Friday, July 25, 2008

Schools eye four-day week to cut fuel costs

http://www.reuters.com/article/lifestyleMolt/idUSN2439039120080724?feedType=RSS&feedName=lifestyleMolt&rpc=22&sp=true

Actually, this might have educational benefits as well.

Take Wednesday off, change the lesson plans around and give unusual homework for Tuesday (and Friday) night.  The chapter reading, various projects, watch an educational DVD, bone up on the times tables, etc.  Then the other nights could be reserved for lighter stuff.

On the other hand, I know a certain math teacher would simply have assigned 3000 derivations.

On the other, other hand, I can imagine certain teachers' unions demanding the day off be a Monday or Friday to preserve their "right" to three day weekends.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Voters to decide on naming sewage plant for Bush - CNN.com

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/17/presidential.putdown.ap/index.html

HA!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Satire

Regarding the New Yorker's Obama cover, they are crying that nobody "gets" their satire. Except that it's not satire. From the wikipedia definition:
In satire, human or individual vices, follies, abuses, or shortcomings are held up to censure by means of ridicule, derision, burlesque, irony, or other methods, ideally with the intent to bring about improvement.
There is NOTHING in that illustration that does ANYTHING to 'poke' the holders of that opinion about Obama. It just seems to legitimize their hate. It does nothing to ridicule them- to them, it is a depiction of what's "real". That's not satire- there is no depiction of the idiots.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Another customer complaint letter!

This time to Costco:

I have a couple of comments regarding a recent visit to your store in Orland Park, IL.

First, the store was clean and friendly. Thank you!

Second, I was surprised and disappointed in the packaging choices of many of your products. It struck me when I was looking at the pens/pencils/markers- except for the cheaper Paper-Mate pens, they are all packaged in huge plastic clamshell style containers. Seriously, 12 pens in a 10 inch by 15 inch plastic package? In some cases, it seemed like there was more packaging than product! What happened to a little box with a dozen pens in it? Same for a lot of the other products- I'm remembering a Panasonic phone system in a two foot by three foot floppy clamshell thing? Seems like a lot of plastic that the customer has to throw away, and a lot of air that you are paying to ship around.

(And, not for nothing, the "display" type of boxes these plastic clamshells are shipped in are useless for using to pack up our purchases for taking home- after checking out, the big dumpster of boxes was full of useless boxes.)

Third, and maybe this is just me, but I tend to prefer buying my bulk products in normal sizes. For example, I bought cases of normal sized cans of tunafish and tomato paste. Or the 36 packs of Pepsi cans. I suspect many customers would prefer that as well- I just can't use a gallon of mayonnaise. But I'd buy a four pack of those 16 ounce squeeze things in a heartbeat.

Fourth, in your mens clothing section, there was a table of blue jeans- I think they were cargo/carpenter pants- and they smelled. I couldn't identify the smell, but it was sort of a musty and bug spray kind of thing. Eew.

Fifth, I absolutely love the Kirkland brand white undershirts. You guys have somehow hit on the perfect cotton blend and shirt design! Thank you! It would be nice to see them in a V-neck variety also.

Thanks for letting me share my concerns, and I wait with interest to hear your comments!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Burger Purism?

I think I've become a burger purist.

Let me explain. For example, in the french fry world, a really good french fry does not need ketchup. In fact, if it's a really good french fry, ketchup wrecks it. And so the perfect french fry stands on its own- golden brown, a good crisp to soft ratio, a bit of salt.

I think I feel the same way about a hamburger. The true test of a burger is to get it as plain as you can handle, with only the toppings in its name. A bacon mushroom swiss burger should have just those things. Etc. If the burger is good, the delicious flavor will have nowhere to hide.

That, and onions seem to make me burp.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Putting The Country First By Senator John McCain

Link stolen from CO's blog.

"Who shall write the history of the American revolution?" Adams asked Jefferson in one of the 158 letters they exchanged after they'd rediscovered their bonds. "Nobody," responded Jefferson, suggesting that while writers could understand the facts, they might never grasp the sacrifices.
So they TOLD us that what people write will be wrong.  What are we to believe about the founding, then?  How are we to know if what we are acting in accordance to their hopes for their America of tomorrow?
I believe they would. Patriotism is deeper than its symbolic expressions, than sentiments about place and kinship that move us to hold our hands over our hearts during the national anthem.
Nice dig on Obama.  Classy.
It is putting the country first, before party or personal ambition, before anything.
Yes, that's patriotism.  Of course, the definition is nebulous, even circular, because The Country cannot tell us what its needs are.  And so pure patriotism would seem to be impossible.  So what "the needs of the country" are get defined by individuals, who so often do the wrong thing for the right reason.
It is the willing acceptance of Americans, both those whose roots here extend back over generations and those who arrived only yesterday, to try to make a nation in which all people share in the promise and responsibilities of freedom.
Who is the patriot?  The person who does the wrong thing in name of Country, or the person who does the right thing no matter what?
I've spent a lot of time listening to veterans, talking to them, and also serving with them when we were young and at war. After their tours end, these soldiers, sailors, aviators, and Marines almost always return to the hard times, times of pain, suffering, loss, violence, and fear. They remember where they risked everything, absolutely everything, for the country that sent them there. It gives their lives special meaning.
Wait, I thought they risked everything for good of the country?  Is really it a sacrifice if I do something that gives my life special meaning?  I thank all soldiers for their service.  But it is folly to believe that joining the Army will result in any change at all on the homefront, except to maintain its existence. 
Today, politics is derided for its self-interest, combativeness, duplicity, and triviality. But such failings are not unique to our age. Both Adams and Jefferson lamented them in their own time. But that's the great beauty of our form of government, which they helped to create; it accounts for the vices of human nature as much as it hopes for our virtues. This blessed country remains a place of limitless horizons, a country where ideals, where a love of liberty and self-reliance still check the excesses of both government and man.
I'll agree with that.  But in this recent political epoch, who is calling who names?  Which cohort calls any differing opinion of the "other side" unAmerican?  Who is going around saying that wanting change, wanting to make a great country even better, means that one hates America?  There's some leadership I'd like to see.
In return, the gift we can give back to our country is a patriotism that requires us to be good citizens in public office or in the community spaces where government is absent. We should, by all means, argue with each other, as did Adams and Jefferson, about the policies of government and the history we hope to make tomorrow. But it should be an argument among friends, who agree more than they disagree, each of us united in a cause larger than our individual interests, honestly debating the best means to serve that cause, and intent on finding some common ground upon which to overcome together the many challenges before us. To love one's country is to love one's countrymen. And if we are to replicate the spirit of our founding age, if we are to be genuine patriots, we must remember also that we are patriots because we love the countrymen we will never know, who will be born after we are gone.
Again, completely agree.  You first.