Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Perfect Example

Last year, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp shelled out $2.9 billion to meet the benefit plans for 59,0000 US Airways employees that the company said it wasn't going to fund. That PBGC entity is a federal corporation created 30 years ago to insure the benefits of 44m Americans - and every participating company pays a little bit of money into it to safeguard against the horrible day when things just go so awry that they cant meet their debts to their workers.

Ok - that's a big chunk of change... but fine... if the bankruptcy judge felt it was what was needed for US Airways to be able to survive - ok. I can see how that might be allowed.

Then it turns out that last year US Airways had a $303m profit - and was (until this morning) offering $10b (including $5b in CASH) for Delta.

So I wonder... how is this different from the guy who says 'oh gosh, hit by a car, i can never walk again' and is filmed running in the NYC Marathon? Isn't this insurance fraud writ large? Shouldn't people go to jail for this? Lots of people? PMITA 'watch your cornhole buddy' jail?

Here's to hoping every one of them (their kids, pets, and friends) dies in a fire.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I've mentioned before that I tend to have Bill Murray moments working with all of the Chinese... lots of 'is that really what that says' events... long phone conversations where the result is an abbreviated "he says yes"
The other day, we had a series of emails - and it kept translating one term as 'carboplatin' - a cancer drug... something along the lines of 'we want to encourage our players to buy more cancer drugs'. I figured it out by inference - but it was still amusing and i mentioned the somewhat sketchy nature of the online translator services.

Today, a note back to one of our partners in China included the translated phrase "Today, our team of government payments are capped at you for doing the test."

Needless to say - i was somewhat amused. I went to Cheryl for a better translation - and her response... "What - we're a big multinational corporation - selling cancer drugs and working with governments - i thought you knew"

She's funny... and she screws with me...

Dangerous combination ;)

Friday, January 26, 2007

"I know there is skepticism and pessimism and that some are condemning a plan before it's even had a chance to work," the president said. "They have an obligation and a serious responsibility therefore to put up their own plan as to what would work."

"I want to make gold out of this lead... what?... you tell me my plan to take a shit on your kitchen table isnt going to work?... then you have an obligation to tell me what will!!!!" See... it all comes back to Humpty Dumpty, George. Did Bab's not read you that one? The part about all the king's horses? yeah... that's the part... yeah, I know... she was a shite mother... not your fault she never loved you... yeah - i know... it's ok to cry about it... See George - this isnt happy magic pony land. You want Iraq to work out for you? Do what the other happy magic pony people do... pray... and stop wasting my money and my countrymen's lives. That way if it doesn't all work out - you can spout off some 'god works in mysterious ways' bile and still sleep at night.

You are an ass. We told you not to do it. We told you you'd break it and cause us all horrible horrible problems - just like the environmental scientists are screaming 'if we dont stop this global warming crap now it's all over'. If we - as a society - are incapable of addressing such a fundamental threat to our long term viability - then we will fail. I'd send you a book by Toynbee on the subject mr president... but you've still got the rest of those 'shakespeares' to read.

I know... i shouldnt blame you... you're the symptom.



I cant imagine getting off the boat in September and saying 'lets stay here... seems like a nice place...'

I mean we're already talking ears falling off my head cold -- and it's supposed to go down to -27 next week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Why Does Andy Griffith Hate America?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Quote of the Week

"Unbeknownst to me, certain people in the White House were thinking we had to federalize Louisiana because she's a white, female Democratic governor and we have a chance to rub her nose in it." -- Former FEMA director Michael Brown

You know... impeachment might be too good...

How about some waterboarding...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Having a name in China

For years and years the Chinese have come to the west and taken westernized names that 'sound' close... or start with similar sounds... or because they like particular cartoon characters. It seems, i dont know, somewhat disrespectful to me. I mean I dont mind having to learn how to pronounce someones name - i cant mangle it forever, right? (just watch me)

So - I get to pick a name. My first thought was 'What do you call the mouse shadow on the second moon?' - but for some reason i dont think that's going to work (and the last thing i need in china is for my name to become a killing word).

So I asked Cheryl (not really her name...) to help me.
She suggested 萧恩 - pronounced Siao En (sheow-en)

is a musical instrument i gather... i dont know what means - not sure i want to know...

What's truly ironic though... is that when my parents were considering a name for me, Sean Connery was James Bond, and they thought 'Sean' was a cool name. Cheryl suggested it because 'that's what Sean Connery's name is... i think it's a very cool name' So the pretty chinese girl gives me a name for the exact same reason my parents did - and tells me it's 'very cool' - how can i turn that down?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

I for one welcome our new Leporidae overlords

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Stamps Issued for Chinese New Year are both scratch and sniff and flavored (the glue) to mimic Sweet and Sour Pork.
mmmmmmm.... sweet and sour pork....
remind me not to send any mail during the year of the rat

Tuesday of Grinding

On May 2nd, 2002, 2.6m american workers took the day off to go see StarWars... and the estimated cost to the american economy was $300m.

On Jan 16th 2007 Blizzard (a division of the FRENCH company Vivendi) is releasing the World of Warcraft Expansion. There are 8m active accounts...

which begs the question...

Why do the French hate America?

Surge Protection

From W's tripe last night...

"Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenge. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq. "

Great. As if we hadnt made enough of a mess out of the middle east - why not just blow the whole place all to hell. Pakistan has a LOT more to do with helping the Taliban in Afghanistan than Iran does in helping Shiite death squads in Iraq. Hell - why do the insurgents need Iran's help... captured sniper equipment is almost invariably US military issue and we left how many millions of tons of explosives lying around for bad guys to use? Yeah - it's all Syria's fault... sure...

"We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region."

Heh. The PKK is Iran's problem too... not sure the Kurds are gonna be too happy about that one - and since most of the troops Iraq is planning on deploying into Baghdad are Kurds - i tend to doubt we'll be too terribly quick to piss on any of the imminent Kurd sponsored atrocities in Turkey.

"From Afghanistan to Lebanon to the Palestinian Territories, millions of ordinary people are sick of the violence, and want a future of peace and opportunity for their children. And they are looking at Iraq. They want to know: Will America withdraw and yield the future of that country to the extremists — or will we stand with the Iraqis who have made the choice for freedom?"

I think millions of ordinary muslims are looking at Iraq and wondering 'when will the infidels learn'... and that word - freedom... i do not think it means what you think it means. Fat Mike should slap you.

"Acting on the good advice of Senator Joe Lieberman and other key members of Congress, we will form a new, bipartisan working group that will help us come together across party lines to win the war on terror."

Bipartisan... so that would be the Republican Party and the Connecticut for Lieberman Party yes? Hmmm... i wonder how the party faithful will feel about that. This is how snippy does bipartisan - he did it with Bob Bullock back in his Texas stint - he just finds an 'in name only' member of the opposing faction and plays the 'working together' angle off against the media (and they always buy it).

But this was the quote that spawned this post...
"We go forward with trust that the Author of Liberty will guide us through these trying hours."

The Author of Liberty... yes... Kimberly please lead us all to the promised land. You couldn't do a worse job...

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

American Software Developers

1) They think they're better than everyone else. They're not. I've worked with programmers from all over the world now - and of all of them - my top 5 probably includes 1 American - and he's the biggest sit on my ass unless i'm getting paid extra to do my job prima donna of them all.

2) They think they should get paid a lot of money to learn. I'm not paying you to figure shit out. I'm paying you to build me something. And don't bill me for crap if it doesnt work.

3) They think the tools they know are the best tools for the job - and they have 'religion' when it comes to them. I'm sorry if your frickin mad Unysis Mapper skillz are HAWT to you - i dont give a crap - dont tell me about them, dont tell me how the world would be better if i respected them, and for the love of god dont try to justify your absurd salary demands based upon this sad skillset that I DO NOT WANT.
3a: The corollary to that is 'just because you dont know what a X is doesnt mean it's worthless'. God damn... go be an idiot on YOUR dime.

4) They're so frickin patronizing to people from foreign countries. If the jackass cant spell the foreigner's name the attitude becomes nearly special olympics in its 'contempt filled patience'. Not only that - but in my experience the American has been WRONG as often as right - so shut your pieholes dickbrains.

5) Do you have any idea how hard it is to get into college in china? These guys will work 90 hours a week - yes - 90 hours - and do it for less than you want for one. They're smarter than you... they're better educated... they're more aggressive... and they work harder. Do the math you're so proud of yourselves for.

I'm sick of the attitude... i'm sick of getting invoices from americans for code i cant wipe my ass with... i'm sick of dealing with people who think they're better than others because of where they were born. People need to grow the hell up. The term 'Global economy' doesnt mean furriners will lick your sack for a quarter - get over it Lou Dobbs - it's not about wearing that 'made in china' flag lapel pin on your suit... it's about stepping up to the plate and BEING better than everyone else at a job. American software developers are lazy and greedy sacks of shit - and the rest of the world is learning that lesson. Quit makin us look bad. I WANT to hire you... it's easier for me to get the complex ideas across to someone that shares my cultural meme... but not that badly.

Ask me about the guys who own software development companies sometime... i'll tell you how i really feel.

Monday, January 08, 2007


"... only when a strong wind was blowing did a faint, sickly odour coming from the east remind them that they were living under a new order."


Perhaps if we found animals dying in the streets or something... Doh!!!

Perhaps we should prepare for the rapture...

So Wes wrote a column for the Post today - and honestly his primary point is fairly sound - but it totally misses a logical mark i'm surprised the Rhodes Scholar first in his class at West Point man misses. If +20,000 doesnt help - then how does the argument that we should have any troops there hold up?

Unless we're willing to kill a whole lotta folks - we've lost this war.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Paris Hilton has a monkey...

But I bet it isnt this interesting...

"I’d told Savage-Rumbaugh about some of my adventures, and she invited me to perform a Maori war dance. I beat my chest, slapped my thighs and hollered. The bonobos sat quiet and motionless for a few seconds, then all but Kanzi snapped into a frenzy, the noise deafening as they screamed, bared their teeth and pounded on the walls and floor of their enclosure. Still calm, Kanzi waved an arm at Savage-Rumbaugh, as if asking her to come closer, then let loose with a stream of squeaks and squeals."Kanzi says he knows you're not threatening them,"Savage-Rumbaugh said to me,"and he'd like you to do it again just for him, in a room out back, so the others won't get upset.”

I’m skeptical, but I follow the researcher through the complex, out of Kanzi's sight. I find him, all alone, standing behind protective bars. Seeing me, he slapped his chest and thighs, mimicking my war dance, as if inviting me to perform an encore. I obliged, of course, and Kanzi joined in with gusto."

I could use one of those...

Somedays i feel like the crackspider's bitch...

Thursday, January 04, 2007

So this blogger named Spockosbrain is having a one-man crusade against a San Francisco right wing radio station owned by those fascist pricks responsible for that 9-11 is a joke mockumentary a couple months back. The Mouse should be put down - and Spocko is out there fighting the good fight. It's good to see that companies actually read these, listen to the clips, and have the decency to be offended - so much so that the affiliate is basically calling for a hit on this guy. Gotta lurve right wing amurika...

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


I got 10...

I suck

A New Year

Lets see. 2006 in review. I didnt really do much... met a couple people I feel I'm better off for having met... got some work things accomplished... got liquid enough to be able to pay off all my debts... bah - lets do it in a more traditional blog manner (is there such a thing?)

1. What did you do in 2006 that you'd never done before?
Went to Maui... got a real job at a real company (about time i suppose)...

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Hmm... i had resolved to keep proper perspective on things - and managed it most of the year. I dont think i started getting stressed out until I started burning up here in montreal. New resolutions? Hmmm... my expanding waistline would probably prefer that i make one or two - but I know i'm not well positioned to have any control over my life right now - so it's silly to try and impose my will on the wave. "Stay on the board" is probably as good as it gets.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? Die?
Nope. Lotta people workin on both though...

4. What would you like to have in 2007 that you lacked in 2006?
A dog. But it's not realistic. I really miss Fred. Fewer fish in the pond now... i'll probably have toads this year. More toads.

5. What date(s) from 2006 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
July 10th... i turned 40... which counts in my head. Its not that i'm uncomfortable or anything, i just feel like i'm beginning to age.

6. What was your biggest achievement of the year? What was your biggest failure?
I dont really see the world that way... but for the sake of the quiz... i suppose the work situation counts as a success. It's a good scene - and I'm pretty glad it's working out well. Failure? the house still isnt in good shape. I really want to get that nightmare kitchen cleaned up - getting rid of the last vestiges of destruction visited upon the house by the ex would be a bonus. That and I'd love to finish the pond properly (i have the mortar... just need the time). Probably going to have to pay someone though... just dont see any other way to get the place 'finished' with me in foreign countries all the time.

7. What was the best thing you bought? I didnt buy anything. Well... an Armani suit - but i never get to wear it.

8. Whose behavior merited celebration? Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? What a judgemental question... and who the hell am I to answer that... Oh there are people who have made choices I wouldnt have made... and those who're probably not making decisions that are terribly helpful to the others in their lives... but you know, i'd have to take life a lot more seriously than it deserves for any of that to matter. The universe and it's inhabitants has been around a lot longer than my little self-absorbed opinions merit any sort of commentary... well... except that W makes me appalled and depressed every day.

8. Where did most of your money go? Disposable income? Restaurants - which is fine. Time with my friends is the most important thing in my world. Thank god for the internet - without being able to talk to my friends regularly i'd have lost it long ago. The rest? to the feds... i end up paying more in taxes as a percentage of my income than just about anyone - if they weren't spending my money on bullets i probably wouldnt feel so annoyed.

9. What song will always remind you of 2006? The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows

10. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? thinner or fatter? richer or poorer? Yes. Well... considering the previous year was rather tumultuous - i cant help but think i was happier. I'm bigger - but i'm healthier too... in fact i think i got into better shape last year than i've ever been (though that's gone downhill being away from home). Wealth? I'm better off now no question... Oh sure - i've spent money this last year rather than save it - but i'm liquid enough to be able to retire all of my debts if I wanted to. I dont have the sorts of children and wives responsibilities - so i can play more fast and loose than most i know. Doesnt make me happier directly - but i think i make some of the people in my extended orbit happier for it - and that makes me happy.

11. What do you wish you'd done more of? What do you wish you'd done less of? Hmm... expectations and regrets eh? Not much of either. I wish I'd done more to clean up the house. It might've been fun to write more - but only because i like storytelling. I wish I'd had a chance to play more games with my friends.

12. What was the best book you read? Hard. Let's say Prince of the Marshes. There were others - lots - but I think that one was the best.

13. What was your greatest musical discovery? The bootiesf website.

14. What did you want and get? What did you want and not get?
New interesting people in my life.

15. What was your favorite tv/film of this year? I spent a couple months with netflix chewing through genres... sat and watched anime for the first time in a decade - and there's some really good storytelling going on there now... I'd say Haibane-Renmei was the best thing i saw this year.

16. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A good BBQ place in Montreal.

17. What kept you sane? Who said I was sane? My forest.

18. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? Angelina Jolie and George Clooney - because they're both using celebrity in a positive way... (and the way George teared up when his pig died got to me).

19. What political issue stirred you the most? Iraq. Duh. Though the fundies and their religious intolerance is finally starting to piss me off.

20. Who did you miss? I live out of a suitcase... who didnt i miss.

21. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin
I dont know where Ill be tomorrow
Wheel in the sky keeps on turnin

Ive been trying to make it home
Got to make it before too long
I cant take this very much longer
Im stranded in the sleet and rain
Dont think Im ever gonna make it home again
The mornin sun is risin
Its kissing the day

Bwahahahaha... i still hate Journey... ok - how about...

And you may ask yourself
How do I work this?
And you may ask yourself
Where is that large automobile?
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful house!
And you may tell yourself
This is not my beautiful wife!

Somehow, at this existential stage of my life, that seems more appropriate ;)
Happy New Year