Thursday, December 31, 2009
Just yesterday the entire city goes on lock-down because some guy left his van parked in Times Square for two straight days and in his world of heightened security that can only mean the bomb-sniffing dogs and bomb barricades were immediately dispensed. Of course they find the van full of clothes and assorted crap but with millions of people about to descent upon NYC and Times Square in particular to watch a huge ball move slowly down a big pipe you can't take any chances. What I question is why are we still allowing white vans near any part of civilized society?
Wasn't this what the DC snipers were supposedly driving in?
Weren't these the types that the FBI warned could be used to carry bombs into NYC so they were routinely being stopped before crossing bridges and tunnels after 9/11?
Aren't these the kinds of vehicles people sell speakers out of?
Aren't these exactly the kind of vehicles which cut you off on the highway with no regards at all for anybody's safety because the entire thing is a driving blind spot?
It's come to the point that I despise white vans like other people despise white people
Forget racial profiling, I'm all for van profiling,
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I picked up a copy of Running World the other day and as I leafed through it, it felt like Déjà vu all over again. It’s not that sitting on the subway was so familiar but it was as if I’d read all the articles before. I checked on the front cover and it clearly said December 2009 but somehow that didn’t seem real. See there are a handful of magazines (Men’s Health, Marie Claire, Vogue, Maxim to name a few) which somehow survive by regurgitating the same article over and over again. Every issue of Elle will give the woman reading it some information on how to lose that extra 10 lbs, just like ever issue of Runners World gives you information how to ‘Run Pain Free’ or the ‘way to perfect abs’ featured in .
I’m sure there are tons of other examples but it reminds me of the cartoon industry, I had a buddy who worked for Nickelodeon a few years ago as a cartoonist for one of its kids shows. After a couple of years at the job he told me that they started to lay artists off, this was a few years before the recession so the layoffs seemed inexplicable until he told me the reason. After so many hours of drawing, the show had all the settings, faces, expressions and character combinations it would ever need. The entire concept was they would just splice old footage together in a new order for new shows, what was once a thriving industry was now just a cookie-cutter business.
When you get to these magazines and you realize you are just reading the same badly written crap over-and-over again you understand it’s just mindless clutter. You read it and it leaves your brain so quickly because there really isn't a redeeming mark to the entire piece.
Now with all the major news-outlets cutting resources, staff and size this seems like there will be a very natural decision which the conglomorates will make.
My prediction: It won’t be long before Men’s Health and Elle star literally printing the same articles they did a few years ago because your audience apparently isn’t smart enough to notice.
Hell maybe they've done so already.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
. But maybe what she is referring to is the fall back plan, part of an international CIA covert operation . What the media failed to recognized is there was one last security step which resembles the blow-up cigar the CIA once tried to pass to Fidel Castro and TOR has seen enough Wile E Coyote cartoons to know what she meant.. See what she was probably was referring to was the instruction manual that came with the fake explosives they slipped the bomber which like an 80 year old man failed to launch.
The looks on the faces of the CIA agents must have been priceless as this guy read the instruction manual where they instruct him to basically latch the dynamite to his nuts and then watched his jewels burn like a Channukah candle.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Monday, December 28, 2009
I’ve read that Fantasy Football cuts into worker’s productivity by as much as 15% which I think is probably pretty low especially when you look at the September and October months when every fantasy football player still has dreams of a championship. The saddest thing about this hobby/obsession when you are a pessimist is that in the end there are about two or three happy times and about fifty miserable times during a season. When things go badly you expect it and you try not to let it affect you, when things go well you wait for something bad to happen. Bu there are many times when you think you have a game beat and out from the darkness comes the wretched hand of fate and yours is thrown overboard with nothing but your soul left standing on the bow.
It’s the kind of game where you wait the entire season for the other shoe to drop and there are so many instances when you want to put your fist through your computer screen its maddening. But somehow you keep playing, year in and year out you try to field the best possible squad and go to war with your fantasy players, in a fantasy season against real friends.
I’m not exactly sure but about 5 years ago Fantasy Football took over the typical 30 year old guy’s life. It’s a hard hobby to explain because it’s incredibly simple yet it can engross you for months at a time. The entire concept is trying to predict which real NFL player will do best on any given Sunday. The obsessed FF player spends all year agonizing over small decisions: which running back to start, which wide receiver to pick in the draft, how much to bid for a backup tight-end in the auction waiver wire format, how much emphasis you should put into weather during a certain game, how a matchup of one player can affect another etc. etc. And then after all your decisions have been made, it all comes down to a flip of the coin or a bounce of the ball.
I’ve been at this hobby for 8 years, have never won a thing and may never will. I continue it because I’m obsessed and I’m well aware of it but I also find it a good way to keep in touch with nine of my closest friends on a week-in basis. The sad thing is when on a beautiful Sunday afternoon when you should be outside enjoying your weekend with your newborn baby girl you find yourself constantly and obsessively checking your cell-phone for scores. You find yourself not watching football anymore but instead watching small dots move across a computer score by yourself in your living room instead of real football with your friends at a bar. You know you are playing a slightly more socially acceptable version of Dungeons and Dragons yet you can’t pull yourself away..
My Name is Righetti and I have a problem
Sunday, December 27, 2009
What got me on this one was that the suspected terrorist decided to strap the explosives to his crotch. See he first claimed he had a belly ache and then put a sheet on over his body before he tried to light the explosives which he strapped to his unit on fire. Luckily the passengers jumped in led by a quick thinking Dutchman who jumped on top of Abdulmutallab and beat his burning crotch with to put the fire out.
See in my opinion if you are going to fail at terrorism at least be like Richard Reid and hide the explosives in your shoe, this way the only thing that gets burned are the soles of your feet.
With any luck this ahole will be spending the next 50 lifetimes dreaming about 99 virgins but with a crotch so burned that he won't be able to do anything to satisfy his needs.
I know there are groups who are against sending terrorists to a new maximum federal prison in Illinois so I'm all for sending this guy to a normal maximum security prison and have him bunk up with Bubba who been stuck in single confinement for the last 40 years.
So have captain burned crotch show up in a teddy and a thong and for shits-and-giggles we intravenously pump Bubba full of Viagra and then turn the lights out.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Saturday, December 26, 2009
Except for the obsessive gift giving, crappy office Secret Santas, mass text message saying "merry christmas" and endless lines at Toys R Us, it is a great time of the year.
One of the things I particularly like are personalized Photo Christmas cards especially when they have pictures of babies, toddlers or small children on them. It's a very cute tradition and with how busy we all are it is often time the only way to see how much the kids of friends and family have grown.
What I don't particularly like is when parents don't realize enough is enough and you get a card with a picture of a couple of teenagers in em.. My rule is that when the kid's voice changes or the girl starts wearing a training bra they have outgrown the christmas card. Just the other day I saw one of these cards with two kids who were easily 16 and 14 and they both looked like they wanted to die.
At some point parents have to come to the realization that this tradition goes from cute to weird. When your daughter is wearing a mini-skirt and your son is in full Marilyn Manson eye-makeup it is no longer cute it's creepy.
Often time it is so obvious they kids know they look like a bunch of tools who realize they will be teased mercilessly when their friends get this card in the mail.. They look like they are being held in some hostage picture, you almost half expect to find hidden messages like "please cooperate, they are pulling our eyes open and making us listen to an endless loop of Bing Crosby sings Hannukah favorites.
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Friday, December 25, 2009
One of the great ironies is that the insurance companies and their proxy warriors all scream about the cost of the bill to the taxpayers. They all want free enterprise and free market to control costs and don't think there should be any government involvement. The guys working for Big Insurance want the structure to stay the same because they know they are printing money. What gets me is that they point to the cost of healthcare reform and say it will bankrupt our country and that the government shouldn't have to pay for it
- most insurance is paid for indirectly by the Federal Government today. Let me explain; the average worker gets his insurance through his company. The company offers him this insurance because his company takes a big deduction against payroll taxes to cover him. So indirectly the government is paying for his health care anyway.
You ask why this is, probably because insurance if paid for by an individual is so godly expensive that they couldn't afford it. If his company didn't get the tax break, they couldn't afford it. So the one who pays is the government.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Thursday, December 24, 2009
I go to buy my 2 year old nephew a big Tonka truck at Target the other day, you know the big yellow one which is made of steel and can break down drywall if you push it hard enough. Well as often happens, I go to Target, find the last Tonka truck, stand on line with 1000 other sad saps, fork over $38 and walk home truck in tow. Well wouldn't you know it; the last Tonka truck has a busted axel and can't drive so I head back to Target to exchange it.
See it was my fault for expecting any differently because the Target of your suburban town and the Target at the Atlantic Center Mall are two entirely different shopping experiences. YOU get big aisles, nice selections and a pleasant place to buy inexpensive undershirts while we get cramped space, boxes ripped to shreds, people shoving and opened bags of stained undershirts.
Somehow the urban setting does not allow a picture frame to be kept on the shelves undamaged.
It's the difference of going to a normal zoo or a petting zoo. In one place you look at pretty animals while the other one you have to wash your hands when you're done. I theorize that people in suburbia go to Target with the intention to actually buy stuff whereas the city Target is used more as a place for people to ruin stuff they don't want to buy themselves. In suburbia you typically drive to a Target, buy what you have to and leave. The same store set in a city becomes a place where people gather or go together not intending to buy stuff but more to browse which becomes a breeding ground for mischief. This is why the return line is three times as long as the cashier line.
At the Atlantic Mall Target somehow it seems completely within your right to drop things on the ground, puncture boxes, take stuff out of their packaging and leave it lying there like a big pile of dog crap.
So after I return the Tonka truck I search for anything else to get the little Tyke. Problem is somebody forgot to tell the shoppers at this Target that there is a recession every shelf is practically empty and what is left has been kicked, beaten or punctured.
So I hope my 2 year old nephew likes his "who said it" board game. It's missing a few of the question cards and it says it's ideal for ages 10 to 99 but he'll have to deal
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I think it’s the guy who pretends it’s not cold and wears shorts when it’s -10 degrees outside embraces the last . The best/worst thing about these guys is that they will try to convince you the entire time that they aren’t freezing their asses off. They jump around with their lips practically frozen together saying ‘my legs don’t’ get cold, I’m totally fine’ As they desperately try to pump any blood back into their legs as they jump in place.
See the Japanese usually do this sort of thing right, they embrace the stupidity and then probably make a gameshow out of it.. When they run in shorts when its freezing they don't just do boy-shorts they almost go the Full-Monty. They dress down to their Speedos and make an event out of it and I think there is actually an underlying level of greatness to it. . The difference is subtle but important, it’s the difference between the Polar Bear Club diving into the ocean at minus 20 degree weather vs. the guy who jumps in a cold lake and tells you he’s fine. One is an act which embraced the stupidity of it while the other is an act whose denial spews stupidity. For one the cold weather is a right-of-passage while the other pretends it’s just any other day while you can see his limbs slowly freeze dead, one takes bows for his act of stupidity while the other is so frozen from his stubbornness that he can’t even bend over
I’m all for having pride but when you get so stubborn that you can’t even see the frostbite on your eyelids it goes from stubbornness to total lunacy. Just the other day with the temperature cold enough to freeze the spit on your tongue I see a dude in bike shorts, a skin tight shirt and a head-band like he’s going to a Erasure concert but instead he decided this was the optimal dress for a 9 mile race around the park.
So the 2010 award for Biggest Jackass is “Mr. BikeShort wearing Frozen Jogger”
I can almost see a ‘real men of genius’ theme song for it.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Let me ask this: When exactly did it become OK to ignore a person in front of you to concentrate on the person on the phone? You see this happened a lot but it’s most demeaning when you see somebody blabbing on their phone as they are being attended to by a cashier.
Just yesterday standing online at Target it struck me how disgusting it is when I saw a woman in a full conversation on her IPhone while the poor cashier was trying to ring her up. This woman couldn’t be bothered to even help move items down the conveyer belt because she was so engaged in a conversation which kept her completely oblivious to the fact she was buying a $50 Dora the Explorer doll. She was talking about trips to Costa Rica while this ‘underling’ was trying to ring-up and bag a cart full of toys and other assorted Chinese-made crap. Her non-verbal communication spewed the feeling of distain this woman had for anybody making minimum wage, and it was very obvious that staying on her IPhone would mean she wouldn’t have to deal with anything or anybody she probably deemed below her.
It’s like being on a cell-phone puts a force-field of decency around the user, somehow it seems OK to almost dismiss the person standing in front of you, basically being on a cell-phone has become an acceptable excuse to be a dismissive ahole
But what bothered me more than even the pomposity of this master-servant role was the fact that because this lady was yapping on her phone, she held up the entire line and I was forced to stay in this Christmas-shopping hellhole for 5 minutes longer than I would have had to.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I have a lot of pet-peeves and as any regular TOR reader will tell you they range from dudes who wear crappy sneakers with a work-suit for comfort, chicks who wear flats with dresses, people who carry huge umbrellas, people with an XL ass who sit next to you on an airplane, concert or ball game, the MTA for everything they can't do right, the US Senate, Secret Santa and Time Warner.
I can't be sure how they would rank and one day we will dedicate a TOR post to this but I have another one to add to the list.
What I can't stand are chronic secret tellers. I have a few friends –whose identities will stay protected- who have this irritating habit of telling you a secret and then telling the same 'secret' to 10 other people. Most people complain that others don't know how to keep a secret; my complaint is that many people don't know how to tell one. The concept of a secret is that it is supposed to be information exclusive to two parties, once you start telling the same 'secret' to fifteen people it stops being a secret and now just becomes an undercurrent in a group of friends.
It's not that keeping a secret or knowing one is my issue, it's the fact that it very quickly becomes known that these people are not giving you any inside information as they will do a private media-blast about the information but believe by telling everybody it's 'secret' information will keep the masses from gossiping about it out of line. You can't have it both ways, either have a secret or don't
You now have a room full of people who all know something but can't say as they fear the repercussions of a broken vow to secrecy and most of the time the 'secret' is so benign and boring that there isn't even any fun to knowing it. It's as if a message which is supposed to be exclusive now becomes one like a pass to a crappy club, completely inclusive. So as opposed to the person knowing the secret being special, in this case the only one that is special is the one who doesn't
One guy will tell every person in the office that he went on a date with a new woman but will always preface it with "this is just between you and me" and not five minutes later you overhear him giving the same preface to another coworker. It's not that people can't keep things private but to tell somebody that it's just between you and me while you are parading the information in front of everybody else is a bit disingenuous.
Just last week I was told about a drunken hookup between two friends but was told to not say anything to anybody about it, this was for my ears only. Well not two hours later, I got the distinct impression that not only was this public information but the original secret-teller's hope of keeping the story contained had backfired based only on the inability of the secret haver from blabbing it to everybody she knew.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Thank God it's a $20 limit so the damage is somewhat limited but the office SS is so horrible because you feel like your always strong-armed into it. You don't want to come across as the office grouch so relent knowing you are going to get stuck with an ugly sweater or some beer mug.
It's not that the idea behind the concept is terrible but in practice it always a disaster. You never know what the hell to get somebody and even if you do it's an office setting so you can't give the guy in the next cubicle a bag of porn because that wouldn't fly with HR.
So instead everybody gets everybody else some lame gift; the receptionist gets the Indian guy and buys him a wallet, the IT guy gets stuck with the dude in shipping and gets him an ice scraper while he gets the girl in accounting and gets her a collection of soaps from Bath and Bodyworks. Everybody spends $20 and nobody gets anything worthwhile.
The only thing you want to do is look like you gave a nice gift although you are completely aware that they will never be used.
The thing looks like a really nice gift which somebody spent time thinking about when you know it took 3 minutes to pick it out.
I'm convinced that Bath and BodyWorks' entire business plan is to prey on Christmas shoppers, it probably does 95% of it's business from December 15th to the 24th only staying afloat from office Secret Santa's and grab-bags because I don't think anybody has ever gone into that store to buy something for themselves
This year I hope somebody gives me $20 in my giftbag. I don't mean a $20 gift-card but instead a fresh $20 bill.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Saturday, December 19, 2009
You gotta feel for CNN, for month you read that their ratings continue to sink against both FOXNews, MSNBC and even their own Headline News, then you find out that Sanjay Gupta doesn’t get the Surgeon General job, the Phillies have overtaken the Braves for NL East Supremacy and then the flag-ship station lose their only big name when Lou Dobbs for a venture which is probably called Space2.com.
The battle-lines for cable-news supremacy have made it very obvious that CNN is way too happy to hang out in the Olympia Snow territory and with loss of any opinionated hosts; it’s so obvious that they have become completely lame and risk adverse.
Just look at the landscape, they replaced Dobbs with John Roberts who is as controversial as double ply toilet paper and have built their entire operation around Anderson Cooper who is so pretty he makes most women jealous.
It’s been suggested that CNN continues to focus on their web presence which is more popular but even this has completely vanilla content.
Just look at CNN.com and they feature an opinion piece entitled “Violence based on hate has to stop” by Ruben Navarrette Jr. not only does is piece about as cutting edge as a marble but the author suffers from the bad affliction of the horrible goatee which heads the TOR list of horrible male accessories up there with the cell-phone belt clip and the big dome hat.
The next thing you will see is Ruben Navarrette author an article entitled “After further review Adolph Hitler was a bad guy”.
Friday, December 18, 2009
As part of the greening the planet initiatives all across the country, I’ve even been convinced to move from the normal cleaning supplies to the Seventh Generation brand which markets itself as the chemical free, environmentally friendly alternative to the standard household supplies. The premium you pay is like buying a MAC over a PC, you may get something better you may not but for sure you are paying a ‘yuppy tax’ for even wanting it. I estimate that the Seventh Generation cleaning supplies are easily 25% more expensive, which I guess is a price to pay to save Mother Earth.
My problem is the following: Seventh Generation Laundry detergent doesn’t work. You throw in a load of dirty clothes and it comes back just as stained as when you put it in. There is something about the effectiveness of soaps which apparently can’t be recreated using organic soy beans. Seventh Generation does a great job as marketing itself as environmentally sound but has not paid much attention to being effectively sound at actually removing stains and grease from clothes, bathrooms or stove-tops.
So can somebody tell me if my carbon-footprint is actually decreased if I wind up having to do my laundry twice to try to get out the stains out? There is the extra water, the extra energy needed to run the machine, the extra soap into the drains plus there are that many additional plastic bottles. Not only do I pay more, I don’t get my clothes cleaned and I have to do the task twice.
When you buy a car, make sure it’s a plug in electric one but when you need to get a Chinese Food MSG stain out of your work shirt you need some serious chemicals.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Last night I wake up at 4AM and do what I always do; grab my blackberry and check my work emails. I answer about 5 different emails and put the Blackberry down as I go back to sleep.
When I woke up at 7AM I noticed a small red x next to each of the emails I sent and also noticed that there had been no incoming emails from about 3AM on. So I did what any manic US Worker would do and marched straight to the Verizon store fearing my lifeline to the world was on the fritz.
I’ve walked past this store on other mornings and the traffic going in is usually minimal before 9AM and doesn't seem to pick up until sometime in the afternoon. Today was different it was the begining of a mob-scene and when I walked it I got the message loud-and clear as the technician didn’t even look up and said
“Blackberry outages reported, RIMM is working on the problem and should be resolved in a few hours’There could not have been more relief when hearing this, the fact that the problem was system-wide was so much better than having to try to swap out a new BlackBerry which is never seamless.
There were no less than 5 people who walked in at roughly the same time and each one got the same message and had the same double sense of angst and relief knowing the rest of the world was dealing with the same thing actually made me a bit relaxed.
It’s as if knowing other people are suffering along with you actually adds comfort
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
In nearly a decade of living in NYC, I have never had to worry about this frustration which many of my brethren have suffered from simply because I’ve had the fortune of not having had to deal with any of the myriad of parking regulations since before a few weeks ago I didn’t have a car.
As I walk up to the car that sinking feeling of desperation sank to the pit of my stomach. Every thought raced through my head as the orange envelope stared at me chiding me. My first thought was anger because trying to decipher the NYC parking regulation signs which directly contradict one another is complete mental gymnastics.
I look up at the sign which confirmed I was parked in a legal spot on the right side of the street, there wasn’t a meter which needed to be paid, I wasn’t anywhere near a fire-hydrant so that wasn’t the case either and although there is a school a few feet away I was clearly behind the ‘no parking school zone area’
What the hell did they pinch me for this time?
Frustrated I ripped open the envelope and read the summons -which by the way is now clearly printed from some kind of hand-held parking-ticket machine as opposed to being hand scribbled like they were the last time I had a car. I look at the ticket and it’s a summons for having a temporary registration sticker displayed.
Now it’s not a ticket for not having the car registered (it is properly registered) or not having it insured (it is also insured) but rather for not having stuck the sticker to the window. Since it’s not a moving violation and can’t possibly can’t be considered a major infraction you would think it would be a slap on the wrist summons of a few bucks, but no this greedy city who can’t seem to keep their own budget in line because of the kick-backs, payoffs and various degrees of corruption decides that they need to increase revenue because this ticket for not having a sticker displayed while parked is $65.
Now I know that I was in the wrong for not having displayed this ticket but what gets me is that although I got the registration in the mail a few days before the ticket, I hadn’t gone back to the car to put the sticker in it. I never even drove the car with this expired sticker in it, the car was never not registered it was just parked –legally- on a NYC street.
What gets me is that if I lived in some suburb and parked my car in your driveway you wouldn’t get a ticket but NYC is so desperate for money that they just look for reasons to ticket you.
Well the biggest problem is that the day I went outside to move the car and noticed the ticket was also the day I left my bag at work. Well the stupid registration sticker was in my bag and so when I got to the car that evening I was met with the sight of a second $65 ticket for the same stupid offense.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
For some reason it sounded like a grand idea to spend my lunch-hour at MACY*S which was about as much fun as doing a pipe-cleaning on my urethra. What amazes me is that there are people who are crazy enough to actually do this on a regular basis let alone actually enjoy it. I’m not one who usually feels claustrophobic but standing pressed up against another shopper’s ass-cheeks makes me feel like I’m standing at a bar on Christopher Street on a raging Friday Night
The stuff is all made in China by child-laborers, paid for on credit which only grows the trade imbalance, shipped across the world burning tons of CO2 into the air, stocked on shelves of corporations who keep their profits in tax-havens on some Island and then bought for by the American Consumer on credit-cards with 29.99% interest rates. So at the end of the day the child-laborers are taken advantage of, the atmosphere is ruined, the trade balance increases and only the banks are making any real money.
This is where the lunacy of it all, the American consumer has been convinced that the only way they can show their affection for their friends and family is to shower them with tons of made-in-china crap bought at Christmas Sale prices from Tuna-Can tight stores. I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge but what the hell is up with Christmas anyway, you never get stuff you really want, and you spend $1000’s of dollars on stuff nobody will ever use.
So this year instead of getting me anything, save your money and the child-laborers and send me a personalized text message
Monday, December 14, 2009
The article went to describe a new 5% tax for all elective cosmetic surgeries. Basically some stripper gets her tits done and all of a sudden she’s giving your uncle named Sam a little extra during a lapdance to collect enough to pay off our collective Uncle Sam. I’m all for finding new government revenue and elective surgery is probably a decent enough place to start but for something that brings so much joy to the world as a set of fake-cans is like raising taxes on a Broadway show.
I am all for consistency in tax-code so I can’t quite decide whether these types of surgeries should be taxed or not without knowing the answers for the following questions.
- I can see the argument that says a chick decides to buy new cans so her boyfriend has something to play with should pay some kind of tax in the same way you would if you buy a new set of golf-clubs.
- Then I think about the chick who is looking to use her new set to hook a husband, is this that much different than going to Match.com? If you aren’t getting taxed for Match.com maybe you shouldn’t get taxed for these things either.
- How about the chick who is a stripper does she get to write off her new set as a business expense? I have no idea what the answer is but if the answer is NO than somebody better explain how a factory can write off the purchase of new machinery so they can be more efficient but a chick couldn’t do this to become more efficient under the bright (black) lights of the seedy underground.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
From the beginning the Tiger Woods story is that it's the perfect storm of celebrity, sports, sex, hookers and infidelity. From the first sign of a crack in Tiger's armor on Thanksgiving night when he crashed his car into a fire-hydrant, the gossip rags, tabloids and around-the-clock newscycle has been almost giddy with their early Christmas gift. The saddest thing was to see the all-sports-channels wrestle with this story over the last two weeks as they couldn't figure out if covering it would somehow diminish their credibility. In one respect it's not a 'sports' story and the hollier-than-thou SportsPopes wouldn't stoop so low to cover a story which featured hookers,wife cheating and more hookers. Most sports-channels and talk-show hosts tried their best to move their show's formats away from the speculation and gossip hounds and seemed almost insulted that their audiences were almost badgering them to cover it. So when Tiger announced that he would be taking an indefinite break from Golf, it finally gave all of these self-rigeous slobs a reason to acknowledge the story the rest of the country has been talking about for 2+ weeks.nnMind you that these are the same group of idiots who host events like 'pasta-palooza', 'box-office blitz's' have countless hours of discussions on the Sopranos and cover the boring nuances of a pitch-counts but god-forbid they even acknowledge a story like this.
What gets me is not that they weren't really covering the story because as long as the story was only about a golfer cheating on his wife, it could be ignored by the sports-community but when Tiger finally did the sportswriters the favor of pulling the sport into it, they were like a kid in a candy story and the floodgates were released. Up until that point these sports commentators act like they are the Walter Cronkite of their generation, as if they have that kind of credibility and wouldn't possibly stoop so low as to cover a celebrity sex-scandal but add to the fact that Tiger is walking out on golf and all of a sudden it's like the entire operation is taken over by PageSix.
It's not like these guys cover anything really important..
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Maybe it's the Christmas season and people want feel good stories but In recent days the NY Times has been featuring stories on people on fringe of civilized society.
First the story of a guy who is the unofficial guardian of Strawberry Fields, a life calling he claims came from 'the Brother' himself and he explains John Lennon's life to tourists all to continue and grow his legacy. It sounds sort of interesting until you find out the guy is some schizo homeless dude who harasses local florists for flowers to display at the Strawberry Fields emblem in central Park.
Then there was a front page expose about some dude who makes his entire living picking up used OTB tickets and scanning them in with the hopes of finding an accidentally discarded winning ticket. The amazing thing is this dude not only finds winning tickets amongst the thousands of losing ones but he does so regularly and has surprisingly made a career out of it. This dude makes $45,000 per year and employs three other guys part-time to collect garbage bags of discarded tickets from OTB's around the city.
I love the entrepreneurial spirit but when it happens on these fringe levels its borders on step from the guys who scour the streets on recycling nights and rip open garbage bags to fish out the soda cans so they trade them in for a nickel. I appreciate the can-do spirit but these guys always leave all our trash thrown all over the sidewalk and now that the NY Times basically exposed the new $0.05 soda can thing and it will bring the wolves out of the forest.
As if OTB's didn't have enough derelicts. In other words what was enough business to give one dude a (modest) income will now become a feeding ground for every homeless guy from Strawberry Fields to the infield at the Belmont Stakes.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Friday, December 11, 2009
The banking world is all crying foul, as they feel the government shouldn't step into private business –unless of course its to bail out failing banks or prop up weak banks and keep them employed. We know the Government can ruin things as anything there behemoth bureaucracy seems to touch has an anti-Midas feel to it but when they all tell you that things should stay status-quo in regards to executive compensation it avoids any responsibility any executive had to this entire financial crisis.
They will say that bonuses are just like other peoples normal salaries except they are better indications of work as they are based on performance but seem to want to leave out the performance of the company and economy as a whole.
These people will say is that their group or division or team had nothing to do with credit-default swaps, bad-loans or complex financial instruments but that's not how it works. If one group can bring a WallStreet titan to it's knees and the Fed doesn't step in than everybody in the firm is standing on the soup-line. In the boom years the entire firm was richly compensated, in part because of the entire profitability (or perceived profitability) of the firm which I am sure was greatly aided by these 'rogue' divisions.. It's like they all embrace their firms unless it's not in their interest when they are happy to throw their brethren under the bus.
I believe what bothers the average guy on the street though is not specifically the type of bonuses or even the total value but the fact they came back to the 2007 levels so quickly. American people are capitalistic in nature and in general they understand that there is something very 'american' about the envy of celebrities, athletes and high-paid execs. We are a culture that embraces shows like Cribs or Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous so you know we want to hear about the lavish parties, the big cars and the millions of dollars in jewelry. They just don't want to watch it paid for by the still warm corps of our tax money.
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Thursday, December 10, 2009
A regular TOR reader sent me the following chart from Gawker.com which basically compares the obesity rate vs. the unemployment rate and find that there is a striking correlation especially in the Southeast and the Rust-Belt.
This week, we highlighted a scary county-by-county map that a commenter posted to #tips showing metastasizing unemployment growth. Today, it occurred to us that we'd seen a graphic like that somewhere before: A CDC map of obesity by county.
The left map is a snapshot of county-level unemployment rates from October 2008; darker counties have higher unemployment (the time-lapse map we grabbed it from goes to October 2009, at which point the whole country is basically black). At the right is a CDC map released last month of obesity rates in 2007—it's the first county-level rendering of obesity data. (You can click the maps to see a larger version.)
With the exception of the West Coast, it looks as though Ground Zero of the employment crash aligned fairly faithfully with the Obesity Belt: Appalachia, Michigan, the Deep South and the Southeast Atlantic Coast all shared early unemployment spikes and higher rates of obesity, while Texas, the Upper Midwest, and the plains states are thinner and have better job security
Now Gawker.com only views data while TOR analyzes it and I can tell you that unemployment has hit people of all demographics but staying unemployed may very well have something to do with being too lazy to really go find other work. I know something about myself and that is if I ever find myself out of work, I’ll be the first guy ready to find a job washing dishes, cleaning gutters or doing male porn but I also consider myself the furthers thing from lazy. I know unemployment is through the roof and there aren’t a lot of good jobs out there but I also know that both my brother and sister-in-law got good jobs during the recession.
Maybe it’s not all about hard-work and drive, maybe it’s because people who are 150lbs overweight are also un-presentable, and we know people have a bias against the obese people. I have to think that if you show up to a job interview with ketchup on your shirt and your shirt undone, chances are they'll show you to the Dunkin Donuts across the street before they show you a new office.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Well here we go again.
A look which became popular in the 90's was women going to work fully decked out in professional outfits but paired with sneakers instead of shoes for the commute which is a look TOR deems completely acceptable because the woman is going to work and walking up and down subway stairs etc when on route to work should be made a bit easier. The look is actually cute and we at TOR love cute chicks.
Now with that said, for a woman to pull this off is one thing but I've seen too many dudes start to wear running shoes to work and it's disturbing.
Now I’m NOT talking about this new chique of wearing a fullsuit with sneakers on the red-carpet which I guess is kind of hip in certain circles but I’m talking about taking the average going to work look and basically puking on your feet in the name of comfort. Just yesterday I saw some dude leaving the gym in a pair of work pants, a button down shirt and tie and paired it with a pair of Boings. This is where a man has to realize he needs to retain some self-respect instead of looking like a walking douchebag
If a guy can’t even make it through a day wearing a pair of Kenneth Coles to the point you must wear running sneakers what is the point of even getting out of bed? Either get a new pair of work shoes that won't hurt your precious little feet or jump in front of a bus because the rest of your life will not be worth living just don’t embarrass the entire male race with this look.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
First TMZ or the National Enquirer breaks a story of Tiger cheating on his Swedish model wife and before you know it he’s crashing his car into a fire-hydrant, apologizing to everybody and anybody, ducking his own tournament and last night there are reports that a chick was rushed to the hospital from his house. How does his entire world and his squeaky clean image collapse so quickly
The funny thing with these types of stories is that it’s like trying to replace a single tile in a shower, as soon as you remove that one you notice that the back-board is rotten and that the entire shower area is being held together by some very flimsy glue. As long as nobody touched that one tile everything is good but touch that one and your Saturday Afternoon is fucked as you stand on a line at Home Depot with $90 worth of green-boards, grout and tiles.
Whenever a politician, actor or athlete has their armor kinked, it seems their fragile world collapses. I remember when Elliot Spitzer was caught banging that chick -who was hotter than any of the broads from Jersey Shore -and before you knew it there were reports of other affairs and there were quotes in the tabloid papers everyday from associates who would give reports of steamy romances and other skeletons. It’s not just the affairs that come out but his entire character got assassinated, before the first incident came to light Spitzer was a model citizen but as soon as the affair came out, you got reports of Spitzer of kicking dogs, berating underling and not recycling his Pepsi bottles.
This is what gets me: Tiger Woods’ every move has always been chronicled but somehow he was able to keep affairs with NINE different broads on the down-low. You couldn’t keep nine wise-guys quiet with the fear of broken knee-caps , how the hell did they keep nine affairs under the radar? It’s not like these are all members of high-society either: One is a porn star, another worked as some Las Vegas cocktail waitress – which incidentally is code for being a prostitute-, and another one worked at Hooters in New York City -which incidentally means that she will be a prostitute soon-..
How is it that in 15 years in the limelight, nobody found anything on Tiger but the second there is the tiniest bit of blood in the water, the floodgates open?
Monday, December 7, 2009
We will find out in a few days if there will be some climate change regulation which of course will only have bite to it if the two biggest polluters (China and the US) don't commit themselves to serious steps to cut carbon emissions.
Obama’s had about ten watershed moments and this will be another one. So far on the international stage he has: tripled the troops in Afghanistan while the rest of NATO is pulling out, watched Karzai and Ahmadinejad steal elections, seen Moscow continue to bully it’s neighbors, watched China enable Iran and North Korea, continued to see Israel build-up it’s settlements, watched the poor Irish get ripped off by Henry and lost the Olympics. I figure it might be time for him to come up bigger than he has done so far since everybody seems to love him but nobody seems to fear him.
I’m all for concessions when there are reasons for it, carrots and sticks work but I’m not for regulation with no teeth. If there is one thing the Obama administration has embraced more than anything- except maybe helping out Goldman Sachs-it’s greening the planet with visions of wide prairies decked out with solar panels and windmills. One reason they like these ideas is because they claim will bring a ton of manufacturing jobs back to the economy although I honestly think that if you are going so far as calling a job of installing a solar panels on a roof ‘manufacturing’ you should do the same thing for the guy installing your cable.
But the bigger picture will be what carrots and which sticks Obama will bring to this party because every plan I’ve heard so far may sound ambitious by making the real big emissions cuts by 2050 at which time Obama will obviously be out of office and may very well be dead.
I think the US consumer can be convinced to get better at carbon emissions but I’ve been to Eastern Europe and Central China and it’s depressing to know that I carry the NY Times home with me to make sure it’s recycled properly when you see acid dumped into rivers, garbage dumped on the sides of the highways and feel the grit of burned coal in my teeth whenever I go to any of these places
The problem sometimes is that the US Plans seem big in idea but small in practice. There are so many small things the government could do but they always go for the ones that give them the most media exposure. This summer you got $4500 credit for trading in a 1990 Ford Taurus clunker but you can’t find a recycle bin in any park, public building or street corner in NYC. The government fines you if you accidently throw a bottle with your normal trash but also see fire hydrants running open for weeks at a time and park rangers drive around Prospect Park for hours burning fuel while trying to catch somebody who may drop a plastic wrapper
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Reality TV seems to be the total downfall of our civilization from the white-house crashers to the balloon boy to the newest craze....guidos
Jersey Shore is the newest MTV car crash and everybody gets to see the NJ Guido style up close and personal. When your entire state can be stereotyped into fake tits, spray tans and spike hair you now you are not winning any beauty contests. The concept is easy you put four roided-out dudes with four skanks, add some alcohol and a hot tub and hilarity ensues.
The problem here is that the dudes are all ripped and the chicks are could stand to lose 10 pounds and it's pretty obvious the guys care more about their looks than the girls do which leads to cock-sure and self depracation.
The sad thing is of course that it's not clear if these reality TV personalities realize the joke is on them or if they believe this infamy will be long lasting.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Saturday, December 5, 2009
This includes people who take it personally when you can't have an full G-Chat conversation because you happened to be at work, people who leave voicemails which only say "call me back" or worse yet people who have a text-message conversation while at dinner.
But most importantly there isn't anything more frustrating than when some ahole sends you a facebook present or a facebook hug. This is an absolute waste of bandwidth than this crap unless you count the bad status-update.
I think we need to establish something: if your status-update is not clever, funny or interesting don't waste my time. Just trolling FB today you read stuff like
"Going to the gym" or "doing laundry".
People who leave status updates like this are the kind of adults who show up with a baseball glove in the stands of MLB game.
Let's get this straight NOBODY CARES!! The Status Update does what Twitter would love to, give people a forum for friends to 'mini blog" to friends which they see from their normal internet portal not a separate website but when people post their day-to-day activity without at least an interesting tidbit I want to take an icepick to my eye-balls.
It's funny how the people who posted the above bad FB Updates always post terrible updates. It's as if they just don't get the concept of the Status Update
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Friday, December 4, 2009
A 30’s woman, fairly well to do strolls into the Verizon store, bypassing the stupid computer sign-in-screen and walks right up to the technical service desk. Although there are people waiting behind her in line, she insists that she gets helped immediately.
Woman: I came here all the way from the Upper East Side, it’s an emergency. YOUR blackberry has stopped working and now I cannot get my text messages
Verizon Tech: Thank you for coming to Verizon can you please sign in as there is a procedure and a few people have been waiting to be helped
Woman: you don’t understand this is an emergency; I haven’t gotten my text messages
Verizon Tech: I understand, but there are procedu..
Woman: (completely ignoring him) so I look down and all of a sudden your blackberry has stopped working, it seems to be broken
TECH: (a bit confused but not wanting a scene): OK let me take a look
The woman hands over a blackberry which looks like it’s been through war in both Afghanistan and then spent some time in Iraq for good measure
Woman: these are very important text messages, I haven’t been able to read them for three days.. wait for five days and today is the first time I have been able to come down from the Upper East Side
TECH: (looking at the beat up phone) it looks like you have bigger issues than text-messages, tt looks like this phone is pretty beat-up, has it been dropped?
Woman: I am not sure why that is important when you realize how important it is that I get my text messages, I need you to go on your computer thing and get them
TECH: It doesn’t really work like that
Woman: I dont' think you understand I need you to facilitate me in getting these very important text messages.
TECH: well you will probably have to replace your phone as it seems to be finished and when you get a new phone the unread text messages will come to the new phone.
Woman: But how about the other ones? They are very important
TECH: We may be able to get those, what is your access code?
Woman: my brother has it
TECH: can we get in contact with him and get it?
Woman: how do you expect to do that when my blackberry doesn’t work?
TECH: do you know his number
Woman: why would I know his number it’s in my blackberry!
TECH: OK let’s see what we can do
Woman: (after 30 seconds) will you be able to go any faster, I am really very busy
TECH: I’m going as fast as I can
Woman: (sighing turns away and says) this is why I don’t leave the Upper East Side
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Not only has this body done nothing but wrestle each other to a stalemate all session –and many previous sessions as well- but their one landmark law for this session will be discriminatory. What bothers me most is that in most cases in the last 50 years our laws have been set to avoid discrimination but one the gay-rights issues we are Kabul-Ass-Backwards.
The arguments we always hear about this issue is the tired ‘sanctity of marriage’ argument saying that the only way to uphold the sanctity of marriage is to keep it between and man and wife.
I will leave out the obvious hypocrisy that the loudest voices against Gay Marriage always seems to be the ones with the most skeletons in their closet but I will say that anybody who tries to disparage human rights through an argument that gay-marriage threatens the ‘sanctity of marriage’ should look at the 50% divorce rate in this country and tell me what ‘sanctity’ they are protecting.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
One way the MTA seems to be paying for itself is through the recent adjustment on subway fares. Years ago when the token was replaced with the MetroCard the MTA came up with incentives for people who bought the cards in bulk-rides as opposed to single rides. They used to give a 20% bonus for all cards so when you bought a $10 you actually got $12 which at $2 per ride got you six trips.
Then when they redid the pricing structure they raised the fare to $2.25 and dropped the incentive bonus to 15%, a double whammy for those who depend on the MTA especially ones living on a moderate fixed incomes.
TOR's complaint isn't so much about raising the fare or even lowering the bonus level as we believe every service (government run or private) should be self-sustaining and the MTA like Amtrak and recently the PostOffice has had their hands out for government stimulus which for one year might be necessary but when your business model includes budgets which depend on one-time cash influx due to stimulus money or land sales it's bound to fail.
Our TOR Bitch is about what this combo of fare-hike and bonus level decrease means in practical terms
Today you buy a $10 card and get $11.50 after the bonus, but at $2.25 a ride you get only 5.111 rides. Explain how I can possibly take a 0.111 ride, does this mean only my sack rides while the rest of my body has to walk?
In practical purposes you will use $11.25 on 5 trips and are now stuck with a $0.25 metrocard which some people may lose or just throw away. You can refill it but you would have to do some pretty involved precalculus to figure out how much you need to put on the card now to get to a number divisible by 2.25.
I did the math and you would have to refill your card by adding $11.521739 which after the 15% bonus gets you to $13.25 which with the $0.25 you have left would get you to $13.50 enough for 6 rides.
Obviously it's not a stretch to think that because of all these mathematical issues that people may discard cards with small amounts on it which is a cash cow for the MTA.
Even if that is not the case I'm not sure you can add $11.521739 to your card.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
So it sounds like Obama is going to channel LBJ and keep sending good troops after bad. As long as that thug Karzai is in charge in Kabul, I don’t see any reason why we would send anything else out to Afghanistan. At this point we all have to realize that the ‘Good War’ is no longer worth fighting. I’m for sending a few crop-dusters over the Poppy fields and spray them down with rat-poison to kill any poppy crops and for any ones that survive hopefully it will kill the drug-user who will buy the heroin later on.
I don’t think we have the stomach to keep going anymore, we have spent countless money on our credit-card to pay for these wars and I don’t think anybody can reasonably tell you that we are any better off today than we were in 2003.
I read a report the other day that it costs $1,000,000 per year to keep a soldier in a war zone. Not exactly sure how you get to that number but add 30,000 troops and some quick math tells you that we will have another $30,000,000,000. Those are a lot of zeros.
Then again I can’t exactly figure how the costs get upto $1 million dollars per soldier but I figure
Soldier’s Salary $30,000
Soldier health-care: $10,000
Soldier’s Food: $15,000
Soldier’s Uniforms: $2000
Round coach trip ticket to Kabul: $1000
Phone cards: $500
Year subscription to Playboy : $120
Payoff to Karzai $100,000
“security fee’ to Blackwater: $250,000
Commission to Halliburton $200,000
Fee paid to Goldman Sachs: $391,380