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Friday, June 29, 2007

That's A New One... 

I was perusing my junk mail folder this evening and found a new twist on the classic 419 phishing scheme. You know the one:

Dear Sucker,

I am sitting on a pile of cash that I'm trying to get
out of Country X. If you agree to be the front man we can
split the money.

Bad Person.

Digression; does anybody fall for these anymore? I can see that if you were the first person to ever get this e-mail you might be tempted to go for it. But now?

But back to the new twist. This one purported to be from a lawyer (barrister?) in England and he represents the estate of one of the victims of the London Subway Blasts. All I have to do say I'm the next of kin and I can get 40% of 11,000,000 Pounds. He gets 50% and the remaining 10% goes to overhead. Such a deal. I was tempted to try messing with him, but he doesn't check his e-mail very often. He said I should call him instead. And the phone number is even in Great Britain. Talk about attention to detail!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ethical Stem Cells 

Now I admit that I didn't hear (or read since I was reading Closed Captions on the silent TV in the lunch room at work) the whole story, but I could swear that one of the justifications that President Biff (gratuitous Back To The Future reference) used when vetoing the Stem Cell bill was that he didn't want to force people to pay taxes to support something that violated their ethical beliefs. That makes perfect sense to me, after all nobody in the country has the slightest ethical problem with funding an unprovoked war of aggression and the ensuing occupation of said country. Woot.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

If I'd a been there... 

So there's a certain amount of wanking going on about how nobody rushed the Blacksburg shooter guy. There's even been some references made to what the writers would have done if they'd have been there complete with asides about Flight 93.

Leaving aside the Monday morning quarterbacking of the dinks that have been making such comments, I need to comment myself. First, the military spends large amounts of time and money to train young men and women to be able to function when in a combat situation and under fire. Not to be heroes, but just to do what they are supposed to do. They do a pretty good job, but there are still many people who vapor lock when put in a situation where some stranger is trying kill them. Rushing head on into someone who's shooting a gun at you, with no training whatsoever is not behavior you can expect from anyone. So, with all due respect, to those of you who think you'd have done better if you were there: bullshit.

And as far as the Flight 93 references are concerned, they are a special case. The people on that flight knew (from cell-phone conversations) that at least 2 and perhaps 3 highjacked planes had already been flown into buildings. They knew they were already dead. And they had time to think about what that meant and to plan for how they were going to deal with it. Those last two bits are important. They knew they were almost certainly going to die. They had time to freak out for a while and then after that while, to make a plan. The people at VTU had a few seconds between the bad guy coming into class and the shooting to begin. They were stuck in the I'm-about-to-die portion of the response until long after the shooter had left the room. The fact that anyone did anything at all, e.g., the professor that held the door while telling his students to jump out the windows (and note that he lived through the Holocaust, no mean introduction to strangers trying to kill you) is nothing short of amazing. So again, to the people who say Flight 93 should show us what to do when someone starts shooting: bullshit.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Preemptive Bullshit Call 

Re: Blacksburg Shootings

It is not acceptable to put forth the proposition that this just shows that if more people carried guns this sort of thing wouldn't happen.

I do not wish to live in a society where it's considered normal for someone to pop a bolt and go shoot a bunch of people. How about if, instead, we try to shape ourselves into a place where people aren't pushed to that sort of thing, and if they are, that help is found for them before the shooting and the screaming starts?

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Friday, April 06, 2007

It's like the State Fair! 

I hope everyone had a delightful Jesus On A Stick day!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Waking Ned Devine 

Now it may be that I'm just getting old. But when we watched Waking Ned Devine last night on the DVD, I'm pretty sure they left something out of that was in the theatrical release. I have this recollection that somewhere near the end, maybe the very end itself, that the old woman in the wheelchair has putted out to the telephone booth and is going to drop dime on the fraud the townsfolk are perpetrating. But before she can do so, the regular parish priest, who's been off to Lourdes, gets distracted by something and runs off the road and over the cliff.

It certainly wasn't in the DVD version of the movie, but I have a semi-vivid memory of seeing that scene in the theater. Am I confabulating?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

That was uncomfortable 

So I got laid off last Friday (along with somewhere between a fifth and a quarter of the company. It's not the first time. I'm working around the house. I've tuned up the ol' resume. I've even applied for a job already. At Stanford, no less. Woo.

Yesterday, I took my signed agreement to the severance package to the former employer. While I was waiting in reception a guy who survived the purge came up and started chatting. Then he noticed that I'd signed in on the Guest Registration Book with 'N/A' in the space where one puts one's company affiliation. He got a bit red in the face, hemmed, hawed, said something to the effect of, "I did not know that." I assured him that his not knowing was OK and the conversation continued in a somewhat more constrained manner. I think he was way more weirded out about it than I was.

But this does mean that I will probably be trying to get back into the swing of blogging a bit more than I have been lately.

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