Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Has it really been 40 years?

There are some songs simply timeless, some artists simply ageless. And I can't believe that, despite my musical upbringing almost exclusively of classical music, opera and jazz, I hadn't heard it until the 2010 Super Bowl.

I just can't find any truly memorable music released in the last couple of decades, not since about the time Freddie Mercury died. And as I've delved into 60s and 70s rock, I've discovered how much of today's pop and contemporary "music" has been borrowed from foundations laid decades ago.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sam Brownback did a nice job in proving he's a miserable piece of shit

This is a good lesson for young Emma Sullivan: don't give in to this modern Nazi.

Consider, people, that Brownback has staff specifically looking for what's said about him online. It doesn't matter that Sullivan didn't even say what she joked she did. Brownback is such a paranoid megalomaniac that he's forcing her to apologize. This is beyond Orwellian thought crime. On top of it is a high school principal who clearly isn't thinking for himself and probably doesn't need his arm twisted to force an apology. He's probably all too happy to make this a lesson on how to be a good citizen: turn over your property at the state's demand, and shut the hell up lest you anger your overlords.

If Brownback wanted to do the world a favor, this fucking asswipe would go to some warzone he supported sending Americans to, and have his own goddamn guts blown up. I originally wrote "brains," but he clearly has none.

There, will that paragraph get Brownback and his staff to come after me? Or do they only have the guts to go after a teenage girl? There is a judgement after this life, and if it has any justice at all, every last one of those cowards will roast in pain for the rest of eternity.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Evidently Yahoo News editors don't think about article placement

If they did, they wouldn't have done this:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

If workers don't like working Black Friday hours, they have the freedom to quit

There's clearly a demand for big price cuts at crazy hours just hours after Thanksgiving dinner, and stores need workers to fill that demand. There's no complaining: you do what the job asks, or you quit and work somewhere else. Let's be plain: these "petitioners" claim that Black Friday "encroaches" on the holiday, but in fact they're looking for laws that encroach on people's freedom -- the freedom to have a business that provides goods and services when people want, with employees who are willing to work as needed. These "laws" benefit workers who want employment on their own terms (violating the companies' property rights), while hurting other workers who are willing to work the crazy hours.

When I was young and still living at home, I quit a job that initially said nothing about weekends. When Memorial Day weekend's Saturday and Sunday were sprung on us with two days' notice, my supervisor reminded me about a previous weekend where I refused to show up (also sprung on us at the last minute). He didn't write me up, but this time, he said, "There will be repercussions." It's a poor leader who employs threats rather than inspiration. So I thought about it -- thought about the bait-and-switch that we first hires would quickly be promoted to supervisors, thought about another supervisor stealing my HTML work and claiming it as his own. The pay just wasn't worth it, so I handed over my badge, told him they're asking too much, and walked out the front door. My ultimate satisfaction was that they lost the outsourcing account not long afterward. Most staff were dysfunctional, back-stabbing and incompetent, and management wasn't interested in creating discipline.

But that was a confluence of many bad circumstances. If the pay and job are worth it to the worker, a good one will do what's needed. This is also an employer's market, and good jobs are not easy to come by. My employer's annual reporting requirements mean a lot of January days where I work a full day, come home to work 3 or 4 more hours, then get up at a quarter to 6 the next morning to repeat the process. Last winter, being snowed in one day allowed me to work from 6:30 to 11. It goes with the territory. Last month, we rolled out a new database, the product a year's labor of love and hate. There were times even at the beginning where I'd come home, have dinner quickly with my wife, then set to work for the rest of the night. The final 10 days meant a week of working past 10 every night, all throughout that weekend, and talking with our Hong Kong colleagues until midnight Sunday to see their initial reaction. I was perfectly free to give notice anytime I wanted to quit.

There's a point where you're no longer a kid and need the job more than quitting. (There's no "realization" because you already know it so well that you don't need any epiphany.) You might wonder about year-end bonuses, but you work anyway instead of whining about being away from your family. One of my friends works amazingly long hours and responds on his BlackBerry from 5 to 11. That's part of being a corporate lawyer. He once told me that his youngest daughter asked why he doesn't come home sooner, and he explained that it's so they can have their house and visit places on vacation.

Retail workers should similarly have certain expectations about what's required, based on their job functions and seniority. If you're low on the totem pole, expect to be required to work. When starting out as a computer phone jockey, I worked my share of holidays: Thanksgiving swing shift when I wasn't home at all for dinner, Christmas morning starting at 8, and one time on New Year's Eve (a customer on the phone reminded me when it passed midnight). It was part of the job.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Tonight, we have had the privilege of witnessing the greatest exhibition of guts and stamina in the history of the ring."

I was going to give credit to Marquez, who tactically was superb and certainly close. He might have won had his corner not lulled him into fighting the 11th and 12th so carefully, telling him he was winning. However, he showed himself to be the most delusional boxer on the planet, even more than Joel Casamayor, and worse, a poor sportsman. He was lucky one judge even called it a draw, but I expect he'll get new T-shirts, "I beat Manny Pacquiao three times."

Marquez would do well to take advice from Miguel Cotto, who said in a pre-recorded post-fight presentation, "I took my defeat like a man." That guy has every reason in the world to be bitter, yet he's doing what a real man would do: fight again, with stronger safeguards to ensure the cheating bastard can't do a repeat performance. In all truth, I don't know why anyone bothers to give Margarito so much as the time of day.

But the title of this post doesn't refer to the main event. I'm talking about Miguel Alvarado, who tonight personified courage by giving everything he had in the 10th (final round) to win by TKO. In the 30 years I've watched boxing, I've never seen such a comeback.

And as an example to Marquez, Breidis Prescott took his loss to Alvarado like a man. No excuses, no delusions.