Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Let's hope he doesn't issue an Order 66!
Remember this day. This is the day that a new wave of LEFT WING dictators rise in Latin America. I cannot say where the next one will begin. I hope I am wrong. For most of the 20th Century hard-line conservative dictators ruled Latin America, now after 20 years of struggling to achieve democracy, the pendulum is swinging back the other way. I foresee civil wars in Mexico and Ecuador. I foresee social strife in Argentina. I see continued civil war in Colombia (as it has been for the last 35+ years). I pray I am wrong.
No man or woman should ever be able to govern by decree in times of peace. This is a recipe for disaster. I used to say that Chavez was harmless. Now, I see death on the horizon for many a Venezuelan.
As his power grows, so too will his paranoia that someone will go sic semper evello mortem tyrannus on his ass.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
When it comes to the type of woman that I find attractive, I look first at the eyes. The eyes determine, to me, if someone is beautiful or not. While the rest of the face can play a significant role in determining overall beauty, if the eyes don't have it, the rest won't matter.
Again this is all my opinion. My wife has these eyes that I find awesomely intoxicating. I can look into them, and if she'll actually stay looking at me, I can tell exactly what her emotion is, what she might be thinking, and if she's in the mood or not. Lately, I don't get to see enough of her eyes, as they usually are closed. With me being gone all day working, and her being stuck taking care of both the kids, she usually falls asleep shortly after I arrive home.
If you were to look at photographs of any girl I've ever dated, they'd all have two things in common: great eyes and they weren't toothpicks. While I appreciate the wonder of a thin body with an hourglass figure, I think an hourglass figure is even better on a bigger hourglass. I would not be a fan of touching someone and being able to feel the express outline of their bones. I like my woman to be soft to the touch. Besides, as we all learn eventually, thinness and physical beauty wane with time. Being young and hot and sexy is like being born rich and getting poorer every day for the rest of your life after age 25.
Most men realize that there are a few different types of women that they are attracted to. Salma Hayek, Jennifer Connelly (especially in The Rocketeer), Nicole Parker (MadTV), Monica Belucci, and Heidi Klum would top my celebrity sexy/beauty list. Aside from Klum, and Jennifer Connelly since she became anorexic, those are all real women. Yes, I think Penelope Cruz is gorgeous. Yes, I find slender women attractive--to say I didn't would be a lie. I find most people to be somewhat attractive. But, I would say that the great beauties of the world, the kind that give me pause, the kind that I never tire of telling Mickelle "That woman is gorgeous" are the ones that are NOT thin, not slender, not fit. If you still need me to translate: I like eyes and boobs (no real mystery there, huh Paul?).
I am obviously not in the majority. Some of my good friends prefer petit and thin girls. Cada quien con su cosa. What prompted this post from me is the criticism that the tabloids have been launching against a supposedly fat, 161 lbs., Tyra Banks.
Tyra Banks is not fat. And even if she is medically overweight, she looks better now than ever. I have always found her attractive, but at 33, I find her better looking now than I did in that Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover from my Georgia Tech days. As I've gotten older, I find a different type of woman more attractive. Seriously. I'm not deluding myself into thinking this. She gets better looking with age. Interestingly (to me only), we were born the exact same day.
Let's describe her look through the years:
Here we see an obviously young Tyra: flawless skin, good hair, and incredibly hypnotic eyes. Her eyes have made her famous. Her body has been stellar, but there are probably hundreds of millions of amazingly-figured women in the world. Perfect eyes are far far rarer.
Next we see Tyra in her mid-20's sexpot phase. Here she has the body that college boys find attractive. See the fitness, she the shape, see all that flesh. She has made herself into pornography in this image. This isn't an image to sell fashion. This photograph was made to sell magazines. She went from being a model and icon of beauty in the above photo, to an object of lust in this one.
Tyra claims that she switched to Victoria's Secret and Sports Illustrated ads as her body began to lose its youthful leanness and she became more full figured. In this image from Sports Illustrated, we find a body that comes close the sexual ideal of many a young man. That she was being rejected from fashion modeling jobs, while looking like this--still thinner than most American women--astounds. Again, please note that I disapprove of the sexual imagery of this image because it eroticizes her beauty. This image isn't targeted to female swimsuit purchasers. This image targets men interested in fantasizing about how sex with the fake Other in this image would be.
This image (at left) shows a supposedly "fat" Tyra. I can find no fault with her look. In fact, in some ways this image is far more erotic than many of the skin-a-plenty images of her from ten years ago. Tyra should not react with surprise when people call her fat. She made a living off [of] making a sexual spectacle of herself. She was the sexual fantasy of many a man and the body ideal for many a young woman. Now that time has assailed her previous physique, she should expect criticism. However, in this image, we see a modestly-dressed Tyra dancing in an erotic way. She appears to have that original sexual essence that some claimed was lost in the Australia beach photo (at right). While obviously not the sexual dynamo she was ten years ago, I think the woman in the beach photograph is gorgeous. The problem with making pornography of oneself for so long, is that you can never leave the game. The people all know what you looked like (well, with airbrushing) and any loss of what you had (or in this case didn't have) will only bring criticism of you. It isn't fair, but in this case, the revealing of skin for your own enjoyment, say a day at the beach, instead of a bikini fashion shoot, exposes the commodity that once belonged to anyone willing to forkover $5 to stare at your body. You were the fantasy for so many people. You have to know that countless sexual fantasies have been indulged and imagined on your body in the minds of the consumers of your image. The clothed and modest Tyra is still beautiful and gorgeous and sexy. It is precisely because the barrier of what turns the average person into a voyeur, the revealing of the torso and it's sexual imagery, and thereby a critic, is revealed in a swimsuit. If you keep your clothes on, you may remain a sex symbol. You've had so many fantasy sexual "partners" that they all feel they know you. Your image has been burned into their minds. Any deviation from that fantasy exposes it for what it is/was: a horrendous lie.
For more on what I mean here, please see my previous post:
Deconstructing Beyonce: What looks good may not necessarily feel good.
Their executives can DIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE in a FIIIIIIIIIII YER
Monday, January 29, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
So, one thing you forget when you live somewhere for five years in a place that rarely gets cold and that has zero carpet anywhere, is that when it's cold and you walk on carpet, static electricity builds up, and when it gets a chance to go to ground, it will do so. Every time I reach for a door handle at the school here, I get the snot shocked out of me.
I remember the wonder with which María Eugenia (Maruja) Chaves López would scratch her feet on the carpet at my house and then touch the door handle on purpose to feel and see the static. When we showed her how the spark was bluish in the dark she was absolutely amazed. She is from Costa Rica and when she came to Georgia in December of 1995, that was the first time that she had ever seen or even heard of such things.
My interview here has gone very well. I am optimistic about my chances. Conway is a beautiful place and the people seem very affable and collegial, which is very important to me. Also, I am certain that the pay will be excellent, so I plan to give any offer my full attention and consideration.
Mickelle told me that Marley asked her today, "Mom, after Jack goes to sleep, can we schedule some 'girl time'?"
She's a total crackcup
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Wish me luck.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Monday, January 22, 2007
I got lazy, got apathetic, whatever. I began to gain weight again. I wasn't doing much different, but my body was soaking up what I put into it with gusto. Two weeks ago, I determined to begin the South Beach Diet, Phase 1, again today. This morning, I tipped the scales at 400.7 lbs. There's something about 400 lbs that scares the hell out of me. I'm not so worried about my health, which is fine (191 cholesterol, BP avg 130/75, pulse at rest-68 bpm, blood sugar =100, I can touch my toe to my nose). I just don't want to be a spectacle. I want my clothes to fit better. I want to be able to be more comfortable. I don't want my weight to prevent me from doing stuff.
I will lose 40 lbs by July 22nd, and keep it off up until that date.
Paul, if you want your $10, tell me and I will give it to you. Or we can go double or nothing that I weigh 360.7 lbs or less on July 22, 2007. Your choice. Mine too.
Friday, January 19, 2007
First let me say that the only time a child under age three deserves a spanking is when their behavior will cause them bodily harm. Swatting a hand as it nears a hot stove, a good butt swat when your kid takes off in a parking lot--those are reasons to spank a toddler. Spanking a toddler for bad behavior seems a bit heavy-handed. Again, my opinion, but it shouldn't be law.
When we tried putting Marley in time out, she would get put in one of the chairs we have beside our chess table. She would be free to wail and thrash around, pitching more of fit usually in the chair than she did to get put in time out. Finally I got fed up and thought back to what my parents did to me when I was bad, but not bad enough for a spanking: The Dreaded Corner.
Standing in the corner ranks as the least enjoyable of all punishments. Being sent to my room meant I could play with toys, read, etc. The corner was 5-30 mins depending on if my Dad forgot about me or not (he'll deny ever forgetting, but since I'm a parent now, I know he's fibbing or fooling himself or at his advanced age has forgotten) of nothingness. I stood there, forbidden to lean against the wall, yet commanded to have my nose touch the wall in the corner. After about 30 seconds of that, the novelty wears off. It becomes torture. A kid wants to run around and be active, and being in the corner is not active. It is its antithesis. Marley hates the corner more than she hates a spanking. Sometimes she'll pitch a fit and refuse to get in the corner. I go put her in her room and when she finally calms down, I still make her stand in the corner. When she finally does it (sometimes hours later) then I know that she will have modified her behavior and learned from her poor actions.
I do not think time out in a chair is effective. It's too easy. Standing in the corner with no stimuli other than knowing that a cobweb is touching your forehead is great punishment.
I reserve spankings as a last resort.
four year olds are like teenagers in little bodies. All of the attitude, none of it earned.
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Of course you do Barry, because their admission to the hall, without admission of their guilt eases your own questionable entrance. Sad thing is, Mr. Bonds, you would've made the Hall of Fame without the 'roids. You are an amazing ballplayer. Your odious personality aside, you are a gamebreaker. You will make the Hall of Fame. No doubt about it. But, I do not think that you deserve the Honorable (I gave him that title) Henry Aaron's homerun record for your own. Your 73 homeruns (snort) were juiced. Aaron did his the old fashioned way.
You are so prideful that you make it easy to hate you. People wouldn't hate you if you were humble. People wouldn't hate you if you didn't appear to hate them all the time. What do you have to be jaded about? You we born a child of privilege, with a God-given talent that allowed you to play a game and become a millionaire a hundred times over. Look to Dale Murphy for how a man should be when he wears the uniform. Look to Brett Butler. Look to John Smoltz.
I will not cheer or express any excitement when you pass Aaron this year. You just know that your pride will make you shoot for 800.
If you retired today, made a speech that Aaron's record should stand without a shadow of a doubt over it, I would respect you......again. I saw you hit a home run in 1988, May I think it was, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. I was a frozen rope. It was going straight when it hit the outfield football bleachers in center. It hadn't begun to fall yet. It reminded me of Ruben Sierra's homeruns when he was a rookie. You didn't need the steroids to be great. You already were. Retire now and save face. For the good of everyone, yourself, and your children included.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
This isn't the only death from water in recent memory:
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
And then the Koran has this opinion of the Bible:
And the Jews say: The Christians do not follow anything (good) and the Christians say: The Jews do not follow anything (good) while they recite the (same) Book. Even thus say those who have no knowledge, like to what they say; so Allah shall judge between them on the day of resurrection in what they differ.
So they think that our book is just an incomprehensible as we do there's. Perspective and what you're used to play a large part in understanding the religious text of another religion. Borges once wondered what would have happened had the Alexandrine Gnostic sects triumphed dogmatically over Rome. What would have happened had worship of Abraxas been the norm? Would we look on the Bible stories as curious relics? Would the "heresies" of Capocrates and Basilides hold the same canonical place that Augustine and Thomas Aquinas possess? Interesting. I'm sure Muslims feel the same way when they read the Bible.
Thank Heavens for the Book of Mormon.
Monday, January 15, 2007
I don't care all that much for professional football. I like to play football, but watching it is boring. On occasion I do like to watch a game, and I'll always watch kids play, but it doesn't hold my attention the way a good game of baseball will. I get tired of the posturing and bad sportsmanship in the NFL and the NBA. In baseball, if you hotdog, the next plate appearance will find you with a baseball in your ear. There is no corresponding brushback intimidation in football, evidently football players choose to settle their differences off the field. Also, I find games with clocks on them to be uncessarily forced. For example, I would like to see football be a game of 12 possessions. The team with the highest score after those possessions wins. Basketball, first team to 100 points wins.
The biggest Saints fan I've ever known was the guy I used to work with at Pizza Hut in Provo, Utah, Sheldon Kirkham. Sheldon has forgotten more about football than I'll ever know. He lived and died by the Saints. I've tried to stay in touch with him through the years, but lately I haven't been able to contact him. Sheldon, if you read this, post a comment with your email address.
We had the air conditioning on all weekend. It has been muggy and hot. This morning when I went outside to take Marley to school and myself too, I was astounded at the hordes of mosquitoes waiting around to devour my blood. I've never ever seen them this thick, and I lived in Costa Rica for two years. One thing is certain. The high tomorrow is supposed to be 46F. The ants shall feast soon on mosquito carcasses.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
I'm sure their productivity has dropped since their workers have to go outside to smoke. The Waffle House is now officially super-awesomer because you can get good food cheaply sans the choking smoking of yesteryear.
Monday, January 08, 2007
I no longer feel safe in New Orleans. It feels like it did before Katrina....only worse, because there are far fewer people around nowadays.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
An important part of any business strategy is the regular evaluation of pricing structure. From time to time, we make pricing changes to correct unhealthy dynamics in the eBay marketplace, as was the case last July. Typically, however, we make changes on an annual basis at the beginning of the year.Today, I'm here to tell you about fee adjustments for eBay.com and eBay Motors which go into effect on January 30, 2007.
Let me say that, while we believe these changes are modest, we consider any changes that may impact our sellers with great care. These adjustments are the result of careful analysis and we believe they're the right thing to do to keep the marketplace strong for our eBay.com and eBay Motors sellers.
Core Listing Fees: Auction-Style & Fixed Price*
Fee Type Item Price New Fee Current Fee
Insertion Fee Starting Price: $1.00 - $9.99 $0.40 $0.35
Final Value Fee Selling Price: $25.01 - $1000.00 3.25% 3%
*Does not impact Store Inventory Listings.
More to come in 2007
Looking ahead at the new year, it's never been more important that eBay deliver value through our marketing investments, product initiatives, and Trust & Safety strategies. Times have changed from 11 years ago when we were a small innovative idea on the Internet. Quite frankly, some of the problems demanding our attention are more complex. But what inspires me every morning--and what I hope inspires you, too--is that the opportunities for eBay and its Community to succeed by celebrating what makes us unique have never been greater.
Later this month, I'll be addressing a group of eBay sellers who will be here in person in the San Jose area, and I'll be sharing some of our plans and priorities for the coming year. My keynote speech will be available via a recorded Webcast for our whole Community (more details will be available soon) and we'll be following the event with more announcements on specific initiatives. I think you'll find we're taking a surprisingly fresh look at some of the old challenges, and I'm excited about the road ahead.
On behalf of everyone at eBay, I wish you all a very Happy New Year.
President, eBay North America
This man is so full of shit, I can't stand him. Not that I agree with it, but I can understand why this happened:
When you take away someone's livelihood, people can do crazy things.
The worst part about this fee hike, and ALL of their many fee hikes, is that they provide NO improvement in service or sales rates. They make their money off listing fees, so it's in their interest for me to have to list my item multiple times. I have gone from selling $2-$4k a month on ebay to a couple of hundred dollars a month. Well, at least they haven't f-ed up half.com yet.
Look at their profit margins:
They are making so much money that they can't spend it all. They are sitting on $3.2 billion with zero debt. Their stock price is "down" despite a market capitalization of $42 billion, so they have to do things to prop up their stock price, so instead of buying back stock, or something along those lines, they piss on their clients and get a boost in the stock price:
They have to do it. Between Insiders and Institutions, a full 81% of the company's stock is tied up. They have become fat and lazy, and their service to their sellers sucks. I sincerely hope that a competitor can arise. Google needs to take the lead here and crush these unrighteous stewards.
If the fee increases coincided with increased sales and profits for sellers, I would have no problem....but they don't. eBay reverses decisions all the time. They support something and then end it. When they began listing store inventories in regular searches, my sales ABSOLUTELY SOARED, and then after a month, when their profit went down because people weren't having to relist items, they ended the stores search feature, and then four months later, raised store prices, and essentially quit supporting stores all together.
I hate eBay. I hate it oh so very much. It will be tough to get a competitor going though, because eBay has successfully sued to stop comparison search engines from pulling up info off their site and cross listing it with the same items for sale on other websites. They claim that these search engines are effectively "trespassing" on their servers, as if such a thing were even possible.
Sadly, the courts have sided with eBay...for now.
We logged five gunshot murders in the past 15 hours. I can only imagine just how bad it would be without the added protection of the National Guard troops. Something's got to be done, but no one has any ideas that are legal or ethical or certainly not constitutional. So what do we do?
I remember that Atlanta in the early 1990s was not a very safe place. Crime was rampant. Even in 1996, when I worked for the Atlanta Housing Authority, we had to have an armed escort to go into the Kimberly Homes Project to work on their computers in the management office. The Clinton Administration oversaw amazing prosperity during the 1990s and Atlanta blossomed. Still today, if you cannot find work in Atlanta, you're either lazy or a moron. Good paying jobs bring prosperity. Prosperity for all ends crime. I truly believe that if we legalized drugs, or at least put them under state control, then the incentives and ease with which criminals operate could be ended. Drugs are easy money. If there was no profit in drugs any more, these young men might be forced to actually put their shoulders to the wheel and get educations and jobs to afford the luxuries to which they aspire (and are taught to aspire by the popular culture they consume). I am absolutely sure that most of the murders in this city are drug related. We are a major port/crossroads after all. I know my opinion about drugs will be viewed unfavorably by most conservatives. But, if we examine the pragmatics of the War on Drugs in an extra-moral sense, then I carry the point. Therefore, we have to ask ourselves if a greater good could be accomplished by legalizing and/or controlling certain facets of the drug trade by the government, and end the problem once and for all, as happened with the repeal of Prohibition. I'm probably dreaming, at least while politicians continue to cowtow to diehard conservatives.
The other thing that's returning to normal is a good thing, nay a great thing:
We are getting twice weekly trash pickup again!! Eventually we will be getting the large trash cans that most of the US that I've lived in has. Trash is a huge problem in New Orleans. Not only is once a week not really that practical for tiny trash cans but we have these other problems:
1. Packs of dogs that roam the streets. Dogs are hungry, they get into your trash and scatter it from hell to breakfast.
2. In the Summer, trash left outside for more than a day roasts in the sun and gets very very pungent.
3. Many houses are duplexes or more, and the entire curb apron will often be covered with trash and people are desperate to get the stench away from the house, making an evening stroll on the sidewalk a fetid nightmare of smellls.
4. Sometimes the trashmen will not pickup trash that they deem to be FEMA trash. Arbitrarily of course. It's taken me about 4 months to get them to pick up the trash from when our landlord remodeled our bathroom. There are still some concrete pieces out there that refuse to take, and that are too heavy to put into a trashcan.
I am very grateful that trash service is again bi-weekly. Oh yeah, we have been paying for twice weekly service since the storm, and not receiving it. There's that too.