Friday, October 9, 2009

Nobel Prizes...

I've spent a good amount of time today reading articles, blog posts, and facebook comments concerning the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama. When I first heard the news, I was somewhat surprised, but then happy that an international body recognized the efforts that he has been putting in place to bring the world back from the edge of hysteria. And no, I'm not talking about his economic programs. The things that he has been doing since his inauguration to settle the rest of the world's angst at the US have been impressive. While some of them may be subtle, the point is, there is no longer a feeling that it's the US against the world. Because as much as we feel we might be able to win that battle....let me tell you, we can't. More importantly, we shouldn't want to engender that atmosphere.

Think about what it would be like if one state in the US suddenly decided it no longer wanted to have any dealings with the rest of the county. Not a big deal if it's North Dakota, but what if it's California? Suddenly the price of fruits, wine, cheese, technology, and a host of other goods would sky rocket in the rest of the country. And within California, they'd suddenly lose every good coming from the rest of the country, not to mention the funding and protection of the Federal government. Now it's obviously not quite the same thing, but like it or not, the US is just one piece of the global economic puzzle. And the sooner we realize that, the better off we'll be as a country.

Now, getting back to my point. A lot of the comments I had read were, what has Obama done to receive the honor? A good question, but those people who ask that, don't understand the reasoning behind the award. The award is meant to encourage, facilitate, and acknowledge efforts to make the world a more peaceful place. In essence it is meant as a platform to promote and further efforts already being made. In this case, it means the efforts President Obama has undergone to open up talks with nations like Iran, as well as the general switch in attitude of the rest of the world towards the US. The committee must have realized that without a healthy and popular US, the world can't fully recover. So this was their effort to help that outcome along. So all of you people who are protesting this, think about it in a bit more depth before slinging out gut reaction posts.... If you still think it's a bad call, then fine, but shouldn't you still be happy that an American President is being talked about in a positive manner by the global community instead of a negative one?

Wisconsin and Minnesota suddenly decided they did not want to conduct business with each other. Suddenly everyone who worked in the Twin Cities, but lived across the border would suddenly be without a job. Commerce would be halted.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What the Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep

I can't believe what I read in the Milwaukee Journal today. Apparently, the union workers at Mercury Marine decided it was better for to have no jobs, than for new employees and workers returning from lay-offs to take pay cuts.


Well here's the inside scoop. According to a source of mine who works at the Mercury marine plant, most of the workers are nearing retirement age because the union previously saw to it that workers who were laid off were the younger, newer (and less expensive) employees. So, the average age of the remaining employees is somewhere in the mid 50's. These employees decided that taking pay cuts, and possibly cuts to their pensions would be worse than getting early retirement packages from Mercury. And they're probably right. On the other hand, all of those laid-off employees now have no chance of getting jobs back, and wont get early retirement or severance packages. Let's not forget all of the younger people in the area who were looking forward to someday working for Mercury Marine who will now have to try to find work elsewhere. All of this happening in a community where there are more and more people competing for fewer and fewer manufacturing positions.

Way to go Lodge 1947, you have cut another leg out from the Fond Du Lac community. I hope your retirement in Florida is a bit spoiled when you can't sell your house because all of the younger people in the market are leaving to find work at the plant in Oklahoma where you just sent their jobs.

I'm a bit miffed by this as you may well be able to tell. As I understand it, a union's role is to ensure the beneficial treatment of its current and future members. What kind of future members are you going to have when the plant is closed down? What kind of service are you giving your members that are currently laid off who now have no chance of being re-hired? It's just asinine.

I can only hope that other unions are more responsible to their members and the community at large. Or that some day unions will be as outdated as the work environments they were created to prevent.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Philosopher's Stone

I was so close...

Caller number 5 in fact. Not the necessary number 10, but I knew the answer, and apparently the first number 10 caller did not. In fact, none of the first 20 number 10 callers knew it. But I did, and could not get through!!!!

This morning a local radio station offered 4 tickets to see the new Harry Potter movie, and a chance to win a preview, in Chicago, of the movie as well as admission to see the Harry Potter exhibit at the museum of Science and Industry. Can you say Tim's PERFECT PRIZE? The question that was to be answered in order to win this most fantastic of prizes was, what was the ORIGINAL name of the first book in the Harry Potter series? Everybody was answering that it was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. The actual answer is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. I realize that this makes me an unbelievable geek and addict of a book series that was meant for 13 year old kids. I don't care, it's a good story, and a couple million other people agree with me, so there.

Anyway, I listened on the radio as person after person missed the question, while all I could hear was the busy signal and the echoes of, "Hi, you're caller number 5, please try again!" But now that I know they are offering that up as a prize....that's all I'm listening to for the next couple of days!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

6 Months = 1 Store

Six Months.... That is how long I have been away from Best Buy Mobile. In that time they have opened one store. One dang store!!!!!

Now I don't know for sure that they do not have more under construction, but seriously, when I left the plan was for something like 40 this year. And so far, we have 1. And honestly, it's in a mall I recommended, but definitely NOT the one I thought they'd get open first. It's in Eden Prairie, MN. I thought it would be perfect, but I was told that it wasn't good enough. I guess all I can say is whatever BBY Mobile...whatever.

Well, I guess that should make me feel happy that they eventually took my advice seriously, but I'm picturing the insanity I may have had to gone through to get to the point they are at right now, opening one store in 6 months...It certainly makes me feel like I made the right move...Although it would have been nice to live near Katie and Mike...

Monday, June 8, 2009

The smart guy...

I'm scared...

I was told this morning that I'm "the smart guy" here in the office.


Let's repeat that, I'm THE SMART GUY!

What does that tell us? First, that this office may, in fact, be doomed. Second, I'm a MUCH better BS artist that even I thought. And third, I may need to redefine what my definition of "smart" is. While I'm probably WAY to biased about the first two, I think the third brings up an interesting point: what do I define as smart?

Really I guess it is as subjective as anything else. I mean really, in an office like this, the person who figures out how to operate the microwave on something other than the express setting may be the smart guy (I know, that's a VERY specific example...). In another realm, where intelligence flows like the Heineken does here each and every "beer Friday," smart may be someone who is well versed in items animal, vegetable, and mineral. But, let's say, for arguments sake, that there is such a thing as a universally acceptable definition of smart; how would I define it?

First, I would say that a "smart" individual is someone who is able to use logic (yes Jill, I used the L-word) to reason out answers they don't know right away. I think this is important because anyone can memorize information, but to discover something for yourself using only your mind is MUCH more impressive.

Second, I think the ability to use that knowledge is important. You will hear people say things like, "they are street smart, not book smart," but, to me there shouldn't be a distinction. In either case, if you truly are "smart," you are using information you have learned, or reasoned out and applying it to situations. Again, just memorizing something and spitting it back out on a test is useless once you get out of school and into the real world.

Third, and I think most importantly, is the ability to remain open to other ideas, theories, and viewpoints other than what you hold to be true. Imagine where we would be if "smart" people like Sir Issac Newton, Albert Einstein, or Thomas Jefferson refused to reach out beyond their existing viewpoints. We'd still be vassals of the Queen!

So based on THAT definition of smart, I guess I'm flattered, but I rather think the idea of being better at bull-crap can safely be assumed to be the main factor for my newly established title.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The last glass

My body hates me....

It's true! But the torment is finally over, really! Over the last week, my body has had to endure more Burger King than it should rightly have expected to. Mostly because it has been a long time since I even stepped foot into Burger King, let along four times in one three days! Why have I spent so much time in the home of the king? It all has to do with Star Trek. For those of you who aren't among the geekier portion of the population, there is a new Star Trek movie out. And for those of you who don't really know my wife, she's a huge "Trekie." Not, "Oh my god. I have to dress up in my Lt. Uhura uniform and go to the convention" Trekie, but definitely "Oh my god, I HAVE to have those collectible Star Trek glasses from Burger King!"

And now you see the reason for the torment of my body. I was tasked by my wife to obtain these spectacular glasses from Burger King. And you would think you could waltz in to their restaurant and simply purchase these magnificent glasses. And you would be wrong. The King didn't become the King because he was stupid. No, quite the contrary, the King knows how to wriggle every last penny from the purse of his subjects. You cannot buy a glass UNLESS you buy a value meal. Then, and only then, may you purchase a glass for a small fee of $1.99!

That was a revelation found only after visiting my third Burger King on the way into the office this Wednesday morning. Oh, I forgot to mention that did I? Well the first one didn't have the glasses, the second one had the glasses, but their credit card machine was out of order (and who really carries cash anymore), but the third, oh yes the third house of the King had the treasure I was seeking. So, every morning since Wednesday I have been sampling the delights of the BK Breakfast menu, and last night I had a mayo-less Whopper (40% less fat!) in order to satisfy my wife's inner-most Trekie.

All of that may seem like a bit much for some silly glasses, but you really can't appreciate how really cool these glasses are in person. Of course, I could be feeling that way because of the mass quantities of fat and other BK related materials coursing through my veins. But, alas, my wife is happy, and we now have a few more really enjoyable glasses in which we can enjoy our beverages!

Oh, and also, I highly recommend seeing the movie. It was most enjoyable.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Thanks for Visiting...

We're back...

The vacation wasn't nearly long enough, but they really never are. Except retirement, but that's not REALLY a vacation....I digress.

Anyway, we have returned safely from our cruise. I know that some of you were worried about Jill and I contracting the swine flu since our cruise was porting in Ensenada, Mexico. Well don't you worry, Carnival Cruise Lines takes absolutely no chances with the health and welfare of their customers. What that basically means is that we did not stop in Mexico. I can just hear some of your thoughts out there, "Well, better safe than sorry, right?" NORMALLY, I'd agree with you, but let me tell you why I don't this time....

First of all, at the time of our arrival, there were no existing cases of Swine Flu in Ensenada: ZIP, ZERO, ZILCH. Second, when the decision was being made to skip our port of call, there were already 4 confirmed cases in San Diego, and at least 64 total cases in the US. Now, I slept through a lot of math classes in my day, but I'm pretty sure 4 is greater than 0. Now I know that San Diego is bigger (about double the population) than Ensenada, but still is it really safer to take us back to San Diego where there are existing cases of the flu, or stop by a remote city with no cases...

Now, I might not be so annoyed about this whole thing except that this port of call was one of two for the whole trip, and was by far the better of the two. Catalina Island was a nice little pit stop, but really it's a golf course, some interesting scenery, and some really expensive boutique shops that cater to LA's wealthiest. Ensenada was the reason everyone was aboard that ship. Also, the way that Carnival handled the whole situation was pretty shady. First, they told us we weren't going to the port because they were concerned for the health and safety of everyone aboard the ship. OK, I appreciate that, but what are you going to do to compensate me for it? Then, we sail past the port (within about 250 yards) and were told that the ship still went to the port, but that the port was closed (which was NOT the case), therefore, it wasn't Carnivals fault that they couldn't stop at the Port. WHAT?!?!?! That's not what you said last night, still, OK so what does that mean to us? Well here's $20 because we couldn't stop at the port...Excuse me? I paid how much for this trip, mostly because I wanted to actually stop at the ports of call, and now because I can't do that, by your choice I might add, I'm only getting how much back...I don't think so! So, today's mission is to call and complain to the customer service of Carnival...especially when I know that my sister got 50% off a cruise because a hurricane interrupted one of the port of calls, and that wasn't the cruise line's choice, that was mother nature calling the shots.

I know this is a long post and that it may seem a bit childish, but really I don't take many vacations, and when I spend money on something I expect to get what I pay for, not changing excuses and poor service. Having said that, I will probably cruise carnival again because our past experiences have been really good...