My chance to star in a YouTube video

Little video some of us put together at work. Don’t worry if you don’t understand it. It’s promoting an employee recognition program and that’s probably all the background you need. I recorded the vocals and play “Ryan Petecrest.”

What I did on my summer vacation

Well, one of the things, anyway…

Folk wisdom solves gay marriage debate

Your rights end where mine begin.

It’s a simple enough idea—arguably the mantra of libertarians everywhere—and as rules of thumb go, it’s a pretty good one. After all, the argument says, in a free country I can swing my arms all I want, as long as I don’t hit your nose.

For me, it’s difficult not to apply this simple folk aphorism to the debate about gay marriage, which became turbocharged this week when President Obama waded in and (some would say finally) declared his support for the idea.

I have to dismiss many of what could be termed impact-on-society arguments here, because let’s be frank, most are ridiculous. Some people say allowing men to marry men will destroy the institution of marriage, as if a divorce rate somewhere north of 40 percent for first-time marriages hasn’t already done that. As one friend recently stated, “I believe that marriage is one of the most beautiful and sacred things to ever be offered as a prize on a game show.” Continue reading

TV review: New Girl

I don’t do too many TV reviews, but I watched the premiere of New Girl last night and although I usually find Zooey Deschanel to be cute and entertaining, I didn’t find too much to like in this show. Frankly, I expected better, which is pretty sad because I didn’t expect much, having only found out about the series yesterday.

Zooey is talented, but they didn’t really give her a whole lot to do beyond freak out about her boyfriend dumping her, and let’s face it…that’s not really Zooey’s wheelhouse. Quirky, yes. Stressed and freaking, no. Continue reading

The slow-motion SGR train wreck

The debt deal is a piece of crap. At least part of it…

Raise your hand if you know what the SGR is. Okay, I’ll explain. Back in the ’90s, Congress decided to limit the growth of Medicare physician reimbursement through something called the Sustainable Growth Rate formula. Essentially, if reimbursement costs outpace estimates provided under the formula, physician pay is cut the following year to compensate. Continue reading

Debt and taxes

As much as I cherish my ignorance, I’ve been reading up on some of this debt ceiling stuff. Here are a few links that you don’t need an economics degree to read. I’ll try to add more as I find some good ones.

How we got into this fine mess
Pointing the finger at…well…everyone really.

Who Rules America?
This article is a little more involved, but it’s important. In 2007, the top 20% of the U.S. controlled 93% of the wealth, and the economic downturn of 2008 is estimated to have widened that gap.

The Laffer Curve debunked; Part One
Nice look at the Laffer Curve—the theory we’d all love to believe in—in which the government takes in more revenue as taxes get cut.

Debunking One of the Worst Ideas in Economics
More on the Laffer Curve, in case the previous article didn’t take.

Dating the crazy chick is fun…for a while

A guy I used to know ended up dating the crazy girl. You know the type: outgoing, artsy, off-beat, plenty of piercings and tattoos. She seemed pretty cool at first. Loads of fun at parties, and from what I was led to believe, the sex was great. But over time, she became more demanding, more jealous. She had a very dark side that came out more often as time when on. The two of them almost got married and if that had happened, I wouldn’t have been surprised if one of them had ended up killing the other. For a long time after they split up, he was an emotional wreck.

I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve watched the Tea Party gang yank the old-school Republicans around on this debt ceiling issue. There are plenty of reasons why the debt limit needs to be raised, but they’re boring and I don’t want to get into them here. Suffice to say that the U.S. defaulting on its obligations would be unprecedented and very, very bad. So the limit needs to be raised. This isn’t a particularly partisan issue. It might be distasteful, but it has to be done. Continue reading

Pls I need your urgent assistance: Email me

I’ve decided there might be some entertainment value to be had in reviewing e-mails from spammers. We all get these 419 scams and promptly ignore them, right? RIGHT??? (Please contact me if you don’t ignore them and you actually think you’re going to get some money out of the deal. There might be some entertainment value in that as well.) So, without further ado, this is the text of an e-mail I received earlier today, broken down with my own comments:

Hello:

It’s always important to open your scam letter with a friendly greeting. It makes a good impression and puts the recipient at ease. In this case, using a colon instead of the customary comma is symbolic of something the scammer plans to do to the recipient. Nice touch.

With a very desperate need for assistance,I have summoned up courage to contact you since i am presently in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion,29th Field Artillery Regiment,3/4 AAB and found your contact particulars in an Address journal.

How much courage does one summon to contact me??? This guy is in a combat unit for cryin’ out loud. I know I can be intimidating, but traditionally that only applies to iguanas and children under the age of four. A few more weeks of basic training might have done him a world of good. Continue reading

Buttercup

This is one of the things that got me interested in playing the ukulele. There, I admit it.