Feb/16
2011
Actually the story is about kids more than grumpy grampies who need to turn down their hearing aids. Here's the scoop.
Germany is so desperate to encourage people to have more children that the government is proposing a bill allowing citizens under six to laugh, shout and play at any volume. Germany is a land of many rules, especially about noise. The government's move comes after a series of lawsuits about children and noise, and a recent call from a senior citizens' chapter of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, who sought to ban kindergartens from residential areas because they are too loud. The government said Wednesday the proposed law would exempt children from strict regulations on noise limits, which force construction sites to stand idle for hours at midday and prohibit mowing lawns on Sunday. (AP)
I never knew that Germans were so vulnerable to noise. Their nation is home to some of the heaviest metal bands around so why the fascination with quiet? I mean heck, look at Rammstein, they're damned noisy and proud of it, but do they stop a concert when there are senior citizens around? Nein! So pointing the figure at the kiddies smacks of selective discrimination to me by some overly righteous old fogies. I mean I kind of understand the lawn mowing thing, although really I resent leaf-blowers at dawn far more than a Lawn boy at 11 am, Sunday or not. But to try and crack down on kids, and going so far as to propose banning kindergartens? Wow, sounds like some old people really need to up their meds a bit. Or drink more bier. Sheesh.
Feb/16
2011
What in hell is Hasboro thinking?
In the new version of Monopoly, the game’s classic pastel-colored bills and the designated Banker have been banished, along with other old-fashioned elements, in favor of a computer that runs the game. Hasbro showed a preview of the new version, called Monopoly Live, at this week’s Toy Fair in New York. It is the classic Monopoly board on the outside, with the familiar railroads like the B.& O. and the development of property. But in the center, instead of dice and Chance and Community Chest cards, an infrared tower with a speaker issues instructions, keeps track of money and makes sure players adhere to the rules. The all-knowing tower even watches over advancing the proper number of spaces. (NYT)
Amazing, really, that Hasboro executives want to mess with success. Monopoly, with its bit, pieces, slips of paper, colorful cards is successful in part because of all those items. Counting, plotting, cheating are all elements that people enjoy and instead they want to over simplify a good game so players don't have to think... It sucks and fails at the same time the same way taking a tasty pepperoni pizza and putting it into a blender fails when trying to make the meal "easier to consume." In a word: yuck. ATM machines? Computers that count your spaces? A board game that needs batteries? Fuck that. Harboro you lose, do not pass go, do not collect $200.
Feb/16
2011
I don't see what's wrong with this. Really.
OSLO, Norway (AP) — A Norwegian shipping magnate was strongly criticized Wednesday for suggesting that pirates captured off the Horn of Africa should be sunk with their skiffs or executed on the spot. "When (piracy) implies a great risk of being caught and hanged, and the cost of losing ships and weapons becomes too big, it will decrease and eventually disappear," Jacob Stolt-Nielsen said in an op-ed in Norwegian financial newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv.
I'm with Jacob. Fuck the pirates. The only reason they're successful is because people are *not* fighting back when then can. The pirates may be well armed, but their resources are limited. Huge companies have far greater resources to buy more effective weapons defense. If they invested the potential ransoms in defense and offense I think the pirates might just decide on an alternative form of employment that might allow them to retire... alive.
"Pirates captured in international waters have always been punished by death, often on the spot," Stolt-Nielsen wrote Tuesday, arguing that modern navies should deal with the problem like Roman pirate hunter Pompey did more than 2,000 years ago. "Not arrest them and say, 'naughty, naughty, shame on you,' and release them again, but sink their boats with all hands," he wrote. "The pirates won't be frightened by being placed before a civilian court."
Feb/16
2011
Proof positive that some people are just assholes. The biggest lie of the decade and this asshole is damn proud of the disaster and death that resulted.
LONDON (AP) — An Iraqi man whose testimony the United States used as a key evidence to build a case for war in Iraq says he is proud that he lied about his country developing mobile biological warfare labs. The Guardian newspaper published an interview Wednesday with Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, who has been identified as the informer called "Curveball," whose claims about weapon labs formed part of then-U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the U.N. Security Council in 2003, shortly before the war began. The Guardian quoted al-Janabi as saying: "I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the regime. I and my sons are proud of that."
Yeah I'll bet your offspring are real proud to be sons-of-a-baldfaced-liar. That's a wonderful legacy to be leaving them. Catalyst for the destruction of tens of thousands of lives because you didn't like your government? Yeah, some justification. Dick.
Feb/16
2011
Well the dog show is over, the winners have gone home with their ribbons and their cups, and the losers have left with their tails between their legs (well, it's just a metaphor.) I love looking at dog show pictures. Pedigreed pups prancing with perfectly coiffed tresses. But more than anything I love the weird-ass names people come up with. So here, for my benefit and yours, is *my* top ten list of most... um... fascinating dog names selected from the 102 best-of-breed winners. Take it away Fideaux! 1. You gotta love him, with a face like a backhoe and the ability to fetch your car without the keys, it's Peerless I Am A Love Bug (aka. Bugs the Bullmastiff) 2. Where's the spittoon? It's Pikkinokka Badgr Sir Barksalot (aka. Barkley the Finnish Spitz) 3. What's black and looks like an industrial floor mop that just cleaned a coal mine? It's Cordmaker Rumpus Bumpus (aka. Ziggy the Puli) 4. Can't make up your mind could you? What the hell just throw it all in (plus a little Billy Idol for good measure)! Devils and Fairies Flesh for Fantasy (aka. Axil the Staffordshire Bull Terrier) 5. What's in a name anyway? It's Invictus Nightmare Before Xmas (aka. unknown a Rhodesian Ridgeback) 6. It doesn't have her lips but it does have her eyes, it's Hallmark Jolei Auston Powers (aka. unknown a Shih Tzu) 7. It's white, it's fluffy, and it has a profile like the Concorde.... it's Kaylunn's Party Crasher (aka. Snoop Dogg the white Bedlington Terrier) 8. I came, I saw, I bit the judge on the butt... it's Protocol's Veni Vidi Vici (ala. Fifi the Doberman) 9. I think it's got eyes, and it might even be smiling but who can tell? It's Liontame's 1-800-Hotstuff (aka. Maddox the Chow Chow) 10. Truth in advertising, resembling thirty pounds of pizza dough in twelve pound bag... it's Itsa Brix (aka. Brix the Bulldog) For these and more see the NY Times Best of Breed slide show.
Feb/15
2011

Hussan Ghazanfar: Bitch

Who is Hussan Ghazanfar? She's a Judas Goat. Her "official" position is "the acting minister of women’s affairs" in Afghanistan. And her goal is the total repression of her sisters.
KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s top female official began a sustained verbal assault on women’s shelters on Tuesday, accusing them of corruption and mismanagement, and insisting that the government was determined to take control of them, whether or not donors continue to give financial support.[...] The new rules would put government officials in charge of the shelters, provide close monitoring of their activities, and could subject unmarried girls in them to virginity tests, critics complain.
In typical Afghani style rhetoric she makes unsubstantiated claims against existing shelters, claiming on the one hand that millions of dollars are being 'wasted' on sheltering abused women (actual budget, proven on paper, is $100,000) and other bullshit such as “Lack of order and discipline, and chaos in some of them. Lack of activities. Shifting women from one province to another. Not following their court cases responsibly. Lack of health facilities. Women kept two weeks when one week was enough. Failure to report problems. Lack of proper reports. Corruption in spending their budgets.” Honey you're going to hell, which is where you damn well deserve to be. Acting as a tool to enslave, demean, abuse, violate, imprison other women is a crime so vile that I can't even come up with the epithets to apply to someone as corrupt as you are. As the article points out it's simply paving the way to eliminate any gains women might have had to appeal to the Taliban. My only hope is that when the towel heads do return they make her their first bitch. Because she deserves it.
Feb/15
2011
Methinks that man and his opinions are long in need of retirement. He's clearly just a bitter old prick.
As the Century debated whether to sever ties with an all-male club in London, Mr. Safer described a prominent female club member as “whining,” “self-pitying” and “vindictive.” And he seemed to compare demands for gender equality to the need for special accommodations for “nudists and transsexuals,” according to e-mails obtained by The New York Times. (NYT)
Morely derided a female member of the his club for advocating that the US club break from the UK club since members weren't given equal treatment on the other side of the Atlantic. But oddly enough for a man accustomed to choosing his words with care, Morley decided to just let fly, demonstrating clearly that the image he cultivates is just that, an image.
To deprive those few members who make use of the Garrick’s facilities, from time to time, of their rights, strikes one as an almost comical gesture of a contemporary Bertie Wooster. What will be next? Disassociation with clubs that do not cater to vegans on their menus? Kosher dining rooms? Special facilities for nudists and transsexuals? Abolition of “Centurion” to describe our members, given that the term is, according to the OED, derived from the all-male Roman army?
I got news for you Morley about the only thing you'd have in common with the Romans would be the lions. And as for special facilities for nudists and transsexuals - the only ones that would want those would be those who don't count themselves as such. Small men, with small minds who need protection from the intrusions of reality and equality. Douchebag.
Feb/15
2011
They want me to do their work for them. That's the bottom line. And I hate it, because I still labor under the ill conceived notion that somehow these people are here to serve me. Silly isn't it? Who am I talking about? Well my retirement investment firm, my cell service provider, my health insurance, car insurance... about any and all "service" conglomerates that get paid because I'm their client. It totally pisses me off. The first thing, the very first thing you hear on the phone is "go away, we're too busy for you, go help yourself online, don't waste our time." And just as naturally I decide that wasting their time is precisely what I'm going to do. "If you have a rotary phone please hold on for an Operator." I love those words, and I always hold on. If you want to know the truth I do indeed have a rotary phone. It's a darling old gem with real brass bells inside, and wires wrapped in two shades of silk thread. I may or may not being using at the time when I make the call (it receives calls just fine thank you) but that's besides the point. I do ~have a rotary phone, so I'm entitled to wait. Some services are stupider than others. One asked me to hold for an operator and then insisted I enter in some numbers right after. Do you people even QA your own fucking service? Or was that some sort of 'trick' question? Either way I hit nothing. Unless I get mad. Then I typically just hammer away at the "0" button until it either disconnects me or reroutes me to an operator. You'd be surprised how often the latter happens over the former (about 10:1 I'd say.) But more than anything else being warned from the get-go that my wait time would be "longer than expected, due to heavy call volume" pisses me off. No shit Sherlock. That's what you always say and really, you understand dick about my expectations, because I damn fucking well expect that you'll keep me on hold for ages because that's what always happens. It's a crock and no I don't (figuratively) buy it. I also don't think it acts as any more of a warning than those "recommended speed" signs on a curve. I need help. I want to talk to a person. No I won't go to your website, read some useless FAQ or try and log on to an account that I don't have online just to get frustrated and call someone anyway to get a new password. NO. I will talk to a human, one that will be obliged to bear the brunt of my frustration if I don't get the help I need. Misery loves company, that's what they say and by gods if your company is responsible for my sorry state you know I'm going to share. On the opposite side I also politely thank people when they help me and I don't waste anyone's time more than I need to get the relevant answers. People are still the most efficient way to resolve most issues since they are the ones that also have direct access to the important data or services I need. So screw your "wait time", I'm hardc0re. Oh and forget the stupid, crappy music too. It won't make me go away, it'll only make me more cranky when I do talk to a real person.
Feb/15
2011
Rumors of lay-offs, reimbursements for out-of-pocket expenses either slow or non-existent, more time spent running around getting approvals than actually doing the work and a management more concerned with which hours an ass is in a chair than whether actual work is being done can really sap morale. Logic and civility are nearly non-existent. Morale is pretty low around the office. Sure, I can be a body taking space. I can be where I am directed and I can go through the paces. I ask myself: “For this I went to college?” I’m here, I’m doing my job. Now I’m being told to smile? Really, smile? I don’t see that in my job description or in a management policy manual, so I am neither required nor officially directed to smile. Now go away, I’ve got work to do.
Feb/14
2011
Anyone else see the hypocrisy here?
ISLAMABAD (AP) — The confessed killer of a liberal Pakistani governor pleaded guilty Monday to a murder he said was justified under Islam, while outside the court supporters bearing flowers and cards wished him a happy Valentine's Day.
Yes, yes above all you identify with Islam. Its purity. Its piety. Its honor. But at the same time you're giving a killer candies and flowers for a holiday celebrated by your avowed enemies. Today's Islam knows nothing of romance, flowers, hearts or candies. It has no room for passionate love or cherishing, kindling or igniting love. It's a religion for child brides, honor killings, and spousal abuse. Unless they're all gay. In which case it makes total sense.
Feb/14
2011
I guess it depends on what you want to believe, but if you choose to, the statistic say that netbooks haven't just leveled out, they've slumped.
Today, tablets are all the rage, including the iPad from Apple and a host of new entries starting to come from rivals like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Research In Motion and Samsung. But less than two years ago, in 2009, netbooks were seen as the earth-shaking force in the industry, potentially changing the economics of the business and undermining the technology leaders, Intel and Microsoft. Things didn’t work out that way. Netbook sales were meteoric in 2009, jumping eightfold in the United States, to 7.5 million devices, and tripling worldwide to 34 million. Yet the torrid growth stalled last year.(NYT)
I don't actually believe that tablets are taking over. What I actually believe is that the netbook market is saturated, and part of that saturation is due to the fact that netbooks are simple, light, low-power devices that can last a long time. They're durable and the way many people use them, lying around the house for use 'whenever' they simply don't take the abuse that a work or school laptop do. They're for browsing the internet as you watch TV or sit in front of the fire, lie on the couch, etc. In summary, they just don't break often enough to need replacing and everyone who wanted one has one by now. Tablets on the other hand are eating up those buyers who have gobs of extra cash to spare (no one I currently know) and are easily drawn by the "ooooh shiny!" factor. And although I'm plenty given to "ooooh shiny" myself I haven't the cash or desire for a tablet. Mainly because I don't like the form factor. I want something with a lid I can close to protect the screen. I want something with an angle that won't feel like it will slip out of my hand. Most of all I want a real keyboard, with keys, that click and spring back. Screw gestures, I do too much typing for that (case in point right here, right now.) Don't get me wrong, I'm glad that other people are embracing new modes of input. I think gestures are an amazing innovation, useful, but in sore need of refinement. One might note that the ubiquitous touch pad STILL does not trump a decent mouse or trackball for laptop input. Those devices are around, and they still sell. So no, I don't think the tablet will totally destroy the market for netbooks. In fact I think in an even shorter time they too will plateau, start dropping in price and demand. Which... just might be the right time for me to buy one. Just for the heck of it of course.
Feb/14
2011
Four Walmart employees disarmed a man who pulled a gun on them after he was caught shop lifting. They removed the gun and restrained him until the police got there. The police said they did everything right. Walmart says their actions were against policy and fired them. In this situation, the employees were defending themselves. Furthermore, they kept the man in the office area and away from customers. I guess in Wally World arbitrary rules trump common sense.
Feb/14
2011
I just found out today that I am a spy for management, that I cannot be trusted. Why? I am friends with assistant to our boss. She rose through the ranks rather quickly and some think too quickly. Some are jealous, some are resentful that she can “boss around” people with far more experience. Personally I don’t give two craps. She’s smart, energetic, has always respected my opinion, and is doing a job I consider thankless. As long as I don’t have to do her job and she doesn’t put up too many roadblocks to me getting my job done. I’m OK with her being promoted over me because I don’t want the crappy job. I’m sure my day will come if I want it. Is that a note about who was late today or bowl of my black bean soup? Is that a performance report or a twice baked potato recipe? It is girl talk (well about as girlie as female techie types can be) or latest info on whose project is behind? Guess they’ll just never be quite sure. I will say this much, who ever the office spy is should be ashamed of themselves. I have my suspicions, and sitting next to the window taking notes on who drives into the parking lot and when is very much not cool. Which is worse, someone at their desk 10 minutes later than their proper hour or you staring out the window not doing work? Are you there late making up all that time you look out the window? I'm there late and you ain't one of the people trying to catch up. The way I look at it, you need to catch up from all that out the window staring or do you just not have enough to work to?
Feb/13
2011
Pundit Ann Coulter talked about Obama using Democrats' poor fortunes in November's congressional elections. "The way things are going, Obama may want to look into becoming the president of Egypt. Nobody would complain about him being a Muslim then," she said to cheers. Obama was born in Hawaii and is a Christian. (AP)
Ann, Ann, Ann, could you get any more retarded? No? I thought not. Ok carry on, twat-face.
Feb/13
2011
On one end is the obscenely rich, the multi-million dollar CEOs, celebrities, and trust fund babies, and on the other end is the very poor, who tend to be the biggest recipients of entitlements, and then there are the rest of us. Those on one end get tax shelters and breaks while those on the other end get a larger share of tax funded benefits than for which they can ever hope to contribute. Then there is the rest of us. We work. We pay taxes. We hope our kids can get a good education and contribute to society. We hope we have enough money to have a comfortable retirement. Some of us work for others, some some of us strike out and forge our own way. Most of us don't have the ears of politicians. Most of us have little control over policy. Many of us have knee jerk reactions to what the media, on both sides, feeds us. However, one thing is constant, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the big group in the middle is trying so hard to stay on the floating side of sinking that they can't take the time to sieve through the crap. Saying it is "class warfare" over simplifies the issue. The issue is not a matter of black or white, it is a whole lot of gray. No body likes paying taxes, but everyone likes the infrastructure government provides: security, highways, police, etc, etc. Imagine our society like it was in colonial days without these things. You had to have a gun to protect your own property and family from foreign invaders and thieves. You had to stay on your land or lose it. You had to pay someone to cross their land. You and your neighbors fought fires. The list goes on. The rich know ways around paying taxes. If you don't believe me, talk to a rich person. They love to brag about it. Others might be jealous, I personally think some of what they've told me is morally disgusting. It makes me fully support a flat tax, but that is another topic all together. I also know people who know how to play the system. They think the government owes them the entitlements they receive. I find that disgusting, too. I'm all for extending my hand to help someone get out of a rut, I'm not for manually putting them in a sling and hoisting them out while they do nothing. The rest of us need to quit acting like what either group does is OK, because it is not. Is it class warfare? Maybe, but it's not rich vs. poor, it's more like rich and poor trying to squeeze the middle till they pop.
Feb/12
2011
We were in a meeting. Then the first five bars of "Bad to the Bone" belted out from under the table. It was somebody's cell phone. We were treated to another two rounds of the brief tune until its owner was able to locate the little device and silence it's bleats for attention. Awkward moment over the business meeting resumed its course. That was until someone decided to call attention to the fact that they had recognized the chords as the intro to a "rockin' song" complete with air guitar. Yes, actually we all did, but at least one person had to make it a point. Was it because he liked the tune? Was trying to diffuse the embarrassment, or politely hint that next time the owner should make sure to stifle the intrusive device before joining the table? Not certain, but the message was clear, silence your phone before you show up next time! I think I've heard it all by now - Claire du Lune, La Cucaracha, Brick House, various bits by Santana, hip hop favorites, swing, classical, techno... maybe not punk per se but I'm sure someone out there has the Ramones doing "I wanna be sedated" as their ring tone. To me hearing that little bit of melody is very revealing. Imagine a tightly-pinned matron with Iron Butterfly pealing out of her itty-bitty handbag, or Ave Maria tinkling from the back pocket of some off-the-ass jeans on a homey. It says something about the person that we might otherwise be unaware of. (For the record the owner of Bad-to-the-Bone had their car set to classical when we got in.) It also can be excruciating when it's not your phone, not something you enjoy and it's in earshot. I had an office mate whose cell immediately went off the second they left their desk, just like magic. Every damned day. They'd step away and within 60 seconds their phone, otherwise dark and silent while they were there, would start it's musical tirade, annoying, repetitive, for the next minute until it Blee-Blooped into voice mail. As for my part I prefer a simple, neutral set of electronic burbles. Seven notes, four up the scale in incremental parts, three down. It's harmless, innocuous, tame. It's even hard to notice sometimes. I picked it just for that reason, because it's NOT annoying, grating or tooth-grinding. I share my audible space with others and I have no desire to irritate them. To me it's a sign of respect. So next time you choose to go to a meeting, leave your phone on your desk or in your coat in a shared space, think about switching your phone to mute when you're not around. It's an act of kindness that I'm sure will be appreciated by many. Trust me in this.
Feb/11
2011
Egypt. They're dancing in the isles, singing in the streets, hailing the end of an era. But you have to wonder if it's going to be another Russia where people start waxing nostalgic for the Ol' Hos not too long after he's gone. I dunno, somehow you have to wonder if people really thought this one out. Trading a fairly benevolent dictator (by Middle Eastern standards) for the military? I mean aren't they the ones with guns, tanks, implements of torture? It's true they didn't go after the protesters, but generally one doesn't ~typically think of the military as the "good" guys. One would think that the pro-democracy segment would have fielded a definite leader, someone they wanted to usher in the new government if not run it. But no, seems like they didn't plan that far in advance. Out of the frying pan into the fire? Maybe. Depends on how the military feels about it I guess. Good luck to 'em. I hope it all works out.