Sunday, February 28, 2010

Walking my fence line

A lonely power pole
keeps us connected
Despite cold winter skies
Jay from my iPhone

About Time!

17 years after graduating from college with a BA and a MA, I finally paid off my student loans today!!!!!!!!! With a lot of help from my wife!!
It took 3 times longer to pay for college than it did to actually attend college.
My oldest daughter is attending college now. At least I paid mine off before she is finished with her's.
And I worked hard to not borrow very much money during college. Most students run up debt for college that is 3 times mine. I don't know how long it takes them to pay off their loans.
I must say that I am very happy to be free of the Citibank Company.

So, after all this time: Happy Graduation to me!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Clutter surveillance

Watching me
Watching you
Little Brother
Free to view
Clutter surveillance

Micro Lending in Action

I just made a loan to someone in Kyrgyzstan using a revolutionary new website called Kiva ( And I did it with money previous borrowers have paid me back. As the money gets paid back, I just loan it out again. That way the money just keeps on working.

You can go to Kiva's website and lend to someone across the globe who needs a loan for their business - like raising goats, selling vegetables at market or making bricks. Each loan has a picture of the entrepreneur, a description of their business and how they plan to use the loan so you know exactly how your money is being spent - and you get updates letting you know how the entrepreneur is going. The best part is, when the entrepreneur pays back their loan you get your money back - and Kiva's loans are managed by microfinance institutions on the ground who have a lot of experience doing this, so you can trust that your money is being handled responsibly.

I just made a loan to an entrepreneur named Kasimova Rukiyahon`s Group in Kyrgyzstan. They still need another $550.00 to complete their loan request of $1,100.00 (you can loan as little as $25.00!). Help me get this entrepreneur off the ground by clicking on the link below to make a loan to Kasimova Rukiyahon`s Group too:
It's finally easy to actually do something about poverty - using Kiva I know exactly who my money is loaned to and what they're using it for. And most of all, I know that I'm helping them build asustainable business that will provide income to feed, clothe, house and educate their family long after my loan is paid back.
Join me in changing the world - one loan at a time.
---------------------------------------------------------What others are saying about
'Revolutionising how donors and lenders in the US are connecting with small entrepreneurs in developing countries.'-- BBC

'If you've got 25 bucks, a PC and a PayPal account, you've now got the wherewithal to be an international financier.'-- CNN Money

'Smaller investors can make loans of as little as $25 to specific individual entrepreneurs through a service launched last fall by'-- The Wall Street Journal

'An inexpensive feel-good investment opportunity...All loaned funds go directly to the applicants, and most loans are repaid in full.'-- Entrepreneur Magazine

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Two Lattes Please

Getting righteously steamed
By the bubble and froth
Expressed by the “experts”
Behind the machine

Each bubble produced
Contains a whole head
Induced to project
Its hot air on the film

Hopped up on caffeine
And ego vomit extreme
Each head thinks its bubble
The one and only real thing

The noise they make
Can be silly and fun
But swallowing their bile
Is like drinking the sun

Please hurry, please hurry
Go quick, call the doc
These bubble head monsters
They need to be popped

Have mercy, have mercy
Less sugar, no steam
Quick, take my order
For two lattes please






This Hits Close To Home

Watched Kieth Olbermann last night. His dad has been in the hospital for a long time now. Things are getting bad. He lost his mother recently too. Maybe this hits too close to home for me because of my recent losses, but I was really moved by Kieth's bravery in sharing his story with us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Comets Fly By

Food here's kinda hard to find
Haven't eaten for weeks
I suffocating
I'm chained to an asteroid
Comets fly by
Throw sparks in my face

I'm a courteous young astronaut
But it is hard to be Sociable
While chained to an asteroid

More Nuclear Woes

A follow up to my recent post about the Yankee nuclear power plant in Vermont.

Despite all the company's claims to safety, the plant has been having a series of serious problems (most of which the company lied about) and the State Senate is looking to close it down. Of course, the cost of closing down these aging plants are never calculated at the start of a project and the costs of safely dealing with the leftover radioactive site and materials is never funded at the beginning of such a project. Cases such as the Yankee plant need to be brought up every time nuclear power plants are proposed.

Here is some of the article:

Obama's Nuclear Vision Suffers Setback as Vermont Plant Faces Shutdown
Vermont would be the first state to close a nuclear reactor after 38-year-old Yankee's history of leaking cancer-causing tritium
by Suzanne Goldenberg
Barack Obama's new dream of a nuclear renaissance faces a major reality check today as the state of Vermont is expected to shut down an ageing nuclear reactor with a history of leaks.
The Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant on the Connecticut river, Vermont. (Photograph: Michael Springer/Getty Images)It would be the first time a state has moved to shut down such a reactor, and follows Obama's announcement last week of $8.3bn (£5.4bn) in loan guarantees for the construction of two new reactors in Georgia. White House officials said the money would help spur a burst of new construction - the first since the Three Mile Island meltdown.
The Vermont Yankee, one of America's oldest reactors, has had several leaks of radioactive tritium dating back to 2005, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Monday.
The state senate is set to deny a request to extend its 40-year life span by an additional 20 years condemning the plant to close in 2012, said Peter Shumlin, the highest ranking member of the Vermont senate.
"It is not in Vermont's best interest to run this plant beyond its scheduled closing date in 2012. It is falling apart," said Shumlin. The 30-member senate, which is controlled by Democrats, is due to vote Wednesday morning.
The battle over the so-called Vermont Yankee reactor has attracted an increasingly national audience amid growing disaffection among liberals and environmentalists with Obama's support for the nuclear industry.
Shumlin and other opponents of the plant argue that America has yet to plan for the safe retirement of its existing 104 reactors, which are beginning to approach the end of their original life spans. Some 27 of those reactors have had leaks of tritium, according to the nuclear regulatory commission.
"The debate here isn't whether or not we build new nuclear power plants. The question for America is how can we be so irresponsible and so negligent in expecting our old tired plants to run past their scheduled closing dates," Shumlin said.
The 38-year-old Vermont Yankee plant, which is owned by the New Orleans based Entergy Corp, is among the first of that older generation of reactors, and over the last few years has sustained a series of accidents and leaks.
A cooling tower collapsed in 2007 and again in 2008. In 2009, the plant had three separate leaks of radioactive tritium, which has been linked to cancer. An investigation later established that the plant's owners had lied about the extent of contamination to the local water supply, claiming the facility did not have underground pipes that could carry tritium when it did.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I'm chained to an asteroid

Have been for weeks
I'm suffocating
My friend's name is Astro
He's a space whale
I like him a lot
I'm chained to an asteroid...

Monday, February 22, 2010

Poetry Used to Combat Bad Copyright Laws

I got this from Boing Boing:

Barry sez, "UVEX, the ski goggle maker, got a nastygram from an Olympics Committee IP lawyer, forbidding them from using any images -- or even mentioning -- that gold medal winner Lindsey Vonn uses their equipment."
So UVEX turned to verse:

Blonde Who Uses Our Stuff Wins Downhill (Last Name Rhymes With "Bonn")

There once was a lawyer from the IOC,

who called us to protect "intellectual property."
"During the Olympics", she said with a sneer"
your site can't use an Olympian's name even if they use your gear."
"No pictures, no video, no blog posts can be used...
"Even if they are old? "No!", she enthused.
While Olympians chase gold the IOC pursues green.
Cough up millions, or your logo cannot be seen . . .

Theoretically, a trademark claim is partly about protecting a company's name from "tarnishment," but it's hard to imagine how one could tarnish the IOC's reputation any further, between the naked greed, the unchecked bullying, the corruption and bribery, the doping, and the censorship. Oh, and the thousands of poor people inevitably evicted whenever the Olympics come to town. Is there any way the IOC's reputation could sink lower?
Blonde we like wins Downhill (Last name rhymes with "Bonn") (Thanks, Barry!)


Now it looks like UVEX has pulled the poetry page from their site as well. (404 Not Found)

I wonder if the new legal threat from the IOC was done in iambic pentameter?

Had a great weekend

Spent the weekend like turists. Saw some great sites. Ate good
seafood. Drank in an Irish pub. All within an hour of our house.
Had a fun vacation without the airports or the jet lag.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

Olympic Poet

I really liked that the Olympic Opening Ceremony featured Slam Poet Shane Koyczan. They always have singers and dancers, but it was great having poetry featured so prominently.

Check out his poem, We Are More, if you missed it. There is YouTube video as well.

"we are vineyards of good year after good year
we reforest what we clear
because we believe in generations beyond our own
knowing now that so many of us
have grown past what used to be
we can stand here today
filled with all the hope people have
when they say things like "someday""

I loved how the Opening Ceremony featured so many "regular" people. They performers came in all shapes, sizes, and styles. They weren't all skinny models. Great show.

I am packing my gear and heading to Romeoville, IL to try and up sell one of our largest customers. They are going through a merger right now, and corporate mergers are always stressful. At least these are privately held companies, so there isn't all the stock market drama added on top.

So while the Olympics continue, I will be competing in the Corporate Combined and the 3,000 Kilometer Equipment Haul. See you on the Internets...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Go Toward the Light

Go toward the light
This pie chart can't be right
My spiral twin declares
This civil war unfair
Bugle me boy
Bamboozle me boy
Beat me in a fair fight
Go-go into the light
From the Lost Diaries of Edward "Hammer Toe" Mycroft

Getting Handhelds Ready to go to Chicago

Hopefully they will all fit in my carry-on bag.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hand Me the Future

I'll take my personal jet pack now, if you don't mind.
And one of those replicators that makes what ever I want for dinner.
Don't forget to include the satisfying WHOOOSHing sound.
I need some technology that is significantly advanced enough to make me think it is magic.
And some magic that is reliable enough that I can use it like technology.
Can I pick that up on Friday?

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Clean, Affordable Nuclear Power??? No.

Every person who is concerned about leaving debt and deficits for the next generation, should also be concerned about leaving nuclear power plants to the next generation, and the next, and the next, and the next... Because nuclear facilities and nuclear materials remain dangerous for up to 250,000 years. That's a lot of burden to put on the future. Hey future, we are going to generate power for a decade or two, and then leave you a dangerous mess for hundreds of thousands of years.

Nuclear is not green. It is not clean. And it is not safe.

Now this from Vermont:

Tritium Hot Zone Expands Around Vermont Nuclear Plant
by Susan Smallheer
VERNON - The Department of Health said late Monday there appears to be "a very large area" at the Vermont Yankee nuclear reactor contaminated with radioactive tritium, and contamination levels continue to rise.
Because the area is so big, according to William Irwin, radiological health chief, there are many potential sources of radioactive water at this particularly high concentration of tritium...

Irwin said it was too early to say how long the leak or leaks had been active. "It could be months or even a year or two," he said.
The first indication of the contamination showed up in November in one of three 2007 monitoring wells and the levels quickly rose starting in January. New wells, closer to the reactor and turbine buildings, show contamination in extremely high levels.
"We have to uncover pipes and see what's leaking. And get a better image of flow times and flow directions," he said. Water flows west to east on the site, toward the Connecticut River. Some of the monitoring wells are 15 to 20 feet from the river, while others are 100 feet or 200 feet away from the river.
Irwin said the Health Department is starting to test wells at private residences along Gov. Hunt Road, where Vermont Yankee is sited.
He said all of the private wells the state is testing are within a quarter of a mile of the plant and the point of the highest level of contamination.
Irwin said the state was looking to add five or six private residences to the state's weekly testing program, but he said the state had to get landowners' permissions. He said the department wanted to publish those test results, with the names of the individual homes kept confidential.
He said the Department of Health is testing private wells at Vernon Elementary School, which he estimated was just under a quarter of a mile of the contamination. The state is also testing water at two area farms - the Miller farm, which he said was about a quarter of a mile north of the plant, and the Blodgett farm, which, he said, was a mile from the plant "as the crow flies."

Monday, February 08, 2010

Going to Chicago Next Week

What does this collage from two years ago have to do with Chicago?
What does that man with the iPhone have to do with a business trip?
What does Tom Selleck have to do with a Waterfall and a Sandwich?
What will I use as my clever hook to tie this post together?

Can Sara Save America? What kind of question is that?

Saw this magazine on the newsstand. Sara Palin, Can she save America?
What kind of question is that?
No one person can save America.
It takes lots of smart, hard working people to keep America going.
And I don't think Sara falls into any of those categories.
She quit her job as govenor of Alaska.
And she can't even remember her key points at a Tea Party event without writing them on her hand. Energy. Budget Cuts, no strike that. Tax Cuts. Lift American Spirits.
In a speech where she makes fun of people who actually prepare their speeches ahead of time, a speech where she makes fun of well educated, intellegent people, Sara Palin has too write down her main points like they are questions on a test she hasn't studied for.

Lift American Spirits, Sara Palin and stay out of political office.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Pay Corrupt Politicians with the Currency They Deserve

The Zero Rupee Note.

Boing Boing has a link to this interesting experiment in India. They are printing Zero Rupee Notes to pay corrupt officials who are demanding bribes.

An Indian U of Maryland physics prof came up with these zero rupee notes that Indians can slip to officials who demand bribes. They've been wildly successful, with a total run over over 1,000,000 notes, and the reports from the field suggest that they shock grafters into honesty. Fifth Pillar is the NGO that produces the notes, and they're available for download in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.
One such story was our earlier case about the old lady and her troubles with the Revenue Department official over a land title. Fed up with requests for bribes and equipped with a zero rupee note, the old lady handed the note to the official. He was stunned. Remarkably, the official stood up from his seat, offered her a chair, offered her tea and gave her the title she had been seeking for the last year and a half to obtain without success. Had the zero rupee note reached the old lady sooner, her granddaughter could have started college on schedule and avoided the consequence of delaying her education for two years. In another experience, a corrupt official in a district in Tamil Nadu was so frightened on seeing the zero rupee note that he returned all the bribe money he had collected for establishing a new electricity connection back to the no longer compliant citizen.
Anand explained that a number of factors contribute to the success of the zero rupee notes in fighting corruption in India. First, bribery is a crime in India punishable with jail time. Corrupt officials seldom encounter resistance by ordinary people that they become scared when people have the courage to show their zero rupee notes, effectively making a strong statement condemning bribery. In addition, officials want to keep their jobs and are fearful about setting off disciplinary proceedings, not to mention risking going to jail. More importantly, Anand believes that the success of the notes lies in the willingness of the people to use them. People are willing to stand up against the practice that has become so commonplace because they are no longer afraid: first, they have nothing to lose, and secondly, they know that this initiative is being backed up by an organization--that is, they are not alone in this fight.
This last point—people knowing that they are not alone in the fight—seems to be the biggest hurdle when it comes to transforming norms vis-à-vis corruption. For people to speak up against corruption that has become institutionalized within society, they must know that there are others who are just as fed up and frustrated with the system. Once they realize that they are not alone, they also realize that this battle is not unbeatable. Then, a path opens up—a path that can pave the way for relatively simple ideas like the zero rupee notes to turn into a powerful social statement against petty corruption.

Maybe we should start printing Zero Dollar Bills for US Politicians???

Friday, February 05, 2010

Selleck + Waterfall + Sandwich = ???

Sometimes you find things on the Internets that just make you go, Hmmmmmmmmmmm?
Case in point:
I respect a strange collage as much as anybody, maybe more than most.
And obviously this person (or persons, or program) has found a theme to go with.
There are a whole series of photo collages with Tom Selleck, a waterfall, and a sandwich.
What there is not, is an explanation of any kind.
There is a theme song, but no explanation.
It is a profound mystery.
Well, it is a mystery at any rate.
Could be the beginning of a new meme.
All your Selleck Waterfall Sandwich are belong to us!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Take Your Seat

It is a violation to-
Jump the turnstile or enter the system improperly,even if your MetroCard is not working properly
Refuse to present special fare card to police officer or transit employee
Straddle a bicycle, wear in-line or roller skates, stand on a skateboard or ride a scooter
Move between end doors of a subway car whether or not train is in motion, except in an emergency or when directed by police officer or conductor
Place one's foot on the seat of a subway, bus, or platform bench; occupy more than one seat or place bags on an empty seat when doing so would interfere with transit operations or the comfort of other customers
Fail to pay the proper fare
Panhandle or beg
Play a radio audible to others or use amplified devices on platforms
Block free movement
Lie down
Drink alcoholic beverages
Carry any liquid in an open container onto a train or bus
Engage in unauthorized commercial activity
Enter tracks, tunnels, or other non-public areas
Carry bulky items likely to cause inconvenience orhazard to yourself and others
Damage subway or busproperty - that includes graffiti or scratchitti
Litter or create unsanitary conditions
Collage Makers are not a free download

I've been staring at this thing too long

Wednesday, February 03, 2010


Astronaut Sushi 4 U

Jay, from the iPhone

My New Device

New medical device that is. I have to wear it while I sleep. It keeps my
toes from pointing, which is bad for my tendons, which do bad things to my
bones, which grow spurs, which do not jingle jangle jingle, they just make
it hurt to giddyup.

Jay from the iPhone.

My new device

Medical device that is. I have to wear this on my foot and leg to keep
me toes from pointing while I sleep. It is bad for my tendons, which
piss off my bones, which punish me by growing spurs, which don't
jingle jangle jingle, but do interfere with my ability to giddyup.
--Jay, from the iPhone.

Astronaut Sushi 4u

Monday, February 01, 2010

What's Wrong?

Frankly Sir, your snake seems to be stuck in the chest of a great ape.
But you might want a second oppinion.
Proximity Echo Collage

Throw your pigs before swine, or something like that.

I just read the latest memo from Frank Luntz and his company The Word Doctors telling Republican politicians how to kill financial reform in Washington DC while still sounding like they are on the side of change. Because as his company’s tag line says: “It’s not what you say, It’s what people hear.”
This guy is good at crafting a message. I’ll give him that.
And it would be fairly innocent if he was just selling ice cubes to Eskimos.
But he is effectively selling bacon to pigs, and the idea of Thanksgiving dinner to turkeys.
He is telling Republicans to admit that reform is needed, that such an economic crisis can never happen again, but that the way to be safe is to do NOTHING. That Republicans should play up government’s inability to get things done, while being the major cause of nothing getting done for the last year.
The public is angry about loopholes that lobbyist have gotten into laws in the past, like the loopholes the big Wall Street Banks use to take illegal insurance out on our mortgages. But Luntz wants Republicans to talk about the loopholes pawnbrokers and car dealers are trying to get into new bills. Yeah, because pawnbrokers and car dealers caused the Great Republican Recession of 2009. Right?

Luntz says to politicians that they should appear to be an agent of change and demand accountability, because only then will they be able to block any meaningful change and allow big corporations to avoid accountability—that being the Republican mission of late.

I understand why the rich and the banks like Republican candidates and their obstructionist politics. But I am constantly amazed at how effective guys like Luntz are at getting working class and working poor citizens to vote against their own self interest. So it will probably work again this time. Especially with messages like this: Can I interest you in a turkey and bacon sandwich, Mr. Pig and Miss. Turkey? I am of course in favor of protecting swine and fowl, but these sandwiches are delicious!