ObamaCare Diagnosed in One Sentence
Quoting Dr. Barbara Bellar:
So, let me get this straight. We’re going to be gifted with a healthcare plan that we’re forced to purchase and fined if we don’t, which purportedly covers at least 10 million more people without adding a single doctor but provides for 16,000 new IRS agents, written by a committee whose chairman says he doesn’t understand it, passed by a Congress that didn’t read it but exempted themselves from it, and signed by a President who smokes, with funding administered by a Treasury chief who didn’t pay his taxes, for which we will be taxed for four years before any benefits take effect, by a government that has already bankrupted Social Security and Medicare, all to be overseen by a Surgeon General who is obese — and finally, financed by a country that’s broke. ... What could possibly go wrong?
Comcast Tech Support
I called Comcast for some tech support, and talked to a guy whose voice sounded like your average Caucasian American, but whose speech and word-choice definitely sounded like someone whose primary language was not English.
While troubleshooting the problem, he said that it might be because of a "restriction" that was placed on my modem. I asked what that meant, and he gave some response that didn’t really make any sense to me. I must have sounded concerned about it, because he then told me not to worry, and he explained:
"Restriction" is kind of a heavy word. Maybe that’s not a good word for it. What it is is more like a kind of temporary stasis.
I almost laughed out loud. He sure busted out with a fancy phrase there for someone who sounded pretty ESL. But ESL and crazy phrases or not, he did get the job done, so good work, Comcast.
Epic, Mega, Ultra, Apocalyptic Levels of Sucking
Quoting Frank J.:
Now let’s look at what led us to the political situation we’re in. During the second term of the Bush presidency people just got fed up with Republicans. They were idiots, they were no good at the whole fiscal conservatism thing (which is sort of the whole point of them), we had these wars that seemed to be going nowhere, and the economy was beginning to fail. They sucked, and people were sick and tired of them.
Thus people turned to the Democrats. And Obama.
Let’s just say they also sucked.
AMERICANS: "So, the economy is pretty bad and there’s high employment. You think you can do something about that?"
DEMOCRATS AND OBAMA: "We can spend a trillion dollars we don’t have on pork and stuff."
AMERICANS: "No ... that’s not what we want. We’d really like you not to do that."
DEMOCRATS: "You’re stupid. We’re doing it anyway."
AMERICANS: "That’s not going to help us get jobs!"
DEMOCRATS: "Sure it will; millions of them ... though they may be invisible. You’ll have to trust us they exist. And guess what else we’ll do: We’ll create a giant new government program to take over health care."
AMERICANS: "That has nothing to do with jobs!"
DEMOCRATS: "We don’t care about that anymore. We really want a giant new health care program. We’re sure you’ll love it."
AMERICANS: "Don’t pass that bill. You hear me? Absolutely do not pass that bill."
DEMOCRATS: "Believe me; you’ll love it. It has ... well, I don’t know what exactly is in the bill, but we’re sure it’s great."
AMERICANS: "Listen to me: DO. NOT. PASS. THAT. BILL."
DEMOCRATS: "You’re not the boss of me! We’re doing it anyway!"
AMERICANS: "Look what you did! Now the economy is way worse, we’re even deeper in debt, and we have a bunch of new laws we don’t want!"
DEMOCRATS: "You’re racist."
AMERICANS: "Wha ... How is that racist?"
DEMOCRATS: "Now you’re getting violent! Stop being violent and racist, you ignorant hillbillies! And remember to vote Democrat in November."
FedEx Package Tracking Fun
Apparently the best route from York to Pottstown is:
York -> Newark -> Linwood -> Newark -> King of Prussia -> Pottstown.
Misstatement of the Year
Quoting Dudi Cohen:
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei ... is considered a close affiliate of the Iranian president and has previously caused a stir by saying that Iran was "a friend of the Israeli people". He later retracted this statement and issued a contrary one saying Israel should be destroyed.
I, too, always mix up "friend" and "destroy".
What's a Browser?
Here is an interesting short video of a guy asking people if they know what a browser is, and whether they know the difference between a browser and a search engine. Turns out only 8% of the people knew the difference. The video includes this great quote: "Google predominates the market, obviously."
That number seems shockingly low to me, but at the same time I guess I’m not surprised. A large percentage of otherwise-intelligent people seem to mentally freeze up when the topic of computers arises. Couple that with the fact that people don’t actually need to know what these terms mean in order to use the internet, and the 8% result isn’t so surprising.
Still, I wonder why so many people have this kind of reaction to anything computer-related. I’d say there’s hardly anybody who doesn’t know the difference between, say, their cable TV provider and the various TV channels that they can watch through that provider; yet a similar kind of situation with computer issues totally baffles them. Maybe the internet is still too new for most people to understand it yet.
The video reminds me of this great article from a few weeks ago. It’s about some changes that Facebook was making to their login process, and for a while it apparently was the #1 search result on Google when you searched for "Facebook login". If you scroll down to the comments on the article, you’ll see that there are thousands of them, mostly like these ones:
Quoting confused people:
#5. The new facebook sucks> NOW LET ME IN.
#19. This is such a mess I can’t do a thing on my facebook .The changes you have made are ridiculous,I can’t even login!!!!!I am very upset!!!
#28. OK can I long in now
#31. I am not happy!!!,I was starting to feel comfortable with it now I am all confuse How do I sign in?
#43. Nothing like being taken hostage on our own computer :-(
#47. Why wont you let me sign in?
Apparently a huge number of people get to Facebook -- and presumably all the sites that they visit -- not by typing "facebook.com" into their browser’s address bar, but rather by going to Google and typing "facebook" into it, then clicking on the first search result.
It’d be easy to chalk this up to those people simply being clueless, but I think it also shows that, to whatever extent we IT people have tried to make our products and services user-friendly, there’s still a fundamental disconnect for a large percentage of the population which may indicate that on some level we’ve failed. And ironically this works to Facebook’s advantage, because to many people Facebook is the internet, just as AOL was the internet for many people a decade ago.
Obama's First State of the Union Speech
Glenn Reynolds has a roundup of good quotes on the SOTU:
The "stimulus" didn’t produce any jobs, but if we pass a new stimulus and call it a "jobs bill," it will!
More from Cato: "Wonderful, more government-directed investment. That worked really well with Fannie and Freddie." Plus this prediction: "He’ll pivot from a new $100 billion jobs bill to cutting the deficit."
Ann Althouse: "Small businesses are good. Big business sucks though. We want to help small business grow... so it can become big business and then we can hate it."
"Oh for heaven’s sake. It’s a freaking stump speech. You’ve been elected already Mr. President. Now you have to do things. See the difference?"
The freeze starts next year? And I start my diet tomorrow.
Stephen Green: "’I have embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.’ Okay. Except you embraced the competence of Jimmy Carter & Herbert Hoover."
And Doctor Zero was on fire:
This isn’t a State of the Union speech. It’s a deluded exit interview from someone who doesn’t realize he’s fired.
So, his new interest in transparency means he’s going to say the word "transparent" a lot.
Talk to your union buddies about what happens to workers who dream of becoming their own bosses.
Endorsing nuclear power and drilling = greatest concession opposing party was right all along in my lifetime.
What I don’t understand is how we could possibly all be here after 200+ years without state-run health care.
Pelosi is going into screen saver mode.
OBAMA’S SPENDING FREEZE IN SIX WORDS: Big Mac, large fries, Diet Coke.
Cat Rode Bus Every Day
Well this is a sad way to learn about him, but what an awesome cat:
Quoting Mail Online:
Casper was owned by Sue Finden, who only found out about his escapades when he followed her on to a bus and the driver said he traveled with them all the time.
TED Talks: the Counterintuitive Psychology of Freedom, Choice, and Happiness; and Invisibility
I watched a few fascinating TED talks recently. In addition to being really interesting, these guys are pretty funny too.
In Dan Gilbert asks, Why are we happy?, he mentions a study on the reported happiness of two different groups of people: the first group is lottery-winners and the second is paraplegics. One year after the event (winning the lottery or becoming paraplegic), the groups report the same level of happiness.
Dan also provides this quote from Adam Smith, the first sentence of which helps to explain that seemingly-wrong study:
Quoting Adam Smith:
The great source of both the misery and disorders of human life, seems to arise from over-rating the difference between one permanent situation and another. Avarice over-rates the difference between poverty and riches: ambition, that between a private and a public station: vain-glory, that between obscurity and extensive reputation. The person under the influence of any of those extravagant passions, is not only miserable in his actual situation, but is often disposed to disturb the peace of society, in order to arrive at that which he so foolishly admires. The slightest observation, however, might satisfy him, that, in all the ordinary situations of human life, a well-disposed mind may be equally calm, equally cheerful, and equally contented. Some of those situations may, no doubt, deserve to be preferred to others: but none of them can deserve to be pursued with that passionate ardour which drives us to violate the rules either of prudence or of justice; or to corrupt the future tranquillity of our minds, either by shame from the remembrance of our own folly, or by remorse from the horror of our own injustice.
In other words, it’s all in your head.
Barry Schwartz on the paradox of choice looks at opportunity cost, and the fact that more choice isn’t always a good thing. He gives the example of jeans: he went to buy a new pair of jeans and was presented with a hundred different varieties, and his response was "I want the kind that used to be the only kind." I can totally see my dad in that situation. When he finally settled on a pair, he got them home and wore them and then was disappointed because they weren’t perfect, whereas in his mind it was easy to imagine that one of the other pairs that he failed to pick would have been perfect -- which is of course false, but nonetheless decreases his satisfaction with the choice he made.
John Lloyd inventories the invisible is less serious and more of a comedy. I love this part:
You cannot remember what happened to you earlier than the age of two or three. Which is great news for psychoanalysts, because otherwise they’d be out of a job, because that’s when all the stuff happens.
He also mentions this quote by W. H. Auden:
We are here on earth to help others. What the others are here for, I’ve no idea.
Quoting Merlin Mann:
TERRORIST 1: Let’s commit atrocities!
TERRORIST 2: What about America’s "resolve?"
T1: Lucid point.
T2: Cancel everything?
T1: Of course.
I Wish I Had Finished College
Best Product Comparison Ever
I ordered and received my 5000 IU Vitamin D3 the other day, and they included a free sample of fish oil pills with it. The sample pack shows what must be the greatest product comparison of all time:
I’m not sure I completely follow Scott Adams on this one, but this part sounds right:
Men’s stories usually have identifiable beginnings, middles, and often surprising ends. When women describe past events, men are often left wondering why the beginning of the story started a full day before the parts that seem relevant.
Making Conservatives Less Angry
Quoting Frank J.:
Conservatives are very angry these days. I haven’t seen conservatives this angry since the last time a Democrat was president. So the anger is probably because the president is black. [...]
One day the American people will become enlightened enough to surrender democracy to their betters, who would give them such rewards as free (FREE!) health care, but until then conservative anger has to be dealt with. If not, crazy people like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck will force absolutely anyone who happens to be an avowed Communist out of public office.
Windows 7 Launch Party
This can’t be real, can it? Ridiculous doesn’t begin to describe it. It’s actually embarrassing. It’s nearly painful to watch.
Fight The Power
Here’s a video about whether you should quit your job to become a musician, and in particular about the (un)glamorous life of a touring rock band. It sounds about right from what Andy tells me.
This is apparently the greatest freakout ever. Someone sent it to me a few weeks ago, and then I saw it again last week on The Factor, so you’ve probably already seen it by now. Be warned though, it’s probably as disturbing as it is hilarious.
Finally there’s the most effective alarm clock in the world. I just placed my order.
Various tidbits seen over the past week or two:
From the Times Square Tea Party: "Do I look like a racist redneck teabagger to you?"
A hilarious Good Samaritan story by Scott Adams:
Luckily I did not have jumper cables, because if I did, I knew we would be late for the movie. I did my best to make a face that said, "I sure wish I could help," while being secretly gleeful that this was officially not my problem. I wondered if the young man thought I was lying about not having jumper cables. My fake sincerity face looks like a mime with an intestinal infection.
Joe Biden on rural broadband funding:
The bottom line is, you can’t function -- a nation can’t compete in the 21st century -- without an immediate, high-quality access for everything from streaming video to information overline.
I don’t know what I’d do without a high-quality access to information overline. In fact, I don’t even know what that means.
This article claims that wheat bread is no better than white bread. But what’s interesting is some of the detailed information about metabolic functions that it contains.
From amazon: Classic Live Lobster Combo for Two People. I don’t suppose it needs to be said that amazon rocks, this rocks, and "Lobsters-Online" rocks.
Ceiling cat. The photo of the cat looking down is great.