Mar/06
2011
But really, what do you expect on a slow news day?
Mar/06
2011
Since everyone is always interested in who is to blame I'll portion that out first. The blame lies in almost equal measures with the media, society, our political infrastructure and, of course, ourselves. Now that you know the answer will you either stop reading or keep going and find out what this blame is for? I don't really care, of course, because this blog is all about me. Ha! There I got you. It's an illustration of my point, that the focus of our every waking moment has been reduced to a pinpoint which centers only on ourselves. "But I care about other people!" you're going to say "I donate to charities, I fold my family's clothes, I help little old ladies across the street." Sure you do those things, but only when it's convenient right? Not when you have something you need, or want on the line. Because that comes first, always, me first. I believe that the age we live in panders to this "me first" attitude. They play on our fears that if we don't support position X or politician Y then something we have will be taken away (or something we need won't be given, same thing, typically more stick than carrot.) "Vote republican and YOU won't have any money when you're old! Vote democrat and YOU won't have enough money today!" We're constantly being barraged with the negative effects of not doing what they want. Me. I. My. These things will be diminished if we don't comply. Actually we know better. The people howling about Bush destroying personal freedoms in the name of "homeland security" found out that it didn't really make much of an impact on our day to day lives. The next set of people howling about Obama restricting gun rights also found out that nothing has really changed (in fact many states freaked out and passed more laws in their favor.) So the question becomes, if we know these are just ploys to work us up why do we fall for it over and over again? Let's go back to my allocation of blame: ourselves (check), politicians (covered), that leaves two more: media and society. Let's tackle the first one. The following statement should be obvious (if you're a thinking adult.) There is no such thing as unbiased media. If you don't agree with that statement then you should probably stop reading now because (like the bible) the rest of the explanation depends on it. The media are out to make a buck. They're a business. They need to distinguish themselves from others and find a way to maintain and grow their market share, their influence. Now while they can't actively lie without suffering major repercussions ("Men from Mars have landed!") they are free to exaggerate and distort, insinuate and warp facts to suit their needs. Further, they know damn well our hot buttons, when to use them and when to lay off. Case in point, the current apathetic response to the Defense of Marriage act. It's not so hot any more, people are tired of this topic, they've heard it all, it's going to be hard to rev people up on the topic when they're more focused on losing their jobs. The media (although not some politicians) has barely mentioned it at all because they know it won't sell, hold viewers or readers in thrall. But they do know that deficits sell. Unions and public employees are hot. So they throw up conflicting messages: "Teachers get paid to take the whole summer off!" "Without good salaries we won't have good teachers and the kids will suffer!" Push, pull, back, forth, we are manipulated because we want to be distracted, energized, emotional. They pander, we pay and the cycle continues. The media feeds our selfishness but that's their job, they too just want to make a buck. Society is also to blame, although this is just a bit more complicated, I think you've read enough (if you've even gotten this far I applaud you.) As a race we have become more wealthy, more decadent. We no longer live in caves, suffer from plagues, die en-masse from weather-related issues. More people live more comfortably than ever before and thus we have the time to ponder our entitlements. A timely example is the whoopla in CA over sharkfin soup. Originally a dish that was only enjoyed by royalty it is now accessible to the merely rich down to the middle class and lower. Environmentalists and scientists want to outlaw the practice of "de-finning" sharks (hacking fins from live sharks then dumping them back into the ocean to drown) by making shark fins illegal. The Chinese residents are furious, saying that we're impugning their culture, denying them freedoms, unfairly targeting them for something they've enjoyed for centuries. The fact that centuries ago most of those complaining would never have been allowed to enjoy this escapes them. But American society has taught us that a person is defined by their culture, the things that set us apart, not the things that make us the same. I worry about us. Humans have thrived because we have been able to cooperate, suffering individually for the greater good of the species. But it seems like that is changing. I've heard the sentiment echoed "who cares what happens to future generations, I'll be dead then anyway." That doesn't bode well for us. I know that in a time of crisis that much of that melts away, and people will momentarily band together (e.g. when Congresswoman Giffords was shot) but how long did that camaraderie last? In a world where it's every man for himself we are destined to be very lonely, very vulnerable and very isolated even as we crowed the planet. I guess it's sad, and doesn't bode well for our future success, but then again, I'll be dead by then anyway so why should I care? (actually I do.)
Mar/05
2011
Bad actually isn't the word for it. Gruesome, inhumane, hell, those are all more appropriate.
CHESTERFIELD, S.C. (AP) — Animal rescuers in South Carolina said Saturday that they have found two dogs believed to be from a local shelter shot in the head and buried at a landfill, and they suspect there may be more.[...] Knowlton said rescuers who regularly work with the shelter in Chesterfield, S.C., were first tipped off by an inmate working there. Some inmates working at the shelter had been saying that dogs were being taken off-site and weren't coming back, Knowlton said. One told a rescuer working with the shelter that dogs were being taken to the landfill and being shot.[...] When that allegation was made, fellow rescuer Debbie Farhi grabbed a shovel and started digging at the landfill, Farhi said. She found one dog with fresh blood on it that had been shot in the head, then dug up another. At that point, Knowlton said, Farhi was told by animal control officers to leave.
Worse, now that the crime has been uncovered the same people in charge of overseeing the shelter are the same ones investigating. The odds that they're going to actually incriminate themselves is pretty fucking small.
Chesterfield County Sheriff Sam Parker told WSOC-TV, which first reported the story, that his office is investigating. A message left with a dispatcher for the sheriff's office by The Associated Press was not immediately returned Saturday morning. The sheriff's office oversees animal control. "We've got nothing at all to hide here," Parker told WSOC. "We're doing interviews, and we'll get to the bottom of it."
Really? Nothing to hide? Then prove it by turning over the cold-blooded fuckers that shot those poor animals. You know damned well who killed those dogs and that's no way for an animal to die.
Mar/05
2011
Sheen has officially hit the books as a verb. "Man I was totally Sheen last night." "Wtf is wrong wit yous? You so Sheen!" "Guy, don't be givin' me th' Sheen!" And so on and so forth.
Unlike other phrases of (false?) bravado recently associated with Mr. Sheen (“Bring it!” “Winning!” “Tiger blood!”), the terms “sheened” and “sheening” clearly connote partying, questionable decision making and public humiliation. It was mentioned this way last year on the Web site Urban Dictionary, soon after Mr. Sheen’s rampage at the Plaza in New York. On Twitter recently, one J_A_Parker10 suggested that being “sheened” meant getting high on pain pills and sleep aids, while another poster called it “the new name for wasted.” “I have no doubt that his name will spawn one or more meanings besides getting drunk,” said Bryan A. Garner, a language expert and the editor in chief of Black’s Law Dictionary. Indeed, Mr. Garner came up with a definition of his own. “To ‘pull a Sheen’ could mean to ridiculously try to defend oneself in the public media,” he offered.(NYT)
Sheening to me connotates a mix of arrogance, self-aggrandizement and pure delusion in equal parts. It's used when someone is so clearly out of alignment with anything reasonable, sensible and sane that either drugs are involved or they need to be. Charlie Sheen is a misogynistic fruitcake who needs help in the worst way. I'd feel sorry for the fucker if he weren't having so much fun wrecking his life. I know that's what passes for entertainment these days but that just speaks to how slightly less pathetic we are than him.
Mar/05
2011
Is the show a slam on Christianity or on those that pretend to be good Christians? Some are saying the proposed new show is a slam on Christians. I say, really? I've known women I would classify as "good Christian bitches". One needs to go no farther than one's neighborhood church, denomination unimportant, to attempt to observe these beasts. Yes, they are far from rare. The Southern Baptist variety can be particularly catty and vile, but they don't have a corner on meanness. The expression "power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely" certainly fits for many church ladies. These are the women my father likes to dub the "la-de-dahs". The ladies that sit back and have never seen someone outside their inner circle that they don't pass judgement on. Clicking their tongue and fanning themselves, every little "damn" is chastised. Just don't you dare look to far into the cobwebs of their broom closets. Yeah, I see this show not so much a slam on Christianity as an examination into the catty bitches that run the female part of churches across the country. Obviously they can dish it but they can't take it. So bitches, tell me how you like the look in the mirror?
Mar/05
2011
There is a certain segment of a certain Fortune 500 Company that posted record profits the last quarter of 2010. Yes, record profits. So good in fact that they have given people in that segment a stock bonus. However, that bonus has strings attached, namely the employee needs to still be with the company in several years. In other words anyone retired, fired, or laid off is SOL. Well, guess what? They just laid off 80 or so people. Why? One guy getting the ax was told discretely by a source in the know that they were outsourcing the jobs. I guess those 80 people who helped make the company record profits can kiss their sweet stock bonus good bye. Obviously these 80 jobs were not cut to increase competitiveness by decreasing costs, because their product is basically flying off the shelves. Obviously these 80 people weren't let go because they didn't know how to do their job, in some cases they had been doing it for decades without any criticism. The only answer I can come up with is greed. Pure, unadulterated greed. This particular company has avoided large scale unionization because they treated it's employees decently. Workers who felt appreciated made the company great. However, management's attitude has changed. Maybe this particular Fortune 500 Company's employees need to consider unionization. That was how employees grew balls in the old days. Where long work weeks and dangerous working conditions were the complaints of the past, actually keeping jobs Stateside would be the goal today. People doing a good job for a profitable company shouldn't have to worry about losing their jobs.
Mar/04
2011
Community pharmacists in New York are lobbying state lawmakers to pass legislation that would prevent health plans from requiring patients taking medications for chronic ailments to fill their prescriptions through the mail. While some plans had shifted to mail delivery long ago because it was often cheaper for both employers and consumers, drugstores have been offering more competitive prices and pushing lawmakers to level the playing field by ensuring that people can still visit their local pharmacy for their drugs. The proposed legislation, which was introduced in both state chambers in late February, would ban mandatory mail-order programs. (NYT)
Let me state it plainly: Express Scripts Sucks. They suck, suck, suck, suck. I can't tell you how much they suck because there's not enough space on this blog, but trust me they do and not in any sort of good way. I'm constantly badgered by their mailings demanding, pleading, insisting that I buy my meds through mail order. Through them and only them. I rip up every one. They grief me, on purpose, with every refill and renewal. They make my doctor jump through a dozen hoops just to enable me to keep taking the same medication that I finally found worked for me. They're bastards out to make a buck off my health and the couldn't care less the physical consequences on my end. So screw off you bastards. I won't, never will, and flatly refuse to order through you. Fuckers.
Mar/04
2011
WASHINGTON — The First Amendment protects hateful protests at military funerals, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in an 8-to-1 decision. “Speech is powerful,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote for the majority. “It can stir people to action, move them to tears of both joy and sorrow, and — as it did here — inflict great pain.”[...] The decision, from which Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented, was the latest in a series of muscular First Amendment rulings from the Roberts court. Last year, the court struck down laws limiting speech about politics and making it a crime to distribute depictions of cruelty to animals.
It's back to the states now to regulate what should be intuitive. When it comes to inflicting harm on others you would think that the court might use a "common sense" approach, but apparently not. It is the letter, not the intent, of the law that is being addressed in this conservative-leaning court, regardless of the potential side effects. I wonder how the court will feel when the result is more death, more tragedy, more mayhem and more abuse. Were I a family member at a funeral I doubt I would be able to hold back when accosted by someone screaming at me that my kin died because god hates gays. Is that what the court intended? Or are they just playing high-and-mighty hoping that the states will pick up the slack? Either way, it's out of touch and out of alignment with the reality of our time. Sad and it sucks.
Mar/04
2011
For someone so concerned with wasteful spending it really doesn't appear that he practices what he preaches.
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Speaker John Boehner said Friday the House may go to court to defend the federal law against gay marriage, which President Barack Obama's administration has concluded is unconstitutional.[...] Boehner said he was convening the panel of House leaders "for the purpose of initiating action by the House to defend this law." But there was no immediate indication of specifically what action it would direct or when the group would meet.
There are far more pressing issues in this nation than gays being allowed to marry. Like the wars, health care, and the fucking mile-high deficit to name a few. Immigration, job creation, trade negotiations, the list goes on and on. But instead of focusing on something that matters to the entire nation Bonehead is pandering to a smaller and smaller set. The recent polls have shown that most people, even conservatives, don't really care about gay marriage any more. They've come to the general conclusion that "it really won't hurt anyone." Gay marriage is legal in five states, guess what, they haven't self destructed. So yeah, move on Bonehead, move on.
Mar/04
2011
When I make a dish I am highly displeased if someone starts adding a crap-ton of condiments to it before they've even tasted it. All I can think is Ffs! You don't even know what it's supposed to taste like! Give it a chance before you bury it in salt/ketchup/chili sauce! I'm fine with additions once you've tried it, even the tiniest taste, but at least do me the honor of an un-adjusted sampling so I know for the ~next time what would suit you better.
New York has spawned a breed of hard-line restaurants and cafes that are just saying no. No to pouring takeout espressos, or grinding more than a pound of coffee at a time. No to taming the intensity of a magma-spicy dish or making substitutions of any kind. And most of all, no to the 21st-century conviction that everything can be accessorized to the customer’s taste. “People just assume that every restaurant should be for everyone — I could understand that if we were in a town with, like, 20 restaurants,” said David Chang, whose mini-empire of Momofuku restaurants is well known for refusing to make substitutions or provide vegetarian options. “Instead of trying to make a menu that’s for everyone, let’s make a menu that works best for what we want to do.” He added, ”The customer is not always right.”(NYT)
I wouldn't go so far as to say that the customer isn't always right so much as "rude customers should not be tolerated." You want your sauce on the side? Then go to a place that doesn't care. There's probably a diner one or two blocks away. Shoo, begone from my eatery. You came here to eat my food, not to tell me how I could edit, deconstruct or otherwise pollute a dish that I'm staking my name on. Were I a chef at my own restaurant that's precisely what I would say. And in a way I am a chef with my own bistro: I cook for my family every day. By now the kids know, taste first then add, because they've been slapped with the hairy eyeball on more than one occasion. They have also learned to tame their sauce, dressing or gravy consumption down to something that doesn't test the vertical capacity of the plate. The breakfast has doesn't drown in gobs of ketchup which force the meal to resemble a plate of roadkill. The turkey doesn't do the back stroke as it swims in gravy. You need more? Add more when you need it. They, at least, have learned that lesson. And how when I refused to buy maple syrup for several weeks after disposing of plates that were still brimming with the brown more-expensive-than-super-unleaded stuff. So please, don't piss off the chef. Give the food its due before you start the critique. It's in your best interest not to irk someone that's probably quite good with those handy, sharp knives.
Mar/04
2011
China has been cracking down madly on foreign journalists, harassing them, confining them, lecturing them. They're especially into shoving them into an alley or store and forcibly deleting their images. I know how to fix this with technology. We need cameras with embedded cell phones. 4G these days can pump up to 15 mpbs (that's 15 Meg per sec) into the air. That's plenty sufficient to go from finger click to the net before some asshole, government monkey jams you up against the wall and mashes your gear. Then they'd have to block all cell comms in the area which would me a major inconvenience, and not just for their public either. Just an idea, but one that might work.
Mar/04
2011
So there are times when my attention is less than fully utilized at work. I love these moments because it gives me a great opportunity to clean up and streamline by workstation. Don’t gasp I’m serious here. (Note for any IT staff in the audience you may want to stop now before you’re overcome by the graphic descriptions to come, I’m not responsible for your flashbacks.) Sometimes I just run CrapCleaner, other times I go through and delete old emails, compressing, compacting and eliminating stuff I haven’t needed to look at in years. On rare occasion (long weekends) I will defrag my disk. This time I did one of my favorite clean-ups: I uninstalled old programs that I hadn’t used in years. Weeeee? Generally I pick on the small stuff first. Add-ons, extensions, itty bitty clients for messaging are good examples. The first puppy I seized on was from Microsoft and it was called Crystal Reports for VS 2008. (Please keep the screaming to a minimum folks, you were warned.) Twenty minutes. It took almost twenty whole minutes to uninstall this bit of bloatware. Wtf? I mean I never even used it. Frankly I need to punt the whole 2008 install since I moved to 2010 a few months ago. Ok I’ll admit that it was a Visual Studio component so perhaps there were all sorts of registry entries to be managed. Rofl. Right sure. Wanna buy a bridge? Moving on… Next I dusted off a few old codecs, some demo installs that had long run out. Then I spied Lotus Same Time Connect, a stupid attempt to keep people from using Google Talk by installing a godsawful CPU hogging hunk of crap. Within a week no one was using it. Another twenty minutes of my life gone. Wtf? IT’S JUST A STUPID CHAT CLIENT! Unless it was secretly key- logging spy-ware. Which it could have been considering how damned slow and shitty it was. Ugh. I decided to pick on more obscure crap. Most other things were gracious in their uninstall, quietly throwing up a dialog box with dll names screaming by as their bits were tossed into oblivion. Then I stumbled on a fifteen-part MS SQL install for VS 2005. Nifty way to make it harder to uninstall breaking it up like that. I figured that since they were tiny, they would go away quietly yes? No they wanted every damn application I had open to be closed. Just for them. Even if they couldn’t possibly have a connection. Trust me, Adobe Fireworks has nothing, I repeat *nothing* whatsoever to do with MS SQL Database Migration Tool X. Bullshit ok? You’re just being a whiney little bitch. Another half hour of my life gone as I angrily ripped each component out by the roots. Customer experience should not be exclusively limited to use. Install and removal should be included. True I’ve been favorably disposed towards MS or IBM, regardless of how many of their products I’m forced to use. But keep in mind that’s just work related. Given the option at home to support someone else I damn well would… that is if there were another option.
Mar/04
2011
Adults are obviously not immune to temper tantrums. Some don't care what they destroy and who has to clean-up after them, as evidenced by a bitch who broke booze bottles at a liquor store. I hope they throw the book at her. The self absorbed bitch needs to learn some patience and decency.
Mar/03
2011
I don't understand. The man enlisted at 16 and died at 110. He's the very last veteran of the first World War. Why deny him honors?
WASHINGTON (AP) — West Virginia's two Democratic senators blamed House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday after their hopes of having the remains of World War I veteran Frank Buckles honored in the Capitol Rotunda were dashed, at least for now. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin III both released statements saying the Ohio Republican had blocked the Capitol honor.[...] President Barack Obama has ordered that flags on U.S. government buildings fly at half staff on the day Buckles is buried. His family has said they plan to inter him at Arlington, just across the Potomac River from the capital.
Hey John, you're an asshole. My grandfather served in WWI and your snub to a deceased veteran is personal. Go fuck your partisan self.
Mar/03
2011
You have at least one or more guns, so really, wtf are you afraid of?
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A plan to block release of the names of people authorized to have guns in Illinois has stalled despite gun owners' worries about privacy and safety. The burgeoning concerns follow a state attorney general's opinion saying the information is public record.[...] Madigan's office ruled Monday night, in response to AP's public records request, that the list of FOID cardholders is public record and must be disclosed. Permit holders' addresses and telephone numbers would remain private.
I don't get it. Where's the fear? This is public information, and thus it should be publicly available. You'd think with all the pomp and noise about gun rights being repressed (not that they have, in fact things have swung in just the opposite, motivated by a baseless fear that never materialized) that gun owners would be proud to acknowledge themselves and each other. So I don't get it. According to their claims you're safer if you have a gun, regardless of the situation. More guns means more safety. The ability to carry openly is cherished. Saint Heston himself shines down on the state of Arizona just for that reason. So really, what are gun owners afraid of? Unless of course they have something to hide.
Mar/03
2011
The name was silly but I bought the "Pestacator 2000" for several reasons. First, because it was made in the US of A. Yes it cost over $20 but it's made in the US of A! I will pay more then $20 for an item made here. Second, because it promised to rid our house of rodents (Note, not for use around *pet* rodents or Lil' Squeekums may suddenly flip out, and you'll find him staking you with a Barbie-sized hockey mask and appetizer knife.) Third, and probably most importantly, because we have a squirrel in the attic. No, that's *not* a metaphor, it's an accurate and honest description that explains why there are twenty pounds of acorn husks in the attic and the scurrying sounds above the bedrooms every morning. The Pesticator 2000 was Safe! Non-Toxic! And had Satisfaction Guaranteed! Really? Just like when I was a kid? I forked over my money at Home Depot. I also kept the receipt. Keep in mind before this I had tried other "organic" solutions. Mothballs for one. Worked like a charm for the first two weeks. Also stunk up the entire upstairs. But no squirrel... until the mothballs evaporated and then he was in like Flynn again. Fucker. I tried cat. Cat was a good solution while cat was in the attic, but there became another problem: cat extraction. While cat liked it up there, the cat also *really* liked it up there. Because the access to the space above our top floor is nothing more than a board set into the ceiling you can imagine trying to remove a recalcitrant cat while precariously perched on the top of a ladder might be a bit awkward. Also, if you didn't know this, cats have the ability to warp. Yes, that's right they can move themselves from one location in space and time and instantly appear in another. It might have something to do with the fact that there are times you need to take your eyes off the animal to prevent falling off a ladder as it angrily tries to de-flesh your face, but trust me, cats can do this - they just don't want anyone to know. No, cat was a poor solution. I was ready to try a trap and if that failed it was going to be poison, but as I went through the isles I saw this. And so it's been two weeks since I plugged the Pesticator into an outlet. That's it. You don't do anything else, just plug it in and see the LED come on. Since that time I have not heard a single scurry, nor a gnaw, or even a rustle. By the Gods I think it actually worked. I feel a bit bad for cat, because if the squirrel is gone and this device actually works as promised there won't be any more snacks meandering across the floor looking for crumbs. Cat will just have to make do with treats. In the mean time, I have a shit-ton of acorn husks to clean up. I think I can live with that.
Mar/03
2011
The officer was polite but firm, "Whose bag is this?" I looked up, it's never my bag because I'm such a careful, business traveler. But as I glanced up from my shoe-tying there he was, dangling my beatup, gray knapsack. Huh? "That's mine," I called out, still tying. "Follow me when you're done." Well ok, sure, I finished re-packing, re-tying, re-belting, re-sweatshirting, and obediently followed. I wracked my brain, what could it be? I had all the same stuff in the bag when I went through the checkpoint on the incoming flight. There was my notebooks, pencils, pens, cell phones (yes plural), some breath mints, lip balm, cables for this and that, and various decaying bits of detritus: shredded paper, crumbs, lint, pennies, pen caps, and a sandwich bag. That rung a bell. I also had my breakfast/lunch in there. Well shit. I would hate Airplane food if they offered it, but now they don't. I mean you can buy chips, cookies and "snack boxes" (more box than snack) but it costs a ton and since I had awoken at 4:45 AM to catch a 6:30 AM flight I didn't have time or the constitution to get something before boarding (note my iron-stomached co-workers went to Burger King and Chili's, bully for them.) So being the clever sort I had ordered a spinach-potato knish (baked not fried) from the deli with my dinner last night and had them pack it to go. And ~this was the one difference in the contents of my bag. The officer was delving through my bag, pulling out shredded paper, lint and pennies before going to the main compartment. Disdainfully he carefully extracted the brown paper bag with the words "Famous Deli" lavishly printed on its now-crumpled exterior. He held it at arms length against a device that paused and then emitted a single solitary beep. "Um, that's my knish." "I see." He dumped it back into the bag, which is where the dent in it's spherical form must have come from when I pulled it out later on the plane. Not that it damaged the taste any. Perhaps potato and spinach have the same consistency as C4, perhaps not but I wonder, if it had come with a tooth pick stuck in it... would they have just blown my bag up without even looking? Probably...