From monthly archives: May 2009

We are pleased to present below all posts archived in 'May 2009'. If you still can't find what you are looking for, try using the search box.


Energy Concern Trolls

I'm getting pretty tired of the BP Concern Troll commercials.  In amongst the very reasonable alternate energy solutions presented there is always, without fail, one Average AmericanTM absolutely insisting that offshore drilling must be a part of any future energy solution.

Just say NO to Sock Puppets.

I blog because I care.


It's How the UK Rolls

Sadly, No! has a fantastic article contrasting the UK's conservatives with our own.  The article is light on snark, which is unusual for SN!, but the article is really really important to read.  So go read it!  GOGOGO!  The Shorter: Britain's conservative party's attitude on torture makes America's newest mostest ultra liberalest prezdent evah look like a torture appeaser in contrast.



Today I went out to eat lunch with my lovely wife.  At the table next to us were two businessmen who were discussing future plans for their business.  Of course, rather than using the word plan they kept using the word vision.  This isn't the first time I've heard this euphemism.  Marketing departments must stay awake late at night coming up with cute buzzwords to replace boring old words that everybody, you know, actually understands.  I think it's part of what keeps them employed.  I'm guess I'm not really one to talk because IT is also a department very famous for coming up with new complex words too, but at least it's not to replace perfectly fine existing words, it's usually just fancy acronyms for new technology.  I confused a manager the other day by saying KVM.  Either way, I'm sure it keeps us employed.  :-D

But, I digress…

I actually heard these two say things like, "we need to communicate our vision" and "can you explain your vision for this?"  The one that took the cake for me was, "Wow – that's a lot of vision."

No, I'm serious!  That cracked me up. 

What they were talking about were their plans for the business.  How on earth the word vision became such a buzzword replacement for plan, I have no idea.  I hear vision at work frequently, especially around review time when I have to help with the "Five Year IT Vision" or whatever they are calling it this year.  But these two guys really took it to the next level.  They certainly didn't make it up.  They were just trying to sound like the Big Boy CEOs that throw that word around gratuitously.  I guess it sounds more fun and exciting than a plan, but that's all it is.

About the only thing worse than using vision instead of plan is when businesspeople use the word vision instead of the word budget.  Now, this one threw me off the first time I heard it.  It was really quite odd to hear things like "the maintenance cost of this project accounts for 10% of the 2008 vision."  That's just silliness.

Oh, I forgot to mention what the vision actually was that the two aforementioned gentlemen were discussing at lunch.  They were building a new church.  I didn't even understand that until about halfway through the first gentleman finished presenting his complete vision to the second gentleman.  It all seemed very… un-Christ-like to me.  Let's just say it was an expensive and grandiose vision.  It's quite unfortunate when religion becomes difficult to distinguish from big business.  Personally, I'd rather see all those generous donations go to the needy, but I know -- that's just crazy talk!  The needy can wait!  These guys really needed that large field, huge buildings, fancy architecture, statues, and expensive windows!


Up or Down Vote

Six thousand years ago, back in 2005, which was the dawn of modern democracy, this was the common thinking in the Senate.  Want to take bets on how many of these Senators flip-flop this year?

P.S. I can't wait to vote against Senator Burr in 2010.


The Teevee Tells Me Things

Last night I caught part of the Ed Schultz Show on MSNBC and some conservative hack was claiming (using an out-of-context quote) that Sonia Sotomayor is a racist against the poor downtrodden rich white male.  How come these days it seems conservative pundits (usually old white men, natch) claim only non-whites are racist? 

Thankfully, I got a great link off Atrios' site that digs into this issue and sets the record straight.  Much better than I could ever do.


Late Memorial Day Link

I wish I would have read this on Monday.  This post at absolutely nails what Memorial Day is about and how we all should reflect on that day.

That said, I did enjoy my day off, but was a bit perplexed why MSNBC decided to run an all-day marathon of Lockup.



Today our house received a citation because we haven't mowed our lawn often enough.  Yes, seriously.  For some perspective, it's been a little less than two weeks since we mowed our front yard.  We've been getting  a ton of rain, so the grass is growing like crazy right now.

The inspector was super polite, so I have no hard feelings toward the city.  He said it was so borderline, that he had to measure it with a ruler and then found that we did, indeed, have a few blades of grass over eight inches of length.  I wonder if a subcommittee on grass blade length had to be formed by the city to determine this magic number.  lol

Anyway, it turns out the city itself doesn't really care, but we had a busybody neighbor report us, so they are obligated to investigate.  No doubt it was the same neighbor that complained to our HOA about our security camera near the front door when we installed it (which, btw, there is no city or HOA rule against having).

The inspector told us that he had been receiving tons of lawn complaints like this.  He thinks its due to newly unemployed people staying at home and having nothing better to do.  Personally, I think it's more probably due to people trying to assert some small form of mitigation of property value decline since they can't control the bubble burst.  Because, you know, an occasional few long blades of grass on your neighbor's yard makes a huge difference!

So how sad is that?  Seriously, people.  Get a life.

If you see a cess pool of a pond on someone's property, an insect or rodent breeding ground, or some other health hazard, yes, report that property!  But if somebody didn't have time to mow the lawn last weekend, STFU and get a freaking life.

I wonder what our busybody neighbors will think when we mow our lawn so low that all the grass dies.  See -- I don't really care what it looks like.  But they obviously do.  There's no ordinance against dead grass.  ;-)


The SciFi Channel Becomes SyFy

Following in the wake of the massive blockbuster success of G4 and Spike TV, The SciFi Channel has decided change their name to "SyFy."  Their new tagline is "Imagine Greater."  No, it's not April 1st.  This is real.  I saw an ad that actually said, I'm not making this up, "Bright Lights, Big Imagination, Top 5 Channel."  Wha--?

Okay, I'm admit I'm not marketing professional like Dave Howe, but I think I have pretty good common sense.  I'm trying to figure out why companies think that changing their name will suddenly cause people to flock to their product (in this case, a cable channel).  Remember when Borland was going to take over the world as the newly christened Inprise: Integrating the Enterprise?  You know they thought they were oh-so-clever when they thought that one up.  Just as I'm sure SciFi is thinking now.  Well, you saw how well that turned out for Borland.  They became a minor player (and lost a lot of money) until they went back to the name that people actually knew: Borland.

Or how about the above examples?  Tech TV and the old G4 merged to become a mighty superpower of… COPs reruns and Japanese obstacle course shows.  Awesome!  At least Spike has some original programming.  The UFC stuff has a niche market.  Rassling, well, it's rassling.  I'm sure it makes some money.  Oh yes, SciFi has rassling too, I haven't forgotten.

Lipstick on a pig.  It's still a pig.

But really, I mean how do these people get these jobs and make these ridiculous decisions?  If you want a science fiction channel to be successful, you don't hide the science fiction stuff!  SciFi has been doing this for years.  From, essentially, forbidding classic ship-and-crew Star Trek like new shows in the late 90s, to showing every single lousy B movie in existence without little robots at the bottom of the screen poking fun at it (although, in their defense, they did do that too for a few years), SciFi has been in a holding pattern of reinventing itself for fifteen years!  Stop it!  You show science fiction, horror, and fantasy.  Stop wasting money rebranding yourself, changing your name, and failing at entering new markets that have absolutely no interest in you!

Look, some channels just have niche markets.  They aren't going to ever become massively dominant top-10 ratings machines.  That's okay!  Really!  Those of us that love niche programming, like science fiction, appreciate having a single place dedicated to it.  Stop trying to grow your channel to unrealistic heights.  Let it just be the size it is.  You don't need the money for dozens of massively expensive original shows and CEO bonuses. 

Ride your successes, like Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, Eureka, etc., and embrace your destiny as a niche market with geeky fans.  Stop ruining what is good about your channel under the guise of entering new markets.

Also, stop cancelling shows that are good and profitable, just because there might be a few more cents in a reality show or freaking rassling (I'm looking at you, ECW).  Really.  That pisses us true science fiction fans off big-time.  I'm still raw at Farscape getting canned without a complete fifth season which would have ended the story arcs at a natural pace and then quickly replacing it with the big steaming pile of fail, Tremors: The Series.  (Who in their right mind thought that show would succeed?)  The eventual Farscape miniseries was a nice olive branch, but it was far from the optimal outcome.

Whoever is making decisions for SciFi has officially now gotten on the Silly Wagon.  SyFy?!  This is the dumbest rebranding campaign I've ever seen money wasted on.  You have now officially surpassed Inprise.  You paid good money for this marketing campaign – i know you did.  That was a massive waste.  I'm telling you nothing is going to change.  I'm stating right now, today, that SyFy will be no more of a success than SciFi currently is.  You are wasting your money and depriving us of good science fiction that the money could have gone to.

Embrace your niche!  Stop screwing it up by trying to become more mainstream!

Also, more Anime pleez. :-D  (Anime historically makes little money for teevee stations, but I have to try!)



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