I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Under Armor Nightmare

Working in retail I see a lot of people and, as a result, get to see what apparel is trendy among specific groups.  Camo, for example, used to be worn by all types: rich and poor, college graduate and high school dropout.  Its fashion days have peaked, however, and the people who are wearing it now are doing so not because it's cool but because they have reached the creative limits in the wardrobe department.  The trendy name brand which seems to have taken it's place, at least in this area of the country, is Under Armor.  I see their little logo everywhere: shirts, T-shirts, hats, coats, jackets, shorts... You name it, if it can legally be worn as outer apparel, there's a good likelihood you will see an Under Armor monogram.  There's only one little problem.  Well, it's not that little.  You see there are a lot of people out there who don't seem to comprehend Under Armor is athletic apparel.  If you go to the gym three, or four, or maybe five times a week and actually work out when you're there, a good possibility exists where you can wear this clothing and look damn good.  If you avoid physical exercise like it was the plague, you should also avoid these shirts, and shorts, and shoes and caps because they will make you look foolish.  You are not an athlete.  An Under Armor T is not going to make you look slim.  If you're 40 years old and have man boobs, one of these shirts is not going to make them disappear, they are made to enhance, not conceal.

Under Armor is not going to make you look like this

if you look like this

Yet every day I see 5 to 10 people coming into my department wearing clothing which bears that ubiquitous Under Armor logo.  These flaboids haven't been to a gym since high school.  Seriously, what am I supposed to do when I see a guy's belly creeping out from under the waistline of his Under Armor T-shirt?  I don't think the thought even crosses their minds that they look like porkos in spandex.  They think because it's popular and everybody else is wearing it, they might as well, too, even if their BMI tops 35.  And, unfortunately, being in retail, I need to deal with these people.  I need to keep a civil tongue in my head, be polite, pleasant, and courteous.  I need to provide good customer service.  There is no way in hell I could point at them and shriek "Under Armor Nightmare!"

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Duck Dynasty - Crackers from Hell

There is a lot of controversy right now about the A&E show Duck Dynasty because one of the characters said some stuff a number of people believed to be inflammatory.  I've read what he said and it's not the kindest thing he could have said, but there are other people out there who've had worse turds fall out of their mouths.  This is the United States and we are guaranteed freedom of speech.  This means even a Judgmental, Crazy Christian can spout shit.  Now that the frenzy seems to have reached its peak, I have to wonder just how much of this PR extravaganza was orchestrated by the A&E Television network.

I have to say I have never seen the show for two reason:  I don't like reality TV, and I despise reality TV which makes celebrities out of white trash.  Just because the Robertson family has a million dollar duck call business doesn't mean they're not white trash.  Money has nothing to do with it.  An associate of mine has told me the show is so popular because the Robertson's are so stupid.  Her comment to me was "you don't even need to watch it, just listen to them talk to find yourself laughing hysterically."  Which brings me back to the PR extravaganza thing.  From what I've read, the executives at A&E television knew that Phil (?) Robertson was a Judgmental, Crazy Christian simply from his conversations on the set.  So why would they arrange for him to have an interview with GQ unless they were hoping he would open his mouth and shit would fly out.  Evidently, there was a representative from A&E present, most likely to see which juicy tidbits could be blown up out of proportion.

Crackers from Hell

Instead of merely putting out a disclaimer about this cracker's opinions, A&E made a big, public announcement that he would not be back on the show, ever.  He was fired because of his opinions.  At this point the bait was set, all they had to do was wait for the media and "socially conscious" America to jump into the trap...and they did.  Ratings went through the roof.  This little PR stunt went global as everybody now wanted to watch Duck Dynasty.  Was this extravaganza minutely detailed by A&E?  I don't think so, however I do believe there was some hopeful anticipation going into the interview.  All they needed was one little nugget and this Cracker from Hell gave it to them and because of it a lot of people are going to the bank.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Keurigs - pretentious as hell

Like many people all around the world, I like my coffee.  My daily regime starts with brewing 6 cups in my Bunn coffee maker which, I might add, brews a damn good cup of coffee.  Let me qualify this buy noting those 6 cups equal 2.5 mugs which I drink over a period of about 2 hours and that most coffee manufacturers denote the size of a cup as 6 ounces.  This is a lot of caffeine.  Let me also point out this is the only time of day when I drink coffee, I'm not like those people who feel the need to have a coffee break two and a half hours after they've been on the clock.  Those people drink a lot of coffee and coffee can be expensive.  While I am not what I would consider frugal, I am what I like to consider dollar smart: I know how much I'm spending it when I spend it and on what I'm spending it, and the value I'm getting for the money I'm spending.  This is why I don't own a Keurig.  I have disposable income, but not money I'm going to end up pissing away.  Personally I believe Keurigs are synonymous with pretension.

I am always amazed when I hear people who complain about money, and their lack there of, bragging about what a deal they're getting on the K-cups they're buying.  Give me a break!  At my local Giant grocery store I can buy 14 ounces of Maxwell House for around $9.  That's about 220 six ounce cups at about 4cents a cup.  When was the last time these people paid that little for a K-cup?  Never.  The average cost per K-cup is 50 cents per cup for the cheap stuff.  So why are they so popular?  What started off as a nifty thing for the trendy set managed to hook itself into the public conscious in a "keeping up with Jones'" kind of way.  And the little one cup coffee maker became pretentious.

Keurigs - pretentious as hell

This past summer a friend of mine who was going down to the shore, posted a picture of his Keurig snuggled neatly into his backpack.  He was taking it along because there might not be one in the house he had rented.  Sadly, people liked that picture.  I couldn't help but think of how severe his addiction to caffeine must be; it was either that or he was simply blinded by pretentiousness.  To even consider someone not being able to live a week without his Keurig, and going through the hell of having to use a regular coffee maker, simple boggles my mind. 

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Aetna - sucks the money from your wallet

I was more then a little surprised yesterday to get a bill in the mail from Pinnacle Health for a partial payment on some blood work I'd had done this summer as part of my annual physical.  Why surprised?  Because I have Aetna Insurance through my employer and according to the plan I have they are supposed to cover physicals 100%.  So, of course, I called Aetna.  The representative I talked to asked if I had any pre-existing issues and I told her I did not.  Her response was that my health provider had billed the blood work as Lipidemia blood work, rather then routine blood work, the kind of work they always do to check cholesterol and glucose.  She asked if I had any pre-existing conditions and I said "nope, I'm very healthy."  At her suggestion, I called my health provider to get to the source of the problem.  I was not very happy with the information I received.  You see back in 2011, during a routine physical, my triglycerides were 2 points higher then what is considered normal.  My doctor felt that I should have the blood work run again in 6 months just to make sure everything was normal, which I did, and it was.  Except for that one blip my triglycerides have been fine ever since.  However, that one blip gave me pre-existing status, at least as far as Aetna was concerned.

When I asked my provider why the last blood work was billed to Aetna as a Lipidemia test I was informed that to do so would be considered fraud.  You have no idea how stunned I was to discover that a 2 point blip in my triglyceride lever in 2011 is going to stick with me for life.  From now on, no matter how good my blood work is, Aetna is going to say I have a pre-existing condition.  As a result, rather then pay 100% of the routine physical costs, Aetna is only going to pay a percentage.  Excuse me, Aetna, don't shit on people just to feed your bottom line!  What is really sad was my provider informed me that I was like a lot of other people.  One little blip and you have a pre-exiting condition.  It may never show up again, but Aetna doesn't care.  What they do care about is saving themselves $23 bucks on a blood test that is no different from the standard blood test given as part of a routine physical.  My provider told me Highmark Blue Cross does the same thing, shit on their customers (that's not exactly how she put it, but it's what she meant).  Their idea of fair coverage is to nitpick and nickel and dime you so there's as little expense to their bank account as possible.  They're in the business of making money, not defining fair.  Do they care what your out of pocket expense is?  Hell no.  They see you as either a good investment or a bad investment.  A good investment is an individual who pays more while they pay less.  A bad investment is one with no pre-existing conditions.  A good investment has regular payroll deductions with out any costs.  A bad investment gets sick.  Because of their inherent preference to greed rather then fair coverage, Aetna sucks.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Beyonce - golden egg or turd?

Last week, to almost every body's surprise, Beyoncé dropped a new, self-titled album/ video compilation on ITunes.  Target was not happy and will not sell the CD when it is released.  I went to the Rolling Stone website and discovered there was some weird battle going on between the Beyoncé fans and the Taylor Swift fans.  This made me laugh since I don't listen to either one of those lady's music, it's Pop, here today and gone tomorrow.  I got another big laugh from some guy named Steve Stoute who published something on Linkdin.  Evidently Led Zeppelin is finally releasing their body of work on Spotify.  He figures Beyoncé was smarter by using ITunes, you know, making more money.  I think he's wrong.  Led Zeppelin wrote their music about 50 years ago and it's still popular, and it wasn't Pop.  You don't need a studio filled with electronics to duplicate their music.  They have created not only music, but durability.  While she may make oodles of money from this album, she minimized the possibility of a long term effect.  Down loadable music becomes forgettable music because something new is going to be available next week and it only takes a very short time to download it.

One of the things I found interesting about Beyoncé's surprise was that evidently you needed to buy the whole package at one time.  Single song sales usually tend to build album sales since most of a musician's fans will buy the album, but a hell of a lot more people will buy single songs, you know, the hits.  Like your great aunt Mabel in Oshkosh who hears one song and falls in love with it.  Chances are she's not going to buy the entire album.  Why should she waste the money when she only really likes one song?  This whole package deals sounds to me a lot like a bad Hollywood movie.  You know what I'm talking about.  Those films that don't have a leg to stand on, let alone legs to walk.  They make all of their money in that first weekend and then disappear.  From a marketing standpoint, I'd say forcing your audience to buy the entire album up front is bad business sense.  In order for that to work every song needs to be a diamond and all of those diamonds need to make up one hell of a crown of jewels.  Historically speaking there are only a handful of albums which have actually succeeded in pulling that off.

I'm sure someone, somewhere, thought this idea was going to go off like gangbusters and it did sell over 600,000 copies right off the bat, however it's the long term sales which are important.  If, down the road, listeners find they can begin purchasing the album a song at a time, people are going to ask "what's this shit about?"  Especially if they paid full price for something which only has five or six songs on it that they like.  Good move or bad move?  Who's going to really make out in the end?  I'd say probably Led Zeppelin.  Only time will tell us if Beyoncé dropped a golden egg or a turd.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Ethan Couch - Breeder's Spawn

Every now and then there are things that happen which rile the nation as a whole, he smack on the wrist Ethan Couch received after killing 4 people while driving drunk is one of them.  How do I know?  Well there is all of the hate flooding the airwaves and the Internet directed at the Couch family for one.  Then there is the fact that not only was his name released to the press, so were pictures of he and his parents, normally criminals his age are classified as 'juveniles' for public record.  But then this isn't your normal drunken juvenile case, he murdered four people while driving drunk and under age; and he got a smack on the wrist.  Not only were videos of he and his parents released, do a simple search and you're going to find out exactly where they live.  Guess who isn't going to be home tonight? 

There are those out there who say he got away with murder, and technically he did, but thanks to the media storm surrounding his sentence his life is pretty much over.  He was raised to be a loser and will remain so till the end of his days.  I don't know if his parents comprehend how much hate is being directed at them.  Hopefully some of their wealthy friends have pulled them aside and bluntly said "you make us all look rotten." Slowly, but surely, they will find themselves being ostracized, believe me, the rich have done it before.  Face it, who will want the Couch's showing up at a party with all of their bodyguards?  And you can bet they'll be traveling with bodyguards, very expensive and highly trained individuals paid to protect the Couch's from the masses so eager to have their heads on spikes.

It's tragic four people had to die because neither Fred nor Tonya Couch realized that when he knocked her up they were actually creating a responsibility.  Because of this they went from being parents to mere breeders.  You know who I'm talking about, those people who make babies and then shit on the life they create.  The Couch's spent a lot of money on Ethan's successful defense and as a result the world knows they're shallow and self-centered individuals.  They've made people with money look terrible.  They have a sixteen year old son whom rehab is not going to help because, to put it simply, they are failures as human beings.  Hell, they're not even really good breeders.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

China leaves us behind

Something other then a snowstorm blustering up the eastern seaboard is happening today.  What can that be?  China is landing a rover on the moon.  From what I can tell this has not been getting a lot of press, not because the news isn't covering the momentous occasion, they are, but just skimming over the importance.  There was a time when an announcement like this would have received screaming headlines, not any more.  Why the lack of coverage?  Not so much because it's a Chinese venture, but rather out political landscape has made us a dispassionate people when it comes to exploration.  The richest country in the world doesn't want to spend the money, we want to let private industry take over.  While we wait for this to happen, the Chinese are going to surge ahead.  They will be landing men on the moon and SpaceX will be shuttling supplies back and forth to an aging space station.  They will begin mining operations, India will be landing exploratory rovers on Mars, and we will be stuck in the back seat watching out a smudgy window.  This means we will not even be able to clearly see all of the wonderful things that are happening everywhere but here in the good old USA.

A year doesn't go by without us seeing some report reminding us how our students are falling behind other countries.  What do our political parties do?  Well, one kind of wants to do something, and the other just wants to dictate.  One wants to be liked and the other wants to give orders. Because of this all they do is fight with each other, like little kids.  This inability to get along, to understand their political philosophies need to be secondary in order to move the country forward, is failure at it's prime.  One of them has knotted itself so tightly with special interest groups it has become a useless anchor.  Whether they want to admit it or not, both parties kiss the asses of American Capitalists.  It is all about making as much money as possible.  And for a vast majority of Americans it's about spending money they don't have now, nor will they ever have, because they want immediate gratification.  It's as if we're in a car with a broken transmission, unless we can change gear, we are going to be left puttering down the road to tomorrow being left farther and farther behind. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Carrie Underwood, going down with the ship

As one of the 18 plus people who watched the Sound of Music, I feel I am entitled to add my 2 cents to all the hub-bub about the show.  First of all, I enjoyed it, except for all of those damn Walmart commercials.  For a 'live broadcast' that cast had more breaks then any in the history of theater.  In fact, it was all those interruptions which came closest to ruining the production completely.  Live is not defined as 7 minutes of entertainment followed by 2.5 minutes of taped advertising.  If Walmart wants to buy that much time then they should be forced to do 'live commercials.'
As for Carrie Underwood's performance, it wasn't the greatest, she has a pop voice and no acting experience.  She knew that when the producers offered her the job.  I don't know if she took any acting lessons or not prior to or during the rehearsals - she should have.  Too many of her scenes just fell flat.  In fact I laughed out loud twice because her dialogue was so bad.  Most of the reviews I've read have been honest, but not mean spirited, not that there aren't any out there.  Hand handlers should have warned her - this was to be expected when a non-actor attempts an iconic roll in an iconic musical.  I did see her Tweet, I think everybody, everywhere, posted it, and while it might have pleased her Christian fans, any type of response demonstrates a lack of maturity.  She should have proven that she's tough enough to take it and let the matter drop.

I was very glad they stayed true to the musical version rather then attempt some wacko version of the movie, which most likely didn't sit too well with a majority of the film's fans.  What an unpleasant surprise it must have been for them to discover that not only the Captain, but the Baroness and Max have songs -  they can sing as well. 
As for Steven Moyer, I thought he did a good job in the roll of the Captain, despite of the handicap of his Co-star, one actor can not provide the chemistry of two.  One reviewer criticized him for losing his accent now and then - so what, I didn't notice it.
The costuming was, perhaps, one of the oddest I've seen.  Shorts on Rolf?  Didn't he worry about brush burns on his roll down the hill?  And that blue dress Carrie Underwood wore?  Holy Crap, she looked like she just stepped out of an old Doris Day movie.
All in all, it wasn't a bad production, except for those freaking Walmart commercials.  It was live - we rarely get to see live television except for sporting events and the news.  I doubt very much if it will become a Christmas standard, as some others do, there were too many errors in judgment.  The music wasn't that bad, but the rest of the show somehow went down with the ship.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Self-checkout hell - not for everybody

As someone who works in retail I get to see a lot of customers, some are happy and some are not, some have valid complaints and others are trying to rook the system for as much as they can get out of it.  Because I have cashier training I get to work the register now and then, and also self-checkout.  The latter is far more enlightening when it comes to observing customers.  There are those who have absolutely no problem going through the self-checkout lanes, others skirt around them as if they were radioactive.  I, personally, prefer them over cashiers who always seem to be a little too slow, even though they're moving at a brisk pace.  I don't need time to connect with the person who's going to be taking my money because, well, they're taking my money.  If, now and then, a cashier might say "hey, everything you're buying today is free," I might change my mind, but that's never going to happen.

One of the excuses you hear from people who want to avoid self-checkout is "it's taking some body's job."  Sure, retailers could eliminate self-checkout and hire a lot more cashiers, but then prices would have to go up, and these same people would complain about that.  Payroll is the largest expense for any business, the more employees you hire the less money you make, this is a fact.  There is also a lot of down time for cashiers, not that they get to take breaks, they just have to wait for the next customer.  Nobody wants to pay an associate to stand around and bullshit, but it happens.  Remember, it's all about dollars, those you can bank and those you can't.

The demon self-checkout

In my opinion, most of those who complain about self-checkout do so because they're either unfamiliar or dis-like the technology (even those who piss and moan about the lost jobs).  You see this a lot when there is a line at the cashier, or there is some one going through line with a large order, and the customer has to either use the self-checkout or wait.  Believe me, there are a lot of people out there who really don't know what the hell they're doing.  Scanning a bar code is fairly simple, it's not brain surgery, yet I've seen people wave items, and shake items, zoom them past the scanner and right into the bag and... the item hasn't been scanned.  And then they stand there, and wait, and wait, even though nothings been scanned.  And then they call the attendant because there's something wrong with the scanner.  Or, they scan an item multiple times.  This is fairly common.  Then they complain, "this scanned it twice."  Last night I saw a woman scan a flashlight three times, and then she complained.  Of course it has to be the scanner's problem, the customer never does anything wrong. This, I think, is the main reason those who hate self-check out hate it.  If a cashier makes a mistake they can yell at the cashier, if they do it at self-checkout it's their fault, so they always opt for the cashier.  For these people self-checkout will always be hell and they will never get used to it.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Comcast - optioning failure

With my FIOS contract at an end, I've been looking around for a better deal for my TV / Internet.  Since Comcast is prominent in my area I decided to give them a call.  For years the company has been struggling with a bad customer service image, though in recent years it seems to have improved somewhat.  While the agent I spoke to on the phone was very polite, I realized something there was something even worse going on with the company - they are failing to be competitive.  How so?  Well, after asking me several questions about my viewing habits (sparse), and the type of television I owned, (fairly large flat screen, HD) he announced that the best deal for me was only going to cost me $146 a month.  I was more then a little stunned as that was about $50 more then FIOS wants to charge me.  Then he explained that cost included their phone service.  Now, I'm a nice guy, so I didn't call him a stupid idiot.  Doesn't Comcast realize land lines are on their way out?  Every year they are in fewer and fewer households.  There must be some really bad disconnect at Comcast Corporate Headquarters for them to still keep pushing that dinosaur.  When I explained to the agent that I haven't had a land line in over 8 years he recalculated my cost with out their phone service.  Wow!  Without a phone my cost dropped $40 bucks, but still $10 higher then what FIOS wanted to charge me.

Fossilizing customer by customer

Now I'm in retail and I can tell you when someone walks in our front door with a competitor's price, we do a little thing called 'meet and beat.'  That's right, we take dollars off and sell at less then our competitor because we love our customers, we want them to keep coming back, and back, and back.  I guess Comcast hasn't heard of that policy.  FIOS, which is already charging less then Comcast's best deal will never have to worry about this problem. since they're already meeting and beating the higher price.  Personally, I think this is pretty much of a tar pit for Comcast, one they're stuck in and slowly sinking.  If you can't pull customers away from your competitor you're a failure in the business world.  This is a real customer service issue.  Face it, both offer products which are fairly similar, and if you want to win the battle you're going to have to do it anyway you can.  Someone should have told the Comcast executives that failure is not an option.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Macy's murders the parade for money

Happy Thanksgiving, I guess.  Not being much of a holiday person, I am not anticipating the celebratory joys of eating turkey with as many relatives as my brother and his wife can cram into their home.  I like cycling, not football, so I'm not going to be sitting their rah rah, cheering on my favorite team.  I could care less, and this has always been the case.  In fact, what I remember with most fondness about the holidays was the parades on TV.  Boy, did I love to watch those parades: Macy's with its giant balloons and the Tournament of Roses.  Of course back when I was a child things were different, American Capitalism hadn't yet reared its ugly head to devour the wonder of watching a parade.  Over the years this has changed and as a result today you don't sit back and watch a parade, you watch commercials, lots and lots of commercials. 

There's more then balloons in this parade

You see at some point in the past, I don't know exactly when, some American Capitalist realized that most people were watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the balloons, not the marching bands, or the drum majorettes, or the clowns, or, in fact, all of the things which actually made it a parade.  Since people are only tuning in for the balloons, this means you can sell much more advertising time to sponsors.  Who cares if you miss a marching band if you can plant the seed of buying a new appliance, or car in some viewers mind.  This is the directions towards which America's values have turned: making a buck.  The Tournament of Roses Parade is even worse then Macy's.  I haven't watched that one in at least 25 years.  Back when I was a kid you got to see horseback riders, and Native Americans, and lots of marching bands from all over the country.  They applied and if they were accepted, those bands did everything they could to raise money to fly out to Pasadena to be in the parade.  They may still do the same thing, which is sad when you realize no one in their home town will every see them perform because some moron decided it was more important to show an ad for a Chevy truck.  And it case you're wondering, it wasn't just Macy's which murdered the parade, it's anybody and everybody whose only priority is pounding away the buckos in the bank.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

DiGiornio - Cardboard Convenience

When I'm feeling in the mood for pizza, or Stromboli I usually place an order with my local pizzeria, Al's; the cost is reasonable and I can do it online.  Occasionally  I'll buy a Dr. Oeteker flat pizza from my local Giant supermarket since they have a lot of taste and don't bloat you up.  Last night, for some reason I can only blame on mass marketing, I bought a DiGiorno pizza.  We've all seen the ads: Tastes like delivery but it's not, it's Digiorno."  Those ads LIE! (notice the caps).  Now I'm not a great cook, will never be a Chef, or appear on a cooking show, but I do know my way around a kitchen well enough to follow package directions.  The first thing I noticed looking for the directions was a little blurb noting the "wings" included with the pizza "contained no wing meat."  Translation: processed chicken meat from any where, and every where else on the bird except the wings.  I don't eat processed meats because they include a lot of things I don't normally eat, like gristle, and ground bone.  Still I followed the directions and baked them discovered - they had no chicken taste.  This is how I discovered the true reason for the barbecue sauce that was included: it was not supposed to be used as a condiment but rather as a substitute for flavor.

Tastes like cardboard, but it's not
As for the pizza, while you could taste the toppings the crust, itself, was far more similar to cardboard than anything else I've eaten in some time.  When I pick up a pizza from Al's it's not stiff, and by stiff I mean that when holding the edge of the crust between my thumb and forefinger, the crust remains horizontal to the table top.  Good pizza crust, unless it's a thin crust, should be supple.  There should be some folding, bendiness about it which lets you chew it in your mouth.  Believe me when I tell you eating the DiGirono Pizza Supreme was like gnawing on cardboard, not that I've ever gnawed on cardboard but believe me as I worked my teeth to the max, that is exactly what I kept thinking.  Of course, when I bought it I knew it was going to end up being nothing more then a frozen pizza, just like every other frozen pizza out there in grocery land.  Sadly they don't even provide much sustenance for the poor since, at least as far as my wallet is concerned, they're fairly pricey.  Just think, for $2 more I could have had a large, hand made Stromboli from Al's or a pizza of the same size.  Face it, the real reason DiGiorno pizzas are popular is not because they taste like delivery pizza, it's because they're convenient as hell.  You can pull them from the freezer, pop them in the oven, and eat 20 minutes later.  That's a sacrifice a lot of people chose to make: cardboard convenience over quality.  I will probably never, ever purchase a DiGirono pizza again.  Thank God for local piaaerias! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Black Friday - fade to gray

For those of you who don't know it, and few there are, next week is Thanksgiving, at least here in the US.  Traditionally everybody eats turkey and watches football.  Traditionally, the next day, being a Friday, and marking the first day of the holiday shopping season, became known as Black Friday.  This is the day when retailers moved from the red side of their balance sheets to the black side.  This is the day when sales galore brought out shoppers by the millions.  This is the day which a number of companies started giving their associates as the 2nd part of their Thanksgiving Holiday.  Sad to say, but every year Black Friday becomes a little more gray.  One financial analyst blamed this on the growing popularity of Cyber Monday, that day when Internet sales trump those of brick and mortar stores.   That may be a portion of the graying, but not a major one, not yet at least.  No, the biggest reason for the changes in shade from dark to light has more to do with American Greed.

First it was Walmart opening late Thanksgiving day, and then Sears / Kmart jumped on the bandwagon.  The rational being "shit, if they're going to make money, we might as well too," and "hell, why should they rake in all the dough!"  Screw the holiday, they all wanted to get a jump on the competition.  Every year more retailers jump on board simply because if those customers spend all of their money at Target, and Walmart, and Toys-R-Us, they're not going to have any left to spend in your store.  Or, if they do keep a little aside it's most likely going to be for stocking stuffer bullshit, that inferior nickel and dime crap retailers put out simply because it's a dirt cheap deal.  Thanks to Sears Brand Central, if you're a brick and mortar store which sells appliances you're a day late and a dollar short, either that or you take a big hit on those $2000 dollar refrigerator and stoves.

There are a lot of people out there who really hate this commercialization of Thanksgiving.  As someone who work in retail, let me tell you a secret.  If you're open, people will shop.  Every year I hear a lot of moaning groaning because the Christmas stuff is up right after Labor Day and every year I see customers walking out the door with their newly purchased Christmas crap.  If it's for sale, people will buy it.  For those who don't understand it, this is American Capitalism.  Remember, it's all about making money - holidays be damned. 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HBO - bargain basement deals

Right now I have FIOS - and my subscription ran out on 11/5.  One of the first things I noticed was that I now have HBO until 1/31 - for free.  Of course, being the money conscious individual that I am, I called to see if there was some sort of deal for renewing my contract.  What I got was a $5 discount guaranteed for 2 years.  Oh, and I get HBO for one year.  Personally, I think they're being a little skimpy with the discount.  I am, according to them, a loyal FIOS customer.  So I did what everybody out there should do when their contract expires, call the competitor.  Surely, I thought, Comcast would at least be able to match their deal.  First of all, it took a bit of convincing for their service rep to understand what I meant when I said, I only need TV and Internet (my phone is through T-Mobile).  Then there was the issue that two of the channels I watch were in 2 different packages and the best they could offer me was $2 higher then what I'm now paying for FIOS.  Oh, but I get HBO with the package.  In fact both customer service reps kept bringing up HBO, over and over again, as though that one pay channel was going to be the deal breaker.  Perhaps I've missed something but it seems to me Showtime is the channel most people are talking about, not HBO.  Sure, when The Sopranos were on, and if you were one of those people who couldn't live with out them, HBO was the channel to have, but that is no longer the case.  Nothing with value is ever free.  So for right now what I'll probably do is wait a bit and see if I can get a better discount from FIOS.  There's nothing wrong with the service, they just need to offer a wider variety of packages.  The same goes with Comcast.  Not everybody wants a sports package.  The only sport I watch on TV is cycling and now, thanks to the Internet, I can watch it on my laptop.  In fact, if I want to, I can hook my laptop up to my big, flat screen TV and watch Hulu.  What these cable giants need to realize is that HBO is not going to put money in their bank.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Veterinarians - Pet Vampires

If you've ever owned a puppy you will understand when I say they are a number of things.  They bounce around like little springs, have sharp little teeth that hurt when they bite, and, of course, snugly little things that love attention.  They also need to go to the Vet, usually several times, for shots.  Two weeks ago I brought home an 11 week old Boxer pup, something my four year old Boxer is still getting used to having around.  Of course I did the right thing and called up my Vet and made an appointment.  With this puppy I'm not so naive as I was the first time around.  Naive?  Damn right.  Four years ago, being new to puppy ownership, I said yes to my Vet's every suggestion.  Not once did I suspect she might be taking advantage of me.  As a result, my first time around with a puppy was very expensive, more so then it needed to be.  Take Kennel Cough as an example, a nice name for Canine Bronchitis.  Some kennels require it if you're planning on boarding your dog, but not all.  This is because, should your dog get it, you'll find out that it is not the "serious" illness you might believe.  Most dogs get over it in 5 - 10 days.  My Vet wanted me to vaccinate my dog every year which is odd because there are so many things out there which can cause Kennel Cough, against most of which the vaccination is ineffective.  After two years, and a little research, I realized she was just putting money in her pocket.  You know what I mean, guilt you into paying for something you don't really need. 

She also wanted me to buy Frontline Plus from her practice as well as have my dogs vaccinated against Lyme Disease.  Read the Frontline box and you'll see it prevents the ticks which carry Lyme Disease.  But the guilt thing, mostly because when we think of Lyme Disease we think of the devastating effects it has on humans.  My Vet did not explain to me that while dogs only have 2 stages, humans have a third and debilitating stage.  Nor did she say that 90% to 95% of infected dogs never show any symptoms. This means the vast majority of dogs which do become infected never develop symptoms which can be treated with antibiotics.  Humans can't get it from dogs.  If I hadn't done the research I'd have been paying for a Lyme disease test every year as well as the inoculation.  You see we love our pets, our puppies and dogs and so do not want them to suffer.  Unfortunately there are Vets out there who unscrupulously take advantage of that softest of emotions.  It makes me wonder of the V in their caduceus might actually stand for vampire, except these don't suck your blood, they suck the money out of your wallet.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Tom Corbett - horse's ass?

I was reading in the Lancaster newspaper this AM that Franklin & Marshall, a fairly prestigious college in Central Pennsylvania, polled a number of Pennsylvanian voters, Democrat, Independent and Republican, and discovered most of the citizens of the state don't like the current governor, Tom Corbett.  This was true even among Republican voters, Mr. Corbett's own party.  In fact, more then half feel he is unelectable to a second term.  I've known for a long time that a number of the people in this state really don't like the man.  Personally I think he looks like a huckster.  Maybe it's the white hair which looks as though it's been coiffed a bit too tight.  For a number of people, I suspect it's because he was the State Attorney General who chose not to investigate Jerry Sandusky, the sexual predator coach at Penn State, even thought complaints were being filed way back then.  But then Corbett already had his eyes on Harrisburg and the governorship, and Penn State is in the heart of Republican country, and he really wouldn't want to alienate any of those voters now, would he?

My problem with the guy is his inability to focus on governing the state.  Instead, he and his Republican Congress seem to have made getting Republicans elected their main priority.  I don't believe he understand he was put in office to work for the citizens of the state, not put more Republicans in office.  That's not his job.  He is getting paid to work of the people of Pennsylvania, not surround himself with cronies who are going to "have his back."  It is funny if you really think about it.  Since he was elected, Mr. Corbett and his party appear to have spent more time tailoring the voting laws of the state in order to insure the next President of the United States is Republican then on anything else.  Now this isn't really completely true, he has had several other things on his agenda but very little has come to pass.  Being in control is not enough, you have to do something, other wise you're nothing more then a horse's ass.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Elliott Echols - buttonholed?

I saw the other day that the RNC has a hired a young man to help them connect with younger voters, one of many groups they seem to have turned off over the past years.  His name is Elliott Echols and from what I've seen of him he seems to be a fine young chap.  I'm sure he can spit out GOP talking points as fast as the NRA can pump out bullets, otherwise he wouldn't have gotten the job.  Of course, that doesn't guarantee success.  Young people do not seem to have as much of an interest in politics as their elders, different generations, you know.  Young people today see the recent Republican debacle in the House of Representatives as a turn-off, not a fiercely fought battle.  This does not mean there aren't any enthusiastic youngsters in the party, Mr. Echols is evidence of that, his challenge, however, will be to become a sponge and suck in more young voters.  Just by looking at him you can see just who is target audience will be:

Ain't he cute as a button?

white, affluent young men and women.  He is as wholesome looking as white bread, and the epitome of what the Republican Party stands for: white America.  This is not his fault.  I suspect he knew well in advance of taking the position the RNC was not expecting him to be a big hit with young Latinos or young African Americans.  No, I'm fairly certain they want him to focus on the college educated white crowd, the group which gave us Mitt Romney, since that's where the big money waits.  I also have a hunch that he'd look just as out of uniform wearing jeans as did the aaforementioned Mitt.  At least it seems as though the GOP is going to give it the good ol' college try, however they still don't seem to understand it's not the messenger which turns people off, it's the message.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Mavericks - smoke and mirrors and little substance

As the owner of an IMac, I couldn't wait to download the new OS Mavericks since there are certain thinks I like about Apple's IOs and certain things I don't.  Take stacks for instance, to me they are nothing more then a gimmick, yet I've talked to people who think they're the best thing out there.  This is my biggest gripe with Apple, they put gimmickry above substance.  The new IPhone has the new colors and the fingerprint ID which seems is easily hacked, both are gimmicks to drive Appleheads into ecstasy.  This is why my phone is a Galaxy S4, a little more complicated to use then an IPhone but I least I bought it for what it could do, not for some cutesy little trick.

Anyway, it took a long time to download and a long time to install.  The first thing I learned was that my IPhoto was not only outdated, but the version I had installed was incompatible with the OS.  Mavericks didn't tell me this, I had to discover it on my own.  This meant a trip to the App Store, not such a bad thing, though it did cost time.  Then I received notification that other Apps needed to be updated, including IMovie, which I never use, and it take an additional 15 minutes.  Ho Hum, ho hum, there goes the time.  Finally, around 10:30 this AM all updates and installs were complete and I began my journey through the new Mavericks. 

I was not swept away on a wave, especially not a killer one.
Email has changed a bit, now it looks very similar to the email I have on my Samsung Galaxy Tab except now I can flag my emails with different colors.  Wow, I thought, nice little gimmick.  Now you can use the ICloud to access all of your information with your other Apple products.  Wait a minute, can't you already do this with Google?  I guess the truly big reveal was that now you can access your information through the ICloud on your ITv.  Appleheads unite!  You can get ITv.  Which is, I suppose, the reason for the free download of Mavericks, Apple's smoke and mirrors ploy to get everybody on the same page.  They must hate people like me who don't see them as gods.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chris Christie - flowers to his enemies

I've been reading a lot of stuff today about the GOP's failed shutdown and a lot of what's being said is interesting and then there's the funny stuff, like the ultra-conservative pundits.  They don't seem to mind if someone takes it on the chin as long as it's not their chin.  A lot of those mongering their utter contempt for the Republicans in the House are financially well enough off the shut down didn't hurt them.  Of course I never have been overly impressed by super critical pundits, whether they be on the far right or the far left.  I've always been of the opinion that if there were any real value behind what they were saying they'd be running for office, not sitting behind a microphone or in front of a keyboard.  You know?  Put your money where your mouth is, try and be something more then a bloated, armchair dictator.  Of course that will never happen, they might lose and one can't even begin to imagine how devastating such a thing would be to their egos.

Another point I find interesting is that three of those representatives who voted against the measure have let it be known, through various sources, they would like to run for a higher office, mainly the one which is oval.  Didn't anyone tell them their actions will haunt them in negative campaign ads?  Why would you mollify your base at the expense of the rest of the voting public? The numbers of the Tea Party are anything but vast.  Sarah Palin can talk about her 'rack' as often as she likes, maybe even flash it one or two times, she's still not going to turn enough moderates or independents up at the polls to elect a Republican president.  Cruz may have actually given himself the 'black spot' with his marathon talkathon.  Who did their little shindig help?  Chris Christie.  I hope he sent all of them flowers. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

US Chamber of Commerce - breeding stupidity

A number of news organizations are reporting a number of business organizations are now feeling very unhappy about the House of Representatives, especially those Tea Party members who staunchly refuse to budge.  This is funny, I mean really hilarious.  One article was on how the Koch brothers are truly displeased the way things are going.  I suppose that's because if the country does default they may end up losing a lot of money, much more then the 230 million plus which they invested in various ultra-conservative groups to get this very House of Representatives elected.  Ha ha.  From what I've been able to glean, the US Chamber of Commerce is truly pissed, to put it bluntly.  I am curious.  What did they believe was going to happen when they courted hard-line conservatives, when they gave money to groups fostering these extreme beliefs?  Didn't they understand what they were doing?  Of course not.  All they were interested in doing was putting individuals into public office who would pass legislation reducing business taxes.  They wanted to give business as close to a free ticket as possible, so the damned The Affordable Health Care Act to hell.  It's an expense, you see, and business should have as little expense as possible - they cut into profit.
Now you hear reports how both parties are trying to move to a common area where both sides can save face.  I don't think that's true.  No matter what decision is reached, it's going to look bad for Republicans.  It's going to look bad for the US Chamber of Commerce because they meddled in politics out of self-interest.  Something like 71% of voting Americans are already blaming the GOP.  and the GOP?  They can thank the Koch brothers and other like minded individuals for putting them in this position.  Of course you have to remember, the GOP did run to these individuals and these organizations for help.  They said "give us money and get us elected and we'll give you what you want."  Now they're trying to deliver and no one wants to be home to receive the package.  No one ever told them greed always breeds stupidity.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tea Party - Still lying through their teeth

So, I know there are a lot of people out there who believe the Tea Party is the best thing for this country since sliced bread.  They see it's leaders as honest, true patriotic Americans who are working only for the betterment of the country.  If you listen to them the Affordable Healthcare Act is worse then the bubonic plague; insurance rates will rise and jobs will be lost.  Personally, I think they are full of shit.  Yesterday I received my Benefits Annual Enrollment Guide.  Anxiously I ripped open the plastic sealers.  I needed to see how much my payroll deductions were going to be.  Would it be too much for my paycheck to bear?  Would I have to buy bargain basement dog food?  I prayed that they stay somewhere in the range of what I was already paying, just shy of $180 dollars a month.  But, of course, that was not to be.  To my gleeful surprise my monthly deductions was... falling... not like a rock, mind you, but enough to make a significant difference in my paycheck.  How much less will I be paying per month?  $39.00  As I did the calculations over and over again I could almost hear the rising tide of Tea Party voices wailing "This Can Not BE!"

Now I will be the first to admit that everybody else in the country is going to mirror me.  There are unscrupulous companies out there who don't give a damn about their associates.  I would not be surprised if there were several companies owned by Conservative Republicans which actually raise their employee rates.  You see, they don't care if they hurt their associates just as long as they get their point across.  They are going to make their political point no matter how much they have to gouge their employees.  Nothing is going to change them.

Boil in water for two minutes, then add milk and sugar to make palatable

So why all the clamor from the Tea Party about the Affordable Healthcare Act?  Well, for one thing, I've always suspected they really are nothing moer then bags with loud voices.  Secondly, this is legislation which was passed under President Obama and they hate him.  Thirdly, they are terrified that when all of the working class 'joes' who make up their core start seeing the benefits they might start saying "hey, this ain't too bad."  That would be terrible news for the Tea Party.  They might start losing elections.  I mean why would any sane person want to vote for a lying sack of shit.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Ted Cruz - maybe not the anti-Christ but pretty close

Everybody is talking about the government shut-down.  Wow.  Like the last time this happened was when the Republicans hated Bill Clinton seventeen years ago; now they hate Obama.  If I remember correctly they paid the piper a wee bit the last time they pulled this shenanigan, and, I suspect the same thing will happen again.  Like spoiled children they don't really learn lessons, they just stamp their foot harder and do what they want.  One can only wonder if they thought the American voting public would rush to their side, that those voters would suddenly have an epiphany: the Tea Party is heaven sent.  What a joke.  While the majority of the Tea Party members are having hands-free orgasms, the majority of everybody else is taking a step back and saying "woah, you people are just too extreme."  And, who is championing this ultra conservative fight?  Ted Cruz.
Let me calculate your idiocy

From what I've heard and read about pudding head Ted is that he has evocative dreams about someday becoming president of the United States.  If this is the case, then I suspect no one has ever told him that all presidents, be they Democrat or Republican, stay pretty close to the center.  This is the only way to get enough votes to be elected.  You don't become president by jumping into a hot tub party sponsored by the far right.  People don't like extremes in politics.  Pudding head Ted doesn't seem to understand this.  Maybe he thinks he's appealing to the Common Man, unfortunately he doesn't understand the Common Man.  I suspect this is because he feels he is so superior he can gauge everybody he meets on their level of stupidity.  That's what I sense when ever I see him or hear him or read what he's said.  It's like he has this dumb scale he uses to grade everybody:  the higher the percentage the greater the idiot.  I know the Tea Party pretty much thinks of him as a god, personally, I think he's verging on being the anti-Christ.  Depending on your beliefs he could be either or. 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Under the Dome - greed at CBS

I will be the first to admit when it comes to television viewing I'm not like most people.  I don't use a TV drama or sitcom to set my schedule, which means you will never find me sitting down in front of the television every Wednesday or Thursday or Sunday night to watch some show to which I've found myself addicted.  I have FIOS so I can watch quite a number of shows 'On Demand,' not that I do since most of the time I don't know what is playing and I don't want to waste the time to check out the line-up of movies and TV shows.

That being said I will admit to have been a bit interested in the CBS version of Stephen King's "Under the Dome."  When I saw the trailer I said to myself, "hey, I might want to watch some of that," not because it looked interesting, but there was all this press about how it was going to be a limited series, too long to be called mini yet non-renewable: one novel broken down into 13 episodes.  And of course the first 5 episodes had already aired by the time I remembered that I might want to watch at least one show.  So, I turned to FIOS, checked out the line-up under CBS and there it was:  "Under the Dome."  Then I did what apparently a number of people do when they stream TV, watched 3 episodes: bang, bang, bang.  Basically, at that point, I was done watching for a couple of weeks and then I did the same thing, which is how I watched "Under the Dome," in 4 sittings rather then 13.  I guess you could call it Fast Track TV.

This baby should have come crashing down.

The show itself was okay; a pretty boy, a pretty girl and a villain who barely made it into 2 dimensions.  The kids were interesting, in fact they were the only reason went back for a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th sitting.  The pretty boy was pretty and so was the pretty girl and their storyline was also pretty.. uninteresting.  I will also admit that towards the end of that 4th sitting I was waiting for that damn dome to come down so the show could be put to rest.  Remember the hype, too long to be a mini and non-renewable... Bullshit.  Evidently some time during the summer some pudding brain at CBS decided the ratings were good enough to turn "Under the Dome" into a series, in spite of what had been said.  So the dome didn't come down and my anticipation had all been for naught.  Now I am glad that the actors will still be getting paychecks next season, and I am sure there were some few people out there who fell down on their knees, their hosannas filling the heavens, when the renewal was announced.  Not me.  Will I watch any of next season?  Probably not.  Let me be perfectly honest, the only reason I watched it at all was because I knew there was going to be a big payoff at the end.  Special effects would splash across the screen and the dome would come down, but it didn't, and I feel gipped.  Eventually the dome will come down, when the ratings are dismal and nobody, even those who fell to their knees, will be watching.  And that will turn this series into a failure all because some jello head was thinking about how many more dollars in ad sales they could generate by stretching something already thin into another 13 episodes.  This is CBS crapping in it's pants.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The World's End kicks ass seriously

On Monday morning I was surprised to see that Lee Daniels' The Butler had been number one at the box office for the 2nd week in a row, not because of the subject matter, but because this is a small film and usually small films don't stay at the top too long.  Once the target audience had seen the film, these little movies usually fade away.  What I had been hoping for was that another small film, "The World's End," would have managed to have found a spot in the top three, specifically because the film has been getting good reviews (Rotten Tomatoes either 93% or 97% depending upon which day you looked).  To my chagrin, it came in at number 4, which becomes less disappointing the more you look at the numbers, not just ticket sales but theater count as well.  "The Butler" was playing in 3110 theaters, an increase of 170 - in that many theaters the $16 + million it made is more then a little disappointing.  "We're the Millers," was playing in 3445 theaters and made 3.5 million less - boy was that a waste of empty seats.  Normally, as you continue down the rank, especially for opening weekend films, the news just gets worse.  Except....

for "The World's End."  This little film came in fourth place in ticket sales with $8.8 million dollars in seats sold.  And, it did this in less then half of the theaters showing "The Butler."  That's right, this little film was in 1551 theaters, almost 50% less then the number one movie of the weekend.  The Jennifer Anniston film which was in almost 2500 more movie theaters beat by a little over $4 million - that is an hellatious amount of empty seats, in fact I would not be surprised if there were showing where there was no one in the audience at all.  If you do the numbers, "The World's End" kicked ass this past weekend.  What in the hell were those theater owners thinking?  How can you possible resist one night, 6 friends, 12 bars and killer, alien robots?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pandora - choice not herd mentality

Recently I purchased a new vehicle and it came with Sirius XM Radio, something I've never had before, of course it was only for a three month trial period.  I have another two months left before my 'free three months expires," and I have to admit that sometimes it's rather nice.  I get to listen to the music I prefer (alternative) without a lot of normal FM radio patter, and, of course, there are no annoying commercials.  The Sirius DJ's do pop in every other song to provide little, newsy tidbits and, now and then, to ask you to follow them on Twitter.  But then I looked at the cost per year and took a step back, not that it's exorbitant, but I did ask myself was it worth it just for the Alternative station?  Last week I received a letter from Sirius encouraging me to subscribe and one of the first things to come out of the envelope reminded me that with Sirius XM I could listen to Howard Stern.  They must think I'm part of that herd mentality who feels it necessary to listen to Mr. Stern on a daily basis.  I'm not.  When people gather around the water cooler and begin discussing Howard's latest comments or antics I don't knot my hands and gnash my teeth as a horrendous, little voice wails in my head.  I have more important things in my life.  I don't need to be one of the people who tell other people how funny Howard Stern was that morning on their drive into work.  I would rather spend the drive listening to Alternative music.  In fact, I don't need DJ's interrupting every other song.  And then someone at work mentioned Pandora.

Not only is my car equipped with Sirius XM, it is also equipped to play Pandora.  It's a lot less expensive then Sirius.  I've been comparing the two over the past three weeks and, honestly, there really is no difference.  So far I have not heard one DJ on Pandora.  I do get much more information about the song which is playing: lyrics, should I want to see them, background info on the band, the album or EP on which the song was recorded.  Actually, I get much more info then the DJ's on Sirius patter about.  In case you haven't guessed, I'm going with Pandora and avoiding the herd mentality.

Friday, August 16, 2013

A Spoiled Brat Republican Ha Ha Moment

The Republicans are having another one of their 'ha-ha' moments, just in case you hadn't heard.  This one is over both a documentary and an intended mini-series on Hillary Clinton.  Ha - Ha.  Looks like we're going to have temper tantrum time from the spoiled brats club.  Just wait, any minute now they're going to throw themselves on the floor en masse and start pounding their hands and kicking their feet.  Their base loves this, you know whom I'm talking about, those 20 - 22% of Americans who will actually admit to being Republicans.  Personally, I think it's about time they started growing up and tried acting like mature adults.   Ha - Ha.  Like that will happen any time soon.  What is so really funny about this is that if Hillary Clinton just (and I know this is really preposterous) happened to be a Republican, the RNC wouldn't just be dancing around gleefully, they'd be jabbing with their pointy little swords and stomping with their hobnailed boots to insure no Democrat was left standing.  Remember those Swift Boat Commercials?  No wound can be too deep.  Now, it sounds as though their party is on the verge of drowning itself in crocodile tears.

Any body got a tissue?

They've voted to boycott any debate on CNN and NBC.  Do they really think that type of posturing is going to make the look wise?  Are they demonstrating how they expect their next president to act?  I think we already know the answer to that question.  Remember the Great Recession?  How George W demonstrated his compassion for all the suffering Americans by staying out of sight.  Every time somebody asked me where Bush was, I always gave them the same answer:  probably bowling in the basement.  Ha - Ha.  You would think the RNC would realize every time they pull one of these stunts to rouse their base, more and more disaffected, centrist Republicans wonder away.  They do not seem to understand that as a political party they are beginning to look a bit like a train wreck.  But if you've ever talked to a spoiled brat, they believe their atrocious behavior is perfectly normal.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Subway goes stale

I saw this article this morning on the MSNBC website and thought this is bogus reporting; how some business are already planning on cutting back on employee hours to avoid having to provide them with medical coverage.  This guy, Loren Goodridge, seems to be a real jerk.  Reading that one of his associates is having a difficult time getting by, even with the overtime, I couldn't help but wonder if Goodridge is breaking any laws.  If the associate is getting over 40 hours per week he needs to be classified as a full time associate, not a part time associate.  Of course I suspect Goodridge doesn't do this because he would have to provide benefits to a full time associate.  He owns 21 Subway franchises, meaning he's no slouch, just cheap.

while we treat our associates like crap

 And then there was this comment from a pudding head named Bill Law: St Petersburg’s president, Dr. Bill Law, said providing health care for the 250 adjunct professors would cost more than $777,000 dollars a year. "The cost associated with making a part-timer benefits-eligible really is not available to us as a public college,” said Law.  Supposedly, St Petersburg has 250 adjunct professors, however, for all of them to benefits eligible they would all have to work 30 hours per week.  For those who don't want to do the math, that's 7,770 payroll hours per week, and say they all get paid an average of $10 per hour, that would mean a payroll expense, just for the adjunct professors alone, of $77,700 dollars - per week.  Pretty hefty for a 'public college.'  I would say it's pretty apparent Dr. Bill Law is full of shit because, I suspect, most of those adjunct professors don't work a full 30 hours a week.  Of course, if you're anti Obamacare veracity is never going to part of the equation.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Republican Clown of the Day

Way back when George W was president, I remember how adamant the GOP was as a party, how anyone not agreeing with his policies on Iraq was not only Un-American, they were also Un-Patriotic.  This was not something one or two loose cannon Republicans were muttering, no, this became the party mantra which they repeated over and over again.  Of course this was the GOP showing only one side of its face, the other side, the one belonging to its base, popped out at the Missouri State Fair.  In case you haven't heard, some clown wearing an Obama mask did a very Un-Patriotic and very Un-American show to end the rodeo.  The first thing that went through my head when I first heard this was that he must have left his Darryl Issa mask at home; that was not the case.  This was nothing more then the base of the GOP showing its face.  These people are its heart and soul.  They are the reason the Republican Party is in trouble.

Republican Clown of the Day

If you are a centrist Republican, this is not the far right crazy shenanigan for which you want to be recognized.  Talk about stepping into a pile of shit.  If you are a far right Republican, you can not comprehend why every one is complaining.  Talk about dumb as a box of rocks.  They don't seem to understand that alienating voting blocks is no way to get themselves a Republican President.  They talk about being more inclusive yet don't seem to know who to even find that path.  Instead they seem to be going in the opposite direction, disenfranchising more and more conservative voters.  In fact, the only thing they seem to be able to do these days is send in the clowns.  Eventually, the only way they may be able to save themselves is by amputation.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hoarders vs Pigs

There is a show on A & E which I used to occasionally watch called Hoarders.  I don't anymore because something happened, it transitioned from a show about people who hoard things to a show about people who are, for lack of a better word, pigs.  The original episodes concerned themselves with individuals who bought thousands and thousands of dollars worth of unnecessary items and filled their homes with this clutter:  dolls, and clothing, and purses, and knick-knacks, and most of it was boxed or in bags.  You might barely be able to walk through the stacks of clutter, but you could walk.  Those shows were interesting because there were psychologists and social workers involved, and they always ended with a blurb about the subjects, whether they were on counseling or not, and how well they were doing; if they had overcome their hoarding tendencies.

A hoarder's treasure trove

But as I said, something changed, perhaps because the producers wanted to increase their ratings, and they became increasingly about individuals who preferred living in squalor.  Hoarders tend to be collectors on steroids, there is no stop mechanism.  Pigs are too lazy to throw out the garbage.  I think the last episode I watched concerned a woman and her daughter who would eat outside in their van because there was no space in the house.  The rooms were filled with garbage rather then clutter; soft drink clans, pizza boxes, fast food bags.  The camera was showing you first hand what it was like to live in a pig sty.  When they revealed that this woman had a guinea pig sleeping in her bed and that she never cleaned up the shit and piss - that's when I realized the show had turned completely.

A pig's sty
In spite of what some would have you believe, this is not hoarding, this is nothing but stupid laziness.  The focus had changed direction, it was now on garbage and squalor and people who are pigs.  These people have serious mental issues.  Turning them into entertainment is rather repulsive.  None of them are going to get the help they need to pull their lives together.  No matter what friends or relatives may say, once the camera leaves they're pretty much on their own.  Unlike hoarders, they cannot change.  In no time at all they'll be pigs again.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Slciing and Dicing Eintein's pie

While I was walking my dog this morning up at Adams-Ricci Park, I started thinking about Albert Einstein and how much of an effect he has had on the world of physics.  His Theory of Relativity is considered by most to explain everything, so to speak.  There are those who have deified the man, which I think is a shame.  For them, his work is the whole enchilada, the pie in the sky, the beginning and the end.  What they are really saying is that a man from the early to mid part of the 20th century is a Law Giver for Eternity.  Personally, I find this a little bit hard to believe, that no other voice will rise up as loud as his. Take the speed of light, supposedly nothing can go faster, yet there are a number of individuals around the world who are working on ways to do just that.  Another group is changing tactics and trying to sidestep that little roadblock; some want to warp space, some want to bend space, some want to fold space.  The truth is there are a lot of people out there who are trying to slice up Einstein's pie.

A pie ready for dicing
From what I've read, some of his theories on black holes are now starting to be considered sketchy; things don't disappear forever.  Of course, in his day black holes were still considered theory.

At some point, I suspect, instead of being the whole enchilada, he will become one of the main ingredients, at that moment in future history his pie will be sliced.  What his devout followers need to do is take a big step back and realize his theory is still relatively brand new.  Two hundred years from now this will not be the case.  Technologically speaking, we are moving at a breakneck pace, computers are refining data to the point where some of our simple minds can only see it as magic.  The smartphone has become Star Trek's communicator and main computer all wrapped up in a tiny little bundle you can hold in your hand.  Can you imagine what they'll be doing 20 years from now?  The slicing and dicing of Einstein's pie may start off slow, but the way things are going, at some point it will be moving faster then the speed of light.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Mitch McConnell and Matt Bevin - RNC Jello heads

I saw where Mitch McConnell spoke at Fancy Farm (never head of it) which is something that happens at the St Jerome's Church Picnic (again, never heard of it), which is in Kentucky.  Evidently he showed up, gave a little speech and left.  He was, however, followed by some guy named Matt Bevin, who it seems is backed by the Tea Party, and Allison Grimes who is the Kentucky Secretary of State (?).  It seems as though they slammed old Mitch, both labeling him as an 'obstructionist.' I'll be honest, I've never really liked Mitch.  Every time he opens his mouth all I hear is pretentious bullshit.  In his defense, however, I suspect he has bent over backwards to kiss the RNC's ass.  If he is an obstructionist, it's because this is what they wanted from him.  Now, however, just like in Treasure Island, I suspect the RNC has given him the black spot, not because he's bad, but because this is how they plan to show the American people how much they are changing.

The sad truth, however, is that if Matt Bevin does managed to unseat old Mitch, he is going to be just as much of an obstructionist.  No change there.  You see Matt will be indentured to the Tea Party, and they will call the shots.  If he should win the election in 2014, the first voice he hears will be the Tea Party.  And what will they say?  You owe us.  It will be nothing more then superficial slight of hand.  They'll pull a bunny out of their hat who's been up their arm all the time.  Which is why the GOP is in trouble, you see it doesn't make a difference if you have a grape Jello head in office, or a strawberry Jello head in office.  They're both Jello heads.  Change is more then going from flavor to flavor, it means going from Jello to pudding.