Just tinkering here, feel free to ignore if you wish, eventually I will post another blog, just not at this moment
Sorry to all of you 360 ers, but I didn't feel like posting this and then transferring it over, I would have spent far too much time unchecking boxes for posts that are already here than I would have actually spent putting the post together.
Anyway, just getting ready for this morning's radio show and what can I say for talk topics but in military parlance, it is once again a target rich enviroment. Don't believe me, consider the following
A politician sending an email with his johnson attached
One legged lesbians are getting too many art grants, who would have knew?
Latest lead based product coming from China? Halloween teeth
The state of Texas issues a report saying the state of Texas issues too many reports
Some people are so desperate to sell their homes, they will put you in their will
This could be a fun morning.
Does it not feel more manic and insane this year? Is there not more commercial pressure and consumerist mania and does it not seem increasingly surreal and obnoxious and silly? Or is it all relative and it just seems more utterly intolerable because we've had 10 months to try and forget the last holiday season's odious marketing-shopping miasma?
Christmas decorations were out long before Halloween. Retailers were preparing their attack months in advance. On Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the most gruesome shopping day of the year, stores from the hellbeast of Wal-Mart to tepid ol' JCPenney to upscale shopping centers across the nation were either open all night or opened their doors at 6, 5, even 4 a.m. to accommodate dazed and bleary-eyed hordes of frothing shoppers, most of whom wouldn't know the concept of patience if it smacked their butts with a PlayStation 2, and by the way if shivering in the dark outside a Best Buy at 3:30 a.m. in frigid November drizzle waiting for a half-price deal on a cheap-ass Chinese-made DVD player isn't the very definition of self-immolating karmic torture, I don't know what is.
I shall not argue for the purity of the holidays, for some sort of utopian Christian notion that it used to be all simple and lovely and beatific and that it has now been horribly corrupted by ruthless commercial interests, because the whole damned holiday has been commercially controlled for the past hundred years and to suggest otherwise is to suck down one too many $5 Starbucks Eggnog Lattes and don the happy blinders.
And I shall certainly not argue for the sanctity of the idea that Christmas is meant to celebrate the holy and glorious birth of Christ (an iPod-free renegade mystic who was actually born somewhere around July), or the idea that we should all be taking some sort of solace in our national generosity of spirit (a generosity that only exists if you're not, you know, gay, or minority or Iraqi or Islamic or mentally ill), nor shall I even defend Christmas as a time of family togetherness, given how, for most people, getting together with family around the holidays is akin to having your fingernails yanked out by a chain saw in an ice storm, naked.
I shall not argue the benefits of buying less and using organic wrapping paper and purchasing gifts from local shops and shunning companies that support noxious right-wing agendas (that's another column). I shall not list funky alternative gift ideas to get you away from the commercial whoredom and more toward progressive sex-positive bliss and more toward helping infuriate the Christian right (ditto).
Nor it is all about some shining notion of love and the brotherhood of man, though it's certainly true that the holidays are a wonderful excuse to have friends over more frequently and have great dinner gatherings and attend suspect office parties wherein you get to see your co-workers get totally drunk and flirtatious and in wholly refreshing contexts that make them appear interesting and sexy and more fully flawed and fleshed and weirder than you'd imagined previously. And that's usually a very good and fascinating thing.
But the holidays are also the time of bitter separations, of divorces and breakups and brutal family tensions, of severe loneliness and heartbreak and a very large increase in the intake of behavioral medication. Questions of family and money and love all come to a brutish head at this time of year, relationships are tested to the extreme, amplified by the fact that winter means you're stuck inside small buildings for long periods with people you may or may not be entirely sick of.
But here's the kicker: Just because all these holiday clichés of joy and togetherness and hope don't really hold, just because they're a little more bogus than we might want to admit, must we give in so desperately, so fundamentally to the real engine of the holidays, the all-devouring retail sector? Truly, every holiday-related news story from now till January focuses almost exclusively on the holy grail that is holiday shopping, on the health of the nation as it relates to how many people are signing their paychecks over to Wal-Mart -- and doesn't that seem horribly wrong and sad?
Countless stories regurgitate sales data as if the only factor that mattered to the overall well-being of the human soul was how many Xboxes and iPods and cell phones and digital cameras and plasma TVs were moved this season, and whether you acted like a good American and added to your average of $8,500 of personal credit-card debt ($1.7 trillion total, nationally) from which most of you will never, ever recover.
Oh sure, there will be a handful of stories about charities and stories about how poorly poor people fare this time of year, all tainted and undermined by the story of how the increasingly porcine and spiritually repellent Jerry Falwell and his litter of Christian lawyers are prepared to sue (as a fundraising stunt) any media outlet or public institution that dares to dis Christmas, everyone's favorite consumer orgy, which was originally a big, meaty pagan solstice sun-god Saturnalia that the church swiped wholly from ancient fertility cults. Whoops, sorry Jer.
Given all this unholy consumerist-PR madness, you might think we are headed for some sort of breakthrough, some sort of crack or explosion or massive karmic breach, our ridiculous habits of overabundance and excess finally resulting in a terrible/wonderful sociocultural implosion that will lead us all to less gluttony and refined spiritual appreciation and better cookware. You might think.
Because here's the thing: Every year it seems as though we inch just that much closer to the edge, that much closer to the karmic realization that we long ago passed saturation, past the point where all our needs have been met and we now merely create endless mountains of new crap for needs we don't even really have, and you cannot help but feel we are caught in a mad downward spiral, spinning toward something that smells like apocalypse but tastes like chicken and feels very much like a revolution of spirit.
Maybe that's it. Maybe this idea, much like being grateful to BushCo for proving that lies and pseudo-Christianity and warmongering and fiscal irresponsibility cannot last as a national agenda, is something to be cherished. All the mad marketing and all the product gluttony, they're all merely further indicators that we are just about ready to burst, to grow up, to snap the hell out of it.
This is the nice way to think about it. This is the positive view. Let us choose it now, because the alternative is bleak and dank and dismal and to face it is to face the idea that we are all just a bunch of greedy self-serving monkeys ever lured by the shiny and the new and the spiritually empty.
And man alive, that perspective is just no fun at all. Better to ignore it completely and find your slivers and crumbs of hope and joy and relationship bliss where you may, amid the carnage and the wasted wrapping paper and the pile of credit-card receipts, and convince yourself, yet again, that they've gotta be in there somewhere. After all, isn't that what the holidays are all about?
First question that is to be asked is what is a glog? Well, it is a game blog, used usually by sportsline when covering events, they will have a blogger on site to give you minute by minute perspective of the game from a bloggers point of view. Since this is the last week of fantasy football in one of my leagues, I figured I might offer a partial glog into today's action.
Argonauts (me) 6-5-1 vs Fighting Torgos (that's the opposition) 6-6
Whoever wins will get one of the 6 playoffs spots, the loser will need help in order to qualify. Also at stake is the fact that I lead in total points scored, so scoring some points to protect my lead would seem to be a good idea. My opponent has Ladanian Tomlinson, who is probably the best runningback in football right now, while I have Carson Palmer who is playing like one of the best quarterbacks in the league, though nobody, inculding me, expected this at the beginning of the year.
While the game goes on, I may prattle about different stuff, just to fill time, as I have been known to do from time to time.
For instance, I have been thinking alot about things that I just don't get. You know what I am talking about, things other people do, or talk about and you just don't understand the fascination.
Example perhaps? I don't get how Julia Roberts gets acting roles. I have yet to see a movie where I look at the screen and say that was a great performance. To be honest, it is so bad that if she is in the movie now, I won't go see it at all. Mind you, she isn't the only one, I won't see Ben Stiller either. Never found him to be funny to be perfectly honest.
Argonauts 3 Fighting Torgos 1 Marvin Harrison has chipped in this week, he has 36 yards receiving already, which is good, because I benched Kevin Jones in favor of Harrison.
Back to things I don't get
Lower back tattoos - Why would you get a tattoo for a part of the body you can't even see, unless you contort yourself in some god awful manner? If it's for the guy who is doing you from behind, while I appreciate the effort and it does give me something to look at, if it ain't moving and you didn't leave me crayons to color stuff in while I am there, just leave the tv on instead. That at least has moving pictures.
Argonauts 10 Fighting Torgos 3 Marvin Harrison again, this time with the touchdown. I figure if I can get to 80 points, I will wrap up first there, which should be worth about 200 dollars, and we are well on are way at this point.
Back to things I don't get, sponsored by ADM, Supermarket to the World (kudos to anyone who got that reference)
I would say I don't get the hatred of WalMart, but I have covered that issue in a previous blog (see it pays to keep up) so I won't rehash it here.
Madonna has to be added to the list. I will give her credit, she manages to repackage herself just frequently enough so that no one notices that she has an epidemic lack of talent. I would be more worried about her non skills being contagious than the bird flu. After all, imagine a world of Madonnas, we would all be worn out talentless hacks just waiting for the next fad to come along so we can claim it for ourselves to show how hip we are. Kabbalah, please!
Of course no list of things I don't get would be complete without the dreaded "Attack on Christmas" controversy that seems to be all of the rage these days. The claim that Christmas is under attack by liberals is preposterous. As an agnostic, I don't care what it is called, you can call the day Wing Nite for all I care, the holiday gets my family under one roof for one day out of the year, and if I have to worship at the shrine of the fat guy in the red suit for it to happen, so be it. It isn't exactly torture. Come to think of it, maybe they should call it Wing Nite instead, having some hot wings and beer with the family would seem to be a nice excuse to get off of work. But really, nobody is taking Christmas away, and those stupid complaints about people saying Happy Holidays as opposed to Merry Christmas, well duh, there is usually more than one holiday involved, with the whole Christmas commercialization starting right around Thanksgiving and finishing up after New Year's. If the religious folks are so worried about Christmas, here's an idea, take down your tree and take back all of your gifts, go to church on Dec 25th, come home, bake your savior a fucking birthday cake and leave me the hell alone.
Argonauts 24 Fighting Torgos 7 Carson Palmer throws a touchdown pass, much to the chagrin of all of the Steeler fans, but much to my financial benefit.
Argonauts 26 Fighting Torgos 18 Braylon Edwards scores cutting into my lead, which is not a good thing. Would be my luck to lose because a guys scores for only the second time this year.
Interesting reading so far isn't it? I figure by this point I have tuned out all of the non football fans and pissed off the religious folk something fierce. Good thing nobody reads this.
Argonauts 33 Fighting Torgos 18 Carson Palmer again with the TD pass, though if he would hit Chad Johnson with a couple of these throws it would be even better.
Sorry, I have been a little distracted here, after all it is Sunday, which means since it ends with day, I must be at work. Right now I am recording next week's Big Band Jump. I already did The Lutheran Hour and 3 of my 4 commercial feeds that need recorded and I am still here for another 6 hrs or so. Hopefully I will be getting at least one more high school football game to broadcast this year. The state championship games are this weekend, and we have the potential of carrying two of the 4 games, most likely we will just carry one, but I am hoping for two. I could use the extra 100 to be honest. After all, Wing Nite is coming!!!!!
Back to things I don't get. Next on the list is the 2000 stolen election. Hate to break it to you folks, but it wasn't stolen at all, at least not by the conservative Supreme Court, as has been claimed ad infinitum every time Bush screws up (which is too frequently for my tastes). Everyone points to the 5-4 ruling made by the Supreme Court in the case Bush v. Gore stating that all of the conservative justices sided with Bush, thereby handing him the election. The problem is, well, it didn't happen like that. Turns out the court voted 7-2, not 5-4. Mind you, there was a 5-4 vote, but that was regarding how to remedy the case, not the actual merits on the case itself. The case falls on a little thing called the Equal Protection Clause, which basically means that everyone should be treated the same under the law. When the Florida state Supreme Court ruled that all of the undervotes should be counted, they violated this procedure. An undervote is a ballot that doesn't have a vote for president marked on it. The Florida court ruled that those ballots could be reexamined (recounted if you will) to determine the intent of the voter, such as a punch ballot that has an indentation, but is not actually punched out. In theory the machine would have read this as no vote, even if the voter intended to vote for one of the candidates. The problem with this, is that under the Equal Protection Clause, you can't specifically pick certain people to have their ballots reexamined. After all, what if the machine made an error and counted some ballots as overvotes (voting for more than one candidate), even if that wasn't the case? What if somebody made a mistake and started to punch out one candidate, but really wanted to vote for the other, so stopped and punched the appropriate hole, but leaving enough of a mark on both that the machine just tossed the ballot? Is not that voter's intent equally protected? The Florida Supreme Court failed to address any of these concerns in their ruling, let alone the differing standard for determine intent by the local election officials, standards that changed literally as the counting and recounting was going on. How can you determine intent if two different election's officials examining the same ballot, but using two different standards, can come to different conclusions? The US Supreme Court ruled that for these reasons, the Florida ruling had to be tossed. Now the 5-4 ruling is a different matter, that being a decision on what to do since the Florida Court in essence didn't do it's job. The court opted to go by the standing deadline in Florida for when counting votes had to stop, and therby ended the election.
Enough history already, time for a Glog Alert
Argonauts 44 Fighting Torgos 32 Carson Palmer gets his third TD, Braylon Edwards his second. This is going to be a nerve wracking day.
The last entry into things I don't get leads directly into the next. I don't get how people can be sheep. Far too often people are literally led around by the nose, rather than looking at the facts and determining for themselves what is actually taking place. Usually you can do this simply by reviewing the original source material. Prime example, such neat places as Findlaw.com have the actual justices opinions in Bush V. Gore posted, all it requires is reading. Maybe it is laziness, or kool aid drinking, I don't know, but far too many people would rather guess what happened or have someone else tell them instead of looking for themself and making up their own mind. Certainly there are people that I will read because I usually agree with them and like to see what their mind is focused on these days, but I make it a point to read people that I don't agree with as well. Mark Morford with the San Francisco Chronicle is one such person, I don't agree with him all that much, but I will read him just to see how his segment of the population may be thinking. At the end of the day though, neither the people I agree with or disagree with make up my mind, I do that all on my own from examining a variety of sources.
Argonauts 44 Fighting Torgos 33 His defense has accounted 15 points already. That is normally a good day for a defensive unit, but he still has a half to go with most of them. I only have one guy in the early games on defense (Shelton Quarles) and his 6 points is nice, but the other two defenders will have to play well at this rate.
Typical radio lunch again today, a Cup O Noodles and cheese doodles, thus proving that I could eat the next Dr Suess book. Screw the green eggs and ham, I've got noodles and doodles here.
Back to the things I don't get, this segment brought to you by Texaco. Trust your car to the man with the star.
I don't get how people let the results of the local sports teams ruin their mood for the next odd number of days. I like sports as much as the next person, but my life doesn't collapse if the home team doesn't win. There are far more important things for me to worry about that I don't need to add anxiety to it because someone didn't hit a homerun, score a TD or get a game winning goal for the home team. I assume people would be saying, well what about your glog then? Isn't that the same? The difference is while I write about it and it would be nice to win, if I don't it's not the end of the world. If I don't win money, one of my friends will and for 14 weeks or so, we get to trash talk each other in a playful manner that befits people who haven't grown up yet, of which I am one.
Speaking of which
Argonuats 52 Fighting Torgos 42 This may turn out to be as entertaining as the Steelers Bengals game that is on tv right now (Bengals 31 Steelers 24).
Just abouit time for my next cigarette break. I like Sundays where I get to work at my own pace, this seems to be one of them. I am getting stuff done, watching football, blogging and eating. And if I look out the window, it looks like Wing Nite, what with everything covered in just about a half inch of snow. Not enough to slow anything down, but enough to create that whole Wing Nite season feel.
Argonauts 54 Fighting Torgos 45 He is up to 19 points out of his defense, which is a very good day and Tomlinson doesn't play until the late games. He has 3 players left after the 1pm games, I have 4, but no one with the pedigree of Tomlinson.
Hopefully all of you pogo folk managed to get all 5 badges done this week. For those who aren't members, it was a marathon week, which meant you could select 3 personal challenges as opposed to the normal 1. They do this from time to time to let the newer members get caught up on challenges they may have missed. Since I am a newer member by most standards, I still have plenty of challeges from 2003 and 2004 that I can work on. I got all 5 of mine done, though the stellar sweeper badge sucked the big one. Stellar sweeper is pretty much the same as minesweeper with a few added features to make it more pogo-ish. Getting 100 perfect games took some time. I was finishing games in about 2-3 minutes, but that is still between 2 - 3 hours work on a game that I admit I never play on my computer because it sucks.
Okay one more glog alert, then I have to go work the football game.
Argonauts 55 Fighting Torgos 48 Told you this would be a close game.
Okay, it hi ho and off to work I go. If I don't see you before then, have a good Wing Nite!!!!.
Net profit for fishermen with cream liqueur from the deep
Christmas came early last week for Irish fishermen who hauled up an unexpected present in their nets while fishing off the English coast, writes Seán Mac Connell, Agriculture Correspondent.
The Dunmore East prawn fishermen discovered that their catch included bottles of Carolans Irish Cream liqueur from the seabed.
The fishermen were even more astonished when they found that, not only were they catching bottles of drink, but they were getting free glasses as well.
Yesterday C&C International, which makes the liqueur, confirmed the loss of 8,000 bottles from a container load on its way to Spain.
The 40ft container was lost in a storm in the Bay of Biscay last month on the way to Spain with supplies for the Christmas market.
The Whiskey Galore!-style story surfaced in Dunmore East last weekend when some of the haul was brought back for inspection.
"Fishermen from three trawlers who had been fishing for prawns in an area known as 'The Smalls' off the English coast brought some bottles into the pub over the weekend," said Mary Power, a local publican. "They told me the bottles were being brought up in the nets of three trawlers, two from Kilkeel and one from Clogherhead, which were here at the weekend," she said.
"They could not believe their eyes when they saw the presentation packs of drink in the nets and the fact that the glasses in the cartons were not damaged in any way," said Mary, who runs Powers bar with her husband, Peter.
She said the fishermen had brought their haul in to herself and her husband to see if they could identify them or give any clue as to where they might have come from as most of the labels had been washed off.
Last night the mystery of the deep was solved by C&C International which confirmed the loss of a containerload of Carolans, which is the world's second-best-selling cream liqueur.
"A 40ft container of product fell from the deck in a storm in the Bay of Biscay bound for the Spanish Christmas market last month.
"The matter is with our insurers at the moment," said the statement.
None of the fishermen who made last week's discovery could be contacted yesterday. They were back at sea fishing the same area.
© The Irish Times
Those of you who don't live here should consider yourself lucky. Tuesday it was 71 degrees, right now it is 23 on the way down to 18. Global warming my ass!!!! Let's melt those ice caps already, I want beach front property.
In what may best be considered a scattershot blog entry, here goes. Fantasy Update - Mixed bag this week as the yahoo team still sucks (3-7) and I am counting my lucky stars that I have no money involved in that league. EA Sports I have climbed over the .500 plateau, I am now 5-4-1 and only a half game out of a playoff spot. I like my chances in that league because I am scoring lots of points, I have the 5th best record, but I am third in points scored. We also get money for scoring the most points any week, 10 dollars per week. I have had the high score once and tied two other times, so I will at least get 20 dollars of my 55 dollar entry fee back. Myfantasyleague.com is more problematic. I am currently 4-5-1 which leaves me in 8th place out of ten teams. The top 6 make the playoffs, the top three make money, as well as the top three in total points scored. My record isn't great except the best record in the league is only 6-4 with 3 games to play, and the worst record is 4-6. It is literally the epitomy of parity, anyone who can put together a few good games could win it. Here is hoping that I am that somebody. Yes I am greedy like that.
Apparently there is a new documentary out this week, dealing with the evils of WalMart. I haven't seen it, nor do I plan on it. God forbid that someone, in this case Sam Walton, actually build a successful business. I hear all of the time how WalMart doesn't pay enough to it's employees, or doesn't have adequate health care and many other arguments for why people shouldn't shop there. I would ask a simple question, where do you buy your groceries? Because supermarkets by and large pay less than WalMart, so if we aren't going to shop at places that pay their employees less that a living wage (note there is a difference between the standard living wage, versus the minimum wage which is mandated by law, the living wage is the amount someone should be paid in order to live relatively comfortably, the last I heard a specific number attached to it, it was around $17 dollars an hour). If we are to boycott places that fail to pay a living wage, you can forget about almost all shopping endeavors, as the retail sector as a whole doesn't pay $17 dollars an hour. And going out to eat, you can forget that too. Restaurants don't pay their employees a living wage, and god forbid you are a waiter, because then you minimum wage is even lower still, as the current minimum wage is $5.15 and hour, but only $2.13 an hour for tipped employees, plus they are taxed on 7% of everything they sell (which is part of the reason that the standard gratuity is 15%, the first 7% is just to recoup the loss of waiting on your table). If you are just going to do a quick run for fast food, well those are minimum wage jobs as well, certainly not living wage jobs. The point is, that if we are going to boycott everyone who doesn't pay this phantom salary known as a living wage, then we aren't going to shop at all. And a boycott of that size will definitely put people out of work.
Now I am not arguing that WalMart is the best place to shop, or the best place to work. But let's be realistic in our arguments and compare WalMart to others within their own sector, as opposed to creating some artificial higher standard that they should be judged by simply because they have created a successful business model that others haven't copied as effectively. To slam WalMart simply because they are good at what they do stinks of envy, and not much more.
In other less pressing news, I will be on the radio again as a guest this coming Thursday. Doug is doing his "The Producers" show again this Thursday (Thanksgiving), where the guests on the show are the guys that have actually produced the show at one point or another. It's what we in the business call filler, it will get us through a day where phone calls aren't that likely. Nonetheless, if you are bored out of your skull on Thanksgiving, the audio link can be found at www.1360wptt.com and the show will air from 3pm-6pm EST on Turkey day.
For those of you who doubt I am a Democrat, I have but one thing to say to you, "Mark Warner for President in 2008". Now when you get around to finding out who Mark Warner is, you can tell me whether he is the best choice the Democrats can put up or not.
Anyone who wants a book that gives a in depth look at the American military from the soldier's perspective, I would reccommend picking up "Imperial Grunts" which is out in hardback right now. The author's name is slipping my mind, so you will have to google it, or amazon it, or do whatever it is you actually do, but the author did a number of imbeds with the troops, taking a six month imbed, then 6 months off, then another 6 months with the troops. The result is a detailed and sometimes positive, sometimes troubling account of what the men and women of the Armed Services go through on a daily basis, and not just it the places that get the headlines like Iraq and Afghanistan (though those two are in the book) but also Columbia, Yemen, Somalia, the Phillipines, and Mongolia just to name some other places he traveled. A fascinating read, a little detailed, which made finishing it somewhat of a chore (with my schedule it took me about a month, though I did read another book while I was reading that one) but it comes across to me as about the most accurate accounting of what is actually happening as opposed to what gets reported.
That is all for today kids, at least for now. I need to get some work done on this end, or I will be at work all day, and I would rather enjoy seeing Light Up Night to be perfectly honest.
Labor-management ties that helped explain automaker's success are now seen as a liability.
BERLIN -- Last July, a few weeks after he was fired by Volkswagen AG for alleged embezzlement, Klaus-Joachim Gebauer, a former midlevel manager in the company's personnel department, began telling stories about the auto giant that many Germans found hard to believe. Now, as the company and German prosecutors buttress key elements of his account, Gebauer's tale is rocking the world's third-largest economy.
In January 1996, Gebauer says, VW sent a dozen of its top German labor leaders to Brazil for a tour of the company's Sao Paulo facilities and meetings with local Brazilian union officials.
After finishing the official portion of the trip, Gebauer says he and the other men took a bus to Rio de Janeiro and checked into the Othon Palace, a high-rise hotel on the city's famous Copacabana beach. They explored the shops, the nightlife and, Gebauer says, picked up prostitutes for trysts on the beach and back in their hotel rooms. In the morning, he says in an interview, Gebauer paid the women -- and, using some phony receipts and some real ones, got his employer to reimburse him for the group's expenses for the entire trip.
The Rio excursion was the first of what Gebauer says were dozens of "Lustreisen," or pleasure trips, to exotic locations undertaken by VW worker representatives and paid for by the automaker over the following nine years.
The trips are at the center of a widening criminal investigation by German state prosecutors into whether officials at Volkswagen -- Europe's biggest automaker and one of Germany's corporate icons -- illegally used company funds to pay for top labor leaders to go on junkets involving posh hotels, call girls and the use of a company plane.
Gebauer says he was given blanket instructions by his boss to use the trips to curry worker representatives' support for Volkswagen management.
At a time when Germany is suffering through slow growth and high unemployment, his charges of corruption have resonated widely, highlighting the snug relations between management and labor that have been a hallmark of Germany's economic model.
For much of the postwar period, this close relationship helped explain Germany's success, allowing the nation to avoid the labor strife that has hurt other economies. Now, it is seen by some as part of the problem, encouraging backroom deals and forcing management and labor to take half-measures that fail to solve underlying problems, rather than bold but painful steps, such as cutting jobs.
That tension also has divided VW's supervisory board, prompting one of its members -- Gerhard Cromme, a prominent German executive and corporate governance champion -- to signal in recent days his intention to step down when his term expires next year, according to people familiar with the matter.
Trips continue in downturn
The lavish union-leader trips began as VW was enjoying a boom in the 1990s, but they continued as the company's fortunes started to fade in 2001 amid high labor costs in Germany and a troubled push into luxury vehicles.
Volkswagen initially responded to the charges by assailing Gebauer's credibility. In June, weeks before Gebauer went public with his allegations, Volkswagen fired him for allegedly trying to embezzle company funds and seeking kickbacks from potential VW business partners, a charge for which he himself is under investigation by prosecutors.
Gebauer denies the charges.
"We treat with caution any statements concerning these incidents solely made by a former employee who was dismissed without notice on the grounds of personal enrichment," the company said in a written statement on Oct. 24 in answer to questions from the Wall Street Journal about the charges.
But Gebauer's allegations have been gaining credibility both inside and outside the company.
Over the summer, state prosecutors, initially looking into the allegations against Gebauer, expanded their probe into his claims that the company had been funding improper inducements of its labor representatives. Prosecutors say they now have nine suspects, including several current and former labor representatives, as a result of his testimony.
"We've looked into some of what he has alleged and have uncovered evidence of criminal wrongdoing as a result," said Klaus Ziehe, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Lower Saxony, the carmaker's home state.
"There is no reason to dismiss everything he's saying as a defensive maneuver."
Boss resigns over scandal
Following the allegations, Gebauer's prominent boss, Peter Hartz, resigned. Hartz was VW's personnel director and also a close adviser to departing Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. Hartz's name is associated with many of Schroeder's efforts at introducing market forces into the German economy. After initially characterizing Gebauer's charges as "absurd," Hartz resigned from VW in July, saying he was doing so to accept "overall responsibility for what is done in my area" of the company.
Last month, investigators from the Lower Saxony prosecutor's office searched Hartz's former VW office, saying that Hartz, "contrary to his statements, may have had knowledge of the nature ... of the actions of (Mr. Gebauer) in connection with expenses and privileges, and may have condoned or supported them."
Hartz, whom prosecutors are investigating on suspicion of improper use of company funds for the junkets, didn't respond to messages seeking comment on the accusations. His attorney declined to respond to a written list of questions.
Volkswagen also has begun to indicate that something went wrong. After firing Gebauer and another manager for allegedly seeking kickbacks, Volkswagen asked accounting firm KPMG LLP to investigate the "abuse of traveling expenses and other expenses" at the company, CEO Bernd Pischetsrieder said in a July 29 conference call with analysts.
Last week, Volkswagen disclosed the auditors' findings, acknowledging it paid about $740,000 to an "acquaintance" of Volkswagen's former top labor leader, Klaus Volkert, for services that were not "appropriate," and that Hartz approved some of the payments.
Volkert, through his attorney, Rainer Hamm, declined to comment.
"We support the investigation by the prosecutor and Volkswagen's internal investigation," Hamm said.
Prosecutors say they are investigating Volkert as a possible accessory in the matter.
Volkswagen says its internal probe has been hampered because it doesn't have access to Gebauer's private banking records.
Your Rebel personality and Sensible love style both reflect a very pragmatic approach to life. You make all decisions, including romantic ones, by investigating and analyzing the facts. You're not going to waste a woman's time or lead her on if you're not compatible. Still, being a Rebel doesn't mean that you want to be alone. You simply need a woman who will appreciate you. Finding her may be a chore. Casual dating and mindless chitchat aren't for you. Just remember to reveal yourself gradually to your dates. Most women aren't used to your wit or straightforward manner.
In truth, I am more in love with my routine than I am with any person. I would much rather spend an evening alone with a brand new dvd, then waste time pursuing the next great love of my life. I have no problem going to the movies or out to dinner by myself, usually I find I prefer the company that way. With what little free time I have on my hands on a regular basis, I would rather not waste it on less than enjoyable endeavors.
And there you have it, me in a nutshell, or at least yahoo's nutshell, with brief commentary by me at the very end. And I still haven't gotten around to defending WalMart yet. Oh well, they make enough money, they can defend themselves until I get around to making that post on here.
I am sitting here in the studio getting ready for the Nascar race, which I have absolutely no desire to listen to, but somebody has to do this and once again the part timers we have on the payroll are nowhere to be found. Fucking surprise that is. On the bright side, I guess I get to watch the Steeler game while I run the race, so I may be able to track my fantasy football teams somewhat.
I didn't do the updates this past week, not that you all care all that much, but I should stay on top of things a little better than I have so far. I have been busy tinkering with the bells and whistles over on my Multiply page, and as a result, I haven't been around here quite as much.
Anyway, as I mentioned last week, the hockey team stunk, I went 3-6-1 but amazingly stayed in second place overall. I will not be nearly as this week, I am again getting killed, even worse than last week. I still have a few games today, but if I win one game it will be nothing short of a minor miracle. I did far better in football, where I went 9-5 in the office contest, I am now tied for 9th place in my group, I won in yahoo fantasy football 106-77 to push my record to 6-1 and in the bar league I also won, 101-87 to get above .500 at 4-3.
In a way, I am rooting against the home team this weekend. I have 2 Cincinnati Bengals on one team and one on the other, so while I wouldn't mind seeing the Steelers win this Sunday (I do have Willie Parker on one team), I can live with a Cincinnati win far more easy than most Pittsburghers.
I am thinking I will be eher at the station all night tonight. It becomes almost pointless for me to go home after the race, only to have to come back in a few hours. The sad thing is, I really don't have a whole lot to do today, I had cut my commercial feeds last week, the shows for this coming weekend for WJAS don't get posted till Wednesday at the earliest, so I can't do much there, I have done my Clark Howard minutes for Monday, really, I have very little production work to get done. I may work on something later on, something I promised many moons ago but just never got around to. Today I have the time and the technology is most definitely at my disposal here in the studio, so this may be the day to get that project underway.
Something else I haven't done in a while, give something away. That is about to change. The code is HN7TIP770E for the current Pepsi game. I believe the website is www.callyourplay.com, but I may be a little mistaken in that regard.
Great, I have already gotten two complaints regarding us carrying the Nascar race today. God forbid we shouldn't carry Monica Crowley on a Sunday. Anyway, I tend to be very short with such people, I am not the complaint box and I have far better things to do with my Sunday afternoons that listen to people bitch and moan that they can't here some blonde ditz pontificate on the air and spend time fingering herself every time she says the word Clinton. In case you haven't guessed, I don't like Monica Crowley all that much.
Anyway, the Steelers are leading 7-3 in the first quarter. I am not going to turn this into a glog, I have other things to do with my time, like eat. I did bring some food, after all if this is going to be an extended stay at work, I will be dining in. Just some egg salad, soup (cheddar potato and bacon) and a couple of eclairs and some RC Cola to wash it all down. Usually I am a Pepsi guy, but RC is a good second for me in the cola favorites and since the increase in minimum wage, a 2 liter of Pepsi at the local grocery store went from 1.29 to 1.79. Meanwhile the 2 liter RC was on sale for $1, to me that is a no brainer.
I may do my podcasting while the race is on as well. I have enough time, that is for sure. This race isn't scheduled to end until almost 6pm, which will be two hours after the football game ends, so it will either be work on the podcasts or read the Sunday paper, which is always an option. I like doing the crosswords on Sunday, even if I am not that good at them. That is probably the one thing that I miss about being unattached and working on Sundays, I enjoyed getting up early Sunday, getting the paper and then just laying around in bed doing the crossword and reading it for a few hours. See, I can remember some good things about being attached, just not enough to merit me giving up the freedom of being single.
Crikey, I was just reviewing the log for tomorrow's show. I have a copy of the entire log in my studio, Lynn gets a copy of the three hours of hetr show. Anmyway, we carry 4 commercial breaks an hour, the top of the hour where we do news and weather, the bottom where we just update the weather and then two other breaks that are just commercials. We may plug commercials into the top and bottom breaks, but the other two breaks are where we tend to put people that are buying into our show specifically. Some of our sponsors will pay a a little exctra for Lynn to do a live read, where instead of playing a commercial, Lynn will actually do a read for them extemporaneously on the air (how's that for your vocabulary word of the day). Anyway, just looking at tomorrow's log, we have 15 live reads. That is going to make for a busy day to say the least.
Great, they are doing the national anthem prior to the Nascar race and who should be the singer? Just the actor who played Bo Duke on the Dukes of Hazzard. I guess David Hasselhoff wasn't redneck enough for them. Oh well, at least the football game is still on, the Steelers are now leading 14-6.
By the way, I had my interview teh other day, I think it went well, though if they offer a job I am not sure I want to take it. Thankfully they haven't offered anything yet, so I still have time to go scouting for other jobs, another reason for me to get a Sunday paper, it has the biggest classified section of any of the weekly editions of the paper. It can be a real chore trying to find a job with little to no responsibility.
Well, I better get rolling, I have some more things I want to get out of the way before the race ends. By the way, before I forget, the change meter is now at $29.65.
Fucking yahoo, I have already done this once, yet here I am typing it again. I swear to go they suck at this point, and leaving this place is bordering on a damn pleasure.
Okay, my anger issues out of the way, I promised in the last entry that something I had brought up in the past would rear it head today. That something is the first edition of the Bedtime Stories Blog. Basically I pick a book and read it onto the blog page. I can't say whether this is a good idea or not, simply because I can't stand the sound of my own recorded voice and I am not the best reader on the planet. Not that I butcher too many words (though some) but I haven't read out loud in ages, and it is quite an odd sensation to be honest. Anyway, depending on what yinz (slipping into my Pittsburghese) think of this, it will either continue or die a quick and painless death. With that out of the way, we start the Bedtime Stories blog with Christopher Buckley's "No Way to Treat a First Lady".
Well, let's get the congratulatory stuff out of the way first. Kudos to one Doug Hoerth on his 25 years of broadcasting here in the 'Burgh. Doug has worked at a handful of stations in this market, currently he is employed by our station. I have always been a fan of his, so it was more than fun to actually sit in as his producer for the 9 months we had him on in the mornings (he has since been moved to the afternoon drive). I would explain what goes through producing a typical episode of the Doug Hoerth Show, but there is no such animal. Asking Doug what the show was about ahead of time was pointless, because either he didn't know, or he had an idea, but he didn't want to tell in order to keep the show "fresh". Needless to say, doing his show meant you basically had to plan on most anything happening.
For me, prepping for his show involved reading alot every morning, at least enough to make myself familiar with the contents of the NY Post, NY Daily News, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Drudge Report, and Radar Online. And that was just to cover the bases. It was also a good idea to have taken a look at the traffic person (Trisha Pittman) over on Channel 11, because we would most likely be talking about her fashion sense, which is very good by the way.
A little after 7am, the show would start. By the time we got out of the news break at the top of the hour, I had also checked out the weather person on Channel 11 (Krista Viarreal) and her fashion sense, which usually consisted of a comment on how she stole Doug's drapes again, a cursory glance at Denise Austin on Lifetime (she can't really be 48 and look that good can she?) and some channel hopping, because who knows what Doug is watching on the tv in his booth.
The conversations that would happen before we went on the air were probably as funny, if not moreso than anything we did on the air. Prime example, one morning we were doing our channel hopping prior to the show and we ended up on a faith healer (7am cable is quite an experience) who was all but slapping these people as they would fall back or collapse before claiming that they were healed (Praise the Lord!). Well this one woman came up to the Reverend (Ernest Ainsley is his name if I remember correctly) and while I had the sound off (I ususally watch with close captioning so as not to interfere with any open mikes) I could tell by the pics that first she was very heavy and second that she was very heavy in the chest department as well. Mr. Ainsley goes about his ritual (about 5 minutes after the hour, with us starting the radio show about 6 after the hour) and low and behold she is healed. Not just healed, but excitedly healed as she bounded around the stage in all her glory, her massive mammaries going in all sorts of directions. Now mind you, the clock is ticking on us to start the show, and just before we go on the air, I talk into Doug's headset and say the following "You would think while God was around, he would have fixed her bra as well". We must have laughed through the entire first segment of the show, with most everyone else just not in on the joke. This is what we would call par for the course, usually one of us breaking the other up before we go on the air. I can't describe how much fun it was to do that show. Not that we didn't have our serious moments, but at the end of the day we are still just doing a show, and truth be told, lots of people would kill to be doing what we were doing, so we had fun with it.
Kudos Uncle Douggie, it nice know that after 25 years, the City of Pittsburgh had an official Doug Hoerth Day, a honor that both you and Boy George can lay claim too. I heard they were going to have a Rosie O'Donnell Day as well, but when they went to give her the key to the city, she thought it was a Cheeto, and ate it.
In other notes, don't say I didn't warn you, but President Bush has put forth a $7 billion dollar package to provide vaccines for the bird flu "just in case". Yes, we are now spending 7 billion dollars on a disease that can't even be spead from human to human. I would like to take the president up on his offer. Just write the check out to me, and I will print up plenty of fliers that say "Don't fuck with infected birds!!!"
That is it for the blog today kids. Weekend from hell coming up starting with today's radio shift and ending somewhere around Saturday afternoon, so I best get cracking.
My Democartic brethern are up in arms, as well they should be. With the lack of substanial progress in Iraq, the disaster of a response to the Katrina disaster, the leaking of a CIA agent's identity, a ballooning deficit, and the Tom DeLay inditement, the door would seem to be wide open for Democrats to make some gains in the House and Senate races this year, as well a a decent shot at the precidency in 2008 if the situation persists. The question is simply, How?
The biggest problem the Democratic party has right now is that nobody wanst to run on issues. As a result, the party message gets hijacked by those segments of the left that are more off putting to the middle or worse the party leadership cowers in fear of having a "Dean moment", a halting moment that can just kill a campaign. Still, there are legitimate questions that can be asked without sounding like a lunatic. You don't have to believe that Republicans are fascists to believe that the war in Iraq is badly mismanaged. You don't have to believe that George Bush hates black people, yet have a problem when FEMA director Brown's dinner can't be interrupted while New Orleans is flooding. Legitimate concerns over policy and implementation should be addressed, it is what makes us a better country, the (to steal a Republican phrase here) "marketplace of ideas". Of course that also means that Democratic solutions have to be offered. It is not enough simply to complain, if, at the end of the day, you can offer nothing better.
Recent polling shows the President's approval rating at 39%. The problem is that the Democrats approval ratings aren't going up as a result, America is getting sick of both parties. One party can't govern, and the other can only complain without offering an alternative. If I am a Democrat, I am working on those solutions now, cause Republicans are starting to jump ship on President Bush, who is seen now as a hindrance rather than a help to many. Whichever happens first, a Democrat with answers, or a Republican that can distance himself from Bush, will have the leg up in 2008.
First off, greetings to the new additions to the blog site. Just don't be stealing the towels.
I did manage to sneak out Saturday, didn't do the movie, but did buy the DVD I was looking for, also snagged the KIngs of Comedy, which I saw on sale at Best Buy. Of course I had to make the trip somewhat work related, so I bought blank cds to do some more burning of music for work. I did take myself out for dinner though. BBQ chicken and ribs, way yummy. And free, which is always a plus. I still have 30 bucks left for my next trip back, as dinner was only twenty, though I did tip the waiter 10 bucks just to make up for me eating free.
The streak continues, I saw the schedule this week, still no days off, but it looks easier than the last couple of weeks, I may be down to 70 hrs this week. It's almost like a vacation for me.
The Sindey Crosby streak continues, as the Pens rookie has scored in every one of their games so far this year. The fact they haven't won a game yet sucks, but at least the new kid is entertaining to watch. I got to watch the Friday game against the Flyers here at work, so I saw the comeback from down 5-1 to get it to 5-5, only to lose in OT, which has become a theme for the team this year. They have lost 5 of 7 games either in OT or in a shootout.
Well, gotta run, I am still at work, thoguh Adult Swim is on, and I would like to catch some of that if possible.
Bonus pts for anyone who can come up with where my blast came from. Just to see if your paying attention and all.
I am up to 46 days in a row since the last time I had a whole day off, which happened when I quit my last part time job, and got another one. Needless to say, as I type this I am a little sleepy, but I am back on the air in less than an hour, so that (sleep) ain't gonna happen.
Usually I help pass the time when I start one of these streaks by setting little milestones for myself, but I blew one of them off today, which just makes it seem even longer. Wednesday is combo lo mein day at a little chinese take out place I visit from time to time. Mind you, they have the dish everyday, but it is the Wednesday special, so I get a free egg roll and drink with it, but it is just one of those tangible goals that if I get there I can actually stop and enjoy the moment. But I was running behind, so I had to bag that goal this week. I am thinking movie on Saturday as the next possible goal, but I know I have a very long day on Friday and an 8 hr shift at the part time job on Saturday, so I will just play it by ear. I am hoping to go use my gift certificate I won for dinner on Saturday, because I am a cheap bastard, then maybe take in Two for the Money. If not that, then maybe go shopping and get the Sin City DVD. There is only one thing to say to how hot Jessica Alba is in that movie: Meow!!!!! Now just need to make sure I don't come home and fall asleep after work on Saturday.
Since I am blogging to kill time here, went 2-0-1 in fantasy football this week, so my records are 2-2-1 in both leagues where I can win money, and 2-3 in the freebie yahoo thing that I have going on.
And lastly I leave you with Cindy Sheehan playing the role of Mr. Mackey in South Park: Bush.....Bush is bad........mmmmkay.
Well, that was quite a week, mostly good, but some bad all thrown together. Let's deal with the bad first.
The Penguins got off to a bad start to the NHL season, going 0-1-2, including a shootout loss on Friday to Carolina where they couldn't convert any of their penalty shots, and a 7-6 loss to Boston yesterday in the home opener. You would like to think if you score 6 goals you might win, but the defense and goaltending look like they have the very good potential to ruin any playoff hopes this franchise may have this season.
I missed the WXXP reunion shows this weekend because of work. For those of you that don't know, and I am sure there are many, WXXP was the alternative station in Pittsburgh, back before alternative music turned into a bunch of crap rockers that all sound the same, in that regard sharing quite a bit with rap actually. The station itself lasted only two years, from 1986-88, but during those years ity was the only radio station I would listen to, and apparently I wasn't the only one, as they had enough interest to have reunion shows this weekend, including bringing back all of the old DJs, some of which still work in this market, others went elsewhere but came back for the show. The show also brought back many of the local bands that were popular at that time, and actually received regular rotation in the playlist, something many radio stations just don't do with local artists. My work schedule prevented me from attending either the Friday or Saturday show, though I did see T-shirts on the web and I may end up ordering one.
And that kids, is as bad as it gets here, the rest is all good. I am already rambled on about my money won in the fantasy baseball, so I won't repeat myself in that regard. My worry over pogo badges this week seems unfounded, as I have two already and well on my way to the third. For those of you that don't know what pogo badges are, more can be found here ( www.pogo.com ) and anyone wishing to try it, I do have a few guest passes saved up that I can email (3), but those are on a first come first serve basis.
I am officially the employee of the month here at the radio station. It only took me 9 years and two months to win it for the first time, which ends my Cal Ripken like streak I had going for me. For being employee of the month, I get all of the following booty, the parking spot closest to the building (which is of no use since I take the bus to work), a vacation day (which may or may not be of use, since I still have better than two weeks of vacation time left this year, and I lose it all at the end of the year if I don't use it), a $50 dollar gift certificate to a local restaurant (I chose Rock Bottom) and a $100 bonus to my next paycheck (and who can't use that). Now I just have to hold out for another 9 years to get it again.
As bad as the Pens have been record wise, the pick of Sidney Crosby looks to be the real deal. Watching some of the game Friday, it was clear, that at 19 years old, he was the best player on the ice. In a town that has seen Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr play in their primes, this kids looks to be of the same mold. The pass he threw to Ziggy Pallfy to tie the game Friday was a thing of beauty. For the season he has 1G and 3A in 3 games, not too shabby for a rookie.
Hate to cut this short, but it is time to work again. I am looking forward to tomorrow's show, we have AJ Jacobs on. He is an editor of Esquire Magazine and the person who read the Encyclopedia Brittanica from cover to cover, then wrote a book about it. The book is way funny, and I am geeked for him to be on the morning show. That will be at 10am EST for those of you tuning in via web ( www.1360wptt.com ). Okay, I really have to run this time. Never fry bacon when you're naked.