Monday, November 30, 2009

Government Intervention

I’ve been away from my blogging station for about two weeks now and I figure the people that visit my little blog has plummeted from billions per day to perhaps a few hundred.

During my absence I have decided that the majority of people are stupid. I may have decided that a while back, but I’m more vehement about it now.

I’m also testing this blog via email thing.

People believe that through technological achievement we have discovered how to make the earth warmer.

I don’t like smog. I don’t like cars. I don’t like smoke. I’m all for cutting emissions. I don’t like the government telling me what to do. I don’t like my boss telling me what to wear. I prefer being told what we need to accomplish and then feeling like I have the freedom to use my ingenuity to figure out a unique, creative and possibly fun way to get there.

If I’m in a room full of 1000 people and someone tells me we need to get everyone out in 15 minutes, I’ll fail. I’m not one for rash action. I’d ask why 15 minutes? By the time I was convinced everyone needed to be out, it would be too late. I like weighing my options and thinking things through. Someone who was intent on getting everyone out would probably simply yell fire or pull the fire alarm. Perhaps a more ingenious solution would be to tell everyone they were giving a million bucks to the first 100 people in the street outside.

The US government is in charge of about 300,000,000 stupid people. There are almost 7 billion stupid people in the world. If you are a world leader and you decide that carbon emissions are bad, how do you get people to cut down? Well, horror stories of global warming, ice caps melting, polar bears dying, etc. is probably a good place to start. They are using the “fire” approach to accomplishing the goal. They’ll probably impose penalties that feel a lot like burning to bring the goal to fruition.

Back when gas (in the USA) was hitting $4+ per gallon, there was lots of invention going on regarding algae fuels, hydrogen energy, etc. We don’t need a fire, we need motivation. In 1962 when Kennedy challenged the USA to put a man on the moon, it was done by 1969. There was no reason to get there. It was just a challenge, but look at all the good that has come of it.

Why can’t government propose a challenge to have cars run on something besides carbon based fuels by 2015? Can we eliminate the need for carbon emissions by 2020? Instead of creating a new health insurance debacle why can’t we discover some kind of super cure all by 2012 through stem cell research or some other science that hasn’t been thought of?

The government has lost our trust. Everything they do they do through yelling fire. Then, when the fire isn’t real they wonder why the next fire produces less fear. Maybe we aren’t so stupid after all.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Back from Milan, Off to Jamaica

Well I got back from my second trip to Milan this month. The trip, although short, went rather well although I didn't do anything blogworthy. It was just work. I'd get up at 7:45, be at breakfast at 8:30, be at the site by 9:30, work until about 19:30, have dinner at about 20:30 and go to bed about 23:00. Fun was had by all.

I've been lacks about my blogging and I know you are all very sad, but you must bear with me for another week as I go to Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cozumel Mexico on a Carnival Cruise. It's a 7 day cruise and I don't normally even think about computers while cruising.

Next Monday (the 30th), I promise to try and blog about something that'll make me look a bit foolish and opinionated. It will also be great fun! I'll prepare you...

I watched a Glen Beck show while I was in Italy. He's on Fox and I don't like Fox, but I watched it anyway. I enjoyed watching it. He seemed knowledgeable, opinionated, and he didn't seem to blame the republicrats, but the government as a whole. I get tired of people saying, "It's the Republicans" and then they vote all the Republicans out of office, then say, "It's the Democrats" and now they are about to vote all the Democrats out of office and then it'll be back to , "It's the Republicans". Obviously no one is fixing anything...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Back To Milan and Salaries

I'm headed back to Milan this Sunday. I will be there another week. It brings to light some interesting questions for the masses.

First of all, many of you that may or may not read my blog may or may not know how many times I can use the word may in one sentence. Not really.

You may know that this year I was offered a 5% cut in salary due to "the economic times". They gave a 5% cut across the board. I'm not in favor of these kinds of cuts. They justify them by saying that this 5% cut saved "x" number jobs.

I'm of the opinion that this kind of "across the board" cut is lazy. It's like saying you have a bag of coins (from pennies to silver dollars) and someone says, "Your 50 pound bag of coins is 10 pounds too heavy. You need to eliminate 10 pounds." So you throw 10 pounds away without regard for the denomination.

The smart CEO would look at the talent and determine who is not pulling their weight. Some people may need a 10% cut or more. Some people may need to be let go. An across the board cut is just lazy.

Anyway, this leads to my conundrum. I'm a confident fellow and I'm very good at what I do. When customers, like the one in Milan, need help with their systems, they request me by name. I've told my boss and my boss's boss that I'm not happy with the 5% pay cut this year and if things aren't repaired by March, I'll be looking elsewhere for employment.

I really like working here and I don't know that I would be happier elsewhere. However, I don't love it enough to go down with the ship. If they can't afford to fix my salary (someone who is requested by customers to help solve their problems) then what does that say about the company?

Do I now press my case to my boss's boss's boss? Does my boss not think I'm serious? Does my boss's boss not think I'm serious? Does my boss's boss's boss care? Maybe the ship really is sinking?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sesame Street Was Also Born in 1969

image1969 was a good year. I was born near the beginning of 1969. In July of 1969, Neil Armstrong was the first man to walk on the moon. Woodstock happened in August of 1969. The Trans Am was born in 1969 (which is one of the reasons I bought one when they announced they would quit making them in 2002).
Sesame Street also kicked off in 1969. This week is their 40th birthday. Let’s share some videos. "C is for Cookie, that's good enough for me". The Manamana is one of my favorites.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Do contact me on my private email address

I’ve decided to help the masses and explain some things that may not appear so common to some.  If you have done an Internet search about an email you received regarding a large inheritance, read on…

I get emails like this probably once per day.  Some are better than others (like the Elena Tan story).  But they are are filled with crap of some sort.  Today, I will attempt to diagnose the problems with the majority of these emails.

Here is the email as I received it (my comments in RED):

I am Mrs. Paula Hamilton. I was married to Late Dr. Edward Hamilton who was based in Malaysia. My Husband  died on February 2nd 2007 after a brief illness.I am presently diagnosed of Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) and recently, my Doctor told me that I may not last for the next Three Months. Having known my condition, I have decided to entrust my entire estate to a honest individual

Really.  This should just irk you.  It does me.  Calling me honest with this kind of email preying upon the desperate folks who may be in dire straights and in need of a little help is about the most dishonest thing they can do.

who will utilize this money in the manner at which the funds are meant for.Beloved, I choose this means to locate you because I am sure that I will be lead

Now you are honest and loved.  Do you have warm fuzzies?  More honesty below and a little kindness thrown in for more fuzzies.

to the kind of person that will be totally honest with me. Due to my health condition, delay in your reply will not be of any benefit to me and this will propel me to search for someone else.

Here, they try to make it sound like you are the only one they sent this to.  Some spammers are better than others.  This particular email went out to “undisclosed recipients”.  When you send an email, your email program typically puts in the recipients on the address line.  This is only a courtesy.  Email servers will gladly send the email on without any such courtesy.  If the destination address is “undisclosed” this more than likely means that it was sent to about a billion people and you probably wouldn’t want to see the list anyway.

Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I have stated above. Do contact me on my private email address
In His Arms.

Here we throw in the religious zinger.  Like it or not, religious folks have been giving money away for thousands of years.  If you are a spammer and trying to get someone to give you information or money, it’s best to add religion into the mix.  The odds of success just went up exponentially.

Robert Grays
Mrs. Paula Hamilton.

You definitely don’t want to respond to this unless you are in law enforcement and are going to try and get some kind of charges filed.  It should be illegal.  I think false advertisement normally is.  You probably shouldn’t blog about it either.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lesser of Two Evils

An interesting thing about traveling to Europe is the shocking discovery that America is not the only country in the world. I remember when I first left Texas and was shocked to discover that Texas is not the only state in the country.

Texans are very proud of their state. No other state is as good as Texas when you are a Texan. Americans have the same attitude about the rest of the world. It's rather unfortunate.

I am a member of the Libertarian party. I even ran for office a few years ago just to see what it was like to be on a ballot. I was surprised to get several interviews with the Fort Worth Startlegram.

There is a saying I am fond of with the Libertarians. It goes something like, "We keep the Democrats out of your pockets and the Republicans out of your bedrooms."

Having said all of that, I'm a bit off from my mainstream Libertarian counterparts. Given the choice of my pockets or my bedroom I'd prefer the government stay out of my bedroom.

To me, this has nothing to do with privacy. It's more to do with how you are allowed to live. It was Republicans that wanted to make gay marriage illegal. To which I would reply, "Do we really want the government telling us who we can marry?"

This particularly came to light when I met my current wife in Germany. The government makes it very difficult to marry a foreigner.

I would have happily paid a little more taxes to the Democrats if they would have allowed me to live with my girlfriend in the USA for a while before getting married. Allowing her to live as an American to see if she enjoyed it before having to get married.

My point is fading. My logical mind is thinking this is a very valid point, but my ineptitude with the written language hampers my ability to properly communicate it.

Republicans seem to be the moral police. I don't like someone else dictating my morals. If I want to mess myself up with crack cocaine in the comfort of my own house I should be able to do so. As long as I'm not hurting anyone else, it should be legal.

Republicans claim to want a smaller central government with more power to the states. However, I believe their concept of smaller is flawed. Perhaps they tax less (sometimes), but they write laws that restrict your personal choices.

I am a Democratic leaning Libertarian. A rare beast. However, the current administration has spent a lot of money and done a lot of talking, but, in my opinion, has done nothing helpful.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Milano McDonalds and Eminent Domain

I've just about wrapped up my first week in Milano. My wife celebrated Halloween without me. I've tried to get her to go with me to Halloween parties every year that we've been married, but she always, "Didn't like Halloween". I don't know why.

Anyway, I celebrated Halloween in Milano, but I didn't dress up. There were very few costumes on Halloween, but there were enough.

But that has nothing to do with McDonald's. There is a (for lack of a better description) shopping center in Milano near the Duamo. It's kind of a cross shaped shopping hall with marble looking floors and tall cathedral type ceilings. My favorite part? The center of the cross. On one corner is a Prada store. On the opposite corner is a Louis Vuitton store. Another fancey Italian store is on the other corner. And the other corner? You guessed it. McDonald's. You gotta love it.

If you looked above the shops in this monoloithic type mall, you see some small rooms. Most all of these rooms have been converted to office buildings. A lot of money is paid for the privilege of having an office in this mall or a place to sell your stuff. It's a very busy place. It seems that one old lady still owns her home above the Prada store. I can't believe that Italy doesn't have eminent domain! That must only happen in the Land of the Free where rich people like Jerry Jones bulldoze houses for Football stadiums in the great progressive thinking state of Texas (once again I am lacking my sarcasm font).
Sorry about the picture quality. My camera was giving me grief. If you look a the top row of windows, the two in the center right have curtains. That is where the lady lives that refuses to sell her house.