Wednesday, January 31, 2007

We Don't Know Each Other, Do We?

Today I had the particular pleasure of speaking to an attorney in the lovely state of Virginia. He answered by speaker phone, and as is my custom, I addressed him by his first name while introducing myself.

I could hear him take me off of speaker phone, and then he asked me with a metallic tone in his voice, "We don't know each other, do we?"

Right here I know what's coming. I've seen it before in these high-and-mighty types. Dude thinks he's the effin' Queen of England. Doesn't want to be addressed in the informal. *sigh*

"No, sir." I replied.

"Then I'd appreciate it if you didn't call me by my first name."

At this point I know the guy's an ass, and I can be one snarky c*cksucker, so I shoot back with, "OK, [first name] I can call you by your last name if it makes you feel better."

Without realizing the open handed verbal slap I had given him (essentially undermining his 'masculine' protocol of formality by calling out his sensitivity) he answered with a curt "Yes it would."

Guys like this make me laugh, but I can see their point. In business calling each other by first names implies a familiarity that I have often times not established at my initial contact. It's a little old school, and this is a tech business that doesn't adhere to that protocol, but I can see where he is coming from. Still, I love to toy with f*ckers like this, if for no other reason than they allow me to.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

San Diego & Wes, a Saga of Epic Proportions, Pt. 1

I don't know why I chose that as a title, but it sounded good to me at the time. Anyway, I did returned from SD recently, and it was mondo nutso. SoCal and SD have been bad to me in the past, or at least dealt me some crappy cards at times, and this trip was no different. If nothing else at least it was consistent ...

The night began innocently enough. Thew and I boarded a plane in good ol' Oakland after a few preliminary Patron shots at the airport. The nice people on the Southwest flight were kind enough to sell us vodka during the flight, which got us further lubed. But, I should have seen imminent danger as soon as we touched down, because our cabby to the airport was a dick.

We got in the cab, and I'm making chit chat, little things, like "where you from?"; "how long you been driving a cab?" that sort of thing. Well, this fella was a surly sort from the outset, but I tried to ask him questions just to pass the time, small talk. That sort of thing. It's a friendly gesture, I believe. So, I ask the guy if he has a family, if he's married and he flips out with a "That's none of your business! I drive the cab!" Thew and I were a little shocked by his response, but I was certainly not about to piss the guy off and risk being stranded on the road to our hotel. This should have been a sign ...

So we arrive at the hotel and it's very nice, the Hyatt Regency. I knew this was gonna be trouble because it was a little too nice for my rowdy crowd. Lo and behold, I'm a regular Cassandra. We go up to the room and begin the pre-party. At this point we were pretty tame, in my opinion. Just a few boys and their girls having fun.

After we had done our thing on the 7th floor for awhile we thought it best to head out. So out we headed. San Diego has great weather and is relatively flat, so there are little bike carts everywhere, willing to shuttle you around for a fee. There was a stand of these guys outside the hotel, and everyone piled in, but there weren't enough, stranding 3 of us on the curb. So what did I do? I found an empty bike cart, hopped on, told my 2 friends to get in, and I started pedalling. I get about 30 feet down the road and this pissed off man comes running down the sidewalk from behind me. I hop off the bike and pretend to play dumb, insisting that his biker friends (who at this point were about two blocks away) had allowed me to, nay, insisted, that I take his bike and follow them. He was not buying it, but he didn't call the cops, so we parted ways and my friends and I walked the 3 minutes to 4th and G in the gas lamp district.

Once in this area of town we started doing the bar and club thing. The first place we went to was under ground, and very dark. The music was good though, and there was a little area for dancing. I am not a dancer, per se, but I do enjoy watching my friends make fools of themselves (Thew, that's you, buddy).

After Bar #1, we went down the street to Bar #2, Faces. Faces was an awesome club (again under ground) which was having a dance hall reggae night. The place was Rasta to the max. All the dudes were rocking beards and dreads, and the scent of ganja permeated the air. Ladies were shaking their booties on the dance floor, and yet again Thew was prompted to show off his 'moves' to them. This time under the amused gaze of a 6'5" 250 lb. Jamaican boyfriend of one of the girls. Needless to say, given the size disparity between 1) Thew and the girl he was dancing with (5'7", 160 or so) and the 2) Thew and her boyfriend, the guy was more amused than anything else. Must've been quite a hoot for him to see his lady freaking a man just about her size.

After Faces was where things kind of fell apart. Luckily for me my friend Odas took us both back to the hotel (I had no idea where it was) and we promptly crashed out. The others in our party stayed out, and when they finally returned to the room they were quite wound up. Fast forward to 4AM in the morning and Wes being woken up by an irate fist on the door. "You've got 5 minutes to get out or we're calling the cops!" It was gang buster style, I tell ya! So we scrambled up, I tried to silver tongue the guy, but he was having none of it. Apparently he had been summoned twice before, and he was throwing us out.

So out we were thrown, into the cold night air of San Diego (whale's vagina in German). We managed to scramble to a friend's house after an aborted Jack Bauer-esque attempt on my part to sneak into a Ramada Thew had rented.

Stay tuned, Part 2 coming up ...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sales Versus Introduction (or, how to spot a crappy lawyer)

In my job I end up calling a lot of lawyers as of late. Lawyers, as a general rule, are a hard nosed bunch. They don't have a lot of time, they're under tremendous amounts of stress, and generally don't like to be on the phone with someone hawking IT services. Even so, I expect them, as a result of their costly and time intensive schooling, to at least be able to know the difference between a sale and a mere introduction.

This little diatribe comes about as a result of a conversation I had with a lawyer in Tulsa. He was a bear from the get-go, but they all are. He kept interrupting me to ask me what I was trying to sell him, to which I replied that I was not trying to sell him anything today (which is the truth). On a side note, how do you expect someone to get to the point when you interrupt them, good sir? But I digress ...

Eventually he shut up long enough for me to tell him who we were and what we do, at which point he exclaimed "So you ARE trying to sell me something! You were untruthful with me! Goodbye!" The phone clicks on the end.

We'll get a little pedantic now:

Main Entry: sale
Pronunciation: 'sAl
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English sala; akin to Old High German sala transfer, Old English sellan to sell -- more at SELL
1 : the act of selling; specifically : the transfer of ownership of and title to property from one person to another for a price
2 a : opportunity of selling or being sold : DEMAND b : distribution by selling
3 : public disposal to the highest bidder : AUCTION
4 : a selling of goods at bargain prices
5 plural a : operations and activities involved in promoting and selling goods or services

Main Entry: in·tro·duc·tion
Pronunciation: "in-tr&-'d&k-sh&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English introduccioun act of introducing, from Anglo-French introduction, from Latin introduction-, introductio, from introducere
1 : something that introduces : as a (1) : a part of a book or treatise preliminary to the main portion (2) : a preliminary treatise or course of study b : a short introductory musical passage
2 : the act or process of introducing : the state of being introduced
3 : a putting in : INSERTION
4 : something introduced; specifically : a new or exotic plant or animal

Although he did not provide me the opportunity to educate him in the more minor points of the English language in this regard (not that I would have wasted the time for it), it occurred to me how utterly poor this man must be at his job if he cannot understand the difference between 1) someone asking you for money for goods/services & 2) someone sending you an informative email detailing what the firm does.

Granted, the introduction is a segue to the sale, but is not the same thing by any means. If I made a sale for every email I sent out I'd be a much wealthier man right now. The most frightening part of the whole episode was that this man is licensed in the state of Oklahoma (presumably) to argue over the meaning and intent of words (i.e., practice law). Scary.

Ooh ... New Kolerz ..

I changed the palate on y'all. Something new. Enjoy. BTW, since I am color blind if any of these colors or the configuration is goofy, please message me, or leave a comment so I can correct it. Your cooperation is appreciated.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Terror Free Oil: A Clever Marketing Scheme

I saw this article on the net, and I initially liked the idea, if for no other reason than it's novelty. "Terror Free Oil" is like the organic foods of petroleum products, I suppose. It's a clever idea to only sell oil from 'terror free' countries, i.e. countries that do not (openly) sponsor terrorism. Who gathers and verifies that information is, according to the article, is the Terror-Free Oil Initiative.

I imagine that this product will get some solid support and build momentum in more rural portions of the country. Of course, there is gonna be the little part about price-point. That's what I'm curious to know about, because really that's where people begin to draw the line. Does Terror Free Oil cost more? People with more disposable income can afford to shop at Whole Foods and not the Wal-Mart SuperCenter, but many people in that income bracket don't reside in rural Nebraska, as I understand it. Thus, this product may fail due to demographics. Still, very clever.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

You Know You're A Shitty Secretary When ...

You ask me questions I answered for you at the beginning of our conversation. What do I mean by this? Simple: when I call I have a pretty direct and easy to understand order of introduction. It goes like this:

"Hi, this is Wes Temby, I was calling for XXXXX."

Easy enough, yeah? Apparently not, because I swear to g*d I get this in response seven times out of ten:

"Um ... I'm sorry, what was your name again?"

Oh man, I cannot tell you how much that frustrates me. I mean, c'mon! I TOLD you when you picked up the damn phone what my name was. Your whole g*ddamn job is to answer the phones -- were you not listening when you picked it up? What were you doing? Expecting me to telepathically connect in the first few seconds? Is that typically how it works with your office?

Damnit, Janet! I can only hope for the love of all that is holy that this is only how you are on the job, and not in your regualr life. But, wouldn't it be funny if she routinely didn't listen to the first 2 seconds of every conversation she was in? Oh wait, my Grandmother does that and its absolutely frustrating. Just as frustrating as this scenario, but without the money involved.

Monday, January 22, 2007

To Err Is Human, Correcting your mistakes is more important than anything ...

I saw this on Reuters' Oddly Enough page, and it was kind of touching, so I thought I would repost it here.

After I read it the cynical side of me snapped to life and floated the idea that perhaps this was Communist propaganda. Could be, who knows? But if it's not, then it's an endearing story; what's more, it's a story of (possible) redemption. As a writer, I love those sorts of things.

Also, 2 points to Pan Aiying for being creative in getting her bag back. Smooth move with the texts ...

BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - A Chinese thief has returned a mobile phone and thousands of yuan he stole from a woman after she sent him 21 touching text messages, Xinhua news agency said on Monday.

Pan Aiying, a teacher in the eastern province of Shandong, had her bag containing her mobile phone, bank cards and 4,900 yuan ($630) snatched by a man riding a motorcycle as she cycled home on Friday, Xinhua said, citing the Qilu Evening News.

Pan first thought of calling the police but she decided to try to persuade the young man to return her bag.

She called her lost phone with her colleague's cell phone but was disconnected. Then she began sending text messages.

"I'm Pan Aiying, a teacher from Wutou Middle School. You must be going through a difficult time. If so, I will not blame you," wrote Pan in her first text message which did not get a response.

"Keep the 4,900 yuan if you really need it, but please return the other things to me. You are still young. To err is human. Correcting your mistakes is more important than anything," Pan wrote.

She gave up hope of seeing her possessions again after sending 21 text messages without a reply.

But on her way out on Sunday morning, she stumbled over a package that had been left in her courtyard only to discover it was her stolen bag. Nothing had been taken.

"Dear Pan: I'm sorry. I made a mistake. Please forgive me," a letter inside said.

"You are so tolerant even though I stole from you. I'll correct my ways and be an upright person."

© Reuters 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Box In A Box

Because DITB was so funny, we had to have more responses. This one blows Mac In A Top out of the water.


As a man who spends an inordinate amount of my time on the phone, I deal with a lot of secretaries. After awhile you get to know which ones are good, and which ones are bad. Mind you, to me, if I'm not gonna be put through to a principal I couldn't care less, really. However, that doesn't mean that I cannot still grade secretaries on the way they answer the phone, how they handle incoming calls, their enthusiasm, helpfulness, etc. So, without further ado, I am compiling a list of some of the worst secretary scenarios my coworkers and I have encountered.

1. The Quiet Talker
The quiet talker seemingly whispers when she answers the phone, causing the person on the other end of the line to have to 1) strain to hear her, and 2) potentially shout because they think that the line quality is poor. This makes the Quiet Talker upset, because she is naturally a fragile creature.

2. Ms. Angry And Upset
Ms. Angry and Upset answers the phone like a barking Rottweiler. She's pissed from the get-go! Is she pissed at me? I haven't even introduced myself, so probably not. Even so, this is a sunken ship, in terms of sales, before we even leave port. Ms. A&A is likely not going to put me through to a principal, unless there's an off chance I can sound like a baby angel and charm her. It's rare when that happens, but it has .

3. She Couldn't Care Less (Senorita Apathy)
Senorita Apathy hates her job and the man she works for, most likely. Or maybe not. It could just be a natural condition. Who knows? She answers the phone and sounds half asleep, and more often than not you can get through her without too much trouble. That's the nice thing about the apathetic secretaries: they don't care about their jobs, really, so they are not diligent gate keepers.

4. The Ghetto Girl
The Ghetto Girl answers the phone while chewing gum and makes no effort at professionalism. She has no pretenses. The Ghetto Girl and Senorita Apathy are often times one in the same. I'll leave all you Sociologists out there to figure that one out ... Ghetto Girl can be a little bitchy at times, because she's got betta tings ta doo. What those may be, I do not know.

5. Bright and Chipper (Tiffany)
Tiffany LOVES her job! Or at least it sounds that way on the phone. She is SO glad to speak to you! Whatever you need, she wants to provide with the utmost enthusiasm. I don't know where these girls come from in real life. I think they fall into the stereotypical cheerleader spots in life. Tiffany (as I like to call her) is a real wild card when it comes to a call ... she's all peaches and cream when she answers the phone, but she can be a poodle with a nasty bite when rubbed the wrong way.

6. The Male Secretary
Admittedly, this is one I don't encounter often, but it does happen. The Male Secretary is typically my friend straight form the get-go. He hears my voice, knows I'm a no nonsense guy, and we proceed. There's no 20 questions about who I am, where I'm calling from, etc. It's usually a quick set of questions, and then a yea or nay on getting past him.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jobs We Won't Do ...

I stumbled across this article and thought it was interesting, if not a little too brief. As someone who may or may not be looking for a job in the future (and a pet interest in economics and labor, to boot), I am always interested in these sorts of things.

Dirty Work

What are the jobs Americans won't do?

The United States is a nation of hard workers. Compared with many other developed countries, the U.S. boasts high rates of labor-force participation and productivity and has a very low unemployment rate. Americans work longer hours than Europeans—1,804 hours per worker for the United States in 2005, compared to 1,434 in Germany and 1,535 in France, according to the OECD.

Yet it's increasingly common to hear politicians, CEOs, and immigration activists impugn American workers as a bunch of shiftless layabouts who regard many good jobs as beneath their dignity. That, they say, is why employers have to turn to immigrants—some of them legal, many of them illegal. To hear CEOs tell it, they'd much rather hire English-speaking, tax-paying U.S. citizens, people who won't disrupt operations by getting rounded up in Homeland Security sweeps. But they just can't find any Americans willing to do their jobs. As President Bush himself said last March, the United States needs a temporary guest-worker program that would "match willing foreign workers with willing American employers to fill jobs that Americans will not do."

What are these jobs that Americans will not do? Do they exist? Or are they a figment of the business community's imagination? It turns out that their claims are largely true—there are plenty of jobs Americans avoid. Let's take a tour of them. Americans shun pretty much any unskilled labor that requires them to get their hands dirty: landscaping, entry-level construction, picking fruits and vegetables (Reuters reports that "up to 70 percent of U.S. farm workers are estimated to be undocumented, totaling about 500,000 people"), cleaning hotel rooms, busing tables, and prep cooking in urban restaurants.

But the refusal to do jobs is moving up the value chain. American workers appear to be less interested in some kinds of factory jobs. The Washington Post, for example, recently reported that Georgia's carpet factories are increasingly dominated by Mexican immigrant workers.

Americans, it seems, are also less willing to take stressful jobs that require lots of training and long hours, and that require them to work in unpleasant environments. For example, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing is warning of a nursing shortage. This survey from the American Hospital Association says there are 118,000 nursing vacancies in the United States. Meanwhile, a 2003 report by the Council on Graduate Medical Education suggested there could be a shortage of anywhere from 65,000 to 150,000 doctors in 2020. (Given the time it takes to educate and train a physician, it's not too soon to worry.)

Spending your days tethered to a computer is also work that many Americans avoid. The Information Technology Association of America notes that 77 percent of companies it polled said there was a shortage of qualified IT talent in the United States. The solution: Import more geeks. The ITAA (and pretty much every technology company) supports boosting the number of H-1B visas above the current limit of 65,000 per fiscal year.

The more one looks, the more shortages of willing workers appear. Bryan Bender of the Boston Globe last month reported that the Pentagon is "considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks—including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to U.S. citizenship if they volunteer." Today, about 2 percent of the soldiers protecting America—about 30,000—aren't technically Americans. On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported on a dire shortage of professors of accounting, finance, and management that may cause some schools to curtail course offerings. "AACSB International, the accrediting organization for business schools, estimates a shortage of 1,000 Ph.D.s in the U.S. this year that will grow to 2,400 by 2012." (Apparently, American citizens with Ph.D.s in accounting, finance, and management can get high-paying, satisfying jobs in the private sector. Who knew?)

For the industries involved, and for their customers—everyone from meat-eaters to hospital patients—these shortages are a real challenge. But when employers have difficulty filling jobs at the wages they wish to pay, and as a result seek foreign-born workers, they shouldn't blame it on a fundamental unwillingness of Americans to work in those industries or professions. After all, in many of these fields—construction, nursing, the military, teaching, accounting—Americans still fill most positions. Immigrants tend to predominate only in the least attractive work imaginable—manual, back-breaking, seasonal, benefitless, farm labor.

Americans haven't grown too wealthy and snooty for the kind of work that gets your hands dirty, or for nursing, or for computer programming. Rather, the people who have the skills to enter those fields also have opportunities and skills to enter other fields. And so they have to decide whether the rewards—monetary and psychological—of the opportunity before them are worth it. It's not so much that Americans aren't willing to pick fruit and become computer programmers. Rather, they aren't willing to do those jobs for the prevailing wages and benefits. The Army may need foreign nationals to help fill its ranks, but the private security firms that pay six-figure salaries to ex-military types for security work don't. People without much in the way of skills or education probably prefer to take entry-level jobs at Wal-Mart rather than work at a meat-packing plant, even though it might pay a little less—it's less dangerous and disgusting.

The failure here isn't in the work ethic of Americans. Rather, it lies with the CEOs, business owners, university and hospital administrators, and government officials—and ultimately, with all of us who benefit from cheap labor—to offer the wages and benefits necessary to attract sufficient numbers of legal workers. There's a reason they call the labor market a market.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Donald Weighs In

I kind of like Donald Trump, I admit it. He's a little brash, but that's kind of how you have to be in business at times. Anyway, I ran across this little bit in the Daily News from New York discussing Condi Rice and he ineffectiveness as a negotiator. What I liked most about his blurb was how he framed what she does:

"In all fairness, I see Condoleezza Rice - she goes on a plane, she gets off a plane, she waves, she goes there to meet some dictator. ... They talk, she leaves, she waves, the plane takes off. Nothing happens, it's a joke, nothing ever happens. I think she's a very nice woman, but I don't want a nice woman. I want someone that's not necessarily nice."

Ah, Donald. You are so funny. Bluntness is great. Full article follows below.

Now Trump's rippin' Condi

WASHINGTON - Still locked in a nasty feud with Rosie O'Donnell, The Donald may be looking at a new target: Secretary of State Rice.

Donald Trump says in an interview set to air tonight that Rice seems like a nice person, but when it comes to her role as the nation's chief negotiator, he'd like to use his trademark line on her: "You're fired."

Americans "want someone that knows how to negotiate, that knows the art of the deal," he said in an interview on FOX News Channel's "Hannity's America."

"In all fairness, I see Condoleezza Rice - she goes on a plane, she gets off a plane, she waves, she goes there to meet some dictator. ... They talk, she leaves, she waves, the plane takes off. Nothing happens, it's a joke, nothing ever happens. I think she's a very nice woman, but I don't want a nice woman. I want someone that's not necessarily nice."

Trump isn't just picking on the gals - he actually goes gaga over Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.): "She is a very capable woman. She has done an amazing job as a senator of New York."

Rice's latest diplomatic gambit has her back in Israel, where she met last night with Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Today, she meets with Palestinian officials.

I Take It Black, Like My Men

Gawd, I love this scene so much. Kudos to the writer that dreamt this up.

ABC shut down blogger who criticized violent rhetoric on one of its radio stations

Summary: The mainstream media have yet to report on the story of a blogger whose website was shut down after he began spotlighting inflammatory rhetoric common to several talk radio hosts on KSFO, an ABC Radio-owned station in San Francisco.

In 2006, a blogger named Spocko began spotlighting inflammatory rhetoric common to several talk radio hosts on KSFO, an ABC Radio-owned station in San Francisco. Spocko compiled a litany of examples on both his weblog, Spocko's Brain, and in numerous letters to corporations advertising on KSFO. He noted that KSFO hosts had claimed to have put "a bull's-eye" on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), advocated hanging various New York Times editors, called for the murder of millions of Muslims, and so on. This letter-writing campaign apparently got results, as major advertisers such as MasterCard, Bank of America, and Visa reportedly pulled their ads from the station. But as numerous blogs have noted in recent days, on December 21, ABC Inc., a subsidiary of the Disney-ABC Television Group, apparently issued a cease-and-desist letter targeting Spocko and his blog for copyright violation. Specifically, ABC alleged that by posting brief audio clips of various talk radio hosts on KSFO, the site was "in clear violation" of the station's copyright. The letter demanded that the owner of the site "remove the content immediately." Soon after, according to Spocko, his Internet service provider shut down his blog.

But while this story has received widespread coverage in the blogosphere, the mainstream media have yet to report on it.

In the past year, Media Matters for America has documented several inflammatory statements by KSFO hosts Melanie Morgan and Brian Sussman (here, here, and here). On his blog, Spocko featured numerous additional examples by these and other KSFO personalities, such as Lee Rodgers and Officer Vic. Spocko also wrote to KSFO's corporate sponsors calling their attention to these statements. For instance, in a November 20, 2006, letter to telecommunications giant AT&T, he wrote: "Thanks to radio hosts from KSFO your brand is being associated with torturing and killing people." He included in the letter numerous examples of the hosts' invective:

  • Rodgers on a repeat offender in Lincoln, Nebraska: "Some SOB like this -- you know, lock him up, throw away the key. Better yet, put a bullet between his eyes and get it over, because he's never gonna be worth a damn, never gonna be anything but a criminal anyway. ... Now, you start with the Sears DieHard -- the battery cables connected to his testicles and you entertain him with that for a while, and then you blow his bleeping head off." (8/16/06)
  • Rodgers' suggestion of how to punish an arsonist responsible for a forest fire: "I say they catch the person, tie 'em to a post and burn 'em. Set 'em on fire." Morgan added: "Hog tie 'em first. That would be good." (10/27/06)
  • Sussman asking a caller to prove that he is not a Muslim: "Say Allah is a whore. ... Say that you love eating pig." (October 2005)
  • Rodgers on Indonesia: "Indonesia is really just another enemy Muslim nation. ... You keep screwing around with stuff like this, we're going to kill a bunch of you. Millions of you." (10/25/06)
  • Morgan on Pelosi: "We've got a bull's-eye painted on her big, wide laughing eyes." (11/14/06)
  • Morgan on New York Times executive editor Bill Keller and other Times editors: "Hang 'em." (6/27/06)

Spocko went on to urge AT&T to drop its advertisements from these KSFO shows. He concluded the letter as follows:

I want to emphasize that if you withdrawal [sic] your ads you aren't limiting their free speech, just removing your paid support of it. Some other company without the values you describe on the AT&T website can support them. You can choose to advertise elsewhere. This is really about YOU. Do YOU want to be associated with these comments? Do you want your company and brand to be associated with these comments?

I urge you to discontinue advertising on KSFO during the shows hosted by Melanie Morgan, Lee Rogers, Tom Brenner and Brian Sussman.

Following Spocko's communications, advertisers such as Netflix, MasterCard, Bank of America, and Visa all reportedly withdrew their KSFO advertising, as a January 5 Online Media Daily article reported. Spocko has further claimed that Federal Express, AT&T, and Kaiser Permanente are considering pulling their ads from the station.

But on December 21, Spocko's Internet hosting service, 1&1 Internet Inc., received a cease-and-desist letter bearing ABC's logo. In the letter, Enid J.H. Karpeh, who identified herself as ABC's counsel, claimed that Spocko's use of brief audio clips of Rodgers, Morgan, and other hosts was "in clear violation of KSFO's copyright." The letter signed by Karpeh went on to demand that 1&1 Internet "remove the content immediately."

Following is the letter (click here to see full-size version):

Soon after receiving the letter, 1&1 Internet shut down Spocko's Brain. Since the site went offline, numerous bloggers have posted the KSFO audio files on both their own sites and on YouTube. Further, Spocko's Brain recently resurfaced with a new Internet hosting service.

Media Matters found no record of ABC having responded to the Spocko controversy or having confirmed or denied that it sent the "cease and desist" letter. When asked recently about the story by Online Media Daily, Julie Hoover, a spokeswoman for ABC Radio, declined to comment.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Low Blow By Pelosi? Eh, Not So Much ....

I was catching up on the news this morning when I came across this article in the New York Post. In it they discuss a comment that Boxer made to Condoleeza Rice in regards to the personal sacrifices that we as Americans will have to make during this Iraq debacle. Namely, who will feel the sting from the upcoming "surge" in forces there? The Post quotes Boxer a saying:

Rice appeared before the Senate in defense of President Bush's tactical change in Iraq, and quickly encountered Boxer.

"Who pays the price? I'm not going to pay a personal price," Boxer said. "My kids are too old, and my grandchild is too young."

Then, to Rice: "You're not going to pay a particular price, as I understand it, with an immediate family."

Fair enough, in my book, and altogether true. The war is being fought, and will continue to be fought, by young men and women in the 18 - 22 year old range. The people that pay for this war directly are them and their families.

I have long said that this war, and the underlying support for it, would be far different if everyone had to become involved. I've said it before, and I will reiterate: I do not think G.W. Bush would be so keen on marching into Baghdad if Jenna and Barbara were in the 1st wave of bodies to encounter Saddam's troops. Hell, I think he'd be less inclined to support his little war if they had to serve as mechanics or cooks in the relatively safe "Green Zone". I'm not saying that George takes this war lightly, but its a hell of a lot easier to send someone else's kid to war while yours our out in Buenos Aires partying.

Anyway, The Post goes on to lambast Pelosi for being a b*itch and a nutto Dem and blah, blah, blah. Personally, I think the criticism is a little sharp, but Pelosi is right on point with Rice. Rice , like Bush, will likely not take any particular glee in the deaths of American servicemen/women, but she is somewhat insulated from the impact by virtue of not having her own flesh and blood risked in Basra. At the end of their article The Post calls for Pelosi to apologize. Please. The shit that goes down in Washington, and you want Pelosi to apologize for framing the American foreign policy in terms of personal cost?

The Post sucks. What a crappy paper. But you know what? All of the uproar from them makes sense when you know that Newscorp (Rupert Murdoch's media company) owns The Post, and what else does Newscorp own? Just a little company known as FOX. Who's a big fan of Fox? Why, none other than Condoleezza Rice! Go figure.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How's this for an only-in-San Francisco story:

Members of the Baker's Dozen, the renowned, all-male a cappella singing group from Yale, are pummeled outside a New Year's Eve party after singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The attackers allegedly include graduates from Sacred Heart Cathedral, one of the city's oldest and best-known private schools.

The attack happens outside the home of two prominent San Francisco police officers -- former mayoral bodyguard Reno Rapagnani, now retired, and his wife, Leanna Dawydiak -- who were both accused and later cleared of leaking internal SFPD personnel documents during the Fajitagate debacle.

As if that weren't enough, the dean of Yale College has weighed in, as has one of the victim's fathers, Sharyar Aziz -- a prominent New York banker whose son's jaw was busted in two places. He has not only called the mayor's office and police chief -- he's also retained the law firm Gonzalez (as in former mayoral candidate Matt Gonzalez) and Leigh to keep the heat on the cops and make sure "the individuals behind this heinous assault (are) apprehended."

As Rapagnani tells it, his 19-year-old daughter was hosting a New Year's Eve party at the family's Richmond District home for the Baker's Dozen, who were in town as part of a West Coast tour.

The 16 singers showed up late to the party wearing preppy sport jackets and ties, and launched into "The Star-Spangled Banner."

A couple of uninvited guests started mocking them, and allegedly the words "faggot" and "homo" were tossed -- and so were a couple of punches.

The loud noise drew relatives from next door, who promptly ordered the house cleared.

The Yale kids, most of whom were staying with a family a block away, began heading home.

But witnesses said one of the uninvited guests -- who happens to be the son of a prominent Pacific Heights family -- pulled out his cell phone and said, "I'm 20 deep. My boys are coming."

According to Rapagnani and others, the Yale kids barely made it around the corner when they were intercepted by a van full of young men.

"They were surrounded, then tripped -- and when they were on the ground, they were kicked," Rapagnani said.

According to police reports, the cops arrived about 12:40 a.m. to find 20 people fighting in the street.

To the police, who were out in force to keep a lid on New Year's, it looked like just another drunken brawl.

But according to Rapagnani, "This was not a fight -- it was an attack."

Four of the alleged assailants were detained at the scene, then released after the cops took their names.

Meanwhile, Sharyar Aziz Jr. was taken by paramedics to San Francisco General Hospital, and later had to undergo reconstructive surgery in New York for a broken jaw that will remain wired shut for eight weeks.

Another unidentified Yale student sought treatment for a concussion, and a third for a swollen ankle and other abrasions.

Yale Dean Peter Salovey told the school paper that he was "shocked and appalled" by the incident, which has yet to yield an arrest.

Police spokesman Sgt. Neville Gittens said the investigation was continuing and that more people still needed to be interviewed.

Now authorities want the Yale students -- who have left San Francisco and will soon be back in school -- to return to the city to identify their attackers.

But dad Aziz said arranging their return won't be easy.

"The kids are scared s -- less of coming back to San Francisco,'' he said. "I'm just really frustrated.''

Office Building of the Damned

I have blogged here before about the various woes my office building is beset with periodically. Well, its not even periodically, it's perpetually. My office building is basically falling apart bit by bit.

The newest chronic condition to befall this little chunk of land on Mission Avenue in San Francisco is a stopped up sink that has not drained for at least a week now. The sink is located outside of our office, and is collectively shared by the hallway. Instead of a sink, now its more of a cesspool for coffee grinds and what appears to be some form of algae. Appealing and sanitary it is not. Nothing ruins what might otherwise be a decent cup of coffee than after pouring that coffee looking into a sink sized Black Lagoon of filth.

Speaking of sinks, we still have no hot water in our bathroom sinks, either. This has been the case for at least 2 months now. It makes absolutely no sense to me that in the year 2007 we have an office in a building, located in San Francisco, that has no hot water for 2 months. It is utterly ridiculous. If we were in the 3rd world, OK. Even if we were in parts of America, like rural New Mexico, I would consider this not acceptable but understandable given the environs. However, we are in an urban metropolis, selling high tech items. Hot water should be a given, but that's just my take on the matter.

But our woes are not confined to sinks, oh no ... the railing on the outside patio area is busted and literally moves every time you lean on it. If this were my dad's summer-made porch we were talking about, again that would be OK. But we're talking about a 5th floor office in San Francisco. If someone leans too hard on this they will tumble down to the street, about 60 feet below. Likely, they will fall onto a little old Mexican lady, causing serious damage to not only themselves but probably someone's abuelita as well. *sigh*

Our elevator is in no better shape. I was riding in it the other day and happened to take a look at the certificate posted therein. When did it expire (i.e., when was the elevator last inspected)? 2000. That's right. 6 years ago. Considering that there are 2 elevators in the building and they are the only practical means of moving between floors (the staircases are all locked, which is likely a fire code violation) I am less than convinced of their safety.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

I love libraries and books, I really do, but killing someone over a book? Eh ... not so much. Unless its the Bible, of course. Then its killing time, buddy. Grrr! Get your hands off my King James!

Stolen Library Book Leads to Shooting?

ANDERSON, S.C. (AP) - Police say a security guard at the Anderson County Library fired his gun at a car after the driver triggered a security alarm.

Police say security guard James Turner asked the woman to stop after the alarm went off as she left around 5 o'clock Saturday afternoon.

A police report states Turner chased the woman as she ran to her car and he said the bumper brushed his knee as she pulled away.

Police say the guard then fired into the driver's door. Authorities say the woman kept going and they don't know if she was hurt.

Library director Carl Stone says he's asked Cherokee Security Systems not to send Turner back to the library. Stone says no one should be hurt over a missing library book.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

BONUS:: A little video YouTube clip (from a great move, to boot) dealing with the above subject matter in a Medieval sort of way.

For Kate: Because I Am A Hate Mongering, Right-Wing Nazi Nut

And also just because I am from the next state over, and take delight in all things stupid that Texans do. I personally don't see New Mexicans holding pig races to keep Muslims at bay, but then again, New Mexico is a state where cock fights are still legal, so who knows what they'd come up with.

Texas town fights mosque development with pig races

The small Texas town of Katy is divided as Muslims living in the hamlet attempt to build a new, larger mosque for worshipers over the objection of other town residents. While some people living in the town worry about "too much commercial development," others are more forthright in expressing their fear of Islam and terrorism. One resident warns that a terrorist 'faction' could infiltrate the existing Muslim community of Katy. And the neighbor of the mosque site begins holding Friday pig races on his property to make his Muslim neighbors uncomfortable.

When a CNN International reporter asks him if he was trying to be offensive with the pig races, he responds, "Probably."

The video clip can be viewed below.

Monday, January 08, 2007

I Just Love The Title of this Article

Writing like this makes me all giddy inside. Partly because of shock value, partly because I love zombie movies.

Internet under attack by zombie computers

NEW YORK, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- Computer code writers in Europe are the chief suspects in the creation of programs that turn other computers into zombie-like slaves for Internet crimes.

Computer experts in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are likely behind the newest computer crime plaguing the Internet, which has turned innocent users into unwitting participants and left security experts stumped, The New York Times reported.

By inserting small programs into others' computers, electronic criminals can harness the collective power of multiple computers to commit more elaborate online crimes.

"It's the perfect crime, both low-risk and high-profit," computer security researcher Gadi Evron said. "The war to make the Internet safe was lost long ago, and we need to figure out what to do now."

While some zombie computer crimes have been linked to computers running Linux or Macintosh operating systems, officials have warned that Windows systems are the most susceptible.

Security experts have been unable to defend against such crimes, but some products and services are available to improve online security, the newspaper said.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

In The Land of Crazy ...

I'm all for the good things religion has to offer: compassion, humility, service to the disadvantaged, spiritual insight, et alia; but sometimes when I read things like this:

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia (AP) -- Evangelical broadcaster Pat Robertson said Tuesday that God has told him that a terrorist attack on the United States would cause a "mass killing" late in 2007.

I hang my head.

Its hard to even know where to begin. I'm all for faith, but when you feel the mysterious, omnipresent, omnipotent voice of g*d talking directly to you, that's a little off the wall. I'm just speaking for myself here, but I see those people every day walking down the street in San Francisco, and most of them are homeless and dirty with serious distinguishable mental disorders. You're telling me this guy is different because he's got a suit on and runs a business? Has anyone ever heard of a high-functional alcoholic? This guy could very well be the Patrick Bateman of religious nuts.

Let's also not forget that this type of talk is the same thing that the ubiquitous Islamic terrorist enemy spouts forth on various websites all across the web. The exception with them being that typically they are saying that their particular faction has been designated by Allah to rein death upon infidels.

Also, and the article points this out, these type of predictions can be terribly wrong. The track record is not so good, and always open to reinterpretation after the fact. Its easy to say, 'Well, I'm just a vessel, The Lord works in mysterious ways, and sometimes He changes his plans without submitting to me for approval first {chuckle}." I suppose sooth saying and future predictions are not an exact science.

UPDATE:: Letterman has a great clip about Mr. Robertson's conversation with The Almighty ...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Why The French Stink

OK, so I was browsing the 'net today and came across this article on the Reuters wire discussing a French court case. Being something of an ex-law dork, I like to read things like this.

It sounds like this is the case: Soup kitchen in France with far right leanings decides to serve soup made form pork broth. Left leaning freaks in France call this discrimination because Muslims and Jews are not allowed to eat pork. Left leaning fascists sue soup kitchen.

Something is decidedly wrong with this picture on so many levels, but I was very relieved to read that the French court threw out the case. I interpret this scenario as serious left wing fanaticism. Is this the case now in France? I have not been there in many years, and I was just a boy then, but it seems ridiculous to me that a soup kitchen would be shut down because they chose to serve soup that others cannot eat (due to a conscious choice they make in their lifestyle, i.e. their religion). Would those same lefty groups protest against the local Muslim shelter for not offering Christmas services? Probably not.

I am not one for Nazism, fascism or discrimination in any form. However, I do believe in people being able to make their own decisions, and thus being forced to live with the consequences (be they fortuitous or otherwise) of those decisions. Choose to be a Jew and keep Kosher, well, you don't get free soup from this particular charity. Is this soup a pretext for anti-Jew/Muslim groups? Perhaps. That's not cool in my book, but to force everyone to conform to one group's particular habits or customs is just as wrong. The most disturbing part to me was in the second paragraph of the story (emphasis mine):

Police banned the soup kitchen last month, arguing that the handouts discriminated against Jews and Muslims who do not eat pork on religious grounds.

Police banned the kitchen. Are you serious? They just rocked up in there and shut the place down without due process or review? That's just wrong. I'd be scared if I lived in Paris. Apparently the idea of to each his own is not alive in France.

A Special Christmas Gift ...

I spent NYE in San Diego, and this song was introduced to me there. Hadn't seen it before then. Oh man, funny stuff. Seriously. As Eric said: "I really like this song, because Justin Timberlake actually brings something to the skit." Yeah, he sure does: his junk in a box.