Monday, October 31, 2011

It's just sad. And a big contributor to the recession . . .

Mistake Accomplished
Thursday, 27 October 2011 09:41
Written by Rob Rogers

President Obama announced that troops will be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of the year. The news, while welcome, is bittersweet.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Even though the end of the World Series marked the end of the baseball season. Even though I awoke to wet snow showers in October. If I had a son or a daughter, I would still be outside today, playing catch with them, for as long as they would tolerate me. We'll never know what kind of father I would have made. But, for sure, I would have been a good partner for catch.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Have you seen this? The Forever Lazy. From the same great minds that brought us the Snuggie. It's a fleece onesie for adults who don't feel like getting dressed, but they still want to be able to go to the bathroom.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monday, October 24, 2011

MLK Memorial
Thursday, 20 October 2011 09:38
Written by Rob Rogers

While I still think Obama is the best hope for this country, I am disappointed by the number of times he has compromised his principles. I know that compromise is necessary in any democracy, but sometimes compromise comes at too great a cost. He has been bending over backwards to find common ground with the GOP and they have just laughed in his face. Meanwhile, the poor (especially minorities) continue to suffer while the rich get richer, the wars continue and Gitmo is still open for business. Now that the campaign has started again he seems to have found his voice again. I just hope it lasts.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

It took her a while, but Christina Aguilera finally looks like she's from Pittsburgh.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Gambling continues to bring out the best from our citizens.

Police: Child left outside while Garfield woman gambled

Thursday, October 20, 2011
By Sadie Gurman, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A Garfield woman faces child endangerment charges and has been banned from the Rivers Casino for life after police said she left her 8-year-old daughter outside in the cold while she played blackjack.

Surveillance footage from the casino showed Tran B. Quach, 30, leaving the girl at the front entrance just before 2 p.m. Saturday and going directly to the table games, state police said. Ms. Quach could be seen about 2:30 playing blackjack with $535 worth of chips.

Police found the girl shivering, dressed in only a light jacket, short skirt and flip flops on a windy day when temperatures dipped into the 50s.

Ms. Quach told troopers she left her daughter alone for just 10 minutes while she went to get her car, which she had left at the casino the night before. The girl said she left it there because she was drunk.

Security officers banned Ms. Quach for life upon reuniting her with her daughter on Saturday, and troopers filed charges against her this morning.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I love that photo of GWB with Prince Abdullah. It pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the Bush era in America.

Assassination Plot
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 11:35
Written by Rob Rogers

According to U.S. Government officials, Iran was plotting to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington, D.C. This is disturbing news since it is obvious that we are going steady with Saudi Arabia (remember the image of George W. Bush walking and holding hands with Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah?) and that fact could put us in harm's way.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I think the CEO of Domino's Pizza who is always on TV these days looks like a grown-up version of Judge Reinhold.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pittsburgh's beloved Rocky Bleier and, perhaps more surprisingly, Franco Harris are the new pitchmen for The Meadows Racetrack and Casino. I know that the worlds of NFL football and gambling are inextricably fused. But seeing these two heroes of my youth promoting gambling does not sit well with me. Franco Harris is the same man who several years ago needed to be consoled by Dan Rooney one day when Harris found himself at the City-County Building, sitting against the wall and in tears over the state of the world. Does he feel that gambling is part of the solution to the woes of the world? I'm disappointed. I expect this kind of thing from Jerome Bettis. But not these two gentlemen.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Random flashback while listening to the Red Album: I may have gone to a very conservative private middle school for boys during a particularly strict period. But we were singing Beatles songs in music class. That was my first exposure to the Beatles. And 30 years later, I'm chilling on a Saturday evening with college football muted in the background, and the Red Album on the hi-fi. Thanks, Ms. Madoff.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Nice column . . .

America needs you, George Orwell
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
By Reg Henry, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Sometimes I wonder what George Orwell, the great English writer who sounded prophetic warnings on the dangers of totalitarianism, would think of the world today if he were still alive.

He was a socialist, which in his day wasn't just a casual slur used by conservatives unable themselves to define socialism and therefore prepared to think President Barack Obama is one. To further confuse that crowd, Orwell was a socialist who was critical of the excesses of communism, which was still in its freedom-crushing heyday when he died at the age of 46 in 1950.

He might be glad that communism, with its purges and gulags, had been dumped in the rubbish bin of history, excepting, of course, the Chinese corporate variety that we are glad to have sell us all the rubbish bins we need along with everything else in the way of trash to put in them.

He might have marveled how surveillance cameras were more and more doing Big Brother's work of watching people everywhere, due to all the littler brothers and sisters in government who just want to keep everybody safe.

As to security, he might have been shocked that the world was now in a state of perpetual war, the better for patriotism to rally and control the citizens as he foretold in his chilling masterwork "1984," where Big Brother was introduced to the world as someone anything but brotherly.

Orwell might have been astounded to learn that corporations were considered people now and the people themselves were considered expendable, especially if they were unionized or were seeking universal health care or some other luxury such as clean air not useful to the business class. When troublesome people do make such demands, they are denounced as a threat to freedom itself.

To be sure, things have not quite reached the sorry state of "1984." The most influential politicians haven't yet succeeded in banning the enjoyment of sex as Orwell foresaw, although most on the right do seem to believe it is filthy and may even tickle. Gay sex is seen as worse, because it is likely to occur among people with good fashion sense.

Most of all, Orwell might have been depressed at the debasement of the language, which he also foretold in "1984." Newspeak, he called it. As was explained, "The purpose of Newspeak was not only a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc [English Socialism] but to make all other modes of thought impossible."

It occurs to me that is what has happened with political speech in America. For that, we can thank the ascendancy of the right-wing -- increasingly the far-right wing. It is they who have reduced all political speech to a series of catch phrases and rhetorical cliches.

Call it Foxnewspeak. Hear it every time you turn on a GOP presidential debate or listen to the partisan gridlock from the tea-party brewed conservatives in Congress.

Class warfare! Redistribution of wealth! Tax and spend! Family values! Flip-flop! Cut and run! Elitist! Tree hugging! Activist judges! Wealth creators! Just like a liberal!

"Just like a liberal!" is the one that greets me every time I write something like this column in which certain uncomfortable truths are told. If I had a dime for every time someone had written "Just like a liberal" back to me, why, I would be a rich man, but my wealth would consist of a lot of dimes in piggy banks and old socks.

There is much good and nothing wrong with being a liberal -- as in the dictionary, "favoring reform or progress, as in religion, education, etc, specif., favoring political reforms tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual; progressive."

But in the Foxnewspeak dictionary, liberal is defined as someone who has the dirtiest sort of ticklish sex while on welfare and before taking part in Satanic rituals. This is the evil genius of the new conservative language. It imparts a new meaning to established words for the purpose of dumbing everything down.

For example, the phrase "changing your mind." This is a good thing that all sensible people do in light of new facts. Its new meaning is flip-flop, which is bad, very bad.

Do I think the Democrats have the monopoly on virtue? Hardly, but if you had to characterize the speech of Democrats, it would be "blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, etc." The wishy-washy left are hapless in everything, and that includes the current linguistic battle.

So what would Orwell say to all this? Why, I think he would cut and run.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Afghan Birthday
Sunday, 09 October 2011 09:17
Written by Rob Rogers

The war in Afghanistan just celebrated a big birthday. It is not a reason to celebrate. This is the longest war we've ever fought and it is almost as if we were never there. The Taliban is back. The opium is back. The anti-American sentiment is stronger than ever. What was it all about?

Monday, October 10, 2011

GAIL: Hi Everyone,

The FIOS staff were here today - it turns out that the Verizon contractor who spent two days putting in the hallway access - only put in the outer tubing - the wiring is NOT in the tubing that is on our hallway ceilings. The staff, including supervisors, who were here today are very angry that the contractor did not apparently do the work. They have no idea how long it will be before some contractor comes back to complete the work that was begun here. It is not clear where we will be in the priorities - it could be weeks or months.

I am very disappointed as I was already with a nice new TV to replace my 15-17 year old one. I did not cancel comcast - so I still have my old TV and access - Verizon - when I talked with them after my order - had actually suggested that I not cancel comcast until everything was ready to go - they were right....

So - do NOT order FIOS yet.


Friday, October 7, 2011

One of the biggest reasons why teaching urban youth is so challenging is because of the young women. When a young woman starts high school, I bet virtually every one of them has ambitions of graduating. However, as time goes on, if the young woman does not do well in school, she always knows somewhere deep inside that if she is unable to complete high school, then she can always get pregnant and become a young mother. "Get her GED." And once these young women have made the decision not to graduate, some of them can become a serious distraction in the classroom, often causing behavioral problems. Don't get me wrong. I am not placing any blame on or judging urban young women. This is a societal problem that exists everywhere, including out in the middle of the most back country location you can imagine. But I'm talking about the perils of urban education, based on my experiences and observations.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"I only touched the boys in the places where this manual says it's okay to touch them. And the manual says no touching the dirty places."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Speaking of Hooters and Twin Peaks . . .

This is a photo for a prominent local jewelry store. I had to look twice to realize what I was looking at. Advertising just cracks me up.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

"Twin Peaks" is Hooters' newest rival? Get it? Only in America . . .

Sep 30, 11:15 PM EDT
Hooters chain accuses rival of stealing info
Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) -- The Hooters of America restaurant chain filed a federal lawsuit in Atlanta this week claiming that a former executive swiped mounds of documents to help an upstart competitor that plans to expand the Twin Peaks franchise.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on Wednesday said former Hooters vice president Joseph Hummel downloaded reams of "sensitive and highly confidential business information" to help La Cima Restaurants, an Atlanta-based firm that plans to help build 35 Twin Peaks stores across the Southeast.

Both chains are known for scantily clad women serving casual food, but there's nothing sexy about the documents that Hooters claimed Hummel took. The lawsuit claims that Hummel downloaded marketing plans, contract agreements, recruiting tools and sales figures before and after he left the company to join La Cima on July 22.

"The casual dining industry operates on extremely thin profit margins," it said. "As a result, every operational advantage ... is a jealously guarded business secret."

Hummel, who is now La Cima's chief operating officer, did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Shannon Glaser, a Twin Peaks executive, said the company declined to comment on the litigation.

Atlanta-based Hooters is known across the globe for its beach-themed restaurants staffed by attractive "Hooters Girls" who often look more like cheerleaders than waitresses. The chain, founded in Florida in 1983, has 455 locations across the globe, including 67 in its stronghold in the Southeast.

Twin Peaks, headquartered in Addison, Texas, is an upstart rival with big ambition. The company has 15 snow lodge-style restaurants scattered across the Midwest, and in August it announced an agreement with La Cima to open 35 more franchises in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

La Cima is a sore spot for Hooters managers. The company was formed in June by former Hooters chief executive Coby Brooks, who lured Hummel and other ex-Hooters officials to the startup within weeks, the lawsuit said.

Hummel, who was Hooters' executive vice president of operations and purchasing, was privy to the company's most highly classified information and had "unequaled access to the company's most sensitive business information, data and documents," it said.

On July 2, days before Hummel told Hooters of his plan to leave, the executive downloaded the first batch of documents, the company said. Even after his last day, Hummel was still able to download documents from company servers and transmit them through his personal email account because the company forgot to block his access, it said.

All told, the lawsuit said, Hummel took "well over 500 pages of highly sensitive business information and trade secrets" from Hooters.

"La Cima now possesses a wide variety of trade secrets and other confidential and proprietary business information belonging to (Hooters) - information that will endow a competitor like La Cima with significant competitive advantages," the lawsuit said.

Monday, October 3, 2011

On Saturday afternoon, I ran into Gail (another member/character on my condo board) in the laundry room. We were making idle chatter, and she was talking about something or other, having to wear a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, and then she said, "Like you, sometimes I'm the one who tells people things that they don't want to hear." And at that moment, for the first time ever, I knew that Gail, ditsy, woe is me Gail, actually gets me. I did not see that coming.