Sunday, December 09, 2007

Denver v/ KC: C’mon, Ref…

I wasn’t going to write about the Denver Broncos/KC Chiefs game today until the game was over, but the refs just forced me to my keyboard. Brandon Marshall, one of Denver’s two great Brandons for the season, was just penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct. Why? Because after catching his second touchdown of the day, he celebrated by running through the end zone, grabbing a couple handfuls of snow and throwing them into the air. It was completely spontaneous and not much like hiding Sharpies and cell phones on the field. That, apparently, constitutes a celebration with a “prop"--and was probably a good call in the sense that it abides by the letter of the rules.

But, c’mon, ref, that’s just stupid. The players should be allowed to enjoy themselves a little bit, shouldn’t they?

I haven’t seen much of the Chiefs this year, but from watching them during the first half, I would say that they have two glaring problems: an offensive line that isn’t playing with any consistency at all and a receiver corp that isn’t playing quite as well as their quarterback. There were a few dropped passes in the first half that not only should have been caught, but would have had the Chiefs closer at the half.

Now, that aside: the Broncos are obviously winding up a terrible season, but, boy, do they have a few young players that might be huge in this league. Obviously, Jay Cutler has the potential to be one of the league’s better quarterbacks, but Selvin Young has been playing really well. Brandon Marshall has the makings of a top notch wide receiver and Elvis Dumervil (at just 5’11") already is one of the league’s best young defensive ends.

There is talent--and there is young talent--on this Broncos team.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Where’s El Mariachi When You Need Him

An odd thing is happening in Mexico: somebody has started killing musicians.

trumpet player was found dead with his hands and feet bound and a nylon bag over his head in southern Mexico, in what authorities said was apparently the country’s third murder of a musician in less than a week.

Jose Luis Aquino, 33, had been hit repeatedly on the head, a spokesman for the Oaxaca state attorney general’s office said Thursday—the same day that two other slain musicians received posthumous nominations for Grammy Awards.

This sounds like a situation for Antonio Bandaras as El Mariachi, the deadly musician who takes on hordes of bad guys with the massive arsenal dispensed by his magical Guitar Case of Extra Holding (that was an extra dose of geek right there).

(And, yes, I know I linked Desperado instead of El Mariachi--that was my favorite of the three that made up the trilogy.)

I Didn’t Know it Was Possible to Insult the Zimbabwean Dollar…

With a single matchstick costing something on the order of Z$3,000, according to the BBC, is it any wonder that someone might choose to use Z$.10 notes as gimmick business cards? They certainly aren’t useful for anything else and to print real business cards would be far more expensive.

But anyone trying such a thing might do well to remember that Mugabe’s regime isn’t known for a sophisticated sense of humor.

Denis Paul is accused of insulting behaviour for handing out 10-cent Zimbabwean notes stamped with his business details at a tourism fair.

Officials say his actions in effect discouraged tourism to Zimbabwe.

Banks say the cost of printing the 10-cent notes by far exceed their face value. If found guilty, Mr Paul could face up to a year in prison.

Correspondent says the single-cent bank notes - or bearer cheques as they are known - released last year have become obsolete because of rampant inflation.

Does it possibly get better for Zimbabwe before it gets tremendously worse? There’s little on the shelves, scant hard currency (meaning: stable currency from outside of Zimbabwe) to import things like fuel, infrastructure failing, and not nearly enough food to eat. With inflation having, apparently, achieved escape velocity, the economy is certainly wrecked; it’s hard to imagine a recovery any time in the near future without the help of outside agencies. It’s impossible to imagine that help coming while Mugabe still rules.

In the words of the Boomer Bible, “Poor bastards.”

Read the rest.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Changes Coming to the iPhone?

I was planning on writing my two month review of the iPhone this weekend and, if the rumors are correct, before I’ve written the piece, one my biggest complaints will be answered by an update to the iPhone’s software.

Apple may be preparing a significant update for the iPhone as early as this weekend that will have some heavily requested features, according to a claim from CNET France.

The site points to multiple reports that a 1.1.3 upgrade for the iPhone will appear by Saturday which adds both a disk mode for storing general data on the device and a voice recording mode for capturing lectures or voice memos.

One of my bigger disappointments with the iPhone was that I couldn’t use it to shuttle files back and forth between the office--something that I do with my iPod Nano on an almost daily basis. Giving me this feature now would make me awfully happy.

The voice recording feature wasn’t even something that I realize that I wanted--but I do. When I interviewed Ryan Frazier (for anyone who is interested, he did win his seat) a while back, I used an old, battery powered voice recorder with no easy way to get digital files off of the device. The transcription process was slow and painful especially as the fast forward and rewind functions were, essentially, non-existant. What I would have given to record the audio on my cell phone, transferred the file to my computer, and done the transcription directly in a format where it would have been easier to note times and go back and forth through the conversation.

These are features that will make my iPhone far more useful for me, and Apple’s habit of offering regular updates means that I might be using an iPhone six months from now that has only a superficial resemblence to the iPhone that I’m using today. It could well be so feature rich--especially with the addition true of third party applications rumored to be coming early next year--that my little phone feels like a brand new thing entirely.

That’s good news.

Read the rest.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Why Zombyboy Will Never Be a Household Name

Zombyboy will never be a household name because, firstly, it’s kind of a goofy name, and, secondly, with a full time job my opportunity to take part in some of the things I’ve been invited to do becomes remarkably difficult.

For instance, I got an email today from a gentleman at the BBC asking if I would like to be on their “radio programme called World Have Your Say” to discuss how Africa can achieve peace and prosperity. Instead of loosing my brilliance and voice on a world crying out for my guidance (just kidding about that bit), I was knee deep in direct marketing projects.

My job so frequently gets in the way of my happiness…

Accepting Suggestions: Christmas Music and Movies

This weekend is the Official Zomby Christmas Tree Raising and Decorating Weekend Spectacular. As such, a number of things are needed to inspire and maintain the proper mood for the evening. In no specific order:

  1. Tree and Ornaments. Handled.
  2. Christmas and Winter Appropriate Booze. Baileys and coffee. Barenjaeger and hot tea. Egg nog. Bottle of wine. I feel reasonably well prepared for this step.
  3. iPod Playlist. Holiday favorites, Christmas obscurities, and bits that tickle my fancy. Hmmm.
  4. A Couple Movies. What Christmas films to enjoy this year?

We’ll listen to the music while we put up the tree and the decorations (my decorating philosophy can be summed up with just a few words: simple, traditional colors and the “hang and nestle” method of ornament placement (I can expand further--and with pictures after this weekend--if anyone requires guidelines for the hang and nestle method)), light a fire, and turn out the lights. We’ll sip our booze and cuddle after I put in one of the movies and I’ll be excited and teasing her because I already know what she’s getting this year.

But here’s the question: what music and what movies? I’ve got a partial list of songs going, but I’m open to suggestions. What do you listen to during the holidays that gets you in the mood? And, then, for movies, what should we watch? Should I go traditional classic (It’s a Wonderful Life, modern classic (Elf, or something surprising? What would you suggest?

I have a few days to pull all the bits together, to make sure that the Barenjaeger is chilled, and to find some decent egg nog (which is a trick in itself). Help me out.

Update: I’m pretty sure that Steve has some of the answers. But he’s holding out on us.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Kindly Linked By…

Nathan was kind enough to link Harry Reid (And Then Some) from a few days ago. Thanks, Nathan!

Since my trackbacks are off (spammers found a way to skirt both my time limits and the randomized code that used to protect me from their evil), I do try to link back to people kind enough to link me. If I’ve missed one of your links, please send me a note and I’ll be happy to remedy the situation.

Samari Rolle Acts Like a Child

Samari Rolle throws a temper tantrum in trying to prove his manliness. Which really can’t help his cause much.

“The refs called me a boy. No. 110 called me a boy,” Rolle said in the locker room after the game. “I will be calling my agent in the morning and sending my complaint. I have a wife and three kids. Don’t call me a boy. Don’t call me a boy on the field during a game because I said, ‘You’ve never played football before.’ “

Running to tell mommy that the big, bad man wasn’t nice to you isn’t the best way to prove that you’re all grown up, Mr. Rolle. If you were a man, you’d leave it on the field where it belongs. For the record, Rolle is wrong: Phil McKinnely (number 110) played offensive tackle for six years with the Falcons, Rams, and Bears. Not that having a pro football career is a good indicator or maturity, either…

I was torn between wanting to see New England’s perfect season end last night and my habitual dislike of the players on the Baltimore sideline. When the Baltimore defense came apart at the end with multiple, stupid fouls following a series of mistakes that led to New England’s final touchdown, I knew that I had to decide on the side of habit and just enjoyed the flurry of personal fouls and general stupidity.

It was a better game than I had expected.

Read the story.

Professional Advice: Resumes and Such

It’s interviewing time at the old office and I’m amazed at some of what I am seeing. Are schools not teaching kids what they need to know to be hired for a good job? The job that we’ve advertised is listed as an entry level opportunity, so a good chunk of the people contacting us aren’t college grads. I’m more than willing to give a high school grad an opportunity to impress me with his or her knowledge--for what we’re offering to pay, I’m not going to be hiring someone with an advanced degree--but that person’s presentation still needs to be solid.

Unfortunately, the grand majority of applicants are failing this most basic part of the job search process. I’m here to help.

If you’re looking for a job and putting together a resume, here are some hints for grabbing my attention in the right way.

  1. First, get your attitude right. Think of your resume as the first interview for the job you hope to land. If you fail this interview your resume just went in the trash.
  2. Include a cover letter. Where a resume is a list of your accomplishments, achievements, skills, and abilities, the cover letter is an introduction to you. Make it professional in structure but light in tone.
  3. Remember the basics. Spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure really do count. Your resume is a professional document--if you don’t show any pride in that, why should I imagine you’ll work hard to get the details right for me? I can’t tell you how many of the resumes that I’ve seen over the last few weeks were just covered with these basic mistakes. While one typo might be forgivable, constant mistakes present the applicant in a wholly unprofessional light.
  4. You aren’t e.e. cummings. Capitalization is your friend, so use it appropriately. This could be lumped in with the above, of course, but I wanted to set it aside. It is a sign of immaturity and ignorance to write without capitalizing things like street names and proper names; it’s even funnier to fail to capitalize things consistently within the same document.
  5. What are you hiding? Don’t leave your current employer off of your resume. As soon as I discover that you are working, I’ll start wondering what it is that you were hiding.
  6. Go two pages if you need to. Quite a few people will disagree with this, but this is my blog so I can do what I want to. For the longest time, I was told to keep my resume to one page. Recently, I’ve started seeing more two page resumes from people with extensive--and pertinent--job experience. I like that the two-page format gives me a better view of the individual. I went to a two-page format for my last job search and it didn’t seem to hurt my opportunities.
  7. Tailor your resume to the job for which you are applying. During the last job hunt, I had three different versions of the same resume. The jobs and education stayed the same, but the descriptions and the focus changed. Similarly, the way I approached the cover letter changed depending on the job description I was faced with.
  8. Don’t reveal overly personal information. I don’t feel comfortable sharing some of the things that came through on resumes and cover letters, but I will say that too much personal information on these documents kills your chances immediately.

These are just a few hints, and it all boils down to acting and presenting yourself professionally. That won’t guaranty a job, but it will guaranty that I’m much less likely to throw away your resume without giving consideration to you as a candidate.

Now, back the pile.

Bad Journalist! Bad bad bad!

This is just a horribly written story.

I have to run off to work--otherwise I would detail the piece’s deficiencies. You guys are bright, though. I trust you’ll come up with the answers on your own.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Harry Reid (And Then Some)

Immune to successes, unfazed by improvements, and strangely devoid of holiday cheer, Harry Reid continues the fight for failure.

Sen. Reid: Anti-Churchill

If it weren’t about something that is actually important, I might find myself admiring Reid’s single-minded devotion to failing in Iraq regardless of costs. As it is, it’s mostly just a little funny.

Kind of like Ron Paul talking about the Trilateral Commission, everybody talking about Dennis Kucinich’s ridiculously pretty wife, and Mike Huckabee insisting that he’s a fiscal conservative.

Now, about Elizabeth Kucinich is a post unto herself. She’d get extra hubbas if I could get past the “huh?” But my throat just seems to get stuck there every time.

By the by, two really interesting things are happening in this election, neither of which makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. The first is that a man who is, in essence, a third party candidate (Ron Paul) is raising more money than his big name opponents. Obviously, a committed and passionate core of people is doing everything that they can to keep him in the fight. But it isn’t really translating into that many votes. While he’s continued to creep up in the polls, he isn’t really threatening the top tier candidates.

Which leads to the second thing. A candidate who isn’t doing such a hot job at fundraising looks to be moving into the top tier of the vote. Huckabee is gaining ground fast even though his fundraising consistently falls short of quite a few others (like Romney and Guiliani, for instance).

I don’t believe that either of these guys will get the nomination, but it is a little uncomfortable to watch the stealth libertarian raking in the money while the XXXL government Republican is raking in the promised votes. I’d be happier if some (many, in fact) of Ron Paul’s ideas started seeping into the GOP without being coupled to what I consider to be an immature foreign policy. But Huckabee’s record on taxes and spending doesn’t fill me with hope that he would act as a good faith steward for our economy.

I had hoped that President Bush would tackle Social Security reform and privatization and leave an opportunity for the next president to follow him with other entitlement reforms that would help secure the long term economic interests of this country. Didn’t happen--although, as failures go, it would be impossible to pin that one solely on Bush. The left wouldn’t even begin to talk about the subject, the silver hair brigades fortified their positions in opposition to scary talk, and his own party mostly muttered, idly kicked their feet in the dirt, and couldn’t even muster up the support for the beginnings of an effort to change the system.

My biggest regret from the Bush years will be this: the GOP failed to deliver on any of the high-minded ideals of limited government and fiscal responsibility even though, for a good chunk of those years, the Republicans held the presidency, both houses, the majority of governorships, and a reasonably supportive public.

What an opportunity wasted.

And, at this moment in history, the Republican party would be even a few steps closer to hopeless in the upcoming elections if it weren’t for their politically incompetent opposition. Typically I would offer up a prayer of thanks for the inept left, but that would be wrong. Politics benefits from strong competition of ideas just as much as business and technology does. The best thing about Ron Paul’s campaign should be in an effective tug of the GOP toward smaller government and individual liberty; not only does he ruin the effect by talking about the Trilateral Commission and the NAFTA highway, but a good chunk of the GOP is gravitating toward someone likely to continue some of the worst of the current president’s economic ideas. In the immortal words of Jayne Cobb, “Where’s that get fun?”

So, the libertarians have yet to offer me someone that I could vote for, the GOP sends a horde who, at best, get my tepid support, and the left isn’t even playing the same game. I mean, I would vote Ron Paul before I voted Edwards, Kucinich, or Obama. If the vote magically came down to Huckabee and Ron Paul, I might just stay home for the night drinking heavily.

This country seems to be suffering from a deficit of serious, adult leadership.

Jeez, apparently (Mostly) Apolitical Sunday just got me cranky…

Sunday, December 02, 2007

That’s It: I’m Putting My Sperm on a Leash

Where does this start making sense?

Here’s the sequence of events:

  1. In the late 80’s a doctor donated sperm (we shall call him Doctor Sperm Donor because it amuses me) to a lesbian couple who wanted to have children. He made an agreement that he would have no rights or claims to the child, but then allowed his name to be listed as the father on the birth certificate.
  2. For a number of years after the child was born, Doctor Sperm Donor had regular contact with the child, gave him gifts, and sent cards that he signed “Dad.”
  3. The lesbian couple and the child moved to Oregon in 93.
  4. Since ‘93 the doctor has seen the child once (in 2004) and spoken to him by phone just seven times.
  5. For some reason--not explained in the story--the mother sued for child support.
  6. For some reason--mostly lost to me--he has been found to suddenly have an obligation to financially support the 18 year old boy who is heading off to school.

Some other little tidbits of information: the agreement that he would have neither rights nor responsibilities in reference to the child was an oral agreement. Having a written agreement might not have saved him, though, apparently because of the gifts of money, cards, and the use of the terms “Dad” and “Daddy” nearly 14 years ago. The court also denied a requested paternity test on the grounds that such a test might psychologically damage the child.

I could understand a time limit on challenging paternity, but in a case like this it seems that it would be important in a newly established responsibility for the boy’s welfare. For that matter, it doesn’t sound like a time limit was a concern. I also have to wonder why the boy’s moms would oppose a test unless there was some doubt about paternity.

With both mothers being doctors, I also wonder what great need they have for their old friend’s money. Regardless of the legal questions, it seems awfully bad form for the lesbian couple to have reneged on their previous agreement. It’s a money-grubbing maneuver and a tacit admission of bad parenting: obviously, they failed in some way to provide for their son’s future and are now leaning on Doctor Sperm Donor to make up the gap.

I don’t know them, but I find their behavior despicable. Does it seem like I’m personalizing it a bit? Perhaps. Read the reason after the jump.

Read the Rest...

Apolitical Sunday: Okay, Maybe a Little Political

The NY Times is wrong, of course. Kucinich is the real women’s candidate.

Just sayin’.

Seen at Protein Wisdom.

Apolitical Sunday: Supposed to be Funny?

Jerk. I’d like to see him try that trick with the Billy Bob Thornton’s Bad Santa.

The future wife likes that movie by the way. She giggles particularly hard during the naughty scene with Santa and the bartender in the parking lot. Still not sure what I should think of that…

Apolitical Sunday: I Miss My Vacation

Pretty Picture

Days like these, I miss being on vacation--and, yes, that’s a picture from my last trip.

Although I don’t exactly miss the sound of money draining from my wallet.

Just sayin’.

Update: For the record, it’s almost like she’s on vacation. And I hate her for that. Well, not really, but I am jealous.


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