Friday, September 05, 2008

Just the facts, ma'am

Well maybe just a little more than the facts. is my favorite daily read for election polls and newsy tidbits, and handy charts showing how the electoral vote is stacking up day by day.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

From the headlines

Headline at the LA times...

Hollywood Republicans give Sarah Palin big thumbs up

Yeah. All two of them. Impressive.

"Jon Voight and Pat Boone become her fans. 'She's the new star we're looking for,' one studio chief says."

Repost: Essay on Greed and Ambition

Of all the past posts, I liked this one the best, so I'll kick off the new election season with a reprint:

For me, the defining moment of the Reagan years came in 1986 when Ivan Boesky gave his infamous speech on the positive aspects of greed at the University of California, during which he said "I think greed is healthy. You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself".

When I heard that, it made me feel sick. I wasn't sure exactly why, other than the obvious lack of ethical sensibility it showed. It made me feel deeply, personally offended; and it made me vaguely fear the future.

Years later, I have a better understanding of the problem. It seems the prime legacy of the Reagan years was to confuse the definitions of "ambition" and "greed" in popular culture. And now, the neocon movement defends "greed" as if it were ambition.

GREED is not the same as AMBITION:

Ambition: a cherished desire; "his ambition is to own his own business"; a strong drive for success

Greed: excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves; avarice: reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth (personified as one of the deadly sins)

"Ambition" is healthy. You can be "ambitious" and still feel good about yourself.

Ambition is a constructive force. It is part of what defines "greatness". It builds companies, expands the economy, creates jobs, increases wealth for others as well as the ambitious. It is the pursuit of an idea, and is driven by the imagination. The success or failure of the ambitious lies mainly in their own energy, strength and ingenuity.

Sometimes ambition wears an ugly, or at least unseemly, face, as the ambitious may do things that are harsh or unpopular. This seems to be where people get confused. The ambitious often must make difficult decisions, and sometimes can afford little indulgence for compassion or loyalty. Sometimes they even do things which are clearly unethical. The end result however, is sometimes great achievement.

Henry Ford was ambitious. Wendy's founder Dave Thomas was ambitious. Mary Kay Ash was ambitious, as was Martha Stewart, like her or not. All achieved their wealth through the pursuit of a vision.

But greed --- oh greed is a different thing entirely.

Greed is the prostitute of ambition.

Greed is the pursuit of wealth without vision, without imagination. Greed is a destructive force. Greed in a family can rip it apart. Greed in a corporation drives it into ruin. Greed in leadership can turn democracy into tyranny.

The success of the greedy depends on the indecencies they are willing to commit. How readily they cheat and steal, and how little they are willing to leave for others. Greed is quick and savage and does not consider the future, and therefore has little need of the ethics required to build relationships and institutions.

In fact, greed almost never builds anything, but it can fail spectacularly. Enron, of course, is the poster child of greed. But there are many lesser known corporations whose executives are well versed in the practice of greed, and they are stealing our futures, on scales large and small, by taking more than they deserve, and giving nothing back --- not vision, not leadership, not growth.

If you are an American wage earner, you have to worry that your company may be one of them. You have virtually no protection from these greedy, save for that provided by your government in laws and regulations created to favor ambition over greed.

The problem is, our current administration appears to be greedy, and not merely ambitious. With government on their side, the greedy can practice avarice overtly. Without the protection of our government, we are naked and exposed to any indecency they wish to commit.

A society led by the greedy cannot sustain itself for long.

Times haven't changed much

since Nov 05, just the names and faces.

Yeah, I know it's been almost three years since my last post. Kind of a long break I guess.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

in case you missed it

John Nichol's op-ed on O'Reilly's "thing" against San Francisco, and such...


I really miss optimism.

I think it's partly a factor of age; over time, you see a lot of failures. They accumulate in your mind. Now, almost nothing seems likely to succeed.

I've been attending a software conference this week, and it just seems so 90's to me. Except that, in the 90's, it really was true. We were going to solve problems, do great things for business, advance our profession, be heroes.

But that bubble burst, along with a lot of other bursting things. Now here we are, 2005, it's getting harder to muster that kind of enthusiasm. Now I just want to get the budget passed, keep my projects from self-destructing, and try to ignore the ignorance and poor decision making I see around me.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

ephemera of the 40's & 50's

Cool site, Ephemera Now. Ephemera from the 40's and 50's, mostly advertising.

Is it just me or does she seem a little "twisted"?

Also from this site, I think I've found the perfect main course for the Dr-Pepper-Aspic "appetizer"!:

"Ham Shortcakes with Pea Sauce" Yummy!

What a nightmare. It's no wonder the kids started turning to drugs in the sixties.

oh and here's another.... "Peas in Potato Boats"...

Dear GOD what was up with the peas?


<<<< American Girl Dolls --- the new face of Angry Lesbian Abortionists!

Geez what a twisted organization the American Family Association appears to be. They came to my attention because of their recent call to boycott American Girl dolls for that company's association with the 140-year old pro-girl organization Girls, Inc.

I try not to think too much about organizations such as AFA because their idiocy hurts my brain. Their characterization of Girls Inc as pro-lesbian, pro-abortion is just the kind of fascist extremism we've come to expect from the maleficent religious right. It's truly painful to think how many people who would've ended up decent, honest and righteous instead fall prey to AFA's depraved and soulless rhetoric, and end up wasting their lives in a mire of voyeuristic hate mongering and intolerance.

So as I said, I just try not to think too much about it.

But curiosity got the better of me today.

Search on "torture" at their site and OMG, they cannot TELL you enough about Yahoo. Seems, um, Yahoo allowed SM/BD groups to organize through their online community service. Seems someone at AFA found out about this ---- hmmm, I wonder how?

The real torture of real prisoners is far less of a concern for these christians. Not a single comment, article, headline, news release anywhere on their site --- save for one obscure case where an inmate in China was purportedly beaten for converting other prisoners to Christianity. At least they reported that. It seems the torture of muslims in american prisons, however, is A-OK with these kind folks, cause there was nary a word about it.

Their rabid anti-gay position can only be understood if you believe that homosexuals "choose" homosexuality --- or are somehow "forced" into it --- and the only people who could have come up with that theory are latent homosexuals who are "choosing" heterosexuality, unhappily at that.

In fact, their panicked response to anything having to do with sex belies their fundamental problem: they are just not getting any.

Each one of these fools needs to get with the partner of their choice, be it spouse, lover, or inanimate object, and treat themselves to a long and luxurious fuck. Maybe then things would seem right with the world again.

But imagine having to go home to old "Sue" here. Bet sleeping with her is a real treat.

And the whole pornography thing anyway. That's a whole 'nother thing. I wish women would just RELAX and CALM DOWN about it. For crying out loud, you know? The amount of total hysteria, of tears and ruined evenings generated by something so innocuous... sometimes I really think women have just lost their minds.

My advice on porn: It's like PMS. Men don't like PMS but they learn to live with it. When you get a woman, there's a good chance she's bringing along a little PMS. When you get a man, be prepared for a little porn to come along with him, like it or not. Best get used to it. It's really not so bad.

a frog?! c'mon!

I took the cute animal quiz, and well, let's just say I'm less than pleased with my results.

You Are A: Frog!

froggyIndependent yet still part of a large community, frogs are unique creatures known for their distinctive sound and ability to hop. As a frog, you spend your days sitting on lily pads or climbing trees, searching for delicious insects to eat. While there are some frogs that aren't exactly cute, you are certainly not one of those!

You were almost a: Duck or a Mouse
You are least like a: Groundhog or a PuppyCute Animal Test!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

dream catcher

At 2.4km long, and 270m above the river at its highest point, the Millau viaduct (Millau, France) spans a 2km valley in the Massif Central mountain range and forms the final link in the A75 highway from Paris to Barcelona. Despite its huge length, journey time over the structure is expected to be just one minute.

Surprisingly, the design for this bridge came directly from my own personal recurring nightmare.

More pics from The Guardian.

Friday, October 21, 2005

excuses excuses

Been very busy lately; not much time or energy left for posting.

For one thing, the transmission went on my 2002 Buick Regal with 40,000 miles on it, spinning off a flurry of daily-life aggravations which finally culminated in the purchase of a 2005 Pontiac Vibe:

which has so far been quite a bit of fun, but may represent my last outing with GM if I don't have better luck this time. Hovering around 30 mpg, with a mix of city and highway commuting in case you are wondering.

Then, I have been quite exhausted from skipping gleefully down hallways and dancing in the street as I contemplate the imminent unraveling of the Bushcabal and the neocon doomsday machine that appears to be unfolding at long last, before our very eyes.

If only. If only I could be happy about it. It's like being happy to be rid of a toothache, but then realizing that half your teeth are gone. Or something like that.

Hard to be happy when you consider the big stinking pile of deficit, deceit and bad karma they will be leaving behind. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

worst. recipe. ever.

There might be a more disgusting recipe out there, but this one is just a bad idea; from concept through execution.

Dr. Pepper, aspic, and green olives. A bad idea. Very Bad.

From the Gallery of Regrettable Foods.

Warning: not for the easily nauseated.