Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Friday, June 30, 2006

It’s all over.

The Tour de France was set to start this weekend in Strasbourg, Germany.

I hear they’re still planning on running it.

I don’t know, I don’t care, I can’t watch.

What is going on here?

Though Bernard Hinault said, “Doping is not generalised among 400 or 500 riders, there are just 50 implicated,” one has to wonder.

This is the list from one investigation. From one doctor. To me, it seems like one of a few things:

  • everyone of consequence in cycling dopes, and these ones just happened to get caught
  • Since not-on-the-list riders, like Armstrong and Landis, have proven they can beat on-the-list riders, perhaps there are innocent riders on the list
  • Perhaps doping doesn’t really help as much as we’d thing

When I heard José Gutierrez Cataluna of Phonak was implicated, it “made sense.” After all, the guy went from being essentially nameless in cycling to challenging Basso for the Giro win, hanging tough in ways no one had ever seen him do.

This list is strange.

It involves two entire Spanish teams, a lot of Spanish riders, but then the trump cards: Ivan Basso and Jan Ullrich.

Every bit of speculation about the tour winner this year has been, “Will Basso win, or will Ullrich?”

Now what have we got?

Has Ullrich been doping since 1996, when at 23 he could’ve easily upstaged Bjarne Riis for the Tour win?

Has Basso been doping a little more every year he’s been improving from 4th, to 3rd, to 2nd?

If so, then the corruption is so deep that I fear it’ll be impossible to dig out.

If not, then WHY would a rider who has already won big risk putting his entire career to thame?

I just don’t understand.

In any event, if they're still going to run the tour, they're down a lot of riders. Comunidad Valenciana was already out, and Astana-Wurth looks dead. Basso and Ullrich, perennial top-10 finisher Francisco Mancebo, ten others who were on the start list. It's so late into the game that none of the riders can be replaced, for technical and legal reasons.

There was the Festina Affair in 1998 in which the tour was reduced from 21 teams to 14, from nearly 200 riders to under 100.

It all certainly looks up for the American riders. Not Floyd Landis, Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, nor even Chris Horner, Bobby Julich, Christian Vandevelde, or any other star-and-striper was named.

Are the clean? Are they simply using doctors in the 'States, better protected by privacy laws in a country that cares little about cycling? Can we know?

What NOW?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

The 640K barrier of fuel prices, gouging, and explosions: three observations about gasoline.

There's an innocuous-looking sign posted at the gas pump which says that, due to “rules imposed by the credit card companies,” the pump may shut off at a “pre-determined point” before your tank is full. If this happens to you, either use another card, or go inside and have the cashier help you complete your transaction. Say what?

Translation: it’s the 640K barrier of fuel prices.

When MS-DOS was first being developed, computers had something like 16K of memory, and so the programmers didn’t make the system capable of handling more than 640K, since who would ever use that much? Computers, of course, developed, and DOS was running on my computer with 16000K of memory. You had to jump through some hoops to use it.

Credit card companies have a funny way of handling gas pumps: since you swipe, THEN fill, when you swipe, it charges you $1.00 and places a “hold” for some other amount, like $50 or $100. Then, when you’re done, it refunds the $1.00, charges the final amount, and removes the hold. The problem is that if you’ve got a giant SUV, it’s probably got a tank that holds around 35 gallons. At last week’s $3.19 / gallon for regular, that’s about $111 for a fill-up. The $50-100 “hold” is supposed to be the most you could reasonably spend getting gas; beyond that, there might be a problem.

They came up with this when gas was $1.25 a gallon. Now we have the 640K barrier.

Also, occasionally you hear someone complain about “price gouging at the pump,” that is, gas stations charging too much for gas. Of course, you’ll understand that the only gas station for 100 miles in a rural area is going to cost more than those on a city street corner. But did you know that in many jurisdictions, it’s illegal to sell gas for TOO CHEAP? In Oregon, for instance, the minimum legal profit margin is 8 cents per gallon.

The idea, theoretically, was to protect “the little guy,” “ma and pa” gas stations, from being driven out of business by Safeway and Costco selling gas at a loss to get people into their stores to buy other things. Because it would be, you know, bad, if anyone who wanted couldn’t make a profit selling gas … right?

So, if you ever see two gas stations across the street from one another, and one costs 15 cents a gallon more, and you wonder, “Why on earth don’t they lower their prices to be roughly the same? Won’t they lose business?” It’s because they bought their gas from the tanker when it cost 15 cents a gallon more. They’re not allowed to charge less.

Finally, you know those warnings about discharging static before pumping, and about placing containers on the ground before filling them, otherwise they might explode? If you were wondering, yes, that really does happen. A while back, a friend was filling up his jet-ski, and didn’t follow the recommended procedures. Thankfully, the car insurance company bought him a new wave runner, and it didn’t hurt anyone or anything else…

Also thankfully, when gasoline burns it’s a bright, visible yellow. If we’d gone all eco-friendly and used ethanol, he’d have gotten a really cool INVISIBLE fire, and I don’t know what would’ve happened then.
This one's for you, Al.

Al Maviva runs around 'blog circles a lot, and posts lots of comments, making little guys like me feel like we're not just talking in the mirror. Thanks!

So I figgered I'd return the favor and post a comment or two on his weblog.

I wrote a whole diatribe -- well, at least 50 words -- out, but it rejected me. It's one thing not to allow anonymous comments, but apparently to comment on, you've got to register, get e-mailed a password, log in, and all that.

I ran out of inspiration to do that, and to write my comment again.

It's like the Chicago Tribune, or, which ever online version of a newspaper requires registration to read its articles. Sure, it's free, but, it's just one step too many.

Okay, so I may just be lazy.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Okay, I got back from the Elkhorn "Classic" stage race in Baker City, OR. Great race, though it was pretty brutally hot and at high enough elevation to make us sea-levelers feel like crap. The sweet part is that they had the same course for everyone, even us amateurs, so we got the same 125km and 160km road stages. I'll tell you how it went down in a bit.

Two unrelated observations:

Why is it that, in America, every stage race has to call itself a "classic?" In addition to the Elkhorn, we have the Cascade Classic, the Mt. Hood cycling Classic, the Redlands Classic, and plenty more. What gives?

In European cycling, there is a group of races called Classics that are typically one-day races taking place either before or after tha major stage races of the season. They're characterized by short, steep climbs, bad weather, and they've been around a long, long time. Plus, you don't call it the "Liege-Bastogne-Liege Classic," it simply is classic.

Elkhorn was a great race. But this was it's 5th year. Sorry, guys, you've got to be 'round a bit longer than that to be classic.

Also : With summer in full swing, the number of adverts for swimwear and other reduced-coverage clothing has increased greatly.

Frequently among them we see: "Swimwear that looks good on every body shape!"

What a ridiculous euphemism. "Flatters every figure," means, what, "doesn't make your fat belly look quite as fat?" If you've been doing your situps and eating your wheaties, you don't need the super-compressing ultra-tough lycra to squeeze yourself into what appears to be a presentable form.

If I offended you, perhaps you're one of the 65% of Americans who are overweight, or the roughly 1 in 3 who are obese. Perhaps you think that it's "natural" or "healthy" to have 45% body fat.

I don't even know what to say to you.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Spitting out a rotten kid in Namibia will be fun!

At least, so Britney Spears seems to think. Apparently, she's heard that Angeline Jolie and Brad Pitt did it, and figures she ought to join in.

Now, yours truly cares little for the exploits of silly Hollywood "celebrities," especially those like Mrs. Federline, but has she, um, actually thought about this?

Though Jolie, 31, became famous for being an incarnation of sensuality, she's devoted much of her life to actively helping to make the world a better place. Her two older children were adopted from Cambodia and Ethiopia. She's a UN goodwill ambassador, and has donated millions of dollars of her own money to build schools and hospitals in low-income counries, not to mention contributing time and energy to charitiy fundraisers the world around. She even sold the exclusive rights to the first photos of newborn Shiloh for a cool $5,000,000, says the starpulse weblog. The $5m went to children's charity UNICEF, of course. When she stayed in Namibia -- and I honestly don't know why she chose the African nation of about 2m people -- she also donated a six-figure amount to help them improve a state-run hospital.

I think I heard Spears recently donated a six-figure amount to "K-Fed" for a Ferrari. Popozao!

But the life of Britney Spears is so, so hard! Those photographers won't stop! They've come close to making her drop her first child, and nearly forced her to hurl the tike through the windshield of her car!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Alea iacta non est, si lingua Graecarum non scitis.

That is to say, if you don't understand Greek, you probably won't understand Caesar.

Are you under thirty?

Do you have any idea what I'm talking about?

Good on you!

I'm reading Tom Holland's Rubicon: The last years of the Roman Republic. While the author says he would have called his book Citizen, if the title were not already taken, he brielfy describes the fateful crossing of the Rubicon by Julius Caesar in his introduction.

The now-famed "Alea iacta est," meaning "the die is cast," would in modern English turn into something like "I'm all in." However, according to Holland, Caesar never said this phrase at all. Caesar didn't invent the passage often attributed to him; he was quoting Greek playwright Menander, and so said the phrase in Greek.

I was impressed to read this, because "the die is cast" is a phrase I've read many a time, usually in Latin and attributed to the Roman leader.

(When I mentioned this to a peer last night, their response was a blank face. That's why a certain lady makes me happy: her response was to furrow her brows, pull out a biography of Caesar from the bookshelf, and agree that she'd never read the language swap anywhere, either. Does anyone know if this is accurate?)

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Hotmail is down again, but this is such a regular “feature” of the “service” that it doesn’t even merit a pet peeve of the day. Perhaps we should spent our time at href= instead. Gotta love those "common typographical error-targeting spam pages."

What does earn my pet peeve is this: the incredible shrinking package. It has a little bit to do with an economics term called “Sticky Prices,” but I’ll get to that.

The thing is, yesterday I went to the grocery store, and bought a few things whose package sizes conformed to the old English system of measurement since the dawn of time. At least since I was born.

When you buy milk, it’s in a gallon, right? Or half a gallon, 64 ounces, or a quart, half of that. The point is that these arbitrary measures are part of our culture. I bought some ice cream – well, all right, some fat-free frozen yogurt – in the typical “half-gallon” size.

But it wasn’t a half gallon at all. It contained 58 ounces. This was a major brand of ice cream; I don’t buy it all that frequently but I’m quite certain it was once really a half-gallon, not "1.75 quarts.". I started checking. A brand of salsa and a tub of vegan mayonnaise, their “pint” containers were an ounce short – 15 ounces and 14.8, respectively. I was fairly certain the package hadn’t shrunk, either, just that it had been filled with a bit less product and a bit more air.

Pretty tricky, hosers.

What are sticky prices?

One problem with inflation is that it’s not balanced. For example, if everything inflated at a one-time rate of 100%, nothing would happen except that money would be worth less. You would earn twice as much money, everything you purchased would cost twice as much, and no one would care.

But that’s not what happens. Prices are a little sticky sometimes. People tend to attribute the 10% more money they’ve made over the past two years as something they’ve earned, but they retain the idea of what something “should” cost. How many times have we heard, “back in my day, a candy bar cost a quarter (a dime, a nickel)!” Nevermind that minimum wage at that point was $1.25 an hour. So, if people get an idea of what something “should” cost, they’ll buy less of it if the price increases, (presuming it’s an elastic good – most food products are) even if the “real,” inflation-adjusted price, has not changed.

Instead of absorbing the losses that may occur, companies are taking it upon themselves to shrink the package of their goods and hope no one notices. If you had a bag of flour, you certainly wouldn’t notice the 10th part of it vanishing. But that’s going to become unsustainable in a hurry.

So stop the slick tricks, a’ight?

Aside – I just checked the wikipedia entry on inflation, it’s actually quite decent.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Contre le Montre:

That’s what the French call the Time Trial. Otherwise known as, “No hiding place, sucka.”

Next weekend is the first Larch Mountain Time Trial. They call it the “Oregon Uphill CHampionships,” mostly so they can acronym it “OUCH.”

OUCH means about 3,000 feet of climbing in under 14 miles. It isn’t particularly steep, but it’s a long, consistent grade.

When I ride with a group of friends, teammates, or intermediate-level amateur racers, I go up hills relatively quickly in comparison. The only way that someone goes “fast” up a hill on a bicycle, short of a motor, is relatively. You’re still going awfully slowly.

Last year, the second Larch TT was the first event I did in the summer. I posted a 1:10:45, which is reasonable for a recreational rider but not too fast for a racer. I have a few advantages now that I didn’t then, of course. I had been back on the bike for less than two weeks after being sidelined for about a month with a bizarre injury. I started seriously training in late February of 2005. I’d never ridden the mountain before, nor a climb of that length; I really had no idea what to expect. From that perspective, I was happy enough with my results, but now I’ve got to back up what I’ve been doing.

In short, it’s time to see what difference a year makes. I’ve been training pretty seriously in the past 11 months, barring a couple of weeks from a car crash and a less bizarre knee injury. Checking through the results, it appears that the overall victory in the last event was this guy: Kerry Farrel, one of the current Master’s national roadrace champions. He won the time before that, too. And the one before that. He’s pretty damned quick. I found out I can keep pace with him on a shortish, very steep hill back in April. While I doubt that’s the case now, he beat all other 112 competitors into the ground.

This time, I’m sure I can do better than 46.

It all comes down to this, then.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Award of the Day : One of the myriad convenience stores near my apartment has their prices adjusted so that it’s really, really hard to get anything but quarters in change. Thank you!

For instance, a soda costs $1.15 -- $1.25 with tax. A candy bar, “tax-exempt grocery,” because apparently it’s food, is $.75, not $.69 or $.79

They don’t even seem to have taken the opportunity to “round up;” all the prices are right in the range.

It’s a refreshing change to be able to smack down a couple of singles and go.

Pet Peeve of the Day : Nationality abbreviations.

In international sporting events, like cycling or grand prix racing, it’s the standard to give the name of the competitor, his nationality, and the trade team or sponsor he competes with, plus, in racing, the race number and the position and time he finished, for instance :

2nd , No.5 Schumacher, Michael (GER), Ferrari, +13.9 sec.

The problem is, there seems to be no consistency with the abbreviation for the nationality. It’s easy on television – they just spit out tiny, almost incomprehensible pictures of the country’s flag. But in print, English articles, sometimes we’ve got Oscar Freire, (SPA), Rabbobank. Yeah, he’s a Spaniard. Sometimes it’s (ESP), when the article feels like using the native language of all the countries. Switzerland can be (SWI) or (SUI), and T-mobile’s cycling team has Frantisek Rabon, (RTC.) Anybody?

Worst of all is what some American publications lately have adopted. Some countries apparently only get one letter. HUSHOVD, Thor (N), Credit Agricole. N? What’s that supposed to mean? Nigeria? Nepal? Nemtarkanders-unders-gunderson? (He’s Norwegian.) Germany is just G, Italy an I.

The United States? Still USA.

One final interesting quirk: Most of the world, I’m told, prefers to call the land of the stars and stripes the United States, as opposed to just "America." Something about there being other Americas too. It’s Los Estados Unidos in Spanish-speaking countries, and Les Etats-Unis in ones that speak French.

In England? It’s called America.

Of course, I can’t keep straight whether a bloke from Leeds is from England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Hug Police:

Occasionally, I buy a newspaper. I almost always regret it. Saturdays, especially, can be so bad it’s silly. Today, there’s an article getting front-page coverage about hugging. Terrorists Killed! Hugging in schools!

“We try to discourage it [hugging],” said one middle school principal.

Another mentions hugging is permitted, but they’ve only got three seconds. After that, the gesture enters the Red Zone. “Some kids try and go there, but we put and end to it,” said Principle Fritz.

Way. To. Go.

Put an end to the madness.
How not to win business:

A small e-tailer carries a line of cycling gear I want to buy. It's quite good prices on high-end stuff that typically has a high markup at a retail outlet -- typical benifits of free information online thing. However, they don't list the size I need. I ask: "I need Brand A's product in small; do you have that?"

They reply: "No, but we have (slightly higher-end) brand B at this $gooddeal in small."

I respond, "What is their sizing like? I have 2 different models of brand A in small, and they both fit great, but Brand X's sizing wasn't good for me. I'm 182cm, 63kg, measurement, measurement."

E-tailer: "You're too tall for either brand; you need a medium."


Either you have no idea what you're talking about, you don't believe me that the one I have fits great, or you're not paying any attention. None is a good sign.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Pet Peeve of the Day : Junk Fees (laughing all the way to the bank.)

The postmodern era has seen a dramatic change in the ways companies, especially financial institutions, make their money. The "late fee" used to be fairly straight forward, a charge for annoying the creditor. After all, they made their money from charging interest, and not paying on time prevents them from lending out your money again, which lowers their income.

Now, however, they'll charge you the legal maximum in a battery of fees. There's big late payment fees designed to knock your credit card over it's limit -- they go straight to the card, rather than asking you to pay them -- and then a sky-high "default interest rate," not to mention retroactively removing promotional offers. They'll tell your other creditors, probably one of 5 big companies, about this, and they will all do the same to you. Often, if they don't "receieve your payment" by noon on the duedate, now, they'll start this process.

According to one study, late payment fees for credit cards were $1.7 bn in 1996, in 2002, they were $7.3 bn. I'm sure today that number has doubled again. The amount of fees in total collected by credit card companies from went from $8.3 bn in 1995 to $24 bn in 2004. See here for a little more information.

It seems that landlords have hooked onto this gravy train, too.

After all, you're on the hook. I'm sure the fees are somewhere in the fine print of your rental agreement. What are you going to do, anyway, move out over a couple of hundred dollars? At least, that's what they hope you'll think.

My college housing department is, thankfully, pretty forgiving. I've only had to use it twice in the two years I've lived there, a result of confused and delayed financial aid payment, but for a $10 petition fee, as long as you pay the rent by the end of the month, you're good. Just don't let it happen too often.

With housing prices skyrocketing, fewer people are renting from private landlords. More apartment complexes are being run by an increasingly smaller numbers of Management firms. A friend recently bounced a rent check. It was an honest mistake: she'd forgotten another check was in the mail close to payday, someone had held onto a check for 6 weeks before cashing it, so the big hitter rent check couldn't clear. A fee for this problem does seem like a reasonable thing. But not this:
  • $30 - Returned check fee
  • $55 - Late Payment fee
  • $25 - Service Fee
  • $10 - Notice Fee

Well, if your check is returned, isn't it clear the rent is late? And what in the world is a "service fee," and why do you tack it on? I'm sure the returned check and late payment fees would be much higher, too, but that there's a legal maximum for each. Which, of course, they are charging. And the bank, who gets their $35 NSF fee.

All told, these companies made $155, just because.

I'm not advocating it to be "yeah, sure, whatever, just pay us one of these days." But there is the concept of reasonable and fair here, isn't there? No, there isn't.

Another friend works for a large, national mortgage company, in the "subprime" department. That's the loans for folks with "less than perfect credit," doncha know, those commercials you see about “Charge-offs? Bankruptcy? Whatev!”

Home lawn? Escrow? No probalo!

Recently, he informed me, due to lawsuit fears (not the results of an actual suit), they’ve reduced the maximum amount they could charge for various things. Among them, “junk” is now capped at $900. “Junk?” I asked him?

”Yeah, you know. $100, ‘doc prep fee,’ $200, ‘process fee,’ $50, ‘courier fee,’ now they can’t add up to more than nine hundred bucks.” What did they used to be? “Oh, a thousand to fifteen hundred.”

The fact that they call them junk fees amongst themselves speaks volumes.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

I've never told you about how I'm Mexican. And Italian. And Chinese.

Disclaimer: I'm not.

But, a little while ago, sitting on a park bench across from the university, my studying is interrupted by a smack on the heel of my foot. I glance up to see a short man with long, wild hair standing there expectantly. I look at him, furrow my eyebrows, and go back to reading.

The man approaches again, looks around, and kicks the bottom of my food again. "Now, look. Stop that." Why is he kicking my foot?

"Hey," says the guy, "hey." He looks rather pleased with himself.

I shake my head and continue reading, but I'm again interrupted by a kick in the sole. "All right, that's enough of that!" I tell him. It's sort of funny, but getting old.

"Hey," he says, "I know what you are."

"Oh, really?" I ask.

"I know whatchu are. You're, sssome kind of Mexican!" I'm not, though looking at him, the kick-er could be Latino. I'm not sure. I don't say anything.

"HEY!" He exclaims. "I know whatchu are! You's some kinda Italian!"

This is getting weird. But it keeps going. "I know you. I know what you are. You, you somekinda ... Chinese. HEY!" Other people on benches are now looking at this with some puzzlement, and I'm struggling not to break down laughing.

But now he's really got me figured out. "You sonofabeech. I know whatchu are. You're some kinda ... Mexican! Italian! You're some kinda ... CIA! You sonofabeetch! Yous some kinda ... Russian! Chinese!"

"So, let me get this straight. Now I'm a Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Russian, CIA, son of a bitch?"

"HEY!" he shouts. I guess that's his line. "Hey, you sonofabitch. I know what you are! You ... CIA! Chinese! Mexican!"

At this point he decides he's had enough, and goes to find a weapon to take out your humble secret agent. Unfortunately, he's chosen a rather large branch that's still attached to a tree, and he spends several minutes struggling to get it off. It creaks and twists, but is still connected by a lot of fibrous matter to the tree. He puts all his weight on it, yanks and turns, but it won't come off.

After a bit of pulling and pushing, he gives up on the branch, and the leaves whack him pretty solidly in the face as he releases it. "ARRGH! You sonofabeetch!" Picnickers have been disturbed by this, and I can see a couple of campus Public Safety Officers starting to walk this way. He grabs his bag, looks at me once more, and shouts "CIA! Italian!"

I can still hear him grumbling the assortment of nationalities as he walks down the street.

Ain't schizophrenia fun?

There's a multi-use path in my area that's labeled the "BPA trail." BPA stands for Bonneville Power Administration, of course, and the paved path isn't just for the public good: it runs below the BPA's high-tension power lines. You know the kind: so much juice that you can hear them crackle above your head.

I found myself on this trail yesterday, and as I went to rest my hands on the tops of my bicycles' handlebars, I felt a sharp sting. At first, I believed I'd been stung by a bee. That'd be the third time this week.

It wasn't an insect, however, but the constant, rhythmic zapping that you'd get if you stuck your finger in the power outlet. Yes, those lines have enough voltage that their meagre insulation is easily overcome, and those passing below can receive a rude shock just by standing there.

I'm not sure if massive electromagnetic baths cause cancer, or will lead to mutant powers, but this doesn't quite seem like the way things should be.
No tipping at Starbucks.

Who started the plan that tipping at Starbucks was a great idea? It's not.

Perhaps, presuming you accept the standard American method of tipping, it started because many cafes offer sit-down, from-the-menu service. Back before the days of the four-dollar latte, people typically got their terrible coffee at a Denny's or the like, and the server will come around with the coffee pot and refill your cup when it's low. To Insure Prompt Service, perhaps you'd like to leave a tip.

But Starbucks "baristas" are half cashier, half very, very stylish fast food clerk. You don't tip either of those, do you? And, at least here in Cascadia, they are covered by the same generous minimum wage laws as everyone else.

So, the next time you're at the Great Generic American Coffee Shop, and the cashier does something really, really special for you, feel free to hand her, personally, a dollar. But don't just kick your change into the kitty to be divvied up at the end of the shift and let the employer off the hook on a few bucks of wages.

It doesn't make you a better person.
Well, the day of the Devil has come and gone with no ill effects. About the only thing that seemed to happen was lots of expectant mothers either induced delivery early, or made sure to hold off for a day so that they wouldn’t kick out the muchkin on Tuesday. What kind of silly superstition is that? It’s akin to not making a thirteenth floor on a building or something. Personally, I’d love to be born on 6-6-06. Except then I’d be an infant.

Another weird thing? The “Alt” key on my desktop has stopped working. It’s BOTH alt keys, and no other keys. Swap keyboards, and it’s all back to normal. How do they both spontaneously fail without anything else going?

As you may know, your humble narrator is an avid cyclist, and a fan of the professional sport as well. Though it gets little respect in North America compared with Europe, Cascadia is more attuned to two-wheeled pedal power than most of the rest of the continent. Here’s a few of the weblogs to some local Oregonian pro cyclists. Stop by, say hello, and click-spam some ad links.

Barry Wicks: AEG-Toshiba-JetNetwork/Kona (there’s a mouthful.)
Omer Kem : Formerly of Team Monex, Subway, and Broadmark.
Ryan Trebon: Kona / Mouthful
Doug Ollerenshaw: Health Net p/b Maxxis. Currently recovering from a fractured hip sustained in his first European campaign. Wish him speedy recovery!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

The Container Store -- So many cool things. Boxes and bottles and bags and phials.

And, yet, the inescapable feeling that the conversation went like this:

"Customers respond well to our product's fancy new packaging, but our costs have increased substantially as a result."

"Well, wait a minute. What if we could get them to buy the packaging without the product?"

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pet peeve of the day: "You Look Tired."

No one should ever say this. The only appropriate responses are "Why, yes, I'm exhausted, that's why I look like shit." Or, "Actually, I'm fine, thank you very much. I'll take it you think I look like shit, though."

Also, in response to a House, MD., episode, I Googled "Blackpolean Blackparte." There were no results, said Google, but perhaps was I looking for "Blackpole Block Party?"

What would THAT even mean?

It had no results either.