False advertising

I was driving on the interstate, and the license plate of the car in front of me said WIFIGUY. So of course I whipped out my phone and turned the wireless on. I was rather disappointed when no signal was found. If you’re going to get that license plate, you really ought to be running a mobile hotspot.

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A day to remember.

OK, I realize today is September 13th, not September 11th, but this blog post would have fallen on mostly deaf ears two days ago. Two days ago, we were inundated with images of horrible deeds and somber survivors, friends, and family. But to me, 9/11 is not remembered as the day terrorists flew aircraft into buildings and killed thousands. To me, 9/11 is remembered as the day terrorists succeeded in taking away some of our freedom. A victory for them which, in ten years, we have been unable or even unwilling to overcome.

As early as Friday I was hearing about a “credible threat”. One which the authorities seemed to be well in control of, so why (I wondered) did the news feel the need to terrorize us all with news of its possible-though-now-extremely-unlikely existence? Fear sells.

On Sunday morning, I heard of 3 people being detained on a flight to Detroit for suspicious behavior. That’s all. Nothing more. No update ever reached my ears or eyes until today. The 3 people were, of course, all brown-skinned, and were seated together on the airplane even though none of them knew each other. The plane landed without incident (yes! nothing happened!) and the 3 were promptly arrested. I’m sorry, I mean “detained”. In handcuffs. By members of a SWAT team. Sounds an awful lot like “arrested” to me, but I guess if nothing has happened, you can’t arrest people, you can only detain them. They also detained (sans handcuffs) every other passenger aboard the plane and took them all to the police station for interviews.

All of this over what? Nothing happened. Somebody reported “suspicious activity” and it was 9/11, and that’s all it takes to inconvenience the hell out of a plane full of people, not to mention the cost that must have been incurred to do so, and the untold number of people further inconvenienced by flight delays on down the line.

It’s time to stop remembering. It’s time to reclaim our freedom and tell Al Queda that no, they cannot do this to us any more. Reclaim the freedom. Discard the fear.


Are you ready for some football?

The NFL season kicks off tonight, and the Lions season kicks off on Sunday. I’m uncharacteristically enthusiastic about football this year, because the Lions actually looked pretty good last year, and they did so with their first (and second) string quarterback(s) missing a lot of games. I went out on a limb at work today, looked at the schedule, and predicted an 11-5 season for Detroit. So… you heard it here first. The league’s only 0-16 team ever is playoff-bound. Here’s hoping the Superbowl is a rematch of Game 3 of the preseason. 🙂

Back to life.

Hey, look at me. I’m not playing EVE Online (it’s awesome… just ask and I’ll get you a 21-day free trial) for a change. I just set up a project I’ve been thinking about for over a year now on Github, and I’m blogging again. It’s amazing what you can do with your time when you break the cycle of addiction :-p

OK, so it’s not really all that impressive, but it’s a first step, right? In the days to come I’ll be blogging more, learning Python and wxWidgets, and maybe even spending some time on Ubuntu again. Win7 is actually very nice, and it plays modern video games (EVE Online!)… what can I say?

Hmm.

Looks like I need to do something here. I’ve totally ignored my poor blog for 8 months now. Time to change that.

Price Check on Aisle 1

Happy New Year, everybody. Yeah, I’m a bit late, and yeah, I totally blew last year’s resolution to blog more often. It’s not for a lack of things to write about, it’s purely for lack of organizational skill.

 

So anyhow… Michigan’s got a new governor. I’ll reserve judgment for later, but here’s an interesting tidbit: He’s trying to remove an outdated law that costs businesses money, and the unions are fighting against it.

 

The article’s headline would have you believe he’s going to do away with price tags, but he’s doing no such thing. He’s doing away with a law that requires items to be individually priced. There’s a difference there. If price tags go away, it’s not his doing. Yell at the manager of the store you shop at.

 

The one decent argument against this is that it puts more of an onus on the customer to make sure he isn’t getting ripped off at the register, but as the story points out, price tags didn’t actually stop the rip-offs.

longtime Attorney General Frank Kelley, who made an annual rite of running undercover operations and busting stores where the price charged was higher than the price marked

The union argument is crap. I don’t believe anybody gets paid solely to put price tags on items, and even if they do,  why should there be a law that exists just to guarantee their job? Go get another job. Or, again, tell management why they should continue the practice of pricing items even though it isn’t required by law. We seem to have this mindset that everything must be either forced or forbidden by law. Knock it off.

Revising old sayings

There are a lot of sayings we toss around in American English (and probably every other language as well), with little or no thought as to what those sayings actually mean, or how they came about. Today I was talking to a friend of mine who has been trying to breed a specific coloration of Basenji for 17 years now, and has finally been rewarded this week with (it looks like) 3 of them.

I was about to say “good things come to those who wait”, but at the last moment I decided that saying is absolute rubbish. Instead I said “good things come to those with patience”.

There’s a subtle difference there. The saying we all know so well implies that waiting is all you have to do. Just sit there. It’ll come to you. Just like a winning lotto ticket, right? Wrong. You have to actually *do* something, and also be patient while things don’t go according to plan. It’s supposed to be a message of persistence and not quitting, not a message of hoping for fate to dump something in your lap.

So let’s get to changing the language, people. Take those old sayings and rewrite ’em. Be persistent about it, and maybe it’ll catch on. 🙂

Don’t teach kids to think.

There seems to be a big fuss now over a teacher in Australia who wanted her kids to “plan a terror attack that would kill as many innocent people as possible”.

Now I know that such an assignment seems shocking, but if you think about it for a second, what harm is actually being done here? Children are being asked to think, analyze, use their imagination. You can’t improve security if you’re unable to imagine ways in which current security measures can be exploited. I think it’s a really good exercise.

The teacher canceled the assignment after a 15-year-old student objected to it.

Seriously? Since when can a single student object to an assignment and get it cancelled? I wish I’d had that power when I was in school.

“This is one mistake by a hardworking, keen young teacher who is highly regarded by staff, students and community,” Terry Martino, principal of the West Australian school, told the news agency.

Can somebody explain to me what the mistake was? I’m really curious to know, form a rational standpoint, what mistake was made. I think there’s a reason this teacher is “highly regarded”, and the principal just stomped on it.

Stupid shit people say

Oh, where to begin? I could discuss an article I just read about a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce saying that women should “choose the right partner at home”. But what prompted me to write this post was a simple “liked” link posted on FaceBook. “If I need to take a drug test to get a job, then you need a drug test to get welfare!”

Sure, that sounds good on the face of it… nobody wants their hard-earned (and lost) tax dollars paying somebody’s drug habit. But let’s think logically about this for a second, shall we? First off, a drug test doesn’t distinguish between the casual user and the addict.

Secondly, did it occur to you that part of the reason this person needs welfare is that this person can’t get a job? Probably because drug testing is required to get a job. So in effect, what you are saying here is “If you can’t pass a drug test and you lose your current job: starve to death. Or go beg on the street corner. Or turn to crime.”

Third, and I really hate to play this card, but the opposition mindset loves to use it so much I’ll turn it back on ’em. “What about the children?” So Bob lost his job, his unemployment ran out, or he wasn’t eligible, or it’s just not enough to support his 6 kids and his wife’s left or died or whatever. In a moment of weakness, he takes a hit to just escape from his miserable life for a few hours while the kids are off at the sitter. But now he’s ineligible for both a job and for welfare, and the kids are gonna go hungry. Is that right?

In a sense, I agree with the statement entirely, though. It’s just going in the wrong direction. It should be “if people don’t need a drug test to get welfare, why do they need a drug test to get a job and earn an honest living?” Now that’s something I can get behind.

The Expendables: expendable

I went and saw The Expendables on Sunday. I thought it was fun, although I was disappointed in some of the bad tech (visible lines from laser sights, Hollywood explosions abound). It was a good “shut your brain off and enjoy your popcorn” movie. What follows may or may not classify as a “spoiler”. I mean, there’s really not much you won’t see coming from a mile off. My recommendation: see it on DVD, or in the second-run theatre.

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