Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thankful

Thankful for President Elect Obama, stressful yet paid work, freezing rain and hot chocolate, funny and talented friends, fab family members, and not-so-fab family members, and the depression, which is the only reason this country's greed and ethnocentrism will ever change, even just a bit, and pumpkin pie Blizzards. Also, good health and the very expensive health care premium that has only gone up 75% in the last year.

OK, that I am not grateful for. But, at least I can still pay it without hardship.

And grateful that my little Bella and Deighv are living long, healthy lives and still kicking some ass in the neighborhood. And I'm thankful for a handful of my neighbors, and that the others are leaving me alone for now.

Songza

This site is great - type in the song you're looking for, and it serves up multiple versions, including rare recordings, which you can listen to immediately - it starts streaming as soon as you hit Play.

How do they do it? I have no idea.

You can build playlists too.

If you can't think of anything to search for, you can peruse the Top list, which, amazingly enough, featured Snow
Patrol and Kings of Leon songs. So the Brits must use it a lot. The Featured list is sponsored by Songza, and has both new and slightly esoteric choices as well as standbys.

Rate the songs, send them to friends, or create a playlist just by clicking on a song. Super simple site to use, dynamic functionality.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Colbert Defines Bailout

In honor of President-Elect Obama's anticipated announcements of Timothy Geithner for treasury secretary and Bill Richardson for commerce secretary, here are some guidelines to help you better understand the bailout, courtesy of Dr. Stephen Colbert.

Bailout (financial plan)
1. (verb) a prudent and necessary act which governments take to save innocent corporations that somehow fell victim to over regulation.
2. (noun) a special type of stock that tax payers (or their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, etc.) can purchase to get the feel of what it's like to be a stock broker.

FAQ

What Causes A Bailout?
Minorities

Who Calls For A Bailout?
Hard working salt of the earth capitalists whose stock brokers have told them they're about to lose everything.

How do Bailouts Work?
Real Americans don't ask that.

How Do You Know When The Bailout Is Finished?
When the Republican party says so.

How Much Do Bailouts Cost?
Nothing. You get a tax cut, and the $700,000,000,000 is borrowed from China.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Prayer Of Laissez-faire Capitalists!

by Dr. Stephen T. Colbert

Hear me O children of capitalism!
Thou shalt not abandon the One True God for the false idols of Socialism!
That way lies Eternal Damnation
We must believe even harder!
Our god demands sacrifice!
I do not mean regulation, but human flesh!
Lo, for the true believers hath already thrown Lehman Brothers, AIG, WaMu, Wachovia into the mouth of the beast
it hath devoured Wall Street firm by firm!
Yet it still hungers!
Let it also now feed upon Main Street!
True believers would rather lose their lives to the market than admit government should have any role.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Weirdest moments in the week

I'm not ashamed to say I get most of my news from Jon Stewart and Rachel Maddow. It's the Mary Poppins method of news ingestion: just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. But this week, I needed to follow up on the Cheney-Gonzales indictment Stewart announced b/c I just needed more details. I wasn't sure if he was joking about Cheney having business interests related to Guantanamo.

So I hop over to CNN.com, where not only is there no news on the front page, I do a search and there is no information anywhere. I had to do a general web search - it is there today, as I type, but it was not on the 20th. Apparently this was not news worthy, but it is good to find out that a zoo in Ohio just introduced 3 baby cheetahs. Sometimes, cheetahs do prosper. But I digress.

As many other news sources tell me, not only does the indictment allege that Cheney/Gonzales neglected prisoners and are responsible for assaults (read: torture), it also accuses Cheney as having a conflict of interest because of his influence over the county's federal immigrant detention center and his substantial holdings in the Vanguard Group, which invests in private prison companies.

Hello! This may be common news, but I did not know it. 58 days till CHANGE.

And in other, just general ick and weird happenings, I had to attend a meeting at the company for which I'm writing 5 courses, and it was cut short by the person who scheduled it so he could go to happy hour. That is not the ick part, I am totally down with that, and followed suit to my own. It seems he and his co-workers were celebrating the offers and bonuses they got from the company they are merging with. Still not the ick part. While they leaving to go to happy hour, and this was early in the afternoon, even for a Friday, the company laid off many, many, many people, who had just found out the same day, and were packing up and leaving the offices two floors down. The celebrants, WHO GOT BONUSES, did you get that.. were passing the redundants out the front door. STILL not the ickiest part though. One of the top dudes got a 20 mil golden parachute deal.

Will wait and see if they ask for bailout money. Still struggling with being an enabler to the ick.

What else can an instructional designer/writer do for a living? How can one completely leave corporate America without starving? Need suggestions.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Don DeLillo on the Election

Blogging for the Onion

All The Electric Premonition That Rides The Sky Being A Drama Of Human Devising

In the morning, Electorate, he passes people trooping away from home with their newspapers, bearers of a weight that goes beyond pounds and ounces. They headed up an avenue still blistered with the flotsam of campaign advisers, of newspapermen. Men and women, almost in single file, leaning into wind, faces steeled against complaint, obligated to carry this load. They are standard-bearers, foot-soldiers, walk-on spear-carriers with tiny but necessary roles, of an idea first given a name by ancient Greeks. No one can say for sure yet if it really works.

Countless pairs of little white wires, framing people's faces in the flat fluorescent light, denoting: iPods.

Marketing men in sharp, crisp ties gaze impotently from their offices at spectacular Midtown Views. There is nothing at this point left for them to do. The Day has come. This is the Day itself.

Feet set, purposeful and resolute, on the lime-green tiles. In the toneless acoustics of the school gymnasiums and school cafeterias and dual-use school gymnasium/cafeterias the low steady roar of raw electoral mass forms a background of white noise. Mathematics steadily accumulate around them.

The emotional tone. Let it express itself.

Technology from what appears to be pre-WWII (the Second Great War)-level manufacturing stands at the ready, waiting for the numbers. In poorer parts, plastic card racks with push pins attached to countertops with the same little chains affixed to pens at banks. In still other neighborhoods, eerily blinking computerized interfaces no one is sure can be trusted.

No one is sure they can be trusted.

From the crowd, more snatches of unattributed dialogue, nonsensical yet queerly resonant:

"Days like this. Pull a lever, and a potential, a mathematical possibility, shoots up. Sensitivities. Attunements. Things are ready to happen that normally never do."

"My name's not important. What's important is the news organization I'm polling for. I'm here to poll the area and make sure the area is polled as you conduct your undisclosed business. I am not here to interfere or influence or affect you or the person you may or may not be supporting in any way. You are but one mere node in a vast aggregate of polling data which is at this time our primary concern. We have procedures we've developed over long periods of time."

"Paper. Legal size. White with blue lines."

"What do you mean a Blockbuster Video membership card does not constitute a legal I.D.? This is America! What's wrong with you people?"

"Do you have a working telephone?"

He stands in the doorway to the junior high school gymnasium and stares blinking into the loud murmuring bustle of unedited, unmediated humanity massed before him. Waiting with grim expressions in interminable lines. Glancing back and forth at petty annoyances as the hours draw out. Swarming into lines, paperwork in hand, forms filled, addresses verified.

Far from here, massive telecommunications infrastructures are employed to frantic ends. Media professionals dart from room to room, dash onto camera and off again as slips of paper are handed this way and that by grim-faced white-knuckled interns. Encrypted data fills the rooms around them with crucial up-to-the-minute updates.

It is flat, on flatscreens, two-dimensional.

But the real story is not in these waves of electromagnetic signals being beamed via satellite and fiber-optic cable onto cathode rays and plasma the nation over. The real story today is here, in this ugly room.

The New Yorkers, the Wisconsinites, the Chicagoans, waiting in line. Some have come out of a sense of patriotic duty, some in hopes of a quick fix, some out of vague, barely comprehensible last-minute anxieties about redistribution of hardworking plumbers' wealth.

A primary motivator these last eight years, the pundits have explained—on cable, and on basic cable, and on radio, and even, still in this day and age, newsprint—not fear, not terror, but a new thing: fear of terror. Yet today the faces of the grandmothers and the hippies and the Joe Six Packs and the pained, exasperated office workers in painful, pastel shoes do not seem, to his searching eyes, to be afraid.

Miles from here, in the White House, a nervous cluster of Ivy League graduates attend to the needs of one man imparting terror to the dreams of the Republic. He is thinking about his ranch. His staff prepares to pack his things.

Saturday, November 01, 2008