Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

iTunes - Striving Hard to Underwhelm and Confuse...and Succeeding!

It was a close call tonight. I almost had a heart attack, or might have spontaneously combusted, if what I had seen were true. Fortunately for me, it was merely a head fake by the King of Head Fakes, Apple.  I've always hated ripping my CDs to iTunes.  Not because it's hard to do - insert, rip, done.

The problem is the aftermath that remains.   iTunes often has problems finding artists and artwork, a problem which only seems to happen when one rips one's own CDs to iTunes rather than downloading.  So, I often have to select all, type in the artist name, then all the track names, then copy in the artwork (I suppose I should just rip the metadata from AWS or a similar source, but on principle I don't want to give in, and implicitly endorse iTunes' mediocrity).

To be fair to Apple, and let you know just how anal I am about my music, I don't have a single track out of over 10,000 that is entitled "Track __", nor do I have any songs named "Unknown Track" or any bands named "Unknown Artist." I also don't let iTunes find song titles for me, because I've discovered over time that some people actually upload to discog and other services, as source material, all words in lower case, as well as misspellings, unneeded abbreviations, incorrect labels, etc.  Not coincidentally, the aforementioned are all very high on the list of things that annoy the hell out of me. So I keep it organized myself.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

California Über Alles - Redux

California - History Repeats Itself

You don't really get a video, you just get a picture of the cover of the Dead Kennedys' seminal 1980 album Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, and the audio for  California Über Alles, the band's first single from the same album (the single was actually released 19 months before the album, and with a slower time signature; most fans consider the album version to be the "correct" one, and if you've ever heard the song, it was most likely the album version).  In an unexpected but splendid bit of random chance (or proof that the Flying Spaghetti Monster thinks history is fun and funny), the California electorate, in crisis mode, chose to re-elect career politician Jerry Brown as California's governor, about 30 years after he originally served in that office.  And despite some lyrical references to the time period when the song was written, does raw anger at politicians ever truly go out of style?  It was the first single by The Dead Kennedys, and it's steeped in anarchy, individual rights and an acute (and valid, in  my opinion) mistrust of anyone in authority.  It just happens, in this particular case, to be Jerry Brown.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Solving the Healthcare "Crisis"

Let's skip the wordy preamble, shall we?  I've thrown these ideas out countless times to those who should understand, and I'm always told that I'm impractical.  Then again, I worked with people for several years who thought that new business ideas comprised dredging up the same vomit they spewed two years earlier, and pretending like it was something new under the sun.  So maybe I'm not the impractical one:

My Solution to Our Nation's Education "Dilemma"

This one might actually be short.  Because the solutions are so damn simple.  Here we go (not to be confused with a beer-fetching dog):

1. Abolish the Department of Education.  Seriously, would you want anyone in Washington teaching your children?  And what could they possibly teach them?  Bribery, embezzlement, clandestine sexual relations, blackmail, genocide, chicanery, fraud, misappropriation of funds, whoring, pimping, lying, cheating?  Well, I think you get the idea.

This is from the U.S. Department of Education's homepage:

"ED currently administers a budget of $68.1 billion in discretionary appropriations (including discretionary Pell Grant funding) and operates programs that touch on every area and level of education. The Department's elementary and secondary programs annually serve nearly 16,000 school districts and approximately 49 million students attending more than 98,000 public schools and 28,000 private schools. Department programs also provide grant, loan, and work-study assistance to more than 15 million postsecondary students.

That said, it is important to point out that education in America is primarily a State and local responsibility, and ED's budget is only a small part of both total national education spending and the overall Federal budget [....]."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Brief Lesson in Economics

Bloomberg Reports that Housing Is Rocketing Skyward!!!

Hey, hey, housing starts are up!  That means housing has turned the corner, right?  Not so fast, Panama Red.

I have no problem with reporting the data, but I do have a problem with the way it's reported.  Every time I see these headlines, the heady writing always includes something like "this shows that demand for homes is picking up."  In fact, that is a blatant lie, or a misunderstanding of the simplest concept of Econ 101.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Reason Why I Don't Find the Choice Between Politicians to be a "Choice" in the First Place

A Shameless Plug for Nationwide Insurance....

Since I have no problem bashing corporate titans at every turn, it seems only fair to give some props when due.

My neighbor backed into my car a few weeks ago.  No big deal, but as you might know, even at 5 mph, the damage can be pretty expensive.  This is doubly so if you happen to own a German-made car with a 5 in the model name.  I called Nationwide, set up an appointment with the adjuster last Thursday, and he came out this morning.  He checked out my car, then went back to his car, searched online for parts and all of the repair times and codes, and came back with an 11-page written estimate, and a check for the entire repair amount.  It should be noted that the total was almost identical to the amount that my body shop (which is not on their approved list) wanted to repair the car.  All this within an hour.  

I have Mercury as my insurance company, but I will not hesitate to consider Nationwide the next time I'm shopping carriers.  

Why Not Me? It's Not Like the Chargers Have Any Qualified Management Right Now....

Hey Spanos, give me a call, I've got some ideas for you.  First, you may want to fire your GM and your coach.  But hey, I'm flexible on these things.