Saturday, October 30, 2010

Multi-tasking . . .

. . . or just plain rude?

Do you work for or with someone who keeps working on their computer when you come to ask questions?

Do they talk to you, but continue typing and not look up from the screen?

It has happened to me now and again, and I consider it rude and dismissive.

How about you? Have you ever done that? Do you do it consistently?

Or, do you do the right thing, and either:

a. Say "please give me just a moment so I don't lose my thought," or,

b. Turn and face your visitor and give them your attention?

Be honest now.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Dazed . . .
. . . and confused

The U. S. electorate, that is.

At least that's what Barry O is telling us.

In Boston, Barry said: "People out there are still hurting very badly, and they are still scared, and so part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now, and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time, is because we're hard-wired not to always think clearly when we're scared."

Translation: It's not my policies. You're just too scared to listen, or too stupid to understand.

Here's a news flash, Barry. Jimmy-the-peanut-farmer's "Crisis of Confidence" didn't save him either. Calling the populace too ignorant to see how much you have helped them just may not be a winning strategy.

I think Charles Krauthammer's assessment is right on target. Barry has diagnosed the populace with "Obama Underappreciation Syndrome."

Monday, October 25, 2010

This self-important egomaniac . . .

. . . can go sod himself.

He's nothing more than a cyber-terrorist wolf in the sheep's clothing of a savior of humanity. I would state my reasons, but those who disagree would not accept them, and those who agree don't need them.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Orwell . . .

. . . Returns

To the UK, that is.

From: The Times

Ministers are considering spending up to £12 billion on a database to monitor and store the internet browsing habits, e-mail and telephone records of everyone in Britain.

GCHQ, the government’s eavesdropping centre, has already been given up to £1 billion to finance the first stage of the project.

Hundreds of clandestine probes will be installed to monitor customers live on two of the country’s biggest internet and mobile phone providers - thought to be BT and Vodafone. BT has nearly 5m internet customers.

I don't live in the UK, but this concerns me. Whether it was Wilde or Shaw or Russell or Churchill, we are indeed two countries separated only by a common language.

Although the UK has no constution, per se, and therefore no bill of rights, certain rights of individuals are assumed - whether by statute or convention. Beyond that, peoples in a "free" country have evolved a zone of comfort about that which the government may or may not control.

I am very interested in the outcome of this proposal. Are the citizens of the UK willing to have every communication recorded in order to provide some (perceived) higher level of security?

If that happens, have not "They" won?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Navigating . . .

. . . the maelstrom

The maelstrom that is downtown Napoli, that is.

Even with the complexity of today's automobiles, recalls are relatively rare. However, rarity doesn't help when:
a. Your new vehicle has only 3,000 miles on the odometer, and
b. You just had it shipped 4,645 miles to a foreign country.

Italy, for example.

Yep, our new Ford Escape was recalled to reprogram the control module for the automatic transmission.

Fortunately, Ford has an extensive presence in Italy so there is a Ford concessionaire in Naples. That's the good news. The bad news is that the Ford concessionaire is in Naples.

I'm told that Naples is the second most densely populated city in the world - just behind Tokyo. That, however is not true.

With 4,100 people per sq. km., Naples is 55th on the list - on a par with Leeds/Bradford and Manchester in the UK. London, by the way is number 43, with a density of 5,100 per sq. km.

None of that is comforting, though, considering where I had to drive a vehicle that is approximately 25% larger than most cars on Naples' streets.

I was in this area. The photos don't look too bad, but traffic density was at least five times that evidenced here. It was simply wall-to-wall cars, three wide, with nary a metre nose-to-tail anywhere.

Evidence, you ask? Distance - 4.5 km. Driving time - 30 minutes. Average speed - 9 kph (5.6 mph). Hardly nosebleed velocity.

I made it there and back with nary a scratch. Although, I had to "go Napolitani" on a few folks. (Translated: No quarter asked, none given). I call it Driving under the Black Flag. Banastre Tarleton would have been proud.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

More questions . . .

. . . a possible answer

In a post on 29 SEP, titled Good Questions, I quoted Patrick J. Buchanan, to wit:

In 2009, as unemployment soared under Obama, the U.S. government issued 1.131 million green cards. . .

In response, Brennig offered a riposte with several questions that focused on a central point. That point (hopefully accurately restated) being that "accepted economic thinking clearly states that change in economic policies . . . can take up to 18 months to take effect," so why blame Obama?

That was such an insightful question that I decided to bring my answer here rather than just in a comment to his comment. Here 'tis, slightly expanded - and corrected, because I misspoke with respect to taxes.

As former COO of a small business, I know first-hand that there are both resultant AND anticipatory effects created due to a significant policy change.

A good percentage of the business leaders in the U.S. understand (or, at least believe they understand) the eventual outcome of Obama's overtly socialistic policies. Then they react in accordance. They anticipate the probable effect of these policies, then adjust their business strategies and practices so as not to be adversely affected when the excrement strikes the rotary air mover.

For example, the expiration of the Bush tax reductions on "the rich" is particularly onerous to small businesses. Many of these are "Type S" corporations, where the entire profit of the company is treated as taxable personal income to the owner, regardless of the salary he pays himself.

So, a significant income stream that could be used to create jobs is sucked up by the government. Business owners anticipate this effect and adjust to it before the fact.

His policies are generally anti-business, the owners know it, so they are not waiting those projected 18 months. A successful business must lead the parade, not sweep up after it with a dustpan and broom.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Deal . . .

. . . or no deal

Subtitle: gambling for dummies.

This game show, hosted by Howie Mandel, has been very popular for five years. I believe the only reason that it maintains it's popularity is the sheer idiocy of the contestants they choose.

What the contestants never seem to comprehend is that it's a game of chance, not skill. No matter what system you use, unless you look at the odds, you will lose.

You can believe that the million is in your case. It doesn't matter. It's random

You can be "on a roll." It doesn't matter. It's random.

Your faith that "one more case" will help you doesn't matter. It's random.

Chosing cases by family members' birthdays doesn't matter. It's random.

For most, gambling fever takes over.

Take this doofus. Down to two cases on the board: $1.00 and $1,000,000.00. His offer: $660,000.00. So, here are his choices:

1: $660,000 sure thing.
2: Flip of a coin and you get either a million or nothing.

Guess what he did.

Guess what he went home with.

Yep, $1.00

There is absolutely no skill involved in this game except for the decision about when to quit. Amateur gamblers who don't realize this fact in ANY game of chance eventually go home broke.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Vietri . . .

. . . to Amalfi

Today, Mrs. B and I took a road trip from Napoli to Vietri to Amalfi, then back over the mountains to Napoli.

Looking uphill, we saw views like these:

Downhill views looked like this:

Our smiles looked like this:

We had lunch in a very nice ristorante in Ravello, well up the hill from Amalfi. Even though the tourist season is almost over, we sat next to a family from Inverness, Scotland, one from Allen, TX, and two from Boston, MA. The rest of the room was filled with Italiani.

The drive was fine, notwithstanding the narrow, winding roads. The only distraction was the never-ending whine of motorcycles. They treat these mountain roads like their own private grand prix.

Next season, we plan to go back and stay for a couple of days.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Buon Day . . .

. . . or Good Giorno?

I don't really feel that I have progressed enough with my Italiano lessons. However, I have come to the point where I speak neither Italiano or Inglese, but rather Inglesiano or Italiese.

English words mixed with whatever proper Italiano I can remember. My employees think it's progress. What do you think?