Saturday, February 27, 2010

Advertising is Expensive

I have two email addresses that are hosted by a Go Daddy reseller. The reseller ceded its accounts to another reseller that I can’t find anything positive about on Google, and found a bit of negative stuff.

So, I went to the source, Go Daddy. Clicking the Google paid link at the top of the search results that says “$1.99,” takes me to a Go Daddy Site that has that price for 3 months if you sign up for much longer. The cheapest price, if I sign up for three years, is $4.24 a month per address.

I’m currently paying, and the renewal is, $9.99 a YEAR for each address.

That’s a lot of expensive cleavage I’ve seen on the TV ads.

I guess I’ll go with the unknown. Sorry Danica.


A lot of the blogs I read are publishing less often over the past few months.

I know that I could go to your places and forage among your favorites or whatever you call them.

But, I’m lazy: give me some links in the comments of places you frequent.

Friday, February 26, 2010

A Question We Need to Answer

I’m not at all sure where we are on insurance reform after the photo op earlier this week. The only thing I took away from the “summit” was that President Obama was unkind to Senator McCain.

I’m about to delve into a subject that I’m not qualified to write about; but, what else is new?

Insurance simply put is people joining together, pooling money to protect themselves against a contingency that they expect would cost them more than their contribution to the pool than if they incurred the risk on their own. Well, not so simply put.

You can arguably reduce health care cost by culling people of higher risk and those that can’t pay the going rate; but, if you do, you really only transfer cost to public health, Medicare and Medicaid budgets. Those in good health and those with disposable income still pay the cost of health care for those in poor health and those without enough money.

Who is in the pool that is sharing the risk?

Unless we want to decide as a society that only those that can afford to care for their own health should be afforded care, we are left with some paying more than others. Think it through, I pay more than some and less than some for roads, police, fire protection and so on. The question becomes is health care a necessary societal cost. If it isn’t, we can quit talking about it. Let it go as it is with many getting inadequate care at a high and rising cost to all of us. Or, quit funding health care to those that can’t pay and see where that leads.

If you take health care for the country’s population as a societal necessity, the best way to provide the most care for the least cost is to make everyone participate and use economy of scale and regulation to keep cost in line.

Sorry to some of you; but, that is universal health care, public option, whatever you want to call it. You can start from the private side if you want with regulation of coverage availability and scope and cost of coverage; but, you get to the same point.

The private sector can do what it is doing now. It won’t provide health care that extends to our entire population, indeed, it won’t provide health care for those that now have it at a cost that we can afford over time.

It’s time to be honest. Do we want real insurance or not?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Which path?

I got two calls this morning, from two different executives with the same client.

The first discussed an ongoing lack of response from a federal agency on an application. “Is there any way I can force these people to do what they were supposed to do months ago?”

The answer is maybe; but, my response was to suggest that I write a very low-key letter that outlined the application process with the dates of all of the activity to the highest level person involved and asked if there was anything I could do to speed the process along, advising I’d be calling the person in a week or so.

That’s probably enough to get the person off the person’s ass. If not, a copy of the letter a level up may well work. If not then, it’s time for law stuff.

My second call was for advice on how to do something that probably can’t be done given the law concerning the issue. We talked about the options given that reality and came up with something that we can do that will almost certainly give the same result without the bad legal results.

In both matters, I could have charged ahead, threatening and bullying, charging more money for my scorched earth campaign. Then too, over time, I wouldn’t have the client and I wouldn’t have been doing my job. And I wouldn’t have enjoyed what I was doing.

Good lawyering, business and karma?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Down Home Justice

Just before the first of the year there was a party up in the northern Atlanta suburbs. Some kids got arrested for drinking.

As it turns out the party was at the home of a lawyer who is (temporarily, of her own choice, not) a magistrate judge. Attending were other local legal luminaries including people from the local solicitor’s office, the people that prosecute such under age drinking.

According to the police report the lawyer/magistrate threatened the responding police with her connections and said that it was better that the juveniles were drinking at her home that out on the roads.

So, soon after the affair, she undertook the representation of one of the underage drinkers and worked out the following plea arrangement with the solicitor’s office before the police report had been completed: $150 fee, alcohol counseling and a 150 hours of baseball practice with the college baseball team that he was a member of as community service, with expungement of the matter after completion of the requirements of the sentence.

When questioned by the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter, the solicitor allowed as how he might change some of his policies in future cases.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

I've changed my mind about what I think about Tiger

My last post kind of took the view that we all imbue Tiger with our viewpoints. He's good, bad or indifferent depending on what we bring to the equation. My unstated conclusion was that I don't care what he's done, it's none of my business. I've changed my mind.

I’ve had a really nice weekend. I played golf yesterday, poorly, with Bill. I don’t think I’ve mentioned him here. Bill is just a guy; but, I know him on golf courses. The great majority of the people you meet on a golf course live up to the venue. What that means is that you do things the way you are supposed to do them. You follow the rules, stupid as they often are. You keep your own score and tell it to your partner (honestly, even though you were off in the woods and a bear or the Pope wouldn’t know how many times you flailed at the ball).

(As an aside and a discussion of the etiquette and attraction of golf, do a word search on the blog for “Sergio.” I wrote a post early on here about a day at the same golf course that I found the people I’m going to talk about today.)

Back to Bill. Neither he nor I are Tiger. I can write this as he won’t care if I do and he isn’t going to read it anyway. But here’s one of the things about golf. Bill has a blind eye and he’s had a stroke. To look at him he’s not much (that’s OK for me to say, he says it). But, he’s learned to take what he’s got and play pretty good golf. Think about it. You are going to try to put a golf ball in a hole that’s forty or fifty feet away, up, down and sideways, and you have no depth perception. You decide where to aim based on your experience there the times before. You don’t boom any shots at anytime because there’s that half of your body that doesn’t work too well; but, you do well enough by using what you’ve got to get it to where you can use what you’ve got again.

And here’s another thing about golf. We often get paired up with someone else or a couple of people. No one ever says a word or looks askance.

Golfers have a thing about “giving” a putt that’s a foot or so from the hole. I watch out for that because they also have a thing about picking it up and tossing it to the recipient of their conceded putt. Bill can’t catch one of those given his vision; so, I’m vigilant. If his ball's close and I see a new friend about to…, I quietly mention that they should hand him the ball.

Back to today and my new thoughts about Tiger.

Bill and I played again today, the weather here is wonderful. It hit about sixty-five. The course was slow. We were playing by ourselves behind foursomes and the going was as much stop as go.

Steve was following us. Driven by his mother and caddied by his sister (she’s five and will be six in December. She had a Barbie umbrella that gave her a certain elan, though she doesn't say much. His Mom is thirty-three but don’t tell anyone, you learn a lot when you get Steve talking). Steve’s eight. He’ll be “nine this October 16th.” On the tenth hole, the ranger asked if we’d play with Steve to slow us down and speed him up (there’s a logical basis for that that I won’t explain). We agreed and introduced ourselves.

Steve’s Mom never left the cart; but, she had an eagle eye on him. He knew the rules. On one hole he started to line up his chip even though he wasn’t the furthest away from the hole. His mother hissed “Steve” from the cart. You see he’s a kid, and he’s a guy, and he instinctively played ready golf because Bill had a bit of a walk to get to his chip from a bit further off the green. In a casual round, it was right for him to shoot while Bill was walking. He knew it and gave me a rueful look and his Mother a little kid grimace. Busted but not totally legit. He also backed off his shot and waited for Bill.

Finally to Steve and Tiger. Steve’s a black kid. He was wearing perfectly creased black slacks, a white golf shirt and a black Nike cap. He did everything the way Tiger does, down to the stooping behind a putt and cupping his hands around the visor of his cap to focus on the break of the putt. The Tiger fist pump after a made putt.

I’d hate for all his Mom’s work at teaching what’s wonderful about the game and his obvious love of the game to be harmed (at eight, soon to be nine, despite his playing the game as a gentleman as he should, he couldn't resist running and skipping between shots).

Kids also emulate adults beyond the visor cupping – he saw the way I putt and for a change, I wasn’t too bad. A couple of holes later he was mimicking a set up rhythm I use.

Me and Tiger for role models. Jeez.

So, Tiger owes it to Steve not to fuck up publicly again. Not too elegant a way to end this; but, that’s what I think.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

So, did you see your Tiger?

Since I have an Internet presence, I guess I have to weigh in on the latest number of minutes to fascinate us – thirteen and a half.

You’ve got to hand it to him, he said nothing, reading a speech all of which had been leaked, managed to get boycotted by a golf writers’ group finally bold enough due to his troubles to call him out on his controlling ways, replayed on every media outlet in the western world and dissected by every pundit and writer, boycotting or not, paid and or not, with access to a computer and a website.

The phrase empty vessel comes to mind, augmented by the video of his too large collar, filled by paean and pan.

Friday, February 19, 2010

High of Sixty

Need I say more than I have a 11:50 a.m. tee time tomorrow and another one on Sunday at the same time when the high is sixty-three.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Let me see if I've got this straight

I've been hearing for a long time now that banks aren't lending any money. They got all the bailout money and used it to to buy good (versus the bad that they had) assets.

So today, the Federal Reserve raised the discount rate, the rate it charges banks - the folks that aren't loaning any money.

Yeah, I'm sure I'm stupid, I'm sure I'm missing something.

Banks aren't lending, so to get them to lend, increase the rate they pay for the money they lend out, except they aren't lending it.

Feel free to leave any wisdom on the issue that you may have in the comments.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Both Too Much UPDATED says that is mulling over a charge of between $10 to $20 a month for its product when it goes behind some sort of pay wall.

I very much doubt that I'd pay anywhere near that much, even if it is one of the gold standards, especially given all of the other pretty good sources of news out there. That much total a month? Maybe.

I know I've said this too much recently; but, the only way that paying for content online will work is something on the cable/satellite model, hopefully with the ability to pick your news "channels."

Google or Apple is ready made to provide the pipe for the content. Both have an App store/market. Apple has experience with ITunes.

What I don't understand about current media is its apparent insistence on the town square marketing model. There's the butcher shop, the baker, the farmers' market, the hardware store and so on. Please patronize each of us with our own overhead, without the benefits of economy of scale.

That's good if everyone lives in the little town and can walk to the square. Kmart killed some of them. Then Home Depot, Lowes and of course Wal-Mart. Having been brought to death's door by the Internet big box model, media insists on atomistic behavior, each source being an island unto itself, come into my door, no my door! Pay me! Even the big boxes have reacted to the EBays and Amazons of the Internet, creating ways to drive business to themselves, and make it pay.

What media doesn't understand is that it doesn't sell a physical thing like a big box store does (and what book publishers will soon discover with their pricing). What it sells has value but it has to create a way to bring people to the value at a price that they will pay (what Amazon has provided for publishers). That way is a return to the old bazaar, really just a digital town square. One entry, choose what you will at the price that equates supply with demand.

Content can't divide and conquer. Each source on its own will only whither and die.

UPDATE: Since posting, I've gotten thinking that I'm not the sole audience for news. I can afford to pay. The old advertising model got people that can't pay, or pay much, access to hard news. Right now, I see those people slowly frozen out of the news stream, the very people that need to have access to hard news mainstream, unless we count E!, TMZ, Fox, CNN and MSNBC to be sufficient news sources, which I don't. I've got some thinking to do.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Veg-O-Matic Has Arrived

My Germanic stainless steel blade, high strength, plastic slicer and dicer has arrived. Don't pay for shipping at Amazon, it got here first thing in the morning on the second business day after I ordered it.

It's pretty cool. I whipped out some thin and thick tomato slices right away. It has this other piece that makes thin and thick rectangles (juliennes). I haven't quite figured out how to make cubes - I think you have to slice them horizontally before you put them into the safety guard thingy and then slice them again.

Pos, from what I can see so far, it will slice meat as long as it is less than about four inches wide.

I'm not sure if it's worth what I paid for it; but, it does work and so far it's pretty slick.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My picture is next to stupid in the dictionary

First, a heartfelt thank you to Apple and Migration Assistant; but, we'll return to that below.

Friday night I was doing the usual, reading, surfing, watching something on TV. I came across an article that talked about getting rid of duplicate and unneeded files on your hard drive. I sent the link to my office Mac and downloaded a recommended program on the Macbook that would get rid of a lot of the detritus on my hard drive. I'm not going to tell you the name of the program. I strongly recommend you not do it, unless you are less stupid than I am.

So I used the program. Rather than getting rid of junk, I got rid of a number of programs, my entire Mail program and files, all of the Favorites in Firefox, and so on and so on.

Yesterday, I brought the Macbook to the office, connected a firewire cable, fired up Migration Assistant and about twenty minutes later, what was on the Mac Mini was on the Macbook, or so I thought.

Later on at home, I fired up the computer to get on line and download a program that had gotten zapped. Nothing in the Mailbox, nothing in Favorites. Damn.

So, about an hour ago I got back to the office and surfed on how to export those files from the Mini to the Macbook. I printed out some stuff and turned on the Macbook to do the exporting.

I noticed that on starting up there were two "Users," the new me and the old me which caused me to remember the program telling me it was going to call me something else. I clicked the lower one (the new me) and there was all my stuff right where Migration Assistant had put it, below the old me that had the gaps that I had found last night. If that wasn't a model explanation of what happened, sorry - I think that's what happened.

I have to break myself of the habit of doing things too fast. It usually works but clicking your way through a program that you don't know anything about wasn't one of the brighter things I did this weekend, twice.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Take this North Central and East!

It's only been snowing for a few hours. The weather people are beside themselves with the event. High tomorrow is about forty, we'll enjoy the blizzard while we can.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blade Escalation

I got a beer with my friend the cop after work today. Our conversation meandered as it always does. We discussed tomatoes as I had made myself a couple of bacon and tomato sandwiches last night. I mention that I was going to stop by Target and buy a serrated knife, something I don't have and have meant to get for a long time.

My friend mentioned that he has a mandolin that he likes but that he doesn't use all that much. We discussed cost and I said I'd stick with my seven or so dollar cost factor for a cheap knife.

Well, I didn't feel like stopping, it's too cold and the Target on Druid Hills, and Druid Hills itself, are madhouses after work.

I just got done surfing mandolins. Did you know you can pay $400 bucks for one? Or you can pay about fifteen with twenty one star reviews.

I succumbed to the cheapest five star rating for $40 bucks, tax, tag and title.

If you need anything sliced, diced or julienned on German steel blades, let me know sometime after five to nine days from now (Amazon Super Saver Free Shipping).

I'm having flash backs to the old SNL bass-o-matic bit and Ron Popiel's spray-on hair.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Too Much

There was MySpace, Facebook, Twitter and now Google Buzz.

As best I can tell, the latter is better Facebook with a link to Twitter, if Google is to be believed (I'm holding out for the Wikipedia article).

The only thing I made sure to find out about Buzz was to make sure I can turn it off when Mountain View enables it on my phone - I can.

It isn't a sign of age, I have friends in my range and older that are on Twitter and Facebook; but, for the life of me, I can't figure out what their fascination is with them.

I was on Facebook for about an hour after Big Rick sent me an Email inviting me to join and friend him. Now don't get me wrong, Rick's a funny guy, a smart guy. His first words on Facebook were "just got to work, twelve hours to go." I cruised around his friends' places and got similar declarations of their beingness.

I resigned (though it took me several attempts to fully delete all my information - I think).

Google is apparently going to use its algorithms and GPS to send me more beingness pegged to my location and predilections, from people that it finds out I know from my contacts and from their friends and friends of friends. I guess they are hoping they've got a ready made Facebook list by way of people that have Gmail.

If I want to talk to you or write to you, I know where to find you. The same is true coming back this way. And if I don't know how to find you, hasn't that told me that maybe you don't want to know what I've got to say? Hell, I don't put enough thought into what I write here, do you really think you want to be pushed my random thoughts? The answer I assure you is NO.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Now and again you're somewhere and you're struck by someone.

For me it's usually what I refer to as "alive eyes." It actually happens with both sexes, though it's women that I notice, and I suppose there's some attraction going on.

Tell me you know what I'm talking about.

This has nothing to do with what the person says or, really how attractive they are overall. You have a sense that they are, well, something special. You get it from their face. Big eyes, taking in the world around them.

The inspiration for this post was actually something else, the new Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue cover girl. She is stunning in most every way. Wouldn't it be wonderful if in person she had the eyes?

Alive eyes are seldom a wrong indicator. Their eyes don't necessarily indicate that you'll like them. Just that there's a brain in there.

I'm not explaining this well. Potter Stewart said he knew something else "when he saw it."

Next time you're in the neighborhood, and I see an example, I'll let you know.

Monday, February 08, 2010

A Favor Please

I registered with Google Analytics late last month. So far it is mostly baffling me.

Part of that is that it doesn't really explain what it "tells me."

As has been the case for the life of the blog, by far the biggest search hits here have been "The Federal Judge Song" and "How to Strip Speaker Wire." There are a lot of people out there that want to hear the song (the site where I found it is dead, I put an update at the top of the post telling people that, but Google still has me as the number one site for any variation of the search). There are a ton of people who want to strip wire. Here's the secret. Don't get any tools, get a lighter and burn the end off the wire. That's it. I continue to do a service to scores of people a month. I'm also good for helping people reheat pizza and not finding them whether they can buy booze on Sundays.

Back to Google Analytics. Who the hell are the two thirds of you that are unique visitors? The other third of you? Setting aside those of you that come from the searches mentioned above and others, there are still a bunch of you that stop by here and actually read what I write to the tune of about 30 a day (Google says that the overall average stay is about a minute and a half).

So, regular commenters, go on about your business. Those of you that I know read and never write, go on too. The rest of you, who are you? What got you here? What keeps you coming back? Tell us about yourself.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

$2 plus million...

was spent a couple of minutes into the game.

Not much controversy. Mrs. Tebow is happy that she gave birth to Tim.

I'm happy she did.

Then too, there are women that die giving birth and some decades ago, they had no legal choice to choose life for themselves were giving birth to be a death sentence for them.

In the scheme of Super Bowl commercials, it wasn't much, though the Bud Lite and Dorito commercials played near it, weren't all that memorable.

Dilution, the price paid for so much money.

Though the Bud Lite commercial showing the almost end of the world, as I type this, was funny.

UPDATED: About a half hour later, any of you guys going to buy "Dove for Men?" That commerical has to be one of the worst wastes of money I've seen.

And, the Saints are still in the game.

UPDATE 2: Almost the fourth quarter. Saints have still got a chance. The commercials still suck.

UPDATE 3: Up by 7, 5 minutes left. De may be Dat.

FINAL: Yes they are!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Super Bowl Preparation and Prediction

Chili is in the crock pot. Later it goes into the frig to marinate, then simmer again for a while tomorrow.

That's it as far as preparation.

As to predictions, the Colts will probably win; but, I hope not. I've been to New Orleans a number of times over the last couple of years. The people I've met there are fun loving. They live and die by the Saints and have died by them for decades now.

As much as the City has gone through, as much as the people have strived to return from, I'd love to be there, not Miami, during the game, win or lose. Not being there, I'd love to see them jump up and down if Who Dat becomes Dat for this year.

That's not too much to ask I'm thinking.

Saints by one or more.


I have a T-Mobile G1 Android smart phone, one of the early baby computer phones, after the IPhone.

In many ways it does as much as my desk top or laptop, and more when it comes to mobile search. A Google search for something commercial tends to give some local results. I'm assuming this is based on my IP address, though I'm not sure. I don't enable GPS unless it's needed for an application I'm using.

Anyway, starting today, if I go to the phone browser which is Google by default, there's a pop up that asks me if I want to give the "website" (duh, Google) access to my location. I have my choice between never, cancel and yes. A Google search doesn't tell me what this new question means for what Google will get beyond what it now gets.

Since Google is now in bed with the NSA on the China stuff….

So far, I'm clicking cancel.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Forgotten Value of Knowing How Widgets Are Made - Part 1

Regular readers know that I’m not very good at math or economics. A few months ago I did a post that confessed I was lost when it came to understanding just what the hell happened to the world’s economy and what should be done about it.

I’ve been thinking about it off and on since.

In the late Nineties and continuing to about 2006, I went to Florida, Destin and Apalachicola in the Panhandle, a lot on the weekends.

In Apalachicola Bay there’s a small island, St. George, where I rented houses on the beach a number of times. There was a whole row of these skinny, three-story houses. They were great for the weekend – steps to the beach, maybe a quarter mile to the little town square where you could walk to get supplies, breakfast, lunch and a beer and return to cook your fresh shrimp and corn on the cob on the barbecue on the deck for dinner.

It always amazed me how cheap they were to rent – considerably less than a nice hotel on the beach cost. And, I came to realize that almost no one actually lived in them full-time.

Mid-way through my Florida weekend years I started going to Destin. It and its neighboring towns, Seaside (the location where The Truman Show was filmed), Watercolor, Santa Rosa are gorgeous. Think of the row of three story beach houses on St. George Island on steroids.

I stayed at a friend’s house in Santa Rosa. He had bought it in the low hundred thousands a few years before. He, and thousands like him bought up the beach as market values increased to double and triple what they paid for the properties.

Like on St. George Island, most of the houses weren’t lived in full time. Their owners came down for a few weekends a year and rented them to tourists the rest of the time. And also like St. George Island, the rents were cheap – there was a lot of competition.

The “plan” all along the Florida coast and in Arizona, California and other resort areas was to buy low (or relatively low as prices rose), pay for insurance, maintenance and the mortgage with the rental income and then sell and double or triple your money. To do that the hordes of investors took out interest only mortgages so that their costs approximated their income. Why pay principle when equity increased every month and you could use it to “trade up?”

And it wasn’t only snowbirds that succumbed to the call of easy money. American industry and the banks started to operate on the same plan, as did many of rest of us when it came to buying into the American dream of owning a home.

Then it all fell apart. Why is that? Well that’s the widget story, which is coming soon to a blog near you. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Beware of the Corruption of Our Youth

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss doesn't want to get rid of "Don't Ask Don't Tell" as he feels it will lead to all kinds of problems.

From Talking Points Memo:

"'[The Military] must maintain policies that exclude persons whose presence in the armed forces would create unacceptable risk to the armed forces' high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion.'

"'In my opinion,' he said, 'the presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would very likely create an unacceptable risk to those high standards.'

"Why, if gays are allowed into the military, Chambliss said, soon the armed forces will allow all sorts of other things.

"Like what?

"'Alcohol use, adultery, fraternization, and body art,' said Chambliss.

"'If we change this rule of 'Don't Ask, Dont Tell,' he asked, 'what are we going to do with these other rules?'"

So, those of you that are veterans (Big Rick, Larry), confirm that none of those things happen now. If that's the case, I'm against the gays in uniform, hell, in society too, if they're going to lead to all of those horrors. First they threaten marriage and now there are going to be a bunch of straight, drunk sailors driven to getting tattoos and looking for love in all the wrong places. Say it ain't so!

Truth in Campaign Accounting

The Atlanta Journal Constitution has an article today about a nifty political practice.

Apparently there is a "me too" factor in political support. People want to back a winner. Winners have a lot of campaign funds, which attract more campaign funds, and so on.

So what does a cash strapped candidate do? Borrow money and lend it to the campaign.

Three of the four of five candidates for the Republican nomination have each borrowed about $250,000 and then loaned it to their campaign. It isn't spent mind you, it just sits there swelling the perceived contribution total.

Look at all that money in the account! A lot of people must support so and so.

"Asked if the line of credit was a tactic to appear to have more money, [one candidate's campaign manager] sighed.

“'If that’s how it’s perceived, that’s how it’s perceived,' he said. 'It is what it is.'” ("Damn, there goes another scam.") Pesky reporters.