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.
Feb/10
2011

Fuck You 2011 (continued)

Let's tack these onto the list... * At band practice tonight, over the course of an hour, my effects pedals, one by one, began to quit. I now have four non-functioning pedals. And no, it's not the batteries. * On Monday, a friend of a friend and an ex-coworker of mine died of cancer. She was 38. Sometimes you wait for the other shoe to drop. And other times you wait for them to stop.
Feb/10
2011
Trump announces that he wants to run for President as the Republican party candidate. Hilarity ensues.
"The United States is becoming the laughingstock of the world," Trump said, sounding every bit a candidate as he offered his rationale for a possible bid. In a speech sprinkled with quips and jabs, he said he would decide by June whether to run.(AP)
Actually he's right! When Donald Trump runs for office most of America is rolling in the isles. Who's gonna be his VP? His toupee?
Feb/10
2011
Companies are taking the workplace smoking ban one step further, they want to regulate private lives to remove smokers from their payrolls end of story.
While most of the companies applied their rules only to new employees, a few eventually mandated that existing employees must quit smoking or lose their jobs. There is also disagreement over whether to fire employees who are caught smoking after they are hired. The Truman Medical Centers, here in Kansas City, for example, will investigate accusations of tobacco use by employees. In one recent case a new employee returned from a lunch break smelling of smoke and, when confronted by his supervisor, admitted that he had been smoking, said Marcos DeLeon, head of human resources for the hospital. The employee was fired. (NYT)
Smokers have been getting squeezed. After more than a century of lighting up where, when and how they pleased they are getting crammed, penned and regulated into a corner. You can't smoke with your meal. You can't smoke at a park. You can't smoke at your desk. Or in a rental car. Or hotel room. Or near a school, hospital, courthouse, etc. The only place left to smoke is in your own car (presuming you never want to sell it) or in your own home (almost ditto) or, to be the safest, your own yard so long as you're not near any of the aforementioned institutions. I know America is Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, but after a childhood of gagging in airplanes, not being able to taste my meal in a fancy restaurant, I have a hard time of taking an unprejudiced view. I do feel bad for smokers, but not nearly bad enough to want to share my air or compromise my ability to breathe easily. I mean I know they're killing themselves, and in the end they will pay the price for their habit, but perhaps that's exactly why companies are taking radical steps to purge them from their ranks now; they just don't want to foot the bill for the inevitable medical care. Discriminating against a smoker is not like discriminating against a diabetic. Smoking is something entered into voluntarily. People aren't born into the habit, although they may have a genetic predisposition towards addiction, smoking is clearly a choice. Were I a business owner I might feel justified in trying to minimize my risk to the extent legally possible. When I went for my first job I was required to have a full physical before the company would hire/insure me. This seems to me just an extension of the same notion - why spend health care money on someone who may use more than their fair share? Smoking is a pretty costly habit these days. You can pretty much get a decent sandwich, or coffee and pastry for the cost of a pack of cigarettes. But if smokers are denied jobs because of their habit they may be forced to quit simply to afford food and shelter. Hella way to have to make a life-choice, having it crammed down your throat like that, but I guess you'll live longer to complain about it. Win?
Feb/10
2011
Our office, like many large offices, has a parking pecking order. We get tags telling us what parking lot to which we are assigned. Choice and placement is dependent on our position and longevity. Recently, several people retired, so the lot assignments were adjusted appropriately. One of our secretaries and I got a preferential lot due to our seniority. She and I both put up with years of shuttle rides from a peripheral lot where the new hires and interns park. On nice days we walked the couple of blocks, but when the steep hill between our building and the lot is icy we would take the shuttle. Some of the drivers have been interesting, types that you climb in, hang on, close your eyes and pray. The current drivers are nice guys and I still stop and say hello. The situation is not as nice as parking near the building, but not the worst way to get to work. We have another secretary (our drama queen) who sneaked and parked near the building since she started here a few years ago. She obviously thought that she was above the rules and deserved preferential treatment. I told her she was going to get towed some day, but some how she sweet talked the guards into letting her stay (and no, she doesn't have big boobs). The extra snow this winter has resulted in fewer extra spots that have forced the building management to be less charitable toward people like our drama queen secretary. The drama queen obviously does not like having to park with the commoners. Her knee hurts. She can't get in and out of the shuttle (although I did it when I needed a cane). To our other secretary, she cites this and that reason for "needing" to park near the building. Can't I "borrow" your tag she asks her. She let her for a while, now she told her "No", because tells her she doesn't want to lose her tag. They are checking license plates against those tag. Now she's pouting and not talking to the other secretary. (Drama queen knows better than to ask me.) The world is filled drama queens and prima donnas. People who think they are above an established set of rules. Those rules may or may not be fair but they grant a sense of order. People who sulk and pout or rant and rave when they don't get their own way. People who think nothing of bullying or bribing to get their way. They think nothing of the consequences of their actions. Personally, I'm glad the secretary with the tag finally grew a backbone.
Feb/09
2011
Um, no? She doesn't?
WASHINGTON — Representative Christopher Lee of New York abruptly resigned on Wednesday night after a shirtless photo of himself, which he had e-mailed to a woman, was published on the Internet.[...] Mr. Lee, who is 46, replied to a personal ad that the woman had placed in the “Women for Men” section of Craigslist, seeking a financially and emotionally secure man.[...] “I’m a very fit fun classy guy,” he continued. “Live in Cap Hill area.” He described himself as a 39-year-old lobbyist. He said he was 6 feet tall, weighed 190 pounds, and had blond hair and blue eyes. “I promise not to disappoint,” he wrote. After the woman responded flirtatiously, Mr. Lee sent a shirtless photo of himself that he had taken using the camera on his cellphone. When the woman asked him if he made it a habit to send shirtless photos of himself to women, Mr. Lee responded in another e-mail: “Sorry. Its all I had.”
Seriously, is anyone else out there tired of all the political infidelity stories? What the hell does it take to make these guys keep their dicks in their pants? Or is it we just need to cut off their internet access once they get elected? FOCUS PEOPLE FOCUS FOR FUCKSAKE. Don't you have a freekin' job to do? Getting elected to public office does NOT make you hot, does NOT make you younger and does NOT make you a babe/stud magnet. Here's some information for you: we, your people, expect you to be honest and forthright in ALL your dealings - personal or not. Lying about your age, about your marital status, about your profession to get laid is BAD. What you do sets a moral standard for all your actions, and if you can't figure that out then you *do* need to quit your day job ok? Yes, another one bites the dust...
Feb/09
2011

More Republican Rudeness

Why is the part of "conservative values" also the party of rudeness and rampant anger? One might thing that conservatism, in the most literal sense, would also be the most polite, staid, and formal. But no, not true. When it comes to slinging insults, impugning someone's dignity and being unfailingly impolite the most conservative are also the most egregious.
WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans opened a formal assault on Wednesday on the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gases, raising doubts about the legal, scientific and economic basis of rules proposed by the agency.[...] Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, was subjected to more than two hours of questioning, some of it hostile and disrespectful, about proposed limits on emissions from factories, refineries, power plants and vehicles.
Gentlemen and Ladies of the Republican party, I - an American citizen - ask that you treat your position with dignity and respect. That means in doing your job and in all interactions with others, you communicate professionally. Not like ignorant savages from a Third World nation. Politics is the art of agreement and compromise. Maligning, abusing, being abrasive and vitriolic serves only the basest, most anarchistic instincts. In other words: Quit fucking playing to the audience and do your goddamn job, the one you're being paid to do, in a professional manner. You win NO points for treating someone else, someone with a counter opinion, like garbage. Now get to work.
Feb/09
2011
You might remember this guy, he's the looney that sued the University of Kentucky because they didn't see fit to appoint a religious wacko as department chair. Well the University decided to play it safe and just pay the guy to go away (instead of paying the lawyers twice that.) Sadly, instead of just taking the cash and shutting up this guy has taken it as an affirmation that his approach to mixing religion and science is valid, and... projecting that image on others. Funny, the "others" didn't find that quite so agreeable...
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Christian astronomer who sued the University of Kentucky for religious discrimination says the perceived divide between faith and science is an "illusion."[...] "We believe that God has done things through the mechanisms he's revealing to us through science," he said. He has also written that evolution theory has "significant scientific problems" and includes "unwarranted atheistic assumptions and extrapolations." Gaskell said scientists shouldn't be discouraged or rejected for holding non-mainstream views.
And now... the rebuttal.
But some prominent scientists disagree with Gaskell on that point. "You can't discriminate based upon religion," said Eugenie Scott, director of the National Center for Science Education, a science advocacy group in Oakland, Calif. "You can discriminate based upon scientific views. It's perfectly legitimate to discriminate against a candidate based on whether that candidate's scientific views are acceptable to the discipline." Bestselling atheist author and biologist Richard Dawkins recently wrote about the Gaskell case, [...] "Even if a doctor's belief in the stork theory of reproduction is technically irrelevant to his competence as an eye surgeon, it tells you something about him," Dawkins wrote. "It is revealing. It is relevant in a general way to whether we would wish him to treat us or teach us."
In the simplest terms: as a scientist you're not allowed to 'make it up as you go along' and if you disagree with accepted and proven scientific fact you're not as likely to be called 'brilliant' as a 'hack'. See the way science works is that you need to sit and do the math, engineering, chemistry, physics or whatever to prove your hypothesis. Taking large leaps and justifying it as "God's work" doesn't cut it. But what's precisely why Martin likes being an astronomer. Because it's the most ambiguous and hard to prove field, more permissive of wild theories, than any other.
"One thing I feel really strongly about that we need to convey to students that the scientific questions are not all settled," he said. "If all scientific questions were settled I think science would be rather dull, because what I like doing is research and solving unsolved problems."
Sorry no. Basing theories on "well I can't solve it because it's a divine mystery" contributes nothing. I suggest Marin pursue a career in Science Fiction. That way he can proselytize for Christianity all he likes and no one will care. But teach? No, clearly not qualified.
Feb/09
2011
It's getting tiresome. I just wish the rest of the world would stop taking this kind of rarefied bullshit seriously.
Hussein Abdullahi told The Associated Press on Wednesday that the arms shipment seized Oct. 26 "was not conflicting with the U.N. sanctions" because Iran and Gambia had signed a secret agreement two years before the U.N.'s 2010 ban on Iranian arms exports. However, the U.N. had banned the country's arms exports in a 2007 resolution, before imposing more comprehensive sanctions in 2010.[...] Abdullahi said that he had spoken to senior officials of the Nigerian government as soon as the shipment was seized and told them that the intercepted cargo was the third of four Gambia-bound shipments originating from Iran. "I tasked them to please not to allow people who are not happy with our friendly relations to gain advantage of this incident," he said Tuesday.
Is there no end to this stupidity? Dear gods, it's enough to drive a hardened pacifist to take up a crusade for a nuclear first-strike. Not against the government, not against the terrorists, not against religious or ethnic or gender oppression but simply to contain the stupidity before it spreads any further. Really? You didn't break any rules because you had *secret* agreements? And that was the best you could come up with? Why does the press even publish this shit?
Feb/09
2011

Suicide Squirrel

The little guy came outta nowhere. Somehow in the middle of a 4 lane route my headlights lit up a flicker of fuzzy tail. Now ordinarily I would try and swerve, but not in the dark on a crowded road in icy conditions. I didn't feel or hear a thump, so there's some slim chance that he may have managed some matrix-style moves, slow-mo dodging, that allowed him to escape. Still I cringed, throwing my hands up as if I were the one dodging the oncoming bus. Geez guy, did you have to pick then to run across the busy 5pm traffic? I feel bad for it. I know there's nothing I can do, but I still feel that it shouldn't go unnoticed. Sorry.
Feb/09
2011
If Gabriele Susanne Kerner agrees with her country's laws on abortion is not the real question. The real question is whether the singer, whose band Nena sang the song "99 Luftballoons" or "99 Red Balloons" (for those only familiar with the English version), is aware that her song is being used by supporters of an Ohio Bill that will ban abortion after a fetus has a heatbeat. A human fetus has a heatbeat at 18 days gestation. The bill is dubbed the Heartbeat bill and they have parodied Nena's song on YouTube, singing "99 red heart balloons". As one commenter pointed out on the YouTube: "whole lotta copyright infringement!" I hope they at least asked Nena's permission. Gabriele's band-mates, Uwe Fahrenkrog-Petersen wrote the music and Carlo Karges wrote the German lyrics. If the red heart folks didn't ask permission, I hope that Nena sues the crap out of them for copyright infringement.
Feb/08
2011
Well it's the end of an era, never again shall a new car come equipped with a factory-installed cassette player. The last, the very last model was the 2010 Lexus SC 430. You know when I first read that I was kinda sad and a bit nostalgic. Then I thought about it and went "wait what? Who the hell still wants a tape deck in 2010?" Geezers I guess. It says something about the make and model, the demographics of Lexus that people might even want something as defunct in their brand new vehicle. No one sells new cassettes these days, and even if you do possess some there's a very good chance that it doesn't even work. For me the last tapes I had were back in 1996. That was when I struggled with a few remaining leftovers, mainly because I didn't care what happened to them and the radio sucked on my cheap-y boom box. It was in the garage for a reason after all. Now I do occasionally find some tapes lying around. Some that had custom mixes, with paper inserts that were handcrafted, scrapbook style. I have kept those for sentimental reasons, although lately I've kept fewer and fewer. But the idea that I might want to actually play one of these antiques in my car doesn't even cross my mind. I think the last tapes that kicked around were either hucked in the trash, our wound up being used as temporary ice scrapers some winters past. But I miss them not a bit. So yeah, bye bye TKD, BASF and the like... times were good but you know everyone moves on.