Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekend Haiku

A heavy cart rumbles by
and the peonies
quiver.

Buson (1716-1783)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Girl and the Sea



A recording of The Presets Girl and the Sea. Happy Friday.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A lousy time to have your cell phone turned off

Have you ever missed an important call because your cell phone was turned off? It happened to this German speed skater whose opportunity to compete as an Olympian was lost because of it. Ouch!

Are all the good band names taken?

I never really thought about all the issues that go into christening a new music act. This WSJ article talks about some of the issues bands go through when trying to come up with a name which embodies their sound. From ABBA to ZZ Top and everything in between, what good names are left, if any? Can you identify the band's name in the picture? Here's a hint. They are British.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Tea Party mocks Olbermann and MSNBC

It doesn't get much better than this. You knew they would get around to it sooner or later. Have you no shame Tea Party people?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's been a long road

But Bode Miller finally has his gold medal. I never quite knew what to make of Miller, the bad boy skier turned mellow father this time around, but there was never any denying his skills. He can now rest easy after winning gold in the super combined.

Monday, February 22, 2010

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. This week's manager is a relatively innocuous offering. Typically in good shape, this manager mostly bores his/her staff to death with tales of his/her latest workout routines.

MOTW: Health Nut Manager

Health-Nut Manager’s theory is that the secret to having a productive office is everyone should be in shape. Healthy body, healthy mind, healthy office posters and campaigns adorn his/her office and he/she is continually referring to his/her latest workout routines. These references tend to become metaphors for management strategy.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekend Haiku

How much
are you enjoying yourself,
tiger moth?

Issa (1763-1827)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Cars



Gary Numan and Nine Inch Nails perform Numan's hit Cars in concert.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Does drinking wine give you a headache?

If it does read on. The duo at the WSJ dispel many myths about wine headaches and give some simple tips to help. They also venture into the red versus white debate.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Citi to Pilot Foreclosure Alternative

Citi will let you stay in your home an extra six months if you agree to sign over your property deeds to CitiMortgage at the end of that period. This is to avoid foreclosure. Citi says it will also provide some relocation counseling and some minimal relocation funds. They are piloting the program in six states with my state, Florida, (one of the most distressed states) included in the pilot program.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunday Disc Golf

It's been a while since I put up one of these posts, but yesterday my partner and I won the random draw doubles at league so I thought I would put up a quick post about it. The weather was perfect and there were two extra holes added to play so we came in at 9 under par for 20 holes. We had no bogeys and 9 birdies. Luckily my partner was putting very well because although my driving was quite good for some reason I could not hit the broad side of a barn yesterday with my putter. That is what is nice about doubles, you have a partner to step in to cover up your weak spots. Trouble only arises when your partner is also having one of those days which happily for us wasn't the case. Coincidentally, last week we drew each other as well and played very poorly so there was a tiny bit of redemption yesterday as well. Disc golf, what a great sport.

Jockey / Author Dick Francis dead

Dick Francis, the jockey who took up writing after hanging up his saddle, has died of "old age." He was 89 years old. His novels were easy, entertaining, escapist reads. I have never been into horse-racing or even ridden a horse for that matter, but his books were so much fun to read that I learned a lot about the racing world through his stories. These were formulaic mysteries typically set against some form of horse-racing backdrop. Considering he began writing later in life he was quite prolific. All in all, he produced 42 novels and I have read each and every one. So much so, that since I don't read hardbacks sometimes I would be waiting for months for his next novel to come out in paperback. I'll miss his output.

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. This next manager is one of the most insidious found in any company. Doing exactly the opposite of what a good leader/manager should do when things go wrong, this manager dodges responsibility time after time, causing the staff to view him or her with extreme distaste.

MOTW: Pontius Pilate Manager

Pontius Pilate Manager has the uncanny ability to completely absolve himself/herself of any blame attached to any unfortunate results produced by his/her staff and get away with it. This elusive quality, combined with feigning ignorance about bad outcomes in his/her unit is referred to by Pontius Pilate Manager as empowerment, a word Senior Management tends to go glassy-eyed and drool over. Using this combination of tactics Pontius Pilate Manager has survived numerous fiascos in his/her checkered career without so much as a scratch. Pontius Pilate Manager also rarely catches colds as he/she washes his/her hands frequently. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

GOP Valentine's Day Cards

Today is Valentine's Day. Here are some e-cards the GOP is sending out.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Weekend Haiku

Heat waves shimmering
one or two inches
above the dead grass.

Basho (1644-1694)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Olympic luger dies in training crash

Wow. There has been a death in one of the luge trial runs today before the Olympics begin. NodarKumaritashvili from the former Soviet Republic of Georgia has died after he lost control of his sled. This is terribly sad and sure to cast a pall on the opening ceremonies tonight.

Honesty is the best policy

Happy birthday Honest Abe. Abraham Lincoln was the United States first republican president.

Place in the Sun



From his album Harp and Soul, Latin jazz harpist Roberto Perera performs Place in the Sun.

I have the album and it's a good one. Happy Friday.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Deadliest Catch captain dead

Phil Harris, the captain of the fishing boat Cornelia Marie that has been featured on “Deadliest Catch,” has died in Alaska at the age of 53. This show is a wild reality series documenting the dangerous lives of Alaskan fishermen. The show was addictive, with lots of tension, danger and drama on the high seas. By all rights he seemed to be a good captain, father and fisherman. His family must be grieving and I feel sorry for them. Fifty-three is way too young to die.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The B-word, Obama's bane as of late

I'm talking about bonuses of course. The White House is scrambling to soften Obama's words during a recent interview where he stated that he didn't "begrudge" the multi-billion-dollar bonuses of Wall Street executives. This after he had lambasted these same executives and bonuses when in full populist mode he called their bonus culture "shameful" and "obscene." He also made some pretty bizarre comparisons with Major League Baseball. All I can say is I'm pretty sure he didn't have his teleprompter along for this interview.

Citi among least trusted banks in America

It has plenty of company though and is not the least trusted. That honor goes to HSBC. This is according to Forrester's annual Customer Advocacy rankings, which ranks nearly 50 financial services firms in the United States. Customers were given the following statement:" My financial provider does what's best for me, not just its own bottom line." They were then asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement to form the rankings. The results are based on a survey of about 4,500 consumers.

The bottom seven of this year's rankings, first to last, are Bank of America, Chase, Capital One, TD/Commerce, Fifth Third, Citibank, and in last place, HSBC.

Philadelphia



A recording of Philadelphia by the Belgian band Vaya Con Dios. Dani Klein has a sexy voice and the band has a really tight sound.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Citi to launch new "crisis" derivative

I'm not sure what they are smoking over at Uncle Vik's place, but Citi is planning to market a so-called crisis derivative. These derivatives, if Citi does indeed launch them, will pay out in the event of a financial crisis. There is so much irony here it is hard to know where to begin. First off, I thought we were already in a financial crisis created essentially by the issuing and trading of derivatives of which no one totally understood the accounting and underestimated the risk. Second, this derivative smells like a type of insurance product which will only be as good as the party that issues it. Citi isn't exactly in the best of shape and buying insurance from a company which can't back it, well, we already tried that. Anyone remember AIG?

In summary, a derivative designed to bail you out of a crisis, typically caused by derivatives themselves backed by a company whose solvency without an injection of 45 billion of government funds is tenuous at best. Hmmm.

Electricity emergency in Venezuela

What's that saying again? In the shoemaker's house the children go barefoot or something like that. Venezuela, an oil-rich nation and a member of OPEC, has declared an electricity emergency because of a shortage of hydro-electric power. Chavez has asked his country to turn out the lights to save energy. He blames El NiƱo, but in reality it is his incompetence which has led to such a sad state of affairs.

On another topic he also said his long-running program "Hello Mr. President" will now always be preceded by harp music. The man defies description is his incompetence and nuttiness. I feel bad for the Venezuelans. I have been there many times under Chavez and each time the country has degraded just that much more. It used to be a prosperous, warm, fun-loving country. Now it is just a chaotic entity generated by Chavez's bombastic rule.

Funny billboard

Even if it isn't an actual one, which apparently it is, you have to click here to see this funny billboard.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saints win the Super Bowl

I have never been happier to have been wrong in a prediction than I am this morning. The Saints beat the Colts last night by a score of 31 - 17 and they deserved the win and every one of those 31 points. From a near perfect quarterback to a perfect kicker, a staunch defense and a gutsy coach who did something no other coach has done in the history of the Super Bowl (call an onside kick at the beginning of the second half) the Saints have made their city and state happy and proud. I am happy for them and the only thing that still gnaws at me is the fact that we (Dolphins) passed on acquiring Drew Brees because we were afraid of his shoulder injury and instead took Duante Culpepper. Look how things worked out for both teams. Arghhh!

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. No one really care about what happens to this manager, not even the manager himself/herself.

MOTW: Apathetic Manager

Sporting nondescript attire and a glazed look, this manager bounces around the company in an unending series of sly dealings whereby each previous unit deliberately unloads the dead wood from their pile onto the next unsuspecting unit’s. Burned out and lackadaisical, Apathetic Manager glides along in this manner allowing events to overtake him/her until even corporate inertia can no longer sustain his/her presence. Eventually the bell tolls and apathetic Manager is fired. He/she then cleans out the office and leaves unperturbed, mumbling something along the lines of, “Oh well, that’s the end of that I guess.”

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Who will win today?

Which team will win the Super Bowl today? This year I am happy to say that it will take place right in my back yard in South Florida. Logic would say that the Colts should emerge victorious, but the sentimental favorites are the Saints. This should be a good one as both teams have high octane offenses and enough defense to make it respectable. In my view it is a toss-up, but I predict the Colts will win. They have been to the big dance before. It should be a good game. Good luck to both teams.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Weekend Haiku

A moored boat;
where
did the spring go?

Buson (1716-1783)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Happy Birthday Roger

Happy birthday to Roger Staubach. The ex-quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys turns 68 today.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Music's lost decade

The music industry is changing all the time. If you look at this article you will see that revenue from music sales and licensing has dropped by 50 percent from 1999 to 2009. From the article...

"The problem for the music industry may actually be its greatest opportunity. Despite the great decline in sales, the Internet has exposed consumers to more music than ever before. But that accessibility has been difficult to monetize."

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

English Sunset



One of my favorite all-time bands, The Moody Blues, perform English Sunset in concert in this 2000 footage. I have seen these guys more times than I can count and they have always sounded great, never missing a note. Justin Hayward is the man.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The proof is there in black and white

Pelosi's children and grandchildren used military jets as private shuttle service. Check it out.

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's Monday

And we all know what that means. Time for another MOTW, Manager of the Week. More useful during a medieval siege, this manager proceeds to methodically derail his/her career with his/her dogged persistence. It can be painful to watch.

MOTW: Battering Ram Manager

This manager becomes so enamored of one great idea he/she has had that he/she continues to push for it in meetings long after it has been discarded as untenable by Senior Management. Not sufficiently attuned to the resounding no which has met his/her insistence, Battering Ram Manager pushes even more and more until the only debris left from his/her unflagging persistence is the flotsam and jetsam of his/her career.