Friday, March 28, 2008
Mathematics To Retire Favre's NumberCAMBRIDGE, MA—Mathematicians, statisticians, number theorists, and members of numeral-oriented professions held a press conference at MIT Tuesday to announce plans to honor quarterback Brett Favre's stellar 17-year career by retiring the number four. "After careful consideration, we came to our conclusion based on the following factors: one, Favre's passion for the game; two, his unmatched ability to win; three, his resilience and sheer toughness in the face of adversity on and off the field; and five, the fact that he holds every significant passing record," professor Jeffery Hamilton said. "No person will be permitted to ever use the number again, though it may be necessary to create a new integer to place between three and five." Favre's number will be retired sometime during the 2008 NFL season and will join the other numbers retired from mathematics, including 23, 42, and 1,003,256.
Labels: Stuff From The Onion
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Lately, though, I haven't been the best of bloggers. I'm posting just a couple of times a week. Once recently I even missed Sue Foley Photo Friday. There are a lot of reasons for this, I suppose. Starting a new job and setting up a new apartment has taken up a lot of my time and attention. My commute to see that special someone has increased.
But when it comes right down to it, I really just haven't had many ideas of what to write about. I sat in front of my computer this morning, wanting to write, and the only thing I could think of was "geez, I'm not writing much, am I?" So that's the blog you get today.
OK, here are a couple of "mini-posts," stuff I've been thinking about that haven't developed into full fledged posts:
Online Bill-Pay is So Cool!
My checking account always had online bill-pay. Nobody bothered to tell me this. It's a lot harder for me to write a check manually than to just type stuff. And if the payee doesn't participate in online bill-pay, my bank will write and mail a check. That is so cool!
Echostar Benefits is CRIMINALLY Bad
Besides getting me fired for complaining when they gave me inaccurate benefits information, Echostar Benefits really doesn't know what they're doing. If you call, no one is typically there, if someone is there they can't answer your question, they'll assure you that they'll get back to you but they never do.
My One Run-in with Castle Rock Police was Not Good
Bogus traffic stop on Wednesday night. Essentially I was harassed by what I suspect was a bored officer who followed me for 5 MILES before pulling me over. Accused me first of drinking, but I'd been at work the previous 8 hours. Then I was accused of talking on a cell phone. I didn't have a cell phone on me. Was I texting? No, I don't have a phone on me. Why was I waving a phone around? Apparently my dash mounted GPS was mistaken for a phone, the "waving around" remains a mystery to me. I spent all day yesterday demanding that the officer's vision and sanity be tested. Sgt. Roe was nice enough but wouldn't answer my questions and will undoubtedly do nothing. I found a perfect new employee for Echostar Benefits.
I've Got a Timer on My Lava Lamp
Timers are so cool! My lava lamp is on when I get home from working, all warmed up, but also providing a little bit of light in my apartment. Now I've added the light on my fish tank to the same timer. Same excellent benefits.
Those Little Carts at Wal-Mart and Grocery Stores are Great
When pushing a cart, I can walk around a store pretty well, but I'm pretty tired when I'm done shopping. So tired that my driving is affected. So tired that taking my purchases into my apartment is almost impossible.
Living On The Ground Floor is Great
Using a cart has taken all of those issues away. I was too proud to use them for the longest time. I still feel a bit weird when I use them, but it makes the drive home so much easier.
I'm Still in Love
For a week before the move and a couple of weeks after I wasn't so sure. There was too much going on in my life for me to worry about that too much. Once things slowed down, I saw what was missing in my life. We're both working to make things run more smoothly.
I Thought That When I Left California That I Was Through With "Emissions Testing"
Nope. And the Colorado bureaucracy on this matter is much worse than California's. Fuckers.
I hope that caught everyone up a little...
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Look at Me! I'm a Bank!
Thirty Billion dollars of Bear Stearns investments are being guaranteed by the Federal government. I understand why this is being done. If Bear Stearns falls, the crisis only gets worse. More people lose their homes.
But I can't help but think about the people who have lost or who are about to lose their homes. How do they feel about the Bear Stearns bailout? I know how I feel. I feel that the government cares more about a bank than they care about thousands of families who are going to end up without a home. Banks over families.
I keep a little bit of track of who's looking at The Globex Corporation Newsletter. I get a lot of hits from search engines. Lots of those hits show how ineffective some people are when performing web searches. People find The Globex Corporation Newsletter when looking for something completely different.
Apparently, "BOJ" is quite commonly used by people referring to the Bank of Japan and the Bank of Jamaica. Banks. People confuse me with banks.
If I get myself into financial trouble, my government has shown how little they care about me as a common citize. But if I were a bank...
So that's the answer. I am now a bank. If I have an over draught, I can just ask the government to bail me out. Can't pay my rent? The government will pay it for me. I'm a bank! I can make all of the bad investments I want, there's no risk, I'm a bank!
I know I thought of it first, but I'm not greedy like a traditional bank. We should ALL be banks. Everyone should declare themselves a bank. I did it and you should too.
CEO - Globex Bank and Trust
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Satellite launches by Dish Network since 11/9/07:
...but I'm sure it's just a coincidence...
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Tina Fey is hosting SNL.
That is all.
But it was a target in the Cold War. Ellsworth AFB (my hometown, as much as a military installation can be somebody's hometown) was home of the 28th Strategic Bomb Wing, a double wing of B-52 G and H model strategic bombers. With a portion of this wing on permanent alert, it was hard to ignore the fact that though nobody was shooting at anybody, we were in a real war.
I would go to the theater on base and see that the rows at the back of the theater were reserved for bomber alert crews. Special traffic light adorned intersections, when flashing, you yielded to alert trucks. These would have been manned by technicians, the men who made the planes fly, who made the weapons do what they were supposed to do.
The air crews, of course, were confined to a facility about 90 seconds from their aircraft. The men who would fly the planes if "the balloon went up" weren't allowed to go to movies or drive alert trucks around the base. Their families could come to see them, but only for short periods of time.
The alert pad was only a few miles from my house, when we lived on base and when my family bought a home as my dad prepared for retirement. I lived a good portion of my life miles away from bombers armed with nuclear weapons, ready to take off in 90 seconds and deliver their payloads. That alert pad was a target. The flight line was a target as all of the aircraft on in could be fitted with nuclear weapons in short order. The nuclear weapons themselves, kept in a remote corner of the base, behind a truly intimidating level of security were targets.
Ellsworth AFB was also home to the 44th Strategic Missile Wing. Dad being in bombers, my knowledge of that portion of the base's mission are not as detailed. I do know that a large number of Minuteman II missiles were in silos all over Western South Dakota. I would see the silos and Launch Control Facilities on drives to go hunting or to enjoy other activities the region had to offer. Each of these silos, each of these LCF's were targets.
The base would preach Civil Defense, how to prepare ourselves in the event of a nuclear attack. I would read this stuff and believe it. I read about the things to try to do to avoid the nuclear fallout that would occur in the event of a nuclear attack.
Fallout was the radioactive particles created by a nuclear blast. Basically, a nuclear bomb would explode and the dirt in the area, now radioactive, would be thrown into the air. It would eventually settle back to earth. It would land on the ground and in water making food gathering pretty difficult. Keeping yourself free from radiation would be difficult but not impossible.
First, you'd need a place that could shield you from radiation. This was simple enough, large amounts of earth could shield a person from radiation. Then you'd need food and water in this place so it wasn't contaminated.
After my family moved off base, I had a bedroom in the basement. My plan, in the event of a nuclear attack, was to fill the window wells with dirt, place lot of clothes on my loft bed, put my mattress against the loft and have the family live under there until the radiation levels died down. My mother grew up on a farm, there were always large amounts of food stuffs in our house. Take the food to that location with us, collect some water, live under my bed. It wouldn't be easy, it would suck, but we'd survive. It seemed like a workable plan.
A one kiloton nuclear detonation would vaporize everything within a five mile radius. I lived less than five mile from the alert pad. While I don't have access to any Soviet nuclear attack plans, I'm pretty confident that at least one missile in the 1 kiloton range was targeted on that particular location. Considering the hundreds of nuclear weapons that would have been targeted on the rest of the base and Western South Dakota as a whole is somewhat beyond my comprehension.
I was 16 when I realized that if shit went down, I was dead. I was dead in seconds. I was dead before I had any idea of what was even going on.
The plus side was that I wouldn't suffer. I wouldn't have to look for food and water that had acceptable levels of nuclear contamination, I would be vapor. That would be it for me.
That's how I grew up, in the shadow of doom and death and utter destruction. It came pretty close a couple of times when I was in junior high and high school. I really don't like to think about how close.
I moved on, attended college in a "low threat" area. The Cold War ended. Apparently we won. And while the threat of global annihilation isn't the same as it was for me growing up, I have a pretty good feeling that I'll see a nuclear detonation, one out of anger, in my lifetime.
Hopefully I'll be really far away from that detonation.
Or at ground zero.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Sue Foley Video Friday
Something Called 'The Colorado Crush' Wins
DENVER— The Colorado Crush, a Denver-based professional or semi-professional sports team, defeated the Columbus Destroyers 50-47 in an apparently close game of some description last Monday, sources report. "It was great to win our season opener," team captain and center Kyle Moore-Brown told reporters via phone, giving no visual cue as to which sport he played. "Anyone who follows the league knows that Columbus is tough, and just scoring against them is an accomplishment in itself. It's going to be a great season." Although it could not be confirmed at press time, it is assumed that the Destroyers and the Crush do in fact play the same sport.
Labels: Stuff From The Onion
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Arthur C. Clarke
Maybe it was because I was sitting in a room where over 1600 different satellite feeds are monitored, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, but I think that those two national news stories missed on the biggest contribution that Arthur C. Clarke made to humanity.
You may not like science fiction, you may think that 2001 was a baffling motion picture, but you, undoubtedly, have been affected by one of Arthur C. Clarke's ideas,:
A geostationary orbit (GEO) is a geosynchronous orbit directly above the Earth's equator (0° latitude), with orbital eccentricity of zero. From the ground, a geostationary object appears motionless in the sky ...
What's so important about this? Satellites. More specifically, communications satellites. The satellites that make phone and telephone transmissions in this country cheap and reliable. The same satellites that make national news broadcasts possible.
It was Arthur C. Clarke's idea. An idea that changed the world. An idea that never earned Clarke a dime.
He described this concept in a paper titled "Extra-Terrestrial Relays — Can Rocket Stations Give Worldwide Radio Coverage?", published in Wireless World in October 1945. The geostationary orbit is now sometimes known as the Clarke Orbit or the Clarke Belt in his honor.
Even if you didn't like 2001, Clarke's idea touch your life every day. It touches all of our lives.
Friday, March 14, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Before I was on the show I used to think about how cool it would be to be able to put Jeopardy! Contestant on my resume. I did just that. It wasn't really so much to say "Hey! Look at me! I'm really smart!", but more to give people who were looking at my resume have something they could remember. Really, though, only one place I applied to ever made any reference to that line on my resume. They hired me, setting into motion one of the worst Chapters of my life.
When reworking my resume this time, I left Jeopardy! Contestant off. The reasons are many, and in the end it was left off due to a lack of space. The more I thought about it, though, the more I'm glad I did.
Since the day I taped my show, I've met lots of folks who could've been on the show. I encourage everyone I think would be good to try out for the show. TSA, neighbor Tim, that woman I'm dating, they'd all be good on the show. They all have a great base of knowledge, can recall it quickly and have interesting stories to tell.
As I've written before, it's not so much how smart you are that gets you on Jeopardy!. You have to pass the written test, of course, which isn't the easiest thing. It's not unthinkable that the people I've mentioned, and many more people I know, could pass the test easily. Getting on the show has more to do with fitting into what they're look for at the point they're putting shows together. Why I got on remains a mystery to me, I'd have been perfectly happy to keep taking the contestant test as I enjoyed the people I met there.
Being smart enough to be on the greatest gameshow in TV history is nice, but there are thousand of people in Colorado who are smart enough. There are probably quite a few here in Castle Rock. It's just not that special. Getting on the show is sort of like hitting the lottery; it didn't really take any skill, it just sort of happens.
I've decided to kind of keep that part of my life to myself for the time being. Yes, I understand that I'm writing about it in a somewhat public forum. I'm not keeping it secret, I'm just not offering the information to anyone. I've kind of decided that I'll have to be asked point blank, something like, "Hey, weren't you that guy on Jeopardy! in 2003?" Being an honest person, I'd fess up in a situation like that. Otherwise, I'll just keep it to myself.
So I'm at work today, doing my job quietly. Jeopardy! is on. People are playing along. The shift supervisor, very proud of herself for winning $50 in a bar trivia contest (shared with the other people on her team) tells the story of taking the contestant test and not passing. The others seem really impressed. People are shouting out answers. They have the advantage of seeing the screen, of reading the clue. I'm head down, watching my own stuff. I'm right more often and generally as quickly.
I'm quiet. I want to say "I passed the contestant test, TWICE. I was on the show. I was in it to the end. I actually could have won." But I don't. I smile to myself, hearing the obviously wrong answers.
At a different time in my life, not too long ago, I would have spoken up right away. Now I don't. I know that I'm good enough. That's all that matters.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
After John Belushi died I wanted to like Jim Belushi. I so wanted him to carry on for John. I remember the excitement I had, knowing he had a bit part in the movie Trading Places. That was probably the best work Jim Belushi has done in a mediocre career.
Or would he? We'll never know. John Belushi died young, some would say too young. While I agree with that sentiment, we never had to see an aging John Belushi plod through the same old tired plots that Hollywood would have forced him to take on. I'll remember, we'll all remember the young Belushi of The Blues Brother, Animal House and 1941.
John Belushi had more talent in one wryly lifted eye brow than Jim has or will ever have. In truth, it's not fair to compare Jim Belushi to one of the most gifted comic actors of my lifetime, but it's a fact.
I couldn't help thinking, though, that had John lived he would likely be starring in something like According to John or Animal House 2K-8. And if you think that's out of the question, think of what's become of Dan Aykroyd, a one time gifted comic actor who's turned into something of a parody of himself.
A commenter on Jump the Shark posted that WKRP in Cincinnati never "jumped the shark" because it didn't last long enough to get tired, to fall into all of the traps that make a sitcom suck. If you think about it logically, 'Krp more than likely would have stunk if it had lasted a season or three longer. It was inevitable.
Would John Belushi have suffered the same fate? Who knows. What I do know is that the John Belushi we're left with, his body of work, is a classic. It lasted long enough for me, to provide me with a lifetime of laughs.
Sure a few more years would have been great. There was a risk, though. A risk of a string of lackluster performances, of vehicles that didn't fit his talents.
I prefer the John Belushi we were left with, not one that could have turned out like brother Jim.
...that's Jim Belushi, not Jim Ignatauski... Brother Jim Ignatauski was great...
Friday, March 07, 2008
Reasons The Empire is a Better Place to Work then that Other Place
- I have yet to talk to anyone from Human Resources
I just do my job. Nobody has talked to me about anything else. Nobody has tried to feed me a line of bullshit. It's refreshing.
- Covered Parking
From the looks of things, someone realized that when build a second building that it might be a cool idea to let the top floor hang over a little bit and provide the employees a place to park where their cars wouldn't get snowed on so much. The employees. Thinking about the employees.
- Soda in the break room vending machine? Twenty-five cents!
Make a profit on you employees? Unheard of! Twenty-five cents is about what it would cost for me to buy soda a Wal-Mart and take it in to work. This is more convenient and it doesn't cost me any more that the troule of buying soda and taking it in to work.
- Doors that open themselves
I have MS. I use a cane. Sometimes I've got something in my free hand on the way in the building. I swipe my badge and the door opens itself. I'm not lazy, but, damn, that sure makes my life a hell of a lot easier.
- The Security guys are friendly
I have a running joke with the security guy. He makes sure I'm who I say I am and lets me in the facility. I'm not swiping my badge to get through a fucking revolving door that may or may not let me in the building/
- The days off I've had since day one are better than I could ever hope for at that other place
People were quite jealous of those who had the days off that I have now. People have better days off than I do. Me taking these days gave another guy the oportunity to have Saturdays and Sundays off. He's grateful. Which leads to...
- The good people work on swing shift
It's a TV job. People watch TV during Prime Time. It's when a broadcast facility should do it's best work. It's when the best people should be working. That's the way it seems to work here.
It ain't perfect. I'm sure I'll bitch. I had reasons to bitch this week. All I have to do, though, is remember how much better this place treats the low level employees, the people doing what the fucking business is in existence for, than the employees were treated in that shithole.
It will make me think twice before bitching.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Nation's Presidential Assassins Still Undecided
I'll post something here when I'm feeling up to it.