Monday, June 30, 2008

Are Blogs being silenced because of political content?


I've shared a few articles (see sidebar) concerning many Blogger blogs that were 'suspended' because they were accused of posting spam, when in reality it appears there's a concerted effort to take any blogs that are critical of Sen. Obama as 'spam'. Case in point: No Media Bias? at TrekMedic.

I wonder what the threshold is that would trigger a blog posting to be targeted by the nefarious supportors of Sen. Obama. I've pointed out a number of policy disagreements I've had with Obama, and reasons why I'd never vote for him. Could it me I'll be targeted?

You'll know if this blog goes dark!


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Lies, damned lies, and school district budgets

My father often quoted there are three kinds of untruths: lies, damned lies, and statistics (One has but to consult the latest Dish Network TV ad where a supposed cable-TV exec claims some 90% of all statistics are believed by the public, at least 50% of the time).

Along with my father's quote, I would submit school district budgets, as in the following from the Citizen's Voice regarding the Pittston (PA) Area School board's preliminary budget:

Increasing cost of transportation, debts owed from building remodeling projects and costs to support state charter and topped the list of budget increases. Since the original proposed budget was drafted earlier in the year, Melone explained he was mainly able to reduce the increase by swapping some estimations of salary and overtime increases with lower, exact numbers. Some preliminary estimations, including changes in cyber school costs, special needs and learning support, had to be increased in the revised budget.

While I do not live in Pittston, my kids are enrolled in cyber-charter schools, and in this budget (and many others throughout the PA school districts), those cyber-charter schools are being made scapegoats for failed administrative policies.

When a student in any school district throughout Pennsylvania enrolls in a cyber-charter school, the local district is billed by the cyber-charter for roughly 75% of the district's per-capita cost for their students. In round numbers, if it costs the Pittston Area SD $1000/year to educate students, a cyber-charter would bill the SD about $750 for any student who enrolled in a cyber-charter school from that district.

So for the Pittston Area SD to claim their budget woes on cyber-charter schools is ridiculous; the local SDs actually net more money for every cyber student, since they're getting ~25% of their per capita costs for a student who isn't even attending their schools!

So why are they providing false data? Because the traditional brick-and-mortar schools are feeling the heat of competition from cyber-charter schools. Cyber-Charters are doing more with less money, and the test scores prove it. The monopoly the local SD's and teacher unions have had is being threatened, so they will spin their budgetary numbers any way they can to prevent more people in Pennsylvania from making the switch.

Competition and free-markets always provide better service and results.

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Friday, June 27, 2008

So why is the Pennsylvania Turnpike called a turnpike??

WFMZ-TV It stretches 359 miles from the Delaware River in southeastern Pennsylvania west to the Ohio state line and has two extensions, 21 maintenance facilities, and 20 service plazas. More than a half-million vehicles travel on it everyday. But have you ever wondered why they call it the "turnpike?"


See video


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They weren't kidding

So I was intending on blogging about several points that occurred this week, and as I had short bits of time, I was editing them in MS Word, saving it to my USB drive.

Would you believe an IT person visiting from the main office took a tour of our office, and deemed my USB drive worthy of a scan?

I took the chance knowing the risk; no one is to blame but me. And now my USB drive is nicely reformatted and blank.

One of those posts I was working on involved fuel costs, and that I recently calculated that my annual fuel (at $4./gal) now sets me back $8320 $8490. In years past, whenever I weighed whether I should find work closer to home, the deciding factor to keep on keeping-on was that the difference is salary was always in the neighborhood of $8,000-10,000. Now that fuel prices have broken the lower number, plus the fact that the Subject Matter Expert status I came here with has all but diminished (not to mention the Banshee-like IT group), maybe it's time I start finding out how much I am worth closer to home.

After all, with my annual review being worked on, there's no time like the present.

NOTE: The SME status has dwindled because I am no longer the only employee who has hands-on experience with the application.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Note to file: Bluetooth earpiece


Dear Diary:

Did you ever wonder what happens if you leave your Jabra BT125 earpiece in the laundry?

Well, while it is a pretty stupid thing to do, you'll be relieved to know that all it needed was a 1-hour recharge and it still works.

Go figure.

C:

UPDATE: A guy in my office told a story wherein his wife dropped her Razor in water. After immediately removing the batter, he placed the phone in 93% alcohol for 2 days, then let the phone evaporate and dry out.

It still works!

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Monday, June 23, 2008

George Carlin

This blog notes the passing of comedian ; as the man once observed what are you supposed to do during a moment of silence??

UPDATE The previous mention, albeit brief, was made around 4:45 this morning.

I first heard George Carlin back when I was about 12 years old. My brother had an LP titled Put-ons and Take-offs (while I am certain of the title, I cannot find any reference to it anywhere online – perhaps it was a boot leg?).

The album had his retrospect on daytime TV, which I could instantly identify with since I spent many years in front of the set. Sppofs TV commercials, soap operas, mid-day news, cooking shows, movies: great stuff that I committed to memory in the hopes of being even half-as-funny as he was (I seldom succeeded).



Good evening ladies and gentlemen, once again the big hand is on the four, the little hand is on the two and it’s time for the 6:00 report.

Our top story: Johnson sends Humphrey
a broad. We’ll have full details in just a moment - including some wild films - after this word from our sponsor.

Patient: Say nurse, what was the name of that great tasting red mouthwash the dentist used?
Nurse: Oh that’s muscatel; he’s a wino!

Now back to the news: well the world breathes a little easier today as 5 more nations sign the nuclear test-ban treaty. Today signers were Chad, Sera Leon, Upper Volta, Monaco and Iceland.

As a kid of about 12-13, I of course had to find out the significance of both the Nuclear-test ban treaty, and why those 5 nations were the punch line (hint: none had any nuclear aspirations).

And of course there was Weird Willy West on Wonderful WINO Radio, who inspired me later on to try out for the college radio station as a disc jockey (While I did succeed in making an ever-so-small in road to radio, I clearly was over my head compared to my peers).

Mr. Carlin’s humor could be child-like – literally, as he once narrated the Thomas the Tank Engine series – to things our parents could enjoy, to acerbic. And whether you appreciated any particular style, you always laughed, even if it offended you. He was that amazing.

In 1984 he came to St. John's University, and I saw him live on his Carlin on Campus tour. Here's a video of that tour (not at SJU):



His legacy is that of the many commedians he inspired, and his work will never be forgotten. Today, heaven is laughing a bit harder, even if he's pissed off a few while he's at it.

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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Generational conflict


Walking through the living room where the boys are watching TV, with what appears to be 3 gals singing and dancing to a dance tune.  I ask the 12 year old:

ME: What are you watching?
HE: CAMP ROCK
ME: Really? Will they play any rock?
HE: Oh, Dad, please.

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Posts of a different kind


While I am still planning on pruning my feed list of Blogs I read,  I do try to keep up on things and often find stuff I want to share and/or comment on.   Google Reader fortunately offers a sharing option with comments.  You can find my latest shares on the right hand of this page, or all of them here.

I can envision getting so lazy that I may neglect posting my own views in full format here, and I hope I don't reduce my efforts to that degree.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Guess I'm good for now

Users of are familiar with the WebClip, a one-line tall blurb of your favorite RSS feeds or some random general interest headline, including a quote-of-the-day.

Tonight's quote read:

Funny Quote of the Day - Fran Lebowitz - "You're only has good as your last haircut."
Coincidentally, I got my hair cut tonight, so I guess I am good for now.

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Time Changes

Still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets and
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test


The stereotypical way sitcoms portray scenes occurring the past was to blur the current scene and transition to the past. I recall an episode of the Odd Couple where Oscar physically blurred Murray’s face as he started to tell a tale.

I started thinking about this today because I’ve been reading Michele’s A Big Victory has been looking back at her considerable blogging past and recalling posts from a now defunct blog(s) she authored by using archive.org (a/k/a WayBackMachine). And I imagined the scene at my desktop becoming blurry as I went back in time, so much so I decided to play with the WayBackMachine on my own website efforts.

I used to have a very open, fairly personal website. One that included my whole resume (in ASCII, Word, and PDF formats, you know just in case), which given the fact it is still accessible, worries me somewhat. Looking back, I had forgotten that in 1994 I had an article printed in an insurance trade publication touting how a certain multicurrency financial application could be adapted for the re-insurance industry.

When I decided to give blogging a try, I went anonymous, since I did nearly all of it at the office. Back in those days, I had completed about 80% of my work day tasks in the first 3 hours I was at the office, leaving a lot of idle time on my hands. Plus, it was before I had broadband, so other than e-mail I didn’t do that much online at home.

WayBackMachine does provide the actual templates in use back in the day so it is interesting to see what this humble blog looked like 6 years (egads! That long?). In some ways, I can see a big difference in my style and in others it’s like I could have posted it yesterday.

Over the years I’ve found bits of time to wax on whatever was on my mind, going through various stages of merely reposting others work (with due credit, of course), of starting debates with those I didn’t agree with (a/k/a picking fights) , and then I matured (or at least I hope I had) to the point where I was presenting my arguments for or against whatever topic crossed my mind.

In 2004, of course, I became heavily involved in blogging about the Election – to much greater degree than I have so far this year

I’ve resisted what appears to be a trend in making this into a Daddy Blog – not that there’s anything wrong with them – because I wanted to be able to blog about whatever I wanted and not just a narrow set of topics (that and my well-documented need/want/desire for anonymity).

The vast majority of my posts have always originated at the office because I have certain tasks that require mostly oversight and reaction at certain thresholds being crossed (Enterprise Monitoring) and other tasks that require oversight of a Help Desk that really isn’t that terribly busy to begin with. Otherwise, I blog at night, when my much-better-half and the kids are asleep; life is often too busy to do more than keep up on my e-mail during other times.

Along the way at the office I use a personal USB drive to store a few applications that make my day go smoother, among them a remote desktop application that allows me to access my home PC from the office. This innovation allows me to do quite a lot on my own wire (as opposed to the company’s network) and not have to worry about anyone innocently noticing what I am doing. Additionally, I have use of two networks at my desk: one corporate and one for testing purposes. The test wire had been separate in our office (which is remote from the Corp HQ) and required ostensibly for a specific task that is unique to our specific project. As such, it was never regulated / monitored by any of the Corp IT staff. This was the bane of the Corp IT group but a definite benefit to our group.

The use of KVM switch (keyboard/video/mouse) meant we had one keyboard, monitor and mouse that was shared by the 2 PCs. Who could ask for much more?

And yet more than once in the last 8 months I’ve pondered whether I still have an interest in being online as much as I have been. Facebook and Twitter leave me nonplussed. Blogging is still an outlet for my thoughts and attempts at humor, but from time to time leave me wondering if I’m still getting the charge I used to from doing it.

Well, now I may just find out if there’s still a desire to continue updating this humble journal.
Recently, several changes occurred in the office which have direct impact on my blog reading/writing, and none for the good. The story goes like this: an SA used his personal USB drive on the Corp network. Being an SA, he had a variety of password cracking tools on his USB drive (that he had such cracking tools isn’t exactly unusual for an SA to possess).

Almost immediately, the Corp antivirus/spyware app chirped, identifying a potential threat stored on his USB drive. Figuring he was only going to transfer a file and be done with it, he ignored the pop-up. And then he ignored it again. And a third time.

It shouldn’t surprise anyone who is even remotely familiar with the inner workings of a Corp IT group that you can generally ignore warnings twice, but never three times.

So our remote office was visited by the Corp IT Group who instantly confiscated the SA’s personal USB drive for analysis - which is tech-speak meaning it was scanned for viruses, immediately reformatted and returned to him blank (which begs the question: why scan it for viruses at all?).

So now Corp IT is working feverishly to gain control of a wire they’ve not had access to for about 4 years now. And they’re not going to quit. Effective immediately, any USB caught on either network will be confiscated and analyzed as above (which makes it awfully hard to take work home for review/editing purposes).

This means my ability to do what I’ve grown accustomed to these last few years has also been restrained. I suppose I’ve gotten spoiled at the relative freedom I’ve enjoyed here, but the logcial side of me says this time really should come a long time ago. I could offer my reasons to protest this restriction, but in light of the conflagration 3 weeks ago, I am really in no position to present my reasoning to my Project Lead. I suppose I can just wait for him to call me on a weekend again, asking about my efforts on project document. That should get the message across to him nicely

Right off the bat, my Google Reader list will be slashed down to the bare blogs I always read, the ones I make a habit of reading daily, and the essential ones I keep up with during the week. I suppose I could write posts and either mail them to Blogger or home for later posting.
It is just frustrating that a division (the one I work at) that has performed so well (this last month not withstanding) that we’ve gotten our contract renewals with little effort should be hit with Draconian security measures.

I realize that in the big, corporate picture it makes sense.

But it doesn’t mean I have to like it.



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Monday, June 16, 2008

It must be Monday


Why else can't I find where I left my Bluetooth earpiece, since I have several calls to make on the way home tonight?

I've said it before and will say it again: don't prohibit innocuous behavior. Target those that drive recklessly, and leave the good drivers alone.



UPDATE: I can't wait for 1-Jul, but at least there's a chance to get a better earpiece if I can't find mine. From WIRED.com:

Motorola claims the H620 Bluetooth headset, which will be available soon at a price that's to be determined, has noise reduction and echo-canceling technology, and that volume is automatically adjusted to compensate for road noise. The H620 also comes with a car charger so you don't have to worry about draining its battery on a long drive, and it has a dashboard holder so you don't have to search for it between the seat cushions or in a cluttered center console.

Dashboard holder? That'll be good only if I remember to put it there!

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Friday, June 13, 2008

Life, death and Father's Day

Tim Russert was a Sunday given in many, many households across America.  His passing was without apparent warning and felt by many people (of all political stripes).  The initial cause of death was a heart attack, but as he just arrived on a flight from Italy in the hours before his death, it may well have been an embolism (not unlike the reported cause of death of NBC correspondent David Bloom in 2003).

Mr. Russert gave even-handed treatment to all in his MEET THE PRESS studios, as the only people who were ever skunked in his presence were those who were ill-prepared to defend their own words, always shown by Mr. Russert up on the screen for the viewers at home.

One of the most memorable exchanges on MTP was between Mr. Russert and Political Strategist James Carville.  I don't know if there is a clip available, so please excuse me as I tell this from memory:

It was during the the investigation of Judge Kenneth Starr, Special Prosecutor named to investigate the goings-on of President Bill Clinton (which eventually led to the President's impeachment).   Mr. Carville was railing against Judge Starr and the entire investigation, complaining that nearly everyone in the Clinton Administration had been subpoenaed.  Everyone, that is, except Mr. Carville.

In his signature, Louisiana cadence, Mr. Carville was becoming livid.

"Why hasn't Ken Starr subpoenaed me?  Why does everyone else get a subpoena but me?"

A quick smile came across Mr. Russerts face.  Then, in an almost dead pan, Mr. Russert asked: "Mr. Carville, are you suggesting that you have subpoena envy? "

That had to be the first time I ever saw James Carville speechless.  He blustered and fumbled over the next words, trying hard not to laugh, but soon both were doubled-over in hysteria.

Learning of Mr. Russert's death at such a young age of 58 will impact many this Father's Day.  I know well there are others who have lost their father at a younger age (and some who never knew their father), and for them I regret that I have no words to offer.  For others, who always seem to be too busy to visit, they may make the effort this weekend, or at least spend more than a few extra minutes on the phone to their father.

I am blessed to be able to speak to my father regularly, 3-4x each week.  It is not something I take lightly.   I don't normally enjoy celebrations of Father's Day for myself (not unlike my father), but I can understand why people enjoy remembering their dads, at least on the second Sunday of June.   

I raise a toast to my father, and extend a wish to all dads a great day (even if they'd rather not celebrate it).   For those who have lost their father, know that you are the product of his effort (however great or small), and know that he would be proud of you for being who you are.

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This is Charlie on the...

This is Charlie on the Pennsylvania Turn Pike who had just heard the sad news that NBC bureau chief vice president Tim Russert is dead at age 58, shocking news, more later. listen

Powered by Jott

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

On being PC in a performance review

Yes, it time for the annual perforamce review at work; upon making my first draft, I ran the spell and language checker - and readers of this blog will know that despite the Blogger spell check feature, I need all the help I can get!

Some of the suggestions were useful. Others, like this one, are simply stupid:

Seriously, even if the mindset of the 1970s were still in place, would anyone deride a female colleague by calling her a broad in a review?



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"The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today."

Top Court allows appeals from illegal-combatant detainees


Justice Antonin Scalia warns that the ruling “will almost certainly cause more Americans to be killed” and concludes The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today. I dissent.


In spite of what the MSM may have you think, this is not a blow to the Bush Administration.

Rather, it is a blow the United States of America.

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Celluloid Heroes



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Monday, June 09, 2008

Hillary Clinton


Saturday's speech by had a few major items, essential for 's campaign:

  • When will Sen. Clinton release her delegates? Why wouldn't she if she was really conceding the race?
  • Where was Sen. Obama? Generally, the conceding competitor appears at the winner's presser or headquarters. Mrs. Clinton stood alone.
I am still on record: Sen. Clinton is not out of this, not yet!

When will this be over? Given the precedent of the DNC endorsing even after the charges of corruption against incumbent forced the latter into early retirement, it's not too far a stretch to suggest it will not be over until election day!

And given the additional precedent of the DNC going to court over elections, it may well not end until after election day!

In the short term, however, wait for the DNC convention.

Just wait.



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The Audacity of the Democrats

An excerpt rom THE AMERICAN THINKER, by

There was a pre- time, before moral relativism blurred America's vision, when associating with people like and would have automatically excluded someone from attaining the highest office in the land. Back then, anyone with well known connections to such America-averse personalities would have been rejected by a super-majority of the electorate during primary season and almost certainly blocked by the Democratic Party before they could have gotten to within a mile of the White House. But those days -- when patriotic, true liberals like were considered typical Democratic Party politicians -- are gone. Now politicians like Lieberman are banished to the Party's periphery and leftists, not liberals, like Denis Kucinich, Bernie Sanders, Jim McDermott, John Kerry, (who served in Vietnam), Jim McGovern, Patrick Leahy, Richard Durbin, and have replaced them.

Until recently in our history, a President Barack Obama would have been an impossibility. But given the political and ideological climate that exists today in America, the ascension of a leftist like Barack Obama into presidential politics makes perfect sense. Beliefs like domestic terrorist William Ayers's and racist, anti-US preacher Jeremiah Wright's are no longer met with utter scorn or a trip to behind the woodshed, but are embraced, promoted and defended by many Americans. Think , , think hordes of young neo-communists and their indoctrinating, puppet-master Marx-spouting professors. Think , Cindy Sheehan, Noam Chomsky, Ward Churchill and his acolytes. Think NYU, Columbia, The New School and Harvard. Most importantly, ponder the makeup and direction of the Democratic Party leadership. Like Barack Obama and his radical friends, it is appallingly far Left.

Ideological descendants of Marx and Rousseau now lead the Democratic Party and they have turned it into a disloyal opposition to an increasingly accommodating GOP. They have molded the Party into a force working stridently and unashamedly against a Commander in Chief during wartime. They have made it a den of treachery devoted to American defeat in Iraq. They preside over an institution advised and influenced by moneyed, non-governmental groups and individuals with unquestionably anti-US agendas who help make the Party a pseudo-intellectual sinkhole filled with perverse, tried-and-failed ideas repulsive to the majority of Americans. Those ideas are shaped into agendas which are then forced on the public by an activist leftwing judiciary and by a major media and arts consortium shot through with utter disrespect, indeed contempt, for traditional American values, religions and institutions.

The Democratic Party has devolved into a club for the illegitimately aggrieved, the self-absorbed, the self-hating and the perpetually pissed-off. It is a sanctuary where solipsistic malcontents and their disjointed causes find refuge and support. It has long ceased being an earnest gathering of broad minds where man's timeless problems are examined against the backdrop of the Constitution and solutions to them proposed based on the actual realities of the human condition. It is now the political province of the intellectually deceased, where frightened, lock-step ideologues and other small men and women concoct and promote divisive, destructive, weird and cowardly policies developed within a not-so-quaint, quasi-Marxist stricture of gender, class and race.

Read more.... highly recommended.

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Remembering D-Day

I didn't post on the sixth of June because I was busy. Yes, I did have a day-off from work (which, as noted, I ended up checking up on e-mail throughout the day), but I had some chores to do ahead of the planned weekend trip to Reading, PA for the annual WW-II Remembrance event.

Along with displays and tours of military aircraft, there were a variety of encampments on the grounds of Reading Airport representing the Allied and Germany armies. A permanent recreation of an in habited French village was the stage of numerous gun battles throughout the weekend. On the side were vendors selling every imaginable piece of WW-II combat gear that isn't actually live ammo. I even bought a couple of P-38 can openers.

While the heat was oppressive for most (even, at time, your humble blogger - who actually prefers the summer temps), the weekend went well, and it there were ample reminders of the sacrifices made Europe and the rest of the world.

As a way to look back on the heroism of the day, I ask that readers take a few moments to either re-read or listen to the tribute paid to the veterans of the Normandy invasion by President Ronald Reagan.

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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

M&M's does George Castanza one better

Heard about this, and had to find it:

In case you are unaware of the reference to George Castanza, see here and here.

Of course, once I found the new commercial, I had to take stroll down memory lane:





I remember seeing each of these spots growing up. The last one, I am going to bet, was shot sometime after either stage or movie version of .

Let's see: George Castanza, M&Ms and Godspell ... is that some sort of trifecta??

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Long weekend begins

Here then begins a long weekend for me. It was supposed to be one completely removed from work, but after last week I am sure to be online, checking my office e-mail.


Murphy's Law being what it is, because I do check in will mean nothing will go amiss.


I had better get a kick-ass raise this time 'round....

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Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Philadelphia News Makes News

Can't help but laugh at this one. First from Tony Phyrillas

First Alycia, now Larry Mendte?

Just when you thought it was safe to watch Channel 3 Eyewitness News comes word that the FBI raided the home of news anchor after his fired co-anchor, Latina bombshell , complained that somebody hacked into her private e-mails.

The station's Web site describes Mendte as a "target" of the FBI investigation, according to The Associated Press.

A case of Alycia's revenge?

Lane you will recall was fired Jan. 1 from her $700,000-a-year newsreader job after she was charged with assaulting a New York City policewoman last December. The most serious of the charges were dropped by a judge. Lane has filed a lawsuit against the TV station claiming wrongful termination. She had three more years to go on her contract.

Mendte joined KYW 3 in July 2003. His new co-anchor since Lane's firing is the very blonde , who was named Lane's replacement in April.

Mendte, who is married to Philadelphia Fox 29 news anchor , is off the air pending the outcome of the FBI investigation.

Fans of KYW Channel 3's Eyewitness News may be thinking they've tuned in to "As The World Turns" by mistake.

This stuff is better than the soap operas.
What Tony failed to remind his readers is that Ms. Lane had made another colorful headline. Last year, she was said to have mailed photos of herself wearing a bikini to NFL Network's (a pity for Ms. Lane that Mrs. Eisen found out!).

While there appears to be no clear copy of the authentic bikini shot to be found online, the TrekMedic provides a suitable shot of her for reference purposes.

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Friends at your job

It's been a long time since I made friends at my place of employment. Coming into this job back in 2004, I made a conscious decision to stay in my cubicle, keep to myself. Oh, that didn't mean I didn't chat with my colleagues, nor enjoy a circulated e-mail meme or the like. And, heaven knows, I've done my part with spreading jocularity at various appropriate times (and more than one inappropriate time, too).

But I've been a Help Desk Team Lead coming up on a year now, and I have 1½ people reporting to me (one of the people splits her time with another task). And try as I may, I've avoided being too friendly with them, but it is indeed hard to stay too separated from team members in such an organization.

The week before last, the gal who splits her time with me sent a request for training in regards to her other task to the Project Lead. Since it wasn't under my task assignments, I never saw the request. Her request was turned down, as the justification for the particular training wasn't specified (that the conference was being held on MARCOS ISLE, FL probably had nothing to do with the request being turned down....). Undaunted, this gal e-mailed her request - not up the food chain to the Division Manager, which would have made some sense - to a senior manager at the customer site. Coincidentally, this guy happened to be on site visit WITH OUR DIVISION MANAGER. Can you imagine how pleased the Division Manager was to be blindsided with his customer's Blackberry?

But since she was making that effort on behalf of her other task, I was completely out of the loop on her actions.

At least I was when it happened.

So last week, when I took two days off -- cue the studio audience: GASP! In a row?? Yes, in a row -- I delegated my tasks to my #2 guy to handle in my absence. The #2 guy and I are buddies, the closet thing to a friend I claim to have around the office.

To suggest what gets done here is so specialized in that some sort of certification is required to maintain the help desk would be an exaggeration. There's a process, to be sure, but it isn't rocket science.

To suggest my #2 guy did a miserable job covering for me in my absence would be, I regret to to say, an understatement. If there's any doubt, the customer called not only our office but the Corporate office, making their dissatisfaction at the Help Desk under-serving their issue clearly known.

(Adding to what feels like a migraine growing in my head, this last week was also the first time I took time off and didn't check my office e-mail. But wait, it gets better...)

So when I was dressed down by our Project Lead, and then later by our Division Head, it was hard to not become royally pissed at my team mate.

The Division Head also took a moment to mention to me how pleased he was to be shown that customer's Blackberry the week before last... not that I had anything to do with that issue, but it became clear how annoyed the customer had been with the members of my Help Desk of late.

Yeah, yesterday was a fun day!

So this morning I brought up to my team mate - the guy who was supposed to cover for me last week - how so much agita was caused from his in inaction last week. For reasons completely unfathomable, he became got pissed that management had made such a big deal over the matter. To his credit, he's taking responsibility for the fact that he didn't do his/my job last week, yet he can't understand why people are annoyed.

Yeah, I'm still scratching my head over that one.

This Thursday and Friday I am again taking off a couple of days (Amazing! Yeah, I know). So now my #2 is more than a little surprised that I've sent him MS Outlook TASKS, assigning the duties he fully knows that need to be done when I am not here.

And you just know, without a doubt, that I'll be checking my e-mail at least once each morning and afternoon when I am off this week. And that may well piss off my buddy, too.

And you know what? That's his problem. If after all this time he's going to take an attitude about doing his job, that's his call. It isn't as though we're slogging 10 hours a day; he knows I know what he does. And while he remains a key member of the Help Desk and overall Team, he's not irreplaceable. For that matter, in spite of the SME status afforded me when I was hired, neither am I!

So if this pisses him off, it's for him to deal with. And if that means he's going to take an attitude about being dressed-down by me (and let me assure you: it was in no way nearly as bad as I was dressed down yesterday by the Division Head), he should know where he can take his p.o.'d attitude.

Adding to the overall enjoyment of this week, the Corporate Office sent out their routine spring-time announcement: You don't mean....? that's right! It's performance review time, once again!

It just goes to show: more often than not, if there's even a remote chance of being put into a hierarchy with someone it's better to keep friends separate from your job.

Think I can go to lunch now? Nah... I better stay close to my desk today and tomorrow...

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Monday, June 02, 2008

Games kids play

Our five-year old son was playing in the bathtub tonight with a few boats. During his play, he called out "Load those pots!"

Not immediately recognizing the phrase, I asked him what he meant by that. He replied "I'm playing DEADLIEST CATCH!"

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More on the defense of Boy Scouts of America

From the Allentown, PA MORNING CALL, yesterday:

It seems the Scouting establishment has a policy against putting a teenage boy and a teenage girl in a tent for the night. Nobody has made a fuss over that policy, but there has been a big fuss, for five years now, over the [Philadelphia Council's] reluctance to put an openly gay Boy Scout in that tent with another boy.

Mr. Paul Carpenter's piece is required reading for all concerned in the ongoing attempts to evict the 's Council from their 80 year old building in .

This piece does not address the various legal issues I pointed out previously, but it goes far to silent those who would suggest BSA is some form of hate group.

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