Monthly Archives: June 2008

Cell Phones

Ok, that titles an inside joke.  But, for some reason, I was rambling on yesterday and becoming easily distracted and therefore unable to make an important point to The Missus and her Dependable Rock Solid Husband.  I was trying to tell them about a trend I’ve noticed for the past coupla years….

Cellphones.  Credit cards.  Long Distance Service.  All of these services are available to me and the kicker is that i can now choose only providers that share my ideological pre-dispositions.  I can choose a VISA that “donates” a percentage of my purchases to Progressive candidates.  I can text and chat on the electric telephone and benefit Greenpeace, or ActBlue, or a number of other quasi-Liberal outfits.

Part of this appeals to me.  I like the transparency that enables me to do business with like-minded entities.  I’d hate to think my patronage of a certain Corporation might contribute to another Bush-like administration, or, even scarier, pay any percentage of Bill Hobbs salary.

In the past, I’ve written about companies that take good care of their employees, like CostCo, and that I feel good about handing them my money.  Publix is another one.  I hope to always factor in a company’s ethics when chossing where to buy.  However, (and I’m hoping I don’t offend here) this is exactly what the Christian merchants do….they market to each other.  I ALWAYS skip right past businesses in the phone book that display “The Fish.”  More often than not, I have found those businesses to be the most ruthless and least satisfying to interact with, and the mere act of placing that symbol in your ad strikes me as exploitative.

So, it seems like this effort by progressive companies has just as much potential for abuse, and, it feels like one more way for us to stay seperate.  For now, at least for me, I’m going to stick with my tried and true approach, and tell these outfits the same thing i tell enthusiastic evangelicals…don’t tell me you’re a Christian/Progressive.  Act like it, I’ll notice.

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I’m Stockpiling Food. Now.

No wonder that invitation from Hef never came in the mail.  I was doing it wrong!

Just for fun, be sure and check out step 5.

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Hey B! I’m Upping The Ante!

Can anyone top this?

EDITED TO ADD:  So excited, i was, to have figured out how to embed a video on this blog, i forgot to link back to what B posted. Sigh.

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Death To The Bean Counters

Here is a puff piece written about The Volt, GM’s last gasp effort to regain their perch atop the automotive industry.  I don’t agree with the writer’s assessment of the EV1 fiasco…the car was loved by everybody that leased one, (you couldn’t buy it) but when California failed to pass zero emission laws, GM tried to bury or buy the technologies that made that car a reality.

I’m of two minds here.  Part of me loves the fact that Toyota is outselling GM.  Toyota, (and to a lesser extent, Honda) deserve every bit of the market share they have.  While GM moved at a glacier-like pace, they were nimble about producing fuel efficient, dependable cars and making them affordable.  Even when Toyota and Honda were catering to America’s love affair with bigger and bigger vehicles, they still invested heavily in their smaller cars, and made them a little better every model year.  I HATE that they mimicked the American business model for selling their cars…but thats a post for another day.

On the other hand…I want GM to succeed.  There are so many American families dependent on it’s success, and though I don’t know the details (yet) it seems there was a “landmark labor agreement” struck recently.  If they can pay a union level wage, keep their pension agreements AND build this car on schedule, it will be the greatest thing to happen in my lifetime.  In the article I linked to…there was this phrase that likely got missed by most readers.  Yet, it may very well be the key to the Volt’s success:

Engineers, designers, and executives were told to trust their instincts and make decisions on the spot.

What?  No nod to the accounting Gods?  Blasphemy!  GM is a HUGE bureaucracy, for years V.P.s and managers were fiercely territorial, ( jockeying for funding) usually at the expense of innovation, and eventually, profitability.  One need only look at the Cadillac Division and the acquisition of Hummer for proof.  Seriously…Hummer?  I left GM for dead after that.  I applauded Saturn, even when they sacrificed Oldsmobile to prop it up.  I expected Buick to go next….yet, they continue to build and market cars that only appeal to the near incontinent.  They spent millions trying to get successful women to buy Cadillac, hows that working out?  Do any of you know a woman that drives one?  They drive Lexus, BMW, even Acura, but certainly not Cadillac.

I’m sure the guys that stare at ledger sheets are sweating the Volt project.  If it succeeds, maybe other companies will relegate these soul-less wing-tipped score-keepers back to a basement office where they belong.   YEA, I know there has to be someone watching the money, but it seems to me that more and more, business in America has been driven by actuaries and comptrollers, which resulted in an orgy of cost-cutting for cost-cuttings sake.  Maybe a little recklessness is in order.  Perhaps the engineers and tool-makers can shout down the Harvard MBAs in the next meeting.  I keep hoping.

I’m excited by the Volt project.  Its likely that Toyota or Honda or maybe even Tesla will do it first, or do it better, but all in all its great for the American car buyer, and for future generations of Americans that would like to travel this country by car.  Even future accountants.

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Geeks, Listen Up

I downloaded Firefox 3.  I want to turn off that annoying feature they call The “Smart Navigation bar.”

Please tell me how to do this.

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Just for fun, while I struggle with events

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By Special Request

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Mixed Emotions

Here’s the text of an email I sent to the people at Walden’s Puddle, an organization that cares for and rehabilitates wild animals:

To Whom It May Concern,

I appreciate the work your organization does for our animal friends.  The encroachment by short-sighted developers on their natural habitat has certainly caused injury to many forms of wildlife.  We do not allow hunting on our nearly 100 acres, and we have left much of it in its original state so that game may flourish.  We felt completely responsible for flushing a newborn fawn out from it’s hiding place, and we did our best to make sure that the fawn survived once the mother was unable to find him.  We bought infant-friendly water, formula, powdered goats milk, bottles, etc.  Our daughter, just 12 yrs old, spent two full nights waking every three hours to feed this young deer.  She picked him over for ticks, and watched over him nearly every hour of the day.

We convinced her that the best thing for this animal was to take him to Walden’s Puddle, where he could be cared for until he could be re-introduced into the wild.  We felt the company of other deer would be beneficial as well.  So, today, we loaded up and drove to Joelton.   The place is beautiful, alright.  We were excited by the idea that this little one would have a good chance at a full life after a brief stay.

Heres where the wheels came off the bus.  We brought our checkbook, so that we could leave a donation since we knew that is how y’all carry out your mission.  However, when my daughter walked through your door, carrying her newborn friend, your technician snatched it away so abruptly it startled even me.  She then pivoted around, and practically ran through an adjoining door, without so much as a thank you directed at my daughter.  Supermousey (her online name) burst into tears, as she wanted just a few seconds to rub on him and say goodbye/good luck.  Your other technician/volunteer stood in the little kitchen area and rolled her eyes at a lady who had trouble parking her truck, and again at my mother-in-law for not realizing she was standing in the entryway and causing your door bell to go off.  In short, we cannot ever remember being treated so rudely after taking the time,trouble, and expense to do the right thing.  You lost our financial support, and you totally crushed this young, bright girl, who may have been a tireless advocate for the work you do.  She had, on the drive over, remarked that she might want to volunteer at your facility in a few years.

Slow down.  The deer wasn’t injured.  This was not a Code-Blue, life in danger situation like you see on “ER.”  Not everyone knows what you know about caring for injured/abandoned animals, and those that try deserve at least a minute of your attention.  Put people up front that can also interact with humans.

Affectionately,

Mack

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Deer Friends

Yesterday, while bush-hogging around the creek, I accidentally flushed this young deer from it’s hiding place.  He/she ran off about 50 meters, then circled back and laid down in some tall grass not too far away.  I stopped working in that area, in the hopes that Mama would come back and claim her fawn.  Well, she did come back, looked around, made a strange call from less than three feet away, but didn’t see him/her!

I waited and waited, but Mama never came back again.  I have no idea how old this deer is, but its too young to eat on its own.  Finally, I remembered Liz from The Scene has donated and possibly volunteered with these people, and I reached out.  They immediately called back, and gave me some instructions.  Unfortunately, I had to dismiss the idea to leave him alone all night, since he had been in the grass for over 12 hours with nothing to eat or drink.  I drove to a Pharmacy and picked up some Dextrose-water, and some formula.  With a syringe, I was able to get some fluid into him and he perked up quite a bit.

Supermousey decided she would sleep next to him last night, and offer more water or food to him at 2:00 a.m.  We are all pretty accustomed to taking shifts caring for an animal, as some of you will remember our prize mare died right after giving birth to Aras.  We spent an entire Summer getting up every four hours or so and bottle feeding him.  I’m not sure where this is heading…I feel terrible for almost running him over with the tractor.  If this little guy makes it, we’ll keep y’all informed.

Note:  In the picture, Grandma’s cat looks to be thinking he has happened upon the world’s biggest mouse.

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My Brother, The Jerk

I’m totally floored.  Lets forget, for a moment, all the times I screwed up so that he could play the role of Helpful Big Brother, and come to my rescue.  We can dismiss the countless fights I bravely avoided until he threatened to beat me up himself if I didn’t engage.  How many times did I drop what i was doing so that I could keep him company at Laker games or boxing matches?  In how many huddles did I suggest just handing the ball to him and letting him outrun everyone to the end-zone?  In retrospect, i was the quintessential little brother to him.  And, you ask, how does he repay me?

He goes to las Vegas, and instead of taking me, takes his wife and daughter.  Prick.

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