Sunday, August 31, 2008

OK I am getting my blog face! A bad one! I have copied below in its entirety (no alterations) something I received from my dear Uncle Wilfred from about McCain's "dangerous choice" of Sarah Palin...and I am watching the Sunday morning newshows and listening to Bob Schieffer et al...

And all can say about my dear friends on any side of the aisle who want to unload about Palin's lack of you kidding me? You want to criticize Palin for VP? What about Barak for President? Why is it that an governor with even modest executive experience for the second role is a "dangerous choice" because she is only a heartbeat away from the Oval Office but we can put someone with even less experience in the Office and anoint him as the Messiah?

...So let me get this straight...the Dems can scream from the rooftops about "change" for 20 months and then the Reps come up with a "change" VP candidate who has more decision-making common-sense experience than Obama (and just happens to be a woman) and the Dems criticize this? And the Presidential candidate of "hope and change" selects one of the most senior white males in American politics (Teddy is sick, so he was off the list, I suppose), and then criticizes the opposing candidate's lack of experience? And that is not hypocritcal? Or "dangerous" because it subverts the "message of change" and "audacity of hope?" One of the guys at the heart of three decades of Washington stupidity from both political parties is now on the "A Team" and this is OK and not incrongruent with what the Dems are demanding? What?

The bottom line on all of this is that the Dems are upset that they got blown off the 'A' list of media on Friday morning and all weekend has now been talking about the choice of Palin and also the possibility of a hurricane hitting the Gulf again...and Barak got displaced off the pulpit for the moment...

Look, I may not be the sharpest tool in the fact I am not...but I have done OK for myself in this world...starting from just about nothing after my time in the military...and let me tell you that I have much more regard for the sensibilities of the person running the corner store or teaching the class or the single mom raising her kids or the guy running the railroad or painting the house than the vast majority of politicians of any stripe with "experience" or an Ivy league resume...

Ok...take a breath...and I am not convinced that Hillary should not have been selected as Veep for the Dems...they would have had a "slam dunk" and Barak appears to be certainly smart enough to have figured out a way to keep Bill on a leash...and at one moment he could have had a candidate of experience and remained true to his message of "hope and change"...and it just seems very hypocritical to have appeared to sold out to conventional political wisdom rather than remain true to what he says he is...and shattered the door saying "white dudes only" on the Oval Office once and for all...

Enjoy the info below!


Subject: McCain's dangerous choice
Dear MoveOn member,
Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.
Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:
She was elected Alaska 's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7
This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.
We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here's a sample:
She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK
She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK
As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK
Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK
She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK
I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK
So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.
In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.
In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.
Thanks for all you do.
–Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team
1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008
2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008
3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008
4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006
5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008
6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008
"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008
"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008
7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008
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Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Complaint About Movies

I have a complaint...about movies...and it has nothing to do with the price...but has anyone seen a good movie lately? I mean one that isn't preceded by 20 minutes of mind-poounding head-thumping music videos of car crashes in the previews? I don't recall when the last time was I saw a movie with an actual plot, dialogue and story--and no car crashes and explosions!

Now except for Heath Ledger...I felt that Batman Dark Night was really too loud...and impersonal for me...can anyone make a subtle point in a movie any more? Am I really going to be reduced to watching my DVD of Band of Brothers again and again? Some help here!

...and don't throw the indie movies at me as being the answer...because I just watched about 12 of them for the San Diego Film Festival...and while they throttle back on the car crashes and volume...three out of four of them are entirely too long...downright tedious....and while I kind of am enamored with "Punkin Chuckin" (seriously---hurling pumpkins up to a 1/2 mile through massive cannons, rubber bands and various doo-hickees) we really need 2 hours and 15 minutes of pumkin tossing?

So I am all ears here sports fans...I would love to have a recommendation of a good movie I can go to with friends and family!

Obama Bin Biden vs. Sarah Palin and Tall McCain

Well kids...what a week! Just when we thought Obama had it in the bag...he does the unthinkable! He trades in Billary and their 18,000,000+ votes and goes for the jugular with Joe Biden-- the aging policy wonk from the major state of Delaware...with its three electoral votes...the same as North Dakota...but he salvages all of this potential disaster with an incredible coronation speech at Denver...and properly pursues the strategeeree of hanging Dubya around McCain's neck...

...but I tried to make sense of the Biden pick...he really is a smart guy, a good family story, kept his nose clean in the Senate ('Cept for that itty bitty problem of plagarism from his school daze--but hey, who hasn't outright ripped off other's materials and made it your own? C'mon now!) and I really didn't think Obama would pick a Biden over other choices he had...OK, I am really trying to keep an open mind here! So let me get this straight...

*The multi-national forty-something African-American Chicago street fighter community organizer radical takes for his running mate the highly predictable elderly white dude Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee from just about the tiniest (area) state in the union...

While in the other corner...

*The elderly (very!) Caucasian P.O.W. "maverick" (with eight houses) takes for his running mate a gun-packing moose-burger eating forty-something mother of five (do you think I am making this up?) from just about the tiniest (population) state in union?!?

What is he thinking?

Look, McCain is not the greatest guy the GOP has come up with to run for the White House, but I have to give it to him...I cannot think of a better way of knocking Obama off the air on Friday morning than coming up with a highly unpredictable selection for Veep

This election may actually be interesting and close ! Thanks Obama for keeping hope alive!

Oh, and one or two other things that I am thinking about following this week's turn of events...besides the goiter thingy growing on Johnny Mac's neck (yes, I know it is probably left over from his cancer treatment) and the purple lips that Barak gets (what is up with that? eewwww!)...

Now, which woman in an orange pant suit did you think was going to be on the White House ticket this year? Hmmmm?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Eyes Have It...

Saturday August 9, 2008

So that is what I look like...I put on my "blogger face"...according to my dear bride...when I come across things in the ordinary course of business that really bug me...and it happened to me just a few days ago at a local establishment...

...but of course I want to keep the name of this firm really doesn't add anything to the discussion...and I really do like the company and its products, and it has a great reputation...but it really drives me crazy when the most fundamental tasks at business cannot be accomplished well! arggh!

So here is the set-up to the situation I experienced...we went to this retail store prepared to spend some money...and most of the time my credit card charges are approved...provided they don't exceed $239.84...or the Chase Credit Card guys promptly call me to make sure that someone hasn't snagged my card and attempted to buy a new gizmo at Wal-Mart or something...and they are relentless when one of their "security alerts" is triggered...(note to self: I wish they could have been that vigilant when they do some other things, like, say...hand out mortgages to frauds, give zillion dollar bonuses to some doofus [sp?], etc.)...but I digress...again...darn!

...So at this lovely establishment, wood floors, nice music, bright windows and great displays, Ruthie and about 30 other people are rummaging around, feeling stylish and ready to spend...and we have some items and are feeling good...I mean, after all, the economy is in recession...but don't tell that to the 28 other shoppers that were all from Europe (seriously!)...they had to bring out an American cashier just to speak to us since everyone else was tied up with Euro-flush Continentals...and we saunter on up to the cashier...card and items in hand...maybe $200 worth...and we proceed to...wait...and wait...and wait...and five then ten minutes pass...and we have not mind you we are only 3 people from the two cashiers running...but in this ten minutes we have not moved and now Svetlana and Igor, Chas and Thelma and my other Nato friends have joined in the line...and it is looking like a bunch of Mennonites at a dance...all dressed up and no movement...nothing happening...

So patient fellow that I am...I stepped out of the line and went to observe what was going on in the rest of the store...since the Continentals weren't going anywhere since while they were in line the Euro went up another 2.5% vs. the dollar...they were content to be there all day...but I had places to go and people to I notice three other employees in the immediate vicinity...all three are folding and straightening out items...but none are making a move to a cash register...and there are three empty stands within 15 feet of the I ask the young man...let's call him Ralph..."why don't you go open a register and take these people's money? It is, after all, the best part of being in business?" (I could have said the aforementioned encouragement to my young friend with sarcasm but really tried to refrain)...and he said "I have to maintain this table" and that was that...

So I went to another young person, turns out it is the shift manager...and let's call her Lauren...and I get the same answer...and she adds that the other two workers on the floor at the moment "are not qualified to cashier" and that she had "three ringers miss work today"...something about them attending a polo match...and she seemed very satisifed that this was a good enough answer...but noooooo...not for me...and while I told her that I understood the difficulties of managing employees that to make customers stand in line to pay you...a longgggggggggg (and lengthening) line...was just not good business, especially with the type of clientele that Ralph, Lauren and the rest of the gang at the store were wanting to attract...

Interestingly enough she actually had a possible solution in an aside she made to me...when she commented that she would "love to put up a sign at the cashier area that apologizes for the three employees being gone for the day" and maybe that would not have been too bad of an idea...explaining to the employees what had happened and why the cash registers were sitting gathering dust...rather than just letting customers come up with their own stories...

But at the end of the day management must find ways to take their customers money...easily...quickly...and properly...regardless if employees call in sick or have to have a pedicure or anything just cannot do these kinds of things to customers...or they will no longer be your customers...because...

By my count there were at least ten other stores that were direct competitors of the fine establishment that I visited on Thursday...but a gentle suggestion to Ralph, Lauren, and the rest of the folks attending the polo match that day...don't ever make excuses when it comes to taking money when someone is trying to hand it to is after all what is keeping you in business!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Like a Virgin!

Tuesday August 5, 2008

Well kids, I have seen the light! Let me describe a situation and see if you can figure out where I was:

*A comfortable and clean leather cushion for my tush.

*Smiling people and happy and courteous employees.

*Fusion jazz in the bathroom.

*Video games, music, TV for free.

*Fresh flowers at the desk.

*Soft lighting and ambiance.

*Room to spread out.

So where was I? Was it...

*The Proctologist's office.

*The Lazy-Boy Showroom

*My office

*Phil's Barbeque

*A US Airline

Alex, the answer is Virgin American airline, which I flew the other day...and my thoughts are that if I have to pay a 25% premium over any other carrier I will fly Virgin.

Check them out at they say come to "the coolest living room in the sky" and I was very impressed...and left scratching my head...Why does flying have to be as horrible as it is? Why can't people be treated decent? Why can't they act human and understand that the small things really do matter? Why not charge enough to do it right?

For some reason it is taking a good old Brit Sir Richard Branson to bring somethind good back to the US domestic airline business...You really have to try it to understand how nice it is to be 6'2" and actually be able to stand up in the bathroom...and more or less be able to "hit the target" (so to speak)...and not have some young "attendant" tell me I have to shut off my Bose headphones because "the electrical interference can cause disruption to the pilot"...yepper depper one AAA battery really throws the juice out! Thanks for being concerned for my safety! (actually happened a month or so ago on American)...and interestingly enough on Virgin the personal entertainment centers (really...they truly are centers)...are live when you get on the plane and you can use them the whole time both on the ground and in the air...go figure...

Was it perfect? Of course not...their computer crashed and they had to write our tickets by hand...and you are allowed only one bag (bad news) but the single bag is given 75 lbs. and not the usual 50 lbs (good news)...oh, and they only had the current catalog of Bruce Springsteen and omitted Darkness on the Edge of Town and Born to Run...the nerve!...but other than these troubles it was really a great way to I give them

So do you like my suit? Stylin!