Archive for the ‘Rants’ category

Happy New Year?

January 5, 2015

Another year has come and gone.  Where it went?  I have not a clue.  As Ferris Bueller said:

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.”

Unfortunately I’ve been encountering more and more people who are missing it.  Not the events of life happening all around us, but the MEANING of these events, the “Big Picture” stuff.  I also have noticed that folks are jumping off the rails more and more to little things, humor they don’t get, or don’t want to admit they don’t get.  Internet memes seem more prevalent along with obvious “click-bait” and other posts designed to drive people to act/post/reply out of character.  Is this country just becoming too Politically Correct such that an “off color” joke causes a major meltdown?  Are we so reliant on the nanny state to tell us what is right and what is wrong that we’ve lost the ability to stick to our own morals/opinions/views for fear of retaliation from the masses?

I’ve been around for almost half a century now, and those of us in the same “age group”, (I don’t know what “Gen” it is, X, Y, Z, Me, You, Them, Baby Boomer, Post Boomer, whatever) must be noticing that things seemed different as recently as 20 years ago.  History seems to be repeating itself, but mostly the “bad stuff” is happening again.  So what was going on 40-50 years ago?

Well, here’s a list of 50 “items” that turn 50 this year…

http://mentalfloss.com/article/55228/50-things-turn-50-2014

Hard to imagine eh?

Also remember:

  • The US was in a war that was run via politicians, not the military on site
    (we left and the “bad guys” took over)
  • We were striving to send a man to a celestial body far from Earth
  • There were racial, gender and lifestyle conflicts
  • We had a president pushing through sweeping legislation  not just the Civil Rights Act, but the Voting Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, the Fair Housing Act and major measures on immigration, education, and gun control.
  • Science was preparing to take a new leaps in communications, transportation, and computation (as a nation)
  • The country was also experiencing a “counter-culture” growth motivating not only citizens but elected officials

Sound familiar?

Guess what though.  We made it out of the 60’s.  It just took a while.  Life is a marathon, not a sprint.  Once people either start realizing the consequences (again) of their actions, or lack thereof, OR the system simply self-balances.  We’ll be fine.  Just keep calm, breathe easy, don’t break laws, and treat others with the respect that you demand of them.  As for me…

“I ain’t no saint, but I’ve tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God. I figure all any kid needs is hope and the feeling he or she belongs. If I could do or say anything that would give some kid that feeling, I would believe I had contributed something to the world.” – Elvis Presley

Happy New Year!

Advertisements

Would You Like to Super-Size for $5 More?

August 29, 2013

In case you’ve been asleep, don’t have access to radio, television, the internet, or can’t read. The kids that work the fast food restaurants are whining for more money. They want $15 an hour. Yep, $15 an hour to START at McDonalds, KFC, Hardees, Subway, and the like. Many are supporting them. WTF?

The whole concept is that you can’t make a living at what they pay at these places. No kidding! I don’t think entry-level burger flipper is listed as a life-long career. It never was. This idea was to start out at these places and then move up via in-house promotions, education and experience. The whole idea of the system was for high school age kids to start out there, while still living at home, to make some extra bucks for (dating myself) their own clothes, albums, phone, car, gas, whatever. Then, if they decided to go to college, they had some experience to get another job, either with the same company, or a competitor where the university was. They probably earned a bit more due to experience or got promoted within. Upon graduation, they left. Those who didn’t do the college path, if they stuck with the company would move up, get promoted, educated and compensated. This was the strategy for the company’s expansion – Grow your management team from within. Every heard of “Hamburger University”? That’s where McDonalds trains managers and franchisees. One small hitch, you must be LITERATE in the dominant language of your store’s country.

So, you fast-food folks who want to start out making top dollar, guess what? That means YOU have to do some EXTRA work and NOT get paid for it to get ahead. That’s called a WORK ETHIC boys and girls. If you want to earn more money, then here’s a few things you can do right now to deserve it. Dress appropriately in the prescribed uniform without added bling and gunk on your face and at least wash and iron the thing so it doesn’t look like you slept in the uniform. Be polite to all customers. Remember that if the company doesn’t have customers, it don’t need you! Get the frickin’ order right. It isn’t rocket science (BTW most rocket scientists started at less than $15/hour, it was called an UNPAID internship.). Pay attention to what you’re doing instead of gossiping with your pals. Learn how to make change without relying on the stupid register. Learn to speak properly and in English. Bi-lingual means you speak BOTH languages equally well.

I read a statistic that said McDonalds trains more people than the US Army. I can believe it. Those who demonstrate a good work ethic and motivation do get rewarded. I remember watching “Under Cover Bosses” where this counter clerk at a fast food place got placed in a Management Fast track and got his own store afterwards because he stood out. He had no college, in fact he had to get his GED requirement waived by the CEO. But he wanted it and was willing to work (for free) if necessary, to get it.

To those who support the strikers, imagine this. Take any and everything on the menu of your favorite store and DOUBLE the price. That Happy Meal ain’t so happy anymore is it? Do you honestly think that if the corporations are forced to raise pay they’re going to eat the cost themselves? I’m sure some stupid liberal will continue, and succeed in getting you your little raise, but if no one want’s a $12 Big Mac combo, they won’t need anyone to cook them either… Presently, having no job pays $0 and hour.  The whole welfare thing is another rant to be had…

Who’s to Blame?

December 15, 2012

A tragic event happened at a school in CT. Bummer. I too pray for the families of the fallen just as much as I pray for the families of the other fallen all around the world. Military personnel at a base in Texas, Chinese kids that got knifed at their school (google it), folks at a mall in Oregon, a pop star’s plane crash victims in Mexico, Cyclone victims in the Solomon Islands, it doesn’t matter.

Dying before “your time” sucks. My fiancé’ did that. She was walking in “knee high” surf and got caught in a rip-tide and drowned. So I kinda know what it’s like to loose someone you love before their time to a random event. So (pardon language) if you don’t think I have anything in common from those who have suffered recent losses in a “random” event that they had no control over, TAKE OFF!

Do I blame the lifeguards? Nope, they don’t control the surf. Do I blame “Mother Nature”, well that’s kind of stupid… Do I lobby to close all beaches? Equally idiotic. In the case of the tragedy (yes I do feel it was a tragedy) in CT, do we blame the school? Did they know what was going to happen? Nope. Gun laws? Bad guys don’t make a habit of following the law. “The system”? Which one? Who’s to know? Who is qualified and anointed to make that call? Obama? CT Governor? PTA? Not likely. However, everyone seems to be jumping in to “correct” this issue in the future.

What issue? Crazy people with access to guns? Um… at present the law doesn’t allow crazies to have them. BUT, Hospitals, due to overcrowding or budget constraints, are allowed legally to deem nut jobs “safe” and send them out into society with prescriptions for meds that they might or might not take or OD on. WTF? Dogs are more scrutinized for being “a threat to society” than humans. Oh, that’s right, most dogs don’t have pro-bono lawyers at their service. If the leash don’t fit, you must acquit. No publicity in dog cases…

We, as intelligent Americans, we must be cautious of those who stand to, or attempt to, make gains (financial, legal, political) from tragedy. Just like the “carpet baggers” of the post Civil War (look it up), there are plenty of people both in the media, private industry, and the government that will use this, and other tragedies, to forward their own agenda. They will continue to harp on THEIR issue, mostly by sensationalism or “tugging at our hearts” via “in depth” reporting, with financial compensation that doesn’t get mentioned. Stay tuned for a “Movie of the Week” or a “Hallmark/Lifetime/Oprah/Dr. Phil” special on this.

Some will use this event to draw attention away from “bigger” issues. Others will attempt to add more regulations, or more Government oversight where it’s really not needed.

So…

Be thankful for what you have. Mourn others’ losses. Keep your eyes on the “Big Picture”. Look to the facts, not the fantasy. And try to have a Happy Holidays in spite of the fact that the “real world” can really blow sometimes…

Mai Tais and Me

March 23, 2012

I’ve tried them here.
I’ve tried them there.
I’ve tried those darned things everywhere.
Not to be rude, but hard as I tries,
I just don’t like them fricking MaiTais.

On a recent trip to Hawaii, I was presented upon check-in with coupons for two free Mai Tais. Not to waste a free drink, I bravely went to the bar and ordered one. I struck up a conversation with a nice couple and as the dreaded rum and juice concoction arrived, I proclaimed my distaste for the stuff and began the task of choking it down. It was then that my new bar buddy spoke up.

“Son.” The guy said.

“The reason you don’t like Mai Tais might be that you’re drinking it wrong.”

20120323-155924.jpg

What? Drinking it wrong? I know neither of us had that much, yet.

He continued.

“See here, first off, DON’T MIX IT! It’s a layered drink for a reason. Second, do NOT use the straw. The layers are meant to be tasted top-down, not bottom-up. This forces you to get the dark rum first, and then “chase” it with the spiked juices. Also, Save the fruit garnish for last, or skip it all together. It’s just added sugar. THAT’S how to drink a Mai Tai.”

He must have been right. His wife/daughter/niece was nodding her pretty blonde head in agreement.

I gulped down the one in front of me, had a glass of water, and ordered the second one, no fruit. I resisted the urge to stir it and removed the straw. Wow! Quite the different taste. By the half way point, the float of dark rum was gone leaving only what amounted to a tropical light run and fruit juice. Very nice.

So, I learned something new. Mai Tais taste different when sipped and not mixed.

I still don’t like them,
And that’s all right.
I’ll just have a Miller Lite.

NBA Season is on. Big Deal…

November 28, 2011

With an agreement pending, it looks like there will be a 66 game season starting on the 25th of December.

Golly, thanks for the Christmas present NBA. NOT!

These clowns (no offense Harlem Globetrotters, you guys know who’s buttering your bread) who make all that money for running around in shorts for a couple of hours, and the greedy owners who charge an arm and a leg for a ticket, merchandise, food, etc. have no idea how real people make money and support their favorite team, even if they suck. Well, it’s time for all of us to boycott (that means don’t support) the NBA, its sponsors, advertisers, merchandisers and media outlets. It’s that simple. When they go through a whole season without any money coming in, then they’ll start to realize who really controls the league. THE FANS!

Here’s the deal.

NBA players and the owners have decided that, they both want to make money and that there’s plenty of it to go around. Fans continue to pay ridiculous prices for tickets, shirts, hats, shoes, and anything else players or teams decide to endorse. Crying, writing letters and the like are no way for fans to get their message across to the teams, players and owners. The only way is MONEY. So, it NBA fans boycott this season, then maybe the parties involved in this fiasco we call “professional basketball” will get a clue on where exactly their revenue comes from.

But gee whiz, how am I supposed to support my Basketball Jones?

If you’re a true fan of the game of basketball, there are plenty of equally exciting and honorable to encourage the growth of the sport. Here are a few that come to mind.

  • NCAA Basketball – Root for your local, or favorite college team, provided it doesn’t have a current sex scandal (sorry Clemson). Most colleges that have a football team also have men’s AND women’s basketball. I personally think it’s a more exciting game to watch. Most of the times, the officials actually call the game according to the rules. You know items like Traveling, Double-Dribble, and Palming or Carrying. The tickets and regalia are cheaper, and you support your college of choice.
  • WNBA – The ladies, in my opinion, tend to play better basketball than the men. They shoot a lot more; they pass the ball and generally look more like a team than three superstars plus a rookie and a guy on his way out.
  • High School basketball – These programs keep kids off the streets and are prime targets when the money gets tight in favor of alternate culture studies, sensitivity training, and other things besides Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. Proceeds go to the team for stuff like uniforms, tournaments, and equipment.
  • Boys & Girls Clubs – Another fine organization for helping the youth of America learn sportsmanship, team play, and values of hard work and discipline. Support your local Boys & Girls clubs by either putting your kids in one of their Basketball programs or just donate what you would have spent on NBA tickets to them. It’s tax deductible, and you won’t look like the creepy person with no kids watching the game(s).

What else is there?

C’mon, there are plenty of other sports on the TV. Football, Hockey, College BB, College FB, College Hockey (in some areas). There always are plenty of sports on TV. Here’s a thought, GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY! If it’s too cold, then DO SOMETHING other than sit in front of the box watching. Heck, go through last season on EA Basketball if it will make you feel better. Hey, why not go to the gym and PLAY basketball. You know with real sweat and everything? Bring along a cheering soundtrack if you think it will help. A pick-up game of H-O-R-S-E still burns more calories than a Lakers – Bulls game while sitting on your butt. Save that NBA money for yourself this year.

Don’t feel bad for the players or the owners, they have plenty of loot from last year’s fleecing of the fans.

Dear US Government

October 20, 2011

Dear US Government,

We the people (legal citizens of the United States of America) have survived the worst downturn since the great depression, and we want to let you know that we have a deal for you.

For the past few years, we watched what happens when debts aren’t paid, and we know from painful experience how devastating the effects are on our communities and families. It does not matter if you are from the left or right, the result is the same. The people will suffer and our government will drive away in a Wall Street limo.

And so, we the American people are giving our contract to you, President Obama and every member of Congress from both parties, so you know where we stand.

We know that all sides in the debt dispute are full of hot rhetoric and lies. You are politicians, so we do not trust anything you say. You know that you can make sure our country pays its debts, even if that means we must continue to suffer at the hands of our incompetent government.
We promise, with all our hearts and collective souls, that if you don’t do all in your power to stop the politics and save our national credit rating, that we will vote every single one of you out of office in the next election.
Never before has our country been so united against such an incompetent group of buffoons. We know that both sides are fully dedicated to manipulating us to get themselves power. We are sick of it. We now know there is nothing you won’t do to pander to your narrow political interests on both sides and every extreme.

And so, we the American People promise to you, our incompetent government, that unless you fix the budget now, we will not vote for any incumbents until all of you are out of office. We are not the weak fools you take us for, we are the American People.

Sincerely,

America (the People You Don’t Care About)

PS: Yo, Super Committee. What do you call an ex-congressman? [Insert YOUR name here.]

Steve and Me

October 8, 2011

A not-so brief history of my off and on encounters with Steve Jobs and his creations.

1979
I was first introduced to this guy named Steve in 9th grade. It was in science class, a curriculum that covered the extreme basics of chemistry, biology, physics, and the like. Kind of like the Discovery Channel, in real life, and Mr. Wizard. We were doing a lesson module on computers. Our school had a grand total of 4; three Tandy (Radio Shack) TRS-80s, and this other machine called an Apple II. The instructor, an obvious technophile who really didn’t want to teach Junior High Science, used this Apple thing to teach and demonstrate BASIC programming, while the students plugged along on the TRS-80s. The teacher demonstrated how, with this new thing called a “personal computer” you could not only do math, but draw things, write documents and even program it yourself! This thing was definitely better than my Atari 2600. I wanted one.

Not only did we do lots of hands on stuff, but we also learned about various persons and companies involved in computers, both personal and mainframe, and certain people that were considered to be important to their development. Steve and his buddy Steve came up more than once in the lessons. I saved and saved, and eventually was able to purchase a PC. Unfortunately, Steve’s stuff was a bit too expensive, so I had to settle for the TRS-80, cassette drive and all.

1980’s
Through high school, I ran across Steve’s stuff here and there. I remember going to the Fredrick&Nelson’s (a Division of Marshal Fields) and seeing this little beige box with a small screen, keyboard, and this little puck-like thing attached. I was mesmerized. The sales guy, not from the store, was giving a demo on what this thing could do. He pushed a key and the thing SPOKE! I mean, not like the old Speak and Spell, but in clear, plain English. Compared to my Trash-80, as I and most of my friends called it, this thing was like, from the future. Something from Star Wars or something. Cool Steve! I really really want one. But at $2500, there was no way I could afford, or talk my folks into one. Dad had seen a few of these in his office, but never used one. After all, he had a secretary to do the typing. Why would HE need a Macintosh? I can still remember going to that store, every chance I could, to look and play with Steve’s beige box hoping someday I would have one.

High School came and went, off to college and, once again I found myself in computer classes. IBM and Microsoft were THE standard for anyone who took the PC seriously. In face, now that they were affordable enough for some students to afford, professors were specifying that reports, programs, etc, had to be turned in in MS compatible format. Our dorm had a few PCs for general use and one, lonely Franklin (an Apple II clone). Frank, (as we computer nerds called it) played text and graphics games, ran spreadsheets, word processing, and a host of other things without crashing. Frank didn’t get used for “real” work though, due to the IBM/MS edict. A few of my friends had Steve’s Mac or Apple computers in their dorm rooms, where everyone hung out. I, due to finances, had an IBM XT clone in my room, where no one hung out. So college came and went as well. My association with Steve was that of a fan and follower but, due to finances and where industry was going, not an adopter.

1990’s
I remember visiting the parents after being on my own. I had been working for a couple, three, years and had upgraded PCs, discovered the Internet, and was subscribing to both PC and Mac publications. My little brother dragged me into his room to show me something Dad had brought him for an early Christmas present. I almost fainted. Sitting on my baby brother’s desk was a semi-used Macintosh LC. It had just been taken out of the box and wasn’t hooked up yet. Turns out my Dad’s company had excesses them when they had converted to IBM and MS machines. My dad bought one for my bro because the price was “finally reasonable for a toy.” With little or no help from me, my brother had the thing up and running in less than a half hour. He was 12 at the time. I offered to trade him my new PC strait across. No dice. Steve had finally made it into my house, which I had moved out of 2 years ago.

I kept in touch with Steve and his goings on. Even when he wasn’t working for the company he founded, I was glad that I could support him by going to the movies his other company made. As for the new, new computer company’s stuff? No way. That stuff was even more expensive than the beige boxes. He eventually went back to his original company, I remember reading about it on an AOL newsgroup. He was doing well. Good for him.

Early 2000’s
My father called, all retired by now and asked me for my email address. My what? Dad wants MY email? Dad doesn’t have a computer, does he? Turns out he had just bought one. From Steve! My dad, had bought one of the original iMacs, you know, the ones that came in any color as long as it was Bondi Blue. Apparently, with his retirement, he had taken on some offices in the community he and mom now lived and has to use email, calendar and do some light word processing. There was a Mac computer club there and he had sat in on a couple of meetings and then went to the nearby university and bought one. Now $1300 of my inheritance seemed still a bit expensive compared to the $700 I just put down on a new Dell, but dad was happy and I didn’t have to be tech support. Turns out no one did. I was learning that more of Steve’s wonderful products were infiltrating my family. My dad and my two brothers were Mac users now. I, the Mac champion of old, when Macs weren’t cool, was the only one who didn’t own one! Forgive me Steve for I’ve been a sinnin’. I still just can’t afford your coolness. I’d drive your store in Glendale (over an hour), to look and yearn for one of your shiny new machines with the same intensity that I did when I was a small boy marveling at the little beige box that talked. I know your stuff is better, more reliable, just works, yeah, yeah, yeah. Still luv yah man!

2005
My Dell died. I didn’t even try to fix it. I’m coming Steve! I’m bringing money this time! I was the proudest owner of a base model iBook sporting OS X Tiger. I took it home, plugged it into the wall, turned it on, and was surfing the web in less than 10 minutes. I finally realized, sadly, what I’d been missing. Steve continued to impress with new stuff every year. I was part of the magic now. I even visited the Mother Ship. Steve wasn’t in that day though.

August 2011
Steve is retiring, his illness is a factor in executing day to day duties. He looks like he needs a rest. He’s still advising and is on the board though. He’s been dealing with this thing since 2005 or so? Hope all is OK and that he’ll show up once in a while either doing something great or just at an Apple event. I sent him an email, doubt he’ll read or even receive it, but it makes ME feel a bit better.

05 October 2011
Steve died today. The day after Mr. Cook announced another great innovation to Steve’s company’s products. Off to the Apple Store, where I bought my 1st Mac to light a candle.

08 October 2011
As I sit here writing this on my iPad, while listening to another memorial podcast on my iPhone, and glancing on my Twitter feed on my MacBook, I realize that, for a kid who was somewhat of an outsider, Steve was a hero to me in an era where there weren’t many to choose from. I’m talking about folks that young kids should try to be like. I’m not talking about one name celebs, like Jay-Lo, Gaga, Chaz, Michael, Justin, Madonna, Sting, Bono or even Johnny. I’m talking about folks who made a difference that has lasted. One name folks like Gates, Woz, Kawasaki, Ellis, Turner, Dell, Ivar (Seattle restauranteur and philanthropist), and of course Steve. Truly the man, the myth, the legend.

09 October 2011
Just saw a video of the iPhone 4S running the Siri application. Hey! This little box from Steve talks too! Does it come in beige? It should… That would be a nice touch of class. Steve might have liked that.


%d bloggers like this: