Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Stolen Content - You didn't think I was done did you?

Far from it, another gem that I found while doing show prep.  For those that don't recognize the name, Matt Taibbi usually writes for Rolling Stone magaize, and blogs over at Smirking Chimp

AIG Exec Whines About Public Anger, and Now We're Supposed to Pity Him? Yeah, Right

Corporate America

by Matt Taibbi | March 27, 2009 - 9:55am



"I take this action after 11 years of dedicated, honorable service to AIG. I can no longer effectively perform my duties in this dysfunctional environment, nor am I being paid to do so. Like you, I was asked to work for an annual salary of $1, and I agreed out of a sense of duty to the company and to the public officials who have come to its aid. Having now been let down by both, I can no longer justify spending 10, 12, 14 hours a day away from my family for the benefit of those who have let me down." via Op-Ed Contributor -- "Dear AIG, I Quit!" -- NYTimes.com

Like a lot of people, I read Wednesday's New York Times editorial by former AIG Financial Products employee Jake DeSantis, whose resignation letter basically asks us all to reconsider our anger toward the poor overworked employees of his unit.

DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with my boss Joe Cassano's toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful of people in our unit did; 2) I didn't even know anything about them; 3) I could have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn't, staying out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.

I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit; 3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo. You dog.

AIGFP only had 377 employees. Those 400-odd folks received almost $3.5 billion in compensation in the last seven years, a very large part of that money coming from the sale of credit default protection. Doing the math, that averages out to over $9 million of compensation per person.

Ask yourself this question: If your company made that much money, and the boss of the unit made almost $280 million in just a few years, exactly how likely is it that you wouldn't know where that money was coming from?

Are we supposed to believe that Jake DeSantis knew nothing about Joe Cassano's CDS deals? If your boss and the top guys in your firm were all making a killing selling anything at all -- whether it was rubber kayaks, generic Levitra or credit default swaps -- you really wouldn't bother to find out what that thing they were selling was? You'd really just mind your own business, sit at your cubicle and put your faith in the guys up top to fill you in if there was something you needed to know?

This would be a believable claim for an employee of some other wing of AIG, a company with well over 100,000 employees. But DeSantis works for tiny, 377-person AIGFP, a unit that had only two offices -- one in London and one in Greenwich, Conn.

And we're talking about financial professionals, the most shameless group of tirelessly envious gossips ever to walk the face of the earth. The likelihood that Cassano would pull in $280 million for himself, and his equally greedy, hopelessly jealous employees wouldn't know not only exactly how he made that money but every last ugly detail about his life -- from what skank he's sleeping with to what side of his trousers he hangs on -- is almost zero.

I know plenty of people who work in this world, and I've met very few who didn't hate with every cell in their bodies anyone in their own companies who made more money than they did or got bigger bonuses at Christmastime. Gossiping about each others' bonuses, and bitching about each others' compensation, is the national pastime for these people.

So forgive me if I don't buy this story that poor Jake and his buddies didn't know about Cassano's CDS business.

Also, there's this: let's just say, Jake, that you're telling the truth, that you don't know anything about this toxic portfolio. If that's the case, then why the fuck does anyone need to retain you at an exorbitant salary to help unwind that very portfolio? If these transactions aren't and never were your expertise, then where the hell is your value here?

When I spoke to Christine Pretto, the AIG spokeswoman, and asked about those bonuses, she said that AIG needed to retain people like you in order to take advantage of your "knowledge of these transactions." So if you don't have knowledge of these transactions, what are you being paid for? Your winning attitude?

Then there's the matter of Jake's other job offers. About that: It was apparent as early as last February that Cassano had basically destroyed not only the unit but perhaps AIG itself. The company announced over $11 billion in losses around that time.

If I'm Jake DeSantis, and I'm really innocent, I'm looking for a job that very instant. And I'm taking the first good job anyone offers me. Because by then I'd have realized that I was working for the latest version of Enron. That the man I've been working for the last six or seven years has turned out to be one of the most irresponsible Wall Street villains of all time, a man who single-handedly destroyed the 18th-largest company in the world. If I'm Jake DeSantis, I'm quitting out of moral disgust, because I don't want to be associated with this kind of behavior.

The only reason I'd stay is if I didn't have a choice. Which I feel sure is what happened here. If Jake DeSantis didn't take advantage of an opportunity to get a better job elsewhere with a company that didn't hide billions in losses and make $500 billion bets with money they didn't have, that's his fucking problem.

The notion that I the taxpayer have to pay this asshole a million-dollar bonus because he turned down a better job at a less-guilty company is repugnant to begin with; the notion that he stayed at AIGFP because he expected me to pay him this bonus makes me hate him even more.

But it's all moot, because I feel quite sure it's a lie. As one trader for another firm told me not long ago when I asked what he thought about the need to pay these "retention bonuses" to these "valued employees" at AIGFP:

"Yeah, right. Who would hire these guys? They'd stay for a dollar if you offered it to them, much less a million."

I mean, half of Wall Street is unemployed right now. There are plenty of unemployed traders out there whose resumes don't include such entries as "Worked for years at small unit of AIG that helped destroy the universe; throughout that time was completely ignorant of burgeoning global disaster unfolding 5 feet from my desk."

The idea that other companies would be so eager to pass over the seas of truly innocent available people in order to scoop up some still-employed veteran of AIGFP -- and that they would be so enthusiastic in their pursuit of said AIGFP employees that AIG would need to pay those AIGFP folks million-plus retention bonuses to get them to stay -- is so ludicrous it almost defies comment.

Show me, anywhere, the Wall Street firm that's willing right now to spend more than a million dollars poaching still-employed midlevel executives like DeSantis, when they can just put an ad in the paper and have 500 recently unemployed CEOs begging for work at almost any salary in five minutes.

So the idea that the rest of Wall Street is breaking down AIGFP's doors to lavish its idiot personnel with million-dollar offers is just utterly preposterous. The fact that DeSantis expects us to believe this is insulting in itself.

Also, remember, DeSantis until this year was probably the recipient of performance bonuses. This year, obviously, there was no performance, so AIG doled out these "retention" bonuses instead. And the value of these retention bonuses is seriously in question if AIG never really needed to pay extra to retain this personnel, which I personally believe they didn't.

I personally believe these "retention" bonuses were a ruse cooked up by management to suck a few more dollars out of the company before it sank to the ocean bottom. So if DeSantis is "owed" these bonuses, it's only in the sense that someone up above agreed to cheat the shareholders by paying these bonuses when they weren't really necessary; they weren't "earned" in any real sense.

But all of this is really secondary to the tone of DeSantis' letter. He acts like he's a victim because he didn't get to keep his after-tax bonus of $742,006.40 in the middle of a global depression. And he really loses his fucking mind when he writes:

"None of us should be cheated of our payments any more than a plumber should be cheated after he has fixed the pipes but a careless electrician causes a fire that burns down the house."

First of all, Jake, you asshole, no plumber in the world gets paid a $740,000 bonus, over and above his salary, just to keep plumbing. Second, try living on a plumber's salary before you even think about comparing yourself to one; you're inviting a pitchfork in the gut by even thinking along those lines. Third, Jake, if you were a plumber, and the electrician burned the house down -- well, guess what? If you and that electrician worked for the same company, you actually wouldn't get paid for that job.

Out in the real world, when your company burns a house down, you're not getting paid by that client. It's only on Wall Street, where the every-man-for-himself ethos is built into an insanely selfish and greed-addled compensation system, that people like you expect to get paid in a bubble -- only there do people expect their performance bonuses no matter how much money the shareholders lose overall, no matter how many people get laid off after the hostile takeover, no matter how ill-considered the mortgages lent out by your division were.

You expect that money because you think it's owed to you. But what money? The money is gone. Your boss, if not you, set it all afire. You want the money, but where exactly do you think it's coming from?

Do you just not understand that that money now would have to come out of someone else's pocket? That it would have to come from middle-class taxpayers, real plumbers, people who didn't make millions over the years in equity and commodity trading?

Here's the real problem with people like Jake DeSantis. Throughout this whole period, they never were able to connect the dots -- to grasp the fact that when they skimmed a million here or a million there off the great rivers of capital that flowed through their offices, that that money came from somewhere, from someone. To them, it wasn't someone else's money, it was just money, and why shouldn't they have it?

It's remarkable that when DeSantis, in his letter, touts the reason he deserves his high compensation, all he can talk about is how much money he made: "The profitability of the businesses with which I was associated clearly supported my compensation."

For a guy like this, his worth as a human being is wrapped up in buying a bag of beans for $10 and selling it for $11. He states this like it's a law of nature: he was a good equities-and-commodities trader, therefore he should make a lot of money.

Only a person with a habitually overinflated sense of self-worth could think he deserves a $700,000 retention bonus, even if it has to be paid by taxpayers, when in reality no one "deserves" that much money. It may be that some people do get paid that much, but most people who make that much money have enough sense to realize their cushy lifestyles are an accident of fate, of birth, of class, not something that is "supported" by some unwritten natural law of compensation.

Hey Jake, it's not like you were curing cancer. You were a fucking commodities trader. Thanks to a completely insane, horribly skewed set of societal values that puts a premium on greed and severely undervalues selflessness, communal spirit and intellectualism -- values that make millionaires out of people like you and leave teachers and nurses, the people who raise your kids and clean your parents' bedpans, comparatively penniless -- you made a lot of money.

Good for you. Consider yourself lucky. But your company went belly-up and broke, almost certainly thanks in part to you, and now you don't get your bonus.

So be a man and deal with it. The rest of us do, when we get bad breaks, and we've had a lot more of them than you. And stop whining. Jesus Christ.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Stolen Content - A new entry

I can't remeber if I ever used Mike Lupica on this page before.  Usually he does mostly sports stuff, with a dash of politics here and there.  That being said, I ran across this doing show prep today and felt a need to share, which is what stolen content is all about after all.


GM CEO Rick Wagoner gets a bitter taste of the real world - President Obama's world

Monday, March 30th 2009, 4:00 AM

This is the way things work in the real world, the one where real people live and work, where they don't fly in on private jets to ask the government to bail them out after they have lost billions.

They don't get bonuses for being failures. They lose their jobs. They hit the bricks like the people whose jobs they eliminated with bad management and years of bad decisions.

You know what happened to Rick Wagoner of GM on Sunday? He became one of the guys on the line. Wagoner doesn't get to be the boss anymore because the President of the United States acted like one and fired him.

This happens all the time in sports, to coaches and managers, and it happens to executives at movie studios who back films that lose millions. It happens to network executives whose shows don't pull ratings. Sunday it happened to Wagoner.

And if the President really did it the way it's being reported he did, if his "restructuring" of GM and the auto industry meant restructuring Wagoner right out the door, good for the President. This wouldn't just be him talking tough about the auto industry or Wall Street or even Afghanistan. This would be doing something tough. There are so many workers in this country, up and down the pay scale, who wonder why the government can't restructure things so they can stay in business. Wondering where their bailout money is.

They aren't banks or bankers or AIG, the pig operation of them all. There are all the ones who own businesses that aren't GM and, when they can't pay the bills anymore, they close their doors. They become another boarded-up window in a country of them. They are out of luck and out of business.

Wagoner may have made his and may make a lot more walking out the door. He still gets to feel what it is like to lose a job in this America. His company has lost $82 billion the last four years. Lost nearly $31 billion last year. It finally took the government, the one that gave GM $13.4 billion in loans and then saw GM come back for $16.6 billion more, to call him on that.

As amazing as the losses is the fact that Wagoner lasted as long as he did. Guys like Wagoner always want to act as if they're victims. Like the bank guys want you to believe they all got hit by lightning at once.

It doesn't work that way. The wisdom on that comes from the great football coach Bill Parcells: You are what your record says you are. Wagoner's record is epic losses at General Motors. He goes.

On Monday, Obama is scheduled to tell the country his continuing rescue plans for the automobile industry. The rescue operation does not include a spot for Wagoner on the life raft.

On CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday, Obama said he talked about GM and Chrysler and all the rest of it, finally saying that he was looking for "sacrifices from all parties involved - management, labor, shareholders, creditors, suppliers, dealers."

Rick Wagoner went first. The first concession wasn't somebody on the line. It was the chairman and chief executive. The one who said that he had to spend another $20,000 flying GM's Gulfstream IV to testify in Congress because he was a busy guy trying to fix things at his company.

A couple of weeks ago, Wagoner was quoted as saying "99%" of his company's problems could be fixed. He also was quoted as saying bankruptcy might work for GM, but then again might not. He also said at the time that he'd been given no indication that he was on the verge of losing his job. So the guy was on top of things to the end.

GM will get more short-term government assistance. It will be propped up the way the banks have been propped up and AIG has been propped up. Chrysler will get more help, too.

But General Motors is the biggest car company in America. Wagoner has been on the job for eight years, a lifetime, and one during which GM was way too slow to start making smaller, more reasonably priced cars.

It would have been like staying with black-and-white televisions when color TV came around. And Wagoner was as loud as anybody in Detroit about the government saving him. The opposite finally happened Sunday. The only bonus he should get is carfare home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Stolen Content - If ever there was a reason to steal, this is it

Bachelorette party prop spooks Wichita police horse, prompts arrest

The Wichita Eagle

Wichita police arrested three people in Old Town on Sunday in an incident that began when a man threw an inflatable penis at an officer's horse.

Officers were patrolling Old Town on horseback at about 1:20 a.m. when they came across a large group of women in their early- to mid-20s who had been celebrating at a bachelorette party, police said.

Also in the group was a 24-year-old man, a brother to one of the women at the party. He was carrying a 5-foot-long inflatable penis, police said.

"While he was joking around with this toy, he launched this large toy toward one of our officers, who was on horseback," police spokesman Gordon Bassham said.

The toy struck the officer's horse, causing the horse to get spooked, he said.

Police arrested the man, of Eastborough, on suspicion of battery of a law enforcement officer, in this case, the horse.

A woman, upset at the arrest, grabbed the arresting officer's arm, police said. She too was arrested.

While the crowd was being dispersed, another woman in the party was arrested when she struck a horse's head, police said. The horse stepped on the foot of that woman, who was treated on the scene, then taken to jail.

The two women who were arrested are 22 years old and 24 years old. One is from McPherson, and one is from Lawrence.

© 2007 Wichita Eagle and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved. http://www.kansas.com

Sunday, March 22, 2009

If you are looking for a title, you came to the wrong place

Here it is, 8:30am on a Sunday morning. I imagine many of you are just starting to wipe the sleep from your eyes and getting out of bed to greet a brand new day. Not here however. I have been up since about 3am, first I worked on a couple of Pogo badges, then I edited and posted another episode of the Lynn Cullen program, then it was onto Pandora to begin setting up my new radio station, rolling my change from my change jar since I finally got around to buying coin wrappers from Office Depot on Friday, then it was off to an early breakfast at Eat N Park, then grocery shopping, now I am back home working again on Lynn Cullen audio and a blog entry as well.

This is due in part to the fact that while I was hoping to be productive yesterday, alcohol got in the way, or rather I let it get in the way. I slept in on Saturday, then figured I would go to the bar, have a couple of beers and come back home and attack all of the tasks that awaited me. So I had a beer, plopped down in front of the poker machine and proceeded to pretty much break that plan early and often as that one beer turned into 6 while I bs-ed and just had an all around decent time. I made a little money on the poker machine, I turned $25 into $80 but I loaned Billy, one of the bar regulars, $30 because he is always good at paying me back, hit the jukebox for about $7 worth of tunes, talked with some people in the bar including one of the founding members of The Affordable Floors, a band I really liked back in the day, but that day was almost two decades ago now, these days he works for the same people I do at the newsstand, he works in the Oakland store (Gus Miller's), I work downtown (Smithfield News). It was one of those where are they now moments that some day may be written about my radio career by some AM radio geek. But by the time I made it home I was sick drunk, because of hoiw quickly I had put the beer away and the fact I hadn't eaten anything beforehand. So sick was I that I tossed some cookies and fell into bed where I passed out, only to wake up later and not be drunk sick, just sick sick from torturing my stomach and more puking resulted. Needless to say, no work was done on my part and I fell back into bed until my early wake up time today.

Oops, be right back, my audio has been exported to the desktop so I have to fire up the next one to edit.

Okay, I am uploading the next hour into the audio editor and I just realized my computer failed to record Wednesday's show. That sucks, but not too bad, we didn't have a guest or anything. Still, unless the equipment in the studio worked on Wednesday, which is far from a given, in fact it is more than likely it didn't, one episode of the show is lost to the internet ether. The thing is, I record the show at home, but the radio station also provides me with two blank CDs to record in the studio, where it is set up to take the studio audio and burn it right to a CD via a CD writer. The problem is that writer rarely works right, some times it does okay, other times it will not finalize a CD, or it will stop recording in the middle of an hour or some other bit of craziness, so if my computer fails to tape, chances are very good that the show is just lost.

That being said, I am getting better using Audacity for editing, I can usually cut an hour up (removing all of the commercial breaks) in less than 5 minutes. The shows take longer to be exported to the desktop and uploaded to Imeem than it takes for me to edit an hour of radio.

I am thinking today may turn into a glog at some point. The Penguins are on TV today, they play host to cross state rivals, the Philadelphia Flyers, as the game of the week on NBC at 12:30. Only 3 hours and 20 minutes away, lots of time to blab and get other stuff done. I have alot planned today, if I get half of it done I will consider it a victory and move on. I really need to make an effort on washing dishes and clothes, and for me that would be an effort as they are two tasks I am loathe to do most days. Between those two and the fact I already have the grocvery shopping done and some of the audio stuff out of the way, I would consider that a win, anything beyond that is just gravy.

I am a little irked about something. It seems that a pack of cigarettes went up almost a full dollar the other day, all due to increased taxes on cigarettes. The argument is that the tax is going to fund the CHIP program, which provides health care for kids. Of course the fact that the majority of smokers are of the lower income brackets and what you have in essence is another tax on the poor. I am not going to go the woe is me route, I'll be honest I hope the tax results in fewer people smoking and not for the honorable reason that some people will be healthier, but rather because it may deny some sickly kids medical assistance. Yes, I am that mean spirited but the idea that the health of kids should be tied into how many cigarettes people smoke just strikes me as a tad bit ludicrous, so maybe fewer people smoking and some kids being denied medical care are called for to make a point. If something is important, and I would argue that medical care for kids is an important thing, then it should be a shared burden and not one selectively imposed on a group of people. You wouldn't base things such as police or fire protection on something so inane, so why would you do it with children's health?

I already finished editing that hour I uploaded and now another show is finding its way to the Imeem page. I guess I could continue to type while that happens, or I could head over to Facebook and work on my Hammerfall campaign a little bit. I am doing quite well in the game, already up to level 20, but I am at a point where I could press forward and try some new challenges or stay where I am and make sure my party is fully outfitted. I am opting for the latter, as there is a pretty easy quest to pick up an iron helmet that you can repeat so I am trying to get a helmet for all 19 members of my guild. Any gold and experience I pick up in the process is just gravy. After this I am heading even further backward to make suree the entire party has horses, right now I have 8, so I have plenty of projects in front of me before I plunge further into the game. Like most Facebook games of this type, it is time limited to a degree, you can only play for so long before you have to stop and rest up and then beging playing again. I am at one of those resting points, another reason I headed out to breakfast and grocery shop.

It looks like I am off again next weekend as well. I don't know if I like having every Saturday night off, on one hand it is nice to be home weekends and to have two days in a row to boot, on the other, it is another day that I make no money. The radio gig is nice side cash, but until we get some more advertisers lined up I don't want Lynn to be worried about paying me, I'd rather we got this to be a money making operation first and let the coin follow afterward. After all, it's not like I am doing anything evenings anyway, so playing on the radio is payment enough for me to begin with, any money I make from it is just a bonus.

Okay, another show is uploaded to Imeem, now I just have to wait about 15 minutes and I can go ahead and create the playlist for it. While that happens I think I will do a couple more quests in Hammerfall.

You know what I haven't done in a while? I haven't given anything away on this page so I think it is about time to change that. The first person to comment on this blog entry, besides saying something ridiculous like "Give me the prize", wins a subscription to Esquire Magazine. And if no one comments then I will keep the goodies for myself, because I am all kind of greedy like that.

Well, I have managed to kill one and a half hours so far by blogging, internet surfing and audio editing. Only 2 hours and change to go until faceoff and another glog entry. Actually the game has a chance to be a good one today, the Penguins currently reside in 5th place in the Eastern Conference, the Flyers are in 4th and if the season were to end today, this would be a first round matchup in the playoffs. Alas it isn't and there is still time for teams to move up and down in the standings, considering 10 points separate the 4th through 10th place teams and only the top 8 qualify for the post season.

Add to that Pitt plays in the second round of the NCAA tournament today and it will be another big sports day in Pittsburgh. Much was made of Pitt's first game, a 72-62 win over East Tennessee State that was closer than the final score would indicate, as Pitt had just a 2 point lead with 2 minutes remaining. Now much has been made of this, especially since a #1 seed has never lost to a #16 in the tournament's first round, with some prognosticators wondering just how good or bad Pitt really is. Me, I am not like that, you treat each game as an individual event and nothing more. Nobody remembers the Arizona Cardinals getting blown out by the New England Patriots and the New York Jets, all they remember is that Arizona played in the Super Bowl. Likewise history will treat this as nothing more than a win, and I would argue the sign of a good team isn't not how well they can play, but can they win when they aren't playing well. Any team can have one of those out of their head type games where everything falls into place and they manage a win, not as many teams can muster a win when things aren't going their way. Those, my friends, are the good teams.

Still more things getting accomplished on this end, another hour of teh show is edited and now being exported to my desktop and I took out a bag of trash and an empty pizza box. It was from dinner the other night when I ordered a chicken wedge and fries because I was too lazy to cook and it was a treat for making it through another week. I doubt I will be ordering in today, it would make the whole grocery trip pointless. Instead I think I will whip up something, I just don't know what that something will be. Funny thing about grocery shopping, I went with no plan in mind, so I didn't go in thinking I need this item or that one to make specific dishes, I just grabbed what I liked and what was on sale that I thought I could make use of. So instead of practical stuff where I could say, make chili or something, I end up with stuff like shredded Mexican cheese mix and no idea what the hell it is I am going to do with it.

I still haven't started my taxes yet. Usually I knock them out of the way early in the tax season, just so I can have the refund money in my grubby little paws, but this year I just haven't found the time to play with it. I am sure I could find a way to spend my refund, and maybe that is why I am waiting, as long as I don't do my taxes, I can't spend that money. Likewise I have another $10 waiting for me on my survey page, but I am loathe to request the check from them. Instead I am just slowly building on that account, it is actually almost up to $13 bucks now and I may just opt for a prize as opposed to money this time. They have some stuff on there page I could use, like a coffee pot. Not that the one I have is bad, it is just small. My mom picked it out for Christmas a couple of years ago, and it only brews like a cup and a half at a time and when I am in the mood for coffee, usually it is by the pot, not the cup. Maybe that explains my reading on the blood pressure machine today at the grocery store. They have one of those self testing machines next to the pharmacy counter and I sometimes like to stick my arm in just to see what numbers pop up. This time I was hypertesnion, hypertension, high pulse rate. That's the big trifecta right there. Then again, anyone who knows me can understand the hyper part, it's another reaon why I am glad I am not a cocaine junkie, hyper on top of hyper. It's bad enough that I have become a fan of the Full Throttle Coffee + Energy drinks. They are so tasty and they have caffiene and energy drink all rolled into one. Talk about liquid crack, that is it.

And yet another hour is edited and I manged to fill out a survey that has been sitting on my desk to boot. I am the epitome of production so far today. Next up I will upload the new show that is now done and while that is taking place, venture out to the mailbox and drop off the survey and maybe sneak in a beer to boot.

Okay, I am back. Dropped my survey in the mail, when I get credit for it it will be another 50 cents to the survey account, bought another pack of cigarettes (sickly kids can thank me at their liesure) and had two beers, dropped 15 in the poker machine and took out 20 and called it a day. All said, not a bad venture out of the apartment and now 30 minutes till face off and we can get a glog underway.

Now a quick tinker with Hammerfall to try to get more iron helmuts and then it is off to Sportsline to get the hockey window open. There, that was quick, I managed to get a few more helmuts, only two to go and the entire party of 19 is equipped, then I can go in search of horses. Plus I managed to pick up another sapphire ring, which will become sellable once I get all of the helmuts in place.

Okay, did the finalizing of the show on Imeem, I have 7 shows posted so far, now to grab some sandwiches and some TV and settle in for some hockey.

Okay, got my sandwiches, two turkey sandwiches to be precise, some microwave popcorn and a 2 liter of Coke by my side and I think I am just about ready for today's game to begin. Actually, I want to see how many times NBC plugs "Kings", their most recent TV show that was supposed to be critically acclaimed but fell flat on its face in its premiere last Sunday. Despite the hype the network tried to build for it, it drew no better of a rating than what NBC usually offers in that time slot. I'll admit, I was less than enthralled by the promos for it. Apparently I wasn't the only one. Give me an episode of The Office any day over that over hyped tripe.

In case you were wondering, and I know you weren't, these teams have met 5 times this year with Pittsburgh winning four of those contests.

Before the action can begin, we are treated to a commercial for the local Subway " office weight loss challenge" final 4 teams. Each team consists of 4 members and if you want to see how they are doing you can log onto the TV stations website. Great, just great. Seems to me each of the teams has 4 women on them and the best way I can think of spending my internet time is look at pictures of 16 fat chicks. Thanks, but really, no thanks to that.

Pregame time and we are into our first network commercial break and look it is a promo for an NBC show, Southland, a cop show from the producers of ER. That's not a good thing, considering ER has been absymal this year, with the show relying on dead people coming back and people that haven't been on the show in years just to create a small buzz for it. This past week it was a cast member leaving, of course from a career perspective, she would have been better off leaving a couple of years ago, but what do I know.

We are underway from the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh. I know, technically it is supposed to be called the Mellon Arena, Mellon Bank did pay for the naming rights, but last I checked, they didn't pay me anything, so they get no love here.

Pittsburgh registers the game's fist shot, but Martin Biron makes the save.

Pittsburgh is controlling the action early in this contest, 4 shots to none for Philadelphia but nothing has come from it to this point and we remain scoreless early in the first period.

First penalty of the game and it is called on Pittsburgh, Bill Guerin is off to the penalty box at 14:49 of the first period. Philadelphia takes advantage, just 8 seconds into the power play it is 1-0 on a Simon Gagne goal, his 29th of the year. Mike Knuble and Claude Giroux with assists on the tally. While there is something to be said for a team having a man advatage and taking advantage of it, there is also something to be said for the fact Marc Andre Flery has faced one shot thus far and failed to make a save.

Pittsburgh catches a break, a shot right in front that Fleury misplays ends up going wide of the net. Otherwise it would be 2-0 already. Instead it is still just a one goal advantage for the Flyers, though it has more to do with luck, on in the case of Philly, a lack of luck, than it has to do with skill.

Pittsburgh with another flurry of shots on Biron, but Biron is up to the task and makes saves on them all to keep it at 1-0. Pittsburgh has the advantage in shots 7-3, but not in goals.

So far it has been a clean game if nothing else, almost 15 minutes in and only one penalty called on either team. Just as I type that Philadelphia gets called for goaltender interference, Jeff Carter looks to be the guilty party and Pittsburgh will get a power play here, looking to tie the conetst in the first period.

Pittsburgh comes up empty on the power play, registering a couple of shots, but nothing on the scoreboard and the game remains 1-0. Instead Matt Cooke takes a penalty after the power play ends, leaving Pittsburgh short handed for the second time today.

Pittsburgh kills off the penalty and now things are getting a little more chippy, which is usually what you expect in a rivalry game. Joffrey Lupul gets called for a penalty, 2 minutes for roughing after a minor skirmish on the ice, but with less than 10 seconds left in the firts period, Pittsburgh will see the penalty carry over to the start of the second. All told, the first period ends with Philadelphia in the lead 1-0.

On the bright side we went a whole period without a commercial for "Kings", maybe NBC has given up on it after its dismal first week.

I guess I could take a moment out of the first intermission to update the change meter yet again. Another $3.36 onto the previous total and it now sits at a robust $75.24.

Also the intermission gives me a chance to save this just in case of computer failure, which while not likely could still happen. And to even add to what has been a productive Sunday to this point, I went ahead and ran some dish water so I could start that task as well.

Second period is underway, which means I can quit sorting clothes. Woohoo, sounds like a plan to me. Pittsburgh starts the second with the man advantage. One shot and no gaols later and we are back to even strength hockey for the time being.

Well that was short lived, Hal Gill takes a tripping call for the Penguins and Philadelphia is on their third power play of the game. The Flyers score but the play is being reviewed, as the puck went off of Scott Hartnell's skate. The thing is, a player cannnot kick the puck into the net, but a puck can go off a skate and go in, as long as their isn't a "distinct kicking motion". It didn't appear their was one here and the league office in Toronto agrees and the goal stands, it is the Flyers now leading 2-0.

Dueling minor penalties here, 2 minutes on Tyler Kennedy for tripping and 2 minutes on Daniel Carcillo for diving and we skate 4 on 4 for two minutes. For the record, the call on Carcillo was terrible, it was a clear trip and no dive but I don't ref the games, I just glog them.

Lots of end to end action and hitting during the 4 on 4 but neither team scores, thanks in large part do a diving save by Biron to maintain his shutout and the score is still 2-0. Of note the assists on the second Flyer goal go to Jeff Carter and Daniel Briere.

After a TV timeout it's Biron again with another big save, number 17 in this contest already for him and the game isn't even half over yet.

Pittsburgh is called for another penalty, too many men on the ice and the Flyers get power play #4 here, having scored on 2 of their first 3.

Pittsburgh does kill off the penalty, actually doing a good job on limiting the Flyers chances and manage to draw a penalty themselves to create a power play opportunity, as Braydon Coburn is off on a hooking call.

Pittsburgh is doing something that is troubling to me, they are getting into the Flyers zone and then trying side to side passes as soon as they cross the blue line. The Flyers are just stepping into those passes and creating odd man rushes the other way.

The power play is over and again Pittsburgh fails to capitalize, so the Flyers two goal advantage remains intact.

TV timeout and rather than comment on the commercial break, I am fishing socks out from under my desk.

Remember when I said this was a clean game? Yeah, you can forget that. Jordan Staal called for high sticking and the Flyers have power play #5 here.

Pittsburgh kills off the penalty and we go back to even strength hockey, though it remains to be seen for just how long that will last.

With just a minute left in the second period, I can say if this score holds up the game's #1 star will be Martin Biron without question. 21 saves to this point, some of the spectacular variety and he is the reason that the Flyers maintain a two goal lead.

Second period is over and a scrum ensues after the whistle and we may have some penalties to start the third.

Okay, I took the second intermission off of glogging so I could start washing dishes and sorting clothes. Not real successful in that regard, barely made a dent in anything but at least the mess that took place at the end of the second period was sorted out. Sergei Gonchar gets called for a double minor, 4 minutes for roughing. For the uninitiated, a double minor means that the Flyers will have a four minute power play, but should they score in the first two minutes, that penalty then gets wiped out and the penalty clock is set for two minutes. It is in essesence two two minute penalties. It is different from a major penalty, which is 5 minutes in length and the team has the man advantage for all 5 minutes, regardless of how many goals they score.

Third period underway and here is power play #6 for the Flyers. The first two minutes are killed off but this is 4 minutes of hockey where the Penguins really aren't attacking and trailing by 2 goals, giving time away is something they can ill afford.

Of note, during teh second intermission I managed to find my $2 Subway card that I won got from Coke online and misplaced for ages. I am thinking Monday may be three, three dollar, three dollar footlong. Woohoo.

The Pens killed off the double minor, allowing only one shot for the 4 minutes and the crowd is loud in its approval for the effort. The Penguins still couldn't get the puck out of their end though to mount any offense.

It took the Penguins 6 minutes to get to the point where they actually carried the play, however briefly, into the Flyers zone.

It shows on the scoreboard too, the Pens have yet to register a shot in the third period and we are 8 minmutes in. The Flyers hold the advantage, 5-0 in shots here in the third.

Pittsburgh will get a power play here with less than 12 minutes remaining, Daniel Briere called for slashing and maybe this will be the spark the Pens need, though to this point Biron has been up to every challenge the Pens have thrown at him.

Finally Pittsburgh breaks the shutout, Kris Letang gets the power play goal and it is now 2-1. Crosby and Malkin get credit for assists on the tally

8:38 left and we have a TV timeout. I could do some clothes sorting real quick, but instead I will do some quick net surfing to see if anything is happening out there.

My neighbor is pounding on something and it is getting quite annoying while the game is on.

3 minutes left in the game and it remains 2-1. Biron with another big save to keep it a one goal game, Pretty soon Pittsburgh will have to pull the goaltender, but they have to take control of the puck first.

Hey, what do you know, if you slam a hard back book against the ceiling the neighbor quits pounding. I will keep that solution in mind for future reference.

Pittsburgh has pulled goaltender and it doesn't work, the Flyers notch the empty net tally, Darrel Powe gets credit for the tally and it is 3-1 and this game is all but over. With just 27 seconds left I can't see Pittsburgh getting two goals here. And they didn't and the Flyers, despite being outshot 29-20 win this one 3-1. Now I can go about being productive again.

Check that, I started being productive, then I realized the NCAA tournament games are online which means i get to watch the Pitt Oklahoma State game. It was tied at the half but since I started watching Pitt has opened up a 7 point lead. Just what I need, a distraction from my otherwise productive day.

I still haven't decided what I want for dinner yet. I am getting closer to the lazy man's option of just ordering in. Ther really is only so much productivity one can expect from me on any given day, and I have made progress on a number of fronts here. I managed to put out a couple more small bags of trash.

Okay hockey game and basketball game out of the way (Pitt won by 8) so maybe now I will be a little more productive.

Okay, I am back after 4 large loads of laundry. Myabe now I will have some clean clothes to wear. I doubt it, but dare to dream and all that jazz. I know I had said I was going to make dinner, but ordering in seems more and more likely like it will happen. I am trying to convince myself I have the energy to cook, but I am not winning that argument with myself.

Okay, I am back, hopefully for the last time. I opted to go half and half on ordering dinner. I am cooking, but I walked to the corner store and bought myself a iced coffee as a treat for my efforts today. I did a little more with Hammerfall in the meantime, nothing major, just upgrading armor and buying some horses. And for dinner I am having Stouffers lasagna that I bought way back when while I was grocery shopping. And it was either this or hot dogs and french fries, because I was definitely not cooking anything major this evening. What can I say, laziness has officially taken over.

Before I call it a night however, I want to hand out some kudos to a couple of people that normally would merit more scorn from me than adulation. First is Fox News, who had the story that Natasha Richardson had died and was merely on life support almost a full two days before most other news outlets. A couple of New York papers (the NY Post and the NY Daily News) both jumped on the story with their morning editions the day after, but even with three news outlets reporting it, it still took the likes of the AP, CNN and NBC to name three the better part of a day longer to confirm the story. Likwise, while I usually rip Jay Leno for not being funny anymore, I did sit through his interview with Barack Obama and it was surprisingly good given the format. I didn't expect anything earth shattering, but if people got past the whole Special Olympics nonsense, there was a fascinating exchange that took place about half way through the interview when Leno said that he was troubled by the taxing of the bonuses not because the money was earned, but because it creates a scenario where the government can just pass legislation to punish anyone they dislike. Obama agreed with him, that it was a measure to fix something after the fact, rather than dealing with the root problem. It was an answer that, for those paying close attention, may result in this legislation receiving a Presidential veto when it gets to Barack's desk. Of course it was lost on those looking for a lame ass story and the Special Olympics comment and the subsequent interview with the Special Olypmics bowlers challenge to the President qualified, meanwhile the important question and answer were completely glossed over. Kudos to Leno for posing the question and thumbs down for the media getting caught up in minutae, rather than something that should have had a follow up question asked about it.

Okay, that's it, I am done. My eyes are getting heavy and I feel a need for sleep for the next big day that is forthcoming, with both jobs on the docket again tomorrow. Time for a spell check and then I am out of here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

All this and a bag of sponsored chips

We start today's blog entry with a definition. I know, sometimes the language can be confusing, so allow me to untangle it just a bit. The word is charity and it definitions are as follows...

- generous actions or donations to aid the poor, ill, or helpless: to devote one's life to charity.

- something given to a person or persons in need; alms: She asked for work, not charity.

- a charitable act or work.

- a charitable fund, foundation, or institution: He left his estate to a charity.

- benevolent feeling, esp. toward those in need or in disfavor: She looked so poor that we fed her out of charity.

- leniency in judging others; forbearance: She was inclined to view our selfish behavior with charity.

- Christian love; agape.

The reason we start here is bacuse of a story that is just lingering in the ether if you will, about how if people are unable to write off charitable giving on their tax form, then that giving might go down. I have no doubt about the accuracy of that claim, I expect that giving will drop significantly if the benefit of a tax write off is removed or lessened, what I have a problem with is calling it a charitable donation. Sure the money is going to a charity, but when you expect something for it, the donation itself is not charity, it is a quid pro quo. I am getting really tired of hearing how people will not give if it adversely affects their tax bill, giving to get something is not charity and calling it anything other than what it is does a disservice to real charitable donations. A person dropping off canned food and expecting nothing more than it will go to a hungry person or family is charity, a person making a financial donation in expectation of getting something in return is not. There, rant ended, we now rejoin regularly scheduled blogging, already in progress.

Hi kids, how the hell are ya? Funny thing happened to me at work today. Not the newsstand, but the radio station. I am in the lounge, getting ready to put my Pepsi in the fridge before setting up the studio for the show, when one of the guys that work there was standing in front of the vending machine. I paid him no mind until he asked for a quarter. that in and of itself isn't a big thing and a quarter being what it is, I had no problem coughing up the change. What was clever was the way he asked it when he asked me to be a cosponsor on a bag of chips and informed me that I would be put on the flyer and my logo would be on the email blast. I don't know why I found this particularly funny, but I did nonetheless.

That being said the radio show is still a work in progress. I am getting a little smarter about that which is going on, the cobwebs are fading somewhat, but until we see some actual numbers and find out roughly how many people are or aren't listening I am not going to be happy.

One of the topics that has come up has been the bonus payments being made to AIG executives and the outrage that has come from it. I am very unmpressed with the response from Washington so far. Last I checked the taxpayers now owned 80% of the company so I don't get the tepid response that has come out of DC on this. This is no longer a private company screwing over its employees, this is a de facto government entity that is failing to perform and sucking at the public teat to boot. While I understand that there were certain contracts in place, I fail to see how the government didn't have the foresight to renegotiate those contracts as a contingency to giving AIG one dollar of taxpayer money. Futhermore, with the taxpayers now holding a majority of the company and those runnimg the company working at a purpose that seems more to benefit themselves than anything else, I can't see how there wouldn't be grounds for a class action suit filed on behalf of the citizens of the United States of America against the executives at AIG that are part of this mess.

You'll have to excuse me if I pop out from time to time, I am wokring on some more podcasts for the radio show while I do this. Right now I have a few moments because I am exporting an edited file to my desktop, which usually takes about ten minutes or so to complete, then I can either upload the edited file to Imeem or go to work on cutting up another hour of the show. That and I am rearranging the keys on my keyboard. A few of them popped out the other day (long story that I don't feel like getting into right now), and a few of the keys I put back in the wrong place.

Okay, that file is exported, now I am uploading the next hour into the editor, which also takes a couple of minutes.

I guess I should say my fantasy hockey season is all but over. Technically I am still in the consolation bracket, though that doesn't get underway until next week, but there was no playoff spot for me this year. Still, it was something I enjoyed tinkering with, and I may make another run at commissionering one again next season. But for now my hockey enjoyment is just watching the resurgent Penguins. As long as they get in the top 8 spots, they will qualify for the postseason, and right now they are 5th, which is good enough. with the talent they have, I don't mind all that much who they eventually match up with because I think they can beat most any team in the East, and gettinbg Chris Kunitz at the trade deadline for Ryan Whitney was a steal. Maybe not as big as getting Marian Hossa last year, but when Hossa joined the Pens, they were already a playoff team, he just made them better, when the Pens got Kunitz they were not a playoff team and now they are. That is my idea of a good trade, and all it cost them was an offensive minded defenseman, which the Pens already have in Sergei Gonchar, Kris Letang, and Alex Goligoski.

Okay, time to get back to editing.

There, another hour is cut. I am making progress with this, slowly but surely. I managed to get the first two shows posted so far and part of a third. I am not real enamoured with the quality of audio, but that has more to do with the audio stream I am working with than anything else. I am using a recorded version of the webstream. I would like to upgrade that to studio quality audio, but so far I have had little luck in that regard. I have been taping the show in studio, but I am burning the audio right to disc and the CD writer I have been given to use has been problematic at best. It is a good thing I have been taping at home as well, otherwise there would be no podcasts to speak of.

Back to sports however, since I now have time to ramble. While I am enjoying the Penguins, it would be foolish of me not to mention the good fortune of the basketball teams around here as well. It seems we are awash in sports goodness, which can only mean baseball is right around the corner for the Pirates to ruin it all. But really, the brackets for the Men's NCAA basketball tournament came out and Pitt got a #1 seed for the first time in school history. They weren't the only team to make it though, Robert Morris also got in for winning the Northeast Conference title, and West Virginia received an at large bid. If that weren't enough, Duquense and Penn State both made the NIT (Penn State won their first tournament game tonight against George Mason) and the women's programs have gotten in on the act as well, with the Pitt women qualifying for the NCAA tourney while Duquesne and West Virginia both made the WNIT.

How was that for a boring diatribe?

The newsstand has been okay recently, nothing great nothing terrible. I was stuck working the St Patrick's Day parade on Saturday, which may not seem like much, but we have one of the largest St Patrick's Day parades in the country here. The parade kicked off at 10am on Saturday and honestly, it went a good 4 hours. And because it is Pittsburgh, we didn't just have people watching the parade, they were tailgaiting the damn thing. Across the street from the newstand is a parking garage and by 8am people were setting up in there with their beer and banners and noisemakers waiting for the parade to pass by. If you were out and not drunk by 10am, then you basically gave up your Pittsburgh citizenship. The highlight or lowlight if you will of the event for us was across the street from us, a guy went all Chris Brown on a girl and punched her in the face, causing her nose to bleed. This being Pittsburgh and beer being involved, it resulted in a crowd of people proceeding to beat the shit out of him. Forget the touch of the blarney, it was a touch of the fist and of the boot and of the other fist and of the other boot.

Woohoo, one hour (actually about 45 minutes) of the show has been added to Imeem, just another 45 minute segment to go, then I decide if I want to continue or not.

Facebook has become a creature in its own right in my life. I still do no blogging over there, I stand by my vow to make this my only blogging home, but I do enjoy a couple of the games, like Tennis and Hammerfall. And from a strictly popularity perspective, it has put me in touch with more people than Multiply, some that I haven't heard from in years. For instance, I have got in touch with Rocco Pendola, who I hadn't heard from in years. Not that he and I ever spoke before, but he used to host a radio show in Pittsburgh, a sports talk show, before moving on to Dallas and working at a larger station. I knew that he left there and moved to California, but after that I had lost track of him, at least until now. Many of our shows listeners also have Facebook accounts, and it is nice to keep them up to date on this page via an RSS feed. The most surprising contact that was made though had to do with my half sister, Heather. I know, she hasn't shown up on this page before, I will take full credit for that, but in order to understand it, you have to understand the family dynamic. My parents divorced when I was around three years old. I say around three because when you are that small, you tend to forget actual dates and what not. My dad was cheating on my mom with Cathy, who became my step mom, and I will admit that by step parent standards, she was pretty awesome. If the story stopped there, that would be one thing, but that would require my father to keep his penis in his pants, as opposed to the 'fly, fly away" freedom which he gave his sexual organ. So his sexual trysts on the side continued with his second wife, resulting in at least one more child, that being Heather (I say at least because there is rumor that I have a half brother out there as well, but I have never been able to confirm or deny that one). After a while, Cathy got rid of my father, can't say as I blame her there and he married another woman, Robin, who I didn't care for all that much, but by that time my father and I didn't speak anyway,. so no harm no foul. Still, third time wasn't a charm and Robin showed him the door as well and he picked number 4, Sue, who happens to be Heather's mom. Yes kids, if you are reading this at home, he got Sue pregnant, divorced his wife, married someone else, divorced her and then married Heather's mom. See why I don't get into fucked up family dynamics here, I could corner the market. I don't know what happened in the interim, but Cathy and her daughter Jennifer (my former step sister, I have a former step brother as well, Phillip, as Cathy had two kids prior to marrying my dad) both moved to Georgia and for reasons that I do not know, maybe because Cathy was the sanest of the bunch, Heather moved down there as well. But that was really all I knew, I didn't have phone numbers or anything of anyone there, so even if I wanted to I had no way of contacting them, save for asking my father, and like I said, he and I don't speak. So imagine my surprise when I check out Facebook the other day and a message was there from Heather. We have exchanged a couple of messages in the last few days, just the get to know you type stuff that heppens when you haven't seen each other in say, a couple of decades or so.

I still haven't got the sleeping schedule thing down, though I hope to do better this week. I am off this entire weekend so there is no reason why I can't get some things done and actually turn myself from slob back into upstanding member of society. Well okay, to non degenerate human being will suffice, but still, two whole days with no interruptions, just me time, and being the self centered person I can be, I like it. But alas, that is a few days off yet, and I am probably due for a nap or three before then, so it is off to bed with me for now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Farking Friday

While I am getting all sentimental for things that haven't been on the page in a while (i.e. foamy) I guess we should pull an arbitrary ten headlines from Fark as well, as long as no one rats me out to Drew......


"My partner poured the peppers into a pan and was startled to find a clump of mouse fur and intestines falling out of the bag"

UK Government 'alters' no smoking laws so G20 delegates don't have to stand outside. Double standards? Labour? Never

So, just to get this straight: Recruiting is so bad that the Army has had to lower its standards to allow felons, borderline retards and the elderly to serve; but they are STILL firing soldiers just for being gay?

Newest Obama appointee's office raided by FBI. Left finally comes to terms that Obama is not Jesus. Jesus could actually build a cabinet  

82-year-old who died after mistakenly eating a plate of death cap mushrooms fondly remembered as a fungi

Are you two paychecks away from complete financial catastrophe? 50% of Americans would like to welcome you

Can you tell me how to get ... to the unemployment office on 'Sesame Street?'

Good: Food bank gets thousands of boxes of cereal from Kellogg. Fark: Because they don't want to sell the Michael-Phelps Wheaties

The story of the Nazi millionaire who wanted to bomb the inauguration but was killed by his wife. No, it's not a "Law & Order" episode, but it will be

Teacher running short on funding for school materials sells ads on tests. Bonus: He's an economics teacher

Too little time on my hands

I am not sure where to begin, and once started, I am not sure I will ever stop, it has been that kind of week and change. I am all kind of looking forward to Sunday when I will finally be able to sleep in for a change, as sleep is something that I think I need. Not that I am all upset about my lack of sleep or anything, but I can just feel the batteries start to drain on me. The worst part is I haven't got much of anything accomplished on the home front, despite my once again best laid plans. But before we get all off on a storytelling tangent, let's do that which is easiest and go about the ever so popular Change Meter update.

I know what you are thinking, why start on something so mundane. Truth be told, I am not sure I want to start there either, but for far different reasons. I am in the midst of a change meter explosion here, and I am worried that the minute I mention it, all of the change mojo will be lost. By the same token, the longer I don't mention it, the better the chance that I will forget the total. So I risk messing with the mojo and say that the total will increase by an astounding $11.51, which means the new total is $71.89. Not too bad considering I didn't even have 40 bucks at the start of the new year, now I may double the entire meter in just a few months.

And Rich, I grant your selection for Asshat is Asshat worthy and will send this week's crown in the mail to the Chicago Police Department.

There, I have killed two birds so far, but if only there were but two. Instead there are bunches, and I am barely started here.

First the radio gig did start this week, but not without a little controversy on my part. I informed my current employer that starting this week I wouldn't be available for the 3-11 shift, since I will be working from 5-7 at the new job. All things considered I didn't think it would be much of a problem, sure I had pulled a couple of weeks on the 3-11 shift to help out while people were out due to illness, but I didn't expect it to be any sort of permanent thing. Plus I wasn't ruling out working that shift on Sat or Sunday, nor was I saying that I wasn't available for the other two shifts (7-3, 11-7) but you would have thought I said I was the devil incarnate. I got the lecture that I was hired based on my flexibility and they can't guarantee me hours if I am not available and blah blah blah. Of course one day later they post a schedule and I still have 40 hours and the asked me to change my Saturday shift so I could help on for the St Patrick's Day parade so my job and hours seem safe for the time being.


Sorry I was pleasantly distracted by a conversation with Bob over on Facebook and by the time I finished with it I was just too tired to continue this here entry. Hopefully I will get a larger portion of it done tonight.

Today was Day 4 of the radio comeback. So far all is going relatively well. I can't say thanks enough to the number of people that said they were happy I was back. Mind you not nearly the number that were happy Lynn was back, she is the name talent after all, but still I would not have expected the outpouring of well wishes about the return of little ol' me like te one I have received. I am incredibly flattered by it, and for those that did welcome em back, I thank you, after all you kids are why we do what we do. Otherwise I am just flipping burgers someplace, or as Doug used to say, bagging groceries at Kuhn's.

After 4 days the mental acuity is starting to come back. It is amazing how much the brain just goes to sleep when you don't use it that often and my hiatus away from live radio gave me the chance to play stupid for a while, but now I feel like I am playing catch up to get my brain running at full speed again. I did get to smack down one of those trickle down economic Republicans the other day who tried to get the best of Lynn by asking if she ever received a check that wasn't signed by someone who was an earner in the top 1 to 2 percent before hanging up to show his friends how smart he was. I proceeded to remind him and the audience that for 6 months Lynn's checks were being signed by the state of Pennsyvania, much like upwards of 8% of all Americans as she too was on unemployment, and the state of PA doesn't qualify as one of those rich entrepreneurs of which money was suppoosed to come trickling down to the rest of us.

I also want to give a thumbs up to the WAMO staff, who have done more than taken me under their wing in my very short time there. They could have easily left me to my own devices, after all technically I am an employee of Lynn and not Sheridan Broadcasting, yet they have went above and beyond in making me feel at home there, even so much so as giving me a desk in the newsroom (as well as hosting the studios of WAMO FM 106.7, WAMO AM 860 and WGSR AM 1510, they are also home to the AURN studios, the American Urban Radio Network)  to get show prep work done ahead of time if I need it. Even the president of Sheridan, Ron Davenport,  came down to introduce himself to me so I can't heap enough praise on them for how well I have been treated.

I know some people have been asking about podcasting of the shows, I am wokrkng on that, hopefully the issues will be resolved this weeknd. My computer is recording the webstream of the show, it sounds a little tinny but will work for the time being, and I just added the Lame encoder to my computer so all is well on that front. For those that don't know what the Lame encoder is, first you need to know what Audacity is. Audacity is a freeware program, originally designed here in Pittsburgh by a CMU student that is basically audio editing software. The student, whose name eludes me, eventually graduated and now works for Google, but he maintains the Audacity software as well. The thing about Audacity is that it saves files as .aups, or Audacity projects, which sadly can't be run in anything but Audacity. That is where the Lame encoder comes in, as it converts .aup files over to MP3 format, which is what most podcasting works in. I have already edited one hour of the show, just to make sure I had the correct download and that everything ran properly and all looks promising on that front, so now it is just the manual labor of editing and the process of uploading to a decent service, though I am leaning to using Imeem, simply because I already have experience with it.

Well, I could babble more, or pause and come back again, but that would just mean I am taking more time away from actually posting something on my page, and with karaoke friday coming up, I want to get something on the page before then, so this is it. Nite folks.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fixing Multiply, one computer at a time

Your, computer having problems?  Running a little slow? Perhaps you have a virus?  Well guess who is here to help

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stolen Content - Say hello to my little friend

Choice listening: A familiar liberal returns to Pittsburgh radio
Monday, March 09, 2009

Who needs the Fairness Doctrine? The return of liberal talk radio host Lynn Cullen to the Pittsburgh airwaves after a six-month hiatus is good news for those looking for an alternative to conservative Rush Limbaugh and his less-talented imitators who dominate the market.

Ms. Cullen, a veteran of progressive talk radio, will have a two-hour call-in show on WAMO-AM (860) Monday through Friday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Longtime fans will recall that her show on WPTT-AM often opened with the theme from "The Lone Ranger," playing upon the conceit that Ms. Cullen was the region's "lone liberal" on talk radio.

When WPTT changed its format in August, Ms. Cullen lost her gig as a dependable progressive voice just as the presidential race was heating up. Suddenly, the overwhelmingly conservative slant of talk radio in the region took on an oppressive weight. The lack of ideological diversity was astonishing, given that Barack Obama's win in Pennsylvania was the key to winning the White House on election night.

It was a mystery why Pittsburgh didn't have at least one daily talk show host who reflected the views of those who voted for President Obama. When a local talk station replaced one set of conservative voices with another set after Mr. Obama's election, the mystery deepened.

To its credit, WAMO recognized an opportunity to capture an underserved segment of the area's talk audience. Ms. Cullen will bring new listeners and sponsors to the station. And WAMO now has a worthy lead-in to its popular "The Bev Smith Show."

Still, Ms. Cullen is only one liberal voice in a conservative echo chamber. With any luck, she'll be the first of many new alternatives.

First published on March 9, 2009 at 12:00 am

Saturday, March 7, 2009

And this one is for Rich

The next time the daughters start talking boyfriends and all of that gibberish, make sure you keep this handy



This one is for me

Then again, all of my blogs are for me in some shape or fashion.  Still it is nice to know that I am not the only one who wasn't into all of the Oscar hype.....




Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Middle man


Oh but where to begin? I suppose I am supposed to start at the beginning, but I am not sure exactly where that is and where I should end up.

Well some thing have definitely changed since the last blog. The change meter went up again. Another $4.24 gets added to the barbie so the total stands at $60.38. I swear this new gig is just awesome for all of the change meter goodness that has been had.

Second, for the second time this basketball season, I pimp the fact Pitt was #1 (they did ascend to that lofty status the day after I mentioned it) they went right back out and lost to Providence College. While they did pick up another win on Saturday versus Seton Hall to raise their overall record to 26-3, the loss earlier in the week will surely drop them from the top spot when the poll comes out on Monday.

The fantasy hockey team, while most certainly not going to make the playoffs, got a little boost this week when Martin Brodeur finally came back from injury. Not that he did anything amazing mind you. Wait he did. Over the course of his first week back he gets me two shutouts and 3 wins while I am playing the first place team in the league. It may not mean much at the end of the year, but I refuse to mail it in, regardless of how slim my playoff hopes are.

Well some things have happened since the dreaded glog of last Sunday, which I am sure all of you dutiful students of the blog read, and I should get about discussing them.

You may remember that work tried calling me in on Sunday for a 3-11 shift and I played it off as not being home, which both was and wasn't true, I wasn't home early, taking in a morning beer or three, but was home later for the hockey game that was the main point of the blog. Anyway, work had called a few more times after that, I assumed that it was again to see if I could do the Sunday evening shift, so I paid it no mind. Monday morning I go strolling in for my 7-3 shift when I am asked if I got the4 message. I explained I wasn't home, which was why I didn't call back about the Sunday shift. They said, no the other one. Apparently two people from the 3-11 shift got sick at the same time,, one was suffering kidney stones and a the other had a kidney infection. My first thought was I should have gotten into the organ selling racket, because I could have made a killing. But what they really wanted was for me to switch to 3-11 for the coming week to fill the newly created holes in the schedule. Oh and by the way, when I work those shifts, I am in charge. Mind you, I have been trained on some of the stuff, I can run the bank and what not, but I have not been trained on what all gets done on that shift, nor have I ever been trained on how to close down the lottery at night, which is one of the things that goes with that shift. Yet here I am been thrown to the wolves so to speak, after 5 weeks or so I am now running the place. I wish I could say there was more coin involved with the transfer, but I don't believe there is. I will find out for certain come Wednesday, but I don't expect a bonus in my paycheck. This kids is why you should never track down thieves during your shift. Not for the inherent danger involved, but because people think you are, like, responsible and stuff. That's not cool.

Needless to say my first night was a disaster. The bank ended up 70 dollars short, I had no understanding of closing the lottery so I just threw everything in an envelope and dropped it in the safe wishing management the best of luck figuring it out Tuesday morning and I got the hell out of Dodge. Nobody called me Tuesday, one of my two scheduled days off, and apparently I got the bank money mixed in with my drop, so they found it and I was saved working for free, as I would have responsible for any shortages in the bank.

Wednesday was a little better. I managed to train myself on closing the lottery, don't ask me how, it is just a gift I have. Back in high school, any time I had a number problem, like say stuff for calculus, if I couldn't figure it out, it just gnawed away in the back of my brain and there would be times where I would be at home sleeping and I would think of new ways to approach the problem while in a complete slumber. The lottery crap was much the same, it just stuck in the back of my head what should happen compared to what I was doing and I came up with a solution and it worked, so I managed to figure it out all on my own. That being said, Wednesday came with its own set of challenges, as a former employee of the shop came in. I have mentioned the charge shet we get at work before, they are sheets where if we want to buy something, we write down the price of the item on the sheet and have a fellow employee verify it for us, and when they do our checks, they take out the stuff we charged, minus a discount that we are granted for shopping there. One thing we are allowed to do is bring in cigarette coupons and attach them to our sheet as a bonus. The store redeems the coupons from the manufacturer, so the store gets the money back it pays out and everybody is happy. Well, this guy who used to work for us comes in with three different coupons and asks Matt, the guy I am working with, if he can staple it to his charge sheet and just give him free cigarettes. Sorry kids, that ain't happening on my watch and I told him as much. He mumbled on about how he used to work there and blah, blah, blah, to which I reminded him that worked was in the past tense and we don't do any favors for him anymore. If he had a problem with it, I could always call the manager on the phone and they would be more than happy to set him straight on the difference between employee and customer. Not only did he not get his cigarettes, but the next day when I approached management about it, I got him banned from the store entirely. Mess with the bull baby, get the horns.

Thursday was no better. While I had figured out all of the money problems and things ran rather smoothly, I learned that of all three shifts I could work, the customers on the 3-11 shift have to be some of the stupidest people on the planet. You deal with more drunks and idiots on that shift than even the overnight shift, where it is relatively calm by comparison. We end up with a lady who comes in and uses the ATM. She puts her card in, gets at least $20 and her card and a receipt then proceeds to start yammering that she didn't get the money she requested. Linda, who was working with me at the time said that she would have to call her bank to make sure there were no problems with her account. Well, the lady starts mouthing off, say that we she call, to which I said we don't have the number to call to begin with. Next she kicks the ATM to which I again tell her that she will have to call her bank and if she continues to kick the ATM I will call the police. She says that I am mouthing off to her, to which I say I am just laying out her immediate future if she proceeds with her course of action.

Friday was uneventful, save for I got free soup to take home from work. One bowl of chicken dumpling for me, woohoo. I was just happy that my week of being thrown to the wolves was over. Just a Saturday night to go and I would be back on my normal morning schedule. Or so I thouight until today when I got a call from work asking me to again work the 3-11 shift on Monday. I am already dreading it and it is a day away.

Okay, enough bitching and whining about work. Besides, as bad as finding out I was on the 3-11 shift Monday would be, Saturday was quite good. I had a meeting regarding my calendar post and afterward I went to lunch at the Squirrel Cage, one of the last refuges for those of us that like to have a cigarette after our meal. Plus I managed a trip to Barnes and Nobles prior to lunch and snagged me a couple more books to read. While I won't give away what I bought until I finish it, then it will appear in the Neverending thread. I will leave a clue from the book I am currently reading.....

Going back to New York is like going back to an old girlfriend just because you remembered how great the sex had been. The minute you come, you remember all the reasons you'd decided to go the last time.

Actually even though I have had the book just a little over a day I am better than halfway done with it, so it may be making its way to the thread in relative short order.


Late Monday night

Okay, I have eked into Monday, actually it is technically Tuesday morning but who's counting? I ddi another 3-11 shift at work, and out of the goodness of my heart, and because I didn't want to cook when I got home, I bought the crew pizza for dinner. I just ordred form the place next door to us and had someone pick it up like 15 minutes later, but most of the people I work with I like and if they are going to leave me in charge, then I am doing things my way, which includes the occasional treat for those that do good work.

Well fantasy hockey didn't turn out as planned, though I at least held my own this past week, going 4-4-2 against the first place team. A slight moral victory, nothing more.

And I was right, Pitt did fall from the #1 spot in the poll, they are now #4 in the country, UConn moved back into the #1 spot and Pitt will play them this Saturday so all bets are off as to where Pitt will be come next week.

Speaking of UConn, I am missing an Asshat and that needs to be addressed rather quickly. The winner of the Asshat last week is one Ken Krayeske. After UConn's game against South Florida, as is normally the case, coach Jim Calhoun adrressed the media in the post game press conference, when a voice shot up and asked the coach that given the economic turmoil that the state of Connecticut is in, and the fact that UConn is a state school, should he cut his salary since he is the highest paid employee at UConn? The questioner was Ken Krayeske. Now of course there will be some that say this is a legitimate question, and certainly when Jim Calhoun started floating numbers around about how much the basketball program brings in, he didn't help his case any, but the post game press conference is there to talk about the game that was just played. If someone wishes to interview the coach about his salary, they could easaily set up an interview with him outside of a post game press conference. Worse, Krayeske isn't even a journalist, he was there on a freelance photographer's press credential. This wasn't a matter of trying to ask a question and get an answer to it, this was just a set up for Krayeske to get his name in the papers, nothing more. Which is what he is pretty much known for, as he is the Green party candidate for governor in Connecticut. It is all about the show and nothing more. You will not see Krayeske actually ask for an interview with Calhoun, nor will you see him badgering the other departments at UConn to see if the professors would be willing to take a pay cut since their departments aren't raising money. Krayeske, I dub thee Asshat.

Not to be outdone, this past week's Asshat was relatively easy to figure out. A mere couple weeks after having her boyfriend beat her, guess who is back together with Chris Brown again? Yes Rhianna is an Asshat as well. Actually I wish that they would award all Grammys that way, a throw down between the contestants rather than that boring pat on the back for creating garbage ceremony that they have. I would pay money to see someone kick Robert Plant's ass, Allison Kraus could be his tag partner. But alas, that isn't how they hand out the award, so Chris Brown beating on Rhiana prior to the Grammy's didn't come with a trophy, so it was just bad news. Taking him back isn't just bad news, it's Asshat worthy.



Okay, a pause in the action. I hope to wrap this up here. My day of consisted of me trying to set up a training run over at 860 AM WAMO, where Lynn and I will be doing her new radio show come Monday. I was hoping that I would be back on my normal schedule by Thursday and I could just stop over after work, but that was shot in the ass this morning when work called and said they need me to do 3-11 the rest of this week as well. Boo hiss. It looks like I will have to go to the station first and then go to work. Yes for those of you not paying attention to the calendar, starting Monday I am back in radio, just two hours a day, from 5pm-7pm, so I won't be giving up the new full time gig, but I will be snagging 10 hours of radio time a week, an additional drop of pocket change for me, but I will take it.

Likewise, I did finish the first of the two books I bought already. I gave away one clue as to what the book is, I will give away another before adding it to the blog page, so here we go.....

You know why we hate you? Not because you don't know what we know, but because, even if you did, you wouldn't give a damn.

So I am sitting here waiting to commit extortion, and planning a lot worse. I'm what you would call a career criminal. That's why I'll never be you. And I'm proud of it.

There, another book tease and with that I am done. I have things yet to do tonight, not the least of which is get a good night's sleep for a change.

Our inspiration (the title for this blog)

Picture Window theme. Powered by Blogger.

Where we've been