28 August 2009

This. Fucking. Rules.

It's not often someone gives me a really good gift from the internets. But sometimes, the internet delivers.

Twitter, in particular, is the most useless thing to come along in quite a while. 160 characters of stupid nothing about nothing. If you can summarize your experiences in less than 160 characters you're too stupid to warrant any "followers". Ergo, all of Twitter should just shut up. It's like blogging, but even more vapid (which I didn't think possible until I heard about Twitter).

Finally, someone found a useful purpose for Twitter: a collection of money quotes from a pithy gentleman of 73 years of age. Typical example:

"It's watering plants, Justin. You just take a God damned hose and you put it over the plant. You don't even pay rent, just do it. Shit."

Read them yourself at: http://twitter.com/shitmydadsays

It's still hot, and I'm thirsty

Damn it's hot today.
Here's a history of the Johnnie Walker brand, as narrated by Robert Carlyle.

It's hot; RDF = FAIL

I get bored with weather talk but when it's as hot as it is today I can't help it.
Seriously hot. What happened to mild southern California weather?

The Reality Distortion Field is weakening. I found this article about the iphone very interesting. It goes a long way towards explaining why I think it's lame. Sure it's awesome for surfing the web and playing games but it's a crap phone: expensive, bad customer support, bad network, bad network coverage*, bad for talking, bad for texting, short battery life, can't insure it.

This is my favorite line:

This allegedly revolutionary item, this magical gadget that promised to change our lives, fails at even the most elementary tasks.

Like talking, texting, and sending a picture message. What's the point of having a camera on your phone if you can't send someone a picture message?

*AT&T makes a lot of noise about having 'more bars in more places'. The fine print always says "worldwide", which is great if you're a frequent international traveler, but most people aren't. I'm interested in the coverage in the places I actually use my phone, like my neighborhood, or other neighborhoods in the continental United States. Which is why I'm on Verizon.

25 August 2009

If that's the best you can do then you don't deserve it; also: injustice

The San Francisco Giants were leading a game 4-1 going into the bottom of the 14th inning inning last night. They were playing their rivals for the wild card spot, so it was a must-win game. They shit the bed.

They have time to turn it around but after this capitulation I don't expect it. They don't have the horses. Which is a shame, because they are a fun team to watch and could maybe make some noise in the playoffs.
In other news, Plaxico Burress was sentenced to 2 years in prison for the crime of being stupid. If that were a crime then he would have gone to jail as early as 2001:

[cribbed from a website that cribbed it from another website]
Plaxico Burress -- 2001, Pittsburgh vs. Jacksonville -- With limited playing time, Burress was in the game against the Jaguars, and after catching a ball in the fourth quarter and thinking he was down by contact, Burress did what anyone would do [ed. he did what any jackass would do]: He spiked the ball. Except he wasn't down by contact - no one had touched him. Live ball, Jags recovered.

Burress actual crime was possession of an unlicensed handgun in New York. He didn't hurt anyone but himself, and didn't attempt to hurt anyone. So why is he going to jail for 2 years? (He will probably serve TWENTY MONTHS.) Jail is for dangerous, malicious, bad people. Not stupid people. I don't see how this does anyone any good.

20 August 2009

Let's have some Sunshine

This is the trailer for Little Miss Sunshine, a movie I happened to really like. It's not for everyone; although there are some parts that are very funny there are also parts that are challenging to watch. Even so, I recommend it.

I wanted just the scene that made me laugh until I cried ("sweet sweetness") but I couldn't find it. So you get the trailer instead.

Rotundity allowed by law (who knew?)

Flew home from NYC this weekend on Jetblue and the guy next to me didn't fit in his seat. It sucked. I wrote Jetblue about it:

I had to fly home early from JFK to Long Beach this past weekend. It cost an extra $300 but it was an emergency so I paid the money and changed my flight.

I was in seat 16C. The man sitting in 16B was so obese that he could barely attach the seatbelt - it was stretched across him like a rubber band around a water balloon. He was so fat that I had to lift his fat and his arm out of the way to change the channel on my TV. 5 and a half hours of transcontinental flight and this guy spilling into my seat (and the seat of the person on the other
side). I'm not a big guy (6 feet, 180 lbs) but I could not sit straight up without leaning up
against him, pushing his flesh out of the way.

How is it possible that we paid the same price for our ticket? He was more than twice my weight and spilled into both my seat and the poor woman in seat 16A. How is it that you will charge someone for an extra bag, but there's no extra charge for someone who doesn't fit into their assigned space?

I understand that sharing an armrest can be a contentious issue but that's not the situation here. This is a four hundred pound man that literally did not fit into his assigned seat. There was no room to share because he literally occupied all of it (and then some). If I can't sit upright without someone pressing up against me because they're too fat then something is seriously wrong.

My question is, what are you going to do about this going forward? He could have moved seats (he refused when I asked him) but that just transfers the problem somewhere else, it doesn't fix it.

I asked the attendant what could be done but there were no other empty seats on the plane. I don't blame them for not being able to do anything - once the guy boards the plane you're pretty much stuck (figuratively, and, as it happens, literally).

I'm sure you have tried to address this before because it's costing you money. In different circumstances I would have exited the plane and requested a later flight but I had an emergency and had to get home.

Even so, why should I have to request another flight? If the ticket is a type of contract, it's the obese guy that is in violation, not me. Is it my responsibility to point out to attendants that someone doesn't fit?

Let me know how I should handle this kind of thing in the future.
And they responded with the following, which was more than I expected. Also, the part in bold was news to me (I added the bold):

Dear Mr. Farley,

Thank you for contacting JetBlue Airways regarding Flight #209 on August 16, 2009. Your comfort while flying with us is extremely important and we recognize this was an extremely uncomfortable situation.

We apologize that you were seated next to an overweight customer. Because many JetBlue customers book online and utilize online check-in, we cannot see the size of the customer until we begin boarding the aircraft. At that point, we'll make every attempt to seat them in a row that might allow them to have two seats. By that time, however, it may be too late to adjust seating
assignments, and when a flight like yours is full, we do not always have that option.

This situation is extremely challenging for us as an airline. We recommend, if they ask us, that they purchase an extra seat as the arm rests can be raised between the seats allowing for extra room. We assume that for their own comfort, and the comfort for those around them, they will choose that option. If they don't, by law we can't force them to do so.

We regret that we do not have an alternate solution to this problem. Although we are working to find ways to rectify it, we can only advise at this time to alert a flight attendant and asked to change seats if space is available.

As a gesture of our apology for this experience, we have issued you a $100 travel voucher. JetBlue vouchers are not transferable and can be used as payment online at jetblue.com or by calling us at 1-800-JETBLUE (538-2583).

18 August 2009

Strong work

Special shoutout to my peeps that I visited with in NYC this past weekend.

13 August 2009

Hold all my calls

I'll be in New York City this weekend.
Gets me out of the house, anyway.

12 August 2009

USA 1 - 2 Mexico

Truism: The USA will not compete for a world cup until they can beat Mexico in Estadio (Stadio?) Azteca.

11 August 2009

A True Story

My friend Lindsay's grandmother died in an electrical fire last week.

I don't get to see Lindsay's family very often, but she is one of my closest friends, more like a sister.

Lindsay is one of the hardest-working, most disciplined people I know. It runs in the family - her dad is famously hard-working, too. I never gave it much thought until I found out her dad's mom had died unexpectedly and she forwarded me the eulogy he gave for his mother.

Everyone has a story to tell about their life, and some are better than others, but this one warmed my tiny, cold heart in a way that I had not expected.
Thanks for reading.


On Tuesday morning I started my day with my daily phone call to my brother. We discussed business issues, our calendars for the day, and our families. Little did either one of realize that morning, that hours later, our worlds would change forever. There was no warning, there were no long term illnesses, there were no goodbyes. All that remained now were our memories of our wonderful and incredible mother who died so tragically.

Over the last day or two, I’ve agonized on what to say today and in the end, I decided that I could best honor the memory of my mother by telling the story of her remarkable life.

Her life was not easy. In the lives we lead today, we truly cannot fathom what my mother’s life was like or what she endured. Very few of us, with the exception of other Holocaust survivors and survivors of the brutalities of war, can even begin to understand the toughness and the spirit that my mother possessed. My mother never spoke with my brother Robert or myself of the horrors she lived through and the pain and suffering she endured during the Holocaust. She lived her life with a great spirit and tremendous desire to succeed and to see her family prosper and her family was everything to her. I never once heard her ask “why me” or have an ounce of self pity.

This is a small part of her story; a story filled with dignity and courage.

The war broke out in Poland when my mother was only 12 years old. One day she was asked by her parents to watch her 2 younger sisters. The German army came into the Jewish ghetto of the small town she was living in with fixed bayonets. My mother and her sisters saw this and ran. In the end, my mothers survived, and her 2 sisters who could not run fast enough were never to seen again and presumed dead. Months later, my mother and her 8 year old brother Carl, were given refuge in a Polish home her parents had bribed to take their children in and offer them safety. A few days later, the owner of the house instructed my Mother and her brother to look out the window. They both stood helplessly, this 12 year old child and her 8 year old brother, as they watched their parents being taken by horse and wagon to be executed for the crime of being Jewish. At the age of only 12, my mother had already witnessed 4 members of her immediate family killed. In our world today, we don’t even let 12 year olds go to the grocery store by themselves let alone witness 4 members being murdered. My mother now knew, that she was in the middle of a world gone mad, a world that was creating the Holocaust.

My mother and her brother were now on their own with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They had no money, no food and no sanctuary. They were weary and tired. It was starting to snow and they had no cold weather clothing. A 12 years old and an 8 year old trudging through the woods whose only goal was to hide from the Germans and not be killed. They came to a fork in the path and my mother just lay down in the snow not knowing which way to take her little brother. For a moment she gave up and just wanted to lay there and die. Imagine, a 12 year old with nothing to live for except pain and suffering. Moments later she picked herself up and trudged on in the snow, securing safety for the moment for her brother Carl and herself.

Weeks later, my Mother and her brother happened by chance on a relative that created a shelter in the form of a hole in the ground. For the next 3 long years, my mother and her brother lived and hid in a hole in the ground eluding the German army and polish militia. They lived there with just the clothes on their back, never bathing, never receiving medical attention and foraging for food. They never left the hole in daylight and only left when there was total darkness in order to avoid capture and sure death. This existence was not 3 days, 3 weeks, or 3 months, it was for 3 years. The shear thought of this existence for a young 12 year old girl and an 8 year old boy is truly beyond my comprehension. They survived on an innate desire to survive and vision for life after the hell they were living in.

As the news that the war was ending arrived, my mother and her brother Carl were euphoric. They had survived! They had eluded the German Army and Polish militia for 3 long years of hiding. They were elated and overjoyed. My mother and Carl found some distant relatives and were asked stay overnight in their house that they had taken back. My mother was now a young woman of 16 and Carl was now around 12 years old. That evening my mother slept in the only bed in the house with her aunt and Carl slept on the floor. The rest of the relatives slept in the kitchen and other living areas of the small house. They all were happy, there was peace. That night the polish militia stormed the house as they heard that Jews had settled there again and one by one, execution style gunned down each person in the house killing everyone with the exception of my Mother and Carl. During the attack, my Mother hid underneath her aunt and made believe she was dead. She was soaked with the blood of her aunt, lying motionless as the Polish militia ransacked the house looking for valuables. Her brother, Carl,was shot point blank in the back resulting in three major wounds. How utterly incredible was this, the war was over but the death and destruction continued to follow my mother and her brother. How dishearting this must have been to have survived the war and only to see your remaining family killed. I truly don’t know how you could move past this event and still have hope but they did.

Shortly after the attack, my mother met and married my Father Murray. They traveled around Europe trying to find a safe place to call home. They eventually came the United States. Neither my father or my mother had any formal education as a result of the war, did not know the language and were virtually penniless. However, my mother and father both had an insatiable desire to succeed not for themselves, but for their family. Time and hard work meant nothing to my mother, the desire to succeed for her family was paramount.

For years and years my mother and father worked long hard hours. 15,16,18 hour days were the norm. Rarely a vacation. When people ask Robert and myself about our work ethic, we only have to point to our parents for our inspiration. My parents did it - they achieved the American Dream. After years of hard work, they owned their own business and they were prospering because of their efforts. It seemed Life was finally rewarding them for their many years of pain and suffering that they had endured.

Then on a cold Thursday night in January 1991, my mother and my brother were working at the fish market. A gunman in a robbery attempt, shot my brother Robert and left my mother crying and pleading with the gunman to take the cash register and leave Robert alone. Robert was taken to hospital in serious condition and rushed into the operating room. My mother was distraught and in a state of shock at this horrific event. My mother loved Robert with all her heart and would have sacrificed herself for him totally. My mother never went to the hospital that night and the next morning, she got up a 2 am and went to the store and washed Roberts blood off the floor and went on to work 18 hours. To have gone through the Holocaust, watch your parents taken to their death, survived an attack after the war was over, come to a new country for a new beginning and to have had this horrible thing happen to your son is more misery and pain then any one life should be able to handle. Yet she went on. She never gave up.

This was my Mother’s life. It was not easy, but through all the hardship, my mother always lived in hope. My father, Robert and I always held her on a pedestal and She truly deserved that spot in our hearts. She was the epitome of what a Jewish mother was supposed to be -she worked, sacrificed and loved her family.

My mother loved and was devoted to my father for over 50 years. She loved her sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She took great pride in her whole families accomplishments and was quick to let you know when you didn’t measure up to her high standards.

The last time I spoke to my Mother was last Friday. It was the day after she attended the opening of the new U or R Medical Center Ambulatory Care building that my brother and his partners had just built. Over the phone I could tell how much she was beaming with pride that her son was responsible for such a beautiful building that was filled with such marvelous technology. The happiness in her voice reflected her spirit for life.

This is how I will always remember this remarkable woman who lived such an incredible life. Her life will serve as an inspiration to her sons, grand children and great grandchildren in what can be accomplished with hard work and a never give up spirit. I will never dwell on how she died, but how she passionately she lived her life. My brother Robert and I were truly blessed to be able to call her our Mother.

07 August 2009

Science is good for you (part n+1)

Here's some fun true facts about the turkey vulture. Comic was forwarded to me by Scott B, created by a cartoonist in Toronto named Rosemary. She hearts birds.

I reproduce it here but the image and content is copyright birdandmoon.com / R. Mosco.


Nothing new to talk about. Soooo... motorcycles!

I like this motorcycle. It's a CBR1000RR. People tend to think the race-replica paint job is either cool or horrendous. There also seems to be a correlation between age and preference. In other words, I have not met anyone over the age of 13 that likes it. (Besides me, I mean.)

One minor drawback to daydreaming about owning this ridiculously fast rocketship of a bike is that not only is it painted with the fancy sponsor colors (what the hell does Repsol sell anyway? I have no idea) but the the bikes is supposedly built for smaller riders. In other words I might not fit comfortably. (I'm only six feet tall but this bike is described as "Dani Pedrosa sized" - Pedrosa, a Honda rider, is 5' 2"; most other riders are not quite so petite, but 6 feet might be too big for this bike.)

I don't know for sure because I have a funny feeling that if I actually went to the dealer and sat on this bike (or the GSXR-1000, which is awesome even with it's fugly exhaust) I might end up riding it home. Which would not be a good. It would be totally bitchin, but it would not be good. Amiright?

05 August 2009

Not in the mood

Thanks for stopping by. Not much to share.
Bike is out of the shop (again) and running great. This is good news.

I refuse to do another political post. The Obama = Socialism idiocy is just plain dumb. But so is the national health care plan. There's no room in the middle - you're stuck defending the government cheese Democrats on the left from the neocon retards on the right because neither position delivers a workable solution to the problem.

We will return to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.