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Archive for March, 2006

Why The Ads?

I haven’t ever had ads here, and hadn’t planned on adding ads. Because, really, who is gonna see ‘em? The same five people who have them on their own site.

But then Terry Heaton came up with this really cool Nashville RevShare ad campaign. I was signed on for that, but then I guess it’s taken longer to hammer out than Terry expected. Which is fine–I am married to a man who has a similar job and I know all of the wrenches–monkey, Allen, whathaveyou–that get thrown into these types of things.

Then yesterday I saw that 2 Retire @ 50 was actually making money from AdSense. My next thought was “Why him and not me?”, immediately followed by “I’ll be eighteen cents richer than I was before!” So I signeded meself up. Of course, the ads are tailored to the content, which given my writing style means that the poor Google AdSense people are going to get whiplash trying to decide what to put up there.

As long as I get my eighteen cents, I’ll be happy.

UPDATE II

Because NK freaked me out, I took down the picture of my account in a marginal effort to appease the PTB. We’ll see if I avoid a C&D now.

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I blog the latest big Nashville News over at Metroblog Nashville. Click thru for enlightenment.

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I don’t know what I believe about the end times, really. Our pastor gave a seminar on his interpretation of Revelation that has several people at the church riled.

People are always fascinated with The Revelation of Jesus Christ…unto St.John. (Pet peeve–people who call the book “Revelations”. That’s not the name of the book. It is Revelation …no ‘s’.) Thanks to the Left Behind series, even more people are enraptured (hah!) by the idea of their ordinary dull lives turning into a breathtaking adventure–thanks to God and his early withdrawl policy.

Like any self-respecting Christian child of the 70s I read Hal Lindsey’s Late Great Planet Earth, which was able to accomplish in one book what took Jenkins and LaHaye a full shelf and a half to accomplish. Add to that a viewing of the always-creepy Thief In The Night rapture movie–the Twilight Jesus Zone film that will scare even the believers half out of their wits–and you have my love-hate relationship with The Last Days.

As terrified as I am at any mention of bar codes inserted under the skin or wars being fought in territories close to Meggido, I am still not sure of how literally I take the imagry of the Apocalypse.

Regardless, I love the book of Revelation because it is some of the most beautiful poetry you’ll find in the Bible. Granted, I’m of the T.S. Eliot school of poetry, where things don’t have to make sense on first glance as long as you are caught up in the imagry and music of the words. Only later do you find that all of the words not only make sense on one level, they make sense on a thousand levels–like notes between notes in the baroque Mozart.

I pulled two of my favourite passages (Rev. 19: 11-18; 21:3-7) for examples over at Glen Dean’s yesterday. To me the image of the White Horse and His Rider, along with the image of the Comfort of the Alpha and Omega are some of the most stirring words put to paper.

Some other beautiful imagry:

“And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of haprist playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the thrown throne and before the four living creatures and the elders.”

It makes no sense if you read it, but it makes perfect sense if you feel it. Kinda like Eliot.

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Vonage Blows

I know that Patrick loves them so much that he’s even gotten a free hat from the company. But I’d be darn near death from shock if I could even get them to set up the service right.

Here’s how it’s supposed to work:

1. You buy some box thingy that lets your phone work over your internet connection.
2. You call them to set up the service, and give them the name of the people who referred you so those phonepimpers can get a free month. Here’s the first problem. Apparently Mr. Tim (as this dude on the other line keeps calling ME) didn’t say the name of our referring party at just the right point in time, our “benefactors” didn’t get their free months.
3. They set everything up and call your old phone company to have the number moved from BellSouth to Vonage.
Here’s the other problem It’s been 9 weeks. We’re presently paying both bills, and calling Vonage every 48 hours. Each time we call we get the “free beer tomorrow” treatment. They keep claiming they’ve escalated us, and to call back for the final status in 48 hours. I am currently on hold for what will be the 6th set of “48 hours”es.

Why do I press on? Quite simply, it’s my greed. Our BellSouth bill would be $90.00 minimum, not counting the increased long distance from having two active home offices telecommuting with North Carolina, Florida and Texas. Add to that the fact that we’ve already sprung a fifty for the Vonage Box Thingy®. Theoretically when this is up and running our monthly bill will be a flat $30.00, with unlimited long distance. We’ve also bought the special local numbers for both our families’ convenience. So, to quote Mel Gibson in Braveheart “Some of us are in this thing.”

But really, I would highly discourage you from attempting to join Vonage if you have a history of high blood pressure, risk of stroke or are in the early months of pregnancy. Or have inherited your father’s Welsh temper.

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He has lost interest in producing Arrested Development for Showtime.

I’m severely bummed, but grateful to Hurwitz for the 2.5 years of the best TV show ever made. I hope he will once again turn illusions for money.

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Clearly the cold snap did no lasting harm to the Chocolate Vine (aka The Pretty But Otherwise Cockroachish Plant).

Yet we have a new dilemma. Birds enjoy making a home within its fragrant branches. I feel much the same about birds as I do pretty much anybody else. They’re free to enjoy their lifestyle as long as it doesn’t cause me harm. Any consequences are between them and God. Unfortunately, their lifestyle now constitutes perching right above my head as I try to read on the swing. When they aren’t perching, their wings are making that Hitchcockian flappety-flap noise that makes me see clowns and ventriloquist’s dummies marching toward me in malicious lockstep. When they ARE perching, their bowels are relaxed. And you know what I fear to happen next.

No, I have not yet been crapped on by the tiny birds. But I find myself living in dread.

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Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you.

And so Judeo-Christian history takes off–with an immigrant. It’s safe to say that leaving one’s homeland in search of a better life is not a new concept. The United States was built on immigration, as anyone will rush to tell you. Irishmen fleeing the potato famine were girded for Civil War, and Chinese who took the boats eastward handled the dynamite when building the railroads. In both cases it took decades for those self-sacrificing people to realise their place as rightful Americans alongside the English, Dutch and French who had the fortune to have fled their famines and civil wars a century earlier. Until 1882, all immigration was legal. Since that time our immigration policy has been constantly evolving as it tries to adapt to the shifting economic, political and social geoclimate. As I see it, it’s about time for another evolution of our Immigration Law.

No Wall. I keep hearing about a proposed Wall along our Southern border. Something about this makes me see spots. It’s a bit too Maginot/Berlin don’t you think? I still remember our drunken jubilation at the Little U.N. in Indianapolis when the Berlin Wall came down. It seems ridiculous to now propose that the Land Of The Free build its own monument to NOKD exclusion.

Increased Border Patrol. More bodies guarding the border means a less porous border. It also means greater border intelligence. There are alot of things a guy in a uniform notices and remembers that a large block of cement can’t record.

Increased Pentalty for Businesses That Hire Illegal Immigrants. Take away a business’ profit motive and watch how quickly they’ll comply with the law.

Work/Study Immigration Plans For those who can’t afford the cash-up-front fees to emigrate under our current laws, establish a program whereby they can work a number of years to pay the fees required for full legalisation. Until they acheive full legal status, grant them a partial work visa status. It keeps our labour force inside the borders, gives them a long range goal and allows for greater familiarity of the incoming persons. That’ll be good for our security.

Reimburse a portion of the costs of immigration paid by all legal immigrants. Should any immigration “amnesty” reforms be enacted to legalise those currently here illegally I think it’s only fair that we pay back some of the money spent by those who had the good sense to play by the rules.

Remove all Federal Withholding from Everybody. I’ve advocated this before, but I think it is the most essential and most often overlooked key to immigration reform. As long as there is a system of enforced collection in place, those who comply will resent those who do not. We’ve got a problem with businesses paying people “under the table”. So. Remove the table. Pay everyone what they’re worth and let them handle their taxation directly with the government. And I mean everything. Most workers are surprised to learn that it costs their employer an average of 40% more to employ them than the worker sees on his paycheck. So remove the burden of a fractured payroll from the businesses entirely. Gone will be the incentive to retain off-books workers. Everyone will be off the books, and the builder can worry about building homes, not playing Nanny for the Federal government.

I’m sure these ideas aren’t perfect, but they should be a start. I want to see people have a better life. I want it to be easier than it was for all those who gave their lives to live here. But I want it all done within the bounds of the law.

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I’m getting fussy in my old age, what with being generally perturbed by all the people who admit that they spooge off their neighbors’ unguarded WiFi or download stuff off BitTorrent.

But then I got to thinking about my computer. Is it a log in my eye?

I’m a huge Lilo & Stitch nut. Last year when I got the Mac I decided to buy CandyBar and IconBuilder so that I could add Icon Creation to my list of “talents”. I then made for myself only a series of Stitch Icons for use on my Mac. (Which is named “Stitch”)

Technically these are all ®Disney, but I took the art from their “available” download activity pages (coloring pages, promo desktops, etc.) and spent several hours manipulating them. I’ve never sold or traded the Icons. So, is it wrong?

UPDATE: For those in the “get a life” category, I’d like to point out that this little exercise in Icon building was time spent honing skills I use in my business every day. Time you yourself might have spent either hanging out at Alternet or drunk off your butt playing Doom.

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Firstly, I must make a disclaimer. Not every post i write this week is going to include men I find sexy. But to answer the commenters on the previous: Steve Jobs. Duh.

There are no men I find sexy within the contents of this post. I would like to see Ty Pennington’s Linus, though. Right before I Bobbit it with a dull, rusty blade.

This morning, NiT linked to a post by everyone’s favourite snarky bastige, Sarcastro. The gist: Someone at The Smoking Gun has unearthed ABC’s psycho-vulture wishlist for its next season of smarm generousity. Sar laments all who watch the show for our willingness to have our tearducts played with such virtuousity by the Grief Vampires at the Alphabet network.

But there’s something that critics of us viewers don’t understand. Some of us–like me–watch the show largely for the snark value. After two years of sitting through it, I have made some observations:

1. 90% of the time, if the lucky family is black, at least one member will scream and fall down in the street when they move that bus.

2. 90% of the time, if the lucky family is white, at least one member of the family will act as if they’ve received nothing more special than a brand new issue of TV Guide.

3. There is always some asinine reason for one of the “designers” to buy nonsense crap at Sears.

4. That one big designer guy (Preston?) will touch every female gift recepient a disproportionate amount. He thinks it’s comforting. To the rest of us it looks more than slightly predatory.

5. As the show has progressed the families look more disappointed by not receiving the “extra” gifts. ABC has tapered off the pay-off-your-mortgage-send-all-the-kids-to-college goodies, and the new kids are pissed.

6. The show will trot out that Sweet Alice dame at every available opportunity.

7. Whenever the family members are “big fans” of some c-list entertainer the show will bring that entertainer to the house for a free concert/skateboard park construcion/other deal but only when the family is away on their vacation. This is the most dumbass thing they do, as far as I’m concerned. “Hey, I know you guys are big fans of Little Richard! Guess what! He was here yesterday playing “Tutti Frutti” for us on our lunch break! Isn’t that cool? Too bad you missed it. How’s Hilton Head?”

There are so many more reasons to both love and hate the show, but I haven’t got all day. I do look forward to next year’s exploitation of blind children with progeria.

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The long-awaited showdown is underway.

The Beatles’ Apple is suing Jobs’ Apple for putting one toe squarely over the line into the music business.

“What Apple Computers are not doing (when) using the Apple mark is selling software, delivery systems, or anything of the like. They are selling music,” Vos said. “and that is in violation of the agreement.”

Of course I take the Cupertino side in all of this. In my view, the MusicStore is a “delivery system”. Apple Computer hasn’t branded the songs, they’ve merely undertaken an efficient successful way to get music to the public.

But of course the whole thing isn’t about music. It’s about money. The Beatles catalog is ever diminishing in value. With 2 and a half members of the original band deceased (honestly–Ringo?) there are few–if any– contributions being made to keep frontlist worth. 35 years after the breakup of the band, Apple Music has devovled into a curiosity. But pot and one-legged wives don’t come cheap. So you better believe that Apple Music is interested in a royalty payment from the computer company. Record companies have gotten too used to making money for nothing.

It’s ironic to see Apple Computer filling the big-money-target role usually reserved for Microsoft. But I can’t help wondering how Lennon would see this if he were alive. That dude was always wanting to give stuff away. And in the 60s Apple Music was a classic example of mismanagement. I love how greedy some former hippies get when they realise that life actually is easier when you have money.

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