Archive for the ‘Spitting Nails’ Category

PostHeaderIcon Microsoft Encourages Piracy

An odd thing happened to me the other day and I’m both puzzled by, and pissed at Microsoft.

Here’s what happened:

I built a PC for my daughter. Then I went to Best Buy and bought a FULL version (no upgrade: I’m an honest man) of Windows XP Home Edition (version 2002, so 5 years old!) for $200.

I installed it, but I didn’t activate it, since I first wanted to be sure I could get everything to work right (Windows didn’t recognize the integrated sound card).

Then I downloaded and tried to install Windows Live Messenger.

This failed, because it didn’t get past the ‘Genuine Microsoft’ test: it said something about the fact that this copy hadn’t been activated yet, which apparently is a requirement for this ‘Genuine Microsoft’ test.

And here it comes:

It said: If this is indeed a non-Genuine Microsoft copy (i.e. “if you are a thief”), then we would happily turn it into a Genuine Microsoft copy for you and send you a valid product key, no questions asked, for … 99 bucks!

So, here I am, with a $200 version of Windows XP, and Microsoft now tells me if I had STOLEN it, rather than paying $200 for it, I could have had it at half price.

Can you imagine a big sign at Walmart saying something like:

“If we catch you shoplifting, we will politely offer you to purchase the stolen goods at half the price honest and decent people pay for it: no questions asked”

That would certainly make for shorter lines at the cash registers!

PostHeaderIcon Short feline update

Minton Animal HospitalOur cats Bonnie and Clyde were due for a visit to the vet.

This is something that my wife usually takes care of, but last time I received reports about extremely bad behavior by Clyde, involving biting the vet and a note in his file that said ‘patient declined procedure’.

So, I wasn’t totally surprised when it was announced the other day that it was MY turn to take the kids to the vet. Which I did. This morning.

Of course, the calm, relaxed and protecting father figure I am, I was sure they would completely trust me and we’d be home before they’d notice we’d left.

There was only one minor issue that I’d overlooked:

Clyde does NOT like having his temperature taken with a rectal thermometer and is NOT shy about making this clear.

To make a long story short .. as early as next week, they start redecorating, if not completely rebuilding, the Minton Animal Hospital.

(It’s now 3 hours later, Clyde is in the closet and hasn’t spoken to me yet .. all I get are dirty looks: I think next year we should try to trick daughter Laurilee in taking them – IF the vet still ‘invites’ them, which is by no means certain -)

PostHeaderIcon Woodburn, Indiana … where intolerance is the norm

Amy Sorrell, a 30 year old High School teacher (English and Journalism), was placed on paid leave, will be transferred to another school and is still facing being fired.

Her ‘crime’?

Failing to report to the principal a controversial article in the students’ own newspaper for which Mrs. Sorrell served as an adviser.

What was so ‘controversial’?

Student Megan Chase wrote an editorial calling for tolerance of gays.

Yes, you read that right: not only did Woodlan High School censor the students’ own newspaper, it also deemed a plee for tolerance ‘controversial’!

Such an outrageous display of homophobia by an institution that we entrust our children to for education is as maddening as it is scary.

“The school administration has said in no uncertain terms that she’s not going to be given a journalism position”

Ah, right, yes, God forbid that she teaches the kids at the other school such dangerous notions as freedom of speech and press!

Mrs. Sorrell said that she is proud of the student who wrote the article, but that she has no money to fight the decision.

Sounds like a perfect case for the ACLU: not only are certain elements of the school’s administration clearly overstepping the boundaries of their power to promote and push their own narrow-minded views, they are also brutally abusing the rights to free expression of both the students and Mrs. Sorrell.

They should be stopped! This is outrageous.

(Even so outrageous that one has to wonder if there’s not more behind the story than meets the eye)

Link to article: link

(and yes, I know, that picture is sickening too. Comes from that deranged lunatic Fred Phelps, America’s Ueber-homophobe!)

PostHeaderIcon Corporate greed

Nardelli(disclaimer: I own Home Depot stock, so I am slightly biased) 

Bob Nardelli, CEO of Home Depot, resigned yesterday.

He was an inflexible dictator with a huge disregard for Home Depot’s shareholders.

A huge disdain even: during last year’s shareholders meeting, where a lot of shareholders had some tough questions for the board of directors -about the CEO’s insanely high compensation package and the horrible business results: stock had sunk 9% in the same period that competitor Lowe’s saw a 185% increase!-, only ONE board member showed up: Nardelli himself. He was an absolute arrogant prick, didn’t acknowledge any of the severely time limited questions and ran out after only 30 minutes. The shareholders were steaming!

Home Depot stock hasn’t gone anywhere the past few years: he basically screwed up.

And now, yesterday, he resigned.

And I’m mad as hell.

Not because he left .. good riddance .. but because this screwup got rewarded with a severance package of $210 million!

That’s almost a quarter billion dollar!

NOONE should get such an amount, not even for having done outstanding work, and thus certainly not for having accomplished close to nothing (and most definitely not when it’s essencially my money!).

This is criminal. Corporate greed in its extreme. I’m so mad, I can barely type. I simply feel robbed. In a very brutal way. Violated almost. Grrrrrrrrr….

Someone… quick, get me my bloodpressure pills!

PostHeaderIcon We’re so much safer now!

1984Yesterday was Friday the 13th. An unfortunate day indeed.

President Bush signed into law bill H.R. 4954: Security and Accountability For Every Port Act or the SAFE Port Act.

Official title: To improve maritime and cargo security through enhanced layered defenses, and for other purposes.

Sounds good eh? Cost: $26 per American over a four year period. Good AND cheap!

Votes: 421 Ayes, 2 Nays (9 no votes). Good, cheap and popular.

Congress hammered this through on their last day ‘at work’. Probably noone cared to actually read the damned thing. Who cares about the details .. we all want to be safe, right?

Here’s how the American people gets screwed by an increasingly sleazy and sneaky government: the catch: look at the last four words of the official title given above!

Yes. Other  purposes.

What are those other purposes?

Well … whatever some really sneaky politician decides to sneak in there. So, if, for instance, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and the Speaker of the house Dennis Hastert (yes, that guy from the Foley scandal), based on their righteous ideas of what is ‘moral’, decide that all those millions of Americans who play that wildly popular Texas Holdem Poker game online are engaging in immoral activities and therefore should be banned from doing so, then, yes, they can in fact sneak in some rules that practically bans this form of innocent entertainment. Even in a bill about protecting our sea ports!

Not only can they do that. They did do just that.

As of yesterday, I can no longer legally fund my accounts at online poker sites in order to engage in my beloved 5 cents poker games. All in the name of making our sea ports more secure.

We live in a free country. And we have many freedoms that other countries don’t have.

But make no mistake, those freedoms, even the ones that concern only what we do in our own houses, in our own time and affect noone else, are being eroded at an alarmingly increasing rate.

This war on terrorism is quickly becoming a war on our privacy.

Americans, once again (remember the Patriot Act?) … you’re being screwed!

You’re being conned out of your freedoms by self-righteous, deceptive, manipulative, insincere, dishonest, machiavellian, cheating, lying, powerhungry and zealously selfserving politicians. Considering the oaths they took, their actions border on treason.