|The World According to Nick|
|My take on Software, Technology, Politics, and anything else I feel like talking about.|
Sunday, May 21, 2006
You should be automatically forwarded to my new URL in a couple seconds, but in case you happen to read my blog using an RSS Reader, my blog has moved. You can now find me at http://www.nickschweitzer.net
Friday, May 19, 2006
So I was having a bit of a sugar craving, and went down to the vending machines to get my fix. After a bit of thinking, I finally decided on some Reeses's Peanut Butter Cups with Caramel. Peanut butter, chocolate, caramel, how could you go wrong? I opened up the package, and on the inside of the wrapper, there was a code for a contest they're running. So I read through the little spiel on how to redeem the code, to see if it was worthwhile doing... and then I saw this:
Are you kidding me? It's not like I went down to the vending machines to buy a liter of Jack Daniel's for God's sake.
I just had the following conversation via instant messaging with a coworker:
Why would I want to relish victory? I really don't like sweet pickles at all, and like them even less chopped up and served on my victory with ketchup or mustard. Can I have fried onions on my victory instead? Actually... I think I might be in the mood for a big chili victory. That sounds pretty good right now.
I've noticed lately that campaign workers are failing to realize a very simple truth. They are marketing their candidate to people, and need to realize that when they talk to people about their candidate. Perhaps it's because people think I'm a Republican (I'm not), or because they think I'm an influential blogger (I'm not), or because the moons have aligned with the proper stars (I wouldn't know), but within the last several months I've been getting a lot more unsolicited emails from various campaigns. This isn't the first time I've blogged about this either. I make my email address publicly available on my blog, so I fully expect this. What bugs me is how poorly campaign workers treat those email addresses.
Lately I've started getting emails from Mark Green's press secretary. I did not sign up for any sort of mailing list, but I've gotten a couple in the last week that are all titled similarly... along the lines of "Green responds to DPW *blank*". Contained in the email is some pronouncement about how this group misrepresented Green's views on some issue or another.
What am I supposed to do with this? Are you sending this because I'm a blogger, and you naturally think that I'll simply regurgitate what you send me on my blog and help set off some firestorm of conservative backlash against these groups? Do you see a "Blogs for Mark Green" icon on my sidebar? Do you see a "Blogs for Bush" icon on my sidebar? Did you bother to even read my blog at all? Search my blog for Mark Green. You'll see one post, that's actually more about Scott Walker than Mark Green.
Those who read my blog know that I don't jump on popular bandwagons, and usually refrain from throwing my two cents on the latest popular meme. Maybe that's why I'm not as popular as other bloggers... I don't know. All I know is that I blog on what moves me, not what moves others. So if you want me to blog about something, then you need to tell me why when you send me something.
At the very least, you need to stop being rude. Sending an unsolicited email, with just a press release attachment is rude. To that end, here is a sample email that all campaign people can use when first contacting me, with a few added comments in italics:
After that, if I do agree to be included in your mass emails, it always helps to actually write a note in the body of the email, instead of just attaching a press release. Any stupid schmo can attach a press release. Why should I be blogging on this? This doesn't have to be personalized to me specifically, I understand that I'm on a large list at this point. But give me something here.
If you don't, then your press release will just get filed away in some folder I'll never read again, and I'll start blogging about what a poor representative you are for your candidate. Is that the sort of press you want? Remember, your goal is to build a relationship with some people here. Why not start off that relationship by putting your best foot forward? The internet may be relatively anonymous, but if you want us to help represent your candidate, then you need to personable.
I think this is the wrong message to be giving illegal immigrants (emphasis mine):
Great, so now illegals will be more afraid to leave the United States than they are of coming here in the first place. Note to INS agents. If you see a vehicle pick up illegal immigrants and try to take them back to Mexico, don't shoot them. Give them an escort to the border, send them to the head of the line, then thank them for leaving when they cross.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Every now and then I perform the masochistic ritual of reading the Spivak & Bice Weblog. Today I was treated with this gem:
The NY Times article in question is here. Of course, had the two of them continued quoting the next paragraph, you'd see this:
So if these parents were already being investigated, exactly how is an attack on W-2 justified? In fact, I have to wonder why the two of them seem to think that finding child abusers is a bad thing. Would they rather that child abuse not be investigated at all, and children continue to live in these homes where they are being abused?
Via Ann Althouse comes this perfect little sound bite:
Wouldn't it be nice if all our Senators were protector's of the Constitution? The fact that Specter doesn't have an issue declaring that he doesn't protect the Constitution either just goes to show that he's been in office too long. Maybe we should make them swear an oath to defend it before they can take office. Oh. Wait. Never mind.
I happened to read this little piece on MSNBC about what a Democratically controlled House might look like:
Apparently, the implication is supposed to be that many Democrats aren't super left wing nut jobs like their self proclaimed leader Ms. Pelosi. I got a kick out of this part of the article (emphasis mine):
Maverick conservative-centrist? I think that may be the trifecta of political buzzword bingo! If they could only figure out a way to fit "mainstream" in there without it conflicting with maverick, it would be perfect. How do they do it anyway?
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
I have gotten a volunteer... but really I think it's too late in the day to do a decent one given that there are very few submissions in the Inbox. So I'm going to make the decision and say there is no Carnival of the Badger this week. It's going on hiatus for one week.
But next week, we'll be back on track, and I'm going to host. Not only that, but I'll be hosting from my brand new blog home, which I'll be moving to this weekend. Stay tuned to see where it is. After that, Sex in the Mil-town will take the reigns (sounds hot).
If you'd like to get in on the action, be sure to let me know.
The barbershop is on the comeback!
Apparently now there is a resurgence in demand for the barbershop. One thing that the article doesn't mention however (not surprisingly) is that barbershops also declined because many states (like Wisconsin) require barbers to go to cosmetology school in order to get a license now. My barber mentioned this to me one time. He was basically grandfathered in to the system, and that this was why there were so few traditional barbers out there.
Here is the syllabus for a qualifying cosmetology school, as set by statute in Wisconsin. It amounts to 1800 hours of instruction. The majority of the items to be taught are things you would go to a "stylist" for, while probably less than 1/3 is spent on traditional barber skills that a barbershop owner would need.
The Beatles didn't kill the traditional barbershop, the state (and probably cosmetology lobbying organizations) did. Via Instapundit.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Your guess is as good as mine. Would you mind if it crashes at your blog for a week? I promise it won't eat that much, and it doesn't stay up real late.
Right on the heels of this controversy, a number of smaller special interest groups have come out in favor of removing certain programming from Sesame Street, saying that it has continued the culture of divisiveness in this country.
Not surprisingly, this last comment brought about quite a strong reaction from the The Mathematical Association of America:
When asked to comment, a spokesman for WEAC had the following to say:
Update: As usual... real life mimics parody. The Agitator points to this new definition of racism in the Seattle Public School System (emphasis mine):
So with this definition, exactly who isn't a racist?
... I just don't see the National Guard at the border doing much good. I think this is especially true given that they won't be doing any actual guarding, just providing surveillance and technical assistance to the Border Patrol. I'm sure there are very good reasons for doing this having to do with the Posse Comitatus Act, but still... it will make them less effective.
Frankly, I waffle back and forth on walls and troops at the border. While at first blush it may seem like a simple and effective solution, I always end up having a flashback to Star Wars when Princess Leah says to Govenor Tarkin, "The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers." I can't help but wonder if the same is true here. (Yes, I am a geek.)
In the end, America is a damn attractive place to live for illegals. As long as the benefits of living in the United States (jobs and welfare) are greater than the cost (crossing the border), they will keep coming. It's really just that simple. So how do we make the United States less attractive to illegals coming over the border? I've discussed these issues at length previously:
Replace the Income Tax with a National Sales Tax: I'm convinced that one of the main reasons why so many employers hire illegals is because they can pay them cash, and just not deal with the paperwork involved with the IRS. It's not that the employers hate the idea of taxes all together. It's just that its too much of a confusing paperwork burden to place on employers... especially small employers. By removing that burden, it puts all potential employees on a level playing field. And I do believe that given an equal choice, employers would rather pick citizens than illegals.
Require Proof of Citizenship to Get Welfare: And something that goes hand and hand with this is changing the Constitution to require that someone born in this country have at lease one citizen as a parent to be considered a citizen.
That's it. That's all it would take. The beauty of these two ideas is that they actually save us money, and don't require Orwellian national identification databases, land mines, or troops flying choppers over southern states. Of course, simplicity was never something the government excelled in.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Instapundit has another interesting take on the NSA phone number database:
There is something to that. And we're not just talking about people on their cell phones either. Right now I'm listening to my cube neighbor on his speakerphone with a tech support group in another state, even though he's the only one here on the phone call. Even when they don't use speaker phone, I still get to listen to people talk about paying their mortgages, being condescending to their wives, and using baby talk to speak with their children... or the wives, sometimes it's hard to tell.
Remember... phone conversations carry over the cube walls! Unfortunately for me, I forgot my MP3 player in my car today.
So I was listening to "Don't Know Why" by Norah Jones on my MP3 player while I was driving into work this morning (I have very eclectic music tastes), and I was struck by a thought. Is this song about her not going to see someone when she should have, or about her being "unsatisfied" by the man she's with at the moment?
Kinda defeats one of the purposes if you buy them used doesn't it? Say it with me... Ewwwwwwwww.
More evidence of the overuse of SWAT Teams in our country:
If they weren't expecting armed resistance, then why the hell did they employ a SWAT team? "Because they were there" is an absolutely horrible reason to do it. SWAT Teams use incredibly dangerous techniques, which if it's a high risk warrant, are neccessary, but otherwise escalate the potential of harm being done to people in the area more than it's worth. You know, like blowing off testicles with flash bang grenades, or killing unarmed men who are surrendering.
Links via The Agitator.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
I was reading my copy of Mountain Bike, which comes as part of my Bicycling subscription, and saw the following in a section called "Philosophical Q&A":
Thankfully I can say that I've never fallen in such a way that I've smashed my nuts in one instant... though I've had some issues with m bike seat before. While I can say the whole thing was memorable, it's definitely not something I'd want to repeat a thousand times, especially if I wanted to have kids.
I actually worked with a guy who had an "accident" mountain biking. Going downhill on a trail, the handlebars turned 90 degrees, so that one of them went straight into his groin as he went forward. Let's just say he was hobbling around the office for a couple weeks after that. That's not something I would wish upon my worst enemy.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Tonight while I was out and about, I happened to see a Wauwatosa cop driving, with his cell phone to his ear. In fact, I often times have seen Wauwatosa cops driving around in their squad cars talking on their cell phones. Two comments on this.
First, I don't want to hear any more cops on TV talking about how talking on your cell phone while driving is a bad thing to do. If it's so bad, then you shouldn't be doing it either.
Secondly, why aren't you looking for crime? I thought one of the ideas behind driving around in your patrol cars was to look for suspicious behavior. Exactly how are you supposed to do that if you're jabbering on your phone?
Friday, May 12, 2006
Part of a new conceptual series entitled "Being Controversial Gets You Noticed".
Anyone who writes a blog and cares about getting traffic directed to it knows how hard it is. I'm often times frustrated by the lack of traffic coming my way. Based on purely anecdotal evidence, I've come to the conclusion that women have a much easier time starting blogs and getting traffic than men. The reasons for this are simple, available for everyone to see, and yet rarely acknowledged. First comes the mythology.
Some time ago, an LA Times columnist stated that the blogosphere was male dominated, and it was all the fault of men (I don't have the link anymore sadly). The top male bloggers were keeping women out of the game because they didn't prominently link to many female bloggers. It was all our fault. I believe quite strongly that the opposite is true. Female bloggers aren't as popular as male bloggers quite simply because there are fewer of them around. And in fact, the popularity of the current female bloggers is because of men.
Now for the simple reasons behind this. The first reason is that there are more male readers in the blogosphere than female readers. The second reason is that the vast majority of men in the world (and by extension the majority of blog readers) are heterosexual. There are also only so many blogs that a person can read, which makes people selective. You just can't read them all. So given a choice between reading some guy's blog, or some woman's blog, I think more guys choose a woman's blog.
I think it satisfies a voyeuristic tendency in many people. The internet is very anonymous, especially in what you choose to read. Not only that, but there is such a long standing history of pornography on the internet, that male readers naturally expect that at some point, the female bloggers they read will eventually post naked pictures of themselves on their blogs. Sure... we all claim to go to their blogs for their "fascinating opinions" and to "gain insight in the female mindset", but that's all just smoke and mirrors. Every time we click, we're really just hoping to see a little T&A. That's why anonymous female bloggers tend to be even more popular... because we figure that there's a better chance they'll divulge something dirty, since their name is not attached to it.
Men are such simple creatures aren't we?
Earlier this year, a group of scientists did a brain pattern study on people from both sides of the ideological divide, and found one thing they both have in common:
So there you have it... real scientific evidence that politics is like drugs and needs to be banned! Have you ever wondered why political bloggers who say they're going to give up blogging usually come back? That's right... it's because politics is addictive! Political bloggers get a rush of pleasure when they get a chance to agree with their guy out in public... the kind of rush that you can't get just nodding your head while you listen to Charlie Sykes on the radio in your car.
I see this every day as my
John McCain... when will you save us from this scourge with more stringent Campaign Finance Reform?
Part of a new conceptual series entitled "Being Controversial Gets You Noticed".
I fully realize that this post will probably get me in trouble with the fairer sex. But like many men, I still choose to say things I know will get me in trouble. Every now and then I read a post by someone, and instead of feeling the need to respond directly to it, it brings up all sorts of related thoughts that are worthy of something more in depth. Ann Althouse had a post that did that to me. She talks about this piece in the WSJ Editorial Page, and talks about "going after pro-sex feminists again". I'm not going to talk about pro-sex feminists or anti-sex feminists here... that's not the point of the post.
Instead, I'll just finish the opening sentence. The problem with women is that they try to get all other women to agree with them. I think women, much more than men, are wrapped up in identity politics. This is probably the single most unfortunate thing to happen to "women's rights", or whatever you want to call it. Women are much more apt to attack other women for holding the "wrong view".
It's not that men don't do the same thing to other men... of course we do (see war). The difference is that men rarely are under the delusion that all men should act and think the same way. We may try to kill or dismember those who disagree with us, but at least we respect them for their opinion while we stand over their bloody and mangled corpse.
Part of a new conceptual series entitled "Being Controversial Gets You Noticed".
I live in the suburbs and I work downtown. In order to get from where I live to where I work and back, I have two basic choices. Choice one is take the freeway which is overcrowded, plagued with construction (thanks to the Marquette Interchange Project), and has enough bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic to remind me of the opening scenes of Office Space. Choice two is to drive through the ghetto and negotiate the maze of roads and try to remember which bridge got blown up last week and which one was just reopened. Being the Engineer that I am, I've tried both trying to find the optimal drive into work. Sometimes choice one is better, and sometimes its choice two. Choice two scares the shit out of me.
Before you stop reading and call me a racist... allow me to tell you why it doesn't scare me. It's not all the black people. I could care less. I don't have a fear of being shot (though maybe I should after writing this post). Carjackings don't worry me (do they happen in Milwaukee?). Plain and simple, I'm afraid I'm more likely to get into an accident driving through the ghetto than any other place. From purely anecdotal evidence alone, I am convinced that poor people are worse drivers than more affluent people.
Before you stop reading and call me a classist, allow me to explain why I don't think this. It's not because many poor people are black, and all black people are bad drivers. White poor people are bad drivers too. It's not because poor people are stupid, and stupid people are bad drivers or something like that. Plain and simple, poor people have crappier things, and don't care about their things as much.
If you drive a crappy car, full of dents and scratches... really... what's one more? If you don't care about that one more dent, then why go to the effort of checking your blind spot before changing lanes? I see more people turning left from the right lane, and turning right from the left lane in the ghetto than anywhere else. I see more crappy looking cars cutting people off with no fear, or driving in non-existent lanes near the curb in the ghetto than anywhere else.
I on the other hand have a nice car, without any dings or scratches, and I'd like to keep it that way thank you very much. Every time I drive through those areas, I wonder if this will be the day I get into an accident when I see that junker blow through a red light right in front of me. That's why I hate driving through the ghetto.
Today is the day you've all been waiting for... and by "all"... I mean the 7 people who actually read my blog. I was just going to post the few drafts that were voted on without comment, but then I realized I need to do a bit of explaining.
First of all, as it turns out, several of the posts you chose were part of a conceptual series I put together a while ago, but then decided not to publish. Several months back I was disappointed in my traffic (as happens from time to time), and decided to channel Protein Wisdom in an effort to boost traffic. So I wrote several posts in a new series entitled "Being Controversial Gets You Noticed". But before I published them, I decided it wouldn't be very true to myself and canceled the series.
Secondly, I thought I'd go into a little more detail about why I'm doing this in the first place. As some of you may know, I'm going to be moving both of my blogs off of Blogger, and onto a new blog engine with their own domains. I've been doing a lot of work to get everything setup, and to import my current posts, comments and trackbacks into my new blog, and hope to be rolling everything out in the next week or so. Since I'll be leaving Blogger soon then, I thought it might be nice to clean up my drafts as well.
So without further ado... onto the drafts!
Thursday, May 11, 2006
I've decided that tomorrow will be Draft Day at The World According to Nick. So if you haven't voted on which drafts you'd like to see published, now is your last chance! Vote by commenting on this post.
Home: Wauwatosa, WI, United States
I'm a Software Consultant in the Milwaukee area. Among various geeky pursuits, I'm also an amateur triathlete, and enjoy rock climbing. I also like to think I'm a political pundit.
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