Wednesday, December 31, 2008

christina's new year's eve

gives new meaning to the term 'pub crawling'Seriously, I really, really cannot help myself.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

for the record

These are the various headers that I used this Christmas Season:
Dec 1 thru Dec 2: Within an hour or so of putting this up, The Brother called me from Germany to tell me to take it down. Apparently it hurt his eyes. My wife complained to me, also, having opened the page on her computer at school.
Dec 2, 10:59 A.M. thru Dec 3:44 P.M. This was just wrong, soooo very, very wrong, and put up solely to provoke reaction from The Brother.
Dec 2 thru Dec 7 Wrong, perhaps, but only on a kid-level, and we're all grown-ups here, right?Dec 7 thru Dec 10 Admittedly, as a sop to the wife, something not quite so horrible for a while.Dec 10 thru Dec 14 meh.Dec 14 thru Dec 17 more Bad Santa.
Dec 17 thru Dec 19 Snow (just a little) in DallasDec 19 thru Dec 22 This is actually one of my favorites
Dec 22 thru 24 Gotta have a Hanukkah banner, right?Dec 24 thru Dec 31
And finally, a New Year's banner, from Dec 31 thru the 2nd or so.

Monday, December 29, 2008

where's Adam Smith now?

Remember how they used to tell us that the reason the Capitalistic American system was better than Communism was because it used Money as a motivator? Yet to hear Republicans (the chief advocates of capitalism) talk, the primary problem with much of American business is the unreasonable demands of American workers for more money. If we cant have more money, what exactly is supposed to be our motivation to do all that work that is making our Capitalist Aristocrats so wealthy? Fear of losing our jobs (or whatever lame, troublesome health care we may have)? Pride and loyalty to a company that will drop us like a hot potato should a cheaper alternative become available?
Hmmm. Motivation through "loyalty" and fear, but not money... where have I heard of that system before?

I bring this up because where I work instituted a new policy this year that says that on weeks where we have paid holidays, we will not get overtime pay until we've worked over 40 hours. This, despite (or perhaps because) of the fact that holiday weeks are often very busy, both because they're shorter, and because management (both work and client) couldnt advance plan their way out of a wet paper bag. This means, for instance, that if you had to work on July 5th, 2008, a Saturday, you would have been paid at your normal hourly rate (until you hit the magic forty).
Now, a sensible person would ask, "Why would I want to ruin my holiday weekend by working, without even getting the benefit of time-and-a-half*?" Well, it could be because the management frowns upon such questions, considering them to be evidence of a "negative attitude". It could also be because any question of pay vs. worth is met with the question "Are you saying you dont work as hard as you could because you're not paid enough?" (a question on par with "Honey, does this make me look fat?" for the desirability of hearing it). Or it could be simply because people have actually been fired because they displayed an unwillingness to come in and work on Saturdays when it was deemed "necessary"?

As you can perhaps see, a sensible person wouldnt ask this question, unless he had a union backing him up. But since Texas is a "right to work" state (an Orwellian doctrine that supposedly means "you dont have to join a union and pay dues if you dont want to", but actually works out as "we can fire your ass for any reason, especially if you're sniffing around a question of worker's rights") most of us dont have a union (and many who do dont get much out of them**). So a sensible person keeps their head down, does the work, grumbles a lot, and dreams of a better job***. Again, is this the American Dream, or some other country's?

Here's an idea that I would never even consider putting before my staunch conservative, "free-market"-loving boss: A worker who slacks off on the job is a true capitalist. After all, the most successful capitalists are those who give the least product they can get away with for the most money they can collect.
That means that the guy in the next cubicle over from you, the one who's always surfing the web while you're hard at work - he's a better capitalist than you are. The guy who's always busting his ass, maybe working overtime off the clock, who frowns at the guy surfing the net because "he's not pulling his weight" - that man is a communist, sacrificing for the Glory of the State (or, in this case, of the Corporation), not considering his own self-interest but the needs of the Boss (who probably has far fewer than he does). That's not the Capitalist Way!

here's the way it REALLY worksAll the talk of capitalism and free markets and such is almost always really just code for the old fashioned notion of the law of the jungle. The strongest get it all but the scraps, the weak can go die, and we all pay homage to those who've got the goods, even when they've gotten it through our hard work.
Somehow, I dont think is what is meant when folks talk about the American Dream. Or is that just another Disney-like phrase to sell us some shit we cant afford?


* Hell, no, we dont get double-time on Holidays.
** My wife's Teacher's Union being a prime example.
*** and between the economy and the cost of higher education, dreaming is about all one can do anymore.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

sunday funny

It's a repeat, but it bears repeating as the BushCo continues to try and spin it's why out of the hole they've dug for themselves. I woont even discuss the right-wing columnists, because everytime you say their name is another day they get published, and their ends cannot come soon enough.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

a little song

Years ago I made up a little Christmas song, then I forgot it. I've remembered it again, so I thought I'd share it with you all.

are those plastic trees? they just aint natural
kill a tree for jesus
and his birth devine
show how much you love him
by cutting down a pine
put it in the living room
watch it dry all out
when the needles hit the floor
hear the trumps a'shout!



It works best if you sing it with a twangy, redneck accent.

Monday, December 22, 2008

you could be reading a spammer, apparently

I cant be a spammer, because I DO NOT wear tiesFor some reason, Google has tagged me as a spammer blog, which is real fucking annoying, I gotta tell you. To start with, it means that I have to do a word verification every time I want to write a post, even if I'm just saving it as a draft. How exactly did they "identify" me as a spammer? Hell, if I know, but it's not because I use Twitter or something. Is it because I access my blog from both home and work and occasionally my mom's house? I wouldnt think that'd do it. Is it because I dont use twitter? Or is it because I dont use their "follower" programs or tags or any of the other fancy doodads? Is it because I dont have ads? If I had ads, would that make me less suspect?

Maybe, if the government is going to insist on monitoring every on-line communication for terrorists, could they at least get rid of the spammers also? Then Google could get back to the business of running a web network and leave me the fuck alone.

Addendum/Update:

So they've apparently decided that I'm not a spammer, since everything seems to be cleared up. Ironically, today I looked at my spam folder in my Yahoo mailbox, and discovered that the notice sent last Friday by Blogger had been shunted there by the spam filter. Do you suppose that's a rivalry thing?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christina's Hanukkah


You realize that I cant help myself, dont you?

Friday, December 19, 2008

suggestion

The only people who should get bonuses for work done in the period immediately preceding the bonus should be the people who are doing the actual production of whatever it is that is being measured. For management, bonuses should be rewarded for long-term gains, not short-term ones. The farther one is from the bottom of the production line, the longer a period ones performance should be based over. Because let's face it, when a companycuts costs by cutting workers, the people who are making that cut work are the workers who are left. They bear the burden of the decision right from the start. If the decision turns out to be a good one, then reward it, but not until time shows whether those cut were redundant or vital. Until then, reward those who make the cuts work.

Economists love to talk about increases in productivity, but all an increase in productivity means is that your workers are worried about losing their jobs. Productivity does not fall in hard times.

I say this after reading yet another tale of managerial self-largess*. How did America return to the feudal system?


* courtesy of Pryme

Thursday, December 18, 2008

meme for the day

"The press appears ready to make up for letting Bush get away with 95 months of criminality by holding Obama accountable for any crime committed within a 400 mile radius."

That's all you need to know about how the next four years will go. Seriously. Right there. Repeat it twice a day; once in the morning and once in the evening.

My source. His source.

I encourage you to post this on your blog. Perhaps multiple times. I have no intention of watching another President be abused like Clinton was, unless he sorely deserves it, like Bush did (but didnt get).

And everytime some asshole tells you that the press has a "liberal bias", or that Obama's getting a "free ride", or that the press only reported the "bad things about Bush, but never the good", repeat that phrase.
Out loud.

Hopefully it'll sink in, because we just dont have time to wait for all the old white people to die.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

quote for the day



"I act for free, but I demand a huge salary as compensation for all the annoyance of being a public personality. In that sense, I earn every dime I make."

Michelle Pfeiffer

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

question

behold my hairdo of innocence!


So, Rod Blagojevich wont resign because he says he's done nothing wrong. Which leads me to this question: Is this simply a stance recommended by his lawyer, or does he actually believe he's innocent? And if the latter is true, what does this say about Chicago politics?

This is important, because if I'm wondering this, you can bet that Republicans are too, and they've got a somewhat bigger voice to ask that question with than a blog read by a half dozen people.

Monday, December 15, 2008

monday night at the movies


via Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

annoying flash fun for the day


Merry Christmas folks! I had to post this, at least for the day because it's so damned amusing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

surfin'

1) Apparently, Italians are very concerned about the details, even if they're fake (the details, I mean, not the Italians).
2) Pity the poor, unemployed Republicans.
3) Oh crap! Saur was right, Obama is an al-Manchurian candidate!
4) With the arrest of Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his chief of staff, Florida and Louisiana have a strong contender in Illinois for the Corruption Cup Finals!
5) An article about Paris Photo celebrating its tenth anniversary. With Photos!

Friday, December 12, 2008

good ol' days

Here's a good yardstick to measure Obama's first State Of the Union speech, should this economic mess spread out the way it looks like it will:
I must say to you that the state of the Union is not good: Millions of Americans are out of work. Recession and inflation are eroding the money of millions more. Prices are too high, and sales are too slow. This year's Federal deficit will be about $30 billion; next year's probably $45 billion. The national debt will rise to over $500 billion. Our plant capacity and productivity are not increasing fast enough. We depend on others for essential energy. Some people question their Government's ability to make hard decisions and stick with them; they expect Washington politics as usual.

from Gerald Ford's 1975 State of the Union address
How quaint, a politician that tells it like it is. And that national debt! They had no idea how good they had it back then.

Can you imagine being nostalgic for the 1970's?

via Jurassicpork

Thursday, December 11, 2008

found the perfect nickname?

David Brin has been refering to this decade as the "Naughty Aughties". Dunno if it's his idea or someone else's, but it's as good a name as I've heard yet (though in the future we may look back upon this time and refer to it just as the "Oughts", as in "there were things we ought to have done to save ourselves, but we decided to take the money instead".)

Update: Somebody has already trademarked the term, if you can believe it. It's things like this that make me think that our culture cannot collapse fast enough.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

intelligent pwn


Ha Ha!

My very first real post was about "Intelligent" Design. How I do wish I'd written about it as well as Roger Ebert did while refuting Ben I-owe-my-fame-to-Ferris-Bueller Stein's film "Expelled".

props to the Princess

Monday, December 08, 2008

first Festivus sighting!



Every year I note the first sighting of a Festivus reference that I come across, and this year's "prize" goes to Alan Sepinwall, and his call for disappointing TV for the year 2008. And, no, you cannot nominate Knight Rider, for, as Alan points out, you knew it was going to be bad from the beginning.

i got nothin'

When I first started this blog, I had nothing to say, really, so it sat idle for nearly three months while I waited for something. Turns out that something was stupidity. Now that the Bush Administration* is nearly gone, and adults will once again be occupying the White House, I'm finding that there is once again little to say.

Can you hear me now?I'll think of something, I'm sure, because this blogging thing has gotten under my skin, and the lack of stupidity (aside from the general miasma of stupidity which passes for everyday life) cannot go on, but I'm still thinking that it maybe time for a retooling of this blog. I'm thinking that it's entirely possible that Obama may actually do what the nation hired him to do, which is run the country in a responsible manner, which will mean that I can pretty much ignore politics altogether.
Or perhaps not.

Meanwhile, the economy just keeps looking grimmer and grimmer. That ought to provide me with something to discuss, at least as long as Google/Blogspot doesnt fall victim to our little Depression.


* Time was, I'd have used a snarky pseudonym like "the Bush Cabal", but lately just saying "Bush Administration" seems condemnation enough.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Christina's Christmas

I heard somewhere once that the girl in Andrew Wyeth's "Christina's World" was unable to walk, which makes the picture far more poignant. The original, I mean.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

memes to me

This is a quiz harvested from Samurai Frog, who in turn got it from Byzantium's Shores. The idea in front is to bold the things you've done. Incidentally, this was not a tag, I just felt like doing it on my own.
Have you...

Gone on a blind date

Skipped school in college, for sure. Not before, though, I dont think.

Watched someone die

Been to Canada

Been to Mexico once... oh wait, there was that time I crossed the Rio Grande down in Big Bend. No, really.

Been to Florida

Been to Africa

Been on a plane: a single round trip in a jet, and single flight in a Cessna

Been lost, never for long, though

Gone to Washington, DC once on a school trip (aforementioned jet flight) and once driving through in the middle of the night after a wrong turn.

Swam in the ocean: The Gulf of Mexico is like a lovely warm soup.

Broken a bone: Be forewarned, kids! Do not play tag on a metal merry-go-round in the winter. They're slippery.

Been in a traffic accident twice, but not while I was driving

Cried yourself to sleep: Of course not, I sprung from the womb full grown and manly - there will be no weeping

Been on TV when I was a college freshman, my fraternity pledge class threw a party. A news crew showed up as part of a story on teen drinking. It was a pretty good party, all in all.

Stole traffic signs: one "no parking" sign. I'm very sorry.

Played cops and robbers

Recently colored with crayons: crayons rock! They're also capable of wonderful, subtle tones... in the right hands (not mine, sadly).

Sang Karaoke

Paid for a meal with coins only

Done something you told yourself you wouldn't: When I moved south, I swore I would never say "y'all", wear a cowboy hat, or have a pair of cowboy boots. All three vows have fallen. This is in addition to the usual "that's not a toy" and "if your friends jumped off a cliff, would you want to also?" things said to your kids.

Made prank phone calls

Laughed until some kind of beverage came out of your nose & elsewhere: milk, always milk.

Caught a snowflake on your tongue

Danced in the rain

Written a letter to Santa Claus

Been kissed under the mistletoe

Watched the sunrise with someone

Blown bubbles

Gone ice-skating: badly

Been skinny dipping outdoors: The aforementioned soupy Gulf

Gone to the movies: duh

Have a nickname: Yes. And that's all you need to know.

Body piercings


And now, just a bunch of random questions, I guess.

1. Favorite drink?

Iced tea, or a cool cup of distilled water

2. How much do you love your job?

Not much. I dont hate my job, though, I reserve that pleasure for my boss.

3. Birthplace?

Dubuque, Iowa.

4. Favorite vacation spot?

That's the kind of question that assumes that I go on vacations more elaborate than going to see a relative on a holiday. I love the mountains, I love the desert, I love the ocean, I♥NY, I love to visit my relatives. The important thing to me is not where I go, but that I do go.

5. Ever eaten just cookies for dinner?

No, that's dumb. You need ice cream, also.

6. Favorite pie?

Mmmmm, pie. I love pie. It's better than cake, for sure. Favorite? Cheesecake (which I consider to be pie), or maybe peach pie, or key lime is good. And then there's cobbler, which is pie-like and is so good warm with a scoop of ice cream. Now I'm hungry.

7. Favorite holiday?

Thanksgiving. You get food, relatives and long weekend, but without the pressures of gift-giving. Plus, it's in the fall, and that's my favorite season.

8. Favorite food?

This "favorite" thing is kind of irritating, really. I'm a grown-up, I've got a list: Cheeseburgers, pepperoni pizza, rocky road ice cream, indian food, cheesesteaks (sans bell peppers, and with pepperoni), chicken gizzards, mashed potatoes and gravy with some sort of deep-fried meat, fresh corn on the cob, spanish clementines, salsa verde, frito chili pie made with Wendy's chili, chocolate milk shakes, peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, hot dogs with mustard and pico de gayo, catfish tacos,...

9. Favorite smell?

Spring days right after it rains or cool, crisp fall nights, roasting chicken, pig farms (wierd childhood thing), fresh mown grass, wood shops, kittens,...

10. How do you relax?

Books, unless I want to shut off my brain, then TV. Google Images is fun for hours, also.

11. How do you see yourself in 10 years?

No clue. If you had asked me this ten years ago, I never would have guessed I'd be where I am.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

new header

The Brother called from overseas to tell me how wrong my new Christmas header was, so I'll replace it with a new one. Hope this one's okay.

Addendum, 3:44 pm

I couldnt do it. I hope the Brother saw it, I wish I'd gotten a look at his face when he did, but I couldnt leave that there. So there's a new, cleaner one.

Theses are fun to make, by the way.

Monday, December 01, 2008

unconnected dots... again

Well, well, well. It seems that the Bush Administration had been warned ahead of time of the possibility of the current financial crisis, and had been warned in fairly specific terms:
- Regulators told bankers exotic mortgages were often inappropriate for buyers with bad credit.

- Banks would have been required to increase efforts to verify that buyers actually had jobs and could afford houses.
- Regulators proposed a cap on risky mortgages so a string of defaults wouldn't be crippling.
- Banks that bundled and sold mortgages were told to be sure investors knew exactly what they were buying.
- Regulators urged banks to help buyers make responsible decisions and clearly advise them that interest rates might skyrocket and huge payments might be due sooner than expected.
Will this be the hallmark of the reign of George W. Bush: obliviousness in the face of warning?
The administration's blind eye to the impending crisis is emblematic of its governing philosophy, which trusted market forces and discounted the value of government intervention in the economy. Its belief ironically has ushered in the most massive government intervention since the 1930s.

Many of the banks that fought to undermine the proposals by some regulators are now either out of business or accepting billions in federal aid to recover from a mortgage crisis they insisted would never come. Many executives remain in high-paying jobs, even after their assurances were proved false.

read this

My friend Burk writes about beer.