Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Big day tomorrow, America!

Wednesday, July 1 will mark a big day. We're about to be reminded once again that our lives need not revolve around government. The vast majority of residents of states like Illinois and California will wake up tomorrow morning same as always, go to work, take care of the kids and meet their responsibilities.

Meanwhile, thanks to their new budget thousands of additional Massholes will drive to New Hampshire to buy stuff. Michigan is still hopeless, with tens of thousands of Michiganders moving to places like Texas and North Carolina over the next year.

Madoff sentenced

Is it just me, or did this all move pretty quickly? The largest fraud in history, and he goes from arrest to conviction and imprisonment in 6 months? Maybe it's too early in the morning, but I seem to recall these types of massive fraud cases take longer to unwind. I wonder if there are people who wanted to speed this up so Bernie would keep his trap shut.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Where to go for orthodontics

Forgot to tell you. I promised to give them a plug if I was pleased with the results. $2500 and 10 months later, my teeth went from this
to this
via
If we lived in a just country, I wouldn't have to pay a thin dime! I expect you taxpayers to bail me out of the expense.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Truth about Twitter

I've said it before (scroll through the comments) and I'll say it again. Despite the hype, Twitter is the modern-day equivalent of the CB radio. Lots of hype, and it will soon be a dead technology.

The Medicated States of America

I wonder what Dr. Nick has to say.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Plug Computer

What you see above is a PlugComputer. It's a home server so small that you can fit two of them into a standard wall outlet. It draws a fraction of the power required by a desktop or notebook. Price: $100.

It's either a dead end, or these things will be ubiquitous in our homes within 3-4 years. Who knows. They are still trying to figure out what to do with it. All I want is a cheap and easy way to browse the Internet and watch Hulu/YouTube on my television. Perhaps in 2011 I'll have a $90 500 terabyte drive hooked up to a PlugComputer to store my HD video.

If I owned stock in a television network I'd be nervous right about now. What happened to printed newspapers is about to wash over television.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

TV night as a first grader

Thanks to Lileks posting about old Burger King commercials I found myself on YouTube looking at opening credits for old shows that I can remember as a small child.

Room 222. I remember one kid had a huge red afro.

The Partridge Family... with Jeremy Gelbwaks!

The Courtship of Eddie's Father. I remember how weird this show was at the time. I still like it. Harry Nilsson did the theme song.

Love American Style. Vomit American Style is more like it.

Michael Jackson is dead

I can't bring myself to make fun of him. He was so talented. His whole family was. Fame screwed him up bigtime and his twisted desires ruined his career. No more jokes, let's remember the man as he was.

Work stuff

Item 1: Over the years we've received very few product returns. Maybe one or two of our widgets were returned within any given quarter. The owner, aka my boss, has strived for 25 years to maintain a good reputation in the business and he takes it personally when a customer isn't satisfied with our widgets. So we offer a 30-day money back return policy.

The returns are way up since March. The techs and I inspect the RMA packages and we can all see that these people are using the crap out of our widgets for a week or two, then returning them. On a business level I think this is a really slimy practice. So after 25 years we are about to end our generous return policy and introduce restocking fees.

Item 2: As of June 22, all orders from government agencies in California are to be paid by COD cashier's check, wire transfer or credit card. We do not accept PO's Net 30. IOU's are not acceptable forms of payment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hot enough for ya?

I don't know how you folks in Phoenix can hack this. Spare me the "it's a dry heat" bullcrap. Humidity is way down here too, and it still hurts to breathe.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

American IT grads are lazy and unemployable

From Computerworld,
Vineet Nayar, the highly respected CEO of HCL Technologies, one of India's hottest IT services vendors ... related a recent experience with an education official in a large U.S. state. The official wanted to know why HCL, a $2.5 billion (revenue) company with more than 3,000 people across 21 offices in 15 states, wasn't hiring more people in his state. Vineet's short answer: because most American college grads are "unemployable."
...
They're far less inclined than students from developing countries like India, China, Brazil, South Africa, and Ireland to spend their time learning the "boring" details of tech process, methodology, and tools--ITIL, Six Sigma, and the like. ... [So] most Americans are just too expensive to train.
I agree to a certain extent. I worked for a dot.bomb until 2001, and in the two years leading up to the bust the company was on an insane hiring binge, bringing in code monkeys fresh out of high school. They didn't even need college, they just needed to code. They were cocky SOBs, too. 20-year-old kids with no college demanding $60, $70 even $80k, or they'd walk. Almost as bad, they demanded that management add "engineer" to their job titles. The majority of them played video games most of the day.

But that was then. That insanity is long gone, and the people doing IT work now are for the most part qualified. I also wonder where the great Indian tech products are. Mr. Nayar, if Indian IT people are so much better, where's India's equivalent of the iPod? A Blackberry? A Mac? Was Photoshop created by an Indian company? How about Twitter, or Facebook? I am not denigrating Indian IT workers, but it doesn't seem that the Indian system produces much in the way of creativity or initiative in developing new products.

(Update: Instalanche while I am at work! Thanks, Glenn.)

RIP Ed McMahon

I think his financial situation was a big contributor to his health problems.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Liar Liar

Today I was lied to by two different people who I know pretty well. Flat-out, in-your-face lies. Guess I don't know them as well as I thought.

I don't understand it, but at this stage in my life it doesn't bother me. I just let it roll off with a "whatever" and move on.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

I think that Father's Day is more important than Mother's Day. Good mothers are vital, but I think that too many dads get lazy and wander away from family. Good fathers need to be appreciated, and I don't think they are appreciated enough.

So if you are a good dad, happy Father's Day.

No more Casey Serin

Casey Serin shut everything down. The latest cycle has come to an end after less than 2 months.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

France continues to destroy nature

The cheese-eating surrender monkeys are at it again.
The French government is to give all 18 to 24-year-olds a free newspaper once a week for a year as part of 600 million euro bailout for the press. The concept was originally outlined in January, when the government announced its plan to offer French teenagers a year-long subscription to the newspaper of their choice, commencing on the day of their 18th birthday. The extension of the age range was announced yesterday at the Ministry of Culture meeting of the États généraux de la presse.

The idea has proven to be a particularly controversial component of the government's package of financing and reform formulated to restore the health of the French printed press. The Sarkozy administration has dedicated an exceptional 200 million euros a year, for a 3-year period, to aid the printed press. The Culture Ministry announced during the meeting that more than half of this year's budget had already been designated.
It seems pointless to me. Why would French teenagers read boring oldspapers that contain yesterday's news and entertainment when they can get today's news and entertainment online? The French government is murdering thousands of peaceful, innocent trees in order to subsidize a dying industry.

It's so stupid that I bet the US Congress and President Obama will do something similar in order to placate America's print media. Bashing France is so 2005. We're all cheese-eating surrender monkeys now.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Weird Al: Craigslist

I wonder who's playing the keys?

Countdown

Exactly one week left before the metal comes off. I'm gonna floss for about 4 hours next Friday night.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Dodge Aries

Faces of Economic Doom


From Calculated Risk. The eight people above don't look dangerous, do they? Two years after the madness ended I am still shaking my head in disgust.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Your Congress hard at work

It's good to know that the economic shitstorm has passed! Our US Congress is now focused like a precision laser on more important things, like spending millions of tax dollars and thousands of man hours to harass Sammy Sosa over alleged steroid use. I certainly hope that they don't forget Roger Clemens and Mark McGwire. Athletes who sprouted Popeye arms who may or may not have used steroids are the #1 problem in this country.

Let's have a trade war

If China's economy is so great, why are they enacting the very same policies they criticized the US for?
China has issued a ‘Buy Chinese’ order as part of its £400bn government stimulus package in a move that could fuel tensions between Beijing and Washington over claims of trade protectionism during the current financial crisis.
Guys like Brad Setser trust the numbers released by the Chinese. I know that Setser is smarter than me, but I think that the Chinese system is structured towards tremendous statistical lies.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Medical Insurance Reform

I just wasted 3 hours of my life trying to debug this POS Dell box running Vista. I've had it for 2 months and it has sucked big time. I find myself at Fry's playing around with the iMacs more frequently. I am giving serious consideration to taking the leap and filing for divorce from Bill Gates. (No, I don't want to dick around with Linux because iTunes is central to my daily computing requirements.)

Anyway.

ObamaCare is in the news, and everyone has an opinion. You know what? The payment system for medical care in the US is broken. I know that the present system isn't really free enterprise and it is subject to massive government interference. I know that illegals swamp our emergency rooms. I know that socialized medicine results in rationed medical care. So what? All I do is look at the bottom line, which tells me that my cost for medical insurance increases 15-20% each and every year, even though my kids and I have no pre-existing conditions.

The system is broken. Everyone know this. At this point I don't care how the hell it's fixed, just fix it. The socialists win? Fine. Whatever. Otherwise, give me a better alternative.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Evil Dwarf

The evil dwarf who licks Melonhead's boots is in trouble. Or so they say.

Lots of people are excited about what's going on in Tehran, but I am not sure why. The mullah's are in charge and nothing will change. So go ahead and stick a green banner on your website. I mean, really. Unless you're a naive airhead like Jimmy Carter, did you really think that Iran would have an honest election?

Summer Camp

My son is at Camp Cullen. First time ever at summer camp. So far, so good. No "Daddy, I want to come home!" phone calls. I can even see daily pictures of him on the Camp Cullen website.

My fondest memories of childhood were at summer camp. For adults who sorta miss summer camp, I recommend Outward Bound. The food is much better, and the activities are a lot more interesting. The facilities are a lot worse than summer YMCA camp, though.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Drag Me To Hell

This movie rules. Home owner does too many cash out refis, then begs her loan officer to refi once again so she can keep her house. Too bad, she's a foreclosure victim, and back to the bank her house goes. But wait, she is also an evil supernatural hag who exacts revenge on the greedy lenders!

Ron Howard and Tom Hanks have jumped the shark

Against my better judgment I was dragged to Angels & Demons last night. I never read the book, and I think that Dan Brown writes crap. But a certain someone wanted to see it, so off we went.

Illuminati! Anti-matter! Catholic Church conspiracies! Pounding music! Angels & Demons is supposed to be a thoughtful thriller, but in reality it's a bloated load of pretentious nonsense. I kept falling asleep, was jerked awake, only to find the movie had another 90 minutes to run. Then 80 minutes. Then 70 minutes...

The careers of Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are really in decline if they are reduced to this. Hanks is looking bloated, and during the few moments I was able to stay awake it looked like he was having a hard time mouthing his lines with a straight face.

This was 2 1/2 hours of my life that I want back.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Let There Be Rock

Never saw this before. How old was Angus? 16? RAWK!

11th grade. I can remember a kid confronting me over my AC/DC t-shirt. "Did you know that AC/DC stands for 'Anti-Christ/Devil's Child'?"

It seems pretty tame now.

Cancer cured with ear candling

Psychic prediction from 1997:
Primitive medical techniques such as chemotherapy, radical surgery, and radiation treatments will no longer be needed to cure cancer in the future. Trained scientists doing research into ear candling will discover that ear candling drains the body of all cancerous cells. JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine will devote entire issues to this field, and will add special "pop-up" sections in order to better describe the procedure. In addition, ear candling will save the domestic candle industry, which was adversely affected by the NAFTA treaty two years ago. Medical-quality candles will be at a premium, and large factories will be opened in the former "rust-belt" states to fill the demand. I envision this occurring by the year 2001.
My longtime online friends know that I am a TESTED--SELECTED psychic.

Chemtrails

There are some truly spectacular kooktrails over Katy this afternoon.

On my old website I had a whole section on kooktrails, which generated a lot of hate mail. But I did get some good ones:

Attached is a picture that "proves" that chemtrails are not contrails. Contrails cannot be turned on and off at will. Look at this and you will see dots and dashes of the chemicals being sprayed that look kinda like Morse code. Hey, wait a minute! That IS Morse code.


dash dot dash, dash dash dash, dash dash dash, dash dot dash,


That spells KOOK :)

Zillow Graffiti

Home with a sick kid today. Meanwhile, W.C. did something funny.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Where's Nancy?

Nancy Pelosi has been front-and-center on the news every day for the past 2 years, railing against the fascist Chimpy Bushitler regime. Then about a month ago, she vanished. She went off to China for something and she hasn't appeared since. I wonder why she's so quiet? Hmmm.

Brace yourselves for waves of California refugees

Holy moly. You thought things are ugly? Things are about to get real ugly.

Update: Maybe things aren't that bad. California taxpayers will be pleased to know that there are state workers paid to fuss over this, even during the current budget crisis. What could be their job title? Senior Branding Coordinator I?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Houston Dome

From the Discovery Channel. It still doesn't address enormous flying cockroaches. Humorous video here. Maybe we can get some Obamabucks to build the KatyDome!

(via SwampLot)

Balls of Steel

See Joseph Kittinger. Even as a kid I remember being fascinated by this photo. Imagine stepping off a platform at 102,800 feet.

Michel Fournier is attempting to break Kittinger's record, but it just isn't the same. Fournier is relying upon the latest technology, while Kittinger was literally taking a leap of faith. He went where no man had gone before, and with very primitive gear. With that said, I hope that Fournier succeeds and brings back lots of cool video.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Hey China: Shut the hell up.

The Chinese are getting nervous. They are sweating over the possibility that the US dollar could get wiped out.

Tough crap, China. You practice the age-old craft of mercantilism by forcing your currency down so that you can flood our retailers with cheap goods at the expense of US workers. Now you're sitting on an enormous pile of US dollars that you fear could be worthless.

Who's dumber? The country that produced a lot of paper and exchanged it for manufactured goods, or the country that willingly accepted (and encouraged production of) that paper? Which country is more screwed?

Gold Mania!

The nation's airwaves and printed media are filled with, shall I say, shysty pitches to buy and sell gold. It reminds me of a certain mania that peaked in 2005 or so.

Lots of people are gold maniacs.
Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co., the third-largest U.S. life insurer by 2008 sales, has bought gold for the first time the company’s 152-year history to hedge against further asset declines.

"Gold just seems to make sense; it's a store of value," Chief Executive Officer Edward Zore said in an interview following his comments at a conference hosted by Standard & Poor's in Brooklyn. "In the Depression, gold did very, very well."

"The downside risk is limited, but the upside is large," Zore said. "We have stocks in our portfolio that lost 95 percent." Gold "is not going down to $90."
That should really instill confidence.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

How bad are things in the rural south?

The lumber mills in Winnfield are closed or barely functioning. (The only activity I could see were a few piles of wood chips for mulch.) The logging trucks, ubiquitous in northern Louisiana and East Texas, are now rarely seen. Things are so bad that D.J.'s, the beer joint across the highway from the timber mill, shut down recently. The door factory I wrote about last year that would provide 200 permanent jobs was built but never opened up for business. The only local auto dealership offers an unlucky combination of GM and Chrysler products. Here's how bad it is: The local Popeye's shut down. When Popeye's shuts down, you know things are bad.

But it's not universally bad. Relatives say there is a mini-boom up in Shreveport thanks to a massive natural gas play.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Winnfield, Louisiana ROCKS!

I'm off to my annual summer family reunion in Winnfield, Louisiana. Yeehaw!




I like to kid. They're good people.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Brian Deese

Brian Deese (pictured above) is in charge of dismantling one of America's most important corporations. How did it come to this?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rocket fired at Continental Express flight

This is strange.
Liberty County Sheriff’s officials are expected to meet with the FAA on Tuesday to discuss what a Continental Express pilot reported as a “missile or rocket” flying near his airplane.

A pilot reported to the Federal Aviation Administration that at about 8:15 p.m. Friday, an object passed within 150 feet beneath the aircraft, sheriff’s officials said.
What's even more strange is that a similar incident was reported last year. I think we're looking at some dipsh**s with model rockets that are a step above what you can get from Estes.

Got Cars?

A reader (thanks, B.) sent this photo, taken near the Houston Ship Channel. We are swimming in oil and imported cars. They are running out of storage for both. So where are the bargains?