Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Interesting discussion

over at Volokh's place:

Entrenchment Provisions in the Health Care Bill

Heard the guest host on Dr. Bennett's morning radio mention that there are provisions in the Soak the Rest of Us Healthcare bill stating that it could never be repealed. Made me wonder if that's actually true.

Leaving aside whether the author of the piece is correct, the comments section has some interesting - if a little esoteric to me - discussions about the rights & rules of legislators and their legislation.

Not that it's going to stop this train wreck, but...

Friday, December 04, 2009

I sense

a forthcoming protected group:

Study Reveals the Angriest Americans

Al Sharpton will soon begin protesting on behalf of Angry-Americans. It's only right they get their own minority group.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Faint Ghost of Thursdays Past

That echo of halcyon bygone days must be the Thursday Three, reasonably to be expected to return for the first time in more than two years. El Possumo Grande has not-blogged a not-Thursday Baker's three:

1. What one person are you most thankful for this year?

Other than, of course, my wonderfully perfect and well behaved family, I'm probably most thankful for the new VP around here, whose complete and utter disregard for "how we do things around here" got me out of a bad work situation into a much, much better situation.

2. What one thing are you most thankful for this year?

This is going to be very work-centric, but probably the new media management system we're installing. It's given me a tool to learn, and an opportunity to demonstrate both expertise and leadership on an initiative that I think will dramatically change this organization. It's totally change my attitude towards my job - I'm interested in it again.

3. What one event are you most thankful for this year?

To round it out, I'll stick with work. The social media conference I went to in July was directly responsible for my shift to my new job.

BONUS: 4. So, how’s it going? How’ve you been lately?
Still trying to shake the various ailments - lingering cough, etc. Busy as can be, but mentally a lot closer to stable since the change.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Remember when

George Bush got all that grief for calling himself "the decider"? I'll take that any day over our current "agonizer":

Obama Won't Take Any Current War Options, Official Says

I'm sorry - you get elected president in order to make decisions. That's why it's called the chief executive - you execute things (not generally people - that's usually for governors).

I understand that Democrats and liberals are focused on domestic issues rather than foreign policy, which is why he can decide to ram a poorly conceived healthcare plan down the throats of an electorate that doesn't really want it.

But c'mon, man, just make up your mind on Afghanistan for cryin' out loud! The president is refusing to make a call because he doesn't want to take responsibility, and unfortunately for him and the rest of us, that's what the job is all about. Go ahead - refuse to provide more troops if that's what you want. Or send the troops your commanders have asked for. Just quit screwing around and make up your mind, willya?

Gimme the decider over the Agonizer in Chief any day.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

This is wrong

on so, so many levels:

Santa Dreidel

I understand there are many intermarried people, but the whole point of the Chanukah story was the defeat of another faith (OK, pagans, but you get the point) by the Jews who refused to surrender their God.

I guess hip kitsch offends me when they start messing with my faith.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Something occurred to me

while reading this post:

Columbia University Graduate School of The Internet

Now, the post itself I think is very much on target about the need to train journalists properly for the brave new world of the internets. And while I suspect I know Mr. Rosenblum's political leanings, I don't know them for certain and they're tangential to my issue.

He says:

The school was founded by a rogue businessman, Joseph Pulitzer. He was the Rupert Murdoch of his day. He tried to expurgate his many sins by building the school. Instead, he compounded them. He succeeded in creating a factory for ‘good employees’, but he infantalized an entire industry.

The graduates of the school long to be good employees - to work for The New York Times or The Washington Post or NBC News or CNN...

The report on the Future of American Journalism was written by two lifetime employees. Leonard Downie Jr., spent a lifetime at The Washington Post, as an employee. He rose to be Executive Editor but he still got that weekly paycheck. Michael Schudson is a lifetime academic. He also has spent his life getting that printed paycheck every week.

Nice guys though they are, they are hardly the right people to ask to figure out the future of journalism. What they have been bred to do for a lifetime is to figure out where the next paycheck is going to come from. And that is what they came up with in their report. Pretty much devoid of any other ideas, they came up with ‘ask the goverment or some foundations to write more checks’.

I don't have an argument with his primary point, but I am wondering about this disdain for people collecting paychecks. This is not the first time I'm seeing this around - there was an episode of Miami Ink a while back with a young woman (flat out gorgeous, by the way) getting a tattoo of a robot to symbolize her father's "enslavement to corporate America". She was determined to avoid ever working a "real job." There are other examples.

What's bothering me is this idea that there's something wrong with going to a "regular job" and collecting a paycheck. Perhaps the world does need Joseph Pulitzers and Bill Paleys, but we can't all be at that level. None of the big time movers would ever have gotten anywhere without the paycheck collecting shmoes working for them. That's not exactly what journalism (or any field, except maybe Hollywood) needs - everybody's a CEO, nobody does the grunt work?

This bothers me more coming from liberals (as I suspect Mr. Rosenblum is) only because they pride themselves on their support for the working people of this nation. But sneering at people who collect paychecks is not terribly supportive. Would I like to be a chief instead of an Indian (scusi - Native American non-leadership voluntary tribal participant)? Sure, but I don't have the ideas and I don't really want to work that hard. I've chosen to prioritize family and personal life over the commitment to work that being a chief requires.

This is not just liberals, by the way, though I think it's more common there. It's a curse of the elite and the hyper-driven to think there's failure in the ordinary. Not necessarily a bad thing - great advances in every aspect of life require the kinds of people who won't settle for the ordinary. But it's awfully arrogant to sit back and write off the paycheck takers as failures. A lot of us do things that allow the hyper types to do what they do in comfort, safety, and freedom.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

New math

Overloaded day + lack of sleep + overstuffed sinuses + no weekends (Thanks Hebrew Calendar!) = 1 extremely spaced-out Dan.

I need several naps.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Just Not Fair!

Reason #24576 why I can do without Obama, his administration, and their hangers-on:

Steven Chu: Americans Are Like ‘Teenage Kids’ When It Comes to Energy

Let's leave aside the correctness of the whole "the earth is being destroyed every second by fat Americans who won't give up their high standard of living" mantra of the First Church of the Green Mother (A. Gore, Pontifex Maximus). I concede freely there are things we can do to reduce waste.

What's bugging me is the sheer unveiled contempt the Nobel winning hack has for us, the great unwashed. It's the nanny mentality these people have to the ordinary folks that escapes out of them when they speak freely. The "elites" of this nation - the policy wonks and the politicians and the think tankers and the rest - are utterly convinced that we're too dumb, too unschooled, to inept to decide for ourselves what to do.

Don't get me wrong - there's plenty of this on all sides of the aisle, and frankly it's sickening. Most of these losers and nerds have never had a real job - it's been academia and "community-based service" for their entire lives. They've never had to meet a payroll, they've never had to work overtime, they've never had to budget a damned thing. And yet we're the ones who "have to understand how important this issue is."

It's a waste of breath, but here's a news flash for Dr. Chu. I'm not a moron. I happen to disagree with you. You haven't made a case to me that says you're right. I'm not a recalcitrant 15 year old - I'm waiting for an argument from you that holds even a drop of water. You mistake my refusal to sell all I own and live in a yurt for simple-minded ignorance; it's in fact a refusal to surrender the gains made by generations before me so I could live comfortably and provide for my family in the way I see fit.

If there's hope for limited government, it's when ordinary people stand up and let these egotistical wastrels understand that we're a lot smarter than they give us credit for. The proof will be if we actually vote these knuckleheads out of office.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A headline question

Here, from the AP (via Yahoo), a note about the controversy surrounding the President's comments about Kanye West:

President's opinion of Kanye West sparks debate

So standards of journalism are at issue - reporting something that should have been off the record. A fair enough discussion, I guess.

But to my question - how come none of these people give a damn that journalistic standards are already in the toilet? Objectivity, straight reporting, and nonpartisanship have disappeared from the field for all I can tell. We're left with opinion masquerading as news and people in the tank for one side of the political divide pretending to be objective.

Out of curiosity, why is none of that as important as the President referring off mike to someone as a jackass? Particularly when that person in fact behaved like a jackass?

Just asking.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In one ear, not out the other

As I posted to facebook yesterday, I can't hear with my right ear and I'm not listening with the left one.

The trip was fun, especially the unofficial family reunion along the Wenatchee River in Washington. Unfortunately, germs were part of the reunion and the whole lot of us East Coasters got sick. In my case that was a bad head cold that suddenly turned into an ear infection last week.

I got on antibiotics the next day, but for the last week my ear has been totally clogged and it's getting irritating to say the least. It's like an itch I can't reach and I feel half cut off from the world. So a trip to my wonderful ear doc (and I mean that - he's very good and a great guy to boot) is on tap for tomorrow.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was some caring person from the government to provide me with free service? It's a pity nobody's talking about health care these days.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Somewhat live

and mostly awake, I blog from the left coast. Sunny sort of downtown Bellingham, WA, home of Western Washington U. and Mrs. Skinny's parents. Part of the year. On no apparent snowbird-type schedule.

Either way, we are here, a bit unslept but mostly sound. We have a trip to Victoria, BC planned for tomorrow & thursday, and a trip out to the wilds of central WA for the weekend and a not really official family reunion with the cousins spread across this great state.

Other than the usual complications of kosher food - we stocked up in Seattle and will have to make do with it for the rest of the trip - it's nice to be here, be with family, and not going to work.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Road to hell

is paved with "clunkers"

More Cash for Clunkers III

I'm overwhelmed sometimes by the unintended consequences of most liberal policies. The intended consequences are usually bad enough, but then comes the collateral damage. Let's briefly examine a f'rinstance:

  • Bob is unemployed
  • Bob has no car
  • Bob gets a job interview for a decent but not high-paying job
  • Bob get a ride to the interview
  • Bob aces the interview
  • Bob is offered the job
  • Bob cannot take the job, because he can't afford any of the cars that remain available for sale
  • Bob remains unemployed

See, in this universe where we remove something like 1% of the cars on the road, for little noticeable effect on either environment or gas prices, we are removing 99% of the cars that the poor can afford. Meaning they remain poor.

Look, sue me, it's a straw man. But as most people recognize, there's a lot more to an economy than meets the eye. It's not a set of rules to be imposed from on high (see Stalin-era 5-year plans, etc.), but a series of very small localized transactions. You can't just decree this stuff, you have to let it happen naturally or it won't happen at all. And when it doesn't happen, strange ripples begin to occur.

Monday, August 03, 2009


So me & Mrs. Skinny decided we were due new cellphones. It being several years since the last upgrade, and us finding out they've replaced the old rotary kind with these push-button jobbies.

A word about me & technology, specifically mobile technology - I'm not so into it. In fact I resisted getting cellphone for a few years, on the theory there was no one I wanted to talk to that badly. I gave in eventually, and it has proved to be a lifesaver for that vital human function - grocery shopping. List or no list, I can now call Mrs. Skinny twelve times in 6 minutes to ask what I forgot.

Don't get me wrong - I'm a wannabe geek with a great interest in technology & putting it to good use. I just don't see the value to watching Lord of the Rings extended version on a 2 inch screen, with or without director's commentary. Even if it means I can have my hobbits anytime, anywhere. Texting is another mystery to me - why the heck would I want to communicate in eight word, poorly spelled bursts?

So the plan for new phones was simple. Mrs. wanted something she could text on as she dips her toe into the sore thumb universe, and I wanted a nothing phone. Let me make a phone call and I'm pretty happy. We check out the offerings at what passes for Ma Bell these days, and I find a nothing phone. For free, as they often do. OK, I'm good, what about Mrs?

She goes to the store, checks it out, and identifies something a little higher rent with a slide out keyboard. We finally get to the website, plunk mine in the cart, and we're poking around a bit more before pulling the trigger. So it turns out the one Mrs. wanted was no longer available. By the time we sort it all out, the higher-end version of the one she wanted is now free. And the cheapo I was looking at - is now $30? How does that happen in less than five minutes?

Needless to say, cheap wins out over simple every time. So we are both the proud owners of the Pantech Matrix Pro with its accompanying doodads. I can't find half the stuff on it, much less use it. But I must admit - I just synced it up with my work calendar, and it was a breeze. Which I think is very cool, and I will now know my schedule wherever else I am.

I'm still not texting - you can't make me.

Friday, July 17, 2009

There's an old line

about not knowing what art is. I'm fairly certain this is not it:

iBum chair automatically photocopies your butt

I'm with the author - it's not much fun if they schedule it, and the artist needs a life.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

So I think

though I couldn't swear to it, that things have taken a dramatic turn for the positive around here. I may have been moved to another department (something we've been working on for a bit) and free from the stupidity of where I've been (see Tuesday, July 2nd for more.)

Yet it's sort of hard to tell. No one's said anything directly to me about answering elsewhere (though the big boss announced it while I was in Ohio), I had a ridiculously complicated project dumped in my lap from the old department with 4 days to do it, and there's been no discussion of transition.

So, I can't entirely tell if life has changed since it doesn't really feel like it, but at least on someone's paper things are different. You'd think after nearly 9 years I'd have this place figured out, but there's always a curveball you've never seen before.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

A Shocker

French tourists seen as world's worst: survey

But, but, how? Are not the French the preeminent example of all that is right with the world? Are they not more cultured than the rest of us plebes? What happened to the Ugly American being the big problem?

I like the Expedia guy's explanation:

"The French don't go abroad very much. We're lucky enough to have a country which is magnificent in terms of its landscape and culture," he said, adding that 90 per cent of French people did their traveling at home.
Anotherwords, why would we want to visit you silly English Kannnigits when we have such a beautiful country here to sneer at?

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A message

to my asinine "supervisor":

Read your goddam emails. Pay attention when I talk to you. Get off my back. I know more than you do, I do more than you do, and you're being a colossal pain in the ass.

Rant over, and apologies for the language.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Eventful week

Back & forth to Cleveland, OH for a wedding, which was nice. Drive home not so much, though we stopped both at an outlet location (five new pairs of work pants for about $100) and a new kosher Indian place in NJ. Neither of which made up for 12 hours in the car. And may I say I hope the leadership of the Pennsylvania DOT suffers eternal damnation of a particularly heinous, traffic-related type.

Weird doings here at work, of which I can say little. Works much in my favor, admittedly, but these doings make assumptions that may be unfulfilled by the HR powers that be.

Oh, and the work email servers done blowed up real good - it's about 10 days and they're still trying to resolve the problems. Guess the Squirrel running the generator finally got PO'd enough and walked off the job.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Word

to the sneaking, lying, lazy sack of crap who tried to throw me under the bus this morning.

This will not land heavily on me, I assure you. You may throw it, but I assure it will bounce back high, hard, and fast very much in your own direction.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Brother Possum

brings the following to my attention:

Carter to Obama: Remove Hamas From Terror List

In related news, Jimmah has asked to be added to the Terror List as a replacement.

I'm beginning to think we elected the wrong Carter brother as president.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009


The depths of some people's insanity are not to be believed. Show it to me if you must, but sharing it with other people? Yet I will be a good boy and dot the i's and cross the t's, and merely hope for the final implosion.

Mind you I intend to watch from a safe distance if at all possible.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Why I love National Review

The Toga Makes a Comeback!

What other major news outlet today includes someone referring to Cato the Younger as a pretentious git?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More conferencing

Day 2 of the official show. Some decent presentations today, even the one I walked out of to call in to a conference call that never happened. So I went back in & heard the rest of what they had to say (for the record, it was about using online video for distance learning.)

I have to admit I'm both excited and depressed by what I learned. Excited because there are some really smart people out there doing really cool things with online media. Depressed because not only am I not doing it, but we're in many ways just barely keeping up.

Plus all of these people have jobs and titles that I would like to have. Whatever. It was a good conference, I actually talked to a lot of people (kind of unusual for me with people I don't know), and tomorrow it's back to reality.

Which includes a major overhaul to a system that happened today and does not seem to be working properly. But that's likely to be another blogpost.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Spent the last two days at Streaming Media East, a gathering of all the geeks media professionals smart enough to get their bosses to let them goof around in Manhattan for a few days.

Had a really good day yesterday with one of our vendors who had a half-day session with a bunch of customers. They previewed some new software that looks extremely promising and will likely cure some headaches for us. Now if they can only get it released on a convenient schedule...

Today was typical conference stuff - keynote speakers and product shills masquerading as educational sessions. I have to say Microsoft really has a tin ear sometimes. They're offering a new approach to multimedia delivery and it's awfully complicated and probably unnecessary. The poor guy sent to tout this thing took kind of a beating from some people looking at a very time consuming and costly effort to convert a ton of pre-existing content into this new method. I have to say Microsoft seems to be stumbling into a lot of new ideas without thinking them through terribly carefully. I got my own question answered - we can keep doing what we're doing now and they can go fiddle around with whatever stupidity they want.

More of the same tomorrow - it's a day out of the office and that's almost always a good thing.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Stupid ^&%$#@ people

should not be allowed near stupid ^&%$#@ computers.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Irony is lost on the Government

Government to condemn land for Flight 93 memorial

So a group of incredibly brave ordinary citizens give their lives for the freedom and safety of, minimally, hundreds of other ordinary citizens. And their government and ours proceeds with what I can only consider a thoroughly illegal and unconstitutional seizure of private property.

I don't know the whole story - maybe the owners are greedy, maybe the government has been fair as unlikely as that seems. But on the surface (and probably deep down as well) this is nothing more than the forcible removal of private property from American citizens. I don't honestly care if the property owners are greedy, miserable SOBs. The property is legally theirs, and no government that I am proud of has a right to take it away unilaterally.

Honestly - is 500 more acres (even if it is the actual crash site) going to make that much difference? Will visitors know they're on 2200 acres instead of 1700? I fail to see how this is anything more than bullying governmental fiat, and practically speaking does that make our government any better than the totalitarian regimes we routinely decry?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Thanks for the Warning

Statue of Liberty flyby startles New Yorkers

Do you think it would be asking too much for a bit more warning to the public if you're going to send jetliners low over the sky in lower Manhattan? It's not like we're paranoid or anything, but there's some history here.

And why, pray tell, does the White House need a photo op of ostensibly Air Force One (though it doesn't get the call sign without the President on board) flying over the Statue of Liberty? Is it that necessary to spend hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of taxpayer dollars to send an empty 747 flying over a landmark while scaring the crap out of ordinary citizens? I can suggest some damn fine graphic designers who could give you the same result for a lot less time, money & effort.

I won't blame the President, but somebody down there is not just a damned fool, but a profligate fool to boot. With someone else's money, naturally. Schmucks.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I am back

from our Passover break, wherein again we traveled to the Southern Stronghold of the Washington, DC suburbs.

What to talk about? Matzah, potatoes, eggs, onions. It's Taco Bell for Jews (take the same 5 ingredients and mix in different ways.) Our hostess got sick at the beginning, I got sick (and pulled my back out) at the end, and a grand time was had by all.

Oh, and all heck broke loose at work, or it seemed that way if you were an ignorant troglodyte who never figured how to ask the right questions of the right people. IMPORTANT people need things, and nobody bothered asking exactly what they wanted. My last attempts (or frankly responsibility) for this ended last July, and in the end I have no idea what's happening.

C'est la guerre.

The Pulitzers are Awarded!

And nobody cares:

Las Vegas Sun wins Pulitzer, and NY Times gets 5

I dunno - I kinda love the sad, pathetic idea of awarding prestigious prizes to an industry that's tottering in senility and incontinence into the grave.

Kinda like winning the Beauty Pageant on the Titanic, dontcha think?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Since El Possumo Asked...

Explain to me

if you possibly can, the difference between:

the government lending money to a company, then moving in and kicking out the CEO and taking over
Don Corleone's offer of "protection" and then taking over the business

Someone yesterday on the radio referred to this as a mafia power grab, and I think they have it precisely correct. What a joy Hope & Change (TM) is!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Just when I think I'm done

look what the AP provides as fodder:

NJ girl, 14, arrested after posting nude pics

Why is it some people feel the need to prosecute anything they can't manage intelligently? What's missing here is not legal action, but parenting. What's also missing is a sense of shame and propriety among people.

A society that sexualizes everything cannot, should not be surprised when children (and 14 year olds are children in my book) copy what they see. Musicians, politicians, celebrities, whatever - all sell sex. They sell it to young and old, but older people should be able to handle the messages and not get screwed up.

As long as this continues, children will observe, imbibe, and copy what these losers do. This is not something to prosecute - it's something to correct, and that's a parent's job.

Lack of something

Not a real post here, more of a "yes, I am still alive" note. I don't actually know why the posting has become more sporadic - I've noticed this across the Axis of Weevil. Not that I'm a full member, and I think I might have forgotten to even pay my Associate Auxiliary Guest membership for this year.

It's not ennui exactly, and not that things haven't been going on, but a lot of what I have to say seems repetitive. The job still sucks, the country sucks even more, and my kids still don't pay any attention to me. Writing all of that once a month (or even annually) seems like it would cover me for a while.

I admit I spend a lot more time on Facebook, which may be distracting me from blogging. But overall I think I just don't have that much to say. I'm not disappearing by any means, but I may be kind of tapped out. I don't feel funny most of the time, or angry, or thoughtful. Mostly it's a lot of daily grind interspersed with yelling at the Rangers on TV (cf last night's blown 3-goal lead).

Like the job, I'm kind of keeping my head down in life and hoping not to get fired. I admit that's pretty pathetic, but that's where it's at right now. I will, however, take suggestions for subject matter. Offer up a topic and I will consider a reasoned, thoughtful post full of pithy, intelligent horsecrap.

Friday, February 06, 2009

The sad part

is I had a good idea for a blogpost yesterday, but heck if I can remember what it was.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A conversation earlier

has me shaking my head in wonder. One of my liberal friends here at work actually said Jimmy Carter was a good president.


It's gonna be a looooooong four years.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

On the off chance

anyone reading this still thinks you can negotiate with the Palestinians in general and Hamas specifically, I point you to this article:

Rayyan Trained His Kids to Die

If you still think you can discuss peace with a man who will murder his own children to make sure they're martyrs, you have a very odd view of peace.

Basic update

Life continues for the most part. Not much hope on the work front, but I'm in a better place and making the best of it.

Biggest issue is Dad is in the hospital across the street today for what I hope is a pretty standard, fairly minor procedure. Given what happened last January I'm a bit nervous about the whole thing, but it ought to be done within the hour and with God's help all will be well.

Frankly, I'm hoping he decides to skip next January - surgery is not my idea of a fun family ritual.

UPDATE: Mom called, he's out, doc says all went well, and I'm heading out soon to check on him. I'm feeling a bit better now.