spiders in my head.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween Mr. Hackles, Happy Halloween!

How fitting my first post arrives on Halloween -- honestly wasn't planned that way, but had to share my Halloween experience today. I thought it would be a nice respite from election talk.

I live in a small town where I'm happy to say they haven't caved in to political correctness when it comes to celebrating holidays, and Halloween is no exception. Unlike other towns which do not have any Halloween events at school because it offends 2 parents out of 5,0000, we have a Monster Walk every year. I went to see my daughter in it today and the joy on her face (as well as the other kids) really showed what this holiday is all about. Kids get to be someone else for the day, their favorite hero or princess, or even a rubik's cube.

So if you're so inclined on this Halloween, sit back and check out these pics of the Monster Walk and maybe relive some of your old memories -- check out the Hulk stomping around, Iron Man and Batman strutting confidently along, fairy princesses waving to the camera.

And not one Obama or McCain costume in the bunch!

P.S. My favorite costume of all? Check out the kid with the very cool homemade costume of Dr. Who's all time biggest villain....

P.P.S. I wanted upload the actual movies I took but they were too big so all you'll get are these crappy screenshots-- they still tell the story though..









Monday, October 27, 2008

youtube musings

In today's youtube world....

is SNL relevant? Is any television program relevant for that matter? Why watch a 90 min program when you can view highlights and bypass the whole?

if everyone posting their own reel is famous (i.e. getting their "15 mins"), is noone famous?

if all those youtube posters are exposing their hearts and guts and secrets, where's the mystery that makes humans so interesting?

if youtube viewers are only watching that which interests them or highlights of things that interest them, then how are they exposed to differing views/opinions/experiences that are other than those they have? (Yes, they could read a newspaper or book but recent stats say the majority of today's U.S. population is relying on the Internet for news, no longer reads a newspaper, and can't recall the last book they read or haven't read a book in the last year.)

How can we grow and evolve if we only ever cling to that which we know and are comfortable with?

Maybe "youtube" should be renamed to "mytube" since it's an exericise in self-centeredness?

Facebook. What's the point? I didn't stay in touch with you after high school for a reason. After we send the initial "I married/divorced/remarried/redivorced had kids/pets/a sportcar, I found religion/yoga/youtube/Facebook and realized that I am old and lonely so I'm trying to relive my glory years by reaching out to people that I was forced to spend 4 years with"
email.....then what? I'm not going to maintain contact with you just the same exact way I didn't maintain contact with you after graduation. Get lost.

I resent how much time I spend online. My occupation demands it. Blogging is a great productivity killer. I'd read a book, I'd rather be reading a book in fact, but I'd get fired for sitting here and reading a book (I've no easy way to hide a book beneath my keyboard or in my lap sadly). Has anyone else read John Crowley's Ægypt series? I read Little, Big each Autumn and find something new each time. I'm reading Lord Byron now and love it. I want to start Ægypt next and am looking for others comments.

sressot oaic

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Musings - 10/24/08

The global economy is collapsing. Now, here's sports!

Beyonce now wants to be known as "Sasha Fierce". No wonder the world is in a panic. I don't even know how to feel about this...I'm kinda dismayed and a little worried about the future.

The American Space Tourist and video game designer, Richard Garriott, returned to Earth today. Imagine spending $30 million to be able to fly into space. You'd think he'd just design a flight simulation game and keep the money. Then again, if he had invested any, it'd probably be gone by now...thanks to the global panic over Beyonce's name change.

Boston.com has a little photo gallery of famous gravestones (hopefully this is because Halloween is near...). One of the "famous" grave sites belongs to Barney Hill, Jr. No relation to Benny. Mr. & Mrs. Hill made national news by claiming they were abducted by aliens in NH's White Mountains in 1961. Had nothing to do with the fact they were an interracial couple in the 60's. Also, Ed Warren, the investigator of the Amityville Horror case is buried in CT. That's kinda cool.

Tom Cruise will roast Matt Lauer at the Friar's Club. Another jaw-breaking yawn.

Sarah Palin denies receiving approximately $150k in donations...in the form of designer clothes. Seriously. I mean, even though I'm all for bashing deserving politicians...this is ridiculous. I hope she did receive the clothing. I hope she comes around and confirms she did. And I hope she models them for Joe O. Really, though: leave...Sarah...ALONE!! ::sob sob::

Oil prices are (finally) tumbling. But OPEC really liked having amazingly huge profits, so they cut oil production by 1.5 million barrels. Prices dropped by 5% regardless. HA! Take THAT, OPEC. We'll show you.

Sigh.

Sony delays the release of a new videogame due to offensive soundtrack music. The offensive track in "Little Big Planet" contains passages from the Qur'an. That'll learn ya not to make this game available for the Xbox360. Instant Karma's gonna git choo.

The Rays have tied up the World Series with Philly, 1-1. All I want to know is why they're no longer called the Devil Rays. Other than that, my interest ends there.

Have a weekend,
Joe

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bugatti. Poor Sarah Palin. Clinton. Impeachment.

Cynicism is in paragraph 2 so skip ahead if ur not into cars.

Has anyone seen the Bugatti Veyron?

Another supercar that will blow your mind and make your foot itch for the pedal. The Bugatti should be called something other than "car", as the word "car" just doesn't begin to cover what it is. "Car" reduces it to its many parts - seats, wheels, engine, etc. We need another word that really captures the pants-wetting, mouth-watering, hair-raising, knuckle-gripping, G-force inducing experience that this conveyance/experience/i'm struggling for a word here/supercar/steroidalcrazyspeedoflighteatmydustlosemylicense/fill in your own word will cause you to have.

As much FUN as it's been to poke at Sarah "wink wink nudge nudge" Palin.....she really isn't all that bad. Sad, but not bad. Yeah, she's not the best or most qualified candidate for VP, but hey....so what. Reagan and Bush Jr weren't all that qualified to be President and yet, one turned out to be great. The other, not so much. It's always a crap shoot when we elect an official.

But here's my point....this AM a newscaster was editorializing and he said "Sarah Palin is the most controversial politician of our era." And I thought, "Really? Aww c'mon. No Way." There have been so many others. Elliot Spritzer. The guy who went gay and dumped his wife. Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton - he lied under oath. He was impeached. He was a huge tool. HUGE. TOOL.

I really dislike Bill Clinton. I would nominate him for most controversial politician of our era (era starting somewhere around 1980, let's say for the sake of our argument). I think he's an unethical, lying, cheating, scum. I resent his abuse of power when he was Pres. I detest his whoring out the Lincoln bedroom and his wooing and kissing of Hollywood tush. He made me become a hard-core conservative (economonically speaking) and you could conceivably blame him for the reason that the rest of the country took a hard turn right as well. I could go on but I'm out of time.

Who would you nominate for "Most controverial politician" of our era (starting in 1980). Doesn't have to be a nat'l politico...could be state or local. Go for it!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

An unapologetic, self-serving post

Yup, you guessed it, they all link to ITwhirled...

Teen changes her name to URL for animal rights
Prince set the standard for bizarre name changes, but the former Jennifer Thornburg has done pretty well in her own right, changing her name to Cutout Dissection.com.

Pyramid of morons: Hoaxee makes eBay cash off of own stupidity
Say, remember the poor fellow was was duped into buying a Bigfoot corpse for $50,000, only to discover it was an empty ape costume?

Quiz: In their own words
Who aspires to have the conversational ease of a bot? Who finds it difficult to be inspirational year in and year out? Who thinks the difference between major and minor isn't about features but about time? Who is a master of understatement on the state of the economy? Take the quiz and test your knowledge.

Top 10s
10 brilliant gadgets; 10 MacBook secrets; 10 ways to waste your time

100 funny and unusual 404 messages
Most commercial sites have figured out that their Page Not Found error pages shouldn't just be bare black text on a white background. But these messages go above and beyond.

Mom e-harasses boy who spurned her daughter
13-year-old sweethearts in Illinois went separate ways earlier this year -- but the young girl's mom seemed grimly determined that love would keep them together. She launched a barrage of cyberharassment at her daughter's erstwhile paramour and found herself in a mess of trouble.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

To Repeal or Not To Repeal: That is the Question #1 on the Ballot.

Being a Massachusetts resident, I was very interested in this year's ballot questions. Specifically, numbers 1 & 2:

1) This proposed law would reduce the state personal income tax rate to 2.65% for all categories of taxable income for the tax year beginning on or after January 1, 2009, and would eliminate the tax for all tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2010.

2) This proposed law would replace the criminal penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana with a new system of civil penalties, to be enforced by issuing citations, and would exclude information regarding this civil offense from the state's criminal record information system.

Question #1 is fascinating. Every where you go, you see ads, testimonials, interviews with 'experts' and a lot of political hand-wringing over the possibility of this ballot passing. The opposition has very deep pockets and is very much aware of how much money will be lost if this passes. Some theorists have speculated that all of the preliminary budget cuts and government job losses are merely rattling sabres, trying to show Mr./Ms. Average Voter that this is completely irresponsible and will plunge the state into dire straits.

Meanwhile, the proponents of the question basically want to make the State government more accountable for the millions of wasted dollars every quarter. Seems reasonable, and I like the idea of not paying 5% taxes.

But you know there's no way this will pass. The voters chose to have the automobile excise tax repealed back in 2003 and the house overturned that vote. About 2 decades ago, voters decided to not have to wear seat belts, which was overturned. Question 1, should it pass, will be overturned. So much for majority vote.

Okay, but what if it does pass, and makes it through? Then you can be sure that many state programs will be cut, including Medicare, education, arts...the usual victims. And I'm sure they'll boost the property tax just to pour lemon juice in the wound.

But does that mean you shouldn't vote #1? Don't look at me. I just think it's hard for this bill not to pass with the economy in the crapper.

Question #2 sounds like hippy liberals took a big toke and wrote a ballot question. But in actuality, it's not a bad idea. The concept is not to make pot legal...just to have the ramifications for having a joint not be so dire.

Check out Bill Hicks' point of view (strong language...be warned).

I'm not a big drinker nor do I use drugs. But I'd much rather be on a subway train with a car full of high people than with drunk people. Anyone coming home from a Red Sox game will know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, I thought the ballot was very interesting this year. Hope you did too.

PS...Question #3: This proposed law would prohibit any dog racing or racing meeting in Massachusetts where any form of betting or wagering on the speed or ability of dogs occurs.

Dog racing? We're occupying Iraq and people are worried about Dog Racing?! Sheesh.

Actually, I hope this bill doesn't pass. I would like to see the State's income increase through casino revenues, and passing this law would be a step in the wrong direction. Or not. What do I know.

Friday, October 17, 2008

televised sports and a bit o'eye candy

Why is watching sports so much work? Am I the only one who thinks that the televising of sports makes it so much worse - long and drawn out, terrible color commentary - Madden - u mk me nuts), awful commercials, even the Superbowl ads were bad last year.
MLB: Nat'l league. American league. 9 innings. 162 games in a season. Best of 7 to win the series
NFL: AFC. NFC. 17 weeks of games each of which could run from 1hr45m to 3 hours. 16 games and then playoffs and then the big one.
Hockey: I'm tired just thinking of how many games and quarters then semi-finals until you see that beautiful shiny Cup lofted over the heads of the victors.

I really like sports. I do. Playing them and sometimes watching them but I think the Olympics with the endless heats, semisemisemi finals, etc left me a bit cynical about sports and the televising of sports. I am tired just thinking about writing the rest of my post on sports...so i'll just cut to the summary and (u can thank me for not going into NASCAR - don't post yer bs hate comments about the sport...love it or hate it, it's huge and it's here to stay as mucho marketing bucks have been sunk into it. European football - ditto.)

It's easier to play a sport than to be a sports fan.

Especially if you're a New England sports fan. Comments? Amy - can you get Eric to weigh in?

ok...this week's eye candy..... I can't find the Top Gear - Tokyo sliders piece I wanted so this will have to do. It's great on so many levels. It speaks to me on so many levels. These guys have mad skills but then I think...what a waste of natural resources and then I think...these guys are hilarious. My Dad raced cars. He intensely dislikes these guys and guys like them, with that bg, I have a deep respect for cars, what they can do, drivers and what they can do. But back to being entertained and cynical.....Can you imagine what they spend on tires? What's even more amazing... these guys all have HUGE sponsors. It's like "Wacky NASCAR" or NASCAR w/o laps.



seacrest out

no wait....some real eye candy...
Have you
SEEN this?? Of course not....but you should. The Lamborghini-Reventon. sigh. said to be inspired by the F-22 Raptor. Daytime running lights....7 LEDs per side. That's a crazy amount of illumination, but you'll need it as you're doing breakneck speeds on the way to your villa. Oh, and Kevin will like this...it has a G-Force Meter. Damn.

Sarah Palin is a redneck. And this is a lame postscript cuz writing an inflammatory statement that you don't have any feeling about one way or the other (she might not be a redneck, frankly, yaaaaaaawn. who cares. she's as interesting as the wart on my dog's tush.) is like shooting fish in a barrel. c'mere little fishy.....

Friday Musings - 10/17/08

- Per Cheryl's suggestion, here's the last question from the last blog with a bright and shiny new blog post:

"Do you think if an atheist or deist or some other "ist" was running for office...would they be electable?" I'm curious about your thoughts.

- "Joe the Plumber" seems to be getting more press than either candidate. This....THIS....is what a culture of reality television gets you.

- The Natural History Museum notes the discovery of the world's longest bug. If I found that thing in my house it certainly would be the world's flattest bug. (I went for the cheap joke there. Most of you know I wouldn't kill the buggy. I always wanted to be an entomologist).

- There's now a shortage of bananas thanks to a new diet fad in Japan. I have a banana right here on my desk which I will now be posting on eBay. :: fingers crossed ::

- Warren Buffet claims to be buying American stocks. If I had his disposable income, I would too.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Religion in Politics, Politics on Religion

I was commenting on Cheryl's comment in the "oasis" blog post below, and I decided to write some more about one of the points.

No, not about cars. Although I could. Maybe later.

The phrase "separation between church and state" is attributed to Thomas Jefferson, in reference to the first amendment of the Constitution. This amendment is often paraphrased as "freedom of religion". This means that the government should not draft any legislature that prohibits the recognition of a national religion, the government's preference of one religion over another or irreligion (a word, by the way, I needed to look up to make sure it was a word). I liked "non-religion" better, though. Less weird looking. But I digress.

The point being that the United States Government should not pick a religion over one or the other. Doesn't mean that a politician should be religious or practice a preferable religion. Basically, they can believe what they want as long as they have their constituency's values well represented. And the Government will not get involved with their faith. But the masses will hold this over the heads of electable candidates.

God is a very, very important criteria for a potential leader. I often wonder if an atheist or deist or some other "ist" was running for office...would they be electable?

I see Christian fundamentalists who scoff at having evolved from primates and that the literal word of the Bible is the true science in the news all the time. I read one article recently that stated that the Creationist Museum was drawing record numbers. They failed to mention that a lot of the people going there were expecting what I'd expect...a really funny place to be.

Listen, my beliefs are my own, but I would hope that if there is a God in Heaven, that he would hope that His most beloved creation, human beings, would be curious about their world and themselves and discover the origins of all. After all, God put a tremendous amount of thought in designing the laws of physics, biochemistry, macro and microbiology...it would be a shame to let that beauty go unrecognized due to blind adherence to the literal translation of a parabolic doctrine.

Perhaps that makes me unelectable. Oh well, there's always hope that people will evolve.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Well, fix it dear Henry, dear Henry

John McCain's concept of the government bailing out financial institutions is fascinating. The homeowners who have defaulted on loans will be able to refinance with a fixed-rate mortgage through the government.

While I'm impressed with McCain's desire to help registered voters out of their variable rate mess, I'm a little ticked off, too. I have a mortgage which I pay faithfully. So should I default on my loan so I can be helped? I mean, is this all part of the "everyone's a winner" philosophy? Oh my, you were duped by the evil mortgage company...well, we'll help you out because it wasn't your fault you didn't read the fine print. It's never your fault. Everyone gets a gold star. When we're all winners, no one will be.

So back to me. I work very hard to be able to afford my home. Believe me, it's no palatial estate. It's a tiny Cape. Would I like to be able to buy a bigger home? Of course...who wouldn't? But I need to live within my means.

I wish I wasn't this aware. If I went out and bought my dream house with a variable rate mortgage, I'd be so damned happy right now. Mr. McCain, there a lot of us, the majority of us...we the dutiful citizens trying our best to keep our heads above water. Show us that what we've worked for isn't trivial.

Obama's position is that banks who are being helped by the bailout plan should refrain from foreclosing on a homeowner for 90 days on "good faith" to let the homeowner repay. I'm not sure what to think about this. I agree that if the institutions receiving billions shouldn't immediately re-cripple the economy. But again, what message does all this send? Of course, I'm still unconvinced that the bailout plan was a good idea.

Anyway, writing about this is keeping my mind off the Red Sox & Patriots losses. Well, at least until now. Sigh.

Friday, October 10, 2008

an oasis in the desert

Tom Brady injured.
Dow in the cellar.
State budget in crisis.
Propery tax is up, again.
A large % of our population admires Sarah Palin - a woman whose grandchild will be just a scant few months younger than her own newborn (on the "ICK, EWW" scale...that's like, ohhhh, say a "75". The Ick, Eww scale runs from 1 to 100 with 1 being "not at all icky" to 100 "ickiness of the supremest measure".
Oh, and as Joe noted, she says "nu-cu-ler". There is NO SUCH WORD. Don't believe me > http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nuclear

So, I'd like to provide a brief respite for anyone who is burnt out on all this bad news.

Some eye candy for the car afficianado:

check this out. Cool looking, isn't it? Can you see yourself zooming down the hiway in this? Here's the killer.... it's a Hyundai. Can you BELIEVE that? HYUNDAI
Their line gets sexier each year.

It's a rear-drive sports car that is TOTALLY affordable. $22K to $29K. Features are cool. Engine rocks. Ahh, some good news. I feel my blood pressure dropping.


Some eye/ear candy for the music/BBC/comedy afficianado:

Oh...here's the cynical part in case you thought I'd gone soft....this little youtube tidbit should have some appeal for all the rednecks (aka uber conservatives) that loooooooooove S. Palin. And if after viewing this, you scratch your head and say "I love Sarah Palin but why should this appeal to me?" Well, what can I say? The rest of us get the joke.

Friday Musings

I have heard that you can only get really good bagels in NYC. I live in Boston, and have just eaten a bagel that was perfectly yummy. Are the bagels in NYC really that much better than anywhere else? Or is it just PR for a city that is basically a waking nightmare?

There were a number of movies that I missed this year that I really, really wanted to see on the big screen. I asked my good friend HorrorU if Hellboy 2 had been released yet. He looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my ears.

I am addicted to caffeine. If I don't have coffee in the morning I get a headache that even an overdose of Advil won't cure. A co-worker said that after a couple of days of headaches they go away and you're over the addiction. And the funny part? I resisted the caffeine-fueled urge to maul him. Hippy.

Speaking of hippies, remember when the Democrats were kinda like hippies? Yeah, good times.

Simon Pegg should be in every movie. And most TV shows. (He starred in a BBC comedy called "Hippies". Not as non-sequitor as you might have thought, there).

HorrorU and I were also talking about one of our favorite TV shows, "Angel". I realized the other day that the show really did jump the shark when the Connor character was introduced. I was in denial about this for many years...until I saw a few episodes on the morning rerun on TNT. I actually changed the channel to the news. Now I'm wondering what other favorite shows of mine are actually crap...

Every Friday I eat a bagel (see above) and pop over to Amazon.com for their Friday Sale. They have a Gold Box sale every few hours which posts a good deal on a particular item. The Friday sale is kinda the same thing, just a lot more of it. Kinda like with my revelation of "Angel" and my caffeine monkey, I realized that I'm also addicted to online shopping. I began to put things like wooden laptop tables, ground coffee and turbo nose hair clippers in my shopping cart when that revelation struck. I can actually save more money by NOT buying these on-sale items. Besides, my nose hair keeps me warm on cold winter nights.

Not too long ago, the aforementioned hippy and another save-the-mother-earth type were trying to out-vegetarian each other in our workplace kitchen. Nothing drives me crazier than two PETA members bragging about how you don't eat meat and how evil people who do, are. Of course, I jumped right into the conversation, saying that veal is so good that I think we should cage all baby animals and eat 'em that way. The look of abject horror was enough to make me smile for the rest of the afternoon. Smiling now, as a matter of fact.

Another workplace pet-peeve: you are NOT a hero if you fix something you broke.

Nuff said.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Sometimes an elephant is just an elephant.

Recently, a bill was passed to help keep the country out of another Great Depression. The amount? A measly $700 billion.

Oddly enough, this will roughly be the amount spent on the Iraq war by the time Bush leaves office.

Can that be coincidence? Maybe. But I have my doubts.

Today, the National Debt Clock shown over Times Square literally ran out of digits. They had to replace the dollar sign with a "1" to represent the 10 trillion dollar debt this country has.

May I just go on record as saying how utterly thrilled I am with our current administration?

HorrorU (Joe O) and I were talking about this last night. When 9/11 happened, the entire planet raised their voices in support in going after the Taliban. There were no partisan politics. Everyone was on board. Let's go get Bin Laden and everyone who ever spoke to him. The whole world basically said, "Go get 'em. Sh*t, you know what? We'll even help you."

And then, what happened? Idiot Bush wanted to finish his father's war and get Saddam. Suddenly the war on terror became a farce and our country went from being universally supported to scorned. And we still have not exacted revenge for the NYC attacks.

So here we are at the tail end of the worst administration in history. The country is in financial ruins, we have made a mess of the Middle East (and, btw...Joe O is right: while we're freeing your country, Mr. Iraqi...how about opening up those oil wells in gratitude?), and Bin Laden is probably playing with his Playstation 3 while scores of concubines tend to his every whim.

While the country is concerned with what Sarah Palin is going to say next, or if Obama is experienced enough to be Commander-In-Chief....and that Angelina Jolie has lost the baby weight, everything else is going down the toilet. Even Iceland is considering declaring bankruptcy.

The last thing I want to say is stop blaming congress, the senate. The buck stops at the president. Ultimately, he's responsible for everyone underneath him, and he's where you point the finger (your choice of finger, naturally).

Monday, October 6, 2008

well that worked

looks like the bailout plan worked well.

"hey...anyone notice the hole in the bottom of the bucket?"

.bully

Friday, October 3, 2008

So Who Won the Palin vs. Biden debate?

Sarah Palin pronounced "nuclear" as "nucular". The same way that idiot Bush does.

End of story, end of election.

A warm toilet seat

I was going to write a list of things that are acceptable, maybe even kinda nice at home but pretty gross anywhere else, but I could really only come up with one ... a warm toilet seat.

Anyone got another?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Am no longer interested in Palin or what's his face

I'm sure you're all aware of the debate that is taking place tonight, for non-presidential candidates (aka the slightly less popular kids). Tell me why it is tonight...please! Why did the Presidential debate happen on a Friday but the slightly less popular kid debates are tonight!?

Tonight is supposed to go as follows:

1. Pick Ava up, receive hugs and make her give me kisses.
2. Drive home singing Twinkle Twinkle or Green Frog Song.
3. Feed sudden monster who used to be my child food before she eats part of the table.
4. Watch the Wonder Pets.
5. Bath time, Jammies, Singing of lullaby and prayers.
6. Talk to Larry on phone.
7. At 8pm sharp The Office starts and we watch together over phone.

But no! No #7 for me tonight instead I will have to listen to Palin and what's his face bicker about who is better, and who can actually see Russia!!

I am not happy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Okay, Someone Explain This To Me...

Currently, the United States is in what some would call financial turmoil. There are many factors as to why this happened as well as the realization that there are very few viable solutions. Now this whole thing has become a partisan playground and Wall Street might as well be Baltic Ave. So what the hell is going on?

Usually, when a country is in an economic slump, one of the tried and true ways for rebounding the financial situation is to have a nice little war. Jobs are created, nationalistic pride booms, and viola! The economy is climbing back up into the black. This time it's a little different. We're already at war...a war that has been anything but a stimulus package. Many believe that this is where the country started it's downward slide. I might be one of them. But let's focus on the situation at hand.

A few years ago the housing market was doing quite well. Mortgage companies came up with a really sweet sounding deal: Adjustable Rate Mortgages. The ARM appealed to many Americans who would not normally have been able to buy property. Once the fine print was read, this deal was potentially very destructive. But that didn't stop people with the excitement of being able to afford a home. Who could blame them, really? As predicted, the interest rates began to soar and foreclosures and defaults on these loans spread to record levels. Banks and other financial institutions reported losses close to half a trillion dollars.

President Bush stepped in and signed into law an economic stimulus act which would give taxpayers $300 to spend and help boost the slumping economy. That, and a few interest rate cuts were implemented in early 2008 hoping to ease what was rapidly becoming a crisis. Well-known institutions like Bear Stearns, Fannie May and WaMu were beginning to fall. Investors and corporations alike were starting runs on banks.

Again, the Government decided to help out these failing financial institutions with a 700 billion dollar bailout plan. A bill that has had major opposition and on Sept 29 was defeated in the House...mostly due to the Republicans. The Stock Market responded as shocked as you'd expect, falling over 700 points. A funny side story is McCain's laying claim to be the architect and savior of the nation by attaching himself to this plan...only watching it get defeated by his own party. D'oh!

So. Let's get this straight.

Greedy mortgage companies distribute what could only be called criminal-level mortgage deals to buyers who, sadly, could not afford their own home. This caused a massive amount of default and they were left in huge debt. Um, why didn't the story stop there? Yes, it was a HUGE loss, but didn't these companies get what they deserve? Isn't this some sort of karma?

Listen, the markets and economy are cyclical. History can tell us this very easily with a quick glance to the books. So here we go, attempting to put 700 billion on the line. Mind you, we're not a nation who's books are in the black, either. With the war effort, we're way way way in the red. THEN there's the economic stimulus package, and THEN there's this 3/4 trillion dollar buyout to stabilize the economy. I. Just. Don't. Get. It.

Isn't this like teaching children that they're all winners and everyone gets a gold star? Yes, it builds their immediate self-esteem but hardly prepares them for the harsh world where you actually have to work hard to win? What preparations are you giving the kids for the future? Believe me, we've already seen the work ethic of years past all but disappear. Just think what's going to happen to corporate executives when their parents aren't around to argue their raises for them.

Someone explain to me how saving the economy is better for America in the long run? Someone explain to me how questionable actions without consequence will better our society as a whole. Some people win, most people lose. The real question is, what can you learn from losing and apply it to your future?

Nevermind, you'll never have to find out.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

top 10 reasons for scheduling the first presidential debate for Friday night

Is date night traditionally Friday night or Saturday night? Doesn't matter. I haven't been on one in years. And most of us can't afford to go out anyway. So there's the reason for scheduling the presidential debate for Friday night.

1. Captive audience. No one can afford to go out.
2. Heck, we can't even afford a decent cable package.
3. Netflix, nope. that's gone from the budget too.
4. There's nothing else good on TV.
5. Sleep? Can't. Worried about the state of the economy (luckily, the debate is on foreign policy)
6. Visit with friends? What are we going to talk about ... the election.
7. Jim Lehrer doesn't want to work on the weekend.
8. John McCain doesn't want to work on the weekend.
9. Barack Obama doesn't want to work on the weekend.
10. The debate doesn't matter. At this point, folks are either voting for or against Sarah Palin. Forget the dudes.

Ok, so that's really only got one reason, but man it feels like 10. And so we'll sit on the floor and clutch our children and rock back and forth and hope like hell that McCain says something so completely, profoundly stupid that ... What? What do you think is going to happen, Amy? Nothin. That's what. See point 10 above.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lunchtime buffets

So today we went to lunch at Firefly's, a local barbeque chain (of two restaurants). They have truly mighty homemade sauces. The waitress arrived, took our drink order and told us that they have an "all you can eat" buffet available. Quite naturally, there was no longer a need to look at the menu. Decision has been made.

As with any buffet, it's better to take an early lunch rather than trying to wait out the lunchtime rush. When the lunch crowd begins to taper off, the turnover of fresh food is practically non-existent.

Now, I know that the common perception of an "all you can eat" buffet is one of fat Americans slothing up to the food bar and piling their plates way over capacity, only to do a circus-level balancing act back to their table. Only to repeat this once their plate has been emptied. Because, hey, it's all you can eat, right?

Let me explain how a luncheon buffet should work:

Buffets are wonderful as you can essentially get what you really want - a sampler dish of what the restaurant has to offer. Now, it's imperative that you check out the offerings first. A few restaurants make it policy to offer low-quality meats and sides in the hope that you'll eat what you can and then move along. Let the truly deserving order from the menu and get the quality the restaurant wishes to be known for. Fortunately, Firefly's buffet is filled to the brim with their best offerings.

What you do is grab a plate and begin to scoop small portions of everything you are interested in trying. Buffets will most often have smaller diameter plates so people don't waste too much food. You do NOT fill this little plate to the point of hiring a truck to transport your food to the table. Take many - but not much. Leave fillers like bread and rice, take vegetables if they look fresh. Chinese restaurant buffets are famous for filler, and offer more crap choices than other restaurants. Choose wisely, Indiana Jones.

Sit back and enjoy what you've sampled. Take note of where each item is on your plate so you know what you like best for your return visit. Once finished, sit for a minute and watch the line. If a large group is up there, wait for the chef to bring out fresh replacements...then attack! The waiting not only benefits your palate, but gives your sampler time to digest. That way you won't be tempted to rush up there once your plate is clear, come back with fat American portions and proceed to stuff yourself.

Usually with the sampler method, you'll choose a few items which truly stand out. When you head back up to the buffet table, take a scoop or two of your favorite item, some corn bread and return to your table. Eat slowly, chew your food, and try to appreciate each bite. Help change the phrase "all you can eat" from one of gluttony to the concept of gourmet sampling.

Hopefully this way we can work to change the "Fat American" stereotype.

(Of course, my going to a buffet will not help my argument, as I am a citizen of the United States who happens to be a little on the heavier side. "Gravitationally Challenged" as we like to say).

that didn't take long

for all you so called pats fans to turn on your team. 1 loss and you are ready to throw in the towel with boos and leaving the game early. just proves my point that most patriot fans are fair weather fans.

not that i mind seeing the pats loose, it makes my day a little brighter actually. i can't believe i am actually defending the pats but come on fans grow a backbone will ya.

.bully

Monday, September 22, 2008

twins in the house

ok sorry it's been long in coming but the twins have landed at our house. now for those of you that do not know us it is now baby 4 and 5. insanity has come to reign at our little domicile.

now it's funny the baby stuff is not the issue, it's the other 3. they are crazy now - they smell blood in the water. they know that we can't just drop what we are doing, usually feeding the twins, and take care of the fights, the food throwing or running out the side door. yeah fun.

but really things are going well. the boys (caleb and elijah) are doing fine and so is mommy. they spent 6 days in the nicu - all is fine. we just have a bit of an adjustment to life with 5 kids.

check out the pics at www.4moose.blogspot.com.

later
.bully

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

"Heeeyyyyyyy.." said PONZI with thumbs rasied high

The mess of financial markets is no surprise. The blame runs a complete circle - unqualified mortgagees, brokers too happy to take commissions on the loans, institutions happy to buy & package the debt, the vast sums of investors clamoring for more and more of the oh-so-lucrative-and-secure mortgage backed securities, and "derivatives" (see: silly made up formula that involves taking a bet, on a bet, on a bet, on a bet made based on a lie and the accepting smile that says "sure, I believe you...").
Lehman is down, the DOW is down, the Futsi, Hang Sengm the DAX, but silver lining! The CAC-40 is UP...WTF?! (the French, go figure). By and large the global "markets" are in full me-too mode.

AIG is down and almost out based largely upon the losses that they must now cover n the super-risky derivatives market. So just to get this straight, AIG was selling insurance to protect against investment losses involving ultra-risky and stratosphically complex financial "instruments" (see: worthless bundles of paperwork which traders passed around were accompanied by congratulatory back-slaps, big commsions, and fat year-end bonuses).
Things would've been fine if the damn little guys had kept paying their mortgages. Forget that many never should've qualified, forget that oil/gas rose 3x in cost in the last 6 years (no, not pre-9/11, pre Operation Iraqi Liberation - O.I.L. ooops "Freedom" not Liberation. (For those really not paying attention, I shit you not, "Operation Iraqi Liberation - O.I.L." was the real first name given by the US Gov't to the Iraqi war...), forget that Healthcare costs have been increasing at an average rate of 15%/year for more than a decade now, forget that the incresed fuel costs make EVERYTHING more expensive - many food commodities, flour, corn, etc - have doubled of more in the last five years, and lastly please forget that ALL insurance is just a big PONZI scheme.

The plain and simple fact is that the "insurance industry" is a big numbers racket. No insurance company EVER has the assets to pay off all of its customers if a BIG ONE hits. Well, here is the big one. Let's throw in hurricane IKE just for some added fun, smack in the middle of Houston -"mission control" for so many oil service companies. D'ya think that'll have an additional affect? Hmm...
As Jane and John public you may have experienced the "that is not covered" cover story that insurance companies throw at you, as standard operating procedure, whether they do or do not actually cover something, because they know that a cetain percentage of folks just slump their shoulders and walk away - end of story. Well, "instutional investors" have no shoulders to slump and employ armies of lawyers to make sure that their asses.. err.. assets get covered.

OK, great story Kev, thanks. Time for the happy ending, right?

Unfortnately, I don't think so. This may be the time when we get to see the fake "15% annual growth" global economy fall apart. It's not real, you can't demand more every year just because shareholders want it. In the last 20 years, have watermelons got 15% larger every year? Has your significant other (or favorite celebrity) gotten 15% better-looking every year (naturally)?


Businesses can't keep growing and doing more just because of the demand for increased profits.
Real profits come from organic growth & real demand for real goods and services. I have a 6 year old iPod that works just fine, even though it only holds 2000 songs, I have a 10 year old car that works fine, and I don't need a little green monster to try and convince me that risking my liver is a reasonable proposition for getting rid of toe-fungus. STOP pushing more new stuff at me.

What do I need? Fresh tomatoes grown nearby, clean water, and a simple way to stay warm during the winter. Food and shelter for my family. All of this 1st world market mess is created because we've convinced ourselves (through hypnotic marketing, thanks) that we need so much, and then next year we need more, when what we really need is less so that we can look around us to really understand what IS important in life. (hint: family& friends dumbass - or solitude if that is your thing).

OK, I gotta go, time for my medicine. Thank god I saw that commercial for it during my favorite reality TV show.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dirt


As far as mud slinging goes, this political race has been surprisingly mud-free. Yes, there's been a teeny bit of sand throwing and divot tossing but real down-n-dirty mud.....haven't seen/heard any. When are we going to find out that Obama has a mistress secreted away in some southside Chicago flat? McCain's dirt is out there and it's run-of-the-mill Republican divorce-girlfriend kind of stuff. Palin's dirt isn't all that dirty. Lieberman, yawn.
Where's the Gary Hart/Donna Rice naughty picture or Clintonesque unethical behavior?



Tuesday, September 9, 2008

twinage update

ok here is the skinny.

the twins will be born on the morrow on or around 8 am.

went in for superzilla 4d ultrasound thingamabob, i dunno i wuz busy ooogling the machinery. anyway the babies and mom are doing just fine. it is just that the fluid around baby a is a bit on the low side sooooo kids are coming tomorrah.

baby a is 5 lbs 8oz and baby b is 6 lbs 2oz plus or minus 14oz - not to muich differential there. anyway all looks good. she is 36 weeks tomorrow so not to bad actually.

i'll let you know more as it comes - plus pix of said event, well not the actual event more like a few hours after.

see y'all on the flip side

.bully

Monday, September 8, 2008

You know who should run for president?



Denny's as "enlightened" as Bush, Cheney, McCain or any other Washington insider.
He dresses better.
His scripts are written by someone better.
His commentary on John "zzzzz" McCain is hilarious.

Lastly.....I'm so bloody sick and tired of politics and reality tv that I'm going to gift you all with 1 minute and 10 seconds of a terrific mash-up of 2 of my very favorite tv shows: Dr. Who and Top Gear: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N77GAsv8X-Q

And lastly, and I really really mean it...every time someone posts a "i like palin" post...I'm going to torture you all with stuff like this > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UA72AuQWTDQ

Later possums.


Car of the day:

not that i'm laughing but...

seems like i heard a certain team lost their star quarterback for the season.

really i feel for you, especially after choking in the super bowl.

not really i'm just saying.

.bully

Thursday, September 4, 2008

"They" wrote the speech first, then picked a VP nominee...gee, shocking

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/03/AR2008090301176.html

Not anticipating that McCain would choose a woman as his running mate, the speech that was prepared in advance was "very masculine," according to campaign manager Rick Davis, and "we had to start from scratch."
-------------------http://voices.washingtonpost.com/postpartisan/2008/09/putting_words_in_palins_mouth.html

"While we all wondered to ourselves what might make a speech masculine or feminine, no one batted an eye at the underlying revelation: that the campaign was writing the nominee's speech before knowing who the nominee would be."

Kev's take

Not a real big surprise. Unfortunately much of America is too damn stupid to notice or care.And the big ole MSM (main stream media) is too busy being mean and sexist , asking things like "who is she?", "what was the vetting process?', "what are her positions on anything but abortion?"to do much reporting on the martial law siege being laid in down Minn/St. Paul to "protect" the conventioneers. (seen the video of the "rioter" standing still holding a flower, who got a face full of mace from riot cops? Not a little can, the "giant wasps' nest" - stand 30 feet away kind of can)
--------------------------
From the "even stranger" dept. Palin's name was being bandied about as potential VP in early March - BEFORE there was a Republican Presidential nominee. - WTF? who was doing this?


Article about her "I'm 7 months prego" announcement (much to the surprise of everyone in Alaska - and the RNC?)

http://www.adn.com/front/story/336402.html


McCain "officially" clinched March 5th, the day "before" this article appeared - article was published online @ 12:02 a.m on 3/6.

Seems "they" picked a VP first... (anyone see a less-outwardly-scary, tina-fey-esque, softer-but-tougher-too-hockey-mom Katherine Harris-type here?)

On the stupid-guy yes/no question...Yes, I would let her spank me.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I stand corrected about Google's Chrome browser

One tiny but important aspect of my day job is to review new and/or popular versions of web browsers to make sure my company's web-based applications function properly.  This is especially true when a company like Microsoft introduces the next number version of IE (from IE7 to IE8, for example).  

In my last post, I made mention of Google's new entry into the browser universe, "Chrome".  I went on to say that people made too much of MS being the evil empire and that their products were just fine.  I also mentioned other browsers, like Firefox...a very popular browser for those anti-MS people.  Honestly, it always felt like a newer version of Netscape Navigator and I just never adopted it.

So I downloaded the beta of Chrome today.  After approximately 15 minutes of use, I made Chrome my default browser.  It really is that good.  I was astounded at how clean this app installed...no extraneous plugins immediately necessary...and how damned fast it is.  Makes IE 7 look like it's just standing still.  Kinda like the way Safari runs on a new iMac.  No fuss.  Just a powerful little app.  

Next up is IE 8 beta 2.  I've downloaded this beta and, while faster than IE7, it's no contender in compared to Chrome.  The install was a long arduous process that had me reboot my computer (Chrome was downloaded and installed in 10 minutes, no reboot).  One thing it does have are developer tools (idea taken from Firefox) that are truly nifty to have.     So, I will be using IE8 for occasional development troubleshooting.  Other than that, Chrome's my choice. 

Nicely done, Google.  I haven't been this impressed with any computer app in a long time.