Friday, October 31, 2008

Ooooh! Sexy!

(Man, I have got to start getting out more...)

The Man Store

* Board Straightener
Adjusts board into proper positions before tacking. Use on standard board sizes.

* Nail Puller/Tile Ripper
Pull nails and get underneath tile to rip up tile.

* Demolition Axe
Rip through dry wall, wood slots, shingles and strip conduit.

* Precision Balance
Our overall weight-to-length ratio creates the same perfect "balance" all Dead On® products are known for.

* Demolition Hammer
Use the demo hammer for breading down hard surfaces, as well as other general hammer uses. Includes Dead On® bottle opener.

* The Grip
Made of shock absorbing durable rubber to prevent slipping.

* Chisel
Smash, crack and chip away at tile, brick or other pry bar uses.

* Multi Purpose Wrench/Nail Pulle
Use this wrench for releasing concrete forms and other general uses.

Mmmm. Daddy want.
It usually takes a large-caliber weapon to induce these feelings...

TBG thinks:When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Follow Up - Tick Tock...

(I've been under the weather, sorry for the delay on getting back with you guys on your comments.)

So... Apparently all you good Obama disciples got the memo on how to counter the right-wing racist smears about The One's socialist leaning.

It's pretty amazing, actually.
All 3 of you guys send me the same article.
Was it included in the Oh-Bama! "Morning Marching Orders" email you get daily?

Let me make 3 points:

You didn't answer the question. Typical Democrat methodology.
You used the question to cast aspersions on someone else. Ditto.
You used someone else's labor to do your job. Double ditto.

Everyone sent links to, or quotes from the New Yorker Mag's article on the election and the recent focus on the position that Barry Barack Hussein Obama's allusion to socialistic wealth distribution and trying to tie McCain and Palin to socialistic comments or policies...

Point 1 - Answer the question, Claire...

My question was: Why is the Urkel plan for wealth distribution not socialism?
Answer: None. That's because it is socialism. See below for discussion.

Point 2 - Aspersions:

This article makes the case (at the end where, as any writer will tell you, is where you make the point that you want the reader to take away from the article) that Sarah Palin is a socialist, and thus has no business throwing stones at His Obamaness' glass house.

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to why the proffered example in Alaska is not socialism? Anyone?

How about I just lay it out for you? Easier, eh?
(Quel Suprise! Democrats loooove having everything given to them.)

It's called "Dividend Distribution".

The State of Alaska owns land. There is oil under this land.

The State of Alaska makes a business deal on behalf of the people of Alaska with an oil company to sell the oil.
The State of Alaska is paid on the people's behalf for the oil.
Part of the oil money goes to public works projects - schools, roads, etc.
These things benefit all the people of Alaska.
After the public works are paid for there is still money left.
This is called a surplus.
The surplus belongs to the people of the State of Alaska.
The State of Alaska pays it's people their share of the profit from selling the oil.
This is called a dividend distribution.

It's capitalism at its best.

Point 3 - Lazy bastards.

Seriously... Did you get that from some "How to counter Republican criticism" website or from a "talking points" memo from The One's campaign?

Although everyone kinda said "Just look at this" and didn't make any guarantees, you implied that it was an answer to my query.
(Another Democratic hallmark - Vagueness.)
Apparently you took this article at face-value and didn't do any fact checking or digging.

tsk tsk.

Does someone from the Urkel's staff come over and scroll your screen and move your mouse around for you too?

And if you want to be taken seriously, make sure that you at least quote something reasonably unbiased.
Your boy Hertzberg is so far in the tank for Urkel it is re-dicking-fuckulous. Read some of his other stuff.
It's a joke.
(We can debate this in another entry if you wish.)

Let's talk Socialism...

Let's look at the first step in the process- "Nationalization".
The process of taking an industry or asset in to public ownership of a national government...
One cause for nationalization is when a needed service or industry in critical to the operation of the country, and it is mismanaged (or is perceived as being so) to the point of bankruptcy; Typically the national government will step in and take over.
Airlines are often a case for this kind of nationalization- Quantas was nationalized back in 1947, Greece nationalized Olympic air back in 1972, and Air India was taken over in 1952.
Railroads are too... France has nationalized SCNF and RATP (Paris Subway). The US nationalized all railroads during WWII but restored previous status immediately thereafter.

It started with the creation of Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddy Mac (FHLMC), and the now they are in the process of being nationalized.
Now the Wall Street bailout is underway which will entail more Govt involvement...
(Problems the Gummint created due to lack of oversight and poor management. Had the free market been allowed to take its course, the system would have shaken the problems out. Painfully so, probably, but business is business. Nut up, Wall Street scumbags.)

So now, if the The Messiah takes office, we'll have the Gummint step in and "fix" the health care system too, with Universal Health Care (Socialized Medicine)...
I went to a Doc-in-a-box this morning... I had a 12 minute wait in the waiting room and about a 5 minute wait in the exam room... I don't think I was there more than 30 minutes total...
I shudder to think what it will be like when the process is taken over and organized with the efficiency of, oh, say The Post Office? Or maybe the DMV?

So when things start getting screwed up, or when the Gummint thinks there is "good reason" for involvement...Can you foresee a time when some faction decides that Uncle Sam would be better at running the oil business?
They get tired of just regulating it; They want more control of when the refineries are running, how much is being charged for a gallon of unleaded... Let's just nationalize that baby.
(It's worked out so will in Russia with Gazprom and China's Sinopec.
Corruption is so rampant that it is a joke.)

And just imagine how well that will go in the US, considering the attention to detail and reliability of most Gummint employees.

What's next to be taken under the wing of His Oneness?
Power and Utilities? ConEd and that ilk?
Yep- another blackout like back in '03? Ok, we can run it better First Energy and ConEd.
I wonder how well that will work out?

What else...
Let a couple more Glowbull-Warmening hurricanes kick then snot out of us and we'll see the fallout in the form of the Gummint taking over the insurance system...
I can see the Telecommunications (Internet) industry getting absorbed so it can be "improved"...
And how about we follow out good friends in the UK and watch as the Uncle Sam takes over the airwaves (look at the BBC), so they can make sure we see all the video they think we should see...

It's a slippery slope, folks. Once it starts, it tumbles fast.
And to reverse the process (privatization) is painful and expensive process...

Now then...Onward, through the Fog...
Next time- Socialism: Urkel thinks he's Robin Hood.

Any constructive (and original) comments or concepts to share?

(I know individual thought is frowned upon by The One, but give it a chance. It's actually a pretty cool thing.)

TBG, taking my meds...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Now there is a surprise...

From our "Thanks, Captain Obvious" department...

Fuel costs are less than they were a year ago, but the fuel surcharges are the same.

Well. Who'da thunk it?

TBG, always amazed, never surprised.

Tick tock...tick tock...

Still waiting on someone, anyone to get back to me on why Barak Barry Hussein Soetoro Obama's plans for wealth distribution is not socialism.
I'm taking any reasoned, well-phrased response here...
I know you're out there... Don't make me start calling on people from the class.
The questions will just get harder.

And just to short circuit any half-assed copy & paste from the '08 Oh-Bama' playbook...
Don't be coming at me with the old "It wasn’t, because socialism calls for State ownership of the means of production, and The One has never advocated any such thing."

What a load of legalistic hair-splitting!

Wealth redistribution is the sine qua non of all socialist models—ownership of production is simply the means to that end—and whether The Messiah wants to get there by the Fed owning General Electric or by 90% tax rates is irrelevant.

Anytime someone talks about the government taking wealth from one group and redistributing said takings among another group who didn’t work for it, that person is a socialist.

Redistribution of wealth is what The One supports, that’s what he’s always supported, and that makes him a socialist.

TBG, Still waiting...

Shoplifting - You're doing it wrong...

We interrupt our regularly scheduled election year angst for this breaking news...

Fort Pierce woman accused of shoplifting, brandishing a ....

Jeebus! Only in Florida!

TBG, Ewww!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hollow Rhetoric

Separated at birth, but not political ideology.

A crowd of 100,000 in Denver, 50,000 in St. Louis and 100,000 in Ft. Collins?

Break out the loaves and fishes...

From Obama's Memo to the First Democratic Church of Colorado:

Blessed are the underachievers for they shall enjoy redistributed wealth.
Blessed are the overmortgaged for they shall enjoy bailouts.
Blessed are the lazy for they shall enjoy welfare aplenty.
Blessed are the taxpayers for they shall support all.
Blessed are those cry for Change for they shall feast on food others purchased for them.
Blessed are those who bitch, moan, and groan for they shall be appointed a tort lawyer who will sue in their namesake.
Blessed are the denizens of Code Pink for they shall enjoy a Progressive World.
Blessed are they who allow Me to finish My waffles for they shall enjoy a small share of them, someday.
Blessed are they who retain My favor for thine that faileth to retain My favor must be thrown under the bus.
Blessed are they that runneth My teleprompter for they shall be the scribes of the New Order.
Blessed are the sick for they shall have free health care, paid for by other people's money.
Blessed are the peaceful for they shall cut and runneth in good liberal fashion.
Blessed is he who keeps My brother in Kenya in his hut. His dollar bill a month runneth over.
Blessed is he who believes in the UN for he shall receive justice from the Hague.

Obama's new Commandments:

1. Do nothing corrupt unless ye be able to pin it on the Right.

2. Do it if it feels good, then lie about it if questioned.

3. Raise not your hand to your enemy but rather, pander to him with flowery words and taxpayer funds.

4. Condemn America in the way of Mine Reverend Wright.

5. Let not ye make a mistake and get pregnant but if thine doest such a mistake, seek ye an abortion.

6. Choose ye not "An eye for an eye," unless ye call Bill Ayers first for instructions on bombmaking and terrorism.

7. Seek to collect more in taxes.

8. Do not covet thy neighbor's belongings but ye complain to thine local government office, The Chosen One will redistribute as is the Way.

9. Turn in thy guns for The Chosen One shall cover you with his Truth Teams.

10. Listen not to false gods but rather, lend an ear to High Obama father Pflager.

Jeebus... I remember seeing pictures of another charismatic demagogue...
Dortmund, 1933.

And remember pics Germans pushing wheelbarrows full of worthless Deutschmarks from a few years before? After the Weimar Republic...

Just remember the time line-
1. Economy gets destroyed by idiots, (all kinds, not just one party or the other)
2. Charismatic leader takes over
3. The Country (and the world) goes to hell in a handbasket shortly thereafter

Wake up, Sheeple.

He knows how to manipulate the voter system.
He doesn’t know how businesses work, how to increase employment or to grow the economy. He knows how to organize the masses and get them to believe that they deserve handouts.

No economy will grow on that foundation. It’s time to clean up the government and Obama is not the person who can do it.

IF (Ghod forbid, and I'm still not conceding the election to His Holiness yet...I still refuse to put much faith in polls) he actually gets elected, his followers will be extremely disappointed when the traffic doesn’t flow smoother, they still have to wait in line at the post office, hurricanes still pound the coast, gas prices will go up and they have to pay co-pays on their prescriptions.

Yes, He has promised perfection.

Universal health care?
No, The One will end all disease!
Raising employment and diminishing poverty?
No, The One will provide for all of our needs and desires, and we’ll never have to toil!

Stop drinking the Kool Aid...
He can’t part the waters and the papers will show their historic fickleness and turn on him when he doesn’t pull off the first miracle.
He’ll fall short on this and delivering on his other glowing visions of Utopia, of course.

Given his thin skin, his wife’s temper and the self-righteousness of his minions and pals, his term in office would be overwhelmed with scandal and disappointment.
But the papers will pull out every excuse, and make up any rationalization to cover for him. Their vanity would never allow them to admit that they were wrong, and that their Messiah would be causing/allowing harm for America.

And Hillary and Bill will laugh and laugh, and plan for the 2012 election.

Wanna have some fun? Whenever one of The Messiah’s sheep are bleating about all of the wonderful things he’ll do, ask them why he needs the mere Presidency to work his miracles.
He had his term in the Senate and did absolutely nothing.

His powers are so glorious, yet useless without the White House?

TBG, tired of the utter bullshit, smoke, mirrors and stupidity from the Left.

Watch Him Squirm

Slow Joe getting his ass handed to him...

A glimpse of things to come...
If you dare to ask hard questions, you get shunned.

So... Get ready to have *your* wealth spread around.

TBG, Get off your ASS and VOTE. I already did...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Here's a Shocker

- From the desk of Captain Obvious -

New York Times comes out for Obama

Who didn't see *that* coming?

TBG: Get off your ASSES and VOTE!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

So very sure of yourself, are you?

“Construction is underway for a massive stage in Grant Park where Barack Obama could declare victory on election night.”

Isn’t there an old saying about counting chickens?

Oops… I forgot: standard financially responsible procedures and accountability standards don’t apply to Democrats.

TBG, ignoring the polls.

Out of Context

Knepper to BMitchell:

"You need to reconsider how much you're charging. You're doing Dingo and James, and now I want you to do me."


TBG, averting my eyes.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

A Lesson on Taxing

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes,it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing.
The fifth would pay $1.
The sixth would pay $3.
The seventh would pay $7.
The eighth would pay $12.
The ninth would pay $18.
The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that’s what they decided to do.

The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. ‘Since you are all such good customers,’ he said, ‘I’m going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20.’ Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.

The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free.

But what about the other six men - the paying customers? How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his ‘fair share?’

They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody’s share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man’s bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so:
The fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100%savings).
The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33%savings).
The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28%savings).
The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings).
The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 (22% savings).
The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings.

‘I only got a dollar out of the $20,’declared the sixth man. He pointed to the tenth man,’ but he got $10!’

‘Yeah, that’s right,’ exclaimed the fifth man. ‘I only saved a dollar, too. It’s unfair that he got ten times more than I got’

‘That’s true!!’ shouted the seventh man. ‘Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!’

‘Wait a minute,’ yelled the first four men in unison. ‘We didn’t get anything at all. The system exploits the poor!’

The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up.

The next night the tenth man didn’t show up for drinks so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn’t have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, ladies and gentlemen, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works!!

The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

I'm thinking Honduras, myself.

Or maybe Nicaragua.

TBG, doing the math.

Monday, October 20, 2008


The last few weeks of travel and events has not been the best...

Arguably, they may rank among the top 10 bad travel experiences I've
had in the last 13 years or so...

I've already articulated a few of the issues-

- A rather close encounter with Customs & Immigration in Canada

- A missed flight in Vermont that caused me to miss other flights

- Two nearly-broken knees on the flight to Stockholm

- A less-than-stellar performance in Sweden

- An insanity-inducing inner-ear infection contracted in Stockholm that resulted in a ruptured eardrum during my flight home

- Less-than-24 hour turnaround at home between Stockholm and Guangzhou

- A travel document problem that caused me a 3-day delay in Hong Kong

- The same mishap causing me undue scrutiny by the illustrious People's Republic and nearly a 5000rmb fine getting back into China

- The 3-day delay causing me to be 3 days behind schedule on my NBA project in China

- (That ear infection still going strong after a week of meds)

- Another less-than-wonderful performance in Gunagzhou

- A hectic post-game schedule trying to wrap our systems and make the charter flight between Gunazhou and Beijing (Part of which involved me schlepping a 70lb case full of computers almost 2km in order to find the airport transport.)

- A red-eye flight (1am to 4am) flight into Beijing

- Northwest airlines "misplacing" my 70lb case of systems needed for the Beijing leg of the Project

- Having to beg, borrow, wheedle and steal equipment to temporarily replace the missing systems

- Spending many hours cajoling said borrowed systems into accepting the NBA's GameStats software to keep the stats at the game in Beijing

- And yet another less-than-impressive performance in Beijing for the game on Saturday

- Midway through the game I was informed that the systems were found, still in Guangzhou, and wouldn't be able to be delivered to me in Beijing in time to get my Carnet counterfoil stamped- so I'm on the hook for $12,000 worth of equipment that the illustrious People's Republic customs officials think that I sold while I was in in Beijing...
So they will be looking for a bribe bond / fine in order to get my paperwork resolved

- And now another 15 hour flight from Beijing to Newark, a 3 hour layover in the Armpit of the Northeast, and a 2 hour flight to Jacksonville...

And you know what...
My life is actually good. Amazingly wonderful, actually.

Know why?


It just takes some perspective to make you realize that your life is actually pretty good.

In my case it started as a text message from The Woman Who Knows Most Things.
As I was working on my systems in Beijing I got a text that read "Call me if you can."
I logged into Skype and called home.
"What's up?"
"Marie Stevens called. Scott was killed on his motorcycle by a hit-and-run driver."

I've know Scott since I was in 7th grade.
I've known his wife Marie since 9th grade.
Their family was a picture of unity and contentment you rarely see these days.
We went to their wedding down in Arcadia years ago. Our 20 year class reunion was held at their house.

Scott was a dedicated family man; three sons, two daughters and a new granddaughter. He was admired and respected in his community and in his work as an emergency room nurse.

I was speechless.
"She left a number to call."
I called Marie and we spent several minutes talking about what happened.

Scott was on his way home on his motorcycle when a pickup crossed the center line and hit him head-on, killing him instantly.
The truck continued off the highway, through a fence and came to rest in a field; The driver took off cross-country.

In riding his motorcycle, Scott was the quintessential safe rider.
Always wore a helmet (including the night he was hit.)
Always wore his leather jacket.

The details I gathered from Marie and from reading several articles on the Internet painted a picture that hit several of my nerve endings...

The driver was illegal alien, driving under a suspended/revoked license, there was evidence that he might have been DUI, and the cowardly bastard didn't have the balls to accept responsibility for his actions, but only acted to save his own ass, and ran away from the scene.

He has since been arrested.

In his life and his work, Scott touched people's lives in a way that few people can. The stories and comments I have read from the articles in the local papers tell how well he was regarded. How he was respected among his peers.

In his job, he had tangible and far- reaching effects on peoples lives.
Helping sick, wounded and injured people; assisting in life-saving procedures.

In my job, I setup machines for collecting data; I move the data around, and move it to databases for storage.

Would that I had the kind of effect on people's lives that Scott had.
But let's face it... If the number of fouls on a box score of a basketball game is three instead of four, it won't shake the pillars of the Earth.
If the data hits the Internet in ten seconds instead of five, no one's life, health or family is at risk.

But back to perspective...

Woe is me... I'm stuck in Hong Kong.
Woe is me... My airplane seat is uncomfortable.
Woe is me... I don't like my hotel.
Woe is me... My luggage is late.

What a short-sighted self-important perspective.

I'm going home. I'll see my wife and daughter tonight.

There is a family in Arcadia that won't be seeing their father tonight. A wife will never see her husband again.

There is a person in the ER in a Bradenton Hospital that needs care and compassion... Someone else will have to give it to them.

The world is poorer today, not because I didn't get an upgrade on my flight...but because we lost someone who truly made a difference in this world.

Godspeed Scott... You will truly be missed.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Beijing, Again.

Proverbs 26:11

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

I think I've used this before...but it is so appropriate.
Especially the vomit-Beijing analogy. So apropos.

Back to the Big Eggroll, this time for a little BBall with my fellow miscreants from The League.

They got me a seat on the team (Golden State Warriors) charter after the game last night in Guangzhou.
The only problem was that the stats guys needed 30 minutes of time post-game to fix the screw-ups, then I needed to break down all my court-side equipment and get it to the shipping drop point and then get to the airport bus.
Much easier typed than accomplished.

By the time I got upstairs to the drop point the rest of the equipment was already gone.
There were 2 buses left, and one of them was pulling out as I got to the parking lot.
I went to the last bus and it was the absolute last bus for the airport, and they were closing the door as I walked up.
I banged on the door and got them to open back up and let me get my equipment case loaded...
I was sweating like a Christian Scientist with an appendicitis by the time I sat down... We took off from the Guangzhou Arena at 11:45pm...
The airport was a relatively painless exercise since it was a charter.
We were in a NWA 777... I got a look at my boarding pass...
Seat 62c. 62C...Row 62? That's outside the back door of the plane!

Basically I was in the back of the plane with broadcast guys and the Dance Teams and Fan Patrol. And since we all left the arena without too much time for luxuries like, say, showers...
the fan patrol was sweaty and stinky just like me. I did, however have the seat next to me empty. So it was a marginal victory.
On my original flight on China Southern I was going to be on a full flight...
(One designed with the Chinese anthropomorphic in mind.)

We were wheels-up at 1:30 am, and at the gate in Beijing at 4:45.
No C&I, and no baggage claim either... they were delivering our luggage to the hotel in the morning.

We walked out to the buses and were in the road tout de suite and at the Hotel (the Westin) in record time.

My luggage did make it to the hotel... I got it around 10 this morning.
(Another little victory. Yay!)
The scoring equipment, not so much, yet.
(For every victory, a matching defeat.)
Fortunately, it is not lonely. All of LP&E's court side stuff is in the same boat...
Or truck, van or level of hell that my systems are in.

We'll see how it all works out.

I feel the need to leave you with a moment of Zen...

A caption?
Yeah... I got nothin'.

TBG, doin' it again...

Wednesday, October 15, 2008



No...stronger term.

Epic... Epic fail!

No... I hate that term.

Historic. Historic fail.

Close... But still not strong enough.


Ooooh. I like it.

Mythic Fail.

That about sums it up.

TBG-Sofa King tired & pissed.

There is a bright spot to life at NBA events...

Dance Practice!

Yay! Dance practice!

TBG, a content spectator...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chinese Traffic

I forgot how bad traffic in China is...
(The restrictions in place in Beijing really improved in-city transportation.)

I was going to comment that the state of traffic in Guangzhou was close to full-on
anarchy when I realized that would be inaccurate...
It's not organized enough to be considered anarchy...

It's much worse than that.

TBG, sitting in another Asian traffic jam...


After 3.5 days...
I'm finally on my way to Guangzhou. Not that I don't like Hong Kong but I have business to tend to...

Listen to your Uncle Jay, always verify your travel documents.
You never know when external forces will conspire to give you an unexpected whack with a monkey wrench.

In this case, said whacking had far-reaching effect, like ripples on a pond from thrown pebble...
A missed flight segment becomes a cancelled ticket, even though I went directly to the Cathay Pacific desk right when the trouble started.. Thank Ghod I have relative high status on the SkyTeam system.

An in-terminal baggage/equipment transfer becomes an incident when you don't get your carnet stamped, even though you originally weren't supposed to leave the airport...
(Although I think they would have frowned upon my camping out in the transient lounge for 4 nights...)

As the Beach Boys said-
"We'll have fun fun fun 'til the PRC takes my F-class 60-day multi-entry visa away..."

TBG, *still* in the Hong Kong airport

Travel Nightmares 1

So, for reasons I really don't want to articulate right here and right now, I'm stuck in Hong Kong.

It is the most frustrating situation...
I can't get to where I'm going and I can't go home.
In theory, I will be freed from my fetters on Monday and I can get on with the project at hand, namely, the NBA's China Games 2008.
Game one in Guangzhou and game two in Beijing...

But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Let's talk about the last couple weeks and the trials and tribulations of travel.

Where shall we start? Buffalo?
That's as good a place as any.

There's things that needed doing in Buffalo for the NHL, and it was me who needed to do them, so I arranged a little trip to Buffalo NY to put the fix on some equipment in the HSBC Arena.
While I was in the neighborhood, we (JR, DanO and I) thought it might behoove us to have a peek at the arena in Montreal since that is where we will be spending the latter part of January 2009 with the NHL's All Star Game. Their first pre-season game was that Friday and it neatly dovetailed with the Buffalo trip.
I'd do my thing in Buffalo, drive to Montreal and make some notes on the arena and figure out how to get the services to the trucks during the Big Event, maybe have a nosh with Luc, see the game...
On Saturday I'd drive back down to Burlington Vt, drop my rental car (can't leave it in Canada) and catch a flight home.

Yeah- No.

Things started to go south on Thursday morning. I had driven to Watertown NY, spent the night there and headed for Montreal bright and early.
I hit the US-Canada border at Hill Island on the Thousand Islands Parkway about 7:30am...
I guess they were either bored or I hit some kind of profile match.
The guy in the booth told me to pull over to the parking are and take my passport inside.
No problem. I parked my rental car and went inside where The Ordeal began.

Customs and Immigration Girl: "Why are you coming to Canada?"
Yours Truly: "Going to go to a hockey game tomorrow night, visit some friends in Montreal."
She took my passport and asked if they could search my car. I told her no problem...
(If you refuse, it's called "reasonable suspicion" and it is a ticket to a cavity search and other fun experiences.)

The real C&I girl thinks she on the new CBC show "The Border".

If she even remotely looked like Sofia Milos I wouldn't have minded it so much.

I took a seat and got comfortable...
I looked out the window a few minutes later and got a surprise...
I had expected the run-of-the-mill open the doors, open the trunk, Bobs-your-uncle search of the car...
Lord knows I've seen enough of them between Athens, Torino and Beijing, but this was amazing.
My bags were out of the car and spread open, as was my tool kit. The lining of the trunk was out on the ground, as was the spare tire.
All four doors, the trunk and the hood were open and they had two dogs working overtime sniffing every nook, cranny and crease of the car.

I stopped looking... I knew they weren't going to find anything.

30 or 40 minutes went by...
The customs girl came back in...carrying my laptop.
Uh oh. Not good.

Not that there was anything on it that I was worried about, but I was concerned with it getting stripped, dropped or otherwise corrupted...

Even then, I wasn't too worried- I have almost everything backed up on an external drive except for the last few weeks pictures from my camera and I hadn't backed up my Outlook files in a week or two.

Customs girl called me over...
CIG: "I need your password for your laptop."
YT: "Sure. No problem. But I'm going to need you to write up a statement of responsibility that if you boot up my machine and anything happens to my data..."
She interrupted me...
CIG: "No...I don't. You consented to the search of your car; It was in your car. Give me the password."
Canadian Customs is becoming the semantical equivalent of the National Socialist Party.
I gave her the password, and she disappeared into a back room.
Another 45 minutes passed by. I sneaked a look... The car was mostly put back together.
I continued waiting.
Customs girl calls me over.
Read this:
It was a statement informing me that if I give false information to the customs officer the possible outcome would be refusal of entry, detainment, or possible criminal charges.
Did I understand the statement.
Huh? What the hell did they find?
YT: "Yes, I understand. What's wrong?"

CIG: "Why are you coming to Canada?"
She fixed me with a "you better not lie to me you smoking pile of shit" glare.

Wheels are turning...
What the hell...?
Hockey game- visit friends.
CIG:"Where do you know friends from?"
YT: "Job, they work for NHL."
CIG: "We don't believe you... We think you are coming to work in Canada."

(Big deal, what if I am? Isn't that what NAFTA's all about?
Oh- That's right...That's only for Mexicans and Canadians coming to the US and working, not the other way around.)

My supposition is that they saw my toolkit, and they were looking at some old (2006!) documents regarding the HITS installation (saw on the recent open docs history on the laptop later...) they decided to try some scare tactics.

"Look- I come here to work occasionally, and when I do, we do all the paperwork. I did when I came to install the original equipment. Our customer here is the NHL- Maybe you've heard of them? They are relatively high profile, and we wouldn't do anything to jeopardize their business or our professional relationship..."
She said she saw the sense of the argument... here's your stuff, you can go.

Later I did some research and found out that both US and Canadian Border agents are doing some funny things regarding laptop searches...
Basically, they are both doing basic searches, and in some cases making complete copies of laptop hard disks... Like that idea?

Can US Customs search and seize your laptop?
Read this.

If your hard drive could testify.
And this...

From now on, I'm removing my hard disk from my laptop when I cross the border.
It's going to be tucked away, safe from harm...
I might just invest in a decoy drive to travel with. We'll see...

Don't get me started on the mindset of the folks that work at customs and immigrations, and by extension the nice people at DHS.
I guess you have to treat everyone like they are a threat...otherwise you're not doing your job.
I understand that, but you have to understand my reaction then...
You push me, I'm gonna push you back.
Human nature.

So... two hours, shot to hell.
Thanks, Canada.

On to Montreal.

Nothing of interest to write about in Canada, except a lovely lunch with Luc at the Red Stick... Thanks, Bro.
Part II forthcoming.

TBG - out

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I don't think that means what you think it means...

From our "Unclear on the Concept" department-

I just saw a middle-aged Asian man with the most interesting t-shirt...
The front reads:
"Who needs big tits..."
and on the back it reads:
"...when you've got an ass like this?"
With an arrow pointing down.

I couldn't get my camera out in time.

For those who feel the need and (figuratively speaking) have the cojones to wear it, you could get you own version from

TBG - never a dull moment at the airport.

Words of Wisdom from Franklin Wu

I was discussing globalization and my belief that American youth were ignorant of international cultures and are/will be severely handicapped by it with my driver in Hong Kong, Franklin Wu.

I spoke of the need for US citizens, especially students, to get out and see the world first-hand, that it would be important to have a better world-view, especially in the next 10 to 20 years...
Franklin's comment-
"There is an old Chinese saying: It is better to travel ten thousand miles than to read ten thousand books."

Write that one down, Kids.
It's a keeper.

TBG- killing time in yet another airport.


PS- If you are in need of transport services in Hong Kong, see my man Franklin.
Airport transport, getting around Hong Kong island and Kowloon, anything of that ilk, Franklin is your man.
Drop me a line and I'll get you his number and/or email address.
Tell him The Big Guy sent you.

TBG- a happy customer.


A hole has been found in the fence at the nudist camp.
The police are looking into it.

Film at 11

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Thoughts on the November Election

I think its a combination of drugs I'm taking for my ear infection and the alcohol I'm drinking, but the whole election process is depressing the hell out of me.

No matter who wins, we are still in the economic shitter, and there is no clear resolution for the problem.

The situation in Trashcanistan and Iraq is a drain on our diplomatic credibility, North Korea and Iran are going to continue to do whatever they want, regardless of our impotent blustering.

The American people, as a whole, are the losers in this election, no matter who gets in the office.

It really doesn't seem to matter at this point who wins. Both choices are abysmal.

You can't believe the media, and you *definitely* can't believe the campaigns...

It's beyond choosing between the lesser of two evils, since they are equally bad. You can't judge them on their associations (all bad) or their merits (neither has any)...

And no matter who wins, the following will still be true:

  • My 401k will still be in the toilet for years.
  • The US economy will take years to recover.
  • The US dollar will still do poorly worldwide.
  • Europe will still hate us. (Who gives a shit?)
  • Islamic militants will still try to find ways to kill Americans.
  • The US will still throw away billions on "Homeland Security" needlessly.
  • Gas prices will continue to rise.
  • People who identify themselves as Democrats will continue living in a dreamworld.
  • Republicans will call theirs an economically responsible imaginary realm, but it is just as intangible.
I'm voting, and I'm encouraging you to vote too.. But I'm not very sanguine about the future.

TBG- tired, frustrated, and depressed.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Politics '08

Still trying to stay above the fray.

No hidden text today, no subliminal messages...just some thoughts from Uncle Jay.
I just want to share some things I watch for, look at, and reflect on as I watch the news and read websites out there on the IntarTubes.

1. Pretty much anyone who Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America favor in any election here in the US is someone I will vote against.
They are "interested" in our elections...
This is not necessarily a good thing... Fleas are "interested" in dogs.

2. Same thing for Hollywood. If you rely on Kalifornia to tell you who to vote for, you are even more of an idiot than they are.

3. Polls don't mean a thing. Remember Twain- "Lies, damn lies, & Statistics." There is no way to verify the actual results, meaning or agenda of the polled demographic or the intent of the pollster.
Remember all the same polls that had Hillary as the leading Democrat candidate all the way up to the end...

4. The Mainstream Media is ridiculously liberal. (As are most In$titution$ of Higher Learning, but that another point for another upcoming post.)
As you watch CNN, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, CBS, NBC, and ABC remember that as you see the way the paint their "unbiased" pictures of the campaigns.

4.5 Same thing for Fox News, except from the far right. Don't trust them for "Fair & Balanced" either. Really.

5. Same thing for Print and Web Media

"McCain looks for way to stop Obama's momentum - Reuters
Trailing Obama, McCain hopes to gain in debate - The Associated Press"

Why is it that the media takes information from polls and spins it into an incontestable fact?
For the AP headline, where is McCain trailing? In the polls.
What poll? The poll where they called 25 random numbers in New York and asked the person who answered the phone it they liked Obama.
A "yes" answer was tallied for Obama, and a "no" answer was attributed to McCain, an "I don't know" or "no opinion" was discarded, and unanswered calls were pointed to Obama.
Let's go back to point 3- DON'T LISTEN TO POLLS.
Reuters, AP, UPI... they want your eyes. They print headlines that are calculated to bring your eyes to their media in order to gain viewership, which translate to advertisers dollars.

5. To get a feel for the real candidate (not the Media Image, or the Campaign Image) look at who is campaigning for him and supporting him.
Do your beliefs and concern match with that group or demographic?

Listen to your Uncle Jay...
There is an absolute need for every American to get out and vote in this election. This will be a watershed Presidency- the winner will be responsible for fixing many problems and situations in our country. He will also set policy that will carry forward for many years into the future.
Your voice is important.
Don't leave it to someone else to make the decision for you.

-- UPDATE --

By the way, be careful on the IntarWebs and understand that not only WHAT you read is suspect, be aware that the name on a website *might* be very misleading...

For instance -
Sounds like a nice, helpful clearing house for facts that are being printed in the media and in the 'web.
Nope... Why don't you Google up Chicago Annenberg Challenge, Obama and Ayres...
Why? Because the Annenberg Foundation is the major source of funding for

And how about Obama and Gun Control?
Obama has the endorsement of "American Hunters and Shooters Association"...
Wow. Sounds impressive, no?

In theory AHSA is "a non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting hunting and common-sense gun policy"

In reality AHSA is a shill organization involved in advocacy for gun control. The AHSA is a front geared towards dividing second amendment advocates by pointing to AHSA members' bias against private ownership of many popular modern firearms.

AHSA leaders have donated money to gun control groups and have ties to individuals and organizations who advocate gun control. Possibly the most damning evidence of the ASHA's collusion with gun control advocates is the statements of Paul Helmke, the President of the Brady Campaign, who says of the AHSA, "I see our issues as complementary to theirs". The AHSA exists only to supply apparent pro-gun credibility to anti-gun policies and legislation........ and anti-gun politicians.

You can call an organization (or website) anything you like...
They rely on people's willingness to accept a name as a label or as a statement of mission, and hope you don't scratch the surface and find out what lies beneath...

Remember the Twilight Zone episode where the aliens come to Earth bearing a huge document, purporting their benevolence, only wanting to be friends of the human beings on Earth?

The scientists of Earth take the document, assuming it to be a manifesto of planned beneficence to Man, even to the point of immense relief when the title of the book is found to be "To Serve Man".

The aliens are welcomed with open arms -
Until they start the rest of the translation...
And find it's a cook book.

TBG - Glad I got that off my chest.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Quote of the Week

Phil: "Holy crap! She's drop-dead gorgeous!!!"
Times heard: 219

TBG, keeping count-

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Wrong Sport?

Pick your caption.

1. Jim, It's Pittsburgh Penguins or Steelers, but not Vikings.

2. Does this helmet make my head look fat?

3. These long road trips make me...Well..You know.

4. It's my Halloween costume. I'm a hat rack.

5. Fill in your own.
(You will notice I stayed far away from the sign in the lower right.
Just 'cause I did, doesn't mean you have to ... Heh.)

TBG out-

They are not Bridgestone Girls...

...But they'll do...

I guess Woody and Hector the Connector are not suffering in Prague....

TBG, amused-

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Another Event, Another Webcam

NHL Premiere Game,
Globen Arena, Stockholm

Click picture for full size view

Sponsors We Like


Not because of the pretty logo on the ice...

This is why we like Bridgestone...

Of course, I don't know how the hell we are going
to get them out of Phil's room...

Whatever, Dude.

You Can Fool Some of the People Some of the Time


After putting his foot in his mouth big-time, "Birk" says:
"It was an experiment."


Dude needs to run for office, he's so full of crap.
He'd fit right in with the rest of the idiots in DC.

TBG- Not impressed. Nor fooled.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Do the Math Before You Start Blowing Your Horn

I've recently received an email that is/was circulating the Intarweb regarding the Grand Bailout Scheme.
I have a couple issues with the retasking- Nice idea, poor math skills.

Be sure to read the notes at the end.

The Email: (BTW- thanks Roach and BN)

> Hi Pals,
> I'm against the $85,000,000,000.00 bailout of AIG.
> Instead, I'm in favor of giving $85,000,000,000 to America in a We
> Deserve It Dividend.
> To make the math simple, let's assume there are 200,000,000 bonafide
> U.S. Citizens 18+.
> Our population is about 301,000,000 +/- counting every man, woman and
> child. So 200,000,000 might be a fair stab at adults 18 and up..
> So divide 200 million adults 18+ into $85 billion that equals
> $425,000.00.
> My plan is to give $425,000 to every person 18+ as a We Deserve It
> Dividend.
> Of course, it would NOT be tax free.
> So let's assume a tax rate of 30%.
> Every individual 18+ has to pay $127,500.00 in taxes.
> That sends $25,500,000,000 right back to Uncle Sam.
> But it means that every adult 18+ has $297,500.00 in their pocket.
> A husband and wife has $595,000.00.
> What would you do with $297,500.00 to $595,000.00 in your family?
> Pay off your mortgage - housing crisis solved.
> Repay college loans - what a great boost to new grads
> Put away money for college - it'll be there
> Save in a bank - create money to loan to entrepreneurs.
> Buy a new car - create jobs
> Invest in the market - capital drives growth
> Pay for your parent's medical insurance - health care improve
> Enable Deadbeat Dads to come clean - or else
> Remember this is for every adult U S Citizen 18+ including the folks
> who lost their jobs at Lehman Brothers and every other company that is
> cutting back. And of course, for those serving in our Armed Forces.
> If we're going to re-distribute wealth let's really do it...instead of
> trickling out a puny $1000.00 ( 'vote buy' ) economic incentive that is
> being proposed by one of our candidates for President.
> If we're going to do an $85 billion bailout, let's bail out every adult
> U S Citizen 18+!
> As for AIG - liquidate it.
> Sell off its parts.
> Let American General go back to being American General.
> Sell off the real estate.
> Let the private sector bargain hunters cut it up and clean it up.
> Here's my rationale. We deserve it and AIG doesn't.
> Sure it's a crazy idea that can 'never work.'
> But can you imagine the Coast-To-Coast Block Party!
> How do you spell Economic Boom?
> I trust my fellow adult Americans to know how to use the $85 Billion
> We Deserve It Dividend more than I do the geniuses at AIG or in
> Washington DC
> And remember, The Birk plan only really costs $59.5 Billion because
> $25.5 Billion is returned instantly in taxes to Uncle Sam.
> Ahhh...I feel so much better getting that off my chest.
> Kindest personal regards,
> Birk
> T. J. Birkenmeier, A Creative Guy & Citizen of the Republic
> PS: Feel free to pass this along to your pals as it's either good for a
> laugh or a tear or a very sobering thought on how to best use $85
> Billion!!

Nice try-

Birkenmeier has a nice idea but appearently he's like the math geniuses
that run AIG, Lehman, etc...

85,000,000,000 divided by 200,000,000 is $425, not 425,000.

Even if you use the big number for the Overall Bailout of $700,000,000,000,
you only get $3,500.

No mortgage payoff, no new car.


TBG, distressed.