Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Something New at Netflix

Netflix didn’t used to work on the weekend. For some reason, it is: a Netflix disk received by Netflix on Saturday, is now actually received by Netflix on Saturday, not on Monday. And, more importantly, Netflix sends disks on Saturday that are received on Monday.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Read the Ingredients

Taste as you go would be the second rule, after the title. I am trying to salvage some red beans and rice. The ingredients in Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning starts with “salt.” There’s other stuff, but all I can taste, having put what the recipe called for into the pot, is salt, salt, salt. I didn't read and I didn't taste till after too much of was in the pot. I don’t think you can unsalt, we’ll see.

UPDATED: Google gives me conflicting information. Putting a raw potato or some rice in a bag will or won't absorb the salt. I don't have any potatoes, the "instant" rice bag is soaking away.

SECOND UPDATE: The rice kind of works, it's less salty, though still too salty. That coupled with eating it with unsalted rice, may save the day.

FINAL UPDATE: The plain rice and the rest of the spices in the dish took care of the salt. Good, but HOT.

What is passing for thought at American Thinker

I got a forward of an article on americanthinker.com by L.E. Ikenga: Obama, the African Colonial (I couldn't find a link that worked: Google the title, it's all over the Internet - Limbaugh is talking about it).

The author is a first generation American, her parents emigrated in the 1970's from Nigeria.

To sum up her article:

1. There are two types of Africans, her kind that is shaped by traditional tribal, pre-colonial democratic values; and, the other kind that she doesn't like, those shaped by "the ideals of the European imperialism that overwhelmed and dominated Africa during the colonial period."

2. The bad guys talk a good game; but, you just can't believe them, they lie at every turn.

3. Barack Obama's father was one of the bad guys, a Marxist - no facts or analysis - he just was.

4. Obama wrote Dreams From My Father, which spoke well of his father and his heritage.

5. Obama is using colonial African politics to despotically impose his Marxist will on an unsuspecting America so as to drive democracy to its knees.

Long ago I was a teacher. When you write an essay or research paper you are supposed to have facts, analysis and conclusions. No facts and no analysis gets you a failing grade.

Friday, June 26, 2009

In Threes

Ed McMahon, Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson died in a period of 48 hours.

I was never a fan. McMahon was on the couch when I was watching Johnny Carson. Fawcett was the least desirable Angel to my mind. Jackson? The Eighties were a musical wasteland for me and he got flat weird after that. For the same period, without the really bad crazy, Prince was better.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Drama, Confrontation, Passive Aggression and Psychic Ability

Mostly I write stuff here that goes unnoticed or at least uncommented. Now and again, people write comments, usually about a bit of the post that seemed an aside to me.

Then there is my diatribe about my recent experience with UPS and a UPS Store. Scroll down a couple of days, the hyperlink didn't work, and I'm lazy.

I’m tickled by a person that commented, discounting everything I said, and branding me “a dick” based on the picture on the blog. Less than handsome? Yes. Graying and balding? Guilty. Not a snappy dresser? No way – that’s a tuxedo below my head!

Maybe laying out a lawyerly case for my umbrage with UPS and its franchise is res ipsa loquitur (look it up) proof of dickness. I’ll leave it to you.

Sadly, though I don’t think I’m self-righteous, sometimes I am a crusader. And I veer into mankind-saving when I’m not careful. I’m so far zero for however many attempts; but, I will persevere.

We need to make the world safe from major corporations! Walmart – watch out, I haven’t been too pleased with you this year! Anon, how are you with clothes that have bad seams and luggage with defective zippers?

Men on the Moon and GPS in your pocket

Just over forty years ago, we stepped onto the Moon. I watched the first lunar landing back then sitting at a picnic table next to Healy Lake in Michigan. A cousin was camping there and invited us over for a Moon landing cookout. The grill was cast iron; the plates and utensils were plastic. The TV was black and white with rabbit ears and had maybe a ten-inch screen. It did have transistors rather than tubes. It was plugged into a generator. You could barely make out Armstrong stepping on to the surface.

Now, I have computers thousands of times (millions?) more powerful than Apollo 11 had. Hell, my Google phone with its disappointing GPS may approach the computer that sent three men to the moon, landed them and returned them to the earth. Back then, turn a switch, and the world and the moon came through the air right to you. We seldom turn switches these days, we push a button or icon or two to be with almost anyone and anything tens of thousands of miles away and it just seems normal. The Moon landing then, and my GPS now, don’t seem out of the ordinary to me.

I wonder what will happen in 2049 that will seem ordinary to those around to experience it?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Two Jobs' in One Day

Steve Jobs, non-possessive, and Apple should say exactly what each wants to day about each of them or both of them, regardless of what the tech world wants them to say.

If you don’t want to buy another Apple product, or invest in Apple because you aren’t sure what Jobs’(hah) health is, so be it.

But, the choice is theirs, not ours.

Something Else I Don't Like

I know "Steve Jobs's liver" is the correct way to write it but I refuse to do it. "Steve Jobs' job longevity is threatened by Jobs' liver" is the way it's said and the way it should be written, The Elements of Style be damned.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Fried Baloney Sandwich and the Braves

The Braves – Yankees game just started, nothing – nothing at the end of one.

Dinner is going to be a New York baloney sandwich: Saute some onion, simmer some sauerkraut, fry some baloney. Put some rye bread in the skillet for a minute or so. Assemble with some spicy mustard.

And, no, I don’t know if it’s a New York style baloney sandwich, I made that up; but, substitute a hot dog for the baloney and a bun for the bread and it is a New York street dog.

Sans Sidebar

I have a sidebar still, picture, recent posts, recommended, archive. I just can't see it when using my phone or office computer to access the blog. Some of you have told me the same thing. Home computer, just fine.

Welcome to the minimalist edition of Rather Than Working.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Trendy gone wild

From an article at NYTimes.com:

"He mixes Pimm’s with Polish bison-grass vodka, along with freshly pressed apple juice and a dose of St-Germain elderflower liqueur."

Sunday, June 21, 2009


As used here, the word is not an amalgam to describe the city’s culture. Rather, Atlanta is and has been, just flat out hot.

It’s 94° as I write this, which is about average for this time of day, maybe a degree or two cool, for the last week. Summer, when it comes to weather, started ten days or two weeks ago. I’ve gotten used to it.

No golf this weekend as I called too late in the week to get a tee time before 11:00 a.m. which would be just a crazy time to start.

The high is supposed to be about 90° all week, a respite.

Happy Father’s Day to those of you that fit the description. Happy Sunday to the rest of you.

Friday, June 19, 2009

UPS and UPS Stores are on my Shit list

On a regular, sporadic basis I send letters that I have to prove got there. When I do, I use UPS or Fedex. I got used to using UPS since Big Tony was a vendor. Before him and since his passing, I’ve not had a problem, other than the fact that the UPS Stores that I’ve gone to have no bedside manner.

That changed starting a little less than two weeks ago. I sent a ground letter from the UPS Store at Toco Hills here in Atlanta (yes, I’m naming names) to a lawyer’s office about ten miles away. The address it was being sent to was 6000 Something, 325 Something, Atlanta, Georgia 303something.

Tuesday, I got an Email from the lawyer asking when he could expect to see what I’d sent him sometime before. I called and told him I’d sent it via UPS and asked him to check around the office. He called me back and said he didn’t have it. I went on line and found out that UPS had the package, had had the package since the day I sent it. UPS tracked its incompetence quite nicely. I seemed that it couldn’t deliver because it didn’t have a suite number, which it had, see the paragraph above. It nicely told via the website that it sent a POSTCARD to the recipient the second day, not calling me, the UPS Store, or Emailing either of us. Each day it updated the fact that it was waiting for a good address. (The recipient never got a postcard.)

So, I called the UPS Store and talked to a nice lady named Susie (not her name, she was the only polite person in this story). Fast forward, she told me on Wednesday that UPS, she thought, would be returning the letter yesterday and she would have it resent and call me

No call. I called the store and left a message. No return call. I went over this afternoon.

The two women there had little interest in my problem as I explained it. The one with an attitude cut me off in my explanation saying that Susie was not there, that I should come back on Monday and “file a claim.” She also made quite clear that the UPS Store was not responsible for the problem since UPS had picked up the letter.

I told her that we were going to solve the problem while I was there. “Susie’s not here.” “Give me the owner’s name and number.” The non-attitude woman said she’d call him. I explained the problem, he asked me to hand the phone back to his employee. She said uh huh a couple of times and hung up.

She called Susie who did not answer the phone. That was pretty much all the two ladies had for me.

Steaming, I left the UPS Store at Toco Hills. Keep that name in your head - don't go there. I got back to the office and had a voicemail from the owner. The letter was at the store, he was very sorry, though he clearly said I couldn’t have a refund because, the letter wasn’t resent to the recipient at the time it was sent back to his store (because his employee didn’t do that). I called him and he had no explanation as to why Susie hadn’t called me, why the letter had not been resent, why his employee was rude, why neither knew the letter was in the store. He offered to find out the answer to these questions. I told him to forget it, I’d go back over and pick up the letter and get it to the recipient on my own.

I drove back over and walked to the counter, “I believe you have a package for me?” The rude woman walked as slowly as she could to the package, picked it up and walked as slowly as she could to me. I took the package and walked towards the door.

She said, as sarcastically as I’ve heard in a long time “you’re welcooooome.”

I called the owner when I got to the car and described his employee’s conduct. He was apologetic saying his employee’s conduct was not acceptable. No it wasn’t. Is that the employee’s fault, or his for hiring someone with an attitude? I’m thinking more him than her, she’s just got an attitude, he’s running a lame business.

Boycott UPS and UPS Stores! There, I’ve got it out of my system.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Figuring out Iran

Iran's leadership over the last decade or so has faced the "can't keep 'em down on the farm once they've seen the big city" problem.

We did Iran a huge favor by decimating Iraq in the Gulf War. Its chief rival, militarily and economically, was in ruins, resulting in less need for costly defense and more oil money for internal development. Iran found itself in the seemingly golden position of being able to increase its standard of living, increase its influence in the region and improve its infrastructure (and fund some terrorism).

All of this happened in the context of the boom 90's and the first half of this decade. In '03, we took Iraq almost totally out of the picture, again to the benefit of Iran.

Then Iran, with the rest of us, met the recession. Oil prices and sales plummeted. The fuel for Iran's resurgence, oil money, ran into short supply. The problem it faced was that it had created a huge demand for what oil money could buy. More and more dissatisfaction was expressed by its people when the flow slowed.

Iran's demographics are very different that ours. We have a rapidly graying population. Iran has a very young population, something like seventy percent of its people are under thirty. This part of its citizenry never lived under the Shah and did not grow up in the fire of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Rather they became used to increasing material goods, more and more free communication and its resulting knowledge of how the rest of the world lives.

Iran is facing what China faced twenty years ago. China's then totally repressive communist government is Iran's current repressive Islamic government. China's much less repressive today, Iran will be much less repressive in twenty years.

Khrushchev famously said in the sixties that the U.S. would bury itself; and, in some ways he was right. We've evolved or devolved depending on your point of view enormously, and we did it to ourselves. One of the few things Nixon did right back in the seventies was to go to China, accelerating its economic, and resulting social, revolution. China is dealing, ineffectively with the results, trying to put the cap back in the bottle. Iran can't stop the flow from the bottle and more than China can.

Since I ragged on Obama yesterday, I'll give him a shout out today. I think he's on the right track letting Iran deal with the fruits of its policies without our further intervention. It's doing a slow but OK job of evolving on its own.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bush had balls, Obama doesn't

Yes, I voted for him. Yes he stepped into an economic mess. Yes, were he to fulfill the “mandate” that elected him, the economy and the society would melt down, as the mandate was the result of an inchoate yearning for too many conflicting desires projected onto his campaign.

That said, he talks a good game and practices government that would make Bill Clinton or George W. Bush proud, without their balls.

The answer to all of our woes is a, or a hundred, government programs. You say W and the GOP aren't in favor of such a huge government involvement in our economy? Look at what they did, not what they said.

With Obama, look at what he said last year and compare it to what he’s doing this year. The only mandate he is fulfilling is to load us with debt for generations with the hope, hope, hope that indiscriminate government spending will right the country’s economic ship. He and Congress don’t have a clue whether their profligacy will work. Bush and the GOP didn’t know what they were doing economically and neither does Obama, the Dems or the GOP now.

And what about that other mandate, the social mandate? Things like the Bill of Rights? Well Obama seems to have other fish to fry. He may get around to social justice later in his presidency.

At least W, as misguided as he was had the balls to use his office to affect the social change he wanted to see. Obama, not so much.

More of you reading my stuff skew to social liberalism than not. But all of you, would you really care if gay men and women got the same things that straight men and women got?

A few weeks ago “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military got an okey dokey from the Obama administration.

This week, Obama’s administration, trumpeting some additional benefits to gay government employees – not health care for their partners – has filed a brief in opposition to providing such health care. This from that radical socialist! From a spokesperson:

“[I]t was standard practice for the administration to back laws that are challenged in court — even those it does not agree with — and that the president ‘wants to see a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.’ Mr. Obama repeatedly backed repealing the act during his presidential campaign.” From the New York Times.

So, he takes a central premise of his campaign and defers to Congress which will do exactly nothing, which he knows. He uses his power as commander in chief to continue discrimination against gay people. These issues are ready made for executive orders. Does he believe in equality? Or, is he a closet Republican? Perhaps he thinks that he’s going to get right wing votes next time around by punting these issues?

Rick, Dale, Jay, you voting for him next time around because he's acting homophobic? I didn’t think so.

W had balls and misused them. Obama can’t seem to find his even when he needs to use them.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A Pair of Words I Don't Like

"Wifey's gonna kill me getting home this late!" I don't hear it often; but, its seems to come from the mouths of twenty and thirty something guys in bars and at ballgames. Or, "nah, I can't go, Wifey's mother is coming over - jeez!" It may be that you have to have consumed alcohol to be able to use the word. Objectification?

"Hubby and the kiddos loved this recipe. And you really can substitute ketchup for the crushed San Marzano tomatoes!" The only place I see hubby is on internet recipe websites. I don't think I've ever heard the word said. Again, objectification?

Is it safe to assume these people are married to each other?

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sandy, Birdie, Chippy, Poley

I hung with the guys at the neighborhood bar after work today. A new character to this blog, but not in my life, Mac was there. We are playing golf in the morning and have a usual quarter a hole bet, match play. He proposed raising it to fifty cents. I agreed and proposed fifty cents for fringes. He agreed.

For most of you, a fringe bet definition is in order. You win the side or fringe bet by scoring a birdie, sandy, chippy, poley, Cousteau and a few others on a hole. A birdy: less than par for the hole. A sandy: par or better with a stroke coming from a bunker. Chippy: last shot from off the green. Cousteau: same as a sandy but a stroke from a water hazard. Poley: the last stroke (a bone of contention as you will see), par or better, from a distance longer than the length of the flagstick.

The parameters of our game defined, I recounted the story of my last (and only) sandy, birdie, chippy, poley, or so I say.

Mac and I played hooky from work a year or so ago to play golf. It was a pretty day and pretty much no one else was on the course. Somewhere on the back nine there was a short par four hole. The fairways were running fast, I had a great tee shot and hit my second shot down the fairway and it ran into the front left bunker.

I pulled out my sand wedge and chipped it into the hole. Birdy, as I holed the ball in less than the par four of the hole. Sandy, as one of my strokes was from the bunker. Chippy, my last shot was from off the green. Poley, as my last shot was from a distance longer than the flagpole.

Mac demurred. You can’t have a poley unless your last stroke is a putt. Who says?, I said. Everyone, he said. We argued for a bit.

I decided to solve the issue the way we used to solve any question of a wager. I called Tony (for anyone new, do a search for Tony on the blog). I laid out the issue to Tony. A poley is a last shot longer than the length of the pole, I chipped in, I got a poley.

Mac’s right, you got a birdie,a sandy, a chippy, no poley, you only get a poley for a putt. I argued for a bit while Mac, hearing my end of the conversation, grinned.

The sports and betting god having ruled, I didn’t get a poley. Bastard.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Three hours, more or less

I got an Email from a lawyer on the other side of a case late this morning “can you talk today?” I responded “call me now if you have time.” We traded Emails and voicemails for a bit and hooked up.

He was responding to our last demand and started referring to the spreadsheet that I’d sent him last week. Stupid me, I’d not pulled it up on the computer and couldn’t, as we talked, figure out where I’d stashed it.

“I’ll send it, in the meantime lets talk about X.” We did and it got to me a few seconds later. We then talked about a couple of line items at issue.

I told him I’d talk to my guys and get back to him. I called one of my guys and told him what the issues were as I was driving to lunch. We talked and exchanged revisions to the spreadsheet a couple of times over lunch and over the next hour, me on my Google phone in the restaurant, in my car and office and him on a radio, a cellphone while in a truck, on a jobsite and then in a job trailer on an actual wired phone. I called my guys’ CFO on his cell phone to get the wire transfer info, got it by Email and incorporated it and the changed Excel file, into a response Email to the lawyer by mid-afternoon.

I haven’t heard back finally with a yes; but, this same process five years ago would have taken days if not weeks.

I’ve resisted technology as it has advanced, though I bought my first computer in 1983. I tend to be a development or two behind the curve. God forbid – if this Twitter and Facebook garbage proves to be valuable…. And, I want a netbook. I want an LED TV with Internet connections. I won’t get either until at least the next generation passes them by. Still.

I am amused

One of the things I said I’d write about in the subheading to this blog, that I seldom do, is to chronicle my amusement.

I am running down the battery on my Google phone so as to hopefully recalibrate the battery for boring reasons. To do this, I have WiFi and GPS running while watching Baseball, the Ken Burns series from PBS, as a recording from MLB Network, while surfing on the net.

I just scrolled my way from home here in Atlanta, swiping the screen through the southern states across the Pacific and hit Asia. When you get there, the words on the map turn to Japanese or Chinese, I’m not sure.

It only took fifty or so swipes to get there. Take that Magellan and the rest of you old timey explorers.

The battery says it is dead; but, I’m going to see if I can get around the world at my parallel once I charge it. Jules Verne, watch out. That is the guy who wrote the 80 day thing?

Monday, June 08, 2009


I 've started an experiment. When I use Google, I'm going to run the same search on Bing.

For my first comparison I looked for rather than working. Properly, I'm the first result - so far so good. On Bing, if you move your cursor to the right of the result, you get a little box that excerpts some of what's on the site. In my case, it pulled a sentence from a post I did some months back about hooking up my Blu-ray player. It also lists some of the titles of other posts under a heading "also on this page." There are five posts listed, they aren't serial and they are all old. Not all of the search results bring up the also on this page result, they just have a link to the page. Odd. If you click the link to the blog, you get my most recent post.

The remaining search results are all over the map as probably should be the case with such a search phrase. The Google results are equally varied, but mostly different - there are only a couple of duplicate results on the first page of each engine.

Next, I searched for Samsung led (it's new and amazing). Similar comments to those above. I did notice a feature to the left of the results "related searches" that listed variations of my search. Then something strange: I wanted to print the page so I could easily compare the results with Google's results. Each time I hit the print icon, Internet Explorer crashed. You'd think IE would like its cousin Bing.

So far, I don't see Bing getting a mass migration of Google users.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Seventy Shirts

That’s not counting tee shirts, wind shirts and sweaters. I’ve got’em and that’s after culling twelve to drop off at the Salvation Army.

It includes dress and long and short sleeve casual, if that’s any excuse. I don’t change sizes and I’ve been meaning to cull for years. Those are my only excuses.

I don’t have any point in this post other than my amazement that there are that many shirts in the closet. I don’t wear most of them very often, though I discovered one that I don’t remember having that I kind of like.

So you don’t think I’m crazy, I have four pairs of shoes - dress, deck, sneaker and golf; some shorts and slacks, an overcoat, a leather jacket, a spring/fall jacket and a few suits and sport coats.

Seventy! Oh hell, I just remembered, I think there are a couple sitting on the dryer.

Browser Wars

I’ve always used Internet Explorer. Not as a matter of love or even satisfaction – it was there, it got me where I wanted to go. Kind of like a Pinto without the explosions or whatever plagued that car.

Then, only on this computer, my home Dell laptop (my dissatisfaction with it is a different post), IE has become balky.

It loads quite nicely and takes me right to my start page. I then can click on favorites or use Google to explore, all the stuff we all do; but, here’s the rub – I can only do it once or twice, maybe. After that, if you click a link, it freezes. Whatever page you are on, you are there unless you restart, then it likes you again for a few clicks, again, maybe.

So, I quit using it, installing Firefox. Firefox is fine, except it and Blogger do not get along. You see, once I finish this post, I have to save it, open IE and post to Blogger. If I don’t, Firefox will “publish” it on Blogger in code. Then we’re back to the crapshoot of IE and whether it will open Blogger, and if it does, whether it will allow me to post.

So, a little while ago I decided to install Chrome. Blogger, Chrome, Google – seems like a good bet? Nah. Chrome downloaded clumsily, telling me that it would save my favorites, home page and settings and did none of that. Then it made itself the default browser without any warning. It has been banished.

Some luck, once I sent it on its way, I clicked Firefox which gave me a “I missed you” pop up which said “Firefox is not your default browser, would you like to make it your default browser?” Yes, yes my friend, thank you for asking; but, would you see your way clear to letting me publish my posts, or is that too much to ask?

I’ll save this now and go off to the crapshoot of IE.

I understand this; but, really?

I read this, this morning.

The Dalai Lama is getting old and a fifteenth needs to be chosen. The Chinese government asserts the right to approve the choice, alternatively, to chose the replacement.

I didn’t know that it approved the current Dalai Lama. I didn’t know there were lesser lamas, one of which is held by the Chinese government.

It’s a matter of politics for the Chinese government, a way to control Tibet, and a matter of faith for Tibetans and Buddhists.

But at the heart of it, a secular government confirming or selecting a religious leader? That doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, even as a political matter. Does China really think an “Avignon” Dalai Lama will win the hearts and minds of Tibetans?

Law, Politics, the Constitution and Us

Don’t worry, this isn’t a treatise.

I saw a headline this week that said New Hampshire has legalized same sex marriage. The number of rational states is growing (even considering the schizophrenia of California).

The days of a Supreme Court that issued decisions that fully delivered equal protection and due process under law are past. I don’t think that an “Obama Court” will return them. Neither will it fully deliver fundamental rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Now is a time for people to do what the Courts have failed to do. Even Dick Cheney says so.

Let’s look at those amendments.

The First is doing OK. We seem to have a big tent when it comes to free speech and religion, except for the occasional Muslim.

Two is OK too. Sure there’s an individual right to bear arms; but, you and your fellow citizens in your town and state can limit it pretty much as you see fit.

No one cares about Three these days (quartering troops in times of peace).

Four? This Amendment has met the Internet and is in a bit of trouble. The judiciary seems reluctant to rein in government intrusion into your private affairs. The Obama administration and Congress seem to be similarly disinclined. It’s up to you and me to protect ourselves and prod our representatives to help us do so.

Five and Six don’t’ seem to be current problems, other than money worries on Six.

The Seventh has been ignored with not much of a problem for a long time (you don’t have a right to a jury trial if your claim is under twenty-one bucks).

Eight is a current problem, depending on your point of view. The current Court and a foreseeable Obama Court won’t get rid of the death penalty. If you want it gone, it is up to your skills of political persuasion as Congress is disinclined to do anything.

Nine and Ten aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. No one knows what they mean: the penumbra of personal and states’ rights are what people make of them and thus are meaningless.

So? It’s up to us. What do we want?

Friday, June 05, 2009

I don't get it

Georgia's Governor has directed all state agencies to cut 25% from their budget.

There's a lot of wailing and resistance about it reported in the media.

The latest "budget slashing" is in the state's prison system. Prisoners are only going to get breakfast and dinner Friday through Sunday. The same number of calories (2,800 for men and 2,300 for women) will be loaded on two rather than three meals.

I imagine there are some pissed off prisoners. I know, I know, criminals aren't a sympathetic group. That aside, it seems to me that managing them is made more difficult with the new program. Captive people lead a pretty bleak existence, looking forward to things like a meal. (While not a perfect analogy, I remember a grade school teacher's threat to skip a recess due to bad behavior by the class was taken quite seriously by us captives.)

So what is the state saving? The pay of a civilian food service employee or two. The electricity, soap and water needed to wash the lunch dishes. I wouldn't think there's a reduction in guards and food cost is the same.

Maybe there's something I'm missing; but, I don't get it.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Generational Change

NYTimes.com has a short piece on the Internet, privacy and a division of opinion among generations.

For the life of the Internet there has always seemed to me to be two privacy camps. Users who want to safeguard information about themselves and providers who want to mine and profit from information about their users.

According to the linked article there's been a split among the user group. Younger people, who grew up with the Internet and its social networking aspect are much freer with information about themselves. They see online "communities" and networks as opportunities to "profit" by manipulating information about themselves.

Not being a member of the new generation, I wish them well; but, I think they are a bit deluded.

There isn't any way for an individual to effectively control the sea of information being examined and manipulated by others on the web once it is let loose. Without judicious release of information by individuals and meaningful privacy laws, the Internet will become increasingly like a small town on cyber steroids - everyone knows (or can know) everything about their neighbors. The check on small town knowledge is that the citizens are operating in a small circle. They know who the good and the bad are and can act accordingly.

The cyber community has no such limitation. Once you've bared information about yourself (or had it gleaned by anonymous entities) it and you are fair game. You're making a bet that you, your PC, laptop and smart phone are a force capable of winning a war against vastly superior forces. The Swiss have held their own against stronger neighbors for quite a few centuries now; but, you may recall that they are far from being the world's most open and unregulated society.

Information is power as the linked article says. Government transparency is good; but, personal opacity is best for the protection of personal liberty.

Monday, June 01, 2009

A movie review, without much in the way of review

Pos reviews movies here. He talks about plot, direction, actors and so on. I recommend you read him.

As opposed to Pos, I am not capable of articulating why I like or don’t like art. I can tell you if I do or I don’t, not much more than that.

So, I like Benny and Joon from back in the early ‘90’s that I just watched on Netflix streaming. Johnny Depp, Aidan Quinn and others. Well written, acted and directed (the last I assume because I liked it). And Johnny Depp is a kick ass actor in most everything he does.

I’ve got two thumbs, they’re up.

Date Night

So, should Barack and Michelle have boarded Air Force One and flown with a few other government planes to NYC to see a show and have a really nice dinner?

From CNN.com:

“Republicans have … questioned the cost to tax-payers for the brief excursion — which included three Gulfstream-size planes to transport the preside[n]t's security detail, staff, and White House reporters.

“'If President Obama wants to go to the theater, isn't the presidential box at the Kennedy Center good enough?’ RNC Press Secretary Gail Gitcho said Saturday.”

From the wonderful world of Google, via Media Matters:

“[F]ormer President George W. Bush, for example, reportedly used Air Force One for trips to his ranch in Crawford, Texas, which he reportedly visited 77 times over the course of his eight years in office.”

From a perhaps more mainstream source, U.S. News & News Report:

“For many years, presidents have used government transportation, and spent taxpayers' money, for personal trips. George W. Bush, for example, traveled frequently to his Texas ranch for vacations and R&R. Bill Clinton went to Martha's Vineyard for vacations in the summer. George H.W. Bush often traveled to his retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine, for breaks from Washington.”

So, I’m wondering what the over and under’s on W’s and Barack’s getting laid during the flight, on arrival or during the layover when the big plane is being used. My question is just as inappropriate, but no more than the GOP’s carping. Do they really want him flying the D.C./NYC shuttle? I don’t remember them carping that American or someone else has regular flights from D.C. to Texas.

My money is on Barack on the sex thing.