Thursday, April 16, 2009

Susan Boyle

You've all probably seen this already. I don't care. Here it is again.

Susan Boyle on Britain's Got Talent

You go, girl!

I like watching Simon's face change when she starts singing.

Never before have I purchased an album from a contestant on one of these shows. I think that will soon change.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tea Party

This rambles a bit.  You have been warned.

There’s something called a Tea Party Movement happening in the US.  My understanding from reading a bit about it is that it is comprised of people who think we need to go back to Bush’s policies in order to get out of the recession that was caused by Bush’s policies.  The organizers behind it are “conservatives”, such as Fox News.  (I used quotation marks because I don’t think today’s “conservatives” have any understanding of conservatism.  But I digress.) 

And speaking of digressions: I wonder what the present value would be of all the tea we tossed into the harbor, lo these many years ago.  Just wondering.  Good tea is pricey, after all. 

But this Tea Party thing concerns me in another way.  I don’t know if people have noticed or not, but President Obama, the times I’ve seen him, has not been playing the blame game.  He has bent over backwards to not blame his predecessor (George W. Bush, for those who may have forgotten) for the ills faced by our country.  Even as he spent the first 10 minutes in office reversing all those executive orders. 

The word is Class, and it’s something that has been noticeably absent from politics for, um, a while. 

But the GOP, instead of praising, or even acknowledging it, is instead moving to capitalize on it.  (Get it?  Capitalize?)  It seems that the Tea Movement is the first step in shifting the blame onto Obama, by taking advantage of the fact that he doesn’t seem to want to play dirty. 

Now, for the intelligent in this country, such as myself, this is not a credible threat.  I see through it, thus it has no effect. 

But what we keep underestimating is the vast sea of genetic curiosities who are, believe it or not, actually registered to vote.  They’re out there, folks.  They are the reason I bemoan the anti-poker legislation this country has passed.  Those were good times.  All in with 6-2 offsuit.  Really.

But now they are being whipped into a frenzy, with talk of revolution.  The GOP leadership (by which I mean Rush Limbaugh) is behind it.  Which, in my book, constitutes evidence that their ideology is unsound.  Rational presentation of their case has stopped working, so now they have to do this.  At no point does it enter their minds that some of their ideas might actually be wrong.

And the longer-view prospects are dim.  Should they succeed, class (remember class?  This is an article about class) will be forever removed from the political arena, because it just doesn’t work.  So think about that.  And if you know some of the aforementioned curiosities who cannot think, just start a cult and invite them all in.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dissin’ the Post Office

It must have been a pretty slow news day in Modesto, CA. 

The headline reads, “Couple’s Tax Documents Certifiably Lost”, by Jeff Jardine.  Basically a couple had sent their tax stuff to their tricky accountant, and the package was instead delivered to the IRS in Fresno. 

Several things: 

1.  I love the mean, ‘unamused’ look the couple gave for the picture.  Perfect indignation for someone so very wronged. 

2.  Their tax documents, according to the story, are not lost, as the headline proclaims.  Their location is known. 

3.  I was awestruck by the coincidence that their tax documents were mistakenly delivered to the IRS.  Perhaps the mail clerk was merely clairvoyant, and expedited delivery to the final destination.  Or perhaps the couple in question accidentally put the IRS label on the envelope.  Choose for yourself which scenario is more likely. 

4.  I’m a postal employee, so perhaps my opinion should be taken with a grain of salt, but the US Postal Service processes about 700 million pieces of mail each day.  Why is it that when one gets lost (or misdirected), it is newsworthy?  All the people I know at the post office are hardworking and conscientious.  And sometimes make an error (most often resulting in delay rather than misdelivery). 

5.  The writer mentions at the end that the couple will send their copies either UPS or FedEx.  They’re willing to spend more money on a company that, in their eyes, has a less than 1/700 million chance of “losing” their package.  Dave and Ann Milhous, I salute your acumen. 

6.  This is.... aggressive: 

Nor has she gotten an explanation from the post office about how their information wound up in Fresno which, if my AAA road map isn't outdated, is still due south of Modesto. San Jose is due west. 

What kind of explanation would satisfy them?  Do they think that one of us, in the process of delivering it to the wrong destination, thought to scribble down the reason for doing so?  I have encountered many such people in my time, “demanding” an explanation, when there is no way of knowing.  However, I refer the reader to Number 2, above.

And Mr. Jardine's smart-alecki-ness seems unwarranted as well.  Does he think we sort the mail by the direction it's heading?

7.  While not the subject of my rant, I am amused that they think anyone at the IRS has the time to stop what they are doing at this time of year, and go sort through what must be a mountain of post looking for a package with a specific return address.  That borders on delusional.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Sixth Sense

This looks like a technoweenie's wet dream.

Discount Rate

So I'm putzing around at IMDB, and for whatever reason I'm reading the little bio on Charlie Sheen.  Included therein is this tidbit:

In 1995, the same year he was briefly married to model Donna Peele, he was called to testify at the trial of Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss.  At the trial, while under oath he admitted to spending nearly $50,000 on 27 of Fleiss' $2,500-a-night prostitutes.

Seven of which, I must assume, were freebies.  Or fourteen 2-for-1 specials.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Extreme Golf

I'm not a golfer, but check out this hole.

Par 3, my ass. Story here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Two Unrelated Items

A couple of news items lately have piqued my interest, so here I am, sharing.


Ballpark Figures are Too High, Fans Say 

A poll shows that baseball fans are unhappy with high ticket prices.

Margaret Costello, a retired teacher from Sandusky, Ohio, assessed blame across the board.

"I'm not happy about the prices," she said this week at the Indians' new camp. "Every sports team in America, every professional athlete, is out of line.

"We have people losing their jobs, and CC Sabathia — I love him, he was my favorite — he gets more millions than a third-world country's national budget?" she said.

"I'm here for spring training, but I think this is the last time. Every year, I get more disillusioned with the millionaire players. Now, with Americans really in a financial bind, these guys keep getting richer? It has to stop." 

I disagree; I don’t think she “assessed blame across the board”.  In fact, she left out the actual guilty party: the fans.  In other words, herself.  If no one bought a ticket to a game, I guarantee prices will drop next season.  A lot.

But that's not going to happen:

Overall, almost 60 percent of poll respondents said going to a game was more expensive than other entertainment they might consider. Yet there was no indication they would stay away because of the prices — only 11 percent who went to a game in 2008 said they aren't likely to go back this year. 

Sports franchises exist to make money.  They’re not out to “get” anyone; they are interested in maximizing profits.  Period. 

Do you know what the difference is between selling 1 ticket for a million dollars, and selling 20,000 tickets for $25? 

Half a million.  Guess which way?

Point is, selling fewer tickets for a higher price can be more profitable.  The teams will continue charging whatever the market will bear. 

And I love that another thing sports fans whine about is the high player salaries.  That tickles me.  High ticket prices and high player salaries.  Hmm.


And now for something completely different:


9 patients made nearly 2,700 ER visits in Texas 

AUSTIN, Texas – Just nine people accounted for nearly 2,700 of the emergency room visits in the Austin area during the past six years at a cost of $3 million to taxpayers and others, according to a report. 

The $3 million figure comes from this: 

The average emergency room visit costs $1,000. Hospitals and taxpayers paid the bill through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Kitchen said. 

Now, before you cry a river for those poor hospitals, bear in mind that these are the same people who charge you $20 for an aspirin.  Or a band-aid.  Or $40 for one of each.  So I’m guessing that the $1.000 figure just might be inflated a bit.  I wonder if the statement that hospitals and taxpayers are footing the bill means that taxpayers are only paying $10 for the band-aid. 

And as for the fact that such a small group accounted for such a large number of visits: doesn’t anyone keep records?  Couldn’t they have figured this out sooner?  Or is it just possible that $10 for a band-aid still shows a profit?


Google is Date-Sensitive

Gmail has a new announcement for something called "Gmail Autopilot".  The link leads here.  Take a look, and love the Google, as I do.