Wednesday, December 19, 2007

D'oh! Somebody needs a lesson in marketing...

Yesterday on my way home from work I stopped at a 7-Eleven and bought the Simpsons Movie on DVD. I had wanted to see the movie when it was in theaters but never got there while it was still running.

Anyway, for almost a week now I'd seen a big banner in the front window of a 7-Eleven I pass most days on my way home from work, with red type on a yellow background, advertising the 12/18/07 DVD release date of the movie. I saw it yesterday, but I was almost a block past it when I realized that yesterday was 12/18. But instead of turning around, I figured I'd go to another 7-Eleven closer to home.

But when I got to the other store, it was a totally different situation. No sign on the window advertising the movie, no banners inside the store. I had to ask one of the clerks if they had it, and how much it was. English was not his native language -- I think he and his coworkers are Cambodian, or Vietnamese, or otherwise Southeast Asian; I can't put my finger on the reason but I don't think they're Chinese -- and it took a couple of tries to get him to understand what I was asking. And when he did, he and his fellow clerks all began laughing. Finally, one asked, "Why you want dis?" -- as if a customer should not want to buy something the store sells.

Now, I'm a 42-year-old man, not a kid. But the Simpsons was never meant to be a kids' show. And even if it was, these guys worked at 7-Eleven, which made a major promotional push for the movie when it came out, with Simpson-related stickers and such all over their stores. They should have known that this DVD was intended to be a major seller, just like the movie had been.

I guess the "fault," if there is one, would fall on the manager for not seeing merchandising potential in what could have been a major seller. I'm not a gambling man but I'd be willing to bet that the Central Avenue store with the big bright sign probably sold the DVD's at a steady clip, while I was probably the first person to even ask for it in the Bronx River Road store I went to.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pay-Rod staying put?

I just don't get it. I thought that Hank Steinbrenner wanted it to be known that the days of handing over millions upon millions of dollars to spoiled media hogs just for star power was over. Besides that, I thought the Yankees wanted to finally win another World Series. But apparently, I was wrong, because the Yankees are about to re-sign Alex Rodriguez for a reported $275 million over ten years.

I suppose that the Steinbrenners and their front-office people probably thought that Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, had just overstepped his bounds, and that maybe if they deal directly with Rodriguez they might be able to work something out. But still, in light of A-Rod's record of leaving teams just as they finally hit the big time (Seattle's record for wins in a season, Texas's first playoff spot in ages) I thought maybe the Yanks had a shot at winning the Series next year (should they make it) by letting Pay-Rod go. But, alas, it appears they'd rather have controversy than World Series rings...

But I am glad of one thing -- if Rodriguez had to stay in New York, I'm glad it's with the Yankees, and not with my Mets. I would have seriously considered switching my allegiance to the Yankees if Omar Minaya had signed Rodgriguez. Ever since David Wright opened his big mouth earlier this year and said he'd eagerly switch to second base to make room for A-Rod, I've wanted to grab him by the collar and shake some sense into him, to keep him from saying such things in the future. The Mets have enough trouble without that Primo Uomo (male Prima Donna) on the team.

One thing I have to say in A-Rod's favor, though: I'll be glad when either he or Ken Griffey Jr. breaks whatever Barry Bonds' final home run total is (probably what it is now) just to erase that asterisk from the record books.

Chickens coming home to roost?

So the Feds have finally made some kind of case against Barry Bonds. I know, as it has been pointed out numerous times before, that there has not yet been a positive steroids test result -- but based on my own experiences from taking a corticosteroid that's medically necessary due to transplant surgery, he shows all the signs of steroids use, at least in the past. He missed an entire season and all but fourteen games of another due to knee problems, right in the same period of time that he had bulked up and almost doubled his yearly home-run output, and joint problems (usually knees, hips, or shoulders) are a hallmark of steroid use. (My experience is having to have hip surgery -- not a replacement -- after only nine months of everyday use of prednisone, an anti-inflammatory medication. Not the same as what Bonds is alleged to have taken; his "meds" are much worse on that score.) No telling when the IRS will turn its attention to his tax-evasion case...

Derek Cheater?

Not only are the Feds after Bonds, but now the New York State income tax officials have turned their attention to Derek Jeter, New York Yankees shortstop, who is accused of not paying three years worth of taxes and claiming he lived in Florida while actually living in New York.

At a salary of $20 million per year, Jeter can definitely afford to pay his fair share of taxes, so I don't know why this should even have to be an isssue. If it's true, that is; there's always a chance that the state is overzealous and that Jeter's claims of being a Florida resident are accurate. But if it is true, then it looks like just another example of an athlete thinking that, because of what they do and all the money they make, they're invincible. (Look at OJ, who's about to go away for a long, long time.)

Journey of a Thousand Miles -- step two

Well, the lawyer's office not only accepted my offer, but adjusted the monthly due date to make things easier for me. Not any closer to increasing my income just yet, but I am working on it. Putting together a blog to promote different products through affiliate programs; it can be a lot of work, but I plan to stick with it, because that's the only way to make affiliate money. Folks generally won't flock to any website from just one link on one page posted one time. I've learned that...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Journey of a Thousand Miles

A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. Today I start my journey.

  • I am now 42 years old, and I'm renting a bedroom in a friend's apartment because at the moment that is all I can afford, though I've been working for 24 years now.
  • I just negotiated what I hope will be an acceptable payment schedule with a law office representing a collection agency representing a bank that took over another bank that I opened a credit card account with twelve years ago. The balance is three times the set credit limit of the account I opened, because of long-standing delinquencies. From that time until now I could probably have paid the account many times over, except for a very old habit of letting things go until, and often way past, the last minute.
  • Because of this longstanding habit, my credit rating is somewhere in the 400s. I'm driving a six-year old car that was probably meant to last only five, and only God knows what will happen when it needs major repairs, or when it gives out completely and I try to get another car.

With all that said, I'm stating my goal now: to buy a house. It won't happen this year, or next. It may not happen until sometime in the next decade, if then. In all likelyhood it will be a repossessed or foreclosed house, a fixer-upper, or something along those lines. And it may even turn out to be, not a house, but a condo or a co-op apartment. And it may very well turn out to be somewhere outside the NYC area, where I was born and have lived all my life. But I'm making it my goal to get a house or something owned in my own name in order to significantly improve my financial situation. I don't want to be rich, but it's time for a change.

I'm tired of just scraping by.

I've been saying that to myself for some time now, but now I will start putting myself on the spot by saying it to others. The part about buying a house I may keep to myself for awhile...

I've also been saying for years that I wanted to start some kind of business, and I've researched just about every manner of business that could be started and run by mail-order and possibly online, but up until now really haven't taken any steps to put the research to work and get something, anything, off the ground. Today, that changes.

What prompted this decision? Well, it’s been on my mind for awhile now due to the chronic near-brokeness, for one thing. But the decision kind of made itself last night, while I was out driving around and around my new neighborhood trying to find somewhere to park. I was thinking, "if I had my own house, with a garage or at least a driveway, I wouldn't have to be out here wasting time circling the neighborhood looking for a space."

In any situation you can never predict just what the "last straw" will turn out to be, but I think that was it. When I was in my former neighborhood, I had the same problem, since only about every third house had a driveway or garage. I swore that my next apartment would be somewhere with more parking. That didn't happen.

But it will.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Bush, Cheney, Obama: ALL RELATED?!,BSX-News-wotreea09.article

Bush and Obama have a common ancestor.

Cheney and Obama have a common ancestor.

Bush and Cheney have a common ancestor.

Each of the common ancestors is a different person -- none is common to all three.

So far, though, no sign of any of the three being related to any of the Clintons…

Go figure.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Westchester Tornado

I thought I had posted this a long time ago. This is based on the Wikipedia article Westchester Tornado...

The Westchester Tornado was an F2 tornado that touched down in central Westchester County, New York at around 4:00 p.m. EST on July 12, 2006 with winds that at times exceeded 150 miles per hour. The tornado may have began on the Rockland County shore of the Hudson River, moving at 25 mph across the river toward Sleepy Hollow, just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge. It began to cut a 200 to 300 yard wide path straight across Westchester and into Fairfield County, Connecticut. While no deaths were reported, it is very rare for F2 or greater tornadoes to strike the New York Metropolitan Area, due to tornadoes being rare on the Eastern Seaboard. Enough damage occurred to cause an appeal for FEMA funding.

On July 12, 2006 a strong south westerly wind on the surface acted in conjunction with a strong upper level jet to cause conditions to become ripe. The tornado spawned as a waterspout over the Hudson River in the southwest quadrant of the storm and traveled in the northeast direction, something that is distinctive with most tornado causing thunderstorms. Once it reached the Westchester side of the river it became a tornado and roared up Beekman Ave., one of the main streets of Sleepy Hollow. The tornado reached F-2 status as it crossed over the Sleepy Hollow village line into Hawthorne. From there it tore across Hawthorne, New York, destroying a California Closets office and warehouse. It then proceeded up Stevens Ave. and crossed into Valhalla, New York inflicting much damage. It finally crossed the Kensico Reservoir and caused slight damage in Greenwich, CT before going out to the Long Island Sound.

The tornado left much of Hawthorne and Valhalla without power and many streets were covered with trees for much of the next few days. Power was restored to most of the area within the next two or three days, with some areas regaining power within the next week.

The article says the tornado "may have begun" in Rockland County, but there was documented damage in Grandview, on the Rockland side of the Hudson River, before the waterspout crossed the Hudson and became a tornado again in Sleepy Hollow. It picked up a New York State trooper’s car while he was driving along the Sprain Brook Parkway, dropped it, picked it up again, and dropped it a second time. The trooper was bruised a bit and spent a couple days in the hospital; the car, though, was totaled, since the first drop was nose-first.

But before it reached the area of the Sprain Brook, it tore through the area of Tarrytown Lakes, near the former Rockefeller estate. There are new houses that were recently built in wooded areas that had for decades, maybe centuries, been natural growth. I have to admit wanting to see that some damage had been done (without hurting anyone) to send a message that it's better to leave nature alone, that not all "progress" is actually progress. But, alas, though there were downed trees all around the area, none of the houses appeared to be damaged.

T.I. = I.D.I.O.T.

His lawyer says there are two sides to every story. Yeah, his client's and the truth. Anyone should know that a convicted felon is asking for trouble when he tries to buy, not just handguns, but machine guns and silencers. I don't claim to know all the details, but even if it was a setup, he deserves whatever he gets for falling for it.

Some chuckles

The original email said "Only in America" for the first few, but I'm sure they're fairly universal, especially the first one...

Only in America...
  • drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.
  • people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke.
  • banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters.
  • we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage.
  • we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight.
  • we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'.
  • they have drive-up ATM machines with Braille lettering.


  • why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
  • why women can't put on mascar a with their mouth closed?
  • why you don't ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?
  • why 'abbreviated' is such a long word?
  • why it is that doctors call what they do 'practice'?
  • why lemon juice is made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
  • why the man who invests all your money is called a broker?
  • why the time of day with the slowest traffic is called rush hour?
  • why there isn't mouse-flavored cat food?
  • why Noah didn't swat those two mosquitoes?
  • why they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
  • why sheep don't shrink when it rains?
  • why they are called apartments when they are all stuck together?
  • You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes?
    Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
  • If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
  • If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

    Now that you've smiled at least once, it's your turn to spread the stupidity and send this to someone you want to bring a smile to (maybe even a chuckle) other words, send it to everyone. We all need to smile every once in a while.

Breast Cancer Site Needs Your Help

I thought this was one of those bandwidth-wasting chain emails at first, until I did some checking and found it to be legit. The Breast Cancer Site has arranged for sponsors to donate towards free mammograms for women who can't afford to pay for them in exchange for clicks on a banner on the site. Here's the text of the email I got this morning:
Please tell ten friends to tell ten today! The Breast Cancer site is having
trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota
of donating at least one free mammogram a day to an underprivileged woman. It
takes less than a minute to go to their site and click on "donating a mammogram"
for free (pink window in the middle). This doesn't cost you a thing.
Their corporate sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate
mammogram in exchange for advertising. Here's the website! Pass it
along to people you know:

Friday, October 12, 2007

Odds and ends for today

Intelligent Design: What’s the Big Deal?

I subscribe to Wikipedia’s Featured Article of the Day by mail, and today’s article is Intelligent Design. This is basically a way for religious-minded individuals to frame “creation” in a way to hopefully get around the objections of those who reject creation accounts on “scientific” grounds.

Personally, I don’t see the supposed disconnect between religion and science. After all, the root meaning of the English word “science” is “knowledge.” Wikipedia’s article on science defines it as follows:

“Science (from the Latin scientia, 'knowledge'), in the broadest sense, refers to any systematic knowledge or practice.[1] In a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.”

In other words, science is what is known. The fact that a particular group of scientists don’t know, for example, how the earth was created, doesn’t make the method used any less scientific. It just means that they don’t know or cannot reproduce the method. Many times arguments against creation accounts are no more than the egos of the objectors acting out.

World Trade Bomber has a change of faith

According to reports in today’s edition of the New York Daily News, convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef, who detonated the truck bomb that destroyed a basement garage in the World Trade Center in 1993, has abandoned Islam and is now a Christian convert.

The report states that he has stopped reading the Koran, shaved his beard, and even eats pork.

I’m sure that there are conspiracy theorists claiming that he’s putting on a show in hopes of getting some kind of early release from prison (which could never happen in a post 9/11 world, especially since he’s serving a life sentence). But, in fact, even a discussion of changing religions could get someone killed by fundamentalist Muslims, to say nothing of eating pork. So I’d have to say this is real. And if it is real, he’d best hope that he never gets out of prison. Because if he did, he could never be at ease – besides those who would be willing to hunt him down over the bombing, there would be people who consider his “conversion” as blasphemy.

Kid Singers in NYC? OK. But Baby Races?

A ten-month-old baby was just crowned “fastest crawler” at a “Baby Derby” in Union Square, in New York City. He competed against seven other babies in crawling along a ten-foot-long course, sponsored by Babies “R” Us as a trial run for races to be held this weekend at the American Baby Faire (?!) in Long Island’s Nassau Coliseum.

Maybe I’m overreacting, but this seems just a little bit exploitive… but then somebody thought the same thing about 17-year-old American Idol winner Jordin Sparks and fellow contestant Sanjaya Malakar, who turned 18 just after the performing the New York shows on this years American Idol tour. The organizers got hit with fines after a clerk at the NYS Labor Department took note of the fact that Jordin and Sanjaya, both featured performers, were under 18. She did some digging, and turned the info over to investigators who then found that the company that organized the tour didn’t have the correct permits filed for using underage performers.

I know that laws and standards exist for a reason, but there is a huge difference between teen performers who have parents, managers, and so on with them to monitor them and make sure they’re not being exploited or overworked, and kids enslaved in some sweatshop making sneakers or pocketbooks for pennies an hour. It was “only” a $5,000 fine, though, so they didn’t get too carried away, but I still think it probably should have been let go.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Interesting quote from Charlize Theron

Esquire magazine's annual poll claims that Charlize is the "sexiest woman alive." She is a good-looking woman, though I have major qualms with the idea of her being the sexiest alive. (Esther Baxter, anyone? Somaya Reece? I could name others...) But she had an interesting quote in the article; after speaking about working with director John Frankenheimer, she made a comment about, as the paper said, "a different kind of American director -- one that frequents the Oval Office instead of the back lot." She says, "I grew up in a country that learned the lesson that you can't impose your way of life on 26 different kinds of people just because you call yourself righteous... I think there are lessons this country still has to learn."

NY Daily News article: Charlize winner of battle of the babes

Great book

i've been reading The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. It's a fascinating book about what makes some trends, fads, and ideas take off, while others are dead in the water. It first came to my attention when the phrase was chosen for the title of a CD by Tha Roots. But I guess if that's gonna be my criterion for choosing books to buy then I have to get Things Fall Apart next -- that was a Roots CD title also...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Fred Thompson needs to do his homework

In today's NY Daily News it's reported that Thompson has hired ex-Virginia senator George Allen to be a top advisor to his presidential campaign team. Allen was forced from office after the controversy that came out of his using a racial slur (macaca) to refer to an Indian-American man who was tracking Allen's campaign for a political rival. He claimed he didn't know what it meant, but what kind of person calls people names without knowing what the name means? And even if he really didn't know, why did he feel the need to single out this particular person for namecalling? I'm sure questions about this will come up on Thompson's campaign stops. If he wants to be President, he'd better be ready.

Wikipedia article on macaca

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

GEICO Cavemen's Self-Help Book

We all know by now about the GEICO cavemen now having their own show. A sitcom set in Atlanta, which has me wondering if they're supposed to represent blacks, or gays, or both. Now they have a self-help book out -- I saw it in Barnes & Noble last night -- called "Keep Chewing Until It Stops Moving."

Reposted responses:

T-Mc, Sep 21 2007, 03:03 PM
Are you saying Atlanta is filled with Blacks and Gays?

Me, 9/24, 02:36 AM
Well, Atlanta has been a Black American Mecca for a long time now. And it has gained a reputation, maybe unfairly I don't know, of being a haven for closeted gays. At least this is what Wendy Williams would have us believe, but an old friend of mine down there has me wondering if there's something to it after all. And on the commercials the cavemen do seem rather... genteel... (Not that being genteel is a bad thing.)

They could easily have put the cavemen in NYC or LA. Remember that the Men In Black series put the aliens in NYC because they said it would be the easiest place to blend in and in LA, the cavemen could pass themselves off as "practicing for a part." But the show's synopsis says the cavemen are supposed to be trying to make their way in the face of prejudice and stereotypes.

The moderator at the Jazzyville forum where I had originally posted this thought it should be posted in a blog so more people could see it, and maybe comment... ?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Notes from the road

(reposted from my soon-to-be-defunct blog on the Jazzyville message board)

I've been in Indiana for the past few days for a funeral, and seeing the conditions my uncle is living in (and with), and hearing about his past from him and from my parents, some thoughts come to mind:

  • To paraphrase the Bible, "What you can do, do while you can." My uncle has all kinds of health problems but no health insurance because, well, he's kind of averse to work. He got hurt while he was able to work but not working and not looking, and now he can't get any help. He gets help with his prescriptions, but it's a few drops in the bucket.

  • To quote Rick James, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug." Stay away. Nuff said. (I don't really know what his "drug of choice" was, or even if "was" is the right word. But you get the point.)

  • Same with alcohol. Too much is too much, never mind that "you can handle it."

  • If you are injured (or get sick) due to others' actions, take advantage of every resource available to you to get the care you need as soon as possible, not after ten years have gone by. The help won't be available, and the problems will be much worse.

  • Try, try to position yourself in some kind of positive surroundings. Gary, Indiana is one of the most depressing places I have ever seen up close. I've seen some beautiful houses across the street from dilapidated, boarded-up places that would keep the value of the good houses down and make the owner a bit nervous about some of his neighbors (depending, of course, on what he/she does for a living... )
I'm sure I could come up with more, but it's almost midnight, and I'm typing this on a computer in a Comfort Inn lobby on my way back home...

Celebrity girls gone wild

(Reposted from a soon-to-be-defunct blog at the Jazzyville message board)

I can't help wondering how Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and the others have avoided ending up on one of those videos all these years. Lohan, in particular, seems to be in a bottomless pit, and it's gonna be really ugly when she hits bottom.

Reposted comments

From T-Mc, 7/26/07 11:30am: I am getting tired of Blonde Bimbos.

From Me, 7/26/07 12:07pm: You and me both. Lohan needs to go back to her natural color...

I recall a photo contest at that featured "cloned" pix of stars, and one featured Lohan with rather dark (tanned?) skin and red hair, and standing next to her was another, almost-albino Lindsey with bottle-blond hair, and the caption "Yeah, they're really both her. Scary."

Maybe somebody needs to have Robert Downey Jr. to sit down and have a talk with the bunch of them, and let them hear the details of his long, strange trip. (That is, of course, if he's dedicated to staying clean.) In fact, since Lohan and Spears were willing to pay megabucks for those country-club rehab programs, maybe Downey should charge them something...

From T-Mc, 7/26/07 1:15pm: People don't know what they will miss, until it is gone.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Race in a Bottle

Drugmakers are eager to develop medicines targeted at ethnic groups, but so far they have made poor choices based on unsound science

Two years ago, on June 23, 2005, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the first “ethnic” drug. Called BiDil (pronounced “bye-dill”), it was intended to treat congestive heart failure—the progressive weakening of the heart muscle to the point where it can no longer pump blood efficiently—in African-Americans only. The approval was widely declared to be a significant step toward a new era of personalized medicine, an era in which pharmaceuticals would be specifically designed to work with an individual’s particular genetic makeup. Known as pharmacogenomics, this approach to drug development promises to reduce the cost and increase the safety and efficacy of new therapies. BiDil was also hailed as a means to improve the health of African-Americans, a community woefully underserved by the U.S. medical establishment. Organizations such as the Association of Black Cardiologists and the Congressional Black Caucus strongly supported the drug’s approval.

A close inspection of BiDil’s history, however, shows that the drug is ethnic in name only...
Click here to read the rest of the article

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Frustrated Video Dater Loses It


Seems just a little excitable until the end, when he really loses it...

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Man's smelly feet trigger police raid


I've known some smelly-feet people but I don't think I've ever come across someone whose feet inspired a call to the local police station!

Friday, July 20, 2007

This Slim is in Fat City in more ways than one

Mexico's richest man casts controversial shadow -- article no longer found...

...but according to a more recent article, Carlos Slim is now the world's richest man.

Bill Gates Ousted; Carlos Slim Now Holds World's Fattest Wallet, Report Says

Monday, July 09, 2007

The Internet Patrol - Sprint Cellular Disconnects Customers Who Call Sprint PCS Customer Service Phone Number Too Often

I knew from my own experience that Sprint's customer service was nothing short of crappy, but this takes the cake! They're actually canceling customer's accounts if Sprint decides the customer has called customer service or billing too often!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: The Internet Patrol <>
Date: Jul 9, 2007 10:50 AM
Subject: The Internet Patrol - Sprint Cellular Disconnects Customers Who Call Sprint PCS Customer Service Phone Number Too Often

The Internet Patrol

The Latest News at the Internet Patrol
Here is today's news from the Internet Patrol!

Sprint Cellular Disconnects Customers Who Call Sprint PCS Customer Service Phone Number Too Often

2007-07-08 03:04:17-04
If you have a Sprint cellular phone and Sprint cell phone service, or are considering getting a cell phone from Sprint, you'll want to know just how the Sprint phone company treats customers of their Sprint wireless phone service when they call Sprint PCS customer service. Because customers calling the Sprint customer service phone number too often are being terminated by the Sprint/Nextel service!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Count Your Blessings

I don't normally repost or post links to things like this, but for some reason this one touched me...

Count Your Blessings

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Sick Health Care System

It didn't just become news when Michael Moore said it, but he's right. The health care system in the United States needs fixing. Whenever your level of care depends on what a supervisor at an insurance company is willing to allow, rather than what trained medical personnel (and the patient!) deem necessary, something needs to be done. And when the time of day can have life-or-death effect on your level of care in a hospital, changes need to be made...

Seattle Times review of Sicko

Night Shift Nightmare (Reader's Digest)

I can vouch for the differences in the level of care, not only between the day and night shifts, but also between the intensive care unit staff and the "regular" nursing staff. I was in ICU and, well, constipated for the whole time I was there. On the evening of the fifth day, I was transferred to a regular room, and when I told the duty nurse that I was consipated and had been since I got there, she gave me this stuff that looked like chocolate milk and smelled (and probably tasted) like nail polish remover. It did the trick, though, but not until the next morning. Unfortunately, that was when someone was going around taking patients' temperature and blood pressure. The nurse came around, found I was still in the bathroom, and went ballistic! Like my whole reason for being in there was less important than their need to follow procedure. (Granted, blood pressure problems was part of the reason I was there, but still...)

The woman taking the readings, for her part, was quite understanding, but I'd expect a nurse to have been a bit more understanding. After all, she has had medical training and is supposed to play a part in putting the patient at ease.

Though it turned out that the stuff they gave me to get me "moving" again (they called it a "black and white"; I have no idea what was in it) was NOT supposed to be given to me because of the nature of my particular problem. The nurse had reacted to my complaint, but without checking into what my medical issue was. And again, this was a night-shift nurse.

Not to put down the night shift -- I know they're called on to do more work, since there are fewer people on hand after dark. But, still, it's not too much to expect them to do a thorough job no matter what. And my story isn't anything like the one in the Reader's Digest article...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Not Really News, But...

...When my union's website dedicates an entire page to Wal-Mart and how they muscle vendors into either redoing their whole business model (and giving up profits) in order to keep Wal-Mart's prices low, including laying off workers and sending jobs overseas, I have to take note of it.

The Wal-Mart You Don't Know (posted at; article originally published in Fast Company, December 2003, page 68

Excerpt: "The giant retailer's low prices often come with a high cost. Wal-Mart's relentless pressure can crush the companies it does business with and force them to send jobs overseas. Are we shopping our way straight to the unemployment line?"
The CSEA Unit 9200 site includes much more info about Wal-Mart and how it's bullying vendors and costing American workers their jobs and/or fair wages: Wal-Mart Awareness

Tom Joyner, are you reading this? You're all about supporting causes benefiting African-Americans, but who (among others) do you think is hurting when your favorite retailer is causing jobs to be sent overseas and driving companies out of business? Or have you been paid to NOT mention certain kinds of things that would point a finger at them?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Big Brother? No, more like Big Nanny

Towards a Nanny Internet -- "Are we moving towards a Nanny Internet? Between network neutrality, laws requiring dating sites to perform background checks and ISPs to rat out their users, laws banning anonymous posting, and cyberbullying legislation, one might argue that the Nanny Internet is shaping up nicely. Or not."

Sunday, February 25, 2007

BUMP: Signs (and billboards, and spam) of the times

I found the following post while I was Googling for something else (never mind what).
I see ads when I watch television, or read a newspaper or magazine. I hear ads when I listen to the radio.

The football stadium in my city is Invesco Field. The baseball stadium is Coors Field. The basketball/hockey arena is the Pepsi Center.

When I surf the web I get hit with banner ads, pop-up ads, and an email inbox full of spam.

Companies buy product placement in the movies I watch and the video games I play.

I go to get the mail and come back with a fistful of credit card solicitations and other junk. I have to sign up for a no-call list to avoid getting a dozen telemarketing calls each day.

There exists something called the " Bowl."

Billboards litter the landscape. When I pump gas, an ad on the pump handle informs me that candy bars are 3 for 99 cents. NASCAR... 'nuff said.

Ads are stuck to the floor at the grocery store, spoken in pleasant tones over the sound system, and printed on the back of my receipt. An ESPN college football analyst casually refers to the late-December bowls as "Capital One Bowl Week". During the half-hour before movies, when people used to chat pleasantly, we are now shown continuous ads for soda and pop music.

Blimps and airplanes pulling banners turn the heavens into ad space. A Super Bowl champion announces that he is going to Disneyland.

Am I worth anything beyond my ability to consume?

My apologies to Lonnie Jordan and WAR, but the following "lyrics" popped into my head as I reread this post:

Don't you know that it's true
That for me, and for you,
The world is a billboard...
(from The World is a Ghetto, by WAR)

When I first found this blog post, two things came to mind. First of all, the poster was absolutely correct. Advertising has gotten entirely out of hand, and the recent boom in stadium naming rights fees is a perfect example. I remember when the indoor arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey was first built, and the area was named the Brendan Byrne Arena, after the governor whose efforts were instrumental in getting it built. Made perfect sense to me. But then some years later, when the naming rights craze came along, the arena was renamed the Continental Airlines Arena. I suppose it made a kind of sense, since the Meadowlands complex is right next to Newark Airport, but still, to discount the man who built the place in favor of the highest bidder just seemed stupid to me.

Then the whole naming rights thing caught fire. Now it's actually rare to see stadium names like Camden Yards, named after the section of Baltimore where the stadium is located, or Shea Stadium, named after Bill Shea, who was instrumental in getting National League baseball back in New York (in the form of the Mets). Who can work up enthusiasm for the ridiculously named 3Com Park, or Minute Maid Park? I would think the Astros (who play in Minute Maid Park) were probably happier, at least from a stadium-name standpoint, with the Astrodome. Too bad the former Enron Field (now there was a cool name) couldn't have been built as a domed stadium, and too bad about that Ken Lay business that forced the team to strip Enron's name from the building in favor of Minute Maid...

My New York Mets will begin playing in a new stadium in the 2009 season, and there was much public support for the idea of naming the new stadium after Jackie Robinson. Even the City of New York got into the spirit of things by giving Interborough Parkway the new name Jackie Robinson Parkway, since its northern end lies right next to Shea Stadium. But then the team went and sold the naming rights to Citigroup, and so the new stadium will be Citi Field, which sounds utilitarian if you don't know the story (or see the spelling).

Another thing that struck me with this post, was that that original blog, and the site that hosted it, have disappeared into the ether. I don't really want to go trampling on anyone else's "intellectual property," but is it wrong to repost a blog entry or article from a defunct site? I totally agree with the sentiment, but with the site being down there's no way for me to contact the blogger to get permission to repost...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

When the Past Comes to Visit

Reposted from a Yahoo mailing list related to writing...
One of the strange aspects of web publishing is that it's ethereal. Unlike books, where the public can usually get their hands on an original edition. How many hard print authors would like to expunge their earlier works if only they could? A lot, I bet. Well, I can to some degree, and I've been exercising that right to date. But I probably won't forever. It's just going to take a lot of work to sort out and remove references to some early writers, artists and models who have asked to be 'edited out' of the history, or I have chosen to remove. That's the real work -- honoring those wishes.

Of course, as all the Myspace and other social network participants are about to find out, it's hard to totally remove your presence from the Net. How many people in their 40's to 60's are going to be haunted by strangeness they posted on Myspace in their teens or twenties? A lot. Especially given that everything on the net has been archived since the relatively recent arrival of the likes of Google. I've read that they have vast disk farms which will allow future wayback machinery to dig it all out as a function of time, even if the system today is clearly focused on caching and delivery current content. That old stuff, uncounted terabytes of content, is getting stored. Future detectives are going to have some very interesting and rewarding work (like publishing something in 2038 about a congressional candidate's Myspace postings in 2006).

Imagine if the detailed records of our current politician's activites in the Frat house in the 1960's or 70's was possible to dig out? Down to every girlfriend, every drug taken, every beer consumed, not to mention their immature thoughts about
everything imaginable. Every forgettable event and mistake in their lives. Despite pseudonyms, real identities aren't hard to figure out. A person's foolish youthhood should be forgotten and forgiven, not recorded in intimate detail forever. But I guess the Myspace bloggers will also represent most of the voters and journalists eventually, so maybe that strangeness will just be accepted as part of the culture. But that seems hard to believe today.

When I asked Shadar, the original poster, for his OK to repost this here, this was his reply:

Feel free to echo my comments into any forum you wish... although please attribute it to me as you indicate below. I suspect you might get some heated discussions out of it on some forums.

Digital culture is changing so fast its impossible to predict the future, but I do know that I'm glad I (and more importantly everyone else) has forgotten most of the insanity of my first 25 years on this planet. Also that I've never had to explain away any of that stuff in an interview because it was never recorded (we're talking 1960's and 70's). . Privacy and the forgetfulness of time are wonderful, wonderful things. People could re-invent themselves, and unless you had a criminal record (those were recorded for all time), then the 'old self' disappeared to be be replaced by the new.

And our ideas definitely change during our lifetime.

Problem with digital is that its all there staring at you forever... every single bit. Even if you erase it, if it left your PC, odds are somebody's else is keeping it. And now we have Google's disk farms recording (or about to record) the entire friggin' world. Ouch.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

I'm glad to see a blog post about "booming systems"

I actually thought about looking into making LL Cool J's "The Boomin' System" or "Cheesy Rat Blues" play in the background for this post page...

UPDATE: Sony BMG music group resorting to spyware

It just occurred to me today, over a year after I'd posted this article, that the Jakarta Post could have another motive for running this story. Indonesia is not a party to the current copyright, trademark, and patent conventions, and thus is a haven for illegal duplication of music and movies, largely for distribution in so-called developing countries. Since the multinational major labels like Sony BMG, Universal, and the others have been pressuring the Indonesian government to adopt the international intellectual property protections, it must make the Indonesians feel good to be able to point out the egg on Sony's face over this spyware mess. Yet another example of opposing parties pointing out the dirt on the other guys just to divert attention from their own dirty doings.

(Original post date 11/14/05)
The Jakarta Post, an Indonesian newspaper, has reported on its website that a number of new music CD releases from Sony BMG actually install spyware on users' computers. The article also points out that, with all the means now at new artists' disposal to completely bypass music companies altogether, such a move on Sony's part can only alienate consumers, some of whom are even considering lawsuits. I recently bought Shakira's new CD, Fijacion Oral volumen 1, which I haven't installed on my computer just yet, and now I'm not sure if I should, even though I really want La Tortura in my MP3 player (and I barely understand what she's singing, with my poor Spanish). I may even have to pass entirely on buying Oral Fixation volume 2 when it comes out this month.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Lorem ipsum, with an explanation

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Curabitur ultrices lectus. Donec porta. Quisque pharetra. Nullam posuere semper nisl. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Vivamus tempor. In hac habitasse platea dictumst. Morbi imperdiet nisi eu orci. Sed convallis sapien a lectus. Maecenas tincidunt elit ac sem. Fusce fringilla. Ut sed nisi. Mauris consectetuer leo id ante. Morbi sit amet metus nec ligula nonummy facilisis. Aliquam a justo vitae nulla sollicitudin ultrices. Fusce nec mauris. Pellentesque leo turpis, venenatis sed, interdum nec, commodo faucibus, sem. Aliquam erat volutpat. Cum sociis natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus.

Keep reading...

Vestibulum volutpat. Donec mauris elit, molestie non, mollis sit amet, rhoncus nec, diam. Integer lectus metus, porttitor ut, auctor at, imperdiet bibendum, dolor. Vestibulum quis tellus id nulla cursus hendrerit. Quisque in dolor eu felis ullamcorper faucibus. Praesent luctus, ipsum a molestie adipiscing, felis lorem porta urna, nec posuere ligula nibh vel nisl. Suspendisse et purus. Donec lacus. Praesent aliquam sem ut nisl. In libero. Suspendisse quis nisi. Morbi tempor. Sed condimentum, ligula in mollis nonummy, arcu magna sodales tellus, eu venenatis dui neque vel augue. Fusce id purus sit amet augue dignissim consectetuer.

Don't stop yet...

Nam iaculis fringilla tellus. Suspendisse tempor varius nulla. Quisque facilisis, lacus at condimentum semper, pede leo congue tellus, eget ultricies neque eros quis neque. In quam velit, varius vel, luctus nec, volutpat eu, sapien. Morbi consectetuer lacus a elit. Aliquam erat volutpat. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Aenean orci massa, commodo at, fermentum id, fermentum malesuada, velit. Phasellus ultricies, elit in rutrum egestas, est dui convallis nisi, commodo blandit arcu magna sit amet sapien. Mauris posuere mauris eget nulla.

Curabitur aliquam. Ut sit amet ipsum non dolor consectetuer dapibus. Curabitur ac nulla id nibh rutrum imperdiet. Nunc nisl. Sed velit ante, molestie a, sagittis ullamcorper, nonummy a, pede. Sed magna. Donec nec nulla id eros interdum convallis. Proin dapibus. Donec malesuada. Sed cursus dui. Pellentesque feugiat. In augue. In elit. Sed id nisi. Aliquam erat volutpat. Phasellus ipsum elit, porta tempor, semper vitae, venenatis ac, purus. Sed tempus. Donec euismod aliquet est.

Just a little farther...

Morbi purus eros, feugiat gravida, pulvinar ac, scelerisque gravida, dolor. Sed elit tortor, eleifend vel, bibendum ut, rhoncus non, purus. Etiam egestas tortor vel felis. Nullam aliquam. Vivamus ut augue pellentesque leo pretium aliquam. Vestibulum diam neque, hendrerit nec, convallis vulputate, hendrerit eget, augue. Sed sit amet metus eu orci pulvinar dignissim. Praesent tempor dictum sem. Morbi metus turpis, facilisis sed, vehicula vel, sodales commodo, erat. Nam sapien. Nam ut augue.

This is an experiment. If you've read this far, do me a favor and post a comment, just to let me know someone is reading this thing.