Friday, September 30, 2005

That Was MY Idea

A year ago whilst drinking with some friends, I had an idea for a way to get our drinks filled more efficiently than waiting to flag down a waiter. Namely, a device in the beer mug that measures when the level reaches down to a level of say 5% of full - kinda like a gas tank. The microchip communicates with a central point (Radio, WiFi, whatever) which then indicates that there is an empty mug needing refilling and then the waiter can then swing by.

Well, of course since I'm a thinker and not a doer, it looks like someone beat me.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Double Short Decaf with a Shot of Intolerance

The irony is too rich in the continuing saga of Starbucks' attempt to broaden their customer's minds just a little bit. They have been putting quotes on their cups that are more than the typical Hallmark "inspirational" crap that you might expect. One quote is from Armistead Maupin: "My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don't make that mistake yourself. Life's too damn short." Apparently someone at Baptist Baylor University didn't appreciate such evil words and had Starbucks pull the cups.

So what exactly is wrong with this quote? One man is saying that he regretted knuckling under to fear in his youth. He wants other youths to act from love not from fear. I don't know, sounds kinda Christian to me. My guess is Baylor is saying, "You know those people Mr. Maupin was afraid of? That'd be us. Y'all should bottle up that love and get some good repression and fear whipped up. That's why we don't allow dancin', it's not that we don't love to dance, but with all them bottles stuck up our asses, it's hard to get a good groove on."

I did have to double-check to see if Baylor had a Dance Department by checking their departments in the College of Arts and Sciences. No dance department, but they do have a "Church State" department and an Environmental Studies department (in Texas? at a right-wing college?). I imagine the Church-State department is contemplating a putsch or crusade to take over the Political Science department whose splash screen's motto is "Preparing students for effective living in a democratic society" - clearly an outmoded concept in today's current political climate. The new motto should be "Preparing students for repressed living in a theocratic society."

There is a faculty opening in the Biology department in the Genetics area. Apparently the previous scholar made the mistake of not giving equal time to Intelligent Design in their research and went afoul of the fact that "Baylor is affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The successful candidate must be able to embrace Baylor's Christian heritage and mission."

No dance department at Baylor, but there is a Theater Arts department. They do have a lengthy mission statement but I don't see any mention of a Don't Ask/Don't Tell policy. Hmmm...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Let Them Buy Shoes

One of the hard things about being a politician is that you get blamed for a lot of stuff outside your control. There has been a lot of piling on the Bush administration for the New Orleans disaster - the cutting of the plans for shoring up the levee's, the lack of National Guard troops because of Iraq etc. and etc. Some of this criticism is very warranted and of actions directly in their control. Some criticism may be about things that were very complicated and is a more systemic problem.

But there is one thing over which they have absolute and undeniable control - how they personally react to the situation and how they choose to be seen in that reaction. For a large part, this is the function of a leader - when all hell breaks loose, the people want to look to somebody with a level head who is going to do something. Giuliani may not have really done a lot in actual and effective terms in the hours and days after 9/11, but he was there on the streets as a symbol. Bush staying on vacation and then cutting short his vacation to look out the window on the way to Washington is an abysmal symbol when the federal government's reaction has been atrocious.

Then there is this. Condi Rice in the spirit of Imelda Marcos, Marie Antoinette and several lovable Roman Emperors decided that the time of a national disaster was the best time to get some shoes (from Gawker): the Ferragamo on 5th Avenue, Condoleeza Rice was seen spending several thousands of dollars on some nice, new shoes .... A fellow shopper, unable to fathom the absurdity of Rice’s timing, went up to the Secretary and reportedly shouted, “How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!” Never one to have her fashion choices questioned, Rice had security PHYSICALLY REMOVE the woman.
I mean, this is cluelessness on a galactic scale. Unless it was a carefully crafted political statement by Rove et al. I mean, what else could tell the disenfranchised (which your actions actually have literally disenfranchised) that they are so beneath notice in their little, poverty ridden, flooded Democratic city that we'll just go shopping for shoes, la la la...Hey, do I see a fire over there? Let's do some fiddlin', Yee-haw!