Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine And Dandy

Swine flu is this year's bird flu, with the mainstream media doing their damnedest to scare the bejeebus out of us all, so that we keep their station tuned in for all our Swine Flu Updates. I wonder how many infected from Mexico and South America will try to make their way across our borders in search of our superior health care, infecting every town they come in contact with. And I wonder what our government (now with Senate Filibuster-Proof Majority) will do to lower our risk. The next couple of days will be a golden opportunity to shore up our porous southern border. By this time next week, we'll know whether or not we've got a government that will give us "change we can believe in" on border security.

Friday, April 24, 2009

...And New Photos

I've finally resolved to get my Flickr site up to date with the photos I've taken over the last, oh, 8 months or so. This first batch is photos I took at Camden Yards and Citizens Bank Park during a "two-games-two-days-two-parks" weekend, culminating with the eventual World Series champion Phillies clinching the division over the Nationals.

New Look

No, you're not at the wrong site.  I just proofread the post I just made and realized that my layout was giving me a headache.  So in the interest of easing eyestrain everywhere, I've changed my template to one that I think is a bit easier to read.  I'll be making some changes to some of my sidebar items (my Flickr link in particular takes up way more than its share of room), but I hope everyone likes the new look. (I welcome feedback if you love it or hate it; just use the comment form.)

You May Pick Your Seat

Anyone who knows me or who's ever read this blog (and I think all of you are one and the same) knows that I love the Yankees more than I love breathing. So it's out of love that I say this. Just like Chris Brown.

It's no secret that I hated the Yankees tearing down and replacing the classic, historical Yankee Stadium. In fact, over on my Twitter page, I likened it to seeing the Temple of Solomon torn down and having a McDonald's built on top of the rubble. Well, it looks like some of those proverbial McChickens have come home to roost. Seems that even during the inaugural series of...well, Yankee Stadium (I do give them credit for not naming it Macy's Stadium), there were an awful lot of Yankee fans who were disguised as empty seats and sitting very quietly. This was especially true in the most TV-visible lower seats, where face-value tickets ran over $2,000. And it's making one of (if not the single) most-followed, best-marketed-and-merchandised franchises in the world, let alone sports or baseball, look bad. There are lessons to be learned here--about tearing down the single biggest piece of the history that's made the franchise as beloved as it is, about spending billions of public and private dollars during one of the biggest recessions in recent memory, and about doing it all in the name of eliminating the bleachers and putting in more luxury boxes and "Legends Suites". Yankee Stadium isn't the only place turning what used to be entertainment for the working masses into a diversion for bluebloods and titans of industry only. But it's the worst and most visible offender. And a perception of inaccessibility is the first step down a very bad road for any franchise, sports or otherwise.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Sext and Sensibility

I never thought I'd be praising the ultimate blue-state government of Vermont, but this time they're working on a plan that actually makes sense. And that plan is to decriminalize sexting between teenagers. Yeah, yeah, yeah, religious conservatives, it'll probably lead to more of that kind of thing. But we're not talking about school shootings or fight clubs here. We're talking about stupid and horny kids doing what stupid and horny kids do whenever a new technology is invented: use it to get their rocks off. In a post-Megan's law world, is that worth being branded for life with the modern-day scarlet "A"? That's in the same category of stupid as stigmatizing someone for taking a leak in the alley behind the bar.

Monday, April 13, 2009

To Amazon: You Stink, No Link

I like keeping the Recent Experiences section over on the right hand side of this site up to date. It's a way for me to let my visitors know what entertainment I've been enjoying lately. To do that, I use the thumbnails from Amazon.com, just because they're there and easy to grab hold of. As a way of thanking them for not blocking me from leeching their images, I link back to the product's purchase page so that they can perhaps grab an extra sale or two out of the deal.

Well, not anymore. After I read this story on Slashdot today, I refuse to send them any more business until they back off this policy fix the "bug". Oh, sure, they're free to to sell or not sell whatever they want. But I'm also free to encourage others to send a message by taking their business elsewhere.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sin Tax Error

I'm sure everyone's read the stories and the opinions, pro and con, about the biggest ever tax hike on tobacco in history. (And it is tobacco, not just cigarettes. In fact, the taxes on cigars are going up at an even higher rate in some cases.) Problem is, most of the money goes to increase funding to S-CHIP, the childrens' health insurance program. That's not something that's suddenly going to need less money if smokers quit en masse. This tax has two goals that are at odds with each other: to get more people to quit smoking (and buying cigarettes), and to fund government programs. If and when the first goal is accomplished, the revenue stream dries up for the second. And what does the government do then? Well, if the fiscal conservatives are in charge, they cut spending commensurately. But if the government acts in character for recent times, that's not going to happen. And in the end, when everyone's taxes go up to keep the money flowing in, even the saints will be paying the sin taxes.