This has been a tighter than usual year. Circumstances from the 20th anniversary Cruise to other stuff had eaten up a good chunk of the money I normally set aside for Christmas gifts.
When the job left that clinched it. I generally buy the gifts all during the year for friends and family but for some reason the nieces and the brothers and sisters got covered early but the nephews and friends didn’t. Usually it is much easier for me to shop for the guys and the boys but items jumped out at me early for the other crowd this year. So Violet has something but Jack is out of luck.
As far as the immediate family this is where cheap has really paid off. All year I’ve been paying for everything with my Amazon.com gift card, then writing a check the following month to the card company. All the electric bills, all the oil bills, the 20th anniversary trip, Catholic School tuition, groceries et-al. The kids put their wish lists on Amazon and I had a stack of $25 coupons to use for them.
Additionally instead of ordering everything together I made each order separately. That way I was able to check the daily deals and jump on a thing or two while qualifying for the free super shipping.
My final order is being placed today. This will complete my Christmas shopping except for the the 12 guys who are out of luck unless I find something in the next two weeks. It will still be a thin Christmas but this really paid off this year.
It occurs to me that with the combination of cell phones and facebook that this kind of thing likely happens a lot more than we think:
At the exact moment Jon Favreau is receiving high praise in pre-inaugural media puff pieces, the 27-year-old chief speechwriter for President-elect Barack Obama (not Jon Favreau, the Hollywood actor/ director) finds himself in a minor mess over a photo from a recent private party showing him groping the breast of a cardboard cutout of Hillary Rodham Clinton as an unnamed pal wearing an “Obama staff” T-shirt kisses and feeds her beer.
Instead of the liberal world where the press will protect an important Obama fellow from this stuff. (I’ll leave that argument for Violet and friends who won’t be surprised) today lets look at it in the real world.
First of all drunken idiots have been doing things since mead (which tastes awful in my opinion but these guys would disagree) was first created. It’s one of the reasons besides the fact that I’m cheap; I avoid drinking in public places. When you are drunk or stoned you are going to act like an idiot, when I act like an idiot I want to know I’m doing it.
Second of all in the age of the Cell phone and Facebook and e-mail a picture of you being a drunken idiot can not only be spread around the world in moments but might be on youtube forever (just do a search for star wars kid if you don’t believe me). The data may sit but it will be there.
Now imagine you are a HR person, if a candidate passes the first round of interviews I suspect a strong online search will take place. In this age of mandatory “sensitivity” and “sexual harassment” training, growing unemployment and lawsuits on demand are you going to risk a callback to the fellow in that drunken picture mooning the camera or that lady in that web video showing off her thong no matter how good their interview was? I think not.
And PLEASE don’t tell me it doesn’t matter. The 14 year old daughter of one of my oldest friends was talking to me a few days ago. She works in a local supermarket and the discussion of “Merry Christmas vs Happy Holidays” came up. She was told if she said “Merry Christmas” and someone complained, she would be fired. She also said that if she said “Happy Holidays” and someone complained, she would be fired. It was the complaint that mattered and with 100+ teens waiting to take her job she will wisely keep her mouth shut. If she can lose her job for that what do you think a nasty chat log or e-mailed photo will do?
And what if you ever are on the verge of fame of greatness? People will be looking for those photos and blogs will be looking for the hits, just ask Ace.
In the end the internet is like a tattoo it can be expensive and unavailing to try to get off once you are on. This guy has the right idea:
The only real solution, argues a hacker and security researcher who calls himself “Dead Addict,” is to not reveal your personal information in the first place.
That whole article is worth a read but remember this. Unless you were there you will likely never see your grandparents drunk, wild and idiotic even if they were party animals, but your grandchildren’s grandchildren will be able to watch you play “pull my finger” in a continuous loop forever.
Tight times or no da wife decided to give take me to see Mannheim Steamroller in Lowell Mass. My impressions follow:
The Memorial auditorium in Lowell is a great place to watch a concert, we had the “nosebleed” seats literally with our backs to the back wall and they were great for the concert its like watching a game at Fenway without breaking the bank.
Before the concert began the guy in charge of the place plugged gift cards for the place, and then very foolishly wished everyone a “happy holiday” (arbor day perhaps?) Considering the group and the concert and the demographics of the audience I can’t think of anything he could have said that would retard sales to this crowd more.
For some unknown reason the air conditioning was on in the place during the first act. It was freezing so we kept our winter coats , muffs, hats and scarfs on. Somebody took care of it at halftime.
They had a list of war dead in the auditorium, the amount of Civil war deaths from a city the size of Lowell was staggering to see as was the long list of Lowell men who apparently died on the USS Maine in 1898.
The list of 8 medal of honor winners was kinda large too.
I never thought I would see a bust of Gen Ben Butler in a place of high honor, he’s not a guy in history that you think of that way.
In the packed auditorium I noticed something right away:
There was nobody with a visible Tattoo.
There was nobody with a visible piercing.
There was nobody with any kind of shirt with a loud slogan
I didn’t see a single man with an earring
Nobody had hair dyed odd colors or with weird cuts
It has been decades since i saw a crowd composed of totally normal and average people. I suspect that the fact that Steamroller’s music gets a lot of it publicity from the Rush Limbaugh show had something to do with it. It was so striking I kept my eye’s open to see if I could find anyone odd during intermission and when we left. Other than a pair of really odd looking silver boots on a lady not a thing.
If you have heard cd’s and I have several it can’t compare to the visuals of the lights and film used in the performance. It is really something to see. The wife thought the cd’s were ok but decided the performance made her appreciate the Cd’s much more. She thought it was awesome.
It is a shame that the founder Davis is laid up, the idea of dividing the group into two, adding members and splitting them into east and west coast tours is great for the audience to expand the number of people who can see it, but I think I would have liked to see the original group at least once.
The videos and film were really classy. Apparently in larger stadiums they have live dancers and performers either instead of and in addition to the film. I find myself wanting to see it in that setting as well.
It never struck me but when they talked about medieval music and how many carols came from it their music does sound like it comes straight out of the 12-14th century sometimes.
I would really like to be able to buy tickets for an event for the actual face value of the tickets.
I never get sick of Christmas music, if the PC crowd manages to chase the word Christmas out of every other venue the music will keep it alive.
He deals with the denial of Islam’s involvement first:
The veteran British TV anchor Jon Snow, on the other hand, opted for the more cryptic locution “practitioners.” “Practitioners” of what, exactly?
Hard to say. And getting harder. Tom Gross produced a jaw-dropping round-up of Bombay media coverage: The discovery that, for the first time in an Indian terrorist atrocity, Jews had been attacked, tortured, and killed produced from the New York Times a serene befuddlement: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”
Hmm. Greater Bombay forms one of the world’s five biggest cities. It has a population of nearly 20 million. But only one Jewish center, located in a building that gives no external clue as to the bounty waiting therein. An “accidental hostage scene” that one of the “practitioners” just happened to stumble upon? “I must be the luckiest jihadist in town. What are the odds?”
The rhetorical circles that those in denial are in would tie any person in a knot. He then skews the Muslims are feeling vulnerable” meme:
Last week, a Canadian critic reprimanded me for failing to understand that Muslims feel “vulnerable.” Au contraire, they project tremendous cultural confidence, as well they might:
They’re the world’s fastest-growing population. A prominent British Muslim announced the other day that, when the United Kingdom becomes a Muslim state, non-Muslims will be required to wear insignia identifying them as infidels. If he’s feeling “vulnerable,” he’s doing a terrific job of covering it up.
We are told that the “vast majority” of the 1.6-1.8 billion Muslims (in Deepak Chopra’s estimate) are “moderate.” Maybe so, but they’re also quiet. And, as the AIDs activists used to say, “Silence=Acceptance.”
Deepak Chopra earns a Nelson almost every time he opens his mouth. Islam is not feeling vulnerable its feeling powerful. he concludes echoing Tom Freeman who came much later to the conclusion Stein reached years ago:
I wrote in my book, America Alone, that “reforming” Islam is something only Muslims can do. But they show very little sign of being interested in doing it, and the rest of us are inclined to accept that. Spread a rumor that a Koran got flushed down the can at Gitmo, and there’ll be rioting throughout the Muslim world. Publish some dull cartoons in a minor Danish newspaper, and there’ll be protests around the planet. But slaughter the young pregnant wife of a rabbi in Bombay in the name of Allah, and that’s just business as usual. And, if it is somehow “understandable” that for the first time in history it’s no longer safe for a Jew to live in India, then we are greasing the skids for a very slippery slope. Muslims, the AP headline informs us, “worry about image.” Not enough
It is understandable in two ways that Muslims are not anxious to speak out. They are even more afraid of getting not only their throats cut but their relatives then the others. Even if they don’t It’s basically tribal, like a Mafia family and even if one doesn’t risk death in a face society you don’t go against the tribe.
There is also the feeling of power, as one of Sicilian decent I see it in people eyes on occasion when my nationality comes up. Don’t forget this moment:
The combination of liberal cultural guilt and raw fear is a source of strength.
In the end it comes to this, Militant Islam is going to have to be either stopped, submitted to or changed from within.
The current president and our military have made a good effort at the first particularly going on offense, but it will take time, effort and treasure.
As far as submitting goes laws in the west have already headed in that direction even to the point where Sharia law is gaining in England and Canada. I hate to say it but frankly I suspect that those who cry loudest at the “Oppression” of the current administration would find a reason and excuse to submit if Sharia comes to call.
As far as change goes it can either be from within or imposed. There are men and woman with a whole hell of a lot more courage than me such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Nonie Darwish and Walid Shoebat trying to make the case at the risk of their lives but unless the avg Muslim supports them they can’t do it alone. It still remains to be seen if they are the William Lloyd Garrisons of their times.
We cannot change the hearts and minds of those people in the south but we can make war so terrible and make them so sick of war that generations will pass before they would again appeal to it.
And least anyone thinks I am calling for that sort of thing a 2nd quote of Sherman bears repeating as well:
I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting — its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation. May 1865
It is going to be totally up to us as westerners and the Muslim people everywhere how this will end.
I can’t believe I spent over an hour writing this on a weekend but then again I unfortunately have a bit of free time.
Back in my HiWired blog days I had a category called internet speech where I documented good and bad news concerning internet free speech you can still find some of those pages in google cache.
One of the things I give major kudos to the company for is none of those posts were ever restricted although they only loosely were on a tech issue.
Well the HiWired blog is gone but next speech issues haven’t:
On Thursday, Cuban blogger Claudia Cadelo, was summoned to appear at the Interior Ministry, which is in charge of domestic security. A day earlier, Yoani Sanchez, the nation’s most prominent blogger, was told by authorities that her activities had “crossed the limits of tolerance,” and was told she couldn’t hold a planned meeting this Saturday of local bloggers, according to Ms. Sanchez.
Ms. Sanchez, who writes a blog called “Generation Y,” is at the forefront of a small group of bloggers in Cuba who chronicle life on the island and occasionally vent against its government, which was run for the past 49 years by Fidel Castro until he stepped aside earlier this year for health reasons and handed power to his brother Raúl. Ms. Sanchez was the subject of a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal in December, 2007. The 33-year-old wife and mother has won several awards recently for her work, and was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people this year.
Babalu Blog simply owns this story just keep scrolling. He also has a post of round up links to other blogs here.
You know it an odd coincidence that our friends on the left declare President Bush as the great repressor of rights yet people have made a fortune calling him a Nazi, terrorist, idiot et al. Yet it is almost impossible to avoid people going after him in film, print and TV on a daily basis. These people are lionized by the left and called speakers of truth to power.
However it always seems like places like Cuba , Iran, China, North Korea, Syria et-al that tend to actually jail people for their opinions don’t seem to rate that treatment or even publicity for those jailed. I suspect acknowledgment of such violates their political beliefs which seem more like a religion every day.
It brings to mind two Doctor Who quotes the first from Face of Evil:
You know, the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don’t alter their views to fit the facts. They alter the facts to fit their views. Which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering.
I’m been a tad depressing (well other than this post) but I do want to acknowledge a few things:
First of all when a friend of mine heard about our situation he insisted on having us over for thanksgiving. It was in incredible Thanksgiving and fun both socially and in terms of food, (but I was unable to get his CD drives to work, did share out the drive on the 2nd machine the next day as a temp work around.)
Second of all I rent out an apartment to a friend of mine. Been his landlord for 17 years. Every Christmas we discount his rent as a gift. When he showed up on at the house to pay the rent is insisted on paying the full amount , wouldn’t take no for an answer.
That’s just two examples there have been others as well, its nice to know your friends have your back when you need it.
I’ve been teased a bit about not being on facebook, most of the guys I worked with are there and the HiWired group is rather large or so I’m told.
I might be one of only two who don’t have of the crowd who doesn’t have a facebook account account. Then again maybe it isn’t a bad thing considering today’s news
Reports circulated today about a virulent piece of malware making its way around Facebook, a major hub of the social Web with 120 million users. Because of its walled-off internal e-mail system, Facebook has long been a tough target for spammers and other fraudsters, but the “Koobface” virus is a sign that the relative viral calm on the site — which just today announced an ambitious program to extend its services outside its own tight perimeter — may have been a luxury.
The virus’ most insidious property is that users receive the offending message from a friend: On Facebook, only people whom users have explicitly approved as friends can send them e-mails.
So I guess I’m immune but I’ve gotta figure that a group of ex tech support people will likely be able to dodge this stuff.
Then again I still haven’t purchased a cell phone yet either…
One of the pleasures of having a new blog is getting the initial comments meaning someone is bothering to read you.
One comment to this post got me actually laughing, I posted it to the chat room where a few of us former HiWired people hang out. I quote the question here:
I am not finding any other information about them going ‘belly up’. What is the source of your infirmation? (sic)
Considering I was one of the initial techs approached about the pilot program and was involved in it. I took the initial call. I was one of the initial techs hired and worked there the entire time the company was open, posted 1000+ posts on the company blog and was actually still on the phone with a customer when we closed and missed the initial message to shut down so you could say I took the last call too. I’d say I have some solid info.
However David’s question is a lot less funny when you check out google news. The first 5 days I checked every day for news of HiWired or Ctrl-Center or whatever closing and didn’t see a thing and frankly didn’t bother checking after that. But as I check today I STILL don’t see anything on the subject and the phone message as of two days ago suggests a service outage. As Limbaugh would say , zip, zero nada.
Maybe we aren’t a big enough company to matter with all the bad economic stuff going on, its pretty sad to go from the PC Mag editor’s choice to non-existence in the space of a year but you would think it would be mentioned SOMEWHERE.
I can say that the local Office Max had our product sold under their brand off the shelves by the 24th and the local Bj’s pulled it off by the 25th both are near the Unemployment office so I checked them out after I filed.
I still have no idea if the board plans on trying to salvage the name and the existing contracts, if they plan on going Indian, if they plan on selling the name to one of the contracts, if the banks owns the name or someone else. My inside info disappeared when the company did. I would think all of that was still possible, in fact I had wondered if they would simply re-organize and hire us back at a pay cut but I’ve heard nothing. Unfortunately for us but fortunately for the country we didn’t have high powered lobbyists to convince taxpayers to keep us afloat.
So I think it is pretty safe to say we are Kaput, but if anyone knows otherwise I’d be very interested.