Friday, June 29, 2007

The steer is back!

I visited a new BiLo store today and they have a steer on the top of the store. Now to most people, that doesn't mean much. But back in my day (makes me feel good to say that), all BiLo's had steers on top. These were made out of fiberglass and were frequently the target of drunk rednecks who needed some practice, but they were there.

The number of steers on top of the store somehow related to the size. A one-steer BiLo was small, a two steer was medium and a three steer BiLo, well, that was something else. I, of course, worked at three steer BiLo (there should now be an atmosphere of hushed respect and awe in the room as you read this).

We were proud of our three steer BiLo. When the company went through a buy-out in 1977, we were the three steer BiLo closest to the main office. The buyers-to-be were slated to tour our store early on Saturday morning. We brought in specialists from all over to make sure our store was the finest. In the meat department, where I worked, all trays were stacked to a perfect 6 inches. I saw the specialist for my area measure each tray carefully.

Saturday came and, since it was the first of the month, the customers came. They liked the fact that the trays were stacked nealty and some even noticed that the meat seemed a higher grade (it was - trying to seduce the buyers). Funny thing was, they bought stuff! Which meant that the perfect 6 inch trays weren't perfect any more.

We constantly fought to keep everything looking just so. Mean time, we had extra workers so that the prospective buyers would see how good we were. From 8am until around 5 or 6 pm, we fought to keep things pristine (a losing battle). Finally, the prospective buyers came and after a fast walk through where they barely looked at my department, they went away.

Dilbert could have been there.

But the steer has always been important to me and sometime around 1981, the new owers decided to upgrade the image and get rid of the steers. I guess they all went out to fiberglass pasture (you can't let a steer go to stud).

Today the new BiLo Superstore has a steer on top. Just one, it's not the same class of store I worked at. But at least the steer is back...

Why would you do that to your ear?

At lunch today, I saw a guy with an earring. No big deal, lots of folks have those. But this earing was like a washer. Note that it wasn't a washer hanging down, it was a washer IN THE EAR LOBE!!!

The hole in this guy's ear was big enough that you could stick your big finger through the middle of it (if you wanted to stick your finger through a hole in this guys earlobe).

Why would anyone do that? You can't believe it's good for you. What does it prove?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Health Care reform

The other morning I heard about a new approach to health care reform. It focuses on using the free market system as the basis.

Anything starting with the free market system gets my attention. I've only read part of the information so far, but it looks interesting. Look for details at I'll be reading more...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Catholic mass

I have led a protected life. Until last night, I had never visited a Catholic mass. My nephew's son was being baptised, so I went and had a special seat up front (which is tough on a back-row baptist). The service was (I think) a normal service with a baptism at the end.

My overall impression of the service was that it was very structured. The feeling I got was much like I got at a service I used to go to by Messianic Jews. They sang a lot of the prayers, a lot of responsive reading, lots of "blessing to you", etc.

I listened to the prayers (most were in English) and can't say I disagree with most of what was said. They asked Mary to pray for them, asked John to pray for them, I'm not sure I've ever thought about a person who had died praying for me. I'll have to think of what that means.

The service was a feast for John the Baptist (I was glad they acknowledged that he was Baptist). They also talked about a feast for Mary. I never thought about feasts like that.

There were things I didn't agree with. The priest said the baptism took away original sin. I believe baptism is a sign, an outward sign of an inward change. I don't get hung up about when you get baptised, I know a lot of Baptists are very picky about that. But I feel like, if it's a sign of obedience, it really doesn't matter if you did it after you accepted Christ or even if you did it. Yes, you should, but it won't keep you out of heaven if you don't.

I would have more of a problem with someone who didn't want to do it. Why not? But then I'd have a problem with someone saying it was required. Why? Baptism doesn't save you.

All in all, it was a good service. And I saw a lot of things I had never seen before.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Florida and back

I spent the last week in and around Boca Raton Florida. One day of vacation, then a class for four days.

This is the wrong time of the year to visit southern Florida, it's very hot and subject to a lot of showers. We had heavy rain the day we arrived (Sunday) and Monday. Tuesday-Friday threatened rain and there were some showers but not too bad.

Florida is spread out. Reminds me of Dallas that way. You can't go from one thing to another without getting in a car.

We had good eating, sea food two nights (hey, we were on the ocean), steak one night, italian another.

I met a co-worker from Singapore. We talked about culture a lot and the differences.

Overall a good trip...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Plum Island

A century ago, people came to a crossroads in their lives and had to choose a direction. Today, we live inside microchips with a million paths opening and closings every nanosecond. What's worse, someone else is pushing the buttons.

That's a quote from the book, Plum Island (PI) by Nelson DeMille. It wasn't on my summer reading list, but a recent weekend trip found me without one of my books, so I bought PI. It's my third DeMille novel (Lion's Game and Nightfall being #1 & #2). Like the first two, it's a thriller.

John Corey (quoted in the first paragraph) is the main character and I'm not sure whether I like him or not. I think that's DeMille's point. I find myself rooting for him and then disgusted by him. I want him to end up with one of the ladies in the story and then find myself surprised that I can get that involved in "romance".

The language is rough, but it fits the characters. I've seen novelists who insert profanity for effect, DeMille is better than that. There's also some no-no's, illicit sex, violence, mention of drugs, but I don't recall any illegal drugs.

Overall, I give the book a B+. (I'm a tough grader). I hope others can enjoy the book.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Jobs that no one will take

The immigration thing is heating up again. Quite frankly, I'm not sure where I sit on this, but I have one hot button that everyone seems to hit. It's the comment that we need illegal immigrants because there are jobs here that no one will take. I've heard this from republicans and democrats alike so it must be true.

I have a one word answer to that argument: BALONEY.

I'm a believer in the free market. If there's a job that needs to be done, someone will sign up for it. If not, the wages are too low. Trust me, you're not likely to see me on the back of a garbage truck or digging ditches. Even if the pay matched my current salary, I probably wouldn't change jobs. However if the pay was double what I was making today, I might dig ditches on the side. (Of couse all the jobs would be taken long before that).

So, let's assume that construction jobs could no longer be filled by illegal immigrants. The wages for these jobs would go up. The cost of my next house would go up. What goes around comes around, inflation would result. That's not necessarily bad, that's always been the case.

The low inflation of the last few years and the prosperity in that time has largely been built on the backs of these illegal immigrants. I wish this had been different and yes, I personally have benefited from this behavior (not directly). I do believe we have an obligation to treat the people who are here now differently than those who are not here.

I'm not suggesting amnesty, nor am I suggesting shipping all these people back home. I really don't want to make that the focus of my point here. What I really want is for all of these politicians to stop saying that we need these people because there are jobs that Americans won't do.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

City data website

Very cool website with information about your city. Information about racial make-up, crime rate, climate, economic, etc. All of the information is probably somewhere else, but I found this while looking for something eles. Go look at

I'm not sure I believe all of the data, it says we average 3 inches of snow in January. Actually, if we get 3 inches of snow ALL YEAR it's considered a lot.

3 inches of snow is a major winter storm for us. The schools and businesses close. Everyone goes to the store to by milk and bread (it's required by regional ordinance). People start making hot chocolate and realize that the powder is infected with little bugs, so they throw it out.

Overall, a good site. Just not sure I believe the 3 inches of snow in January....

Friday, June 08, 2007

Man does not live by Google alone

After a brief hiatus, I'm back. Just been too busy. This morning, I'm going to do something different for me and point to some news articles. Those who know me, know I've become fascinated with the law, anything that combines law and technology is even better.

C/Net has an article about a county in Pennsylvania who looked for a person using only Google. Seems the guy was behind on his taxes and (as required by law) the county tried to find him. The taxes were on some vacant land, so the notices posted on the land went unnoticed. The county tried to send him a letter, but had the wrong address (provided by Google).

However, had they tried a phone book (remember those things?), they would have found him and he would have happily paid his taxes. Instead, the county sold his property. For those who think this is justified, the time-frame was fairly quick. The taxes were (apparently) due the first of 2004, notices were posted in July & August 2005 and the land sale took place in early 2005. For folks that own land far away, that's short. The courts thought the county should have done more than just google the man.

For the full article, look here.

In slight contrast, the courts have ruled that you SHOULD use Google to find a person. A case in Idiana (which I learned last night borders on Lake Michigan) centered on a plaintiff trying his best to find a defendant, but not trying via Google. The judge chastised him. See that story here.

So the moral to the story is a two-parter: 1) Always use Google and 2) Google alone is not sufficient. Also, I'm a little disappointed. I always say that Google knows everything, I guess it just ain't so...

P.S. If anyone is offended by my subject line, sorry, that's just my style of humor.