Tuesday, July 20, 2004


Assorted Rants

Before we get to today's rants, kudos to the audience at the Aladdin Casino in Las Vegas that sent a resounding message to Linda Ronstadt and by extension to the entertainment loudmouths who presume to know better than the vox populi. Aladdin's president Bill Timmins had Ronstadt escorted off the premises and banned her as a result of the fracas. I haven't been to Vegas in ten years, and I don't have any business or pleasure plans to visit, but if I do make it there, I'll make sure to patronize the Aladdin. 

I've had so many damn conference calls lately that I'm entering the passcode if I call to order takeout Chinese. It's well-nigh impossible sometimes to multitask and actually do work while someone is droning on in your ear (thank heavens for Plantronics headsets) and you have to listen carefully in case someone throws a curveball at you in the meeting. Multitasking is actually frowned upon, as the leader of these meetings is usually on a power trip and if you come off mute one second too late saying "Sorry I was multitasking", you will get verbally assaulted and told to concentrate on this holiest of holy meetings.
Train etiquette is a pet peeve of mine. There are several lower forms of life that inhabit the commuter train, who don't understand the simple maxim of talking sparingly and softly, as people might be working or sleeping. The most obvious are the cell phone kings, who blabber incessantly from the moment the train leaves the tunnel at 97th Street until Chappaqua or Darien, solving something undoubtedly earth-shattering for them. I have one word for people like that - Blackberry. The second annoying layer are the clueless day trippers, especially blue haired ladies in on matinee day, or the family airing out their kids. For them, the train is a great adventure as opposed to the grind it is for us everyday riders, and the party they bring to the train is hugely annoying, especially when Mrs. Blue Haired Lady from Bronxville or Noroton Heights has to announce to her friend in a voice that can be heard three cars over that she's working on a local committee to save the throat-warbling mangrove bird and reconstruct the local library. I hate those "Goo-goos" (good government types). And finally, the kaffeeklatsch, or train clique. Most train cliques are fairly civil and quiet, and know when it's acceptable to talk, or keep it down when someone doesn't care, but then there are groups like the bridge foursomes, or the dreck yentas who can't stop talking, who make the train seem like a saloon on a Thursday night.
I have a particularly dopey cousin who hasn't gotten it through his head that I'm not interested in his multi-level marketing business, either as a consumer or as a participant. I don't see any particular need to purchase Coca Cola or other commodities that I can easily get at the supermarket or Costco, and his reseller prices on other items they tout are laughably marked up. Ordinarily, I'd let this one pass, but he tried indoctrinating my kid the last time he visited, and set his web browser home page to his MLM organization, while telling my kid that they sell great toys and to drop a hint to Dear Old Dad. OK, I don't expect anything particularly altruistic from companies targeting kids (i.e. cereals and toys), but as my cousin freely admitted, his MLM is not well regarded and people tend to run the other way when its name is mentioned (somehow I think they'd do better launching a national ad campaign with an endorsement from Hezbollah). One thing if you want to pitch to an adult, but don't try to indoctrinate a kid, for crying out loud. (To their credit, the company itself doesn't seem to encourage this sort of thing, but it's the independent sales motivation groups that push the stuff that encourage the cretinous behaviors).
For amusement, I decided to see which countries are hosting websites advertised by spam that I've received over the last two weeks. Only one was hosted by a US provider (Adelphia). The vast majority (57%) is hosted in Korea. Brazil accounts for 25%, and China for the remaining 18%. Funny how that correlates with intellectual capital piracy operations....
A rather appalling action by a mainline church is documented here and analyzed here.  Contrast that story with this.
And are the Filipinos wusses, or what?  Wie das Französisch, sie Übergabenaffen sind


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