Thursday, March 15, 2007

Sweetie? Want Some Milk? Dear?

You may have seen this milk commercial. I hadn't.

And I laughed.

Three things to say here:

1. PMS is real. Not made up. Women may not be a raging mass of hormones, but sometimes their hormones make them rage.

2. My wife forwarded me this link. So, don't blame me for it. She was complicit. So do NOT be sippin' on that HATERade, and crisping me up in comments.

3. On the other hand, PMS just makes women act, for three or four days a month, like men act ALL THE TIME. So, guys, think about that the next time you want to fight the jerk in that SUV that just disrespected you on the highway, when traffic isn't moving anyway and there is no actual harm. Just pour some milk on your big ol' head, and you will feel better.

(Nod to Scott Rope, for putting up that commercial on his blog nearly two years ago. Looks like he hasn't posted for a while, tho. Another voice gone silent...).

A Milepost....and a "Free Prize": Mug for a Mug Shot

I love the idea of free prizes. The prizes that cost money, well, they really aren't prizes.

As of this morning, ME has had more than 99,000 visitors (thanks, visitors!)

If YOU are visitor 100,000, and are willing to admit it, you will get a free (that's FREE!) "Munger for NC Governor" stainless steel mug, mailed to your home address!

These mugs are already much sought after. One was recently offered on Ebay for $2.70! No one bought it at that price, but I'm sure the bids will go up as the word gets out.

Seriously, I will contact the person who is visitor number 100,000, and if they are willing to give me their name, home address, and a picture (to be posted on the ME site), I will do a post honoring them, and SEND THEM A MUG for their mug shot.

Private Bus Systems

How long before the public transit authorities try to outlaw this? After all, if the public monopoly starts to lose ridership...well, there ought to be a law!

March 10, 2007 NEW YORK TIMES
Google’s Buses Help Its Workers Beat the Rush
By MIGUEL HELFT
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — The perks of working at Google are the envy of Silicon Valley. Unlimited amounts of free chef-prepared food at all times of day. A climbing wall, a volleyball court and two lap pools. On-site car washes, oil changes and haircuts, not to mention free doctor checkups.

But the biggest perk may come with the morning commute.

In Silicon Valley, a region known for some of the worst traffic in the nation, Google, the Internet search engine giant and online advertising behemoth, has turned itself into Google, the mass transit operator. Its aim is to make commuting painless for its pampered workers — and keep attracting new recruits in a notoriously competitive market for top engineering talent.

And Google can get a couple of extra hours of work out of employees who would otherwise be behind the wheel of a car.

The company now ferries about 1,200 employees to and from Google daily — nearly one-fourth of its local work force — aboard 32 shuttle buses equipped with comfortable leather seats and wireless Internet access. Bicycles are allowed on exterior racks, and dogs on forward seats, or on their owners’ laps if the buses run full.

Riders can sign up to receive alerts on their computers and cellphones when buses run late. They also get to burnish their green credentials, not just for ditching their cars, but because all Google shuttles run on biodiesel. Oh, and the shuttles are free.

But if the specifics sound quintessentially Googley, as insiders call the company’s quirky corporate culture, it is the shuttle program’s sheer scale that befits Google’s oversize ambitions. This is, after all, a company whose stated goal is to organize the world’s information — and whose founders’ corporate jet is a Boeing 767.

“We are basically running a small municipal transit agency,” said Marty Lev, Google’s director of security and safety, who oversees the program.

Not that small, really. The shuttles, which carry up to 37 passengers each and display no sign suggesting they carry Googlers, have become a fixture of local freeways. They run 132 trips every day to some 40 pickup and drop-off locations in more than a dozen cities, crisscrossing six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area and logging some 4,400 miles.

They pick up workers as far away as Concord, 54 miles northeast of the Googleplex, as the company’s sprawling Mountain View headquarters are known, and Santa Cruz, 38 miles to the south. The system’s routes cover in excess of 230 miles of freeways, more than twice the extent of the region’s BART commuter train system, which has 104 miles of tracks.

Morning service starts on some routes at 5:05 a.m. — sometimes carrying those Google chefs — and the last pickup is at 10:40 a.m. Evening service runs from 3:40 p.m. to 10:05 p.m. During peak times, pickups can be as frequent as every 15 minutes.

At Google headquarters, a small team of transportation specialists monitors regional traffic patterns, maps out the residences of new hires and plots new routes — sometimes as many as 10 in a three-month period — to keep up with ever surging demand.

Many employers run programs for commuters, including van pools, shuttles to and from transit hubs and subsidies for public transit and alternative modes of transportation, but several transportation experts say Google appears to have built an unparalleled transit network.


ATSRTWT

(Nod to Tofe. And good job with those Butterburgers. The grass looks greener already)

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Men Time

On Sunday, a wonderful day. Great NC spring weather, mid-60s, sunny, a breeze.

Went down to our Pittsboro property, for some work and weapons.

Stopped at the Hardees on the way down, and got two "Monster Biscuits," one for me and one for fuzzy younger younger Munger, who came along. Not a food item approved by the Heart Association. YYM couldn't finish his, which tells you a lot. (Yes, I managed to choke mine down, but didn't finish his, which was a victory).

We get to the property, 30 acres of forest plus a baseball field. Every man needs his own baseball field, but I actually have one. YYM mowed and ran the aerator behind the tractor, while I spread 400 pounds of Milorganite. Organic fertilizer, made from sewage in Tofe's new adopted home town. (Nice video on the link, don't miss it).

The grass had a little dew on it. In no time the aroma...well, let's just say I love the smell of composted, dried, and pelletized human excrement in the morning.

We dragged the infield, worked a little on the drainage (some big ruts from heavy rains), and then got out the guns. A terrific exercise in optics for the YYM: I took a Hardee's cup, an EXTRA LARGE so it would be fair, and placed it on the far side of the baseball field, about 120 yards away, in right field.

YYM's job was to make sure his Ruger 10/22 scope was sighted in correctly. Took about 40 shots, but then he started nailing the cup every time. Interestingly, the following things are true:

1. If you leave the Hardee's cup empty, the 22 round goes through both sides of the plastic without knocking the cup over. Pretty high velocity. Cool, actually, like a magic trick. He said he was hitting the cup, and I told him he was nuts, the cup should go flying. But when we went downrange and looked, he was right: the cup was riddled. An empty cup is pretty light, but a small, pointed shell moving at 1000 feet per second (almost exactly the speed of sound, just under) goes through pretty fast.

2. On the other hand, if you put a limestone rock in the bottom of the cup, and hit that with a shell, the cup explodes. The shell broke the rock into high speed shards, and the bullet itself broke up into shrapnel. Very cool, and exremely satisfying.

Drove home, but stopped at Pizza Hut. YYM and I were hungry (Monster Biscuits at 8:30 am, pizza at 3 pm), so we each ordered our own large pizza. Waittress tried to argue, counseling mediums, but we just stared at her. I was trying to be virtuous, so ordered the "Veggie Lovers" pizza. But the waitress rallied, showing she was a fine and sensitive young woman after all. She brought me the "Meat Lover's" pizza instead, which has four kinds of pork products and four kinds of beef products, all heavily salted and laden with fat. She got an extra tip for that. As I told my son, "I hate to make trouble. I'll just eat the one she brought."

Got home, took a nice nap, mowed the lawn at home, and then went with wife, the YYM, and the elder younger Munger, to see Blue Man Group. Very nice, funny and entertaining.

An excellent Sunday in central North Carolina.

The Anniversary of the Lacrosse....What?

This is the 1 year anniversary of the Duke lacrosse party incident/event/whatever you want to call it.

Much (too much?) has been written on this. But too much suffering has taken place also. I don't know what happened; maybe no one really knows what happened that night. But a lot of lives have been ruined, from the accuser to the players, the coach, and a lot of people in Durham.

My commemoration of the anniversary will simply be what I believe to be the single best piece done on the whole affair.

And that is: The Saturday Night Live Skit, with Amy Poehler sending up that idiot Nancy Grace from Headline News. The line in the skit where Amy points out that it must be harder for false victims, because they have to make up consistent stories that people then pick apart, was brilliant. Easier for actual victims, Amy says, because "they just have to remember stuff."

The audience didn't know whether to laugh or not at many points, and so just tittered nervously. And I don't blame them. This is as savage, and well-conceived, a piece of social satire as any I have seen in years.

(Nod to DiW for the link to Jumpcut. The original link on YouTube was taken down)