Random Thoughts

I know I haven't updated in forever. I just want you to know there's a very good reason for that: I'm lazy.

Now for some random things I've accumulated that I haven't gotten around to posting.

Where I work, there was an individual who was rather popular. She was outgoing and energetic, to the point where the thought of her on caffeine actually scared people. She was generally cheerful and fun to be around, and it reached the point where I didn't even want to look at her.

While her husband was away in Iraq, she was planning the divorce.

I don't know if he was in the military or a contractor, I suspect the latter judging by the money involved. She was in the break room one time on her cell phone, talking about how she was going to ask for an extra $10,000 to cover her credit card debt. She also said to whoever she was talking to "He's going to look me in the eye and say, 'I could have died every day for that money,' and I'm going to look him in the eye and say, 'That was your choice, not mine.'" I don't know anything about their relationship, but that's just so heartless. She's spending all his money while he's in Iraq, and she's going to divorce him when he gets back? The word contemptible comes to mind.

She bought a brand new bought red BMW. She signed the papers on a Tuesday. That Friday there was another round of layoffs at work, and she was one of the people who was told she was being let go at the end of the next two months. Maybe she'll ask for the money to pay off her car in the divorce settlement as well. She's no longer there, and maybe it's terrible to say, but I don't miss her at all.

Speaking of BMWs, I wish the black BMW guy would get laid off, but I think he works for a different company in the building. Whenever his car is in the parking lot, it's parked diagonally across two spaces, so that no one can get close enough to accidentally hit it when opening their door. Apparently he spent so much on the car that he's terrified to actually use the thing like a normal human being. Every time I see it blocking up two spaces, I have this urge to key the damn thing. I feel the same way whenever I see a Hummer. But I restrain myself. It's illegal, plus damaging automobiles on purpose is a great way to get fired from the auto insurance company I'm currently employed by.

I won't get into my rants about them here. I'm still employed by them, I've survived three rounds of layoffs, and I don't need a big red X next to my name if there's another round planned. Ask me in chat, or something.

In terms of sports stories I'm sick to death of, let me just say that I want Brett Favre to go away and never come back, and I don't want the Yankees and Red Sox to ever play each other again, if for no other reason than to make ESPN talk about something else. Brett Favre's eleventh annual retirement saga once got almost 30 minutes of coverage on a 60 minute episode of Sportscenter, and they didn't have time to cover other games played that day because they were breathlessly giving updates on a story in which nothing was happening. Meanwhile, ESPN devotes so much time to Yankees-Red Sox that one time Chris Berman narrated a feature where they showed highlights of--no exaggeration--all 45 meetings between the teams, regular- and post-season, for the previous two years. I changed the channel at game four. Big rivalries and familiar names make for easy, lowest denominator, lazy reporting. There are 28 other teams playing major league baseball. At least pretend you care about reporting on them, too.

As I write this, we're a week away from Favre's return to Lambeau Field in Green Bay. I have the terrible feeling that on at least one day of the coming week they will have Favre as the lead story over the World Series. The odds of that go up greatly if the Angels win the ALCS instead of the Yankees.

Last year I had a George Bush quote-a-day calendar at my desk at work, which I got as a Christmas present. This year I have a George Carlin quote-a-day calendar at my desk at work, which I got as a Christmas present. I fear that following that pattern, this year I will get a George Clooney quote-a-day calendar.

I was somewhat surprised to see one of the big local news stories of the past year made it into Michael Moore's new film Capitalism: A Love Story. Mark A. Ciavarella and Michael T. Conahan, judges in juvenile court and the court of common pleas, respectively, stand accused of various counts of fraud and conspiracy in which they accepted money from private contractors in exchange for making sure tha juveniles were sent to their privately-owned for-profit juvenile detention facility. Children were sent here regardless of the nature of their crimes, such as they were (one person in the film was sent there for throwing a piece of steak at his mother's boyfriend), and sentences were extended without hearings, explanation, or option to appeal. I thought it was summed up best by a local news reporter doing a weekly spot on a Scranton radio station. He mentioned how a lot of crimes sometimes have shades of grey when you see the whole picture or understand the motivations, but "These men sent children to jail for money." Ah, Luzerne County, where corruption is all in a days work.

Maybe conspiracy theorists were trying to win coverts from the Michael Moore audience, because when I got back to my car I saw that someone had gone through the parking lot and left this turd under the windshield wiper.

For those of you not in the know, Loose Change is a pseudo-documentary based on the premise that an airplane did not hit the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, and that the World Trade Center was destroyed by controlled demolitions, not because of the airplane strikes you may have heard a little something about. The exact nature of the conspiracy they believe in is not especially clear. I haven't seen it myself, but my friend Steve has given it the savaging it deserves here. (If you prefer something a little more sensible and coherent than Loose Change, here's the video to Frontier Psychiatist.)

However, I am willing to take a quick crack at the questions asked here. While cell phone cameras are ubiquitous now, they were a bit less so eight years ago, and even now, one would imagine that the Pentagon, a military installation, exerts some control of cameras on site. As for the huge number of surveillance cameras, this may come as a shock to some people, but those cameras are typically not aimed at the sky. A lot more cameras were pointed to the area in question after the attack–it's still a bit of a fluke that there's any footage of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. If not for that footage, Loose Change would probably claim that tower wasn't hit by a plane either.

How people can still believe this crap eight years after the fact is baffling, not to mention a depressing commentary on the state of critical thinking in America. Just imagine how much better this country would be if people like this devoted their time and effort to something productive.

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