Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Leah in her Jumper

When we visited England this year with Ed's parents, his mom made a lovely little sweater for the baby.
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Well, Baby Leah can wear it now and it is cold enough for jumper season.
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She is adorable.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Latest (and Last?) Highline section opens.

Section Three of the Highline opened this two Sundays ago

One of the planted sections.
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Eddie and I strolled along it (on our way to foot massage).
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Two of the "as found" sections

It is different because they have done the majority of it very simply - creating a walkway next to the wild growth that sprung up.  It is cool.
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Bouncy Beams and Bouncy floors for kids.
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There is also a section just for kids with bouncing floor and padded beams kids can climb on and climb under.
Nice job here towards the connection to part 2.

me

Friday, September 26, 2014

DeBlassio- Groundhog Killer

So... on pre-Groundhog Day, Mayor Annoynance  drags it out to Statan Island to take a pic with Staten Island Charlie. Because we have our own indicator. 
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Why now, in September, who knows Major Annoynance DeBlassio doesn't need a reason, he just loves being on TV. And his wife (the "brains" of the outfit) likes him out of the office. 
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How much harm can he do in Staten Island, right?
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Well he drops Charlie. A week later Charlie dies of internal injuries consistent with a fall. Major Annoyance has killed the beloved(ish) Charlie!
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But wait, there's more. 
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There is - you can't make this stuff up - a cover up!  He and the zoo don't announce the death until this incident is forgotten!
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But the NY Post digs it up!  Funny how much I like Murdoch when the Head of the Sith is on my side....

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

And not everything that can possibly taken as offensive SHOULD be taken as offensive

alternate title...
The Disappearance of Objective Truth
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This article is fascinating in a couple of ways.  At the top level, there is a simple discussion of one entrepreneur’s business model.  The founder of LookSmart (an online advertising agency) said that female developers are as good as men, and cheaper to hire.  He points this out to stupid male hiring managers, that hire men who aren’t as good AND require more money.
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Interesting.
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And to his credit his company has a number of women not only as developers, but in managerial roles at the corporate level.
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But then it gets stupid. Someone reminds him that this is a sexist statement and pay discrimination is illegal in the United States.
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That is neither particularly correct (the sexist part) nor helpful.  It is (his) objective truth that it is easier and cheaper to hire women in this field. At least objectively true in the experience of this owner.  That statement isn’t sexist.  
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It is, to me, kind of the opposite of sexist.  Speaking out about inequality is a good thing.  If everyone hired the best programmers, regardless of sex, prices would go up.  He is saying; hire them now while they are a bargain.  The mere act of following his advice will advance women in the workplace and push up their perceived (work-effort) value. (Granted, he put up a stupid slide (LINK)).
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Let us take an analogy.  If, instead of women, he said, “Programmers from Cal Berkeley are just as good as programmers from Stanford, and are cheaper.”  Would that be discriminatory against public university graduates?  (That was a rhetorical question;  the answer is no.)
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As for pay discrimination, he isn’t advocating pay discrimination.  He is saying if you offer $100 of effort, you get more (or better) output from a woman than from a man in the current environment.  Discrimination is saying, “I will only hire men because a woman can’t do the job (or vice versa).”  Discrimination is not saying, “I will hire the best worker at the lowest price the market can bear. And you people who insist on hiring only men are throwing money away.”
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An intellectual argument can be made that his statement (if not his business practices) are discriminatory.   However, by making that argument, you shut him up.  And he is a great advocate for women here.  He is calling out others as being stupid for NOT hiring women.
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Let us judge his statement objectively, not through a lens of discrimination, for just a moment.  He is saying women are undervalued in the employment market in this field.  That is, actually, a message that I would think women want out in the marketplace.  Attacking him for it (as he was attacked if you read the article) isn’t going to change his language.  Instead, it has shut him up and the message is lost and possible female hires not touted as valuable.

The Truth About the "47%"

Argh.


I mean ARGH!.  The 47% of American’s don’t pay taxes is a Republican and Fox talking point that has to stop.  And it has to stop now. (Don't believe me - try HERE, or HERE or HERE or HERE - it is a lie that won't die.)
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First, it is now 43% of households because the recovery has kicked in and some household now make enough to pay Income Tax.  So Obama policy's have driven it down form 47% (in 2007 Bush the younger's last year) to 43.3%.
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Second, the great majority of those pay “Payroll” taxes.  That is, they DO pay FICA, Social Security and the rest.  This 29% of the country works hard and pays taxes. What they do NOT pay is additional income taxes, because their incomes are too damn low.  You want them to pay income taxes? Raise the minimum wage so it is above the poverty line!  Try to support a “household” on $8.00 an hour.  That is about $240 a week – BEFORE FICA and Social Security taxes.  The Republicans (who are the ones consistently bitching about these “leeches”) also baked in Child Credits and Earned Income credits, so even if you make more than $20,000 a year and have kids or are getting off welfare - you might get a pass on Income Taxes.
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These mean that you can make enough money to pay taxes, but you then get a tax break for each child and if you are working instead of welfare.  That is a good thing, right.  Earned Income Credit to move off welfare?  Then why the hell do you call them the lazy 47%?  Do you just freaking hate poor people?
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The rest?  9% are the retired who rely on social security and their savings to live on.  Those damn free-loaders.  And another 3.4% don't make 20,000 a year (the floor for Income Taxes).
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That leaves 1.3% that don’t pay taxes and still make a lot of money.  They are horrible.  You know, like GE and AIG.
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Argh!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I Feel a Little Bad For Them

Michigan,

The team that sold out Connecticut's season last year when they played there.  The team that regular fills (used to fill) the largest stadium in the nation.
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$75 face value for the price of a Diet Coke. (LINK)
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Sad.
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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Big Week-End in New York

Wow, we had a big week-end.  We did a lot, here are some highlights....
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First we went and saw It's Only A Play, which isn't opened yet technically, but I will review it later.  I will say with an amazing cast (Nathan Lane, Stockard Channing, Megan Mullally, Matthew Brodrick, F. Murray Abraham and a new cutie).  It was very funny in parts.  A bit too insider-y, but a lot of fun.
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We also saw Hedwig and the Angry Inch again, this time with Andrew Rannels.  It was a lot of fun and very different than when Neil Patrick Harris was in it.
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There was a huge march about Climate Change in New York that has a zillion people.  That was in front of our building.
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Bollywood Singer
Last night we stopped in Time Square for a little Diwali celebration.  If you don't know what Diwalli is, then you don't work in technology.  It is the Indian Celebration of lights.  It is huge in India and work with a lot of folks for whom it is a big deal.  It was pretty party.
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Way Busy in Little Italy

Then today there was San Geranno festival.  That isn't including the Broadway Flea Market to raise money, the Central Park Horse show.  Or...
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Add caption

our afternoon Saturday at Oakley when we were in the middle of getting some prescription sunnies when we were evacuated for a bomb threat.

Friday, September 19, 2014

New York Times Cannot Spell

In the crossword section today #61 across is "A dish you might sprinkle cheese on". Four letters. 
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FOUR letters?  I am married to a Wisconsinite, and therefor I know the answer is "everything". It has more than four letters!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Never Underestimate the Arrogance of David Brooks

David Brooks is, supposedly, one of the "good" conservative columnists.  I would add, he is a good joke.
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Today he writes about the government's lack of preparation for terrorism, Ebola outbreak, etc.  He starts this with this great analogy.
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Imagine two cities. In City A, town leaders notice that every few weeks a house catches on fire. So they create a fire department — a group of professionals with prepositioned firefighting equipment and special expertise. In City B, town leaders don’t create a fire department. When there’s a fire, they hurriedly cobble together some people and equipment to fight it.
We are City B. We are particularly slow to build institutions to combat long-running problems.
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He then goes on to bemoan that our "city" hasn't funded the fire department enough.  Terrorism, illness.  No shit.
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People like him have spent decades telling us that there is no role for government.  That anything they do is done better by private business.  That government shouldn't support clean air, clean water, or basically anything.  Government is, according to him , the problem.
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To turn around now and pretend that government is doing nothing and "gee golly why?" is disingenuous.
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Miami Architecture

Yes, the sea is going to swallow this in 10 years...  But until then it is pretty. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Back in Miami

Work has brought me back down to Miami.  
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I don't really like Miami.  I am not old enough to enjoy its coffin-like warmth and humidity.  Nor am I young enough to participate in the Bachinal like party scene.  It leaves me feeling oddly way too old and way too young simultaniously.
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I am at the Intercontinetal again.  A hotel whose sole positive feature seems to be its proximity to the offices.  Today they sent to a room that has been set up for someone else.  Including a welcome letter, and a plat of cheeses and that horrible uncooked ham.
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So I call the front desk to explain this.  14 rings, no answer.  So I call the concierge, and they put me through to the hotel manager.  She doesn't understand why I went to the wrong room.  On the 3rd attempt, she gets it and will call "right back".
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I do not unpack.  Because they might change my room.
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I wait
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I wait.
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I call and it goes unanswered again.  
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I go down to the front desk, where the clerk apolgises, and goes to see what is up with the manager.  The manager comes out and apologizes.  She has checked and I can just stay in that room.  But she couldn't call me back becasue she didn't know the number.  The number of the room she had "just" checked?  She invited me to enjoy the ammenities and someone would come up and get the letters.
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Yes, I will love the now-crusty proscitto and dead cheese.  I go back up and leave to get ice.
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There is no ice on this floor, I am informed by the nice man who I see who is getting the letters from my room.  I ask him if the designers of this hotel knew it was going to be in Miami, a city with the charming climate of sweaty armpits?  A city where, after a long day, someone might want some ice?  And to relax in their room without rancid uncooked ham?
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This hotel also makes me a little worried by the size of the walls.  I am on the 23rd floor, and look at the window.  It is set back massively into the wall.  I have only seen walls this thick when made of adobe.  I am worried I am in an adobe highrise, where Ms. M******ski will barge in later tonight demand her bed and her proscitto while a hurricane bears down on my mud hut.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Scott (almost) Goes to Law School

Once upon a time, I wanted to go to Law School.  Well, not really, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I took the LSAT and scored out of this world (99th percentile) and so I thought, what the heck.
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Bullocks Wilshire - saved from the wrecking ball by Southwestern School of Law
Now, I couldn’t get into UCLA – I convinced myself it was because they didn’t want Alumni from the school, not my 2.93 GPA.  I got into South Western Law School – which I liked because they were in the old Bullocks-Wilshire building.  Not the Bullocks on Wilshire – but the actual, beautiful Bullocks Wilshire!
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I also applied and got into Loyola Marymount School of Law.  They had just opened their new Law School designed by Frank Gehry.  It was one of his first big designs and it was (34 years ago) sooo cutting edge.
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In fact, my LSATs were so good, after I applied I got a wonderful phone call from Loyola saying, “We think you made a mistake and sent us a draft of your essay.  It has so many mistakes it cannot be your final essay.”  I apologized profusely and had a friend do an edit on my essay and sent in the edited copy.  (Remember children, this was back before spell check and word processing.  I had to t-y-p-e it on a typewriter – which was a machine that you physically hit keys and they would make a permanent mark on the page.)
Yes Virginia , we once "typed" on these.
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I also got into USC – but that was totally my safety school and I had no desire (and not enough funds) to attend.
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“So Scooter,” I hear you ask, “why didn’t you go?”
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Well, I worked for a summer at Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg and Tunney.  At the time, the Democratic law firm in the West (Charles Manatt was head of the Democratic party, Stuart Rothenberg is now a leading political strategist and John Tunney was the ex-Senator from California).  It was a fine summer of work and very interesting, but I got this great advice from one of the lawyers.  She pulled me aside and said, “Don’t go.  You are smart enough to make it through Law School, but you don’t really WANT to be a lawyer.  I am the same.  I finished, have a great job here, work 80 hours a week and hate this job every day I am here.   If you are dying to be a lawyer, do it.  If you aren’t, then find something else.  Anything else.”
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So I didn’t, and regretted it for a while.  A short while.  I think I am much happier now.  I don’t have the killer instinct you need.  And I don’t like being around people that do.
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Also, when you choose what Law School to attend based on architecture, that is probably a bad idea.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Interesting Groupings

A Rookery of Penguins...
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A Prickle of Porcupines...

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A Mob of Kangaroos...

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A Nattering Nabob of Nincompoops..

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bible Quiz

Sure, everyone knows about the flood, and the gays, but how much do you know?  Which of the following should be put to death (according to the Bible - mainly Leviticus - but spread out in other places as well).
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1)      Neil Patrick Harris
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2)      Angelina Jolie

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3)      Red Lobster’s All-You-Can-Eat CrabFest
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4)      Bacon Cheeseburger (eaters)
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5)      Cheeseburger (eaters)
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6)      Hamburger (eaters)
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7)      This Garden (planter)
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8)      This Haircut (recipient)
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9)      This Dress (designer and producer)
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10)   Brigham Young
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11)   Toyota-Thon
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12)   This Slave Master
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13)   This Girl (reliable church goer)
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14)   This Woman (reliable church goer) 

15)   This Man (Adam Levine)

ANSWERS

Big Day in Just Over a Week


So next Thursday is the day Scotland votes for or against independence.  Although Americans tend to ignore foreign affairs, let me explain why this might actually portend a MASSIVE change the United States.

Scotland is trying to leave the “United Kingdom” and yet maintain membership in two key clubs. 

First, Scotland would like to be granted immediate membership in the European Union.  There will be a lot of whinging about this, because it would be a bad precedent for Spain (where Basque and Catalan both want to leave) and Italy (where the North and South each feel the itch to hightail it out every now and then).  However, since Scotland would be a benefit to the EU, and is already larger (physically and economically) than many members, they will come up with something to keep them in.

Second, Scotland wants to keep the British Pound (it’s not called the English Pound).  That is both easier and harder.  Easier, because they can use whatever they want (Ecuador and Panama both use the US Dollar).  Keeping the Pound is easy.  Harder because not have a voice in your currency sucks.  It probably means the movement of most banking to London where the government would stay the ultimate backstop for the currency.  Imagine a 2008 type banking crash.  The United States bailed out American Banks – would we have bailed out Ecuadorian banks?


Either way, something will be worked out on both these fronts, IF Scotland goes it alone.

Now let’s look at the impact in the United States.  Huge.  If Scotland can escape, the idea will go, then why not the South (or Texas)?  Sure, the civil war happened once, but I wouldn’t fight to keep the South in the Country.  Let them go.

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“But Scott,” you explain, “this isn’t new.  Quebec voted, Czech and Slovakia spilt.  Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia broke up.  Why is this different?”
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Ah.. because Americans understand Scotland and England are like states (they aren’t but reality is so much less important that image).  
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Americans didn’t care Quebec wanted to leave Canada.  It was the French, and we Americans know the French are weird.  

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Ask an American about the Czechoslovakia spilt and over 80% will think it is the new desert from 31 Flavors.  And most will think  Slovenia and Serbia are trick questions.  You could as easily ask about Slobia and Freedonia.
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No.  If Scotland can go alone, many states will say their GNP would be greater than Scotland’s (in order, California, Texas, New York, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey. Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Michigan, Massachusetts, Washington and Minnesota) why can’t they go it alone.
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Now it is easy for me to say, go safely.  But not just me, I think a lot of people in our massively polarized country would give the heave ho to half (or 2/3s) of the country.

So yeah, big day next Thursday.