RANT: There’s a time to NOT shoot from the hip!


> Optimism— Why not?

Optimism — Why not? — It depends!

Depends upon where the waterline is relative to your nose! Personally, I’d suggest that there’s a time for optimism (i.e., bet on a positive outcome) and a time for pessimism (i.e., bet on a negative outcome). I think everyone does that almost instinctively. My personal rule is: “Does the Titanic sink if I hit the iceberg?” Optimism is appropriate when an adverse result won’t have catastrophic consequences? Pessimism is almost obligatory when the result would be catastrophic, irreversible, or uncorrectable.


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INTERESTING: Remove “offensive” terms from the works of Mark Twain? No!


A State of Education—Some Views of a Nontraditional Student
by Cathy L.Z. Smith
Attribute to The Libertarian Enterprise

*** begin quote ***

The origins of creative works are as important as the works themselves, providing context and accountability. The desire, for instance, to remove certain “offensive” terms from the works of Mark Twain condemns us to travel those same paths again, ignorant of the wisdom that has preceded us in our social evolution. Likewise the recent Canadian decision to censor the works of Mark Knopfler, on the ever more shrilly-cited grounds of “hate speech”, cramp and shrink our culture. It is impossible to change opposing attitudes once it’s made impossible to explore and discuss them.

*** end quote ***

Some one said “those, who don’t remember history, are doomed to repeat it.”

The meme to rewrite history is contra-suvival. And thus in my morality is wrong. It’s also inefficient and ineffective. But that’s a different objection.

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INTERESTING: Carlina White, followed her instincts to reunite


Cold Case Solved: Carlina White Reunites With Parents
White Was Kidnapped as a Baby 23 Years Ago From a New York City Hospital

*** begin quote ***

Carlina White, separated from her family when she was kidnapped as a baby 23 years ago, followed her instincts to reunite with her biological parents, Joy White and Carl Tyson. “Carlina was a missing link and we have gotten her back in the name of Jesus, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah,” Pat Conway, White’s godmother, said. On Aug. 4, 1987, worried parents Joy White and Carl Tyson took their feverish baby daughter to Harlem Hospital’s emergency room. The visit turned into horror when…

*** end quote ***


As much as I like happy endings, there is a LOT more to the story.

Gooferment screw ups: <1> Hospital; <2> School; … must be others.

It would seem that there are a lot of charges to be investigated and filed in this case.

Technology had a role in finding with the computer aged photos.

Perhaps, this will have a happy ending?

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INTERESTING: Heuristics; my ROTs (Rules of Thumb)


Re-Consider the Rules of Thumb You Use in Everyday Life.

from The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

*** begin quote ***

My adventures in the lands of happiness research led me to the concept of heuristics. Heuristics are “rules of thumb,” the quick, common-sense principles people apply to solve a problem or make a decision. They aren’t “rules for living” that you consciously try to apply; rather, they’re deeply embedded, often unconscious, rules that you use to make decisions, answer a question, or decide a course of action.

*** and ***

My children are my most important priority.

Exercise every day.

People don’t notice my mistakes and flaws as much as I think.

My husband is my top priority.

“Yes” comes right away; “no” never comes.

Get some work done every day.

Whenever possible, choose vegetables.

I know as much as most people.

Try to attend any party or event to which I’m invited.

My parents are almost always right.

Ubiquity is the new exclusivity.

If I’m not sure whether to include some text in my writing, cut it out.

When making a choice about what to do, choose work.

I’m too busy to do that.

There’s no wrong decision.

Always say hello.

People in business, small or large, will take advantage of you if they can.

What would my mother do?

Actually, this is good news.

Say yes.

This is the fun part.

Do nothing, go nowhere.

Do everything all at once.

*** end quote ***


  1. Frau is Job #1.
  2. Doctors and nurses are educated and experienced resources; they are not the Pope and this ain’t matters of faith and morals.
  3. Fool me or make a fool of me once; no second chances.
  4. Stop lights are the Universe telling me to slow down and look around.
  5. In a decade, will I care? Will anyone? So, why do I now?
  6. MYOB!
  7. Go for the gusto; go “big” or go home.
  8. I am not my “job”. I am not who I was or am; I am what I will be.
  9. Focus on Quadrant 1 activities: “Important” and “Urgent”.
  10. Your priorities are not NECESSARILY mine. Your lack of planning doesn’t constitute n emergency on my part.
  11. Begin with the end in mind. Planning is everything; plans are meaningless.
  12. 7 P’s (PPPPPPP)
  13. There is no such thing as “over communication”. There is ALWAYS someone who is out of the loop thru NO fault of their own.
  14. There is no substitute for good written DOCTRINE; there’s no excuse for failing to do “LESSONS LEARNED”.
  15. Don’t get mad; get working.
  16. NEVER assume that the organization’s objectives are aligned with yours; figure them out and protect yourself.
  17. There’s no substitute for accurate written records; remember the hearsay rule.
  18. Can’t cheat an honest man. Live life as if you’re going to explain your conduct to your Mom, Grandmom, and the Creator.
  19. Life is not like Jeopardy. There’s no extra credit for rudely shouting out the answer.
  20. The only “dumb” question is the one that you don’t ask. If you’re thinking it, someone else is too.
  21. The Shouldas, couldas, and wouldas will make you miserable; discard them asap. One year amnesty on mistakes.
  22. Set up systems that are automatic; your intentions have to be backed up with actions.
  23. You are neither as smart as you think; nor as dumb as you act.
  24. Do quick tasks; partition and schedule big ones. Do something to advance the ball. Dispatch the long running tasks quickly.
  25. Multiple “top priorities” means you have no priorities.

What are yours?

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INTERESTING: Constantly putting up a front is psychologically taxing; physically?


The Masks Men Wear by Brett & Kate McKay on August 8, 2010

*** begin quote ***

Researchers who study primates, like baboons, have learned never to tranquilize a male in front of his rivals. Once the male goes down, his competitors see the opportunity to pounce on him and will viciously attack the helpless baboon. No such problem exists when researchers tranquilize female primates. One can see then why male primates that are sick or injured will put on displays of vitality and vigor when their rival is around, only to go back to licking their wounds when once again by themselves. Biologists theorize that perhaps our human ancestors dealt with same issue-they couldn’t appear vulnerable or their rivals would see an opening, an opportunity. So our male ancestors learned to hide weakness and act tough. But constantly putting up this front can be psychologically taxing.

*** end quote ***

So that’s why men die sooner than woman? Keeping that front up is hard work.

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TECHNOLOGY: When a hospital’s IT system is dangerous to patient care


Interesting. I finally had time to go thru the exit documents that they made her sign before they let her go. Those instructions are ten pages of virtually unreadable “barbara streisand”. Let’s examine what the hospital bureaucrats — no doubt advised by lawyers — wasted paper and toner on.

Under the heading of “just stupid”, this patient doesn’t smoke, virtually never has. (Me either. Ever kiss a smoker? Yuck. And it makes your wee willie shrink up prematurely. For boys and girls. Look it up. That should be enough to get any youngster to quit. Unless the don’t like using. TMI? Hey this is life. Face it. Like the blog title says.) So why are there THREE separate sections of this load of “barbara streisand” about quitting smoking. One section might be a mistake, two an oversight, three is just no one reads the “barbara streisand” pumped out.

Under the heading of “downright dangerous”, are the two pages of medication instructions. (I have yet to exit the hospital with Frau where these are correct. From my memory, EVERY time we’ve left — and we’ve left a lot — there has been at least ONE serious fmpov error.) SO let’s take score of these instructions.

— We have duplicate instructions on insulin. Literally, separated by incorrect insulin instructions. Luckily, DIABETICDOC#3 was clear with her instructions about what she wanted Frau to take. “Regardless of what is in your discharge instructions”. (So obviously the docs know that these instructions are cobbled together “barbara streisand”.) And, give her even more credit, Frau’s discharge was just a rumor when she gave her exit instructions. (You have to like someone who’s on top of their game. You could almost hear her say: “I don’t care what everyone else is doing. My part of the problem is done right.” She should be in charge. Her or the cleaning lady. Both have their act together.)

— In two items, dosages have been changed which MAY or MAY NOT be correct. (If the lesser dosage is right, then where are the RXes for the new form. Since these dosages were NOT given in the hospital, we’re assuming that this is wrong.)

— Two of her important medications have no instructions at all; so in one case we resumed her old regime and in one case we did not. (Maybe that’s right, maybe that’s wrong.)

— The instructions might as well be written in Babylonian cuniform. It has chemical name, followed by another chemical name in parenthesis sometimes, dosage, instruction, start date, the phrase “ordered as”, and the brand name. (Boy that’s as clear as mud.) The start date is always identical. No where does it say “Take it”. (I know that’s “obvious”. But we are dealing with humans here.) And there’s no indication of what doctor ordered what? (Did my cardiologist really order me to take this cardiac drug or is it one of the other docs covering for him? Who gets sued when it’s wrong and kills me?)

The entire ten page document is a virtually unreadable. I have 20/20 corrected vision. And, I know the tricks one can play with fonts and kerning to pack print on a page. There is a mix of fonts, bolding, and compression that make it a mess to try and read. (Didn’t these folks ever hear of “information mapping”?) As “evidence”, I have a the input from a sample of one, Frau. After scribbling her name on the last page, with it being literally the last thing between her and the door, she look at it, said to me “it’s junk. Can you see if there’s anything important in it?” And, that’s an opinion I can agree with.   

How would I improve it?

Well since not everyone getting out of the hospital has 20/20 vision or a Patient Advocate (PiA) to worry about the “barbara streisand”, I’d completely redesign it using the principles of Information Mapping. It’s not a form; it’s a letter. Signed by the principle doctor and nurse.

It should say. “In order to recover, we want you to take” and then a simple list of drug, dose, and time. And, leave the chemical jargon to the pharmacist. If the patient take Nexium, don’t tell them to Esomeprazole Delayed Release.

For each specialty, it should say: “your DIABETICDOC want you to take:”.

Then a section on follow ups. And don’t tell the patient to do the work. “We have taken the liberty to schedule the following appointments. DIABETICDOC on August 31 at 10AM, BLOODDOC on August 13 at 10AM, CARDIODOC on September 15 at 10AM. You, of course, are free to reschedule these as needed.” (Wow, do some value adding work? What a novel idea.)

Print it all in a nice clean 16 point font and we’re good to go.


Information Technology Architecture and Business Process Reengineering are so easy when someone just cares about the results.

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RANT: Client satisfaction calls

Day before yesterday, I received two phone calls. Both wanting to speak to Frau, who was sleeping. Caught them on the first ring. And told them BOTH to call back tomorrow between 4 and 6 PM.

(On Saturday? You expect us to work on Saturday. Yeah, if this is so important. Otherwise don’t bother us. You have the need for this dumb call; not us.)

Yesterday morning, Frau was sleeping on the couch. She’s had a rough few weeks so it was good. Sure enough, the insurance called to “follow up on her care”.

Woke her up!

<Expletive Deleted>

Told the lady: “Thanks for waking her up and disturbing her. Some Customer Satisfaction.”

Frau took the call. Answered a few dumb questions. Like her birthdate, and when she got out of the hospital.

I’m “with out urine”. Polite way of saying <Expletive Deleted> <Expletive Deleted> off!

Can’t wait until Monday, when I plan to call the insurance company, and try to chat with the honcho in charge of follow up!

The hospital satisfaction surveyor never called back; fine with me.


Who designs this nonsense?

(Glad you’re reading this spleen venting.)

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TECHNOLOGY: The lowly hospital call button

After Frau’s recent stints in the hospital, I was thinking about their poor use of technology.

The lowly call button is the problem. Patients push but … and frustration ensues.

Sitting there with little to do, I mused about how, if I was KING, I’d rework that.

It’s a perfect call center application.

In my world, I’d have room full of “911 operators” to answer the calls. And, I’d have the staff equipped with the latest mobile technology. Like a push to talk cell phone on their hip with a blue tooth headset.

Patient pushes the call button! ,

In the current system, the unit clerk usually answers the bell with a not so cheery “whaddayawant”. OK, that’s not the exact words, but it really is the exact message.

In my system, the “911 operator” would answer: “Yes, is this urgent?” If response = “yes”, set priority to “immediate”. If response = “no”, set priority to “routine”. “What do you need?” And parse the response. “Pain” = “Nurse” “Bedpan” = “Aide” “Spill = Housekeeping” “Lawyer” = “Notify Risk Management” (You get the idea?)

Then, my system would be different in many ways. For “urgent”, I’d go down the list for first available: patient’s regular nurse, the backup, the charge nurse, any available floor nurse, and finally the Director of Nursing. (Wanna bet how many hit the honcho’s phone?)

For routine requests, the “911 operator” would speak to the appropriate party (i.e., nurse, tech, or housekeeper). If they were busy, they could queue it with a “remind me”. The “911 operator would have the person’s queue of items on screen and be able to say “you have five reminders, can I get you some help?”

Nothing would be “forgotten”. Response times would be measurable. Patient satisfaction would improve.

And I’d FLOG the leadership to help motivate them. :-)

These folks work very hard with what I call “a suit from Omar’s” (You know the tailor that has two sizes — too big and too small.) for technology support.

I can quickly list: bp / temp / pulse ox machines that down’t talk to the patient records; blood glucose testing devices that have to be docked to communicate; static white boards that have last shift’s names on them; quality assurance sheets to be signed each hour to ensure that the folks physically visit the rooms and are filled out just before the end of shift; no one monitors what the patient eats; ripoff tv and phone service; no exercise equipment; no technology for communication — people yell for people even on the quiet critical units.

It’s a Leadership problem. It obvious; they just don’t care. Argh!

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TECHNOLOGY: Amex takes the risk, but User is left with the problem


September 7, 2000 11:45 AM PDT
AmEx unveils “disposable” credit card numbers
By Stefanie Olsen Staff Writer, CNET News

*** begin quote ***

American Express today announced a new suite of online security and privacy products, the first of which is a “disposable” credit card number for its members.

As previously reported by CNET News.com, cardholders using the disposable credit card option will be able to log on to a secure Web site and receive a one-time-use credit card number to make purchases over the Internet.

The free service will be offered to small businesses and consumer cardholders within the next 30 days.

*** end quote ***


Response (Shweta Shiv) 08/01/2010 02:46 PM

Dear Ferdinand J Reinke,

I’d like to inform you that American Express does not offer such a service at this time.

However, I assure you that we remain committed to protecting the privacy and security of all of our Cardmembers, both online and offline. We believe that our current security measures, including our sophisticated monitoring systems to detect unusual or fraudulent card activity, provide strong, ongoing protections for our Cardmembers. In addition, you are further safeguarded by our Online Fraud Protection Guarantee, which ensures that Cardmembers are not held liable for any fraudulent charges on their account.

With the Online Fraud Protection Guarantee, you will not be held responsible for any unauthorized online charges, and if someone uses your Card without your consent, you will not pay any part of the fraudulent online charges—not even the first $50.

We are committed to protecting the privacy and security of all of our Cardmembers, and we will continue to develop innovative ways to protect our customers.

Thank you for choosing American Express.

We truly value your association with you.

Shweta Shiv
Email Servicing Team
American Express Interactive Services

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Sorry, but that’s what I could use!

Lost the use of one credit card from a recurrent charge that could not be killed, which I am STILL fighting about. I want ONE TIME USE credit card numbers. I don’t care that the issuers will indemnify the risk, they don’t have the clean up hassle.

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GUNS: Maybe its good we dont teach maksmanship


Sniper Targets Oakland Cops
Updated 6:27 AM PDT, Tue, Jul 20, 2010

*** begin quote ***

The latest incident happened Sunday at about 11:30 p.m. Patrol officers were on a traffic stop near 8th and Adeline Streets in West Oakland when they heard shots. They were detaining people in a car on suspicion of drug-related offenses.

*** end quote ***

Good thing that the “disadvantaged urban yutes” never learned about marksmanship. Shooting down requires extra elevation because of the greater bullet drop. Better for the police that the “snipers” aren’t trained. Any “misguided child” after boot can make that shot; however, it’s doubtful they would. If we ended the (pseudo) War on (some) Drugs, then the police wouldn’t be down range on a hot range or in a one direction free fire zone.

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QUOTES: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

“Network (1976) – Memorable Quotes.” The Internet Movie Database (IMDb). Web. 20 July 2010. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0074958/quotes>.

Howard Beale: I want you to go to the window, open it, stick your head out and yell: “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore.”

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RANT: Making people into serfs


Thousands show up at Tulsa food pantry Friday
By MIKE AVERILL World Staff Writer
Published: 7/23/2010 12:47 PM
Last Modified: 7/23/2010 5:50 PM

*** begin quote ***

The message that was circulating was that the food boxes were free for anyone, however they’re actually restricted to families with children younger than 18 and there is an income restriction as well.

Through the program families can receive one 30-pound food box for each child and one box for every two adults. Families also receive one household box (toilet paper, soap, shampoo, toothpaste) for every two people younger than the age of 18 in the household. Families may receive these boxes each week.

Iron Gate receives 250 food boxes and 125 household boxes each week that it distributes Fridays and Saturdays in conjunction with its regular grocery distribution program. The program runs through September.

*** and ***

“The need seems to be overwhelming, not only in Tulsa but in the surrounding towns. We need to figure out how to better distribute these boxes. Other agencies are sending people to us for food,” she said.

*** end quote ***

Doesn’t anyone see a problem with this?

These people are “welfare farmers”. Now there are probably needy cases in there. But, how many has the Gooferment trained to depend on handouts?

Feed “stray cats” and don’t be surprised when you have more “stray cats”.

These are people, who should be accorded basic human dignity. They need “help”; not a “handout”.

That can’t be done by the Gooferment; it can only be accomplished by an energized empowered community — usually a church or a fraternal organization — who will invest time, money, resources, and most importantly attention to these people as people.

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Seven Principles from a Century Ago by Marvin Olasky

*** begin quote ***

The crisis of the modern welfare state is a crisis of government, and it is more than that. Too many private charities and foundations dispense aid on the basis of what feels good rather than what works. As a result, they end up providing, instead of points of light, alternative shades of darkness. Too many act like the arrogant individuals criticized by F. Scott Fitzgerald in The Great Gatsby: “They smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness… and let other people clean up the mess they made.”

*** end quote ***

1. Affiliation 2. Bonding 3. Categorization 4. Discernment 5. Employment 6. Freedom 7. God

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INTERESTING: Folksonomy, wisdom of crowds?


February 2, 2007

*** begin quote ***

Folksonomy is the result of personal free tagging of information and objects (anything with a URL) for one’s own retrieval. The tagging is done in a social environment (usually shared and open to others). Folksonomy is created from the act of tagging by the person consuming the information.

*** end quote ***

Interesting, I’d never heard of this word before.

The wisdom of crowds?

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INTERESTING: American “inginuity” … need more of it and less politicians and bureaucrats


Fri Jul 16, 2:22 pm ET
Berkeley prof: ‘Mystery plumber’ may have designed the new BP containment cap
By Brett Michael Dykes

*** begin quote ***

When BP’s newest spill-containment strategy in the Gulf yielded such encouraging initial results, many asked why the oil giant didn’t hit on this solution earlier in the crisis. The short answer is that the model of the well cap now in place didn’t exist in the earlier stages of the spill saga. But what’s more noteworthy than the timing issue is the likelihood that the device owes its origin to the same authority that any homeowner turns to in order to get a leak plugged: a professional plumber.

*** end quote ***

For some reason, this story resonated with me. In a free market economy, this disaster would never have happened. And, this plumber would have stopped the leak much sooner. I can just see all the panels of egg heads that prevented him from getting his idea heard.


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I’m a fat old white guy injineer. So I spell “ingenuity”, like I spell “ingineer”! At least someone reads my blog.

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QUOTES: The cello can’t learn


Musical analogies as to what makes for better pictures stood out even more clearly in my mind as friends, relatives, and former students shared memories in the Berkeley Hills garden of the home where my mother had lived her last sixty years. One ex-student and renowned teacher related how my mother used to say, “I don’t teach the cello. The cello can’t learn. I teach the human being.” She described my mother’s interest as less in prize proteges than in the development of human potential through unconventional approaches that allow people, “whether they are aged seven or seventy, amateur or professional, farmer or nun, to cross personal hurdles toward satisfaction when practicing their chosen art.” I remember coming home from school to find her crawling on the floor with a middle-aged Nobel laureate to demonstrate how his hands could carry lots of weight while his fingers could still move freely. She never confused physical tightness, or mental tightness, with lack of innate ability.

– Excerpt from Galen Rowell’s Inner Game of Outdoor Photography, by Galen Rowell

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INITIALISMS: NUTS = non-negotiable, unalterable terms


8 Tools That Will Change Your Life: The Hold On to Your N.U.T.s Book Giveaway
by Wayne M. Levine

*** begin quote ***

Tool #3: Cooperate Without Compromising Your N.U.T.s

Men get angry and resentful when they agree to something that compromises who they are, what they stand for. Men who have developed their N.U.T.s – non-negotiable, unalterable terms, have no problem cooperating as long as they’re not asked to compromise what’s important, their non-negotiable, unalterable terms. Men who have not developed their N.U.T.s are likely to not cooperate at all because they live in constant fear of being compromised – they feel they must defend themselves. But when a man use this Tool, he can show up as the man he wants to be in his relationships at home, at work and in his community.

*** end quote ***

Great advice. Should have had it decades ago!

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MONEY: Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Bail Out, Too Big to Exist


Banks Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Bail Out: Roubini
Published: Tuesday, 6 Jul 2010 | 8:26 AM ET
By: CNBC.com

*** begin quote ***

“Banks at this point are too big to fail, but also too big to be bailed, especially in Europe where the sovereigns are in trouble and therefore the ability to backstop the financial system is not there,” Roubini said

*** end quote ***

Too big too exist!

We need to update our thinking as evidenced by our “litanies”.

Repeat after me: “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Bail Out, Too Big to Exist”!

Wonder what the fat cat executives will do when they lose their cushy jobs?

Bet it never comes to that.

That’s the flaw in “Too Big To Fail”. Let a few fail and those with vested interests will figure how how not to fail in the first place.


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*** begin quote ***

Hello, welcome to a little thing called 750 Words

I’ve long been inspired by an idea I first learned about in The Artist’s Way called morning pages. Morning pages are three pages of writing done every day, typically encouraged to be in “long hand”, typically done in the morning, that can be about anything and everything that comes into your head. It’s about getting it all out of your head, and is not supposed to be edited or censored in any way. The idea is that if you can get in the habit of writing three pages a day, that it will help clear your mind and get the ideas flowing for the rest of the day. Unlike many of the other exercises in that book, I found that this one actually worked and was really really useful.

*** end quote ***

Amusing little site that has a way of getting under your skin.

I’m using it to write my course and my next book.

It sort of fits my early morning persona.

Maybe like Sudoku, it too will ward of the dreaded Alzheimer’s?

No one can see what you write but you can share the automated analysis of that writing.

See me at: http://750words.com/entries/share/174852

ROFL, yeah, I’m that nuts!

Now all I need is a tshirt declaring that I’m an ITSJ and a fat old white guy injineer. (But then I repeat myself.)


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RANT: The joy of graduation; marred by speakers

YESTERDAY I went to a graduation. Entertaining! The “beautiful” children, the happy relatives, the school staff, and at least two politicians.

(The children were all “beautiful”. Different shapes and sizes. Some dressed up; some down. One girl has new high heeled … … sneakers! Another wore what had to be five inch stilettos that were obviously new and she could barely walk in them. One guy had old sneaks; another plaid beach shoes. Funny! They were “beautiful” because they were almost all smiling. Full of joy. Enthusiasm. Party time. Sigh!)

They showed a photo slide show of the school and graduates. No words just music.

(A technical criticism of the “show”. This is VoTech with an “Arts” track. The music was ill-timed. Or mixed. The audience got restless when the music came to a natural end; the photos kept going. Some music rejoined the “show”. When the pictures began to repeat. The show was stopped. And we were left looking at the Windoze logo. The “show” wasn’t run by a student. <Unless students are very old.> So it was evidence of poor execution.)

The next “rudeness”was to leave the audience sitting there, looking around, wondering what was going to happen. A good ten minutes — I timed it — and there were at least five hundred people sitting there. What a waste. It was rude.

So finally some one got their act together, and the graduates paraded in. It was more like a dual column single file dash to the chairs. With gaps and bunches worthy of any freeway. As a vet of many parades, graduations, processions, it was shocking. And, I understand there were at least three practices. (What did they practice?)

Any way, then came the Pledge of Allegiance …


(The Pledge is un-American. Written by an American Nazi who was a flag salesman. TOo indoctrinate school children and make himself a bunch of easy sales. The whole American education system is designed to create dummies; cannon fodder for the Army and the factories. All designed to be led by the Elite! Argh!)

… which always makes me think. But then what did you expect from a gooferment school? Sure didn’t expect them to sing a hymm. However, they are a gooferment school so you have to expect some gooferment worship to be built in.

Then we got to the speeches. (Oh, joy, oh joy!)

First up was an old Board Of Ed fellow. He was almost impossible to hear. Can’t remember anything he said of value.

(How much in taxes have I paid for this school? The taxpayers got weenied. It’s supposed to be a theater. With acoustics and a sound system that stinks. I’d like to follow the money on that one.)

Next up was the politician from the Middlesex County Freeholders. She was at least audible. Unfortunately. (I really wish I had the text of the remarks so that I could adequately report what WAS said. As opposed to what I think I heard.) I heard some praise for the parents. With an assertion about what was the most important in a child’s development. I guess it was the parent’s willingness to send the children to school. (That’s what I think I heard!) Of course, I disagree. … …

(I’d say the most important single factor in a child’s development is really two co-factors. Parents aren’t a single homogeneous unit; they are a man and a woman seeking to propagate the species. — OK, that’s a side effect of the sought after activity — It is the Mom’s unconditional love for the child combined with the Father’s unconditional devotion to the child’s needs. Different, very different, but both essential. Schooling is way down on the list. And, gooferment supplied schooling is a GIANT negative imho.)

… … but that aside, I heard a lot of praise for teachers. Probably, three times as much time spent praising the teachers as the parents and students combined. I attributed it to a campaign speech for the Teacher’s Union support. The whole speech wasn’t overly long. All that was missing was to say “Vote Democratic” in thanks for your child’s education. As if there would be no education without the gooferment.

Moving on to the Salutatorian’s speech. The young lady was obviously nervous. And, we had the lousy acoustics and the lousy sound system, it was hard to hear. What I did hear sounded good. (My criticism was for the school’s bureaucrats for not having enough practice. She engaged in some banter with her mom sitting in front of us which was … … unseemly. They should have coached her to speak up and not to rush.) Again, I have no text so I can’t really comment on what she said. (I wonder if the graduate could even hear her since they didn’t seem to react.)

Moving on to the Valedictorian’s speech. The young lady was not  obviously nervous, but was watching the audience for feedback. She spoke well, despite the lousy conditions. She made some good points about doing one’s best at all times. Again don’t have the text. But was able to hear most of her remarks. (Again not a lot of reaction from the graduates.)

Then, was the obligatory diploma hand out. (More on that later.)

Flip the tassels and march out.


After that it was a disorganized Chinese fire drill. From what I understand the handouts were blanks. The now graduate had to go to a room and find their real ones. (Strange. Disorganized. And chaotic. Why am I not shocked at a gooferment process being so.)

So, upon reflection, I’d have like to have made a speech to the graduates.

*** begin quote ***

I’d like to give you my thoughts on this special day. Success for your generation is: (1) ruthless financial discipline — no bad debt; (2) a life long interest in learning — education — a degree — they can’t take it away from you; (3) a NON-OFFSHORABLE white collar job in order to save big bux; (4) a blue collar skill for hard times — never saw a poor plumber; (5) one or more internet based businesses — your store is always open; (6) develop a second business or avocation – under the radar – start small part-time; (7) a large will-maintained network of people who can “help” you; (8) buy assets that hold their value over time; and (9) emulate the Amish and Mormons for their sense of community, simple thrifty living, and true to core values. Remember the sources of my education: I’m just a fat old white guy injineer with: Law “degree” from watching Judge Judy, Medical “degree” from watching Doctor Phil, Building “degree” from watching “Holmes on Homes”, and Investing “degree” from reading about Bernie Made-off. I wish you the best. May your opportunities be huge, your difficulties minuscule. And, may you remember kindly the old loon who thought you might listen and benefit from his experiences.

*** end quote ***

All I could think about when the principal mumbled something about going on to: a job, higher education, or service in the military. Was he left out “McDonalds and Wahwah if you’re lucky”.

Think that’s too harsh.

Remember that In the United States, 8 million jobs were lost — most of these jobs will never return. And, any “good jobs” are being exported if at all possible. And, boys are clearly falling behind girls in both educational achievement and aspiration. This pattern has vast implications for marital prospects, since women express a strong preference to marry a man of equal or greater educational and professional potential. The collapse of the marriage culture within the working class means poverty in future children’s lives.

It’s the first generation that will have to settle for a lower standard of living than their parents.

And, they are going to be saddled with a permanent recession / depression economy like Japan’s two “Lost Decades”. Add to that debt and unfunded liabilities that they will have to come to terms with. And, it’s not going to be good times. (Unless we old fogies slash the gooferment back to circa 1790 – 1830 Constitutional limits. Argh!)

Instead I wrote “my” graduate this email:

*** begin quote ***

May I suggest that you read this?

Too bad you couldn’t have heard this instead of what you did hear. You did hear it; didn’t you? I wish I had a transcript to blog about. Argh! Sorry, but imho you didn’t get the best of inspiration.

BUTT (there’s always a big but) maybe you can take a lesson from the message’s text. (I have!) I thought this was excellent. Wish I’d heard it at any of my graduations or any that I’ve attended; maybe some of it might have sunk in.

It’s short. In addition to being good.

*** end quote ***


*** begin quote ***

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story. Thank you and good luck!

*** end quote ***

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JOBSEARCH: grid targets as a memory jogger


Heat Up Your Job Searching Skills: Networking 101 and 102


*** begin quote ***

He had prepared an 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper laid out in a grid. He had printed every company he was interested in, the contact person’s name, number, email address, linked in name, and issues now confronting that company (his own analysis). My new friend left me his sheet and simply asked if I knew anyone from these companies or who might know these people.

*** end quote ***

“Guess which one I helped more?”

May I humbly suggest that you should have written: “Guess which one I was able to give more help?”

(I’m sure that Number One’s failings would not annoy you enough to deliberately NOT help. Number One just didn’t set up the framework for you to maximize your effectiveness. Never mind efficiency. Number One was much further along on the “dikw (i.e., data, information, knowledge, wisdom) curve”. Number One is asking for data, (e.g., who’s hiring me); some names. Number Two is asking for and sharing wisdom (i.e., different way of presenting the knowledge of targets and helping you fit your knowledge into a shared model).

Excellent wisdom presented, imho. (That means I’ll steal this and make it my own. With appropriate credit, of course.)

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The Rewards of Routine Maintenance

*** begin quote ***

I used to make fun of my cousin, Nick, for this. Nick has tens of thousands of dollars in the bank, yet he’s always getting late fees for things like the electric bill. “What the heck?” I asked him once. “How can this be possible?” He shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said. “I get the bills in the mail, put them on the table, and then I forget about them. They get buried under other mail. It’s only three or four months later that I find them again.” This used to baffle me, but now I understand.

*** end quote ***

May I make an unusual suggestion? (It’s unusual for me. Not that I’m making a suggestion. I am after all a “know it all” and never leave a suggestion unexpressed. — “That’s supposed to be a joke, son.” Yosemite Sam — I try ONLY to suggest things that are free. This ain’t free.)


It costs about 15$/month. For this, they will receive your bills by USMAIL or over the net and put it in your “inbox”. It can automatically “action” your bills; paying them in full or in part. And, it emails you weekly summaries, reminders, and such. You pay them on their site and they send the checks or e-payments.

All very organized.

I recommend it highly. Especially if you’re disorganized, travel a lot, or have psych issues with bills in the mail.

It’s a great service.

At the end of the year, they will send you a CD of your stuff for 20$. It’s all very useful.

And, I recommend it. Highly.

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POLITICAL: Remember who discriminates — the Gooferment!


The right to discriminate
Posted: June 02, 2010
Walter E. Williams

*** begin quote ***

An interesting example is found in an article by Dr. Jennifer Roback titled “The Political Economy of Segregation: The Case of Segregated Streetcars,” in Journal of Economic History (1986). During the late 1800s, private streetcar companies in Augusta, Houston, Jacksonville, Mobile, Montgomery and Memphis were not segregated, but by the early 1900s, they were. Why? City ordinances forced them to segregate black and white passengers. Numerous Jim Crow laws ruled the day throughout the South, mandating segregation in public accommodations.

*** end quote ***

The racist need control of the guns of gooferment to make us all racists!

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GAMBLING: Becoming the Zen Master of Panny Slots, Schadenfreude, or just dumb luck

Yesterday, I played better on a Penny. Following some of my new Zen of Penny Slots, I had an interesting experience.

A lady sat down to play next to me. She was very concerned with how I was doing. I was playing max bet max lines on a low progressive slot. Buck and a half a spin. And, was doing pretty good.

I was trying to be the Penny Zen Master and not get caught up in the “feeding frenzy” of push push push the button as fast as you can. After all I had two hours to kill and the Mac Book Air only runs for an hour on the battery. (That’s why I don’t recommend it and if I had known that I would not have bought it.) So so I was following my “timing the machine” strategy. (Three deep breaths between pushes. Being mindful of “speed kills your wallet”. Letting it count out all pay offs. “Respect the machine”. Calculate the eventually total of what ever I’d win with what I had. Setting stop limits. Being calm. Being in the moment. Being mindful)

So this lady goes to sit next to me. She bumps me hard. Puts her hand on my back to steady herself. (A real no no. Don’t touch me!) Mumbles something. Starts playing with a voucher from another machine. I could not help but notice she started with 80$. But, I was in the moment with “my own” machine. I was hitting a lot of small stuff.

And I noticed she was very interested in how I was doing. That usually is a giant turn off for me. I am, correct that — was, superstitious and had believed it brings you bad luck. Like an evil eye. Completely irrational I know. But that’s, — correct that — was, my feeling. Conflicts with my new belief — Zen of Penny Slots – Point #10 – It’s a random number generator — and I’m trying to master my emotions at the slots.

Any way, I’m not doing badly. I played off my “free” money and put in my planned C-note stake. Two spins later, I hit the free spins.

Usually I would avoid this kind of game since you have to pick in a “concentration” style bonus game. I am usually a terrible picker. So I used my “randomizing technique” of taking the top bill in my wad and using the digits on it to pick. (Hey, the casino has a random number generator; why can’t I? I probably should print a card of random digits from 0 to 9 at home. I’m not sure those bill digits are that random.) In this case it was my innermost twenty. Good old Andy Jackson. So I plunk out the numbers and sure enough I get top number of spins and top multiplier with a wild card for five additional spins. Now this machine is imho notoriously stingy in the bonus round. But I am the aspiring Zen Master of Penny Slots. And it’s just a random number generator. Any way, bout half way through my free spins, it hits big. 70$ or so.

And, the lady next to me is going nuts. She stops playing and starts watching me.

When I notice this, my machine stops hitting and the bonus round ends. Up about 90$. Normally I’d be pissed and move on. But not the new ZMoPS. I just calmly sit there as it pays off. She says to me: “How did you get so much?” DUH. Now usually I’d be all in a snit. Say something real nasty, but I’m now the new ZMoPS. So I reply: “Just dumb luck. Besides you shouldn’t be too concerned with what I win. You need to win.”

She obviously didn’t like that answer.

So she resumed playing and watching. Her husband sits down and she laments on her fate of a “bad machine”. And, tells him I keep winning and winning. With a thick Russian accent. She starts playing again. Stupidly imho. She’s tells hubby: that she’s varying her stake to bring out the luck. In a loud voice for everyone and presumably the machine or “god of the machines to hear”. I feel like yelling at her: “No, Grasshopper, that leads to the dark side.” I really do wish her the best. Don’t you know she hits the bonus, picks max spins, with max multiplier, with 5 extra, … … with a minimum 30¢ bet.


She goes nuts. Meantime, she focuses back on me. I’m still waiting for it to count out my win. But she doesn’t know that so she thinks I’ve hit again. Starts muttering under her breath and yelling at the husband. To which he says: “Lets go eat.” She says something. He walks away. She’s going nuts.

Any way I continue to play with a new stop point set of 150$. I hit some more. Get the bonus a few times. Use different bills. Nothing big. My stop keeps edging up to to two hundred. She goes nuts, eventually puts more money in, and finally busts out down about 300$ by my eye.

So naturally, without her to distract the “god of the machines” giving her bad luck, that fellow turns his attention on me. I start bouncing in and around the 210 to 225 range. At 230, my stop would move to 210. Without her to draw away the bad luck, I’m fated. Can’t seem to get up to 230. Eventually the machine “turns cold” and I hit just under 200$. 199.12.

And like the ZMoPS I am, I cash out.

Thanking the Universe for a nice hour and ten minutes of fun. It was “fun”. Go to the cage and throw in 88 cents and get two nice c-notes for my trouble.

Split with the old lady. Played a long time on her card for comps. And I can come another day.

I didn’t ever indulge in schadenfreude at my “companion’s” loss. But it did teach me that I’m on the right path to control my losses at the casino. Now if I can just find another loser to distract the “god of the machines” and draw away the bad luck.

Just kidding.

It really is just a random number generator. You can’t anthropomorphize it.

Or can you?


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JOBSEARCH: “Turkey” stuff moved to my own domain

I’m preparing to cut my last ties to Comcast. So my famous turkey stuff had to move from “lxu” to http://goo.gl/kBtz. Feel free to use or steal as you see fit. fjohn

p.s., Let this serve as a reminder to never ever put anything up on anything but your own domain. :-) Do as I say; not as I sometimes did!

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INTERESTING: Seats for everyone?


Why pregnant women can’t get a seat on the bus

Pregnant women are being left standing on public transport because commuters are too afraid to offer their seat in case they are simply overweight, researchers claim.

By Nick Collins

Published: 7:30AM BST 08 Jun 2010

*** begin quote ***

The majority of expectant mothers cannot find a seat on buses and trains because their fellow passengers cannot distinguish between a pregnant woman’s bump and the figure of an obese woman, it was claimed.

*** end quote ***

May I suggest that standees are, in an accident, both at risk and a risk to other passengers?

When I visited London (a long time ago) on a mixed business pleasure trip, saw two buses accidents in a week. A lot of ambulances and police at both scenes. No idea of the casualties if any. (In NYC, bus accidents magically attract additional passengers seeking a payoff. I assume similar happens there. And, everyone is “hurt”?)

So shouldn’t it be required that ALL passengers have a seat? You might even require all to belt in.

“My” commuter bus company between NYC and a NJ suburb REQUIRES every passenger to have and take a seat. Otherwise, the driver is instructed not to move the bus. Granted that this route travels on a “high speed” route. (What you’d call a motorway, we call a limited access expressway. Or turnpike. Or parkway. A rose is a rose is a rose.)

In an accident, even at low speeds, a body in motion tends to remain in motion. A body (i.e., standee) motions until it’s stopped by something (i.e., windshields, seats, other passengers). Hard to imagine a worse scenario for a standee?

So perhaps, instead of worrying about pregnant standees, you should be worried about ALL standees. If everyone has to take a seat, then by definition we’ve “solved” the “pregnant standee” problem. Of course, it may require more and better hardware, but that’s a different problem.

I never understood the Japanese Rail passengers crammed in like sardines. What happens in an accident with them?

Nope everyone should take a seat, and hold on for dear life. It might make commuting a lot less stressful.

Just a suggestion from across the pond.

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