Thursday, November 20, 2008

Huh??? Explain this, please!

For a few days there it was looking like Congress was going to begrudgingly put up the money to keep the Big 3 afloat for a while and hopefully begin the turn-around to making the companies profitable again. But no. It doesn’t appear that there is willingness anymore, and what appears to be the big fat straw that broke the camel’s back is their individual luxury jet jaunts into DC for the hearings. That was just too much, Congress is saying. And the media. And stupid other people who are smart but who cares because I think that luxury jets are not the point.

Essentially what the Congress is saying is this: Big 3, we don’t need your tax revenue or GDP, we don’t need the subsequent small businesses that count on you for their livelihood, we don’t think the 3 million people working for you deserve their jobs, they just make too much money and have way-too-good benefits, so we think they are better off getting unemployment and finding another job, and we don’t need the technology that you might have created enabling green energy or alternative fuel vehicles or any other thing you might have contributed. And in fact, this is a great time to let you fail – right now when we are in our biggest financial crisis maybe ever.

Make no mistake, as ugly as financial bailout is, the fallout of the Big 3 failing will be far, far worse.

Listen, Congress, the Big 3 are asking for 3% of what you’ve wasted so far on companies that have no accountability and have nothing to show for it. Can’t you spare a little change for the sake of our nation, our future and to protect this country from the devastation of total auto industry meltdown? Just a little change!?!?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Today's funnies

Here are some....oh, let's just say "interesting" international interpretations of our language (as posted by Marcheline's Mental Meatloaf):

"On the menu of a Swiss restaurant: Our wines leave you nothing to hope for." And what should we pair our wine with, a big fat helping of despair?

"In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk." Just a Paris thing?

"Advertisement for donkey rides in Thailand: Would you like to ride on your own ass?" The answer is, I do it everyday, right Chris? Oh, kill me! Not a good wife, no.

"In a Rome laundromat: Ladies, leave your clothes here and spend the afternoon having a good time."

"In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid."

"In a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service." As opposed to really shitty self-service.

"On the menu of a Polish hotel: Salad a firm's own make; limpid red beet soup with cheesy dumplings in the form of a finger; roasted duck let loose; beef rashers beaten up in the country people's fashion." Can I get that beaten up in the city people's fashion, please?

"In an Acapulco hotel: The manager has personally passed all the water served here." Refreshing!

"From a Japanese information booklet about using a hotel air conditioner: Cooles and Heates: If you want just condition of warm in your room, please control yourself."

"From a brochure of a car rental firm in Tokyo: When passenger of foot heave in sight, tootle the horn. Trumpet him melodiously at first, but if he still obstacles your passage then tootle him with vigor." Actually, this methodology explains how Chris and I fell in love; first he trumpeted me melodiously, and then followed up by tootling me with vigor.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Smart is as smart does.

I just spent four days – FOUR DAYS – trying to debug some Visual Basic code for an Access database I created. I was executing a FROM statement using table names that contained commands in them. Access no likey; apparently Access likes it when you use non-command names for your tables so it doesn’t get confused. It’s kinda like when you name your kid “Kick.” You want to tell your kid to pick up the ball, but when you say, "Kick, the ball-" the kid kicks the ball and never listens long enough for you to tell him to pick up the ball. Now, you have to go chase the ball. You’d think this would be rather intuitive for a genius like me, but nooo……it took me four days to figure it out.

It just goes to prove my “smart is as smart does” theory. About 5 years ago I took an IQ test out of curiosity. I scored so freaking high I thought for sure it must have been a mistake. I found another IQ test, took it and scored higher. I concluded that the IQ test had been dumbed down for the typical American and average smart people like me were scoring as if we were Einstein’s offspring, and maybe 50 years ago we’d just be smarter-than-average-Joe’s offspring. Perhaps I was right.

So, does being smart actually help you in life? Well, I had a pretty easy time of it in school. I didn’t have to work really hard, although I did study. I seem to pick up on things pretty quickly, but I get bored easily, so long before I’ve mastered something I move on to the next thing. I guess you could say I’m a generalist.

But when I take this whole “smart” label and apply it to my life, I see little evidence of being truly intelligent. Perhaps the reason has to do with that whole EQ versus IQ issue. The EQ theory says that the true intelligence that matters is the one that governs how you problem solve and make decisions and relate to other people and evaluate your experiences and observations. If I were a high scorer on that scale, I would have probably figured out my syntax error days ago. Maybe even on the first day!

Which leaves me thinking – as I’ve often done – that being smart is not such a gift afterall. As a matter of fact, if you think about it, we all know several of those super-smart-but-never-quite-succeeded people. And I do happen to know a lot of individuals that have gone very far in spite of not having been a top scholar.

So maybe it isn’t such a bad thing when your kid comes home with Bs and Cs instead of straight As – provided your kid does a reasonable job of interpreting and evaluating the life they lead and seems to make good decisions, because as far as my life experience has shown me, it is these people that succeed more often then stupid old geniuses like myself. So, wish for common sense, folks and leave the calculatin’ to the mad geniuses – you’ll be much happier for it.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

What it is all about.....

I ran across a beautiful statement by Michelle Obama in an interview about the transition her family will make from Chicago and the relative obscurity of their lives there to the national stage in Washington DC. Here she is responding to the question of what will be most important in the transition for her family:

"...But just continuing to make sure that our first priority is getting them
into schools that make sense for them, making sure that they have activities
that they care about, that we're there for them to help them with their
homework, that we go to their parent-teacher conferences, that we go to all
their events. It's important to continue to do that, no matter what their
father's job is. And he has to continue to make them a priority even as he's the
leader of the free world. I think that's an important thing for him to model for
others. It's this notion that if he can do it, then we all have to really fight
for it. Because what we're going to be fighting for, for our kids, is what we
have to fight for, for all of our kids. They have to be center in this society
and this nation. We have to put their education, their needs, their well-being
first and foremost. As adults, we can balance the other stuff. We're the
grown-ups [laughs]."

Now, please contrast her statement with the first comment posted below this interview:

Posted By: Clatech @ 11/06/2008 11:00:37 AM
Richard Pryor had keen insight when he said "White people are so
I'm so fed up with our corrupt political system after breaking my
back for years building my business and fighting from going bankrupt, a bunch of
naïve Americans elect an even more naïve career politician, president. I and
many of my business partners have decided to pack it in, I'm laying off 50 plus
workers starting next month and retiring. No way in hell am I going to pay this
numskull's capital gains tax and run my business into the ground before I can
cash out!

Perhaps the gentleman who is so concerned about cashing in his business has forgotten why he did it all in the first place...his family. We need a leader who stands up and says, "It isn't all about making as much money as we can before we die. It is about being there for our families, providing good opportunities for our children, and creating a society that they can live peacefully and prosper in." I am so proud that our next President believes in the value of family over the value of a dollar.

That is not to say that the economic future of this country isn't important; in fact, each family's prosperity and ability to provide opportunities for their children relies on a healthy economy. But I think the thing that offended me most about this man's post is that he was going to lay off 50 workers - who no doubt each have families - so that he can "cash out." No doubt he failed to listen to Obama's acceptance speech where Obama explained that the economic trouble our nation is in will be felt by all and would need cooperation and sacrifices by all so that the nation can recover. Essentially what this man said is, "Hey, I've worked hard all these years so I deserve to retire on a big fat money couch." Ok, so far this is pretty consistent with American values, but then he goes on (ok, I go on paraphrasing his private thoughts): "Now this idiot politician wants me to pay more in taxes if I cash out like I want to, so in order to cash out with my big fat money couch, I will lay off 50 people and to hell with what they need, I want my big fat money couch!"

I liked what one poster replied to him, "Wow, dude, you need to take a Valium and turn off Fox News and then things will start to feel a lot better." I can't agree more.

And you know, that is why I am so darn happy Obama won; we have come to a place of economic and military disaster because of an administration that believes in the kind of values expressed by "Clatech" the idiot poster. I shudder in fear of what another four or eight years of that kind of thinking would have done to our country and to our families.

Remember, folks, it is really all about our children. If we keep that in focus, kind of like the What Would Jesus Do reflection, I think we can keep it all really straight. Forget that, and it all tanks. Simple.

article excerpt taken from, "Michelle, On the Move" by Richard Wolffe, 11/5/08

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's a new world today....

"On January 20, an African-American will begin leading a country that first
brought Africans to its shores as slaves and refused their descendants full
rights until well into the 20th century; a country that was still wondering
until the election results finally came in if race would doom his

There are many things to be said about the new world President Elect Barack Obama will usher in as the 44th President of the United States. However, everything - absolutely everything - takes on a deep, abiding gravitas because of the truth of the statement above. It is the starting point of understanding what this election means to America, and it is the starting point of understanding how deeply we crave change and unity and repudiation of the nightmare of 8 years of the Bush administration (not to mention the 6 years of a Republican Congress). We want to be seen in a new light; we want a new perspective on the challenges this nation faces; we want a new approach in everything. But at the core of all this angst and need and want on behalf of the United States lies an historical paradigm shift in the way we see our nation, and it is because we elected a black man from humble origins. And I don't know about all of you, but I felt the earth shift last night, and I don't ever think this world will be the same.

Quote by Jonathan Mann,, The New Face of the United States, 11/5/08

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

"Believe that you can do it, under any circumstances. Because if you believe you can, then you really will. That belief just keeps you searching for the answers, then pretty soon you get it."
– Wally "Famous" Amos

"Can anything be sadder than work unfinished? Yes, work never begun."
– Christina Rossetti