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Monday, December 19, 2011

Jean Brandau's Blog is USELESS

I wouldn't normally attack someone's blog directly, no matter how badly written or how vehemently I disagreed with the content. But, this is not a simple matter of opinion or taste or difference of viewpoints. This is a matter of someone putting out incorrect and apparently unvalidated information.

Jean Brandau writes a blog on which presumes to include a calendar of events for the Huntsville, AL area. To my detriment, I consulted her calendar of events twice this holiday season, once regarding a skating event at the local ice-plex and again (my mistake) to find out when the Messiah Sing-along would take place.

On both counts Jean's calendar was WRONG. Her dates for both events were off by a week.

I was smart enough to call about the skating event before we drove all the way across town to the rink. The kid who answered the phone had no idea what I was talking about at first. After several hints and clues, he realized that I was referring to an event that had taken place a week before I called. And, while Jeans' blog made the event out to be a public skating session with carols being sung by the Huntsville Chorus, the actual event (which had taken place a week earlier) was in fact a figure skating show with the Huntsville Chorus providing musical accompaniment. So, she was not only wrong about the date, she misrepresented the entire nature of the event.

Which sort of makes me the idiot for trusting Jean's website to provide accurate, correct information regarding the premier event on my holiday calendar - the Messiah Sing-Along. According to Jean's bogus blog (a blogus?), tonight was the big night. The night I await for a year at a time. The night I get dressed up for and make the kids dress up for. The night I pull out my complete Messiah score and set out to enjoy one of my very favorite musical compositions of all time.

It was over before we ever left the house. It was 6 nights ago. I figured this out after we drove 18 miles across town - and 18 miles back - wasting an hour of one of our last evenings before Christmas, when we arrived at the designated location to find one guy in a pick-up truck waiting for a buddy to play basketball in the adjacent gym. Not sure why I waited until tonight to check the website at the actual church where the event was to take place. (At least Jean got that part right.) But, that's how I found the correct date. I signed up for that church's e-mail newsletter just to be sure I don't miss out next year. Because I damn sure won't be checking out Jean Brandau's blog for ANY other events. Ever.

Jean Brandau, you suck. Your blog sucks. And, you owe me four round-trip airfares to Washington, D.C. to catch one of the very last Messiah Sing-Alongs scheduled this year - the one at the Kennedy Center. If there's an admission charge, you owe me four of those, too. And, a hotel room.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Involuntary Manslaughter of a Book

I hope you read this one day, son. Because it's really the only way I'll ever be able to let you know just how much what you said hurt.

We were out Christmas shopping a couple of weeks ago when my son pointed out a book that he wanted. It was a newly released title in a series of books that he had been reading for a while. Mental note made, I decided to pick up a copy for his birthday, shortening his wait to Christmas by a couple of weeks.

On a later shopping outing, I had the opportunity to buy a copy of the book without him even suspecting. That's kind of an accomplishment in and of itself. I hid it in our van and got it upstairs to our bedroom where I had another book hidden away for his upcoming birthday.

On his birthday, before I wrapped his gifts I hunted down a good pen - one that wrote nicely - and made an extra effort to neatly write a note on the title page. I put the date in the upper, right-hand corner. Below the title of the book I wrote, "Happy 11th Birthday. Love Dad and Mom." Then I wrapped it in tissue paper and put it in a gift bag with the other book.

If you're reading closely, you may have deduced that my son was only getting two gifts from us on this particular occasion. That's not because his birthday is so close to Christmas. We've always said that should not factor into it. We don't make a big deal out of birthdays at our house, but Christmas is Christmas, and your birthday is your birthday. The relatively modest "take" had nothing to do with that. What it really boiled down to was that my son wanted to take several friends to go play paintball for his birthday party. As usual, however, he didn't express this until it was far too late to make all the necessary arrangements. For starters, the paintball facility required a minimum of one week's notice and a downpayment. For another, the smallest birthday party package they offered cost a little over $200. That's FAR more than we usually spend on birthdays for any member of our family. My son typically changes his mind about what he wants to do on his birthday at least four times, two of which usually occur within a week of the actual date. At any rate, since there was no time and the weather wasn't really all that conducive to outdoor activities, we agreed to set up a paintball outing at a later date. That would be his real present. But, I do like to give my kids something for their birthdays that they can keep and remember. Hence, the books.

I didn't expect him to be overjoyed by the books, but I did figure he'd be somewhat pleased with them. One was a softcover picture book about Navy SEALS, one of my son's latest passions. The other he had flat out told me he'd like to have. And, it was a hardback, first edition. So, I expected him to be somewhat appreciative, which he was at first.

What I wasn't prepared for was his reaction when he opened the hardback book and saw my handwritten note on the title page.

"Why did you write in it? You killed it?" he said.

I don't even know what I said in response. I was stunned. I wrote the note with the intent of adding some personal value to the book, not to ruin it. Perhaps my harping about taking care of his things had gone too far. He's not typically devoid of sentiment. I don't know what I'd say now, given days to think about it. All I know is that those words cut to the bone.

His sister had gotten him a movie, which we watched after he had unwrapped his books. After the movie, I picked up the book, opened it to the title page, and tore it out. Then I wadded up that page and threw it in the trash. What else could I do? I couldn't return the book and he clearly didn't want a book with a handwritten note in it.

I have a letter that my dad wrote me when I was younger than my son. Dad was working in Virginia and we were still living in Indiana. My mom kept it all these years and sent it to me last summer. My dad is still alive. It's not like I'll never hear from him again. But, we don't see each other often. Time and distance simply make it impractical for us to visit in person. The vast majority of our communications are by e-mail; eventually they'll disappear without a trace. So, I'll hold onto that letter from my dad until I'm gone.

I figured I'd give my son something to hold onto in the event that he and I find ourselves separated by time and distance the way my own dad and I have. Maybe he's still too young to get that. Maybe he doesn't even comprehend that there will be a day when I won't see him off to school and I won't tuck him in at night. Or, maybe that just means more to me than it does to him.

RockSmith - XBox - Internet TV Update

This just in: Ubisoft plans to release a PC-based version of RockSmith some time this coming Spring (March 2012)!

This would tie in nicely with my Internet TV plans since I was leaning toward hooking a PC up to my TV for that purpose.

This news does not, however, necessarily rule out the possibility of an XBox finding its way into my house. (In fact, don't tell my kids, but there may already be an XBox hiding somewhere in my bedroom as we speak. Just in case.) XBox-es also serve as wireless Internet TV streamers, so rather than upgrading an old PC for this purpose or purchasing a separate box it may make more sense to just go with an XBox. I'm prepared for that possibility.

I have learned one thing in my research on gaming consoles: PS3s will play Blu-Ray disks. XBoxes will not. Yet. Makes little to no difference to me as I will not be replacing our rather significant collection of DVDs (including complete boxed sets of M*A*S*H, Friends, and I Love Lucy) with Blu-Ray disks. Ever. For one thing, I don't think our TV is really good enough that the difference in quality between a DVD and a Blu-Ray would be noticed. It would be like playing CDs through the amp and speaker on my old portable record player. For another, if I was in the market for a Blu-Ray player, I'd just buy a Blu-Ray player. They can be had for under $100 on sale. The cheapest PS3 I've seen was easily twice that amount plus some change. You don't buy a game console to watch Blu-Rays. You buy a game console to play games.

Anyway, even if I go with the XBox, being able to play RockSmith on a PC could still be a very good thing. You can't run recording software on a game console. Nor composing software. Etc. Many studios have a PC in them but not a game console. Mine, for example. And, it would be much easier to run RockSmith on the computer I already have in there than to move the XBox into the music room every time I feel like playing in there.

I also popped into an Apple Store this past weekend with my family - at my kids' behest. Yes, yes. They're very nice. But, still grossly overpriced. I checked out Garage Band on a Mac desktop system and watched part of a computer-based lesson by Rush guitarist Alex Leifson which showed users how to play the guitar part to Tom Sawyer. While it was sort of cool to get this info straight from the horse's mouth, so to speak, it didn't hold a candle to what you do with RockSmith. And, notably, RockSmith is not scheduled to be released for Macs (although I suppose it might be possible that you could run the software on a Mac).

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

PayPal Does Indeed Suck

Start with this latest article about a truly evil, greedy, mismanaged company:

I'm talking about eBay's little puppet online payment site, of course, which I've long referred to as "PayCrook." Stories of how badly PayCrook sucks abound. There's a whole website called ""

My story will follow, after a list of alternative online payment service sites. I welcome additional sites; just put them in the comments and I'll add links here as they come in.

Also, I've read that Visa plans to start their own online payment service soon. I'll see what I can find out about that.

There's also a site called that allows merchants to process credit card payments, but that's a little beyond the scope here.

My own experience with PayCrooks was fairly extensive as an eBay seller for several years. It ended suddenly when they ripped me off for approximately $90. My use of eBay also ended soon after that due to eBay's increasing attempts to coerce both buyers and sellers to use the "service." Eventually, as many of you know, eBay bought PayCrooks. Seems almost impossible to believe, but I hear that PayCrooks actually got WORSE after that. But, I digress.

I listed for sale on eBay a used video editing VCR which I had bought a few years before for several thousand dollars. The listing clearly identified the unit as "USED." I was in rather dire straits and needed money, so I provided a Buy It Now option at $500.00. A fraction of what this unit would cost even used from any source. Some zipperhead from Texas bought the VCR using Buy It Now within what seemed like minutes of my listing going live. Great! Money was deposited into my PayCrooks account. I prepared the unit for shipping - in its original factory packaging - and sent it on its way. Everything was wonderful.

A few days later I got an e-mail from Zipperhead saying that there was a superficial scratch on the faceplate of the VCR and he wanted either a substantial refund or a new faceplate. This being Sony equipment, a new faceplate was going to cost about $200. A substantial refund after selling a fully functional, nearly new $3500 VCR for $500? That wasn't going to fly either. Basically I told Zipperhead to go screw himself. But, I was fairly nice about it.

He filed disputes with both eBay and PayCrooks, and, significantly, both disputes were denied. End of story, right? Nope.

Zipperhead filed a dispute with his credit card issuer, which then went to PayCrooks and got a chargeback on the purchase. Fortunately, I had already transferred all but $90 from my PayCrook account to my bank account. PayCrook took the $90, claimed that I owed them another $410, and then locked my account when I declined to pay up. I reminded PayCrook that they had themselves declined the buyer's dispute. Didn't seem to matter. PayCrook bent over for the buyer's credit card company and was a little miffed when I didn't return the favor for them.

I told them they could sue me for the $410 and I looked forward to seeing them in court - in MY county of residence. I also told them they need not bother unlocking my account because I wouldn't use it again even if they gave me back my $90 and apologized for ripping me off.

So, for all I know, I still have a PayCrook account because I cannot close it. Presumably after this many years (it's been at least 5 years) they would have closed my account due to inactivity and the fact that any lawsuit they might launch would be thrown out upon presentation of a SoL defense. Basically, it's too late for them to come after me. Not that I was remotely worried about it. If they ever do try to sue me for it, I've still got all the e-mails from PayCrook and eBay denying the buyer's dispute against me.

I just hope the VCR shorted out and electrocuted the little bastard in Texas who bought it.

Monday, November 28, 2011

RockSmith Might Make Me a Believer (in XBox)

Those of you who know me well or know my kids know that our house is XBox/PS-free. I'm against kids sitting around playing video games all day when they could be outside. Even if that weren't the case, I have three computers within arm's reach as I type this, plus another desktop system in my garage and my wife's laptop downstairs. Oh, and an old system in the music room that I just haven't parted with yet. So, we have no shortage of computer systems on which we could play games if I were inclined to buy and play computer games. No need to spend $300 on an XBox or Playstation, right?

Until now.

Before we go further, I should explain that IF I break down and buy a gaming system it will be the XBox rather than the Playstation. That's a holdover from when I used Sony video cameras and editing equipment. Great gear, but I learned the hard lesson that once you buy into the Sony regime you are stuck with it. Besides, Microsoft is at least nominally an American company. So, let's not have an XBox versus Playstation argument. My kids are just lucky I'm considering either option. If they had any idea I was considering this possibility, my status as coolest dad in the world would be etched in stone.

So, why now? Why, after thirteen years of making my kids feel like the only Jewish kids on the block at Christmas, am I suddenly not just able to consider but actually enthusiastic about the idea of getting an XBox? Because you cannot, as yet, play RockSmith on a PC. (Nor on a WII.)

If you haven't heard of RockSmith yet, don't feel left out. It was just released this past October. I had never heard of it until this past weekend. And, then, it was only because our new music store in town had a fully-functional display set up when I went to buy drum sticks the other night. The kids and I played it and at least two of us were hooked. You may not have anything about RockSmith yet, but you will. In fact, allow me to be the first to pass the good news along.

Remember Guitar Hero and Rock Band? Utter waste of time. I've always said that. While Guitar Hero looks like it might be marginally fun to play for about an hour, it's basically air guitar with a plastic prop. Apparently I'm at least partially correct in my assessment of GH's/RB's ability to stay relevant. I haven't seen either one of them on store shelves this year. They may be there, but they aren't the "rock stars" they were last Christmas season. I mean, you can still find Bee Gees records, too, but that doesn't mean they're still relevant.

Anyway, I've always said if you're going to spend the time learning to play GH/RB, why not spend that time learning to play an actual guitar? Apparently the folks at Ubisoft agree with me. RockSmith is essentially the GH/RB game (the guitar part) except that you use A REAL GUITAR.

That's right. You plug an actual guitar with strings and frets into your XBox/PS and start the game. Instead of doing a half-assed air guitar thing with some plastic, guitar-shaped game "controller," you play actual notes on actual guitar strings. The system compensates for tuning, and it takes care of the messy amp settings to get the right "sound" for the song you're playing. But, you're actually playing a guitar.

Like (from what I remember) GH/RB, the better you get, the harder the game becomes. Until you're playing the entire song note for note on your guitar. And, what you learn transfers. My son came home after his test drive and played exactly what he had learned on RockSmith on his real guitar. Quite unlike anything you can do with what you "learn" by playing GH/RB, huh?

And, here's another thing. You don't need a $400 Fender Tele to play RockSmith. Any cheap-ass guitar with an output jack will work (acoustics, too, if you have a pickup attached). I got a real piece of crap online a few years ago for about $25 and it will work just fine with RockSmith. The cheap plastic game controllers go for anywhere from $40 to $150 and what are you going to do with them when you aren't playing GH/RB? Nothing. Waste of money. You can get a perfectly nice electric guitar for $150, which you can actually play independently of your game system.

At $79.99, this isn't the cheapest game you can buy for your Xbox or Playstation, but you get what you pay for. Not to say your kids wouldn't get bored with it, but what they learn before that happens will be real. Still not sure I'm going to rush out and buy an XBox, but the fact that I'm even thinking about it speaks volumes about RockSmith. If you already have an XBox this would be well worth the money. Even if you had to buy a cheap guitar to use with it.

LG HB336 Blu-Ray Home Theatre System

Bought one of these over the Thanksgiving Day weekend for a good price - $299. Wasn't too sure about it, but my wife encouraged me to go ahead and get it while the price was low and while there were still some (two, actually) in stock. We returned it to the store Sunday.

Setting the unit itself up and getting it connected to the TV and speakers is easy. And, it sounds absolutely GREAT. I mean amazing. Other than that, I hated virtually everything about it.

On the down side, this thing doesn't come with a wireless adapter. Since the wireless access to Internet TV was one of our primary reasons for going down this road, not being truly wi-fi ready was a huge downside. To me, "wifi ready" means ready to connect to my LAN. NOT ready to accept a separately purchased wireless network adapter. For damn sure it doesn't mean buying a proprietary adapter for between $25 and $70 more. You can't just grab one of the extra network adapters you have lying around in your den and plug it in; this unit recognizes only the LG brand adapter. That alone was a deal killer for me.

The unit is ethernet capable, but I'm not running 25 feet of CAT5 cable from my router, down the stairs, and across the living room to my home theatre system.

We didn't even bother putting in a disk to watch. But, I did listen to the integrated radio tuner while I puzzled over why my wireless adapter wasn't working in this thing. As I said, the sound is amazing. It would almost be worth having this just to listen to music - except that the user interface was just too awkward. We only had the thing set up for about 12 hours before it went back into the box, but it appears that this unit and your TV become one. You can't watch TV without turning on the unit, and you can't use the unit (not even the radio) without the TV on. That's a problem for me. I don't need incredible audio when I'm just watching the news. And, when I want to listen to the radio, I don't want to pay for the electricity required to run a 42" LCD TV.

This thing comes with an iPod docking dongle. If you use an iPod or an iPhone or whatever, more power to you. You'll love this little feature. But, I don't want to pay for an accessory that I will never use. Plus, the whole interface sort of smacks of the sort of tech-toy awkwardness that iType people love but which I hate. When I want to listen to the radio, I just want to push the ON button and have the radio come on. I don't want to pick up my phone and use it as a remote. I don't even want to use the actual remote sometimes.

In short, using this system was too much like setting up a computer for the first time. We have decided to try some other options, starting with the purchase of a good stand-alone A/V tuner-amplifier with HDMI inputs. We have a perfectly good DVD player, and I have no particular desire to "upgrade" our movie collection to the more expensive Blu-Ray media, so no need for the Blu-Ray player. We can get a network TV box for about $50 - WITH the necessary wireless adapter built-in. So, I think we'll just try that.

Or, I'll just put a video card with HDMI outputs into one of the computers we have sitting around the house and hook up an actual computer to the TV. The guy at the store said I'd get more options doing it that way anyway. Ironically, he said the network ready units like the one we tried were for people who didn't want to bother (or didn't know how) to hook a computer up to their TV.

Monday, November 7, 2011

If You're Poor and You Don't Know It. . .

Speaking from a purely financial perspective, I have marveled for over two years that I am doing the best I've ever done and yet, compared to many others, I'm not doing very well at all. Today I was listening to an NPR story about the new paradigm for defining poverty and you can imagine my shock when I realized that, not only am I not driving a Maserati or living in a $500,000 McMansion, I may actually be living in poverty!

OK, I don't actually fall below the poverty line by either the new or old definition. But, as part of the story, an NPR reporter interviewed the head of the food stamp program in Mississippi. The interview revealed that a family of four in Mississippi may receive up to $650 or so in food stamp benefits per month.

I recently launched what I consider a conservative but livable home budget for my family of four. Our monthly allocation for food? $600.00 per month. Plus another $75.00 per month for dining out (mainly trips to McDonald's or Arbys on the way home from late nights at the ball park). A total of $675.00 per month, to include school lunch expenses. Total.

And, according to John Davis, the SNAP Director in Mississippi, food stamps aren't even supposed to be the sole source of food for recipients. They're supposed to be a supplement. Which means most qualified SNAP recipients are expected to spend more per month on food than I do!

Every time I see one of those commercials for Feed the Children or some similar charity program where they tell you it only costs $0.30 per day to feed a child, I ask myself, "Where do they do their grocery shopping?" That's where I need to shop. My wife actually does an amazing job of keeping groceries in the pantry on our present budget. Still, the idea that I could drop that food budget down to roughly $36.00 per month? Approximately 5% of what "poor" people are expected to spend on food in a month? That's pretty alluring.

My point is that I don't believe either the previous nor the new formula for determining poverty could possibly be very accurate. Either that, or there's a pretty easy solution to the whole poverty problem.

Mr. Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation says, "Over 80 percent of poor families have air conditioning, two-thirds of them have cable TV, half of them have computers, a third of them have widescreen HDTVs." Not sure where he got those numbers, but I'd say he's probably about right. I'd love to know the numbers for poor families who smoke or own pets. Or who make car payments.

If I'm doing as well as I am and I'm spending less on food than food stamp recipients, we definitely have a disconnect from reality somewhere in this chain. Perhaps part of the problem is the current atmosphere of "political correctness" (a misnomer if ever there was one) which discourages us from calling a spade a spade. Maybe there should be more of a stigma attached to being "poor." If I'm going to be poor, I should know I'm poor. Then I'd realize that I should probably watch my spending. Maybe drop the cable TV, sell the big screen, and perhaps eat some raman noodles a couple of times a week. Like I did when I was really, truly poor.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Crop Picking

When I was growing up in corn/grain country, teenagers eagerly signed up to detassel corn because the pay was awesome. The work sucked - out in the sun, hot, dusty, and corn leaves are surprisingly sharp, but the money was great. Parents dropped off their kids or the older kids drove to a central meeting point where buses picked them up and took them to the fields for the day.

Of course, back then, our parents didn't just hand us $100 and the keys to a new car and send us off to Bridgestreet Mall to hang out with our friends getting our hair and nails done. So, we actually had some incentive to earn our own money. It's past time for us to get back to that ethic. The reason we have so many lazy adults in this country is because we make so many lazy kids. When you spend the first 18 years of life being indulged and pampered, you're unlikely to rush out the door on your 18th Birthday to find some good, hard work to do to earn your own way.

So, I guess my point is this: We need to send not the unemployed, not the welfare cases, not prisoners out to the fields to get the crops in. We need to send our teenagers.

(Now watch as the comments about child abuse and child labor pour in!)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy ESPN

Why are we occupying Wall Street? There's no clear objective. To me, this is all just pointless venting against income disparity with no proposed solutions. The whole movement is misguided. If you're pissed off that someone makes more money than you do and more money than they'll ever need, you should be "occupying" arenas and stadiums where the MLB, NFL, and NBA play games, not business districts where people actually do work.

I'll be among the first to say that pushing papers around on a desk or creating PowerPoint presentations for one meeting after another is not exactly "work." But, neither is playing sports. Nobody ever says, "Let's go work football." You PLAY football. We call football games GAMES - not jobs.

According the an AFL-CIO executive paywatch website, the average pay for CEOs at S&P 500 companies is a touch under $11.5 million per year. Chief executives on the AFL-CIO's 100 Highest Paid CEOs list rake in between $17.5 to $85 million per year. That's for CEOs - very likely the very highest paid position in any corporation. But, it's still quite a bit LESS on average than many professional ball players, golfers, etc.

Average salaries for sports players? NFL: about $1 million to $2 million per year depending on position. MLB: over $3 million per year. NBA: $5.2 million per year. NHL (which I consider underpaid relative to all other sports): $2.6 million per year. That's average. Plenty of individual players get paid a LOT more than average.

Tiger Woods got paid $97 million in 2006, more than the CEO of Viacom - the highest paid CEO in America according to the AFL-CIO. Tiger got to knock golf balls around for his full time job. Mr. Dauman at Viacom probably only managed to squeeze in 18 or 36 holes per week.

David Beckham signed a $50 million/year contract to play soccer for a professional soccer team in LA. Hardly anybody in America even watches soccer unless their kids play. Which begs the question, who is paying this guy $50 million per year to play a sport that hardly anybody in America even watches?

Kobe Bryant, who was actually charged with rape, brought in about $35 million back in 2007. Michael Vick, notable animal cruelty offender, signed a 10-year contract in 2004 for $13 million per year. Vick got paid about $5 million for his first season back after spending 2 years in jail. You can argue that many CEOs are criminals, but not many CEOs get their jobs back and get a raise after they get out of jail.

Muhammed Ali (Cassius Clay) brings in a cool $55 million per year just for letting advertisers use his assumed name. And, he doesn't even have to take a punch. At least Michael Schumacher (F1 race car driver) actually put his life on the line for the $80 million he netted in 2006. Most pro-sports types risk little more than a side-lining injury - and they still get paid even if that injury takes them out for the entire season. Steve Jobs kept working with pancreatic cancer, right up until he died of respiratory failure.

I could go on. And on. And on. While I've only cited a handful of the very highest paid athletes, the point is that there are hundreds of them and they all get paid more in a year than you or I will likely earn in 20 years. And, that's if we are both well paid and very lucky for 20 years in a row. They get this money not for doing anything resembling productive work but for playing sports.

Most of the companies represented on the AFL-CIO's list of 100 Highest Paid CEOs are good, solid American companies like Ford, IBM, Johnson & Johnson, CBS, Coca-Cola and Disney. These are BIG corporations that have been around a long time and virtually NONE of them are banks or investment companies that conjur up visions of "Wall Street." These companies employ thousands and thousands of people. Which is why their CEOs get paid. A lot. Even though the actual day-to-day work is done by employees and front-line supervisors, manning the helm of a corporation that size is a pretty big responsibility.

So, tell me again why it is that we're so angry about a relative handful of white collar workers who make more than we do when there are hundreds of sports figures who make even more?

Think about who pays the multimillion dollar salaries of these sports figures. YOU do. Attending an NFL game will cost you around $75 - minimum - just to get a seat. I know people who pay this kind of money regularly to watch something that they could see on TV for free. Then they'll pay another $70 or so for a (fake) jersey to wear to the game, $25 for a foam finger, $20 for a hat, and $8.00 for each beer. I don't pay anywhere near that amount of money in bank fees in a year. If you do, perhaps you should be more mad at yourself than at the bank. Maybe it's time to check into switching banks. But, I just don't see the point of occupying Wall Street when the big money is at Yankee Stadium and other places like it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The New Rolls-Royce/Bentley

Saw on of the new Rolls-Royces yesterday, ironically pulling into an outlet mall. UGLY doesn't begin to describe this rolling eyesore. Wow. Rolls has really hit rock bottom with their latest crew of designers. Apparently they're now marketing a once-distinguished motor-carriage to makers of rap videos. The latest Rolls looks like a cross between an overgrown Kia (in the back) and a Chrysler 300 (at the front). Blechhhh! If somebody gave me one of these grotesque abominations of automotive "styling," I'd take it to downtown Atlanta and sell it to the first guy I saw wearing a fur coat and gold-framed glasses (in other words, a pimp or Elton John).