Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Disney in Malaysia?

My wife's native land is considering building Johor-Disneyland! (I can't wait to see the comments from the Mommy Librarian!)

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Return of the Grillmaster

For those of you who only know me through my blog, you need to know that I love to grill. I picked out the perfect grill for me two years ago, and it went into storage when I moved. When I got a 10th anniversary gift from IBM, I chose a charcoal smoker (and immediately rigged it with an electric burner). I have missed both of these guys terribly while they were in storage.

When we built the fence last month, I was able to put the grill on the backyard patio, and the clock in my head started ticking - "tick, tick, time to grill, tick, tick, time to grill..." Well, today was the day!

Grilling tools at the ready! (this includes the flipper Elizabeth gave me, by the way!)
primary burner on! [click]
secondary burner on! [click]
tertiary burner on! [click]
ignition in 3, 2, 1 [chunka, chunka]
[foof!] we have ignition!
(three seconds later)...Houston, we have flameout....
"This isn't fair!"

Out of propane. Shoulda known. At least the nearest place to swap the tank is just a mile away.
So, anyway, after one false start, I got the grill to make the jump to lightspeed. I hearby christen my grill the "Millennium Falcon".

The first meal from the "Falcon" was seasoned burgers and bratwursts with grilled corn on the cob and was eaten by myself, my wife, and my parents. The seasoning in the burgers was lots of my special rib rub and soy sauce. The brats were served with mayo, mustard and kraut on potato rolls. I had chili and slaw on hand for the burgers in case we wanted to make a "Carolina Classic", but they tasted too good to cover up.

I wish I had some pictures to share, but it all got eaten too fast!
The Grillmaster is back, baby!

Sunday, May 28, 2006

How I Spent My Sunday Afternoon

Today, I did the following:

1. Took Bernie to breakfast at her favorite place: Waffle House

2. Put brown-patch killer on the lawn

3. Put together the lawn mower shed

4. Cleaned out the last of the junk in the garage, and...
5. Moved the trash can to the backyard, and...
6. Got the truck in the garage!

Here's how Bernie spent her Sunday:

Midpoint of a nice, busy holiday weekend

This is a big weekend. Why? You ask...

1. It's our anniversary! One year of marital bliss! The best year of my life, for sure.
2. 4-day weekend. I love having memorial day weekend for an anniversary.
3. Nearly got the garage cleared. That truck is going in there today, if I have anything to say about it.
4. Carowinds. I got my honey on a roller coaster. I think that's the first time I've heard her scream.
5. Still got two more days to go!

Friday, May 26, 2006


Having the day off today, we got to see a matinee of X-Men: The Last Stand.

I disagree with nearly every review I've seen of this movie. There was nice continuation, characterization, dialogue, action, development, etc. What is driving the bad reviews is one simple thing: It disregards the canon of the comic book X-Men. The last two movies were decently respectful of the stories already told in the comics, but this one promised to tell the epic "Dark Phoenix Saga" on the movie screen, and it didn't do that. Too bad, so sad, nerds!

First of all, it couldn't tell the Phoenix story as written in the comics unless it delved into comic book fantasy crap that would never work in the movies involving X-Men in outer space and aliens.

Second of all, the first two movies built a story arc on prejudice and government regulation that had to be concluded in this movie.

I thought that this movie did a good job of concluding the story arc, while telling a Phoenix story that made sense in context, even if it was the back-up storyline in the movie. It also set up the next trilogy of X-Men movies with new, younger team members if they choose to make them.

Fanboys might sulk over some deaths to major characters that happen in this movie, but this happens in the comics all the time in order to move characters aside so that new ones can be featured, and I expect the younger members of the team to take center stage in the next movie.

Thursday, May 25, 2006


When I left IBM 2 1/2 years ago, it was primarily due to my disgust with our second-line manager. This scumbag was laid off by Lenovo last month, and I couldn't be happier about it except that I know he got lots of money in severance due to his 25+ years with IBM.

Here's a list of his transgressions:

  • He made an appearance once a quarter, just to show us that he still was our boss, but otherwise, we never saw him.
  • Played golf with other managers and went to manager meetings, and that's about all the work he ever did.
  • Didn't allow any training whatsoever, despite corporate policy that tells him all employees should get a minimum amount of training each year.
  • Wrote our personal business commitments for us (against policy), then ignored them at evaluation time (also against policy).
  • Allowed the company to move most of our department's work to another department, then assured us that our jobs were safe from layoffs. (Guess what happened? 50% of the department got laid off.)
  • Forced out my first-line manager, whom had allowed me to do the job I was best suited for and praised my excellent performance, reneged on the promise I was made of a promotion (never got a raise or promotion in 10 years with that company, despite good evaluations), then took away the job I was doing (change management) and made me do not just one, but three jobs I hated that had belonged to those who had been laid off. (doing metrics and bean-counting) and then added a fourth job later. All of these were jobs that produced statistics that were looked at, then promptly circular-filed and never acted upon.
  • After not allowing us training and reducing our responsibility so that we were all big targets for downsizing, he prevented us from taking other jobs in the company by refusing to give us release dates.
  • Never gave a single employee any recognition in 5 years.
Here's the second-worst one, which applied specifically to me...
  • During a layoff sweep through the department, I was called into his office and told that I had survived the downsizing, and would now be doing the job of the four people who had been laid off. Instead of offering encouragement, or some sort of motivation, he then proceeded to tell me that I was lucky because if ___ had not gotten married and left the company last week, then I would have been chosen to go. What a motivator! I could have killed him with a smile on my face at that very moment.
And here's the worst one...
  • My first-line manager and I were friends, having worked together for 8 years before he got promoted. I had let him know privately how unhappy I was with my job, and how I would love to get different responsibilities or move to a different department, etc. He was always sympathetic but let me know that the second-line was not allowing any of it to happen. So, one day, my first-line tells me that if I wanted to leave the company, he can offer me a severance package of several month's pay to leave the company voluntarily, just like a layoff. He gave me a month to think it over. I went looking for other jobs, found one with a different company, and told him that I accepted. The offer of the package, and my acceptance, was supposed to be confidential, HR stuff., incidentally. I signed a waiver of my right to sue before I accepted based on that confidentiality. On my last day, a bunch of friends took me to lunch, and my first-line announced that I was leaving because I had found a better opportunity. On my way out, another manager in my department (under my same second-line) pulled me into his office and told me that "he knew the real reason why I was leaving" and that he "thought I was being dishonest", etc, about my circumstances, but wanted me to know that he knew and I wasn't fooling him. I was too shocked and frankly, unconcerned about what this guy thought to disillusion him, so I just left, but I realized that the confidentiality of my situation was not honored by my second-line, who apparently decided to tell every one of his direct reports about it, and to embellish it to make me look bad.
Well, here's an article from the web today, describing 10 things not to do when you manage "geeks". This jerk was wrong on every one of them. Go figure.

Oh, and Skip Gilmer, if you happen to ever find this blog and read this - bite me.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Polls Are Open

Alllllllrighty then! The last performance show of the American Idol season is over, and here are my thoughts:

The show:
Darn it, Idol producers! The original songs absolutely suck! You should have opened the show with them, as they definitely left us flat at the end. I realize you want mucho royalties from these songs, but you'd do better to let someone with talent write them and split the take. And please lay off the cheesy inspirational crapola songs! Neither of these finalists do that kind of song well.

She picked two of her best songs of the season to encore. Good choices, I think. When she did "Black Horse and Cherry Tree" the first time earlier this season, it was better than the version on the charts. This performance was not quite as good, but close. I think it was an appropriate choice, since that song saved her on a night when she wasn't good at all. "Somewhere Over The Rainbow" was very very good. I didn't get to hear it last week, so I can't say whether she did it better this time or not, but nonetheless, great job. Especially since her monitor earphone failed.

I hate to say it, but Katharine got screwed tonight. The original single for her was just a pathetic song. It was too low and soft for her in the verses, and she couldn't hit the notes. It was so bad that Paula hated it. The composer should be taken out back and beaten, have his fingers broken, and then be kicked to the gutter and left for the dogs. It was that bad, and Idol should be ashamed of allowing the final vote to hinge on some unknown composer's bad song.

Now putting that aside, if Katharine were a better performer, she would have changed the key of the song and tweaked it in rehearsal to make it better. This is a skill she does not yet possess, however, and that's going to lose the prize for her.

He nearly made a bad mistake in picking "Levon" as his second song. It may be his favorite, but it's boring, and does not translate well to a "one verse and two choruses" format like you get on Idol. Luckily for him, he got the better of the two final numbers. He started off with the song he did back in the Stevie Wonder show, and it was a very good opener with good energy. The original single he got was far and away the better song when compared to Kat's. "Do I Make You Proud", was a cheesy inspirational song, just like Kat's, and I was afraid at first that it was going to be too low and slow for Taylor, just like Kat's. Taylor did what Kat couldn't, though, and made the song his own by coaxing the band to speed up and to back off of his vocals.

Let me reiterate my point here - Taylor can lead a band. He knows how to cue and coax and cajole a band (and an audience, too) to conform to his lead. This takes experience - something Kat doesn't have, and this makes Taylor the winner this season.

It's Taylor by a mile. I will be shocked if it isn't.

PS: At 9:30, Taylor leads on DialIdol.com with 72% busy signals to Kat's 67%.

The Six Million Dollar Horse

Da da DAA daaaaaa... (sorry)

I do not follow horse racing. But for some reason, I have been enthralled by what has happened to this horse, Barbaro. I severely broke my ankle a few years ago, so maybe I have sympathy for this animal that's driving my curiosity.

I've been doing some reading on the subject and here's what I've learned:

1. A broken leg usually means the horse gets euthanized.
2. Broken legs on horses usually do not heal due to very little blood flow to the legs. There is no muscle below the knee on horses - just tendon, bone, and cartilage, and therefore very little vascular tissue.
3. Horse physiology requires the animal be upright nearly all the time. They cannot digest their food if they lie down for long.
4. Horses are not capable of functioning with 3 legs. Therefore, amputation is not a viable treatment.

The owners of Barbaro, whether driven by the prospect of millions of dollars in stud fees, or by simple compassion, are pulling out the stops to try to let him heal and live. The veterinary facility that is treating him put 28 screws and a metal plate into his leg so that he can immediately stand on it. He was floated in a pool while he recovered from anesthesia so that he could flail his legs and not cause more damage. He's being watched and treated constantly to make sure his spirits are high and that he is not in pain and that he gets the best chance at healing.

And so far, he's doing great. If he lives, he gets great food, fresh air, and all the sex he can handle until he dies of old age. What incentive, eh?

Who's It Gonna Be?

Tonight's the night! Which one of these two singers will America pick to be the next "American Idol"?

Katharine McPhee: The Hollywood-raised diva with acting aspirations and a classically trained voice but inconsistent stage presence and grace under pressure.

Taylor Hicks: The soulful professional performer with the propensity to make us smile, but sometimes leaving a cheesy aftertaste.

Pre-performance, I have to give Taylor the edge, but tonight's performances will tell the tale. Will 3rd place finisher Elliott Yamin's fans move toward Taylor or Katharine? Stay tuned!

Monday, May 22, 2006

In Order To Save The Village, It Was Necessary To Destroy It

I heard that quote from the Vietnam War the other day, and I realized it applied to our house. Now that we've sold what there is to sell, the boxes must be stowed and we have to reorganize what we're going to live with.

I started pulling apart my office yesterday - the only room in the house that has unopened boxes in it. Bernie gave me the look when I started taking things out of the office and putting them in the kitchen, but I think I was able to explain what I was trying to do. Once I got things moved around, the office seemed much larger than before.

Well, now we went and bought two more of those plastic wall cabinets for the garage (with hopefully one more on the way), so more mess must be generated in the name of organization. I think one cabinet is reserved for kitchen appliances that are not used all the time. The rest will be for tools and stuff that's been on the garage floor. I ordered a storage "shed" (it's really a plastic box with doors) for the lawn mower today, too. When I'm done, I think the garage might be empty enough to epoxy the floor, then put both cars in it!

However, I think our time will be spent this week on cleaning. Bernie's been dropping hints, and I have noticed a few places where cleaning is called for, and, like my mom says, "If Jason thinks something's dirty, you'd better call the sanitation department." I have the typical male ability to not see dirt until it reaches critical mass. It's time for a scrubbing.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Results: The Garage Sale

We made about $200 from the sale, and got rid of a lot of things we didn't want to put back in the attic. Aside from the dude who lied to me about a "pocketknife" he was buying (it was a Swiss tool that I had put a $20 price tag on, not a pocketknife that I put a $3 price tag on), it was a nice day. We donated the leftover clothes to Goodwill and I will donate the leftover books to the library, leaving just some plastic cups and a wicker chair to put away.

Note to self for future garage sales: Don't try to sell old lamps or lampshades. No one is interested.

Friday, May 19, 2006

For Sale- Cheap!

The neighborhood is having a huge multi-family garage sale tomorrow from 7am to 2pm. We have spent most of our free time in the past 3 weeks getting stuff organized and tagged for sale. Essentially, anything that fits the following criteria is for sale:

1. It's mine, and
2. Bernie doesn't want it around.

Actually, I'm selling all my "skinny rack" clothes (some with the tags still on them!), plus all the kitchen gadgets that didn't make the cut, plus computer hardware that I don't want any more, plus about half of my paperbacks. All the plastic cups and mugs that a bachelor accumluates are going away, too. So is the lawn mower that is guaranteed to start on the first pull (guess why?). We also went through my junk boxes and dumped them into a basket with "Free!" posted on it.

I don't think there's a single item for more than 10 bucks in the batch, and we'll take less. Anything that doesn't sell is going to Goodwill.

Come one, come all! We will NOT be undersold! If you don't buy something, I'll club this baby seal!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Elliott goes home, Taylor and Kat move on

Poor Elliott. Any other season, I think he'd have won this thing. He goes home with a 100,000 vote deficit out of over 50 million votes cast.

I didn't get to see the performance show due to being on the road, but thanks to the expanded results show tonight, I got to see at least some of the work done last night. In my opinion, the voters got it right, even down to the closeness of the results.

The performances this week, from what I've seen, were less uptight than previous weeks. I wonder if the three have finally learned to relax and be comfortable on stage? Singing live is the hardest part of being a singer, and if you can master it, the world is your oyster. The improvement this week tells me that all three of these idols have great potential as professionals.

Taylor: Three home runs on his songs. Joe Cocker meets Michael McDonald. Tonight's CD song, "Takin' It To The Streets" is one that I've been waiting for him to sing all season. My opinion of Taylor's gamesmanship went up this week. He knows what he sings best and has been saving it for the finals. It's his to lose, now that Elliott is gone. Taylor made it seem effortless this week, and that's the first time I've been able to say that all season.

Kat: Got a boost from the songs that were chosen for her. The one she chose for herself was the weakest, so she hasn't learned a lot from the experience. I loved her rendition of "Think" tonight.

Elliott: He goes home having maxed out his "Idol-tude". He did the most on this show even though his potential wasn't as high as the others from the very beginning. He won over a lot of people with his courage and hard work that might never have liked him otherwise. Kudos to him for doing that. I loved his song tonight as well, and his swan song from last night at the end of the show was great as well. Put him in a tour with Clay Aiken and they'd sell out stadiums anywhere in the world. You listening, Clay?

Finals - Taylor vs Kat:
I have to go with Taylor here. He wins the crowd over much better than Kat does, picks better songs, and makes better decisions. Notice how he sang his song with his arms around Kat and Elliott tonight? That scores points with the viewers. No sweat for Kat, though. Second place generally gets a better deal from the record producers since the "prize" for winning Idol is non-negotiable.

Can't wait for next week!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Interlude Between Acts

Back home today between business trips. Just got back from a hellish weekend in Anaheim, and will be off tonight for a (hopefully) easy trip to the Atlanta area.

I had to be the software liason for a store installation this weekend. This means I do no dirty work, and just answer questions from the installers while they do their thing. The install started at 10pm and should have been done by 4 am.

It didn't happen that way. The installers were total idiots, didn't know the first thing they were doing, had to consult the step-by-step instructions every step of the way, etc. Then we found out they had skipped a meeting on Saturday where updated instructions were given, so I had to drive at midnight to headquarters for the company to get them. During my drive, these guys had done absolutely nothing. 3 hours behind, I pitched in and did more work than both of them. I hung monitors, ran cable, disconnected old hardware, etc. The installation was only done when I had to leave at 10am to catch my flight home. The store management was furious, but they told me that they knew the reason why (the idiot installers) when I left. The stuff that still wasn't done was mounting hardware, etc., when I had to leave. I had been awake for 26 hours straight and was looking forward to sleeping in first class on the way home.

Delta decided to downsize our aircraft, so when I got to the airport, I got the nasty surprise that my first class upgrade had been downgraded. Despite the best that the gate attendant could do for me (and she really tried), I ended up in coach. I did have an empty seat next to me, though. I wonder if that was her doing? If so, she deserves a medal. I got a few catnaps on the plane, and got home at 12:30am today. Tonight, I rent a car and drive to Atlanta where I get to start work at 7am tomorrow and babysit the store on Thursday, then drive back home.

At least I got to sleep at home and hug my wife. I slept until 10:30 without waking up.

Now for something happy: My Zen arrived! Being anti-Apple, I didn't ever want an iPod. So I ordered a Create Labs Zen M Video (30GB), which is vastly superior to the video iPod and costs less. I put 200 MP3s on it and took up around 1GB. I plan to start downloading torrents of TV shows that I've never seen very soon. This thing will come in handy on these long flights where the only movie is "Big Momma's House 2".

My sweet, darling wife got me the Chicago 30 CD for our anniversary and it was the first thing I ripped to the Zen. Thanks, darling! I love you!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

More Chris Daughtry News

Apparently, Chris isn't going to leave American Idol empty-handed. Check out this rumor.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Oh my....Chris is gone! I totally didn't see it coming.

I'm in shock, but it adds up when you look at the evidence.

1. Chris took the week off. I thought he could afford to do it, but apparently not.
2. DialIdol.com predicted it...they judge the voting based on percentage of busy signals when dialling.
3. Elliott's surge in votes came at Chris's expense, not Kat's, as I expected.

I've learned a lesson. I truly think that the Idol voting is a closed system now. There is a finite amount of votes each week and when one contender gets more votes due to a great performance, another contender loses votes. I will also pay attention to DialIdol from now on.

I think Chris and Simon are more shocked than anyone at the results.

I have to revise my predictions now, and I think that you have to put Taylor and Elliott as the favorites going into next week. Whodathunkit?

This is why American Idol leads the ratings, folks. Great show.

PS: Incidentally, regarding my song choices for the contenders in my last post? Did you check out the group-sing medley on tonight's show? It's freaking eerie!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Katharine the not-so-great

I can't believe it. Katharine has stumbled and will be gone tomorrow night.


Taylor: Did exactly what you expected. After a couple of bad weeks, he got back in stride last week, and took tonight's theme seriously. "Jailhouse Rock" was great, despite what Simon had to say. It's young Elvis, dude! Elvis was constantly over the top in his early days, and if you don't do it that way, it will fall flat. Taylor's original spin on "In the Ghetto" was top-notch. He gets top marks for the night.

Chris: Man, this guy read my mind tonight. If I were on Idol, and it was Elvis week, I would have picked "Suspicious Minds" and "A Little Less Conversation". Chris did them both well - solid base hits, not home runs, but safe. Chris lacks the broadness of voice in the low range that made Elvis the King, but, then again, no one does. Nice job, good for a tie for second place tonight.

Elliott: Geez...this guy pulled out the guttiest performance of the season. He's definitely peaking at the right time. 5 straight weeks that he's had his "best performance". The dark horse will make the semi-finals, since Katharine stunk up the joint tonight. His rendition of "Trouble" was perfection. Classic case of the underdog coming out on top. Tie with Chris.

Katharine: Is it just me, or did Katharine sound like Kellie tonight (Kellie having a bad day, even)? Definitely a little bit of country crept into her vocals today, and she picked the wrong songs as well. This may have doomed her, unless she has a voter base that can save her. "Hound Dog" is a non-impressive song, no matter who sings it, and Kat didn't do a great job with it on top of that. "She had a shot to save herself with "Falling in Love", but the arrangement that started out great, sounding like a Whitney Houston anthem in her prime, went straight into outer space on the first bridge and ended up sounding like a Queen rendition of the song with blazing tremolo lead guitar that totally distracted me from her vocals. She tried to wail out the home verse and chorus to get on top of the music, but it didn't work at all. A terrible performance, and it will now be an all-male semifinal. It was hers to lose, and she lost it tonight.

Revised predictions:
Taylor, Chris, and Elliott move on. Chris makes the final, and Taylor and Elliott face off next week to decide the challenger. No idea of the theme at this time, so I can't handicap the contest, but Elliott is on a roll.

Further prediction:
You will hear from all four of these quarterfinalists on the charts very soon.

Unsolicited advice in hindsight:
Taylor: Maaaaybe should have picked "Burning Love" as the first song instead of "Jailhouse Rock". He might have picked up some new voters for wailing on the "hunk-a-hunk-a burning love" chorus.

Chris: No advice. He did what I would have done. I'd love to hear him do "Are You Lonesome Tonight", though.

Elliott: I can't improve on his performance, but I probably would have picked two more well-known Elvis songs, like "Don't Be Cruel" and "Kentucky Rain" for him.

Kat: It would be hard to do worse than what she picked. I'd have gone with "Devil in Disguise" for the first song, and followed up with something slow with a big ending, like "The Wonder of You" or "My Way". I'd have paid good money for someone to do "My Way".

Ode to Elliott

I read this article today, which says some interesting things regarding Elliott. Despite there being some racially-motivated whining between the lines, the author has a point. Elliott may indeed be destined for a successful R&B career after Idol is over, and I agree that the judges are doing a little lobbying for their preferred contestants.

However, America still does the voting, and I hope that fans of the show are smart enough to believe their own ears instead of listening to what the judges have to say in interviews.

Remember, this show is geared toward the pop music scene. No matter if Barry Manilow and Stevie Wonder appear every year - the show is looking for a pop star. They want someone who will be on the mainstream radio stations and MTV. Who fits that mold most this season? I don't think it is Elliott.

Caveat: Clay Aiken didn't fit that mold either, and he's had the second-most successful career of any Idol contestant. Elliott may do the same after it's all over. Remember, the winner has to accept the contract offered. The runners-up are free agents and can sign with anyone.

Short addendum: Kellie Pickler is bound for Nashville to meet with music producers this week. Good luck, Kellie!

Friday, May 05, 2006

AI followup: Simon or me?

On Good Morning America, Simon predicted a final of Chris vs Taylor. I'm predicting Chris vs Katharine.

I've been right in my predictions for all 3 weeks that I've been making them, so who do you think has it right, Simon or me?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's American Idol time again!

I totally didn't get the theme tonight - Tribute to Billboard. What does that mean? Apparently, you can pick anything Billboard ever ranked.

Anyhoo....on to the performances and my brilliant analysis:

Taylor: Did two of my personal favorite songs. "Play That Funky Music" was ok, but he overdid the dancing again. I personally think if he'd dressed in a pimp outfit and done this one standing up, he'd have had a better grade. "Something in the way she moves" was just fantastic. I totally could see Joe Cocker doing this one the same way. Taylor survives to see Elvis next week.

Elliott: This dude has completely turned his fortunes around in the last 3 weeks. I think he read my blog and took my advice to ditch the vanilla stuff and embellish his vocals. His two songs tonight were "On Broadway" and a tearjerker from Micheal Buble who's title I didn't catch and he did them both well. Elliott survives.

Chris: Rocked out. "Renegade", Foreigner's version of "Bohemian Rhapsody", in my opinion, was done well, but not better than the original. Possible violation of rule 6, but the song is so old that I don't think the world cares. His second song was also done well, but wasn't memorable. Chris has such a lead on the rest that I think he could sing "Mary had a little lamb" and still move on next week.

Katharine: "Against All Odds" was off-pitch a lot, but the recap made it sound better than I remembered. The choruses were good. I hated the arrangement. Her second song, which title I didn't catch, is a current hit and was great, great, great. Katharine keeps rolling.

Paris: "Kiss"...interesting, she chose to do it in the Tom Jones style, which was a good move. It didn't pop, though. Good, but not memorable. The second song, she violated rule 6, but the judges seemed to let her get away with it. In my opinion, they are being kind since they know she's going home this week. I think Paris tried out for AI three years too soon. If she had more sex appeal (and at 16, she doesn't), she'd have a better chance. I think Paris gets sent packing this week.

Revised predictions: Chris leads, Katharine is second, and Elliott has passed Taylor for #3.

Next week: Supposedly, this will be an Elvis theme. If Paris goes home this week, this will be a dogfight between Taylor and Elliott to determine who stays. Taylor has the advantage due to the theme.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Cultural Faux Pas

Fark.com linked the following article from Airman magazine.

Boiling it down, it listed 10 things that Americans do when travelling that can be considered offensive to citizens of other countries:

1. Public displays of affection
2. The OK hand gesture
3. Single gift giving
4. Improper eye contact
5. Using the left hand for eating, handshaking, etc.
6. The thumbs-up gesture
7. Sticking chopsticks in the bowl
8. Not respecting the elderly
9. Showing the soles of the shoe\Putting feet up
10. Blowing nose in public

From the discussion thread on Fark, a poster named Savonola had a particularly biting retort that I found funny (and I've edited it - my apologies to Savonola if he reads this and doesn't like my edits):

What Americans consider to be rude behavior:
1. Flying airplanes into our buildings
2. Sneaking across our border and collecting welfare
3. Starting wars with your neighbors, then asking us to bail your ass out
4. Aiming nukes at us - correction - even pretending to aim nukes at us
5. Dumping your products on our markets then closing your markets to our products
6. Impressing our sailors on the high seas then burning our capital
7. Committing genocide
8. Growing opium and coca then blaming us when your country is undermined by armed gangs
9. Sending your people to our shores on rickety boats or across the desert and then blaming us when they die
10. Electing Hugo Chavez

Here's a few I'd like to add:
11. Joining the United Nations (for which 25% of the budget comes from the USA alone), then blaming the Americans for everything that's wrong with your country
12. Getting a degree on scholarship from an American university, then going home and becoming a terrorist or political activist holding a "Death to America" sign on TV
13. Eating McDonalds food and swilling Starbucks coffee while cursing America's "oppressive culture"
14. Criticizing human rights in the USA while your country allows dismemberments and maiming of anyone any unelected street preacher doesn't like, and considers women to be "property"
15. Criticizing US politics while your country is led by a guy who ousted your last government through a military takeover.
16. Criticizing the US for not signing the Kyoto Accord, when your country hasn't come close to living up to the emissions cuts you agreed to when you signed it.

Cna yuo raed tihs?

Got this off a message board today.

fi yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid, too.
Cna yuo raed tihs?
i cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I wbs rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Azanmig huh?

I wonder if it gets harder if you make the middle letters random?

Niw ljts tky it wkjh tnjcddy rjnjdm lnddews bkmaan tne fmcjst atd lmct lkwwrns.

Hmm...not as easy.

Transcontinental Divide

Here I am in California again. The boss called me while I was in Nebraska last week and asked me to come out to Anaheim on Sunday night and stay until Tues morning. I got most of a weekend at home, which was spent putting up our new fence in the side yard with my Dad and John, a handyman. So, I at least got a full dose of sunburn and sore muscles before I had to get on a plane.

Bernie ain't happy one bit with all the travel, and, to tell the truth, I don't blame her. I'm going to try to stay home for at least a couple of weeks this time. My wife needs me, and I need her.

On the bright side, the fence is all done and looks great.

Rant #1: Delta airlines, for the flight home, you had better make damn sure that the air conditioning works better than it did on your plane last night. Putting people in a tiny seat with no legroom for 4 1/2 hours in 80 degree heat is worse than what the government is doing to prisoners at Gitmo. And showing Hoodwinked as your movie at the same time violates the Geneva accords. You will be hearing from my lawyer.

Rant #2: My weight is getting out of control. The travel, plus the irresistible desire to relax and enjoy life whenever I get home is wearing on me. Tapering off and being sensible isn't working, so I'm tempted to do something drastic, like a liquid diet. Slim-fast shakes+ vitamins + juices may be worth a shot for a couple of weeks.

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