INTERESTING: What’s wrong with “copyright” law

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Making of a Holiday Classic

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By any standard, It’s a Wonderful Life qualifies as a holiday classic. Frank Capra’s 1946 film has earned its place in the pop culture pantheon, becoming a Christmas tradition for millions of viewers around the world.

*** and ***

You may have noticed that, in recent years, It’s a Wonderful Life comes on only once or twice per Christmas season, and only on a major network (NBC). [That’s because] The original copyright holders managed to reassert their rights, something that is virtually unheard of. But the rights associated with the background music, as well as the copyright protection stemming from the short story on which the movie was based, had not yet expired. That gave Republic Pictures the hook in needed to reassert its control of the film.

*** end quote ***

Wasn’t “copyright” and “patent” law supposed to speed up innovation?

Intellectual Property, or as most libertarians call it, “imaginary property”, has apparently done the opposite.

Never ending succession of small changes allow the Big Media to retain a choke hold on “stuff”.

Time to revisit that “law”.

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SERVICE: “Windows Live SkyDrive” replaced “FOLDERSHARE” (No Opinion Yet)

Welcome to Windows Live SkyDrive Help

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Store, organize, and download your files, photos, and favorites (A website whose web address is saved on your computer or an online server so that you can access it quickly and easily.) on Windows Live servers for free. Share photos and files that you create with your friends, collaborate on documents, or display photos and files that you create to anyone on the Windows Live network (A group of people someone communicates and shares with on Windows Live. Someone’s network includes people they’ve added to their profile, to their Messenger contacts, or both. People in someone’s network can see information about their latest activities in the what’s new list, and may see other information, depending on permissions settings.) . When you sign in to the Windows Live SkyDrive website with your Windows Live ID (The e-mail address and password that you use to sign in to Windows Live programs and services such as Windows Live Hotmail and Windows Live Messenger; Microsoft services such as Xbox LIVE, MSN, and Office Live; and other places where you see the Windows Live ID logo.) , you get:

   * Storage: Store up to 25 gigabytes (GB) of photos and files. The SkyDrive storage meter shows how much storage space you’ve used.

   * Organization: Arrange your files in top-level folders (A folder that appears in the Documents, Favorites, or Photos sections on the Windows Live SkyDrive home page. Also known as a root folder.) and subfolders (A folder that you create inside a top-level folder.) that you create.

   * Control: Choose permissions (A setting that lets you limit who can see and download files from your folders.) for each top-level folder that you create. Keep your photos, files, and favorites in personal folders (Only you can view or edit files in this top-level folder. You can use personal folders to store private files.) so only you can access them; in shared folders (Only you and people that you select can view photos and files in this top-level folder. For each person that you allow to access the top-level folder, you can assign the role of reader or editor.) so you can share them with your Windows Live network, your extended network (The people in your network on Windows Live—your Windows Live Messenger and profile contacts—plus the profile contacts of the people in your network.) , and people on your contact list (A list that contains the name and e-mail address of each of your contacts.) ; or in public folders (Anyone on the Internet can view photos and files in this top-level folder, but only you can edit the photos and files.) so that they can be viewed by anyone on the Internet.

   * Convenience: Keep track of your favorite websites even when you aren’t using your own computer.

   * Flexibility: Upload any photo or file up to 50 megabytes (MB) in size, and move, copy, delete, rename, and caption your photos and files after you upload them.

   * Display: Photos saved as the JPG, JPEG, GIF, BMP, PNG, TIF, and TIFF file types (A standard way of storing information on a computer by using the last three letters of a file name, known as the file extension, to indicate the file type. Different programs use different file extensions.) display with thumbnail (A miniature version of an image or electronic version of a page that is generally used to allow quick browsing through multiple images or pages.) images, and can be viewed by other users on SkyDrive or in an online slide show, if they have the right permissions to view them.

   * Sharing: Share links directly to your folders, files, and photos, or embed your photos and files in your blog (Short for weblog. An online journal. Each entry typically contains personal thoughts and web links, with the newest entries listed first.) or webpage. You can also let people know you’ve added their picture to SkyDrive by adding people tags (Textual data attached to a photo to refine its definition and meaning by identifying the person or persons in the photo.) .

*** end quote ***

Sigh. Didn’t migrate the FOLDERSHARE settings. Argh!

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GOLD: Demonstrating the eternal value of commodity money

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An amateur British archaeologist has discovered almost 300 gold coins dating from the 7th Century at a dig just outside Jerusalem’s Old City.

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Wonder how much a paper IOU from the then Byzantine Emperor Heraclius would be worth today?

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RANT: A superb refutation of “liberalism”

December 27, 2008
The Conservative Elevator Story
By Christopher Chantrill

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Good question, Bob. In America today, conservatives believe, government is cruel, corrupt, unjust; and it just costs too much. And we conservatives just can’t stand there and do nothing.

{Extraneous Deleted}

Liberals created this monster, Bob. Liberals believe that compulsory government programs are the way to help the poor and comfort the afflicted. But they are wrong. Government is not compassion. Government is force. You cannot solve social problems by force.

{Extraneous Deleted}

Conservatives believe in society not as social force but as social cooperation. That’s why we must reform the welfare state into the welfare society. In the welfare society the American people, not liberal experts, will be in charge of their health care, their children’s education, the comfort of the afflicted, and the decent provision of pensions.

{Extraneous Deleted}

With conservative reforms America will truly become that shining city on a hill, “still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom.”

*** end quote ***

A superb “elevator speech” as to why we need liberty!

Strange how originally the “conservatives” wish to preserve the French and English Kings and the “liberals” wanted to empower the “sovereign individual”.

NOW, we have the perversion that the “liberals” want to empower the government and the “conservatives” want to empower the individual.

AND, the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin — power to the government.

How far we have fallen from the ideals of the DOWGs!

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POLITICAL: The new powers that be look as bad as the old powers that was

Suprise, suprise. They looked and they didn’t do anything wrong. And, we’ll announce it Christmas Eve so it gets overlooked.

Begin forwarded message:

From: “ Editors”
Date: December 23, 2008 4:56:27 PM EST
Subject: WSJ NEWS ALERT: Obama, Staff Had No Improper Contact With Blagojevich, Report Finds



from The Wall Street Journal

Dec. 23, 2008

President-elect Barack Obama’s transition staff had no inappropriate communications with the office of Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, according to a report released Tuesday.

The five-page report identified incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as the only aide who had direct contact with Blagojevich, who is at the center of a corruption probe. Emanuel “had one or two” telephone conversations with the governor between Nov. 6 and Nov. 8 to discuss his own resignation from the U.S. House as well as potential nominees to fill the Illinois Senate seat being vacated by Obama, according to the report written by incoming White House Counsel Greg Craig.

Full PDF of the report:

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Politics: The Gooferment is the Problem, imho!

There’s No Pain-Free Cure for Recession
Belt-tightening is required by all, including government.

*** begin quote ***

Governments cannot create but merely redirect. When the government spends, the money has to come from somewhere. If the government doesn’t have a surplus, then it must come from taxes. If taxes don’t go up, then it must come from increased borrowing. If lenders won’t lend, then it must come from the printing press, which is where all these bailouts are headed. But each additional dollar printed diminishes the value those already in circulation. Something cannot be effortlessly created from nothing.

*** end quote ***

When will folks recognize that GOVERNEMENT IS THE PROBLEM.

It starts from a flawed set of paradigms (i.e., perceptions) and memes (i.e., ideas).

One flawed paradigm / perception is that the “benefits bestowed” come like magic rainfall from the heavens. It’s a miracle. What we don’t see, or chose not to see, is the sausage being made. Money extracted by force (Who voluntarily pays the mob in gooferment?) to fund the “benefits”. Minus of course the huge “handling fee” to do the “extracting” and “bestowing”!

One flawed meme is that there is such a thing as “government”. In our minds, we create the Wizard of Oz illusion that there something, (or even more laughable, that we are part of something), bigger than ourselves. No, what I see are craven immoral human beings dress up in fancy clothes pretending to have power over us. To “govern” us.

In the beginnings of human civilization, there were Tyrants. Then, came Kings. Now, we have Politicians.

There are all just people. Give them no more defference than you would a street thug. Be careful they can hurt you. But, don’t kid yourself that the Politician is any different than the Mafia Don.

Keep your pitchfork and torch at hand. Their time is coming.

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GUNS: Armed woman saves herself. Can you say the same?

AR: Armed woman motorist chases off car jackers


“‘A lady was flagged over Sunday evening about 6 p.m. on the interstate between Kelley Highway and the Arkansas river bridge.’ Lt. Steve Coppinger with State Police says that two men in a car signaled that the woman was getting a flat tire. ‘When she pulled over to check her tires one of those person in that other car got out and attempted to rob her at knife point.’ But what the thief didn’t expect happened next. Coppinger says the female driver pulled out her handgun. ‘She pointed that at her attacker and he backed away, got in the car and they fled.’ Investigators say the would-have-been victim was able to turn the tables because she had a concealed carry permit.” [editor’s note: She was able to turn the tables because she was armed and willing to defend herself, NOT because some bureau rat magnanimously gave her “permission” – TLK] (12/19/08)

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Are we “victims”?

The RKBA was put in by the very smart DOWGs because they realized criminals, and the gooferment (I repeat myself!), had to be kept in check.

Only an armed citizen can do that!

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TECHNOLOGY: Slashdot has the beginnigns of a giant internet issue

*** begin quote ***

Fairpoint Pledges To Violate Net Neutrality

Posted by timothy on Saturday December 27, @02:46PM

from the we’ll-read-it-to-you-over-the-phone dept.

The Internet Censorship Communications

wytcld writes “Fairpoint Communications, which has taken over Verizon’s landline business in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, has announced that on February 6 ‘AOL, Yahoo! and MSN subscribers will continue to have access to content but will no longer be able to access their e-mail through the third-party Web site. Instead, Yahoo! and other third-party e-mail will be accessed directly at the portal. Since Verizon spun off its lines to Fairpoint in a maneuver that got debt off of Verizon’s balance sheets by saddling Fairpoint with it, there was concern by the public service boards of the three states about how Fairpoint would deal with that debt. Fairpoint’s profit plan: force all Webmail users through Fairpoint’s portal, by blocking all direct access to Webmail portals other than its own. Will Fairpoint’s own search engine portal be next? What can stop them?”

*** end quote ***

Here’s one to watch.

Not sure where the needle is in this haystack! BUT, (there is always a big butt), it seems as if the ISP FAIRPOINT maybe, while taking over from Verizon, screwing all the customers.

I know that is a total surprise.

“I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” Captain Renault in Casablanca

At the very least, it’s a good reason NOT to use your ISP’s email address. I do feel sorry for all those users who now will have to change their email address. (I preach having your own domain! No one listens. Sorry, no sympathy here.)

I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

Whose got the popcorn?

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MONEY: Inflation is in the future according to my crystal ball

What Is the National Debt?
by Bill Sardi

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The national debt is owed to many, including foreign governments, investment groups, and so on. But one thing I don’t understand is that the national debt is said to amount to $10.6 trillion before the federal government apparently came up with hundreds of billions to trillions more out of thin air in the recent bailouts. They didn’t loan this bailout money from anybody. Where did it come from? It appears to be fiat money, printed into existence. Does this pretend-money then get added to the national debt? Do we pay interest (taxes) on this imaginary money? Don’t know, and don’t know anybody who can answer this question. It’s all part of the secrecy of government.

*** end quote ***

A National disgrace. A National crime. A National millstone around the neck of our children.

Quick like a bunny, tactically, the gooferment should sell 30, 40, and 50 years bonds. With a sinking fund to pay them off!

Eventually this is one big chicken coming home to roost.

It’ll make the Cater inflation look good!

Gold anyone?

Buried in your back yard!

Don’t forget FDR’s gold grab. And, remember the congresscritters are eyeing your 401Ks!

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INTERESTING: Lusitania carry munitions. US entry into WW1 was on bad intelligence or gooferment deceit!

Secret of the Lusitania: Arms find challenges Allied claims it was solely a passenger ship
By Sam Greenhill
Last updated at 1:16 AM on 20th December 2008

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Her sinking with the loss of almost 1,200 lives caused such outrage that it propelled the U.S. into the First World War.

But now divers have revealed a dark secret about the cargo carried by the Lusitania on its final journey in May 1915.

Munitions they found in the hold suggest that the Germans had been right all along in claiming the ship was carrying war materials and was a legitimate military target.

*** end quote ***

Wilson moves up on the list of “worst president”.

Either a fool or a fraud?

He campaigned on a “keep us out of war” platform and then rushed us into it.

Once again, it appears that the public was lied to and manipulated.

When do we wise up?

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SERVICE: Web service PLAXO should fix their limits. Then, maybe …

*** begin quote ***

Message from the Plaxo Pulse Team 1 day ago

Get more out of your Plaxo — Expand your network

There are only a few days left in 2008. At this time of year, people everywhere are re-connecting with friends, family and the professional contacts that mean most to them. Now, more than ever, it’s a great time to invest in your network. Making the right connections helps you stay in touch and can open new opportunities…

Plaxo offers many tools to help you find and connect with your friends and colleagues. Visit our connections page to see people you may know; find classmates and co-workers; or import new contacts to connect with.

Once you’ve connected with the people you care about, why not update your profile to let them know what’s new? Filling in with your professional history is a great place to start.

Investing in your network is not only enjoyable, but can pay great dividends in the new year.

Warmest wishes this holiday season!

The Plaxo Team

*** end quote ***

Maybe if they fixed their 10k limit, I might invest time on Plaxo. Not a minute before. Argh!

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TECHNOLOGY: Another Search Service GODUCKGO

“manhattan college” -marymount -“marymount manhattan college” -“borough of manhattan college” -marymount

I’m a sucker for search engines to “find” my fellow Jaspers. Here’s one that I didn’t see the value of. Doesn’t mean it’s not there. Just I do not see it. Do you?

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SERVICE: When you get defreinded, how do you know that the site hasn’t just made an error?

Amusing. THe WSJ just covered “de-friending” at the awkwardness.

How do I know that “de-friending” isn’t just the social networking site making a mistake.

And, the WSJ article and other bloggers have pointed out that you may need that person you “de-friended” in the future.

Better just to ignore it.

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QUOTE: Who rules?

In his 1928 book, Propaganda, Bernays wrote, “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country…”

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Definition of “sheeple” (i.e., people who are sheep)!

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GUNS: Will Plaxico become a RKBA advocate? UPDATED

November 30, 2008 at 5:39am

*** begin quote ***

After allegedly shooting himself in the right thigh Friday night at a popular Manhattan nightclub, New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Buress faces charges.Buress’s attorney telling the AP, the N-F-L er will turn himself in on Monday and will likely enter a plea of ”not guilty.”Buress faces the charge of criminal possession of a weapon, it’s not clear whether he has a permit for the gun.

*** end quote ***

Interesting. Now, will he have the courage to mount a Constitutional challenge to the draconian NYC “Gun Control” aka “victim disarmament” laws!
Hope he does!
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In a far more lucid explanation:

*** begin quote ***

In a free society, Burress would be responsible for paying his hospital bill and for any damage to the nightclub, after which he could put the whole unpleasant accident behind him and get on with his life.

Instead, the State is going to ruin Burress’ career and life, and cause unspeakable anguish for his loved ones, by locking him in a cage inside a socialist hellhole for a “crime” that hurt no one except for himself – and even that, just barely. The only victim in this “crime” is Burress.

*** end quote ***

AND, he has an absolute Constitutional right to defend himself with what ever tools he deems necessary. Mayor Mike Bloomberg did NOT get all upset about the football celebrity friend of Plaxico who was robbed at gunpoint earlier that week.

Indeed, if we “convict” Plaxico of anything, it would be “failure to properly equip himself” with a suitable holster.

Guns don’t go in waistbands. (That for the movies.) And, you certainly don’t point the end with the hole anywhere near your family jewels.

All in all, after you finish laughing at the idea of a wide receiver fumbling the gun, you should be outraged at the politicians who put us in this absurdity int he first place.

By the way, when Mayor Mike takes his famous subway ride to work, he had FOUR armed cops as body guards with him AT TAXPAYER EXPENSE. Sure, he’s for “gun control” aka “victim disarmament”; he doesn’t need to protect himself!


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UPDATE: 12/20/08

The life and death cost of gun control
Hawaii Reporter
by John R. Lott Jr.

“Banning guns is in the news. India practically bans guns, but that didn’t stop the horrific Muslim terrorist attacks this last week. A football player concerned for his safety violates New York City’s tough gun control regulations by carrying a concealed handgun, and people call for everything from banning NFL players from carrying guns to demanding that the athlete serve many years in jail. Where is the sympathy or debate in either case over letting people defend themselves? Given that the terrorists smuggled their machine guns in with them, would anyone argue that India’s extremely strict gun licensing and artificially high prices for guns helped prevent the terrorist attacks? In fact, the reverse is more likely the case.” (12/17/08)

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*** begin quote ***

NEW YORK (CNN) — A 9 mm handgun, a rifle, ammunition and clothing were confiscated during a search of the home of New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress, police said Wednesday.

*** end quote ***

How dare he pretend to be an armed citizen in the Pepuls Republik of Nu Yuk!
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POLITICAL: Gooferment bailouts mere prolong the inevitable

The End of the US Piano Industry by Jeffrey A. Tucker

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Today government is even more arrogant and absurd, and it actually believes that by passing legislation it can save the US car industry. It can subsidize and pay for uneconomic activities, and pay ever more every year. The government can also pay millions of people to make mud pies because mud pies are deemed to be an essential industry. You can do this, but at what cost and what could possibly be the point? Eventually, even the government will have to accord itself to the reality that economics reminds us of on a daily basis.

*** end quote ***

It’s hard to envision a sadder time in American History.

The gooferment bailing out the UAW union.

That’s what this is all about.

The unions wield enormous political power.

And, like a parasite, they eventually kill their hosts.

Look at the Teacher’s Union and education. The ports with their union. The railroads with their union. Government workers and their unions.

And, don’t make the mistake that the Union is looking out for its members.

Sure, they do from time to time, but that’s to preserve the illusion.

Example, State of New Jersey hasn’t contributed to the pension plan for several administration. It’s under funded by 3T$. Think the Union has grabbed the politicians by their privates and insisted. No, they are all in bed together.

Example, UAW hasn’t insisted that Automakers align the executive’s interest with the worker’s. It’s a scandal that a CEO makes more than the line worker in salary. CEO’s shouldn’t make more than a 1$/year anytime. Give them stock options that vest in 5 year increments (i.e., 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, …). Then stand out of the way as the thinking shifts to long term value.

Example, the Delta bankruptcy screwed all the retired pilots. Hear anything about that?

Unions are an institution that needs to be reinvented.

Where’s my “union” for bloggers?


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RANT: Camile Paglia “government should get out of the marriage business”

What do the Clintons have on Obama?
What experience does Hillary have to run State? Plus: Avoiding the Muslim issue on Mumbai, and anti-Proposition 8 activists threaten to set back gay rights.
By Camille Paglia

*** begin quote ***

I may be an atheist, but I respect religion and certainly find it far more philosophically expansive and culturally sustaining than the me-me-me sense of foot-stamping entitlement projected by too many gay activists in the unlamented past. My position has always been (as in “No Law in the Arena” in my 1994 book, “Vamps & Tramps”) that government should get out of the marriage business. Marriage is a religious concept that should be defined and administered only by churches. The government, a secular entity, must institute and guarantee civil unions, open to both straight and gay couples and conferring full legal rights and benefits. Liberal heterosexuals who profess support for gay rights should be urged to publicly shun marriage and join gays in the civil union movement.

*** end quote ***

The gooferment has NO business at all in the marriage or civil unions business.

Prevent invasions, preserve the peace, ensure rights!


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RANTING: Lessons Learned from Aruba trip. Updated!

1. Gooferment ineptness (theirs and ours)

Aruba-bound @ EWR: The checkin lines for baggage checkin were enormous. There were five different counters with no discernible difference. Naturally “ours” was furthest down. Have to scan in the passport. (Surprisingly, we weren’t charged for the bags since we were ticketed before the created this ripoff. More on the unintended consequences later. Smart computer system.) Guess the “airline” is an extension of the gooferment. On to TSA! For some “security theater”. Frau had to go thru twice. She touched the side supposedly. I had to go thru twice no reason given. Note: I did have Frau’s nitro with the little metal top. Guess that’s OK!

@ Aruba: Mass confusion in the inbound immigration control. Lines were non-existent. People cutting in. Half the ports staffed. And, no one on the bureaucrats were too upset to hurry. Argh! (Some dimwits didn’t fill out their form on the plane delaying the line. Should be a special line for them.) Scan the passport (AGAIN!) and type some stuff into a computer. Argh!

EWR-bound from Aruba: Keystone cops. Show up THREE hours early to a “terminal width and a half line”. (Getting smarter in my old age!) Put Frau on line. I checked us in. (Don’t ask how I checked her in with out the body! Beats me.) Got another form to fill out. Filled it out. Went and returned the cell phone. Evidently, planes were being delayed. Magically two more Aruba bureaucrats magically appeared and the check in became more perfunctory. On to “screening”. Like a stopped sewer pipe, the blockage just moved down the line a little. Four screening lines. More theater. Both of us scan in one pass. Find the board. Two hour gate delay. Argh! Kill an hour in the bar. (One six pack of Bud Light for me. Frau took a glass. But they were only 10 ounce cans!) On to USA Immigration. Reunited with our bags (minus the handy luggage cart that made it possible for me to move everything.) No line. Agriculture inspection. (I bought Ev a chicken sandwich and a small slice fruit bowl earlier at the hotel.) Can’t take “fruit” into the US. “Discarded!” (Frau thinks the guy put it aside for his snack or lunch.) Of course, at the gate at Sabaro’s, I can buy a similar fruit to take to the USA. (Guess that came in by air from the USA! Yeah, right!!)

While seated at the gate, I observed the Ground Crew letting the pilots from an incoming plane into the secure waiting area. And, other Ground Crew moved thru the secured door. (Inspiring confidence!)

It’s all a JOKE!

Discard your water on the Aruba side of security and you can rebuy it on the Airline side at a premium. Give me a break!


2. Demise of a camera. Murphy moment.

I was driving the Land Rover on the “Natural Pool Jeep Adventure”. More about that later. I had my camera out to get some of the pics of the back of the island. I’d try to get to the “Natural Pool” before with a rental car but the terrain scared me off. (Rightly so.) In one particularly rough section I need two hands. SO I put the camera on the dash ledge. (Fatal mistake!) It was dry there.

BUT, (there is always a big butt), I drove and the rig tilted … a lot. Felt like 30 degrees but I wasn’t measuring. From somewhere a large slosh of water came rushing out. (It had rained the day before.) I was soaked. Frau was soaked. Her new Aruba beach bag got yucky on the bottom. AND the camera was sitting in a puddle. I “rescued” it but too late. I salvaged the memory card out of it in hopes it survived. (It did.)

(Never liked that camera. It was the Nikon with wireless capability that never worked right. Must have wasted a slew of time and many calls to 18002NONUSTECHNONSUPPORT!)


SO here I am watching shore line I may never see again. And, no camera.

(If I had thought about it. I could have brought my cell phone and used its camera. But, it was back at the hotel. Powered off waiting for the return trip to NJ.)


3. All inclusive — pro’s and con’s

This was the first time that we went all inclusive. I was thinking like a cruise ship. Food and beverages any time. Not so. Breakfast buffet from 0730 to 1000. Lunch buffet at two places: Main room from 1130 to 1330 and Pool side from 1130 to 1600. (Pool side was smaller with less choices.) Dinner was the Main Buffet or one of their three “fancy restaurants” (i.e., Asian, Mexican, and Italian). We were told to reserve early. We didn’t and were left with poorer choices. NBD (No Big Deal) to us since we like to eat dinner early. And, we had to take outside. NBD (We liked that better.) (I think the bright star that we saw each night we ate outside was Venus. But no one knew for sure.) We ate at the main buffet on the first night. It was like the main lunch one. We ate out two nights — both across the street from the hotel. One was a sidewalk Italian restaurant which was excellent and had music shared between the five restaurants. (We took the Italian cause it was farthest from some very loud, very good, very spirited, and enthusiastic ten man band. 60$) And, pizza. (40$)

Jury is still out if the all inclusive was a good option. Probably was. I just was expecting different (i.e., cruise ship all inclusive).

4. Air Travel sucks

Once upon a time, air travel was fun. Now, you lose a full day getting to and from your destination. If you’re lucky, it’s only a day. The lines for security theater put one in a bad mood. To be first out of the airplane isn’t necessarily any guaranty of making time. THe food on the planes is minimal. The entertainment is minimal. The temperature is minimal. I think the plane makes you sick. From a process pov, it’s a disaster. Do, redo. Check and recheck. It’s a wonder that anyone puts up with it. And, the costs. Taxes are hidden everywhere. And, not so hidden.

5. People are a pia

We were in the shuttle bus to the airport hotel, I had my keys in my right hand. My computer bag was slung over my right shoulder. THere wasn’t an inch of spare space in the minibus. This guy, who had been yelling at his wife on his cell phone loudly in the tiny bus, jumps up as soon as it stops. The driver said: “I can drop you at your car after I unload.” “I don’t want to wait” was his impatient reply.He them proceeds to step on my foot and reach THRU my computer bad to get his bag. Naturally, he knocks my keys from hand and ties himself in my bag. So I get up and block him from the door looking for my keys that have gone behind the seat. Argh! Keystone comedy. He’s still tied up in my computer bag, and the drive sees my keys and fishes them out. Roid rage man is now untangled running for the lot with bags in tow. So after sending Frau into check in. I go to put our bags in the car and retrieve our overnight bag. There’s Mister Happy trying to clean off his car. I only cleaned off the trunk and I was cold. When I left he was still there working on it. Hope it was good and cold. Argh!

6. My term as an unpaid driver

Took the “Natural Pool Jeep Safari”. Interesting in that the company depends on “volunteer” drivers. You get nothing for doing it. The question is do I incur any liabilities in doing it? I saw an old man and a young kid “volunteer” to drive. The old man was anxious to get going and was going before the rest were ready. Out at the “Natural Pool”, the old man switch with one of his party. That fellow almost pinned one of his passengers to the next Land Rover in line. One should inquire about the abilities of “volunteer drivers”.

7. ITSJ is limiting

Frau struck up conversations with several folks during the trip. She’s the extrovert. I never have much to add. I did take a couple of pictures for people in my travels. Made me think about that biz idea of taking pics for folks and giving them a card to download from a sie like photofish, kodak or such. If I could figure out how to monetize it.

8. Natural pool injuries

Took the “Natural Pool Jeep Safari”. Drove in that pack of 4 Land Rovers over to the back desolate side of the island. Volcanic rock. No signs. No paths to speak of. The “guide” drove the first one; volunteers the other three. I volunteered. (I’ve driven in Aruba several times before. I owned a 4 wheel drive before they were “kool”. Figured I’d be safer in control.) On the way there, we passed a lost White Jeep “day tripper”. He tagged along. (More on this later!)

We arrived at the “natural pool”. DOWN a terrible “stairway”. Straight down. 100 yards. Cardiac wife. But I don’t think I was up to that level of PT! It was steep. So, we hung out at the top. The “natural pool” was a rock formation that created a pool out of a high wall on the ocean side and lower one on the lee side. Each wave sprayed into the air and the pool backfilled gently from the low side. The tourists were in the pool. Then a slightly larger wave broke over the high wall. And the pool emptied and refilled quickly. Think washing machine for people with a spin cycle.

Back up at the Land Rovers we saw the bumped and bruised after the steep climb. Several bloody scrapes. Several obviously bruised limping folks. Guess there was a reason we all had to sign releases? The “guide” had a first aid kit. But several scrapes wouldn’t stop oozing. Needless to say, the fun was drained for those folks.

NO one had anything in the way of a kit. (I had some stuff for my wife. Drugs, fruit cocktail, flashlight, and multitool. I’d been to USAF survival school. But, I wasn’t ready for triage and disaster first aid.)

Needless to say, it gave me a wake up call.

Back to the guy in the white jeep who tagged along. He and his wife were off a cruise ship for 12 hours and wanted an “adventure”. They rented a little CJ4 jeep. (Not sprung like the Land Rovers; pretty little “girly” car.) He tracked us as we went over very bad ground. I was on a tour. If the Land Rover busted, it wasn’t my problem. If that fellow busted his jeep, he had a slew of problems. Triple A wasn’t making calls out there I don’t think. He didn’t have a GPS. Nor, a cell phone. And, if anything happened, he was going to miss his ship. He had to dodge around stuff that the Land Rovers could handle.

Lessons learned:

(A) Carry water. Don’t depend on anyone else.

(B) If they ask you to sign a release, then ask why?

(C) Cell phone, GPS, and “survival kit” are required for all “adventures”.

(D) Don’t assume “attractions” are safe.

(E) Pack good shoes if you’re not wearing hiking boots. (You may have to walk out!) Tourists in flip flops in the “natural pool” had scraped feet that then had to climb stone stairs. Hard with half a flip flop.

(F) Don’t forget ropes, garbage bags, and duct tape. (The land rover door came loose as we were banging around.)

9. TSA, Immigration, and airlines are NOT ADA
Traveling with Frau, I’m always concerned she’ll over exert herself. None of these things are ADA. Or even handicap friendly. No one cares how long you stand on line. Or how far you have to trek with luggage. Of if she can eat on time.
How about a bakery number system? Have a large seating area for the scanning. Take a number and be seated. The “conceirge” can call numbers up say five at time. Same result but definlte less stressful. Bet you could even have TV monitors playing commercials and show a profit.
Or, have the “checkers” check you at one shared location (i.e, the airline check in counter). YOu come with your bags. Everything is done at once.
How do the politicians, the rich, and the celebrities do it? Certainly not like the rabble do!

10. Expect the unexpected

Delays and changes are inevitable. Be prepared to roll with the punches.

11. Pool lounge chairs can be dangerous

Frau slipped back into her lounge chair at the pool. Ouch. She’s still nursing a sore tail bone.

12. Explore all documents in advance

Tucked in our ticket folder was a discount offer for a cell phone in Aruba. Maybe I could have saved some money. Oh well.

13. Plan smartly

Building on previous trips, we have a template of the trip. It has lots of moving parts. On the prior trip, I had pre-shipped the luggage. Not cheap. $300? I think. But that was smart. For some reason, I didn’t do that this time. Bad mistake. It takes a lot of stress out of the trip once the clean clothes are in your destination. Why did that “good idea” get dropped? Beats me. Shouldn’t have!

14. Make dinner reservation before you go

We’d been warned to make the dinner reservations as soon as we got there. I had the bright idea to make them before we left. Didn’t action that one! As a matter of fact, we were so pooped and knotted when we got there, we waited. Dumb.

Interestingly, serendipity, two of our reservations at the Italian joint we had to take outside on the patio. That was all that was left. It was fantastic. Out under the stars, gentle breeze. Lucked out. Be a different comment if it was raining or cold.

15. Hotel key “barbara streisand”

THREE times I was locked out of the room. Bad key. Argh! First time, I got the “barbara streisand” story that I demag it by putting it near a cell phone or other electronic equipment. Unless my butt is magnetic? I kept my key in my back pocket by itself. Second time, I carried them to the room used one and put it on the desk. (Frau and I travel together.) So when it happened again, I asked the housekeeping to open it for me. She broke the rules and did. I took the key that had gone no where. AND, it wouldn’t work! When I took both keys to the desk and explained my experiment, I got a shoulder shrug. Argh!

16. Don’t break the spell (if possible)

I should have just ignored the world for the ENTIRE week. It was around mid-week when I called home. The angst reappeared and stayed the rest of the week. Should have not! There is a benefit in “leaving it all” behind.

17. Internet was cheap, if

The hotels make the internet a profit center. This hotel had wifi for 40 per week. Still scandalous. Versus 15$/day to use their computer in their business center during their hours. The macbookair performed almost flawlessly. The signon to their wifi was balky. Hibernating require a resign on. SO bringing it was worthwhile. The MCBA, like at home, has frequent reconnection. Obviously a flaw with it.

18. Rent a luggage cart

Just made it easy to move the two bags around.

19. Pre-ship luggage better

Why didn’t I?

20. Avoid air travel at all costs

New rule of thumb: Air travel is not worth the aggravation.

21. Shop the local grocery store (eye opening)

Went to the hotel shop, a bodega, the supermarket on the main drag. Small can of fruit cocktail — Frau’s favorite “low sugar” antidote — $3 in hotel shop, $1.90 in the bodega, and $1.25 at supermarket. Home between $.99 and $1.49. So you really get screwed at the hotel store.

Eye opening at the grocery store. Shelves were NOT well-stocked. They only had four cans of Fruit Cocktail and one was badly dented. Butcher shop had good looking beef. Bakery had stuff, but all in big quantities.

Back at the hotel, I discussed the supermarket with the bar guy. He said that food prices in general were down dramatically due to the price of oil. (Since everything comes from Venezuela, the price of oil is in EVERYTHING in a big way.)

22. Backup camera!

Probably should carry a backup camera. Cheap ones are pretty good now.

23. “Survival Kit” Kangaroo pouch?

24. The lesson of the “white jeep”

25. Airline terminal fruit incident

26. “Long lines” action plan

27. Take some plastic bags

28. Hemorrhoid ring

29. Take pics for others

30. Honeymooners are “cute”

31. Some people shouldn’t wear bathing suits

32. What do the natives think

33. Is this buffet your last meal?

34. Glass and marble don’t mix

35. Humidity wrinkles paper

36. Have canned responses ready

37. Umpty ump jewelry shops in a row

38. No more “chirping”

39. Oil prices impact natives

40. Old vendor and his pickup truck

41. Rental car CDW

42. Locked the keys in the car (again)

43. What am I doing at the beach?

44. Giving feedback

45. Coffee

46. In plane cabin, baggage?


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JOBSEARCH: Building value on Facebook

So, you’re on Facebook and you have dotcomeraden! (

Big deal!

What can you do on Facebook that is UNIQUE and helps your “facebook friends”?

Remember before anyone is motivated to do something for you (e.g., tell you about your perfect job they heard about; email you encouragement when you’re in a rough patch; just send you the latest joke; write you a LinkedIn recommendation; not “defriend”” you), you have to do something for them!

So, here’s an idea.

Facebook tells you every day, who among your dotcomeraden has a birthday. Send them an “hb”.


If you have dotcomeraden on Facebook who share a birthday, send them a message, a “you should be friends” Facebook option.

Here’s what I send:

*** begin quote ***

Best wishes on your mutual day.

I always thought birthdays were a great way to setup a granfalloon — — strange idea. A very important concept in “job search”. I’ve sent you connection suggestions of some “sharers”.

This is a Robbie Burns message. You know the gift to see ourselves as others see us. Facebook tells me that you share the day; it doesn’t tell you. Here’s a gift. A networking stretching weird one.

Nota Bene: They did say that “opportunity” knocks. What they did NOT tell you was what you’d find when you opened the door. It’s a great free offer requiring nothing more from you but to be open to something new. What throws you off, in this case, is that “opportunity” is disguised as a fat old man with strange ideas. ROFL!!!


*** end quote ***

It’s a modest effort to build a community.

Even if I’m not elligible to be in it. Not sharing the same birthday, that is.

I’m hoping that in the coming months that one of my many “birthday grandfalloon” attempts tells me that they have “encircled” and had positive results (i.e., partied at the half-year point, made real friendships, exchanged “help” of whatever kind, or such!)

That’s why I’m doing the “birthday gathering chore” each morning.


Yeah, I know, get a life.

But what have you DONE to build value for your dotcomeraden on Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, or such.

At least I’ve found one small thing.

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HARDWARE: Seagate reduces warranty from 5 to 3 years. Bad move!

Lockergnome Blog Network]

Chris Pirillo posted a blog entry

Seagate’s New Warranty Policy – Who Are They Kidding?

*** begin quote ***

Reported this morning on ZDNet, the Seagate company will be changing its warranty policy on many drives, beginning January, 3, 2009. The statement from the company gives a figure of only 5 % of the failures occurring in their drives between years 3 and 5 of service.

This may be so, but if it is, it shows a policy that has been decided by people who know little about perceived value and human psychology.

In many cases today, a choice between a Seagate drive and a drive, of equal size, from Western Digital or Hitachi is possible. I don’t really consider Fujitsu or Samsung drives here, as they are not widely available, or well known to the average consumer. Seagate and Western Digital are the heavy hitters here, and many don’t know the name Hitachi, and are slightly more comfortable when told that Hitachi is really what had been sold for years as IBM-branded product. In a $75 to $175 purchase, the difference of 5 to 10 dollars is hardly worth worrying about, and many times the drives are sold at equal prices.

What then, affects the decision process?

*** end quote ***

Seagate blew this one. They’ve reverted to the competition. Now the only differentiator is price. That means that disk drives are a cheap commodity. Cheapest price.

How stupid!

Sell that stock!

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RANT: Migratory Bird Act of 1918?

“XXXXXX school in XXXXXX owns a bird collection of 300 species including several endangered species like a Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle and Eskimo Curlew. The collection was donated to the school in 1963. Is the school in violation of the Migratory Bird Act of 1918?”

Repeal the 1918 law? Isn’t there a statute of limitations.


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QUOTE: Gooferment always gets bigger! “the ratchet effect”

Underappreciated aspects of the ratchet effect
Liberty & Power
by Robert Higgs

“I have always insisted that modern government has many facets and that, at minimum, a study of its growth must consider not only government spending (or taxing or employing), but also the government’s scope and power. Changes in these latter aspects of government do not leave the same kind of easily retrieved record, or numerical data set, that economists typically work with — and without which they are more or less at sea, or in denial. Over the many years that I have pursued my research into the growth of government, I have repeatedly met with evidence of essential elements of the ratchet effect that lie completely beyond the purview of conventional economic research on this subject.” (12/16/08)

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[JR: Every gooferment actions, law, or program needs a SUNSET date!]

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FUN: irregardless

“Do you fix misspelled menus? Correct your girlfriend’s grammar? Cringe every time someone says “supposably” or “nucular”? Has this obsessive behavior ever gotten you in trouble (i.e., dumped, fired, or arrested for defacing public property?).”

No, but when I was hot under the collar about a room reservation screw up, I did roast a hotel clerk’s tail feathers over the word “ilregardless”. Every once and while my Luddite friend uses it. We all laff.

But, I’m not sure he was joking?

(Are you?)

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