Wonderful. Just Wonderful.

I received a letter from BNY Mellon today. They’re the bank responsible for processing dividends on the six shares of stock I own in the parent company of KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. An entire six shares. Even if I cashed them in, they wouldn’t cover the amount of hassle I’m now at risk of encountering. Here’s how the letter opens:

We are writing to let you know that computer tapes containing some of your personal information were lost while being transported to an off-site storage facility by our archive services vendor. While we have no reason to believe that this information has been accessed or used inappropriately….

Having worked for a financial services company, I was already pretty thoroughly convinced that personal information isn’t protected nearly as well as the various players claim it is. So in many ways, it really did seem like just a matter of time until my information was put at risk through no fault of my own.
Oh. And the tapes were lost in February. According to the letter, they’ve spent the past five months investigating. Given the lack of a “here’s what we found out” paragraph, I can only conclude they have no idea what went happened.
I know what’s going on. Where did you think Congress was going to come up with the trillion dollars they need to bail out the financial system?

A Matter of Priorities

Wylie likes having a certain amount of routine in his life. When I get home from work, he runs up and down the stairs (and sometimes slides across the floor) until I take him out for his afternoon walk. When I cook breakfast in the morning, he lounges on the couch, waiting for a piece of scrambled egg or perhaps a pancake to land in the ol’ food dish. And when we come back from our evening walk, if I go upstairs before giving him a treat, his confusion becomes quite evident. (He’s quite insistent about this last routine. In addition to looking back and forth between me and the cupboard – he knows exactly where the snacks are stored – he’ll occasionally go so far as to block my path up the stairs. The message is quite clear, “Hey! Aren’t you forgetting something?! Where’s my treat??!“)
Today was a rough day for Wylie.
It was quite bad enough that no people food was dropped into the ol’ food dish, but to add insult to injury, the ol’ food dish up and disappeared. Being fairly easy going, Wylie came right upstairs and flopped on the bed while I got ready for work.
Wylie perked up a little at the next break from the routine. Usually once I’m ready for work, he gets a couple Milk Bones and then he’s confined to the upstairs for the next eight to nine hours. Today was different though. I went downstairs and gathered my things for work, but instead of coming upstairs with the Milk Bones, I called Wylie to come down. That definitely got him to perk up and once he saw the harness, he got even more excited. He was going to go for a ride in the car!
He enjoyed the ride in the car and despite all the stereotypes, he didn’t put up any resistance at walking into the vet’s office. I took a few steps with him toward the exam room and it wasn’t until he was on the scale that Wylie realized I was no longer with him. (The technicians later told me that he spent a large part of the day upset that I wasn’t around. Clearly he was concerned that without him to keep an eye on me, I’d probably wander off and fall down a well or something.)
When the vet cleans a dog’s teeth, the routine is to put the dog under sedation. This way the dog won’t be as anxious about the procedure and the humans won’t be as anxious about the possibility of being bitten. But because of the sedation and the need for monitoring afterward, it’s an all-day thing. They cleaned Wylie’s teeth in the morning and I picked him up on my way home.
It was pretty clear that Wylie was still feeling the affects of the sedation. Usually he hops right into the car, this time he had to take it in stages, using the doorframe as a step instead of jumping directly onto the seat.
When we got home, Wylie came upstairs while I changed clothes. I felt badly that he’d come upstairs just to go back down a few moments later and felt even worse when I saw him on the stairs. He didn’t exactly fall down the stairs, but it was hardly a graceful descent either.
When we returned from the afternoon/after-work walk, Wylie went back upstairs and stayed curled up on the bed until it was time for our evening walk. From his reduced pace on the evening walk, it was obvious that he was still a little groggy, so we cut the walk short, reducing it to about 2/3 of a mile instead of the usual 1 1/2.
And when we got back, Wylie made it plain that I wasn’t to go upstairs until he’d had his evening treat. He might not have been feeling well, but he does have his priorities.


As John points out, this is a chain post. (John blames Wil Wheaton, so I’ll happily blame John.) I’m fairly comfortable stating that this post doesn’t invoke The Curse since (a) you chose to visit my site instead of me dumping this in your in box and (b) this doesn’t end with the usual litany of bad outcomes if you don’t pass it along.
And hey, maybe this one will really work!
From: Minister of the Treasury Paulson
Dear American:
I need to ask you to support an urgent secret business relationship with a transfer of funds of great magnitude.
I am Ministry of the Treasury of the Republic of America. My country has had crisis that has caused the need for large transfer of funds of 800 billion dollars US. If you would assist me in this transfer, it would be most profitable to you.
I am working with Mr. Phil Gram, lobbyist for UBS, who will be my replacement as Ministry of the Treasury in January. As a Senator, you may know him as the leader of the American banking deregulation movement in the 1990s. This transactin is 100% safe.
This is a matter of great urgency. We need a blank check. We need the funds as quickly as possible. We cannot directly transfer these funds in the names of our close friends because we are constantly under surveillance. My family lawyer advised me that I should look for a reliable and trustworthy person who will act as a next of kin so the funds can be transferred.
Please reply with all of your bank account, IRA and college fund account numbers and those of your children and grandchildren to wallstreetbailout@treasury.gov so that we may transfer your commission for this transaction. After I receive that information, I will respond with detailed information about safeguards that will be used to protect the funds.
Yours Faithfully
Minister of Treasury Paulson

Geek Humor

using System;
using System.Reflection;
namespace GeekHumor
    public class MyMadness
        public bool There()
           return true;
        static void Main(string[] args)
            Type t = typeof(MyMadness);
            MemberInfo mi = t.GetMethod("There");
            if(mi != null)
               Console.WriteLine("There is a method to MyMadness.");
               Console.WriteLine("There is no method to MyMadness.");

Build that, run it, and you’ll at long last have a solid demonstration that There is indeed a method to MyMadness.

Shoe Safety

AJ recently asked me to join her team for “Light the Night,” a fundraiser for the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (sponsorships welcome). I responded that It would be an honor and went to the event web site to sign up.
As with so many events these days, when you sign up, you have to agree to their terms and conditions, essentially agreeing to follow their rules and if you get hurt it’s your fault not theirs.

I understand and agree that I am voluntarily participating in The Light The Night® Walk, through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, at my own risk and my own request. I am in good health without any medical & physical restrictions. I will wear properly fitting footwear with good traction enabling me to walk safely on all surface and conditions. I can also see well at night and will not need any special assistance. I also give permission for the free use of my name, picture and voice in any broadcast, telecast, print account or any other account in any medium of this event. I understand that bicycles, inline skates, “wheelie” footwear, skateboards and scooters are not permitted.
I understand that The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has the right in its sole discretion to reject my participation as a Light the Night volunteer for any reason, whether prior to or after my registration.

That highlighted sentence might be setting the bar just a little too high. Footwear suitable for all surfaces and conditions?
The crampons that would allow you to walk safely across an unexpected patch of ice would probably cause you to trip if it then became necessary to walk across a carpet. And if you were on the surface of the moon, the spikes on the crampons would be a risk for tearing the space suit! And just imagine if there were a carpet on the moon! You trip, and as you try to right yourself, one foot makes contact with the other leg and tears the space suit, and then you stumble, fall, and break the suit’s faceplate against a rock.
I’ll do my best to follow their rules, but I’m a bit concerned about the footwear issues. Of course, if means I get the chance to walk on the moon… that might be worth the risks.
Updated 9-23-2008: Due to a death in the family, I won’t be participating in this event after all. I’ll have to look for an alternate way of getting to the moon.

Explaining the Financial Meltdown

Katie sent me a link yesterday to a “SubPrime Primer” which gives you the background on the whole subprime fiasco. It seems like a fairly accurate if jaded description of how we got into this mess.
When I bought my house nine years ago, I had no end of people telling me how instead of a fixed rate mortgage, I should have gone with an lower adjustable rate mortgage and refinanced to a fixed when the rate eventually went up.
Yeah. That would have been a good plan.
I’m a bit nostalgic for the days when “conservative” meant “cautious.” Nowadays it seems to mean “reckless.”

Avast Ye Swabs!

Arrrr! Just so ye won’t be complain’ that nobody reminded ye, Friday be Talk Like a Pirate Day!
I’ve assembled a bounty of piratical resources to help ye prepare for this event, so let’s just dive right in, shall we? What be yer pirate name?

My pirate name is:
Mad Jack Kidd

Every pirate is a little bit crazy. You, though, are more than just a little bit. Even though you’re not always the traditional swaggering gallant, your steadiness and planning make you a fine, reliable pirate. Arr!

No Good Options

If you tell me the Republican Party bites, I won’t argue with you. I’ve been increasingly disgusted over the past six years. But the truth is, the Democratic Party bites pretty hard too. Check out this clip from back in February. (The quick summary is that both parties flip-flopped as to where they stood and both versions of the bill would have hurt the working class.)

There are still about six weeks to go before the election. Before then, there’s a movie I’d like to suggest. It busts on both major parties equally and makes quite a number of good points. In many ways, it’s too bad Tom Dobbs isn’t a real person.

And that’s enough political crap for now.