Friday, June 05, 2009

Da da dum de dum de dum

I’m leaning toward signing up for a marathon…  but possibly not the Houston marathon.  Research is ongoing.


Ok, here’s the story from the local news readers yesterday:  local unemployment up 75% since last year.


Excuse me?  What?


The REAL story is that local unemployment is down from last month to 6.32% (take that, rest of the country).  This time last year it was at a scorching low 3.8 or so, and 6.3 is about 175% of 3.8.  But since saying that unemployment is down is not a story, they went with the misleading lead in.


Remind me again why nobody watches the news?


So I’ve been at this gardening thing now for about 6 years cultivating various crops and building up some experience, and I still find out new things every month.  For example, did you know you could make basil tea?  Maybe you tea drinkers knew, but I had no idea.  None whatsoever.  So I’ve had my basil drying in the refrigerator (another accidental success) and just found out I don’t have to wait for my tomatoes to come online to actually use the stuff.  Tonight I’m going to make me a big old kettle of basil tea and see how it tastes.


I’ve also become a lot less grossed out by bugs than I used to be.  No, I never went running and screaming like a little girl, but I’ve generally preferred them to be over there, behind glass, and me over here.  Now, I just grab the little boogers off the plants, inspect them to see if they’re beneficial or not, then take the action necessary (smoosh or release).  Oh, and don’t ever let any “organic” gardener lie to you that gardening that approaches organic standards is more humane than chemically blasting little nasties off the face of the earth.  It isn’t.  It’s just a little more healthy.  The nasties still die horrible, painful deaths and the organic gardeners revel in their pain and suffering—because they’re nasty little bugs and worms that turn their plants into poop and bug eggs.


Another interesting side product is the increased veggies in the diet.  As the garden grows, so too does the veggie part of the diet.  Foods I never thought to eat have been added to my diet.  Grilled squash?  Yup.  Collards?  Yup.  Swiss chard?  Sure.  There are the standard staples:  carrots, beans, potatoes.  But before I planted a tomato plant, I had never eaten a tomato.  God’s honest truth.  Same is true with black berries.  I planted 8 bushes having never had one of those beauties pass over my lips.  Now the first thing I do when I come home is check to see if any are ripe (of course, my son and wife pick them clean before I get home, little scavengers).  I’ve only eaten 2 Brussels sprouts in my life, but there are 8 plants in my garden right now desperately trying to yield a crop before the oppressive summer heat shuts them down.  I didn’t particularly like the 2 sprouts I had eaten, but maybe these will be different.  Dunno.


All in all, it’s a fun experience to see where food comes from and come up with ideas on how to use the stuff once it comes from there.


On the political scene, there was a good speech yesterday.  Very interesting, very cool to read.  I’ll have to admit, when the President is overseas and there is unusual activity, I get nervous.  2 tapes from Al Queda as he’s traveling the Mideast counts as unusual activity.  I’m glad everything went off without a hitch.  But while he’s on the make nice tour, there’s this matter of taking over domestic car companies, overhauling the health care system, and, oh yea, that reclusive, nutty North Korea regime doing stupid shit that apparently nobody needs to worry about because nobody cares about it.


Personally, I don’t want the government running GM.  I don’t care if GM is profitable or even continues to exist.  Yes, it’ll be very, very bad for the businesses tied to the auto industry if GM fails and is sold off, but if their pieces are sold off and the buyers use them to build (gasp) cars that people (gasp) want to buy, then that’s good for everyone.  As GM got big, then bigger, then still bigger, then started having trouble competing in the 70s, their divisions that made the cars people wanted were starved of capital to expand while GM chose to build trucks and SUVs that were more powerful and profitable and were easier to sell.

Here’s a marketing question for GM:  did people want iPods before Apple made them cool?  No.  iPods didn’t exist before Apple made them cool.  Apple told people they wanted iPods, and build iPods that lived up to the expectations Apple taught the people to have.  That’s the difference between a company that sells stuff and a company that builds stuff.  Sansa builds mp3 players, and people want to buy iPods.


For my part, I will never ever buy a GM as long as the government is calling the shots (and 6 of 10 members of the board is calling the shots).  And even after the government divests (if it ever does), I won’t buy a GM unless they figure out how to build a car that isn’t simply an engineering marvel, but is also a pleasure to own and drive.  Figure that out, and you’ll have my business back (for hints, look at Saturn before you fucked it all up, or maybe even Pontiac, or Ford).


And the latest news on the Korean front is that they’re going to ENFORCE the sanctions that were passed last time they sanctioned the North.  Big whoopidy doo.  Rest assured, Tokyo.  We’ve given them a stern look and told them we really (don’t care) mean it this time.  If I were you, I’d let the world know that if they’re not going to do something, you will, and ramp up that nuke program you’ve been sitting on.


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