The funniest quote for me, "I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette."
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
The funniest quote for me, "I mistook the metal/normal switch on the Walkman for a genre-specific equaliser, but later I discovered that it was in fact used to switch between two different types of cassette."
"The problem is Chavez," one of my friends kept repeating on the phone. "If he would go, all of this nonsense would stop in Nicaragua, Bolivia and now here. He is meddling in our affairs and has caused this whole mess by providing Zelaya delusions of grandeur." When I asked him what he meant by that, he told me that Zelaya wants to be like Chavez, essentially a president for life and the Honduran constitution specifically forbids re-election.
This CNN article is an interesting one because if you really read it closely you will see that without coming out and saying it they are intimating that Venezuela has been influencing events in Honduras throughout this unfortunate incident.
Consider the following two passages.
"Though deposed, Zelaya continued to carry out his presidential duties and was scheduled to speak before the U.N. General Assembly at 11 a.m. Tuesday. He attended a special meeting of the leftist group ALBA -- the Spanish acronym for the Bolivarian Alliance of the Peoples of Our America -- on Monday in Nicaragua. ALBA, founded by Cuba and Venezuela in 2004 to counter U.S. influence in Latin America, said member nations would withdraw ambassadors and other top diplomats from Honduras until Zelaya was restored to power."
"The TV station, formed by several Latin American governments and partly funded by the pro-Zelaya Venezuelan government, also aired images of demonstrators setting fires on streets and black smoke rising."
The station is Telesur and my friend says that this is what is being aired constantly. It is not until you get to the very bottom of the article that you get the following passages.
"Zelaya had been at odds with the other branches of government over a referendum he wanted to hold Sunday. The nation's Supreme Court had ruled that the referendum was illegal and Congress had voted not to hold it.
Zelaya disregarded those actions and vowed to hold the vote Sunday anyway."
Chavez, who has no official standing in Honduras, other than Top Meddler in other countries' sovereign affairs, has called the top general, (who refused to follow Zelaya's presidential order which violated the constitution this general had sworn to protect and defend), a traitor and worm and vowed to invade Honduras. He has made these statements publicly and I wonder why CNN does not report that.
Finally there is this in the article.
"According to mainstream Honduran media sources, Zelaya's removal has the widespread support of the political and business elite and the military, and it appears doubtful that he will be able to return to power," said Heather Berkman, an analyst with the Eurasia Group consulting firm."
It is not just the elite. The middle class, like my friend, understands that Zelaya is a populist in the mold of Chavez who will lead them down the path of socialism and eventual bankruptcy. No one in a democracy wants a president for life. The two are mutually incompatible.
The problem is Chavez. He is a cancer on the continent. It started in Venezuela and is now metastasizing.
On June 30, 1997, in Hong Kong, the Union Jack was lowered for the last time over Government House as Britain prepared to hand the colony back to China after ruling it for 156 years.
Monday, June 29, 2009
The one thing we do know about Jobs is that he is very secretive about future plans (be they his or his company's), but his being there for any length of time, as long as he seems to be doing well health-wise, is good for Apple's stock. Maybe they will fix my wife's iPod now. It has never worked right since the day I gave it to her. Wait a second, maybe it's my wife who is faulty and not the iPod, because as we know, everything that Jobs ever dreamed up has worked like a charm.
Fourth of July is coming up and while there should definitely be plenty of cold beer in the communal tub at the party, don't forget you may have several wine drinkers there as well. So throw in a great tasting jug wine or two at a very inexpensive price for those guests who prefer the grape over hops. They will thank you for it. Related article here.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
They had to work hard for it, but the "jogo bonito" or beautiful game as it is called was abundant in the second half, proving the Brazilians to be the juggernaut they are reputed to be. Congratulations to Brazil for their victory and their third Confederations Cup title. Congratulations also to the U.S. squad for a great showing. Finally, great job by South Africa hosting the tournament.
On June 28th, 1914, a Serbian activist assassinated Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and his wife, in Sarajevo. Within two months, tensions had escalated into the First World War.
Saturday, June 27, 2009
I found myself bursting out laughing at some of his passages while nodding my head in agreement on almost every page. Leary obviously uses hyperbole to get his point across at some stages, but that just makes the book that much funnier and on target. If you want to know what’s wrong with our effete, dumbed down, drug-addled national psyche these days then Dr. Dennis Leary’s book is for you. But if you can’t laugh at yourself and others then don’t read this book because as Dennis Leary points there are endless things you can buy in America - but a sense of humor isn't one of them.
Friday, June 26, 2009
Well, it may be happening again. A shutdown that is.
Here is a look at a garden where the plants cultivated are all poisonous or hallucinogenic. With its skull and crossbones logo and warnings, the garden is an interesting concept. In essence it is a place where if you get it wrong, its denizens can kill you. So look all you want, but don't touch!
Related article here.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
His landmark album Thriller, released in 1982, produced seven hit singles and was a seminal work which thrilled and rocked the music world upon its release. Jackson was incredibly talented, reclusive, and let's face it, a little bit creepy.
To this day I remember his appearance in 1983 on the Motown Records 25th-anniversary special where he came out with the hat, the glove and proceeded to bring down the house with his dance moves, especially the moonwalk. It looked like he was gliding on air.
He will be missed, but his legacy will always be mired in controversy because of his genius along with his personal choices and the odd behavior associated with those choices.
BEFORE: Run a hedge fund.
AFTER: Become the CEO of a bloated behemoth on the edge of insolvency and try to turn it around because no one else will take the job.
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Then something incredible happened. The U.S. won 2-0 over the world's number one ranked team, Spain, but let's keep it all in perspective shall we. I want to be even-keeled about this event. While I think this is a huge win for the U.S. since Spain fielded a full-strength team, I want to be cautious about the result. The stage will be huge when the U.S. visits South Africa again for the World Cup.
So for now, savor the win, revel in it because it is huge, rejoice and let the toasts fly high. But when the next game rolls around, leave the braggadocio behind, as nothing is as fickle as world class soccer is on the world's stage. Those stadiums suddenly feel awfully large and cold when you are facing a world class team bent on revenge.
Here is the New York Times take on the win. They dubbed it The Miracle on Grass.
Update: CNN is now reporting that "S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford -- after days when his whereabouts were unknown -- says he has been unfaithful to his wife."
Okay. So it wasn't the Malbec.
The money quote in the article, "The shift means that most Citigroup employees will make as much money as they did in 2008, although some might earn more and others less. The company also plans to award millions of new stock options to employees in an effort to retain workers and neutralize a precipitous drop in the value of their stock holdings. "
1) No matter how you spin it this is going to look bad. A bank that can't afford to pay back the TARP money yet while many of its competitors are should not be raising salaries.
2) Who wants Citi stock right now? My guess is people inside the company are shaking their heads saying please don't give us any more stock options at this time.
3) Finally, this little piece of the quote (although some might earn more and others less) has to be worrying those that fall into the latter category.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Quote from the article, "Those are the words of Claudine de la Villehuchet, the widow of the French aristocrat who committed suicide in December after losing $1.4 billion of his clients’ money with Bernard L. Madoff."
In a related note, more dominoes are falling as another prominent investor and a small brokerage firm have been accused of knowingly steering unwitting investors to Madoff's Ponzi scheme.
Update: Methodist University Hospital in Memphis now says doctors there performed Mr. Jobs' liver transplant and is disclosing this information with his permission.
Monday, June 22, 2009
The money quote in the article, “You’ll have half the participants BlackBerrying each other as a sub-meeting, with a running commentary on the primary meeting,” Mr. Reines said. “BlackBerrys have become like cartoon thought bubbles.”
This is a senior advisor to Secretary of State Hilary Rodham Clinton making this comment so the problem even pervades at high level meetings in the White House.
Recently Research in Motion or RIM, the company which makes the BlackBerry, reported a better-than-expected 33 percent jump in first-quarter profit. They also reported that a substantial amount of new customers were non-corporate customers. People are snapping up this tool as the need for immediacy in connecting with others grows at an alarming rate. With this growth comes the concomitant decline in civility and appropriate behavior. No longer does an important business or cabinet meeting hold the attention of participants, but rather a tiny screen does, one which makes the owner feel important and sought after, no matter how mundane the information sent or received may be.
We have opposable thumbs. This sets us apart from all other animals, and now we have come full circle and realized their true purpose, to text others. The only horror story I have not heard so far (which does not mean it has not happened) is that of a truly ill patient entrusting their innermost thoughts to their psycho-therapist while laying on the couch, only to find out that the therapist has not heard a word due to sending and receiving emails on his/her handheld device.
I mention BlackBerry because it is the dominant player in the market, but in reality any form of texting/emailing/gaming/etal while at a meeting, at the dinner table or any other instance where your attention should be elsewhere is the beginning of the decline of Western civilization. And it is happening as you are reading this.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
However, I do play Disc Golf and putting can be extremely difficult or easy in our sport as well. For me putting is very mental and I have written a tongue in cheek essay about it. You can read that post here.
While that post is mainly about having a bad putting slump, I have had days where I am hitting every putt in sight and my advice about being a good putter is revealed at the bottom of that essay.
And before you ask, yes, I have been in a tournament where it has come down to the last putt. I won't reveal the outcome. Suffice it to say that one should approach every putt as if it is that last one the tournament outcome depends on, because in actuality it does. After all, it is the accumulation of all those putts that makes up your final score, not just the last one.
Pretty cool huh and pretty generous of Mars to do this. They say it's to help out during the tough economic times and I'm sure it's a good marketing ploy for them. Every Friday it is valid for the first 250,000 coupons ordered. So, offerings from this blog today...The Cure and Free Chocolate. Happy Friday all!
Thursday, June 18, 2009
A sample couple of lines from Gentleman from the Windy City.
“Now don’t you worry about no way to get around,
‘Cause I got a ride or two
And if I can’t get my old hog to run
My Volkswagon will have to do.”
Incidentally, Frank “Son” Seals had a very rough life and was uniquely qualified to sing and play the Blues which may be part of the reason why he sounded so genuine. His music is great and this post doesn't do him or his sound justice.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Gee, ya think? Thanks SEC for closing the barn door after the horse has bolted.
The last ten days however, he has been showing signs of life and is inching back to the number three spot in the lineup. Last night he homered and singled against my team, the Marlins, so maybe he's back.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
The money quote, "I do worry we could be competitively disadvantaged if we aren't able to find a way to quickly repay TARP," said Parsons, who added that he opposes caps on compensation.
This 2008 documentary follows a chorus comprised of senior citizens who sing to stay young at heart, and their repertoire is anything but staid. From the opening scream of the nonagenarian who sings lead on The Clash's Should I Stay or Should I Go (who had died by the time I saw the film) to their visit to a nearby low-security prison where they perform, serenading the inmates with a cover of Dylan's Forever Young among other songs (an incredibly moving scene), this film is a small treasure to be enjoyed and unlike any other film I have seen in a long time.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Related article here.
Spouting-Off Manager was excellent at jigsaw puzzles in his/her infancy and spends the majority of his/her time assiduously applying these same skills, explaining the intricacies of business reorganizations to less enlightened staff members. How this adds value to the bottom line is not very clear.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
This article has some interesting products. Does anyone have any that have really worked for them?
UPDATE - 09/01/09. I can't wait for these guys to finish their research and bottle their findings.
Here, from Reason online are The Top 10 Most Absurd Time Covers of The Past 40 Years.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Update: The helicopter pilot and hiker have been found dead.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Now I am all for limiting executive pay for rescued companies after the debacle we've been through, but I'm not sure appointing "czars" all over the place is the answer, no matter how astute they are. If memory serves the last czars were overrun by an angry mob and eventually terminated with extreme prejudice.
I guess it might be an explanation, but I just think that boorish behavior is on the rise in general and theater audiences are just a subset of the population and reflective of this. I don't have any hard data to back this up, but it just seems to me that good manners, politeness and civility have been in decline for some time now.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Orlando will be at home for the next three games so we will see what they are made of. When Miami won the championship they also lost the first two games. Orlando had better start winning if they want to bring the trophy back to Florida.
In the article, "According to a 2008 survey by Technorati, which runs a search engine for blogs, only 7.4 million out of the 133 million blogs the company tracks had been updated in the past 120 days. That translates to 95 percent of blogs being essentially abandoned, left to lie fallow on the Web, where they become public remnants of a dream — or at least an ambition — unfulfilled."
Monday, June 8, 2009
Sunday, June 7, 2009
His job loss, a correction in the stock market which had cost him dearly, his daughter's clandestine drug problem; these plus a litany of other problems made him wonder if he had been channeling his efforts in the wrong direction. Perhaps he had focused on the wrong things all along. It was time to search for the right ones. At the time he had decided on this trip it had seemed like a step in the right direction. Now he wasn't so sure. The air around him was charged with something he could not decipher, its pervasive sense of ancient history belying the modern sights confronting him. He felt uneasy and restless.
He was soon walking around the port, purposefully studying everything he saw, admiring the cleanliness and giving thanks for the feel of terra firma beneath his unsteady sea legs. That same morning he bought a ticket on a bus departing for Bethlehem. While boarding, he glanced down the rows of passengers. Most of them were nondescript, except for one who immediately drew his attention.
She was a thin girl, almost to the point of seeming emaciated. She was about thirty-five and wore long robes that were old and dirty. There were some odd looking ornaments attached to a soiled leather thong around her waist and she sported a crew cut. Her face had a noble quality and despite her shabby clothes, her demeanor radiated calm and innocence. She was not beautiful at all; in fact quite the opposite, but her stoic expression gave her an inner beauty, which had nothing to do with physical appearance.
For some reason, at least to Hal she seemed out of place aboard the bus. She sat very still with her hands in her lap and met his cursory glance with steady eyes that glinted like moons in an emerald sea. For an instant he looked directly into her eyes and at the serene face which was in such stark contrast to the state of her decrepit attire. Not wishing to appear rude, he looked away and busied himself with his seat belt.
Soon they were underway. Hal watched the scenery fly by as the bus driver increased his speed. He looked across the aisle and caught the girl studying him intently. He quickly averted his gaze, but found himself drawn to her over and over again. Each time he stole a glance in her direction he would inevitably find her looking at him. Finally, feeling somewhat ill at ease, he walked over to her seat and spoke.
"Do you mind if I sit down?"
She shrugged her thin shoulders. "Of course not, I expected you to sooner than this." The statement was a matter of fact one, the voice soft and melodious. The words were spoken quietly and without allure. Her accent seemed foreign to him, but Hal could not place where it was from.
He took his place in the seat next to hers, lit a cigarette and asked, "Why do you keep looking at me?"
She looked at him and replied. "I can tell there is something troubling you. It is easy to sense this and maybe I can help. Since you will never see me again you can unburden yourself."
Hal spread his hands, his confusion growing, "I can't," he said. "I'm not sure about it myself."
"But you can and you must try," she insisted. "There can be much of value in talking to someone like myself, a complete stranger on a bus. Someone you will never see again."
"I'm not sure," he repeated, "But I can tell you this. I know why I'm going to Bethlehem. I'm going because He was born there."
"Who is this He you refer to?" she asked.
"You know, the Lord!" he retorted, but was immediately contrite. "Listen, I'm sorry. I'm tired and it's been a long trip."
"Of course. I know who you mean."
"Who are you?" he asked.
"It is not important," she replied. "I am a Buddhist nun. It was karma that we should meet."
"No kidding. Imagine that, me talking to a Buddhist nun. I don't know much about Buddhism. I mean, if my friends back in the States could see me now, boy would they get a kick out of this. Tell me something, Buddhists don't believe in God, do they?"
She looked at his charcoal gray suit, and then her eyes focused on the smoke emanating from his cigarette. "Perhaps not in the way you do. There is no God the way you label the being, but there are similarities in religions, more so than we realize, and I like to think that the end is the same."
"Which is?" he prompted.
"In a short while we arrive at my stop. I have neither the time nor the capacity to explain to you what many wise men and theologians have devoted their lives to studying. I do not understand myself. I will, however, give you an example of Buddha's presence and what he can do."
She propped an elbow on the windowsill of the bus and began. "One night, a few years ago, I was walking along a deserted road. There was nothing in sight. It was very far to the nearest town and very late. I was weary and could barely stand when I heard the sound of a vehicle approaching. Soon a car stopped alongside of me. There was a very handsome man driving. I could tell he was of good breeding and he offered me a ride. I thought about it very hard and almost refused, but because it was late and I was tired I stepped into the car. As we were about to drive away a small puppy dog ran into the middle of the road, blocking the path of the car, barking so frantically that I thought it would go into a seizure. The road was very narrow. There was no way to drive around the puppy so the man got down from the car and stooped to pick it up. As soon as he did this it ran away from him to the side of the road. The man returned to the car, but no sooner had he sat behind the wheel than the puppy was there again, barking furiously in the middle of the road. I said I would try to remove him, but when I stepped out he bit my robes and began pulling me in the opposite direction of the man and the car, whining all the way."
She arched her eyebrow and Hal shivered. He took a final drag off his cigarette and stubbed it out in the ashtray. A plume of smoke shot up rebelliously.
"Suddenly," she continued, "I felt very cold all over, and I heard myself telling the man that I did not want a ride. The puppy's eyes lit up, his tail started wagging and he let go of my robes. He placed himself between me and the car on the side of the road and began barking again. The man said nothing, slammed the door of his car and spinning his tires quite rudely, drove off. This could not have taken more than a few seconds, but when I looked again the puppy was gone. I searched everywhere and called for it, but finally, frustrated in my search, I continued my journey. The next day I read in the newspaper, alongside a picture of the very same man, that he was being sought by the authorities in connection with the disappearances of three young girls. I believe that it was beyond doubt a manifestation. Do Christians not preach that one is never alone, that if one has faith, the Lord will always be there? It is the same with Buddha. He is always there. Our brothers in their lamaseries are never isolated though the image of them that is popular is that they are recluses in the mountains. They are not alone. The Buddha is with them. So you see, do you not? If you have faith, your karma will be completed and He -in the sense that you believe in a higher being whom we revere- will help you."
The bus slowed and came to a stop, "Ah, I am truly sorry. I have enjoyed speaking with you but now I must get off. Goodbye, and remember what I have said. You are not alone."
She gathered up her robes and stood up. "Now repeat after me. U la lo ho."
Hal, his mouth agape, said, "U la lo ho," his own voice sounding very strange to him.
"Wait," he called after her as she sidled down the bus, "What does it mean?"
"The God is victorious," she said, and with a wave was gone.
Hal let out a long breath and scratched his head in wonder. He rubbed his arm across his forehead and found that he was sweating. He wiped his brow with his handkerchief and continued on the rest of the way to Bethlehem.
When they reached the town Hal went immediately to the church of the nativity and knelt at the star, which marks Jesus' birthplace. Amidst the clamor of clicking shutters and exploding flashes, he genuflected and crossed himself. A knee dug into his back. The mayhem around him increased as people jockeyed for a better vantage point from which to view the star. He began to pray silently. He prayed even harder when an irate voice cried out, "Hey move along buddy, you're holding us up, we got the Wailing Wall at four this afternoon!" A baby screamed and he clenched his hands tighter, praying even more fervently. Losing all track of time, he gradually became unaware of the surrounding noise. The last thing he sensed was a scuffling sound somewhere behind him. It seemed light years removed.
Eventually, he was bodily removed from the church, but it was another hour before he realized he was no longer at the star. It was getting dark and the bus had departed long ago. Everything was very still. Hal remembered the nun's story. When he looked up, through the dusky haze he glimpsed a star twinkling back at him. Suddenly all the problems associated with his frantic lifestyle seemed to dissolve, languishing even further away in his thoughts than his remote homeland.