Friday, August 29, 2008

Stolen Because It's Funny

From Wiseline Institute News Service, one of the proprietors of "Hey, McSame’s checkin’ out her rack! Oh, and I just noticed she’s wearing a flag pin, AND HE’S NOT!!! Why does McSame hate America???"

Talking Points - Compare and Contrast

In the order I think of them:


M: 72 (today, Happy Birthday)
O: 47

P: 44
B: 65


Mc: Life
O: Choice

P: Life
B: Choice


Mc: Seven or so
O: One, though admittedly a nice one

P: Don’t know
B: One as far as I can determine


Mc: Naval Acadamy
O: Harvard Law

P: University of Idaho, B.S., Communications/Journalism
B: Syracuse University Law

Government Experience:

Mc: U.S. Senate since 1982
O: Illinois Senate for a few years;U.S. Senate since 2006

P: Mayor and Councilperson Wasilla, AK, dates not known;
Governer AK since 2006 (thirteen years total according
her sound bite on Fox News today)
B: New Castle County, DE council, 1970 – 1972; U.S. Senate
since 1972


Mc: Cindy, Beer Distribution, Multi-millionaire
O: Michelle, VP Community and External Affairs, U of
Chicago Hospitals (as of July 2007)

P: Todd, Production Operator in the oil business,
former commercial fisherman
B: Jill, Professor of English, Delaware Technical
and Community College

NRA Members:

Just Palin


Mc: No drilling in ANWAR
O: Confused and waffling

P: Drill in ANWAR
B: No drilling


Mc: Depends on when he’s talking – stay till victory
O: Get out soon, lately adding “responsible withdrawal”

P: Not known, 18 year old son deploying to Iraq in the Fall
B: Partition the country, though he isn’t talking about it much lately

Foreign Policy Experience:

Mc: Senator, talks a lot
O: Senator, talks a lot

P: Councilperson, Mayor, Governor, may well talk a lot,
probably until now not much about foreign policy
B: See above

Executive Experience:

Mc: None that I know of
O: Editor in Chief, Harvard Law Review, CEO of some
community organizations

P: Mayor, Governor
B: None that I know of.

Let the spin begin.

(Apologies for the formating, it was fine till Blogger messed with it.)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Are the Dems Missing a Bet?

Dahlia Lithwick, at, thinks so. I’ll trust that she’s right on the facts, if she is, no one at the convention is talking about the Bush Administration’s assault on the Constitution and law and John McCain’s support of it.

Guantanamo. Warrantless wiretapping. Political firings and hirings at the Justice Department. Cheney, Pflame, Scooter. What’s his name Gonzales who was the Attorney General and his misadventures with law and the Constitution.

Maybe the Dems have it right and the bulk of us don’t much care about the niceties of the Bill of Rights when mortgages, fuel and food are going South on us. But, even if those are the issues that will draw in the most voters for the Dems, wouldn’t an appeal to those who care about the niceties bring a few more votes?

Damn, I forgot that Obama voted to give immunity to the telecom companies that did the actual wiretapping. Never mind. Some messiah.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Will We Think About Where We Were?

As of a few minutes ago, at about 7:00 p.m. EDT, we have a black American man as the nominee for President of the United States, as the result of a motion for his nomination by acclamation by a white American woman who lost to him.

Some history happening.

I'm Not Sure What I Think About This Yet

So, I'll throw it out for your thoughts. The LPGA is going to require its golfers to be conversationally "proficient" in English by next year, or face fines. The rationale given is that the tour is dependant on sponsor money, and sponsors sponsor less when the golfers can't interact with them.

The article I read,, points out that 45 Koreans play on the tour, some of whom speak little or no English. Though I don't closely follow the LPGA, I do know that Korean players are usually a big component of the leader board (top ten/twenty) in tournaments.

So if I'm the CEO of Dave's Blog, LLC and I've sponsored the Rather Than Working tournament at Legacy Golf Links in Smyrna, there will be a pro-am round to kick off the weekend. The Pro's, playing with the Ams, who've paid hefty bucks to play, will be made up of a lot of players who can't talk with my big spending guests, who just might be less likely to sign up next year, making me less interested in next year's sponsorship.

That said, American athletes wander around the world not speaking the local languages. If I had a Spanish edition of the blog, held my En Vez de Funcionamiento tournament in Madrid and Tiger and Phil showed up with no ability to speak Spanish, am I or my guests going to be disappointed? Probably not.

So, is this a matter of provincialism or the LPGA's need to promote a second tier sport?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Help Me With This

You’re a Democrat. You chose one of the candidates, be it Biden, Gravel, Dodd Edwards, Kucinich, Richardson, Vilsack (I had to look him up – former Governor of Iowa) or – DRUM ROLL!!! – Clinton.

Your candidate loses to Obama. In the case of – DRUM ROLL!!!!!! – Clinton’s supporters, you apparently hold a grudge, encouraged for a long time by your ousted candidate, against the guy that that beat you. You don’t get no respect, damn it!!!!!!!!!!!!

We want her debts paid. We want Florida and Michigan seated, though it doesn’t change the result. We want prime time for an entire day of the convention. We want a roll call vote. What do you mean, you’re going to stop at New York so she can release her delegates and ask for nomination by acclamation? I’m from Texas, I want to cast my vote!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You get everything you asked for except all of the campaign debt, and, as it’s reported now, the full roll call debt. You’re still disrespecting us as women. How dare you. We’re not going to vote. We’re going to vote for McCain.

Give me a break. Anyone, man or woman, who voted for Clinton, is an absolute idiot if they don’t vote for Obama. What is their point? They’d rather have McCain in office?

So, they high-jack a convention to make a non-point to the detriment of a candidate that agrees with their views.

Stupid people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Non-political Observation on the News Coverage of the Democratic Convention

Most of the talking heads have little pilot’s or receptionist's microphones. Seems like a throw back to Janet Jackson or MC Hammer at a point in their “careers.”

The mike part and stem on Fox are kind of pink/flesh colored. CNN has gone with a bigger mike part that’s black along with the stem and earpiece.

And, James Carville is one goofy looking dude.

I know, that’s two observations; but, they're both non-political.

It's August and the Cooking is Easy

I’m in the midst of my annual gorging on tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, radishes and green onions. Bacon and tomato sandwiches accompanied by the other vegetables, there isn’t much better.

It would probably even be OK with Miracle Whip rather than mayo on the BT’s.

Some background music for you: Ella and Louie.

What to Watch?

I watched exactly none of the Olympics.

As I type, I’m watching Fox News talk about the Democratic Convention. Compelling stuff so far. The reporters have shown and talked about two ladies’ attire. And the issue of whether Barack, Bill and Hillary can reign in the latter’s dissatisfied supporters is being aired.

So far, so boring. I’m going to save my tolerance for watching Biden’s and Obama’s speeches. Biden is entertaining, I’m looking forward to his gaffes this Fall. Obama is a great speaker. Agree or not with what he has to say, he says it well.

I’m off to see what is in the DVR hard drive.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I Wonder What Else Is In It?

I check out Pogue's Posts at on semi-regular basis, today being such a day. There was a piece that defended Windows Speech Recognition over Dragon Naturally Speaking.

I had no idea Vista had a voice recognition program. I tried Dragon years back and found it clunky. I wonder if the Vista program is worth the effort. Any thoughts?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Condiments, Grilled Cheese and Pickles

First, condiments. My friends and I lead rich, full lives. Big Rick, Big Tony and I were talking at the neighborhood place today. There was some disagreement on acceptable condiments. Generic catsup and mustard, rather than name brands, are OK, though we differ on the viability of yellow rather going with some sort of spicy version. Rick says the good stuff is preferable on everything but a hamburger. Tony and I went with the good stuff for everything. Rick likes Miracle Whip over mayo, I think it's a Southern thing. Tony and I insist on mayo, and only Hellmann’s.

Then there’s the grilled cheese sandwich. I’m basic here. Kraft or generic American slices. Butter the bread on both sides and toss into a frying pan. Rick goes for Velveeta with some Miracle Whip. Tony didn’t weigh in on this one. We didn’t talk about it; but, I’m not a believer in add-ons here. No tomato, onions or the like.

Finally, there are pickles. I like kosher dills and bread and butter. Rick only goes with B&B. Tony at this point was paying no attention.

I'm off to the kitchen. Dinner is grilled cheese (my way), some pickle spears, I'm not sure which variety, and maybe some spinach. I know the last doesn't fit into the post; and, it probably doesn't go with the GC and pickle, but, I like it.

Your thoughts are welcome.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Draw a Line

We are putting a missile “defense” system in Poland to protect against “rogue states” like Iran.

Draw a line from Iran to Poland and then keep running the line, it goes somewhere between Canada and Greenland, then left of the North Pole. If Iran has an ICBM that can hit the US, or we fear that it can develop one, the place to put defensive missiles is North Africa or Spain.

Along the Poland line is part of Europe. If we are protecting Europe with this system, why not put it in Germany, France, Britain, etc.?

Or cut the missiles off at the get go, put it in Israel or Iraq.

Oh, the line from Russia to the US runs right through Poland. We still have ballistic submarines and probably some other stuff no one talks about. Just why do we need missiles (Defensive!) in Poland?

Russia is getting a little crazy. We are adding to its paranoia.

The New York Times' Crazy Idea

Yesterday's NYTimes published an editorial, The Corporate Free Ride. It railed about corporations not paying their fair share of taxes.

Geez! I've posted about this before, here's one more go at it.

No corporation in the history of the world has ever, ever paid a penny of tax that it hasn't collected from the pocket of a person. A corporation is a "person" by virtue of law. In reality it is a package of paper that allows a group of people to conduct business and shield their assets from liability for the "actions" of the corporation. In theory, and in practice, this promotes investment.

When a corporation sells a product or a service it gets money from a person of the two-legged variety. It charges for its costs and tacks on a profit. Those costs include the money it has to pay to the government - taxes. Increase the amount of the taxes, and the corporation incurs an increase in its costs and, if the market allows, increases its price to the person. If the market doesn't allow it to cover the increased cost, in time it goes out of business (or moves to a country with lower costs).

In either case, the end result is a two-legged person paying the tax or suffering the losses resulting with the bankruptcy or job loss due to the corporation's offshore move.

The NYT editorial is a classic example of what is wrong with us. "We" need money. So we, in the persons of our elected representatives, stick another tax on businesses, businesses that increasingly have to compete with businesses around the world. Businesses in places that do not exact as high a tax burden. US businesses fail. Jobs and money flow out of the US. The trade deficit worsens. The downward spiral continues.

Want to reverse the cycle? Stop taxing corporations. Foreign and domestic investment increases. Imports decrease as goods and services originating here are less expensive. Jobs increase. Exports increase. The trade deficit over time becomes a surplus.

And taxes, now paid by two-legged people? They are transparent. They still are being paid and the amount paid by you will increase; but, the amount you pay for products and services, no longer burdened by taxes, will go down. A wash. And, you know what your government is costing you. If you aren't happy about that cost, you go about letting your representatives know about it.

I know, it's a crazy idea.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Question For You

The question was raised in a bit different way earlier this year in a post I did about voting in primary elections.

Now I'm wondering just what the population of real live independant voters is. Here in Georgia in a primary you have to "declare" to vote in either the Dem or GOP primary, as is the case in some other states. But, here, in the general election, you go in, look at the ballot and make your decisions.

I don't know, that I know of, anyone that is a member of the Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, Green, etc. party by volition. Are you? Why? Do you give money? Participate in get out the vote stuff? Again, why?

My bet is that a large majority of the electorate may call themselves something, but have never formalized the relationship. That being the case, I'm interested in why. If an all encompassing political belief is worth having, shouldn't it be backed up by action?

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Vagaries of the Internet

The 20,000th person to visit this site, as measured by, was someone from Houston, Arkansas who did a Google search for “alcohol on sunday oklahoma” at 4:43: 09 p.m. today, staying for “0 seconds.” Getting ready for a road trip I guess. Appropriately, given the title of the blog, they were getting ready, rather than working, while surfing from something called Windstream Communications. An example of one of Google’s algorithm’s failures based on a couple of posts I’ve done on Georgia’s stupid liquor laws.

The next person to visit the site was Jay, checking to see if I’d responded to his comment on my last post about the decline of the AJC. I haven’t, I’ll get around to it. Keep clicking to see.

Which brings us to the next person, number 20,002, coming from, clicking in from the kind link to the last post from Scott Freeman, a Creative Loafing (Atlanta’s weekly “alternative” paper, with a daily online presence) writer. CL does a daily online post called Atlanta blogs today. I’m one of the links today. Thanks. The AJC person stayed for a minute and 53 seconds: a speed reader. I got several longer looks from AJC people earlier in the day, the highlight being a visit from someone from Cox Newspapers in Washington, DC. They all came via the link from Creative Loafing. Again thanks, Scott, the folks at the AJC are paying attention to you; and, you got me a good share of the 51 hits and 106 page views so far today.
To all of you who wander past on a regular basis, thanks. For those of you visiting today from the Creative Loafing link, thanks, come back and I invite you to visit some of the people who comment and who are listed in the Recommended sidebar. Some good writing is available at the click of your mouse.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Know Most of You are Tired of My Minor Obsession with the Decline of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution UPDATED

...other than maybe Big Rick, Bill, Fermi and maybe Jay. I read the first of the new "better" Sunday print papers today. Fact reporting is down, editorial content is down, and down in quality. As I suspected in my last diatribe on this subject, "Sunday Living," with it's filler pieces, wedding announcements and other fluff, is present in its full glory. (Someone named Judith Martin says "It's OK to tell drugstore about misspelled signs." Rick, the Funny Papers are all there.

UPDATE: I saw my first "two" page version of weekly editorials. It's really only a page of editorial content, a half a page of letters to the editor and a half a page of announcements about things to interest the "thinking reader," museum exhibits and the like.

So this is it for the AJC and this blog (unless I find something else to make fun of.) Here's the real EMail I sent today to the AJC Editor, Julia Wallace:

Ms. Wallace,

From what I've read in the paper and online, you are the public face of what I think is the ill-advised latest downgrading of the AJC. I read my first Sunday paper under the new cost cutting regime this morning. (I only get the print edition on Sundays.) On a good day, meaning the paper is fully worth reading, it takes me something less than an hour. Your new regime product took less than half that. What you are calling editorial content is too narrow and does not meet the quality level of what a metropolitan newspaper should minimally meet. Kind of glorified blogs were all I saw today other than what you've kept from the old format. Contrary to what the paper says readers want, traditional readers of newspapers want what a traditional newspaper has always offered, intelligent, in depth, factual and editorial content. (I'm not at all concerned with bias, I read what your paper offers and many others.) You appear to be getting rid of both.

Your evisceration of @issue, cutting weekly editorial content by a third, the 'USTodayification," (coupled with your total reliance on AP for all but the few stories your remaining staff can write) of the rest of the paper, and more that you are aware of, make what was a marginal paper, totally unacceptable.

I'll continue to read the paper online, because you're are all I've got for what remains of "full" coverage of local and regional news.

My subscription to the Sunday paper ends next Sunday, an interesting coincidence. I'll let it go because it has no "value added," other than the feel of newsprint with coffee, over the online edition. I'll just have to be careful to keep the coffee cup away from the keyboard.

All this said, I'm sad that your business is going the way that it is going. What has been a regular part of my life, is going away. I'm not convinced that it is necessary, given Cox margins; but, it is Cox's business to run as it wishes.

Regards and Regrets,


Friday, August 15, 2008

Serving Size

Having posted earlier today, in part about the silly serving size of a Big Kahuna Giant, a few minutes ago, as I started to get hungry and think about the careful preparation of the second two “servings” of my Big Kahuna, I wandered into the kitchen to turn on the oven to pre-heat it to bake some frozen French fries (no oil, healthy, don’t argue with me).

I started looking at the nutrition labels of stuff.

I like Lay’s Stax. They are a better version of Pringles. Serving size according to the plastic container is 13 “crisps.” First, why aren’t they a chip? Well, I suppose that is actually truthful as I think they make a soup of the potatoes and form them into “crisps.” Anyway, 13 crisps, allowing for the broken ones, are about an inch thick. A serving?

OK, let’s go healthy. You ever buy one of those little “individual” cans of vegetables? I do. My spring peas, just examined, are TWO “approximate” servings, even though the can is labeled as individual. This is healthy stuff. The whole can is 8.5 ounces. I'm only supposed to eat approximately half of it?

Just so you know, I’m not a big guy. I’m not a big eater. Rick, Bill, Jay, Hedy, tell them.

Some years back when I was traveling a lot, I was on a Delta jet from Atlanta to Philly at just about sunset (at 30,000 feet). It was quite pretty. Anyway, I was bored. My laptop was out so I started writing about what I was seeing. (Before there were blogs, I used to "blog" Emails to friends from hotel rooms.) The sunset, the turkey sandwich that Delta used to serve on every flight before it got out of the turkey farm business (Didn’t know that did you! Delta didn’t used to be an airline. From the evidence, there were a couple of guys back in the way back when that had a bunch of turkey farms. They couldn’t sell all the birds, so they started an airline, Delta, so they could get rid of the excess birds by way of dry sandwiches. I think their last name was Biscotti.)

Ahem! So one of the things I was looking at on the flight was the empty water bottle from my complimentary “meal.” On the nutritional label it recited that it had no calories, no carbs, no saturated or other fats, cholesteral, sodium or protein. Serving size? “Approximately one bottle.”

(This downsizing of serving size actually makes sense for one product, though it isn’t food. Have you noticed that paper towels are being perforated at about 50 or 60% of what they used to be? For many jobs, makes for the perfect size.)

OK, to wrap this up, want to know how many fries you get in a serving? Three ounces, or “about 18 pieces.” Does that count the bits that constitute about 10% of what you shake out of the bag? I throw those away. My guess, I had about 5 ounces, pig that I am.

Finally, I am adding this after initially posting this. You get one, count it, one, Archway oatmeal raisin cookie in a serving. Right. I'm not going to look at the serving size of the milk I'm going to drink with my four servings of cookie.

Well Done

A while back I did a post about Five Guys, the hamburger chain. Much not to like there, to my mind. Pos, not taking my advice, put visiting it on his to-do list. He was able to check it off yesterday. Maybe next time he'll listen to me.

This is next time; and, at the risk of insulting Pos's hometown expertise, I'm going to wax poetically about the Jersey Mike's Big Kahuna Giant hoagie. The link will take you the Jersey Mike's Menu (do not click on the Nutritional Information icon, it will take away some of the pleasure you seek).

Jersey Mike's, as is evident from its name, can't claim Philly origins. But, it puts out some great subs, king among them - the Big Kahuna Giant. Something over a foot long and stuffed with steak, mushrooms, onions, cheese and peppers, wrapped in foil, if you get it to go. Good, good stuff. (This sub of beauty provides four, count 'm, four servings according to the nutritional info you shouldn't look at; so, don't feel too guilty. (That being the case, I'm not sure why they cut it in half rather than quarters.))

Not much poetry there. Try the sub, it'll sing to you.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

One More Skip Caray Story

I hadn't heard this one till today.

Some years back Ryan Klesko played for the Braves. For a reason I can't remember, he was moved from first base to left field.

He was not a natural outfielder. Slow would be the operative word. Not experienced in judging ball trajectory would also be an accurate comment.

During a game he, or one of the announcers said "fly ball to left, always an adventure." Skip on another occasion said, when Klesko missed an easy fly, "Klesko is running the right route, they just need to get the ball to him."

Now Now, Stop That - UPDATED

Well, As of today, Thursday, the 14th, this post turned out to be all wrong. Sorry.

This morning I heard Scott Slade, the news anchor for WSB radio here in Atlanta lead a story about "Russia's crackdown on Georgian…." Not attack, not invasion. Crackdown, as in the school principal having enough of rowdy students and imposing strict discipline.

President Bush said he was "deeply concerned;" but, he still plans on a two week vacation in Crawford.

Senators McCain and Obama tut-tutted with slightly different spins on what needs to happen and then sniped at each others' spin.

Nicolas Sarkozy continued his jet set role as a world crisis mediator brokering a ceasefire. He seems to be quite a bit more effective than was either Henry Kissinger or Jessie Jackson in the role.

With three oil pipelines not operating in Georgia, the price of a barrel of oil continues to fall.

All in all, this may not be a bad way to deal with future regional crises.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Move From Paper

Regular readers will have followed the paper theme this last week or so. Now that I’m done with newsprint, I draw my, and your, attention to news websites.

I regularly read,, and Less regularly,, and (the last a guilty pleasure and the worst site I’ve seen in a long time.)

What should a news website have and not have?

Pop ups and unders – a big no for me, though I don’t get many (because my software blocks them or the sites have given up on them?).

Interstitial ads – if I’m using the wrong word, what I mean is the “pop up” that you get when you first get to the site ( and the “pop up” that you get when you click on an article, and are sent to an ad. Both are self-defeating, at least for me, as I spend my time looking for the “click here to close” icon, which the AJC continually moves. Who thinks that I, or anyone else looks at the ad? A minor irritation, when gives you an interstitial and you want to click back to the home page, you have to click twice to get there. Get an intern to fix that in the software. Thank you.

“Hover” icons. Again, this is my word. I’ve learned not to move my cursor over words that are underlined. Why do they think I’m going to go to an ad in an article that’s entrance is the word auto, Chicago, or some other “key word” the ad people think I might be interested in? I’m not.

Having to click again after having “clicked” to the article, which turned out to be a tease. Creative Loafing here in Atlanta is bad about this. I find an article I want to read. I click it. I then get a paragraph or two and have to click again to get to the full article. The NYTimes does this too. There I’m assuming that article length is part of the problem. Or, in both or either case, are they looking for “clicks” to build their traffic; or, to speed up the site? Whatever the reason, it’s annoying.

Having gotten to the end of the article, especially if I’ve had to click several times to get there, why isn’t there an icon to take me back to where I started on the home page, rather than having to click back page by page?

I said that the Las Vegas Review Journal site is the worst. I probably is. The graphics are terrible. It duplicates almost all of the articles under categories that to really match up with the subjects. The list goes on. But the most annoying site is Go there if you like. As you move your cursor, the page changes in ways you don’t want it to change. Clicking on an article can be an adventure if you don’t move the cursor exactly ninety degrees right and then exactly south. It re-headlines articles to make you think you’ve not seen them before.

I’m not a Webmaster; but, these glitches seem obvious to me. How to make web news pay isn’t obvious. That will be the challenge to all of these sites over the next few years, not my ergonomic bitches. Yes, I know that isn’t the right word, but it seems to work for what I’m thinking.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

It Seems to be a Paper Week, One of the Last

I did a paragraph within the last week about maybe not re-upping for the Sunday AJC.

The last post was about phone books and the fact that they are outdated other than for leveling seriously caddy-whompous tables, getting a bail bond, a hooker or the power company during a power outage.

So today, I got up as usual, got some coffee and arranged the paper, the “paper” paper, into its component parts – roughly ¾’s ads and coupons and ¼ article sections (composed of roughly 2/3’s articles and 1/3 ads). Since I didn’t have a lot of time to get to the golf course, I skipped the normal reading order and didn’t get to “@issue,” the AJC’s Sunday opinion section until after golf, at lunch.

@issue, is going out of business after today, the two senior editorial writers informed me in “A note about our new pages.” Cutting through the propaganda, here’s what they said and didn’t say.

The “new pages” are fewer than the current pages. Daily, the AJC prints two pages of editorial content, one local and one national, and a page of letters to the editor/other editorial content. These fifteen pages a week will be cut to ten, “the norm across the newspaper industry.” Interesting word that industry.

The current Saturday paper has only one editorial page “Saturday Talk,” two-thirds letters and the rest an apologia from the paper’s ombudslady. It is now going to be called “Community Voices.” Maybe we’ll get rid of the apologies.

Why is a major city newspaper killing its Sunday opinion section? It isn’t the paper, it’s us: “With time-starved readers demanding a simplified and more easily navigable newspaper – and newsprint costs soaring – we have decided to discontinue the [section].”

What focus group did I miss?

“I’m time-starved and stupid. I can’t find the third section of the Sunday paper.”

“You are? You can’t? We’ll just cut the content and move it to the end of the Section A. Can you find that?”

“Well maybe, I’ll try. At least I’ve got all day Sunday to look for it.”

So newsprint is up. Exxon-Mobil makes something like a 10% profit. The newspaper “industry” makes northward of 20%.

What’s left of the Sunday AJC? The page with advice to the lovelorn, teenagers, etc. The page with sewing tips, genealogy and pet news and sports memorabilia price. The page and a half of wedding announcements. A lot of AP stories and easy to navigate, simple local reporting.

Seems I don’t have much of a reason to read the Sunday “paper” paper other than the pleasure of the feel of now very expensive newsprint. I just have to make sure to not spill the coffee on the keyboard, it’s less forgiving than paper.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Raise Your Hand…

if you’ve done anything with a “Yellow Pages” or one of its clone phone books in the last five years other than put it in the trash (hopefully the recycling bin).

I read an article today (and for the life of me, I can’t remember where) that talked about a move in a few areas of the country to allow people to easily “opt out” of receiving phone books. Did you know that there is a phone book lobby? It is predictably against such laws. Why you ask. It seems the phone book biz grosses something like $15 billion a year.

Another hand raising exercise. Does your employer (or if you’re self-employed, do you) advertise in the Yellow Pages or one of its competitors? Who are all of these businesses that spend $15 billion a year?

How do you find the people with whom you do business? My bet is that it isn’t by letting “your fingers do the walking” unless they are tapping on a keyboard. Even there, I don’t very often use the “Bellsouth Real Pages” which is in my Favorites (I just clicked it and found out that it is now, with no reference to Bellsouth or AT&T, which shows how long it’s been since I used it).

The best “phone book” is Google. Type the name of the business or the type of the business. Add an area and there on the first page of the results you will find what you want, with a map, hours of business and their offered products and services. Oh, and a phone number.

I wonder if they have categories for smoke signal companies, buggy makers and flintlock rifles in the “Yellow Pages.”

Friday, August 08, 2008

An Irregular Series: Good, Bad Movies

Today's installment:

It's no Hell Comes to Frogtown; but, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story is unashamedly bad and proud of it. I'm about a half hour into it. Dewey started out making a big mistake, cutting his more talented brother, Nate, in half, neatly at the belt line with their father's machete.

Right now, Dewey is on a bill with the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly and Elvis who talks a bit like Bob Dylan. Dewey gets to close the show.

Updates to follow, maybe. A quick one, Sam Cooke just appeared and is introducing Dewey to marijuana.

OK, an hour in, it's a low rent This is Spinal Tap/Forrest Gump.

Dewey's been through Roy Orbison, Dylan, rehab, met the Beatles in India and now I think he's about to do some Brian Wilson while he's sitting on a trampoline with his father, his family and Jimi Hendri. Yep, it's Pet Sounds.

That is all. If you spend your money on it, it's your fault.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Numbers Game

Pos, at Niagaran Pebbles, did a post today bemoaning the fact that he has equaled his entire 2007 post output only to find that I was four posts ahead. Make it five. (In quantity, I’m a bit ahead of last year’s output.)

That surprised me when I read it, as I had the feeling that the Blog has been slowing down: me, readers, comments and quality.

In order of slowing categories:

I find myself thinking about posting, or thinking about a particular subject for a post, and, that’s about it. Too much thought or research, not enough meat in the idea, no way to make it humorous, resulting in a lot of throw away stuff.

Readers, as measured by Sitemeter, are down 20% last month, though over a year’s time they are constant at a thousand a month. Big Rick says I have 20 readers that check in on a more than regular basis, having little else to do. (He admits he falls within the category.) Comments seem to be light. Summer vacation? Get with it please, I’m about 200 hits away from 20,000. That means that the twenty of you have really been wasting a lot of time since September 2006.

Then there’s the fear. Is quality down? I was talking to someone that reads the blog on an irregular schedule. “You tell great stories,” she said, “unless you do the political stuff.” Truth told, the quality is down. I dash off posts. Quality requires more time for gestation and patience to polish, two things that I don’t have much experience with.

So, for another metric, I just went to It tells you if someone has linked to your blog, obviously. The more links from people who get linked to, the cooler you are. It also gives you your Google PageRank and Technorati and Alexa ratings. Whenever I check, Google ranges between not rated and a five. Alexa has me dropping about 400,000 in the last three months; but, over those three months, I’ve averaged its 1,644,757th most popular blog. Technorati is on a downward slide, currently at an eleven. Congratulations to Jeni at Downriver Drivel: she’s perking along at a 540 on Technorati. Some of my other readers and commenters: Hedy 23, Thomas 36, Milena 24, Ron 45, Kvatch and Co. 95, Sonja 21, Jim 32, Curmudgeon 55.

So, here’s some stuff for the bots: sex, nude, nudism, nudity, au natural, starkers, Federal Judge Song (I’m the number one source for it on Google, ahead of the site I linked to in 2006 – figure that out), Obama, McCain, Olympics, Downriver Drivel. That last ought to do it.

Not yet time to quit the day job.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I Am Not a Financial Genius UPDATED

Work with me here. Freddie Mac (a quasi-governmental version of "Joe's Bank") announced today that it was cutting its second quarter dividend to five cents a share (down 80% from the first quarter). Oh, and it also announced that it lost $821 million in the second quarter, to bring its losses for the past twelve months to over $4.6 billion. Its assets have a negative $5.6 billion "value."

So, if I have this right, I could own a share in Freddie Mac (up 6.9% at yesterday's close) worth $8.04 (down 80% in the last year) and get five cents every three months, twenty cents a year or 2 1/2%, on the price of my share for my stupidity in buying the stock. Where's the five cents coming from? Why your pocket, remember Congress just passed a bill to guarantee $5.5 billion in borrowing by Freddie Mac.

Finally, here's another tidbit to help you sleep. Freddie Mac and its sister, Fannie Mae own or guarantee more than $5 trillion in mortgages, half of all home loans in the country. Freddie has a negative value so it is functionally bankrupt. I can't find the numbers; but, I assume that its sister isn't in much better shape. So, we have $5 trillion dollars in mortgages sitting around, secured by bupkus. My guess? The "subprime crisis" is about to become much bigger. I hope the Chinese make a lot of money on the Olympics, we're going to need it.

Fannie Mae, Freddie's sister, not to be outdone, announced today, August 8, 2008 (08/08/08) that it lost $2.3 billion in the second quarter and reduced its divident from 35 cents a share to 5 cents.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Tips Requested

Regular readers will remember that I visited Biloxi this Spring and enjoyed a weekend of gambling, eating, imbibing and being adopted by Asians while playing Pai Gow Poker.

Harrah’s apparently appreciated my business as I get an Email and a flier in the mail about twice a month with free nights, free food and other stuff. (Note to Harrah’s: Being a special guest at the Jackie Collins book signing in Biloxi is not quite the draw you might think. You might want to tweak the computer program.)

Since I’m not a high roller, my offers were for free nights, Sunday through Thursday, not days that really work for me, as, desipite the title of the blog, I have to work.

Then last week, I got a flier that offered me two free nights, any night at Harrah’s New Orleans, plus about half off at the hotel’s steakhouse. I bit.

The interesting thing about the casino is that it isn’t attached to the hotel, it’s across the street. From what I gather it was finished early last year. Before that, “guests” were put up at the Hilton, Sheraton, Loews, and Windsor Court. There was no room at the Harrah’s Hotel and they gave me my choice of the other hotels. The very nice reservation lady and I chose the Windsor Court, across the street from the casino.

So, beyond the obvious gambling, and taking advantage of the cheap steak one night, suggestions will be appreciated. The last time I was in the Big Easy was in about ’96 or ’97, and then only for the day. I went to the Aquarium and had lunch at Antoine’s.

I’m thinking of taking the trolley around, taking the cemetery tour and maybe walk down Bourbon Street, though the latter, at a time that the street would be hopping, isn’t within my security comfort zone.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Skip Caray

Skip Caray, one of the Atlanta Braves' broadcasters, son of Harry Caray and father of Chip and Josh Caray (all baseball announcers), died yesterday at the age of 68 while sleeping.

Caray was a Braves announcer from the early Seventies until his last game a week or so ago.

He had the uncanny knack of being able to tell viewers and listeners the home town of every fan that caught a foul ball at a Braves game: "and there's a great catch by a fan from Valdosta, Georgia." There is no evidence that he was ever wrong.

Back when the Braves were really bad, in a game lost in the early innings, he told listeners that they could turn off the radio and go to bed if they promised to patronize the sponsors.

He did the pre-game fan call in show for years, and was openly irritated when asked to explain the infield fly rule (for the 345th time).

When the Brave's catcher, Brian McCann was a rookie a few years back Caray commented after McCann only reached first on a line drive that hit the wall, "he has deceptive speed - he's slower than he looks."

Back when I was traveling a lot and TBS carried all the Braves games, I knew I could count on watching the Braves and listen to Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Joe Simpson and Don Sutton in whatever hotel I was stuck in.

He was one of the last "homer" announcers. "We" won and lost. The umpire robbed "us" on that play. Though, from today's AJC: At one point, "Ted Turner told him he was being too tough. Caray pointed out the team's last-place record. 'Good point,' replied Turner, then the Braves' owner. "Say whatever you want.' And he did."

Over the past four or five years TBS reduced the number of Braves games it carried each year, until it quit entirely, I believe, last year. A couple of years back it reduced the number of games Carey was assigned to, going for a more neutral, "national" broadcast. Thousands of complaints by fans brought him back to a full schedule. I don't suppose a letter campaign will work this time.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ya Gotta Love It...

or a mélange of things that don’t amount to a post.

I got an invoice from the AJC for my next year of Sunday papers. $99.00. That amounts to a discount of $5.00 off the newsstand price. I remember doing this last year, when their offer was even more ludicrous. I also remember that I ignored them and that the offer got better. AJC, I am in the process of ignoring you.

Why am I pleased by the fact that I paid $2.78 a gallon for gas today?

Since the price is really $2.789, is the pump really calibrated not to screw me out of 1000’th (is that the way you write it?) of a cent per gallon? Where did the “.9” come from?

I’ve been spoiled living in Atlanta in the Nineties and the O’s until ’04 as the Braves just plugged along winning for the most part. At this time of the year, we were always a buyer in trades rather than the seller we became this year. A bunch of us went to the game last night to see a 9 – 0 loss to the Brewers. Hot, steamy, bad baseball, coupled with $7.00 hot dogs, $6.50 beers and $4.50 waters, a great way to waste a Friday night.

A week ago tomorrow, I was an amazing golfer. This morning, not so much as they say. Someone tell me a pull is a good thing.