Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Obama turning out worse than I excpected. Clearly I'm not cynical enough.

I knew I'd disagree with Obama on many things, and that he (like all politicians) would turn out to be hypocritical on many things. What's really getting my goat is that he's been reversing himself left and right on the things I actually agreed with him on during the campaign.

Oh, and this is outright offensive - he won't allow banks to repay TARP funds unless he deems it "in the national economic interest." This essentially boils down to him not letting banks repay the treasury because that would mean he'd no longer have political control of them. (found via McMegan)

Monday, April 20, 2009

Theft by finding?

Here's an appalling story:

Paul Leicester, 18, played the Good Samaritan when he discovered the handset lying in the street.

He rang the last number dialled and told a friend of the owner he would leave the phone at a nearby police station. But officers arrested him for “theft by finding”, held him for four hours and took a DNA sample.

"Theft by finding?" WTF? Even if he had tried to keep it, doesn't the act of "finding" imply abandonment by the original owner?

Anyway, here's a funny response:

I think it's all a Monty Python sketch.

"I'd like to return this cell phone."

"Markenson's, two doors down, thank you."

"No, no. I didn't buy it, I found it."

"Best of luck getting a refund then, thank you. Good day."

"No, you don't seem to understand. I'm turning it in to you."

"If Markenson's won't give you a refund, why should we?"

"No! You're the police! I found this cell phone and I want to return it to its original owner."

"Oh, I see. Harry, have any of the boys reported a lost cell phone?"

"Don't think so, Grimm."

"Sorry, it's not ours. Perhaps someone at Markenson's lost it. Good day."

"Damn it all! I know who the owner is! I called them on this very phone! They're coming hereto collect it as we speak!"

"Why would they be coming here? We don't have it."

"Of course you don't, you git! I have it! It's right bleedin' here!"

(shows the officer the phone)

"So the owner of that phone..."

"Yes."

"is coming here..."

"Yes."

"to pick it up."

"Exactly!"

"And what, pray tell, are you doing with it?"

"I found it!!"

"Oh, did you?"

"Yes, I did."

"And how did you find it?"

"It was just laying there."

"Was it?"

"Yes."

"Alright, you're going to have to come with me, Mr. Findy Fingers."

"What for???"

"Are you or are you not the owner of that phone there in your hand?"

"I'm not!"

"So you admit it!"

"This is insane! I found it! It was just laying there!"

"That's what they all say. Come now, let's have a DNA sample."

"Oh, bollocks!"

"No, sir, we just swab your cheek. That's a good chap. Come along."

"This is ridiculous! I merely found this phone and turned it in out of a sense of civic duty! Ididn't expect a sort of Spanish Inquisition!

(looks at door)

"I said, 'I didn't expect a sort of Spanish Inquisition!'"

"Yes, we heard you, sir, didn't we, Harry?"

"Loud and clear, Grimm."

"But I thought..."

"Obviously."

"Then this isn't...?"

"Afraid not."

"I see."

"Quite."

"So you'll be wanting my DNA then?"

"There's a good chap. Has anyone ever told you you look like Michael Palin?"

"I get that a lot."

(The door opens. An Eric-Idle-looking fellow comes in.)

"Can I help you, sir?"

"Ah, yes, I'm here for a phone?"

"Markenson's, two doors down, thank you."

Best Headline Ever

Woman has developed an imaginary, but useful, third arm.

Housewife Charged In Sex-For-Security Scam

Hilarity from The Onion:
AKRON, OH—Area resident Helen Crandall, 44, was arrested by Akron police Sunday, charged with conducting an elaborate "sex for security" scam in which she allegedly defrauded husband Russell Crandall out of nearly $230,000 in cash, food, clothing and housing over the past 19 years using periodic offers of sexual intercourse.

Congress to Start Demanding Banks Be Omniscient

Depressing:
I expect we're going to see a lot of this over the next five years, as Congress starts to feel more like the owners of the banking system: "Make more loans! But also, raise credit quality! Serve the poor and minorities! But not ones who are going to default!"
@#%! congressional meddlers.

Heh.

This is by far the funniest (visual) commentary I've seen on the AIG bailout bonus brouhaha.

Geography with Leonidas

Ha!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Motivational Poster

Heh. I'd totally put that up if I ran an office. At least it doesn't actually damage my morale like "real" motivational posters.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Hymn for Good Friday

Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
'Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life's oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

[Sigh]

This makes me depressed: "Only 53% of American adults believe capitalism is better than socialism." Are people really that stupid and short-sighted?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Hooray for Best Buy?

This may sound a bit strange, but this post is for giving props to my local Best Buy (Lafayette, IN). While they didn't exactly bend over backwards to do the right thing, they didn't force me to press hard either, and in this day and age, that deserves a little recognition.

So, I went in today looking to buy a laptop. I'd done some shopping around and knew roughly what I needed, so I figured it would be no big deal. While there, a Service Associate, who we'll call Billy (I didn't catch his real name) asked me what I was looking for and actually pointed out another laptop that I hadn't seen located on an endcap, for $30 less than the ones I had been eyeing. In the end, I decided to purchase the model Billy had pointed out. (A helpful service associate? Wow!) I then picked up a laptop and took it to the front to pay, whereupon I learned that this particular laptop had been "optimized" for my convenience (removing all the crapware that comes on it and giving me some restore disks) for only a $50 fee. I told him that I didn't want it, but all the remaining ones were "optimized." He responded that essentially, that was just too bad, but that I should go talk to the Geek Squad. Needless to say, an additional $50 fee on a $500 laptop was a bit steep, so I declined purchasing it and went back to the endcap to check again for one that wasn't "optimized." They still had none. I then flagged down Billy and asked him to check and see if there were any in the back that hadn't been messed with. He checked, but no dice.

At this point I was getting a bit frustrated, and pointed out to him that advertising a product at one price and then refusing to sell it without an unnecessary $50 service seemed decidedly sketchy. He volunteered to go talk to his manager about the price (more props for Billy here). The word came back that they either had to find one for me that was un-"optimized" or sell me an "optimized" one without the $50 fee. So, I ended up getting an "optimized" laptop for the advertised price.

Best Buy passed up a chance to try to pull the scuzzy bait-and-switch and declined after I pressed a bit on finding an un-"optimized" laptop. Though I believe this is required by law, that seldom affects what actually happens, and I appreciate Best Buy's willingness to behave honestly and forthrightly without forcing me to debate with a manager for an hour or two and/or directly accuse them of deceitful business practices, and "Billy" the Service Associate was quite helpful. I'll probably shop there again.

Also, props to The Consumerist, without which I probably would have failed to recognize the bait-and-switch, and for helping me to remember that remaining calm and persistent is more likely to get me what I want than raging at the poor employees.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Math Joke!

Heh:

f(x) goes into a bar and asks for a drink. "I'm sorry," the barman says. "We don't cater for functions."