Saturday, January 29, 2005

Avedon on how bad it is

Avedon Carol posts on how bad things have become.
I'm getting a little tired of the idea that it's such a big deal that a minority woman has been nominated to such a high post, as if it's never happened before. Whenever Clinton did it, the Republicans did everything they could to knock 'em down, of course. But since Condi's predecessors at State were a black man and a white woman, it's hard to be too impressed about it all.
. The playing of the race card is usually found in politics when few rational arguments are left. I've got nothing against the Bush administration. They were elected at least once, and so are the people's choice. The people are rarely mistaken, my friend, just think of the enduring popularity of Full House and BBQ chicken flavoured potato chips. Avedon is just noting the bitter feel of listening to a lie that not only you know is a lie, but it's pretty obvious the ones telling it don't much believe it either. Some on the left argue the administration is evil - which is a bit over-the-top for me...I just think they are not competent. I also don't think much of either of the big two parties we get to choose from, as I cannot agree with either of them. Is there a party for someone who is for gun rights, dooens't want knew laws around the wombs, and is generally against going to war and then making up a reason for it afterwards?

But if things do not go well, we just have to be more happy-go-lucky, cracking jokes as various civilizations fall into ruin. It's truly the post-ironic way to live. As I told someone at work today, "I hear Bush has declared he wants you dead or alive - so you can expect a long, free life".

The last few grafs

It seems the most interesting paragraphs in news stories end up near the bottom. In Canada, a man was found not guilty of committing an indecent act. He was doing something that by it's nature people usually do alone in his living room. But he offended his neighbours, who called the police because it was visible to them. Did they catch a glance as they walked by? No, it took a bit more effort on their part:
She alerted her husband, and the couple observed Clark from their darkened bedroom for 10 or 15 minutes -- also using binoculars and a telescope -- before summoning the police
I can just picture the husband turning out the lights, grabbing a telescope whilst telling his spouse "he's so shameless!"

Friday, January 28, 2005

Roldo on the Rich

Writer Roldo Bartimole complains about some of the megaluxury goods the upper classes are now splurging on, partly due to the Bush tax cuts. He argues, in part, that they are being rewarded and the lesser classes punished by Bush in this sense. I don't begrudge the rich their ivory back scratchers, for somebody has to make and sell them, and that's my beloved capitalism. I am not, however, for a flat tax scheme, long the liquid cash, some might even say wet dreams of some. I don't think taxes on the megarich are far too high and unfair. It can be argued that our way of government and freedom is not only what allowed them the freedoms to become rich, but to stay that way, and the higher percentage of taxes they pay is an attempt to redeem that societal debt.

Christ on a Clipboard

I'll acknowledge that religious events and news should be covered by the media. Organized meetings, debates, religious initiatives, ideas, and thought can be newsworthy. But do we have to dispatch a film crew every time some nutbar sees what they think is an image of Jesus on clipboards? You don't see me calling Hollie Strano in earnest every time I notice a wood grains on the walls with a resemblance to Miles Davis.

Almost Ironic news

Woman named Crutcher steals wheelchair. The woman stole it from the victim's porch, then took it to the mall and pretended to be disabled. She will complete a "diversion" program. I assume it will include critical thinking tasks. Like as you walk by a wheelchair, contemplating stealing it from the disabled person who needs it to move, not so much stealing it and then enacting skits in said wheelchair.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Haters?

I think street lingo says it best when it comes to this story on a copy pulling over a woman for an Anti-Bush bumper sticker. Not concerning the cop, he's just what we call old time stupid, but the woman needs to remember the newish adage, "Don't hate the player, hate the game". I have to be honest and say that with each successive US president, I have had less and less emotional attachment, positive or negative. So in some cases I cannot see them as a model, or as an object of hatred. If you think Bush is bad because he favours tax cuts that are sending the whole nation down the drain, say so. If you think Clinton was the worst US Prez because he didn't heed the saying that "Loose Lips.."...no, I won't go there.

Real and fake job tips

Inspired by Bill's...tips on job interviews, I've thought up some dos and do not dos for job interviews...I figured it's a skill more and more of us will be needing these days. Some of these tips may be less useful than others...

1. Despite the fact that no meeting in the history of this or any other universe has done anything than waste time, never say "I dislike meetings".

2. If a memo said "Bin Laden determined to attack America" do not claim your understanding of the memo is that Bin Laden did not intend to attack America. Note - this may not cost you the job, though, as some have found.

3. Rent Glengarry Glenn Ross, and try to have one iota of the confidence of Al Pacino's character. Never, I repeat, never, the confidence of Jack Lemmon's character.

4. Do not mention that you'll be needing a chair you can nap in.

5. Everyone on the earth says "I am a people person", which renders it utterly meaningless. Never say this - relate anecdotes of working out problems.

6. Probably an interview is not a good place to try and sell a time share.

7. Unless threatened with torture, never quote a number first in salary negotiations. There is no advantage in doing so.

8. I know many young people are looking for jobs nowadays. Despite a much more Internet savvy set of businesses, asking if they have "good bandwidth for wicked fast porn downloads" is probably not a good bet.

9. Just like Lifetime Original Movies, every meaningless event in your work life taught you a lesson, which you can now encapsulate for the interviewer.

10. Truck hats are not a good selection for the interview, unless you are trying to get a job as a trucker. Then it's pretty much a given.

11. The interviewer may forget the skills and experience everyone had. They won't forget who had confidence and energy in the interview.

Rules of Job Interviews

Inspired by Bills...tips on job interviews, I've thought up some dos and do not dos for job interviews...I figured it's a skill more and more of us will be needing these days. Some of these tips may be less useful than others...

1. Despite the fact that no meeting in the history of this or any other universe has done anything than waste time, never say "I dislike meetings".

2. If a memo said "Bin Laden determined to attack America" do not claim your understanding of the memo is that Bin Laden did not intend to attack America. Note - this may not cost you the job, though, as some have found.

3. Rent Glengarry Glenn Ross, and try to have one iota of the confidence of Al Pacino's character. Never, I repeat, never, the confidence of Jack Lemmon's character.

4. Do not mention that you'll be needing a chair you can nap in.

5. Everyone on the earth says "I am a people person", which renders it utterly meaningless. Never say this - relate anecdotes of working out problems.

6. Probably an interview is not a good place to try and sell a time share.

7. Unless threatened with torture, never quote a number first in salary negotiations. There is no advantage in doing so.

8. I know many young people are looking for jobs nowadays. Despite a much more Internet savvy set of businesses, asking if they have "good bandwidth for wicked fast porn downloads" is probably not a good bet.

9. Just like Lifetime Original Movies, every meaningless event in your work life taught you a lesson, which you can now encapsulate for the interviewer.

10. Trucker hats are not a good selection for the interview, unless you are trying to get a job as a trucker. Then it's pretty much a given.

11. The interviewer may forget the skills and experience everyone had. They won't forget who had confidence and energy in the interview.

Good news versus bad

Some might consider that this report from Human Rights watch, detailing torture being used on prisoners in Iraq, to be bad news. Some bloggers might then complain "why do they only report the bad news"? It's been a more or less constant refrain. I am not quite certain I agree that if the media does not report a murder by terrorists, that the victims are any less dead. I also note that weather report, usually not attacked for being partisan, did not here in Cleveland ignore the blizzards whilst reminding us that most of the year it's not snowing.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Oh, that Liberal Media

Someone has the temerity to challenge the US administration line on social security. Who is it? Why those America-Hating lefties on Fox. The Daily Howler has all the details. When someone stops the glossing over of details, like your President is saying things that are not true, it's gladdens one's heart. If only Fox could spread it's uh, liberal bias to the other networks!

Working late?

At places where I have worked, some employees are frequently rewarded for working late. It even appears as a quote in PowerPoint presentations as a compliment, "works late". I've always thought that if you cannot get your work done in your normal time, there must be something fundamentally inefficient about the way you are working. It's mildly annoying when others, who seem to have plenty of time during the day for playing foosball, are thought of as being great because they then have to stay after their shift to finish work. I myself try to compress everything during the day to get as much done as possible, just so I can go home on time and enjoy life. I happen to think that makes me the more productive employee. Also there is the minor point that if you are working late, you cannot possibly be getting feedback or talking to other employees - less communication does not make a strong company. The absolute worst place I ever worked had a manager that would come in late, then stay late and get annoyed if a single employee left work at the normal hour.

Management prof Sandy Kristin Piderit links to an article at FastCompany about a company where less emphasis is placed on the culture of wanting a corner office, and more on working in a group, or as they call them, "pods". Although poorly suited to jobs where you have to be on the phone much of the day, it's intriguing.

As far as working and writing at home goes, stage one of making my home office more workable is complete. The home inspector who looked at the house we bought is taking the pool table in my office off our hands. I'm not a pool afficianado, and it will goad me to getting rid of all the computer spare parts I've been thinking of tinkering. If I spend less time worrying over where I will put the half-dead motherboards up here, I can get done faster and be out by closing time, which is 11 PM. After that, I start to annoy my spouse since my office chair is right over the bed.

Update: 2/4/2005: fixed the permalink with the help of the Prof in comments - thanks!

Sideways

M_ and I just returned from seeing Sideways and I liked it a bit more than M_. Paul Giamatti playing the somewhat depressed, semi-loser (what else would he be playing? ) give a nice performance, showing Miles to be a sometimes brilliant, sometimes hopeless man trying to be a writer and enjoy his wine. Although I've read some stories saying this film is responsible for a drop in merlot sales, there's no specific anti-merlot attack in the movie. Paul's character just states that if anyone order merlot, he'll leave immediately. Perhaps people, sheeplike, just want to obey the rules as stated by experts in film, and long to be like those characters. I hope not too many are like Thomas Hayden Church. He's a great actor, and funny, but I didn't need to see that much of him naked. He looks for some fun on the wine tour with the always impeccable Sandra Oh. If it weren't winter, it does make it seem like fun to do wine touring. The one key is lesson is when leaving a house naked, do take your wallet with you.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Your Daily Art

M_, the one who tolerates me on a daily basis, now has her own blog Your Daily Art - she's still working on the template and and about page, but plans to write about the world of fine visual arts, which is her bailiwick. Blogs by non-geeks are always a welcome sign!

Unconventional

The PeeDee is once again half-heartedly peddling the idea of a new convention center for Cleveland (with the taxpayers stuck with the bill, of course). They mention a recent report that faults convention centers:
Cleveland is among dozens of cities pursuing a new or expanded convention center even as the market slides and the newest centers operate at a loss, a new study says.

Overall attendance at the country's largest trade shows has dropped to 1993 levels, yet capital spending on convention centers has doubled in recent years to $2.4 billion annually, says a report by Heywood Sanders and the Brookings Institution, a Washington, D.C., think tank.

Local leaders know competition is fierce in the convention center market. But they say the big-ticket investment is needed to recover market share lost because the Cleveland Convention Center is subpar.
So they wait to the third graf to pooh pooh the study, saying "competition is fierce". Earlier this week, PeeDee art (and architecture) critic Steven Litt talked about the "pros and cons" of Convention centers, although mostly focused on what type of facility they would build, or what to sped on the old one, not on whether the idea was dead on arrival.

But dead it is, Blanche. The decline in coconvention center attendance began before the 9/11 attacks, so the likelihood of it's rebounding is dim. But the business leaders want it built because...they would not have to pay for it. Of course you can read the study yourself and decide. But if the taxpayer is to be involved in a business venture, why should it be a venture into a declining market? It's not like Cleveland and the county have so much spare money that they need to look for money losing projects. Wasn't it just last year the Mayor wanted to take away trash cans from downtown? At least she had the sense to pull her support from this White Elephant convention center project. But others, like the PeeDee editorial board (or perhaps their master the publisher, who so recently squelched their endorsement for Prez) continue to love the idea, so perhaps it's just too stupid to die. To sum up, I'd like to see a fund-raiser for the center given, with musical entertainment by Ashlee Simpson, if that gives hint of my thoughts on the matter.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

How to not be phished

A Case Western Reserve researcher was fooled by an email into giving out his Bank user id and password. the email took him to a site that looked like Keybank, but it was a scam. Doubtless there will always be thiis type of phishing attack, and there are various ways of seeing whether the link in emails are real, then the hackers wil develop new techniques.

There is a a foolproof method to avoid this problem without regard to the technical aspects of the fake links. When you get an email from anywhere that has a link in it, if it's not an expected email, do not click it. Just open a web browser and type in the address you want directly. If I may be permitted a violent metaphor, no one is hacking fingers yet.

Monday, January 03, 2005

Medal Round

My brother David Ritcey was always the one with Hockey talent, and now he's the
Head Coach of the Atlantic region (of Canada) team in the World Under 17 hockey
challenge. They are, perhaps not so coincidentally, on
their way to the first medal round in 19 years
for the region. Good luck,
keep the sticks on the ice, etc.