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Archive for the ‘Errata’ Category

I Can Fix Illegal Immigration

Posted by Euroranger on February 6, 2017


As some of us have seen, and many more have heard, 84Lumber ran an “ad” last night during the Super Bowl wherein their takeaway message at the end of a nearly 6 minute long video was “the will to succeed is always welcome here”.

84lumber2

Probably doesn’t help that the image this stirring message is superimposed on is a potential construction employer who, also, would be breaking laws by employing illegals.

A noble sentiment, to be sure…except for the part where, in their video, the “will to succeed” was illustrated as two supposedly Mexican nationals (sympathetically portrayed as a mother and her little girl) encountering a border wall…and then entering the United States illegally.

84lumber1

Remarkable they considered a gate in the wall instead of having them scale it.  Almost as if there were intentional entry points where people could go to enter the country properly.

This ad has drawn admirers and critics both.  Personally, I think breaking our laws is wrong and American companies supporting the portrayal of such, even with characters designed to be heart-tugging (right down to the little girl knitting a United States flag out of discarded garbage) is irresponsible and wrong.  Skip for a moment that the corporation (a member of a usually demonized and evil group) who produced the touching Super Bowl spot is a lumber company that would like to sell even more of their lumber to the number two employer of illegal labor in our country, the construction industry, so they could make ever greater profit.  This self-serving fact is conveniently missed by those who are cheering this ad for the sensitive and thoughtful message of how we should welcome anyone who wants to come to our country regardless of whether they observe our laws doing so or not.  However, setting aside this curious bit of dogmatic blindness, I do believe we have a real issue with regard to illegal immigration to our country.

People who support such an ad as the one 84Lumber did like to point to our history as a receiver of other country’s “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and believe that people streaming unchecked and unknown across our southern border in violation of our laws is the same thing.  I could get into a discussion of how it’s clearly not the same thing but that debate is for another time because, as the title of my article states, I Can Fix Illegal Immigration (so no debate would be necessary).  My idea is to take the 1900’s example of immigration and apply it to today’s issues.

84lumber3

Ellis Island, small but effective.

Back in the early part of the 1900’s, many immigrants to the United States came from overseas and ended up, often times, at Ellis Island.  Ellis Island opened in 1892 as a federal immigration station, a purpose it served for more than 60 years (it closed in 1954). From 1900 to 1914, the peak years of Ellis Island’s operation, some 5,000 to 10,000 people passed through the immigration station every day. Approximately 80 percent successfully passed through in a matter of hours.  Millions of people came through the station during its operation, an island of only 6 acres (or roughly 4.5 football fields).  Most that came to the United States back then came for various reasons: war, drought, famine and religious persecution amongst others.  They overwhelmingly had one thing in common: they were poor.  They often arrived by paying for a steerage fare (if you’ve seen Titanic, they were the people in the lower levels of the ship) and brought with them only what they could carry.  Upon arriving, they were tagged with information from the ship’s registry and passed through long lines for medical and legal inspections to determine if they were fit for entry into the United States.  Doctors checked for more than 60 diseases and disabilities that might disqualify them from entry into the United States. Those suspected of being afflicted with or having a disease or disability were marked with chalk and detained for closer examination.  Each passenger had to answer up to 31 questions (the answers recorded on manifest lists) before boarding the ship in their home country. The questions included, among others: name, age, sex, marital status, occupation, nationality, ability to read or write, race, physical and mental health, last residence, and the name and address of the nearest relative or friend in the immigrant’s country of origin. Immigrants were asked whether they had at least $25; whether they had ever been in prison, an almshouse, or an institution; or if they were polygamists or anarchists.  This information was part of the ship’s registry and passed to United States immigration officials upon arrival.

Immigrants weren’t charged for actually entering the United States but they were screened for diseases, criminal history and ability to contribute to our society (and not be a vagrant or social support case).  These are the conditions that proponents of immigration point at as superior examples of what we could be doing today for immigration policy.  The trouble is, we don’t have an analog to Ellis Island along our southern border and no way to force people through a funnel like that.  Back in the 1900’s the journey had to be made by ship which necessitated landing at a port…aspects our government could and properly did control.  A sea border of thousands of miles width, cannot be easily circumvented like an unfenced land border can be.

Before I go further, it’s helpful to understand why people immigrate to the United States illegally.  This isn’t about opportunities in the US that don’t exist in their own countries.  This is about the barriers to legal immigration to today’s version of the 1900’s “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free”.  This interesting article from Bloomberg sums the current immigration dilemma up nicely:

…to hire someone on an H-1B visa, a U.S. employer has to pay about $2,500 in legal fees; a $1,500 training fee; a $1,000 “premium processing” fee; a $500 antifraud fee; a $190 immigration service fee; around $125 in additional incidental costs; and a $100 visa fee. That totals almost $6,000.

Complicated immigration cases can cost eligible applicants $10,000 or more in legal fees alone.

…unauthorized immigrants from Central America pay between $7,000 and $10,000 in smuggling fees to get across the border…often more than once, because they get caught, thrown out, and try to return.

So, how much could—or should—we charge for the right to live and work in the U.S.? Becker suggested the U.S. should let in anyone who can pay $50,000 to Uncle Sam and pass a criminal background check. That may seem like a lot of money, but Miao Chi and Scott Drewianka of the University of Wisconsin estimate that, allowing for factors including age and education, the average recent Mexican immigrant with a green card (permanent resident status) earns roughly $20,000 a year more than the average Mexican immigrant without one (on a more limited visa or undocumented). So, allowing for education, the average immigrant from south of the border would recoup that $50,000 in less than three years.

For those who oppose the very idea of selling citizenship or residence…[t]he current EB-5 visa program gives green cards to people who invest $500,000 and create at least 10 jobs in the U.S. And the proposed (bipartisan) Schumer-Lee bill would provide a residency visa for anyone who simply spends $500,000 on buying a house. So Republicans and Democrats alike in Congress have already thrown their support behind a fee-based immigration system—all there is to haggle over is the price.

That’s a lot to digest but the upshot is that back in 1900’s you merely had to figure out how to pay for a way to get here and, later, have $25 in your pocket.  That’s a far cry from the tens of thousands that immigrants, both legal and illegal, spend today to come here.  The real issue is: if they are already “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” they likely don’t have the tens of thousands they need to come here.  Our current immigration system is, for lack of a better word, catering to an elite that it didn’t used to.  My solution fixes that.

84lumber4

Hola y bienvenidos a los Estados Unidos!

My solution seeks to combine the security, registration and documentation aspects of the old system (which, in the case of illegal immigration, we currently lack) with the economic equality of access we used to have…and apply it to our southern land border.  Here’s the solution in bullet point form:

  1. Along our southern border we build new immigration centers designed to process up to 5000 prospective immigrants each per day.  These centers are built AWAY from current urban areas so that infrastructure and building surrounding them can be carefully controlled.  The only business taking place in these areas is immigration control and processing.  Essentially, copies of Ellis Island times however many we deem necessary.
  2. To anyone who voluntarily agrees to legally process through these immigration centers we propose the following exchange:
    – For registering to enter the country legally and be subject to and successfully pass health and legal inspections you will be given a social security number and a probationary visitor visa good for 5 years.
    – During that 5 years you will abide by the laws of the United States.  Conviction of a felony during that time period voids your probationary visa and you will be subject to deportation.
    – Because we aren’t charging you the $6000 or so in fees we currently charge to existing legal immigrants, you will forfeit federal tax refunds for those 5 probationary years in order to pay for your entry to the United States.
    – You will not be eligible for federal social support in the way of welfare or foodstamps.
    – You will take part in whatever federal health initiative exists (eg: ACA or whatever that turns into) and will be eligible to receive unemployment compensation provided you qualify via being previously employed in the US.
    – At the conclusion of the 5 year probationary period, you will apply for and pass a citizenship test and become an American citizen.
  3. Enforcement of 8 U.S. Code § 1324a (the federal law against employers knowingly hiring illegal immigrants) will become the top ICE enforcement focus with mandatory penalties for guilty findings.
  4. Illegal immigrants already inside the United States may not participate in the immigration centers from inside the country.  They must exit the country and re-enter and be subject to all health and legal inspections before being allowed to re-enter the United States.
  5. Impose a 25% export duty on sending funds outside of the United States after 1 duty free transaction per year via methods like Western Union and other currency transfer methods that do not require proof of identity and/or taxation documentation.  Legal immigrants will be allowed to open regular bank accounts to bypass use of such services that illegal immigrants use to send funds acquired through illegal labor back to their home countries.
  6. Finally…with the funds raised through tax refund forfeitures in point 2, penalties acquired via convictions of employers for point 3, funds acquired through drug interdiction efforts at the border and currency export duties in point 5…build a comprehensive border barrier to discourage crossing of the border illegally and encourage participation in immigration centers.  Once the barrier is built, the funds used to build the barrier will be dedicated to maintenance of the barrier and immigration centers as well as funding drug interdiction and Native American enhancement initiatives.

All these, put together, create a system wherein we gain the benefits of legal immigration (health and physical security, increasing the taxpaying base, allowing immigrants the ability to benefit from social security via their participation in that program) while offsetting the costs to the immigrant which they likely cannot currently pay.  It allows the United States to truly take in the “tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to breathe free” while ensuring that the process is orderly and that our national sovereignty and security is maintained.  It ensures that people actually melt in our “melting pot” and commit to becoming Americans.

The thing that has always made the United States different from the Old World was that we ARE made up from different races, ethnicities, religions and that all those differences merged and melded together into defining what an American is.  That is what our Founding Fathers wanted, that is what we should also want and strive for.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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Posted in Errata | Leave a Comment »

Time for an update

Posted by Euroranger on November 3, 2015


I’m back!

As happens from time to time, we all get distracted from some things by other things.  This blog is a shining example of that.  I haven’t dropped a new post on here in over a year but in the past couple of weeks, I’ve had a few personal acquaintances locate me through this blog and drop messages to me.  In other words, something I’d kind of abandoned has regained my attention and now I’m realizing that some folks know me only through this persona and not personally (like through Facebook).  Those people are no less my friends because they are online acquaintances and I have indeed been remiss in posting to this blog…so today, I remedy that oversight.  So, without further ado, let me update everyone on what has happened to Euroranger over the past year.

The last post on this blog was penned to publicly respond to an asshole and his lawyer who, in addition to robbing me (the asshole, not his lawyer) thought they could also silence my public protests of such treatment via laughable threats of legal action (the asshole and his asshole lawyer).  I’m simultaneously pleased and somewhat disappointed to report that their empty threats were just that: empty.  Hot air.  Blustering.  In other words, representative of the demonstrated content of their character (the asshole) and the deserved earned enmity for a profession whose reputation as whores who will say whatever their client pays them enough to say (the asshole lawyer).  As Billy would say: “much ado about nothing”.  I expected nothing more though so I can’t really claim disappointment.

Since then, though, things have dramatically changed in my personal life.  After having been married for just short of 17 years, I filed for and was granted a divorce just a little over three weeks ago today.  As I type out this next part, I am acutely aware that what I say can and probably will be saved somewhere in indelible form and that, one day, my kids, my ex and others to whom I may become personally important may read this.  As you read this then, be aware that I am still processing and hashing through my feelings on this change and that this represents only where I’m at a mere 3 weeks after the dissolution.  These feelings will almost certainly change over time.  Let’s start with the fundamentals: I’m the one who filed for the divorce.  I did so because of actions my ex had been committing that I became aware of due to an inopportune slip of her tongue.  Despite the revelation of what she had been doing (and it was worse than most would assume) I did try to salvage the marriage.  I attended counseling and encouraged her to attend.  She did go.  Four whole times.  After which she declared that counseling was of no help to her, she needed no help and her friends would suffice to act as guides for her behavior.  At my 5th visit, even the counselor confided to me that she felt the relationship was unrecoverable after I asked.  My lawyer was great and advised me expertly.  The evidence I recovered and kept from my ex’s iPhone in conjunction with the laws of the state of Georgia fairly much dictated that I could request and be granted a divorce on pretty much whatever terms I chose.  I chose to offer my now ex the option of an uncontested divorce on the grounds of no alimony (indeed her actions triggered a law that decreed that no alimony is orderable), that I retain the house and that the children stay with me (indeed, they both expressed their desire to stay with me).  I was eligible to request child support but declined.  My ex accepted the terms I proposed to the letter.  I didn’t ask for child support because I had been the sole breadwinner in the house for 17 years.  I’d been able to afford paying for their rearing all that time.  I didn’t want nor need her money to continue doing what I was already doing.  Basically, I set her free to pursue activities that I was incapable of accepting within our marriage.  She has since privately expressed to others that she made an enormous mistake but has never apologized to me or our children past saying “I never meant to hurt you”.  I’d like to say this entire thing took me by surprise but, in truth, it did not.  Things had been going poorly for some time and as far back as a couple of years ago, I knew that it was beyond my ability to mend on my own.  These are the facts.

My feelings ran the gamut from my discovery confirming what I feared most back in late April to the day the divorce was finalized to today.  I was incredibly sad and depressed (indeed, I lost nearly 30 pounds in the first 6 weeks) and was then resigned to my new direction, incredibly disappointed in someone who had changed so dramatically to today being fairly happy with where I am (a little over 6 months later).  There were days, especially in the beginning, where I’d felt absolutely worthless and as low as I’ve ever known myself to feel.  More than anything, I never wanted my kids to come from a broken home and, I have to admit, that I was angry (and still harbor some small resentment) that I couldn’t avoid that happening to them.  Everybody I knew who knew what happened advised me to give up on the situation immediately.  I did not.  I spent about 2 months trying to “fix” something that I hadn’t broken until one day I woke up and realized that even if I got everything I wanted at that moment, I would never be able to trust that person again.  My entire life from that point forward would be an exercise in stress and never knowing for sure what was going on.  They say trust is the most important thing in a relationship for a reason.

Anyway, I am now seeing someone who lives several states away from me.  I get to see her maybe twice a month on the weekends my ex has our children.  This person has become very dear to me and is someone I wish I’d met 20 years ago.  She is fairly much the polar opposite of my ex in terms of morals, ethics, behavior and pretty much any other quality you could mention.  I met her by total accident and have come to believe that she and I were meant to encounter one another at this point in our lives.  I worry that some of my feelings for her are a response to being alone after the betrayal by my ex but more and more I believe this isn’t the case.  I’m on an interesting path now whose end I cannot discern.  She cannot move here and I cannot move there (at least not until my kids graduate high school) and we both know this and have decided to try to have a relationship anyway.  It’s exceptionally hard some days and we’re still trying to settle into an existence that works.  I think she handles it better than I do though.  There is a lot more I could say about her and I could probably wear out my keyboard extolling her virutes but we’ve been pretty low key about things and I think I’ll keep it that way for the time being.  Suffice to say: if she is the prize at the end of this awful ordeal, it was worth the price.

I’m not effing stupid. I mean, I used to but, we broke up.

Otherwise, things are remarkably unchanged.  I’ve had a new contract (that coincidentally started just 2 days after my discovery of all the bad crap my ex was doing…so that was a fun time) for some time now and they’re pretty good so far.  My budget, despite this contract paying slightly less than normal, has opened up.  I have disposable income for the first time in decades and it’s nice going to bed not worrying about how to make my bills.  I have recently restarted gaming after a long absence.  I was rusty at first but that disappeared after a few hours and now I occasionally enjoy being a pain in everyone’s ass on whatever server I decide to afflict.  Being a single parent has been an interesting transition.  I’ve found that many of our mutual friends seem to be sympathetic to me despite that they were initially my ex’s friends that I came to know through her.  Some of her friends from as far back as her high school have reached out to me to express their regrets at how things turned out.  Some have not.  What’s curious is that how they have separated out hasn’t produced any surprises.  I’ve always questioned my ability to judge the character of people but in this, I have been remarkably accurate.  Being a single parent to a teenaged girl and boy has been challenging.  I do more housework and cook more suppers than I did before but, sadly, these are really the only noticeable differences to our existence.  There is no more fighting and yelling in the house, no more drunken tirades, no more constant level of barely suppressed anger.  All that is now gone.  We (the kids and I) are still trying to sort out our new family and there are indeed bumps…but I think we’re doing okay.  I am learning by leaps and bounds (at least I hope I am).  My neighbors and friends have been incredibly helpful and supportive.  I am blessed to know such good people.  And my folks…well…what can you say about parents who have to watch their only surviving kid’s life disintegrate in such a public and humiliating way.  They’ve been supportive but not in an overbearing way.  I would not have made it through to the other side without them guiding me and just sitting and listening to me rant, whine and dump out and sort through the mess of thoughts and emotions this all caused.

So, while I’ve gained a year I’ve lost a wife.  I’ve lost some weight and gained a new brighter, happier future.  I’ve lost some innocence (if I ever had any left) and the ability to truly trust someone but I’ve gained some wisdom in exchange and that, in itself, is a solid trade.  All in all, I’ll look back on 2015 in a few months and I’ll say it started out bad, got infinitely worse…but ended up okay.  I have my health, my life, my trade, my children, my friends and my peace of mind.  I really can’t ask for more than that.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this post.

Posted in Errata | 8 Comments »

Open Letter to Mustafa Sualp and AEFIS

Posted by Euroranger on October 26, 2014


[Preface: I am sharing an event I am experiencing as an example for why we have laws and rights and why it’s important to not simply surrender them in the face of intimidation.  The following post (and I need to make this so clear even a Philadelphia lawyer won’t fail to discern it) IS MY PERSONAL OPINION AND OBSERVATIONS OF EVENTS MIXED WITH FACTUAL EVIDENCE SUPPORTING THOSE OPINIONS THAT HAVE AFFECTED ME AND MY FAMILY.]

Dear Mr. Sualp:

I am in receipt of your lawyer’s, Stephen Goldblum, emails from both 9/24 and 9/25 of this year regarding exceptions you took with portions of a post on this blog dated June 10, 2013 wherein I related my company’s experience doing business with you and your firm, AEFIS, Inc early last year (2013).  I note, with much amusement, your demand that I provide you written acknowledgement that I have removed said post by September 30, 2014 or that I will be in peril of “institution” (fancy word, that) of a suit against me.  As you may or may not have noted, the post remains unchanged.  I assure you, I did the presumably anticipated quaking in my proverbial boots at his threat of filing suit and seeking fees and expenses “pursuant to Section 9(d) of the Independent Contractor Agreement” which, incidental to Mr. Goldblum’s surely rapier-like attention to legal detail, is the section concerning Notice…as opposed to what I presume he meant to be Section 9(e), the Attorney’s Fees part of the contract.  I will thank your lawyer though for bringing up a salient point which I’ll remind you of here shortly.

Anyway, my post remains where it is.  It is my opinion and clearly does not come even remotely close to a disclosure of confidential information (do you or he even read these contracts?).  I will thank you for the momentary smile I enjoyed at the ludicrous stupidity of such a claim, though.  But hey, let’s break this letter for a moment and let everyone see what I’m talking about.

Let’s start with your opening shot. I’ve decided to informally reference this as “fuck you Exhibit 1″…because, well, fuck you.

 

I’m gonna follow up with this, our exchange, which I’m entitling “fuck you Exhibit 2”

 

And finally, my response of the next day which we can refer to going forward as “fuck you Exhibit 3”.

So, Mustafa, I did, tragically, miss that September 30 deadline.  Before you and your learned legal counsel get all lawsuit-y, I want to say this one thing: PLEASE, do me the favor of suing me for all the things your letter threatens.  I want you to man up and actually follow through on your assertions because, in front of a judge in a court of law, we both know which of us will actually bring evidence of their claims and which will not.  We both know I have a transcript of our entire Skype chat history, and amongst other damning FACTS (because, hey, to a judge this kind of shit will actually matter) the email from your “operations coordinator” explicitly acknowledging that I had indeed worked in excess of 40 hours (46 to be precise) and to not perform further work until requested (hours for which I was never paid).  Oh look, here that email is now:

We’ll go ahead and entitle this one as “oops”…because fuckyouExhibit4 would be just so cliched by now.

Anyhow, I have to make one correction to our ongoing conversation because I believe, and pretty much any and every court in this country will agree, facts and accuracy matter.  I had originally advised your counsel that my claim for unpaid wages (the 4/24/13 email I and he refer to in “fuck you Exhibit 2”) was $2675.  I regret to admit that amount is in error and we both have your esteemed Counselor Goldblum and his manifest inability to correctly identify pertinent sections of a binding contract to thank for prompting me to greater accuracy.  I was so moved by his adroitly applied legal blustering that I went and checked Section 9(d) of our contract.  Guess what I found?  Oh, fuck you, let’s not guess:

Since we already called one “oops” I guess we’ll go ahead and call this one “massive fucking fuck up Exhibit 1”.

Would you believe it?  You and AEFIS never did “deliver by hand or mailed by certified or registered mail” your notice of terminating our contract?  Did you send an email to that effect?  NO!  You didn’t!  But your fucking “attention to detail” lawyer did!

Kind of running out of clever titles to apply this. Let’s just note how it’s explicit in that it’s being delivered “VIA EMAIL” which is pretty much not keeping to the contract…which, in itself, is at least consistent.

Guess what that means, Mustafa: the contract is, legally, still in force.  So, with that in mind, remember the part where I admitted that the amount of my claim for unpaid wages is incorrect (I hope so because it was just up the page here).  Well, if you remember that then I’m sure you’ll remember our negotiations wherein I accepted your lower than normal rate of pay for a guarantee of a minimum of billable hours per week (to make working for you actually worthwhile because I was assuming you’d be a man of your word and honor your contractual agreements) which was enshrined in the addendum to the contract (which Mr. Goldblum helpfully supplied me in this recent resumption of our communications):

How many “oopsies” do you and AEFIS commit annually? Hope it’s not this many.

Oh hell.  Does that say a minimum of 20 hours per week at the stupidly low but still mutually agreed to rate of $50 per hour?  Well, let’s see now…time for some math!  So, if I’m generous and use April 30, 2013 as a start point that works out to…lessee here…oh, my…that’s exactly 80 weeks today.  Hm.  80 weeks.  So, at 80 weeks times 20 hours minimum per week times $50 per hour PLUS the back wages you owe me of $2675 the total amount you owe (as of today anyway) comes to:

 

$82,675

 

And let’s be clear for a moment: your smartmouth lawyer suggested I could bring this situation up when “when we sue you for defamation…if the defamatory post is not removed and you fail to provide written confirmation to this effect by September 30”.  Let’s forget for a moment that such a suit would be frivolous because the statute of limitations of your claim has clearly and unambiguously elapsed.  Let’s say I don’t immediately assert that slam dunk defense and let’s say the judge sees some kind of merit in equating what were clearly expressed personal opinions to defamation (which he/she won’t but hey, we’re playing fantasyland here).  Guess what: we won’t be trying such a claim in Philadelphia.  We’ll be trying it in Georgia.  The doctrine of personal jurisdiction is actually a thing (ya’ll might want to look that up) and should you bring your frivolous lawsuit for defamation in any place other than a court that has jurisdiction over my location, it’ll get tossed out.

So, in the event you were hoping your empty, specious threats of legal action against me for discussing my experiences and reactions to your theft of my services and nonpayment of my entirely valid claims would work…they didn’t and don’t and fuck you for thinking they would.

Mustafa Sualp, if you don’t want to see your name or AEFIS’ name come up in a vanity search for the same and discover things like this, there is a much easier way to ensure that this doesn’t happen: honor your agreements, abide by your contracts, and act with a veneer of at least some pretended decency.  The money you failed to pay me for services I rendered is the same money I use to pay my bills and feed my children.  If you think for a single moment that your lawyer and your ridiculous threats relayed through him mean anything in the face of the ABSOLUTE FUCKING TRUTH then you need to attempt to associate with people possessed of dignity, integrity and honesty because this isn’t how you deal with us effectively.  A lawyer friend of mine whose counsel I value once told me of the legal maxim “the truth is an absolute defense”.  The post of June 10 was such a truth mixed with my First Amendment right to express my opinion and this post if more of that.

You have three options as I see it (this would be an example of an opinion about to be expressed):

  1. Pay me what I am owed and, as I generously offered in my 9/25/14 email to your mouthpiece, I’ll remove the offending portion of the June 10, 2013 post as a kindness.  NOT in consideration of your payment…but because you eventually decided to act honorably and decently and I’d consider myself to be mean and vindictive to continue to display my opinions of a complaint amicably (if ridiculously tardily) resolved.
  2. Stop with your fucking threats and sue me for either breach of contract or defamation.  Bring your “evidence” and I’ll bring mine and we’ll ask a judge to decide.  You know how that will work out and I will, of course, also tack on a claim for legal fees and costs I incur for even addressing your outrageous assertions.
  3. Shut the fuck up and put up with this post and the previous one and take it as a lesson for what could happen when someone thinks you’ve defrauded them for services rendered.  I essentially wrote off what you owed me long ago…but fuck you if you think I haven’t purchased the right to complain about it.  I have.  You want to buy that right from me?  Contact me and I’ll be happy to discuss a mutually beneficial agreement.

Either way, take your own insipid advice and don’t underestimate MY fucking resolve.  I am the wronged party here and I do not bend knee to idle threats or compromise my personal integrity or principles.

Oh, and by the way, per the combination of the contract addendum and Section 9(d)…the meter’s still running, asshole.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

Posted in Amusing, Coldfusion, Errata, Web Dev | Tagged: , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Brave New Transparent World

Posted by Euroranger on December 4, 2013


No kidding.

So, a very brief post today (as I am actually gainfully employed and doing employment related tasks).  I contribute to a tech site as the resident CF expert (to answer your question, no, they probably couldn’t find anyone else to do it) and that site has a common forum area where various folks post conversation topics and then other people comment on them and so on.  Usual intarwebz forum.  Anyway, talk to enough people over time and you do start to get to know something about them.  People make references, drop tidbits of info that, individually don’t make up very much but taken as a whole can start to give you an idea of how those people might be in person.  One of those people is a woman whose persona, in my mind, has taken several definition turns in my own mind.  You know how you form an idea of someone you’ve never met and then you learn something about them so you update that mental picture you had?  That’s the situation I’m talking about.  I read what she writes on the tech forum.  Some time back, we friended one another on Facebook so I thought I knew her well enough as a complete stranger anyway.  To her, she’s who she’s always been.  She knows her.  I don’t.  Anyway, I mention it because earlier today as I was bored and rolling through things to alleviate my boredom, I ran across a link to a blog she keeps.  I thought, hey, I know this gal…let’s go see what she has to say.

Turns out, I didn’t know her at all.

I don’t want to be callous or uncaring or perhaps say something untoward that might come off as unfeeling but several months back she went through some personal relationship turbulence and used her blog as sort of a personal diary outlet.  Oddly enough, I tend to do the same here from time to time…but not to the degree this lady did.  I read several of her blog posts that, presumably, she didn’t mind everyone knowing the content of.  After a time, I quit reading because it felt almost like I was reading someone’s diary.  I discovered personal details about her that I didn’t know about and while I don’t mind knowing them (they don’t change my opinion of her as a person) I wonder how she’d feel knowing I’d read them.  We’ve never met, never even exchanged words really but I feel like I’ve intruded someplace I ought not to have been.

What I come away with is a new appreciation of how technology is changing personal interactions people have (or may not have) with one another.  I’ve read all sorts of personal things on the web before.  I wander and surf and read all kinds of stuff.  I’ve never read them though about someone I had a preconceived image about…and it was awkward.  I’m in the last leg of finishing a web application that has a strong social media element to it and, in fact, I’m working on how to allow people to incorporate their blog postings into an overall, one glance snapshot of their business.  I’m now ruminating on how I might could build tools into my app to allow people to perhaps edit or sanitize social media entries.  Maybe I’m overreacting.  All the same, it’s been some time since I encountered something on the web that really makes me pull up short and pause and consider things for a moment.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

Posted in Errata, On the web, Web Dev | Leave a Comment »

Military members: trusted to fight wars, not trusted to carry weapons at work

Posted by Euroranger on September 18, 2013


One of the more cogent arguments against gun control. Read on…

Posted in Errata | Leave a Comment »

Hole-y LinkedIn!

Posted by Euroranger on March 12, 2012


Danger Will Robinson!

Will Robinson: Hey LinkedIn support, if I join LinkedIn will my contact info be confidential? LinkedIn Support: Uh..."*yes". (Where "yes" means "not a chance in hell")

As proper owner of this blog I feel a slight pressure to post on occasion so as to not allow this site to get too stale or otherwise cobweb ridden.  However, my normal inspirational muse (aka: “things that piss me off”) can be overdone and I try to be sensitive that nobody who isn’t also my wife isn’t legally required to sit through my rants and might drift off and make a pledge never to return if all I ever do is bitch, piss, moan and complain (although for my wife, I’m betting that’ll teach her to read the “fine print” on the next marriage certificate SHE signs).  So, to that end, while I encounter all manner of subjects I could righteously rant about, I often curb those urges to showcase my more creative talents in the “profane arts” in the interest of the greater public good.  However, as is evidenced by the fact that you’re reading this, I sometimes overcome the urge to hold myself back (did you notice there how I make “criminal levels of laziness and outright sloth” sound like a virtue?) and happen upon a subject that requires…nay DEMANDS a post.  Today is one of those days and my recent exchange with LinkedIn support is one of those subjects.

Chris Limboo love me long time...give me job.

Ugh.

Now, like any other working professional who pretends to greater professionalism, I am the proud owner of a LinkedIn account and attendant profile page.  I am not an active LinkedIn participant but I do receive a daily email exposing me to the somewhat banal exchanges that pass for professional conversations in my LinkedIn developer group (whose name I won’t divulge here in the really unlikely circumstance they ever happen across this blog).  I also get a daily email telling me about alleged employment opportunities in my areas of interest/expertise which I do like to peruse from time to time whilst I wonder why none of them ever seem to be for employers even remotely in the same time zone as me.  Anyway, being the savvy surfer of the internet that I am, it has been my habit for many moons now to own several different email accounts.  They all have the same account name but somehow I have managed to reserve that same name on Gmail, Yahoo, Excite and MSN.  I do this because anytime I want to register for something, I provide the account that I use as my “garbage” account.  That is, I’m somewhat sensitive about spam and until I’m sure a site isn’t hawking my contact info to all the penis pill manufacturers of the world (and believe you me, the only thing those folks are more concerned with than my dangly bits being of insufficient girth and/or length is whether I can keep the scourge of perpetual and ill-timed flaccidity at bay), I use one of my garbage accounts to register on sites.  Later, once I’m sure they’re not hawking my info about, I can log onto that site and change the email address to one I use more regularly.  So, as this relates to LinkedIn, I did originally register on LinkedIn with a garbage email but their privacy policy, and the fact that they provide such strict controls over who can contact me via LinkedIn led me to believe that my email address there was relatively safe and so, after a time, I switched my mail email there to my Gmail.com account from my garbage collecting Excite.com account.  Since I’ve taken the time to blog about this you can probably guess that something has gone awry and as of February 10 of this year, it did:

I got the above email in my Gmail inbox on that day.  Now, as an aside that I rarely mention, one of the things I dislike most about LinkedIn is how it’s been largely co-opted by every goddamned recruiter in existence who will, if allowed, mercilessly spam your LinkedIn inbox with every manner of job they happen across regardless of whether you’re even remotely qualified or even reside on the same continent as the “opportunity”.  By coincidence, most of these “recruiters” tend, from my admittedly biased standpoint, to be Indian and, as a result, tend to mangle the English language in such a way as I wouldn’t trust them with picking up dog turds in my back yard much less my resume and contact info.  Spam + half-assed broken English != trust.  I guess I’m just a bigot that way.  The email above though is from a fellow named Chris Limboo.  If you look up his profile on LinkedIn (the one he VERY much wants me to link to) you’ll see two things immediately: 1. he’s Chinese and not Indian and 2. judging from his profile photo he’s a pretty happy guy (possibly because he likes spamming people like me…and maybe due to his not being Indian).  Regardless of his disarming smirk smile and his non-Indian-ness, I was still wary of his siren song of Linking.  I checked into his employer and, lo and behold, they’re owned by Indians.  Yes folks, the Indian recruiters whom I vigorously avoid like toilet seat borne herpes…they’ve outsourced to China.  So, onto their little evil plot, I write Chris a quick email:

Smartass response

What a smartass response to email spam looks like

Now, as good as my word, I did indeed send a support email off to LinkedIn explaining my concern as to how the hell did this little leg-humping spam wizard get a hold of my email knowing that I had an account on LinkedIn he could pander to.  This in itself is a rather arduous task and should have been my first inkling that something wasn’t at all right with LinkedIn as it took me quite some time to actually locate a link to send their support folk an email outlining my concerns.  You see, my profile (and, if you too are on LinkedIn, yours too) doesn’t show your contact email address.  This is because LinkedIn believes they have a fairly self-explanatory privacy policy that does indeed address the information you share with them, inclusive of your primary contact email address.  Feel free to read it here: LinkedIn privacy policy (and make sure to pay special attention to the part that says “Control the messages you receive from LinkedIn and other Users”).  In short, LinkedIn likes to tell you that you cannot contact other users directly unless you’re linked to them.  This is actually a pretty nifty feature to cut down on people spamming the unholy crap out of complete strangers and, coupled with the fact that your email address doesn’t appear anywhere on your profile page, seems to infer that the only way for another LinkedIn user to contact you is solely through LinkedIn.  How then did Chris Limboo come to my electronic doorstep to suggest that “we can mutually get benefited through our network”?

Canned LinkedIn response

Guess they felt a canned response was adequate.

Well, I’ll tell you, it was a mystery to me.  It was also apparently a mystery to LinkedIn as well because they didn’t respond until today (almost 4 weeks later).  Now given that LinkedIn makes it near impossible to trouble them with silly piddling shit like “their network somehow gave spamming assclowns my email address” what do you think I got in return?  If your answer was “a form email” come forward to collect your prize.  Now, I had pretty much forgotten I’d sent this 4 weeks back so when it arrived today I had to ask myself, if they weren’t going to bother answering my email for 4 weeks, why bother at all and then when they do, send me some canned crap answer that doesn’t even address my question?  Well, rather than distress my small, febrile mind with such vexatious stumpers, I kicked it back to them in a return email pointing out that I was the one who originally pointed out that the email didn’t originate from them and that my question (how is it a spammer got my email address from LinkedIn) hadn’t been addressed nor answered.  Well, here comes the part of the post that is the entire reason for me even bothering to write this much crap (on a Monday no less).

As I’m waiting for LinkedIn to respond to me, I log onto LinkedIn to check out my profile to make double dog sure I’m not taking them to task for something I may have inadvertently allowed to happen.  However, as I check my profile, I don’t see hide nor hair of my email address anywhere on my public profile page (for fun, if you have a LinkedIn profile, check your own right now…you won’t see yours either).  Even a cursory search through the view source for the page (the actual HTML code that makes web pages) didn’t reveal my email address.  For several minutes I was quite stumped…until I noticed these little links here, at the bottom of my profile synopsis:

Links

How handy! A way to save off your profile info...except...

Being the curious sort, I clicked on them.  Guess what you get when you click that middle “PDF” link?  Why, you get a PDF document with your profile (how handy!)…with your private email address featured prominently at the top of the frickin’ document!  That’s right gentle readers: even if you have read LinkedIn’s privacy policy and even if you don’t even have a way to display your email address in your public profile, LinkedIn recognizes your oversight and helpfully gives it in a handily savable format!  Know what’s even better?  The PDF that LinkedIn generates has an even handier OCR (read: “scrapable text”) layer.  This means that any competent developer can simply set up a spider to crawl LinkedIn, crawl each PDF link it sees, get the generated document, store it and then it has your ready-to-spam email address, right in the frickin’ header of each page!  Naturally, I advised LinkedIn of this apparent oversight and…well…why spoil the fun?  Here, read it yourself:

Yay!

My email pointing out their apparent hole...

Yay x2!

...and their response.

So, what’s the moral of this story?  It’s this:

LinkedIn is a very handy forum where you can post information about yourself and your professional details, accolades and accomplishments.  However, when you decide to use LinkedIn, even though you’re led to believe that the ONLY way people on LinkedIn can contact you is via LinkedIn’s own messaging system BECAUSE THEY DON’T PUBLISH YOUR EMAIL ANYWHERE IN YOUR VISIBLE PROFILE NOR EVEN GIVE YOU THE OPTION TO POST YOUR EMAIL TO YOUR PROFILE…it’s still available on the PDF download they also don’t let you block or edit the contents thereof.

If you use LinkedIn, be aware that:

  1. your email contact info is readily available even though you may think it is not
  2. there is currently no way for you to block the availability of that info
  3. if you ask LinkedIn about it, prepare to enjoy the world of canned responses

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

Posted in Errata, On the web, Various | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Southern Snow

Posted by Euroranger on January 13, 2011


As most have probably heard, we here in The South got snow this past week.  Sunday night/Monday morning to be specific or 4-5 days ago for those of you who don’t own a calendar.  We got a whopping 5-6 inches of snow with a delightful sleet topping.  Now, by the standards of those who were sentenced to live somewhere other than The South, this amount of snow is likely chortled at as being paltry, insignificant, a dusting.  However, here in paradise it’s caused a condition known locally as Snowmageddon.

This will be a short post as I’ve only now made it into my office this week for the first time (it’s now Thursday if you haven’t located that handy calendar yet) and I must do the things that make me look busy even though there is only one other person in the building with me.  That said, I simply could not resist mentioning my simple amazement at the road conditions I discovered as I drove into work this morning.  I have the exceptional good fortune to live in Cherokee County, Georgia.  The “exceptional good fortune” part owes in some measure to the fact that, despite my county being regarded as the first of the “hillbilly/redneck” counties north of Atlanta, we at least have the good sense to own and know how to use a snow plow.  This is not the case in the ever so much more sophisticated and advanced Fulton County wherein my employer does their business and my destination this morning.  I present to you the evidence of their inclement winter weather retardation:

Highway 92

Driving in someone else's ruts is fine if it's in the middle of the storm as it's happening. Five freakin' days later? Not so much.

This is Highway 92 or as it’s referred to locally, because the local governmental authorities apparently own stock in GPS and/or map making companies such that changing the name of the road every 15 feet or so makes some kind of sense to someone other than me, Woodstock Road in Roswell, GA.  Roswell is one of those nice communities that sits in the northern part of the previously referenced Fulton County.  Recently, a new city was formed in Fulton County against the wishes of the board of county commissioners who actually sued to stop the people of the area (now known as city) of Sandy Springs from doing so.  What, you might ask, does that have to do with the picture of the unplowed road to the left?  Well, it seems that for quite some time Fulton County had made it a habit of taking in the majority of their taxes from the more affluent part of the county (read: “people who work for a living”) and then spending the vast majority of those taxes on the less affluent parts of the county.  In Fulton the division between the taxed folk and the ones consuming the taxes ran roughly north to south geographically.  Highway 92 pictured at the left is very much in the northern part of the county.  Anyway, the people of Sandy Springs (also coincidentally, in the northern part) got pretty fed up with being taxed out the ass by the county and getting very little in terms of government services in return while the county built pools, community centers, libraries, free medical clinics and so forth in the southern part of the county.  Naturally those same people tried to address their concerns to their elected county officials who pretty much told them to go pound sand and oh keep paying your taxes so we can redistribute your wealth.  Unfortunately the acoustics in the county board’s meeting room meant that those same people didn’t hear that but heard instead “hey, if you form your own city then the county can’t tax you”.  They found this message much more to their liking and so they did go off and do just that, the county pitched a fit because they saw their cash cow strolling out of the barn and, rather than actually address the obvious inequities they’d been subjecting these folks to they decided instead to sue them (read: “piss away even more tax dollars”).  Naturally, their lawsuit had almost zero legal foundation to rest upon and was motivated only by their desire to continue to have carte blanche to legally rob some of their residents.  The lawsuit failed, the people formed their city and Fulton County lost access to one of their favorite ATMs.  Beginning to see where I’m going with this yet?  If not, let me spell it out a lot more clearly: this is a major 6 lane road running east/west across the northern part of the county.  That picture was taken 5 days after snow fell on it.  FIVE DAYS.  As of my morning drive today, it has yet to have seen a snow plow.  The folks I work for have staff who rely upon this road for their access to their jobs.  As I write this at my desk, I’m one of only 2 employees who made it in today…and there are normally 20 people here.  I’m sure this business will receive their annual tax bill from the county shortly and they’ll be expected to pony up what’s likely to be a ridiculous amount of money for the privilege of basing their company in lovely Fulton County, Georgia.

If I were one of the owners, I’d be pretty pissed off right about now.  This is 4 days where their business has done zero work and all because of the state of the surrounding roads.  Other neighboring and decidedly less affluent counties have taken care of the same (or worse) problem.  Not Fulton County.

By contrast, the roads in my hillbilly/redneck home county of Cherokee are plowed curb to curb.  I even encountered a plow truck just last evening heading into our subdivision’s main 2 lane road and that road had already been plowed.  We passed him again about 20 minutes later as we headed back home and he was headed out…presumably because he couldn’t find a road that needed plowing.  Are the residential streets plowed where I live?  No.  But then again, an inconvenient drive of a few hundred yards is nothing if the main road is clean and safe to drive on when you get to it.

 

Woodstock Road (not 92 of course)

Fulton could take a couple of lessons. BTW, this is also Woodstock Road...different road completely, same name. This county just oozes brilliance, right? Notice the pristine snow on the curb to the right? Yeah, this road hasn't seen a plow yet either and given that the forecast in two days is for temps in the 50's...it probably won't see one at all.

Apparently Fulton County’s master plan for removing the ridiculous amounts of treacherous ice they’ve allowed to form on the roads due to their decision to not plow them is to wait for warmer weather…or Spring.  Whichever comes first.  No plows, no sand trucks, no salt.  Nothing…at least on this northern county road.  Great job Fulton County!  Maybe you can sue the weatherman!

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

Posted in Errata, Weather | Leave a Comment »

Christmas! Ugh!

Posted by Euroranger on December 4, 2010


Why no!  I don't think we're overdoing the whole "whoring out Christmas to make a buck" thing!  Why?

Why no! I don't think we're overdoing the whole "whoring out Christmas to make a buck" thing! Why?

Ah!  The Christmas holiday season is upon us and the 25th is fast approaching.  I do so very much enjoy the season and all the festivities.  I like all the traditional trappings of the holiday ostensibly celebrating the birth of the Baby Jebus.  I like the caroling.  I like the wreaths.  I like the stockings hung by the chimney with care.  I like the gift giving.  I like the annual reminder that people should be kind and generous with one another.  I like the tree (I hate putting it up…hate even more to take it down).  I like the Christmas feast (although I decidedly do not like figgy pudding).  I like the Charlie Brown Christmas Special (“A Charlie Brown Christmas”) where despite pressure on ABC from atheists and other assholes to cut it out of the cartoon, Linus still walks out on stage and tells us what Christmas is all about.  I even like the tales of reindeer and flying sleighs and a fat man in a ridiculously scarlet suit performing break and enters on every home in the world on Christmas Eve…and being welcomed to do so by every kid and everyone who remembers enjoying being a kid.  These are all the things Christmas was meant to be.  However, as this is my blog and its very existence is dedicated to acting as a cathartic release for my typically unsocial and repellent opinions, you can likely guess that this dash through the Christmas snow in a one-horsed open sleigh is about to result in a holiday DUI or something.  You’re so right!  Lots of people complain about the commercialization of Christmas.  To some extent I can kinda get behind that…when the “buy, buy, buy” mentality overcomes the purpose of the holiday (which is to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jebus who winds up meeting a pretty awful end on our collective behalf years later…not as a baby but as a full grown hippie…cause nailing babies to crosses would be wrong…even to Romans) and turns the entire occasion into greed and avarice instead of compassion, understanding and love of your fellow man.  However, if it doesn’t swamp those messages entirely I’m actually okay with the whole “buy a shit-ton of stuff for your family, friends and loved ones” (particularly when I fall into one of those three categories).  To that end, I’m okay with ads and commercials for things like toys and clothing and such.  But I’ve noticed that Christmas has the most odd effect on advertisers.  And by “odd” naturally I mean “teeth-grinding and homicide-inducing”.

For instance: when else other than the holiday season do you see ads for perfume?  I get it that it can be hard to buy mom,  your wife, your girlfriend, your booty call or other special, cherished woman in your life that perfect gift…especially if you’re a man (because we just don’t pay attention to shit like that, you know?).  So perfume is kind of like the “fallback” gift if all else fails.  Think on it a moment: you want to buy your special woman that “just right” gift.  A vacuum cleaner or new mop?  Only if you’ve been dying to embrace the celibate lifestyle from the doghouse, buddy.  How about clothing?  Do you know her size?  God help you if you don’t cause that’s a no win situation.  Buy it too big and she’ll read that as you saying she’s fat.  Buy it too small and she’ll see that as you don’t really know anything about her.  Lingerie?  Double danger points when it comes to the size issue and you throw in the added hates of “you didn’t buy this for me, you bought it for you” AND the off chance that you’re not paying attention on Christmas morning and she opens it in front of the kids or your in-laws.  Yeah, smooth move.  Slippers and robe are nice but how many years in a row can you get her slippers and a robe?  So, see how perfume works out?  It’s smells nice, has no size, is reasonably affordable…and you still retain some small shred of a chance that despite the fact that you just demonstrated you have as much imagination as a rutabaga when it comes to gift giving, you might still get laid sometime in the next 12 months (which, for men, is pretty much what everything is about).  So, to recap, perfume ads only show up at Christmas but I’m understanding why (to help out every person unfortunate enough to be both in possession of a functional penis AND the company of someone else they like to put it into from time to time).  This advertising has the laudable twin goals of keeping the male suicide rate down and perpetuating the species.  However, there are ads that run during Christmas time that induce, in me anyway, an almost immediate intense hatred that it makes me almost wish we all didn’t pose as Christians each December.  I speak to you now of my twin holiday hates: jewelry commercials and luxury car commercials.

Sweet wrathful Gods-who-love-to-spend-their-spare-omnipotent-time-tormenting-me, I hate these commercials with a level of malevolent hostility I find difficult to muster for few other things in life.  There are three advertisers in particular I could wish every malady known and unknown to mankind upon and still probably be dissatisfied with their resultant agony:

  • Jared (they even have the smarmy, I-want-to-pulp-your-face tagline: “the Galleria of Jewelry”…know what a Galleria is?  Yeah, it’s another word for “mall”.  Way to keep it classy there Jared.)
  • Kay Jewelers (“every kiss begins with ‘K'”…guess what, so does the word “kill”)
  • Lexus (oh how I detest thee…BTW you smug fucks: who do you think you fool by calling a used car “pre-owned”?)
Diamonds get you where you wanna go

There's only two reasons to buy jewelry: one is to get out of the dog house. This would be the other.

Yes indeed, few advertisers rouse my righteous ire like those three at Christmas time.  They all share one glaring characteristic: the products they hawk are all for rich people.  Now, I have no particular hated of rich people because I hope to join their ranks one day and share their view from the top of the food chain.  However, even when I’m there I doubt my lofty perch high atop my incredible wealth will be enough to drive the spiteful revulsion from my soul that ads from these three generate whenever I am exposed to them.  I get it that rich folks can afford expensive things to give their loved ones/concubines as gifts during the holidays.  But seriously, do you need to have it drilled into your head at EVERY SINGLE COMMERCIAL BREAK on television?  Isn’t it enough that we’re inundated with their “spend, spend, SPEND!!!” ads a hundred times per day and not the 5000 or so they try as hard as they can to stuff down our throats?  And the ads themselves…egad!  “He went to Jared”.  Oh Good God…it’s at times like this that despite my advanced skill with the English language, I find myself at a complete loss for a turn of phrase to adequately describe my complete and utter loathing of that ad campaign.  You know what that line says to me?  It says “he’s a cheap bastard and went to a jewelry store in the frickin’ MALL for a gift that’s about as unique as sand at the beach”.  I guess if he went to Jared you could say something like “well, at least he didn’t buy your bauble at Walgreen’s”.  So there’s that I suppose.  But the ads themselves are just so repellent.  A whole bunch of people smiling and saying to one another “he went to Jared!”.  Yeah, it was right next door to the clinic at the mall where he gets his “special problem” treated and it’s his way of saying “oops, my bad, you got it too now”.  The loathing I feel for this company has even spilled over onto another company.  Because of the jewelry ads, I can’t stomach the thought of eating at a Subway now either.

Kay Jewelers is in the same category but they’re not nearly as bad as Jared.  They too hawk crappy, cheap-ass, gaudy fripperies from THEIR exquisite mall locations to those who can’t decide between a cheap piece of crap tin necklace or a cheap piece of crap tin can of Natural Lite as a suitable gift for that “special” (read: “likely retarded”) woman in your life.  I suspect they both induce the same end: the sounds of vigorous porcine copulation in a rocking trailer later…but damn, the commercials are just so odious.  And the fact that they blatantly smack their ignoramus target market in the mouth with their tagline (“every ‘kiss’ begins with ‘K'”) by reminding them that if they’re swayed by such an awful commercial that they also likely failed 2nd grade spelling just makes the contempt all the more palpable.  Somewhere there’s some ad executive sitting behind a desk with his feet propped up thereupon and celebrating his clever little jingle that they put those words to in every commercial.  The kind of jingle that bores its way into your brain and acts like a parasite feeding on your good holiday emotions.  Hopefully one day he’ll be smirking his humanity-hating smile in a burning sea of demons and fallen souls in hell.  After all, every Hades begins with “H”.

Is that a look of shame I see?

Is that a look of shame I see? Good! Now do us all a favor and go kill yourself you pretentious dickless asshole.

But Lexus…oh my…where do you begin with a product that, in itself is nothing more than a trumped up Toyota such that it’s the very epitome of the word “pretentious”?  Are they nice cars?  Sure…just like Toyotas are nice cars.  Do they truly believe there are people out there who are simultaneously so vacuous and so wealthy that they’d consider leasing one of these as a “gift”?  Well, joke’s on me I guess because they keep running that god damned “December to Remember” campaign…you know the one, the one where some dumbass LEASES a car, slaps a gigantic red bow on it and then”gives” it (naturally, they don’t own the damned thing) to some other dumbass who thinks this is a great gift.  Of course, if I could give gifts of things I don’t actually own but am simply renting, it’d make things a shit ton easier as long as you could rent jewelry or perfume I suppose.  What’s worse is that Lexus doesn’t stop with their insipid television commercials.  No they carry their particular form of soul erasing, season whoring to the radio.  Ever hear that guy’s voice who does the voiceovers for their TV and radio commercials?  Have you ever wondered, as you drive down the road moments after punching the off button as though it owed you money, how many “men” they had to go through in voice tryouts before they found the perfect voice that personified the entitled, assuming, suave-with-silver-hair-but-not-too-old-to-still-get-a-stiffy, pretentious asshole your mind simply assumes he is because of the breathy way he talks while extolling the virtues of a hopped up Toyota?  No?  Well…that’s probably because you knew I had already done all that for you, I’m sure.  Sweet Baby Jebus…of all the holiday ads I hate, I hate Lexus’s the most.  With the fire of a thousand merrily blazing Christmas trees I hate the very sound of their ads.  What’s worse is this year, Cadillac and Infiniti both are copying the style.

And here to think I actually wanted a new TV for Christmas.  All it would do is bring all that crap even further into my home as it is.  In fact, the only thing good about the holiday season is hearing Burl Ives sing the carols and do the little stop motion Rudolph special that’s been airing since they invented fire.  Well, that and Linus actually telling us all what the holiday season is actually all about.  In fact, take it away Linus:

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

Posted in Amusing, Errata, Various | 1 Comment »

A brief thought about Fathers’ Day

Posted by Euroranger on June 21, 2010


I won’t belabor this because, well, I can tend to run on at the yap about such things when all I mean to do sometimes is say what I wanted to say and then go back to work (which is what I should normally be doing whenever I find myself writing blog posts).

I frequent the forums on a popular news aggregator site and they had a forum topic yesterday about “what would you say to your Dad today”.  The topic was the most popular and received hundreds of posts…a very fair chunk of them were people expressing hate, rage and other such wishes for a slow lingering death on their fathers.  I didn’t have the time or the emotional fortitude to cull through them all (and they weren’t the majority…just a sizable minority) but I was left with the notion that I have one more thing to be thankful for in life.

Without further comment, I left the following post:

I read threads like this, see the hate, the blame and the apparent unremitting anger of people who seem to have had it worse than me growing up and see their father as a negative sore or hole in their lives

I read threads like this, see the love, the mourning (if dad has passed), the respect and the gratitude of people who seem to have had a similar upbringing to me and who see their father as the positive all dads wish/hope they’ll be to their kids.

And then I look at my kids and hope that the end effect of my relations with them and my presence in their lives is more like the second example than the first. And then I worry that while I’m definitely better than the first group’s example I’m perhaps not all that with the second group’s example of what dad is.

Girls then women dream all their lives about their wedding day, being a mother and such while boys then men typically have very few dreams about marriage and kids. We dream about being an astronaut or a firefighter or something else cool and so, when marriage and then children find us, we don’t have a lifetime of imagined preparation to fall back on. We go one day from “man” to “daddy” and it’s an enormous difference.

Some of us run and hide and deny our new responsibilities and in utter ignorance push away the greatest gift a man can have bestowed on him. Others embrace the new role, do their best and are the ones that most of the rest of us who fall somewhere between the two look to as the example of “how to do it right/better”.

I’m fortunate in that my dad is still here. He got cancer 7-8 years back and it’s in remission but he’s also 71 this summer and I know, deep down, I likely have a limited supply of Father’s Days left with him. As a man who doesn’t do deep, mushy emotions this is a hard point to ponder. To my dad, I’d like to have said this:

“Thanks for sticking it out for all the hard years. Only now do I get all the wisdom that you tried for so long to get through my skull that I ignored and had to acquire the hard way. Thank you for instilling in me self pride, a work ethic, and setting the example for how to be married to someone who goes crazy once per month. Thanks for illustrating how to act with in-laws who don’t respect you. Thank you for making all the sacrifices you did to make sure Bryn and I had a decent shot at life. I can’t imagine the darkest days you walked when Bryn passed on. I can’t begin to even want to imagine what it’s like burying your youngest child. I can’t believe you had the strength to even get up the next day because I know for certain that I wouldn’t have it in me.

Thank you for taking care of Mom now that she’s getting old and both your lives are winding down. Thanks for being “grandpa” to Abby and Garrett and for being the step-grandfather you have been to Kenny. I know he was especially hard but I wanted to say that he’s finally gotten a good look at his own father and this year on Father’s Day he called me and, for the first time in 13 years, called me “dad” and I don’t think I could have had that experience without the example you’ve set for me all my life.”

Instead, I called him midway through the day yesterday and wished him a happy Fathers’ Day. We talked for a few minutes about trivial nonsense and then the call was over and he went back to watching the race on TV and I went back to smoking pork ribs for supper.

Thanks Dad.

For everything.

My name is Euroranger, and I heartily approved this message.

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Friday the 13th: Bad Day For Rabbits

Posted by Euroranger on November 13, 2009


Country tubs...what's so damn erection-encouraging about this?

I thought things got all shrunk and wrinkly in the tub. Did I somehow miss something here?

Today is Friday, the 13th.  Via silly superstition this day is regarded by some as an omen of bad luck and ill tidings.  Poppycock!  I find it amazing that with all the trappings of the very zenith of human civilization that living in the United States confers, some people still choose to believe in all the mystical voodoo and metaphysical humbug that you tend to hear on days like today.  “Don’t let a black cat cross your path”.  “Don’t walk under a ladder”. “Breaking a mirror will bring you seven years bad luck”.  What utter folderol!  You would think with the advances in the human condition that the miracles of science make possible everyday that people would have stopped believing in such mumbo jumbo claptrap eons ago.  Do your joints ail you upon rising in the morning?  It’s not an affliction of an evil spirit.  It’s arthritis and medical science has proven and effective treatments for it.  Is your hair falling out?  Don’t go to the local witch doctor who will make you drink some disgusting potion to appease the hair gods (editor’s note: these gods too also likely hate me…or they will when they make my acquaintance as I still have all my hair).  Go to your doctor and he’ll prescribe some wispy mousse you can smear on your bald spot that will magically turn you into a chick magnet (at least according to the television commercials).  If after you’re up and about pain free and after having combed out your voluminous, Fabio-like locks you have finally chosen one from the multitude of nubile females sure to be beating down your door, you find that you can’t perform…forget making repeated pathetic excuse-laden apologies, curling up in a ball and weeping mournfully to yourself.  Get naked, find an abandoned outdoor porcelain tub (preferably two of them and overlooking some pleasant bucolic scene), get in it and then pop a pill that will make your formerly AWOL manhood rage with boundless memories of your youth and/or those awkward moments when you were called to the chalkboard in middle school and had to decline due to “technical difficulties” because something was already unexpectedly “please standing by”.  Yes, you have no need to dabble or even concern yourself with such banal inanities as superstition, bad luck or even something as benign as karma (as long as your name isn’t “Euroranger”, that is).

Medical science has truly banished the idiocy of superstition!  Why just the other day I was directed to an article by a friend of mine that proves that science can conquer all ailments…even losing your dick in a freak industrial accident:

Artificial Penis Research Hops Ahead in Rabbits, Human Tests to Begin

Rabbit recipients of artificially grown penises are eager to copulate with female partners

We’ve seen all sorts of tissue engineering examples — from bone, to brain tissue, to nerves, to vascular tissue, and even muscles — but a new study from the Wake Forest University’s Institute of Regenerative Medicine has surpassed all of these in pure strangeness.  The study used advanced tissue regrowth techniques to create and endow lab rabbits with fully functional replacement penises.

The research was led by the institute’s director, Anthony Atala, M.D., who is most famous for devising a cell seeding technique that involves spraying cells harvested from an applicable tissue onto a collagen matrix, led the research.  Under Dr. Atala’s scheme the developing tissue is bathed in a nourishing serum than keeps the tissue in a chemical environment similar to the human body, and at a similar temperature to that of the human body.  Growth factors and other beneficial compounds are seeded into the tissue beforehand, to encourage the cells to divide and populate the new tissue.

Most cells contain a wealth of information about how to grow and form their local tissue.  Once in a receptive scaffold (like the collagen), they’re sometimes able to grow and form new tissues, if they’re exposed to the proper chemicals and physical conditions.  By combining one or more tissue types and encouraging the growth of blood vessels, organs can be formed.

Dr. Atala’s team had already regrown and implanted seven human male bladders, a significant success.  Ten years later, the patients are still showing good function.  However, the penis proved a much more elusive and complex tissue to grow.  Growing the outer skin in theory wouldn’t be overly challenging, but the inner spongy tissue, called corpus cavernosa, proved to be a much stiffer challenge due to the complex mix of cell types needed.

Past artificial penises grown at Wake Forest were taken off the drawing board after failing to stay erect when implanted into rabbits with a piece of their spongy tissue removed.  After close to 18 years of failed attempts, the researchers tried a different angle, removing the entire spongy tissue (not just a segment) and using different growth factors on a complex mix of cells, including smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells — the cells needed to form the arteries needed to bring blood to the penis’s spongy tissues, allowing it to become erect.

The result was a resounding success.  Writes the research team in their paper on the accomplishment, “This technology has considerable potential for patients requiring penile construction.”

The resulting penises were identical to their natural kin in response to electrical and chemical stimuli.  And the recipient rabbits proved eager to copulate, with eight of the 12 rabbits with implants achieving ejaculation and four becoming fathers.  While rabbits normally like to procreate over the long term, the recipients proved unusually randy, attempting to procreate much faster than normal male rabbits.

Describes the team, “Most control rabbits did not attempt copulation after introduction to their female partners.  All rabbits with bioengineered neocorpora attempted copulation within one minute of introduction.”

The study was reportedly published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on Monday, though a quick glance at the November 9 early edition did not show the study.

The research proves eerily similar to the frequently on-point animated show South Park’s episode “Eek a Penis”, which aired last year and involved the character Mr./Mrs. Garrison having his/her penis regrown on a lab rat.  Despite the success, though, such more advanced sex change operations remain out of reach, as scientists have yet to engineer functional testicles from body tissues.  Still, for some with damaged penis tissue, this study may provide new hope.

The research team next plans to start trying to implant regrown human penis tissue.  States Dr. Atala, “We’re going to be doing that experimentally at our center.”

Um…hang on a second whilst I collect myself here.  Alright.  Ready.

WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?

Okay, once we all recover from the cringe-inducing effects of that article…WTF?  Is this the best application of science?  What, we cured cancer last week so we moved on to this?  I must have missed the memo.  Growing artificial dicks?  Why oh why?  Is there really a demand for artificial, flesh and blood penii (the assumed plural of penis…assumed because since no straight man has more than one, there’s no possible straight NEED to know the plural) that can’t already be served adequately by the booming adult novelty industry?  What the hell?  Some of those plastic vibrating dicks must be made in the USA!  Think of the jobs!

Bugs...in happier days

Yeah, good luck with that Bugs. "What's up doc" is fixing to take on a cruel and ironic quality because the answer is gonna be "not much".

What gets me is the tone of the article.  The implied and expressed amazement that a rabbit would use a new dick.  What part gets me about that?  How about the whole, completely unmentioned part that somebody at Wake Forest University has a job that involves CHOPPING RABBIT DICKS OFF (capitalized…for your pleasure).  I mean, I won’t pass myself off as any expert but I can’t imagine that Mother Nature has a surplus of dickless rabbits simply roaming around the greater Winston Salem, NC area.  No, most likely a hapless grad student has been assigned the job by some professor (most likely the very evil Anthony Atala, M.D.) to be the official emasculater of a portion of the university’s male rabbit student body.  Did you go to college?  If so, did you ever see postings around campus asking for volunteers for some study or another?  Well, try to imagine the horror that these rabbits must have felt when they realized that the study that “pays $25 for your opinions regarding carrot juice alternatives” was really, in fact, an insidious plot to separate them from their formerly beloved rabbit making appendages.  And these are frickin’ rabbits!  You know what they’re good for: making more rabbits.  I mean, how cruel is it to take from a young strapping buck rabbit the one thing that enables him to fulfill the very purpose of his existence?  What the hell good is a male rabbit without a dick?  You can bet there were plenty of female Wake Forest University rabbits that were saying the same thing after a long night pubbing and then stumbling home with some drunk male student rabbit only to discover the horrific truth.

So, you take from a boy rabbit the one thing that God made boy rabbits for in the first place.  Then, you put it back.  And you express amazement that the recently reunited pair are out fucking everything in goddamn sight?

And the recipient rabbits proved eager to copulate…while rabbits normally like to procreate over the long term, the recipients proved unusually randy, attempting to procreate much faster than normal male rabbits.

Ya think?  YOU CUT OFF THEIR GODDAMN DICKS BEFORE!!!  Sweet jebus…someone gave me MY dick back after cutting it off…I’d get as much use out of it too before some dumbass in a white coat changed his fucking mind.  They did it more than “normal male rabbits” because…well…you didn’t take a fucking mini-chainsaw to normal male rabbits!  They don’t know the pain of loss so they take their equipment for granted.  Not these former eunuchs.  Oh no.  From now on, Mrs. Rabbit’s headache is a non-issue.  “Shut up rabbit-wife…you can have as many headaches as you want.  AFTER.”

Gweat Scott!  It’s Friday the 13th and even Jason wouldn’t do this!  You know what the truly horrific part of this is?  Let me give you a hint:

After close to 18 years of failed attempts…

Artist's concept of what Anthony Atala, M.D. might look like

Artist's concept of what Anthony Atala, M.D. might look like

Two decades of mutilating rabbit johnsons is what Wake Forest has been up to.  Wonder where your kid’s tuition goes?  Well, once this story hits the mainstream media it’s gonna be going for class action lawsuit settlement damages would be my guess.  EIGHTEEN YEARS of hacking off hare hooeys.  Where is the humanity?  Medical science without a guiding morality is a pox on all humanity.  Stem cell research from aborted fetuses is one thing…this is entirely another.  I mean, understand, they didn’t hack all the rabbit cocks simultaneously.  They likely had a cage full of boy bunnies.  They’re all sitting there, wondering when they’re going to sample some carrot juice and planning on which pubs they’ll hit that night with their $25.  Some grad student comes in and takes one out of the cage and leaves.  A short time later, he comes back and, if there’s any mercy at all at Wake Forest, he puts the returning bunny into a separate cage.  Either way, it’s enough that the ones in the first cage now see what happened to the wailing and grief-stricken rabbit in the second cage.  He might even, through wracking sobs, have whispered what they just did to him.  Imagine the scramble to get to the back of cage 1 after that.  The plodding terror of each visit by the grad student.  One by one those undergrads were taken out and given the polar opposite of a bunny “happy ending”.  Elmer Fudd’s “kill da wabbit” bit is now put in shocking stark perspective.  That is now not a shadow on “be vewy vewy quiet…I’m hunting wabbit schlong…hehehe”.

Gad…the unspeakable horror.  Gods surely hate me but Anthony Atala, M.D. has got to be the rabbit version of Satan incarnate.  God merely teases and taunts me yet I sleep okay at night knowing that most likely I’ll wake up and my dick will be right where I left it.  Not so for some bunnies.

Oh, and as one parting shot, as if cleaving their cawks from their bodies and then sewing new ones on wasn’t bad enough:

The resulting penises were identical to their natural kin in response to electrical and chemical stimuli.

Pictured left to right: Jason, not-a-rabbit

Pictured left to right: "Jason", "not-a-rabbit"

What???  They shocked their new dicks and/or dipped them in fucking acid?  Egad!  What the hell?  Hollywood doesn’t do horror movies with this kind of sadism.  Who at Wake Forest hates rabbits so deeply that they would actively torture them like this?  “Identical” means they did this before AND after.  Holy crap, if you’re a rabbit living in North Carolina and you’re reading this…what the fuck are you still sitting there reading this for?  Why aren’t you and your furry little rabbit dick running for your very lives?  What, I gotta spell it out for you?

As I mentioned earlier, science has put to rest the notion of superstition and other such voodoo hooey.  That said, there’s obviously things that still go bump in the night that you would be well advised to retain a healthy fear of.  This goes doubly for you if you’re a male rabbit residing in the immediate vicinity of Wake Forest University.  Duh.

My name is Euroranger and I approved this message.

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