Friday, March 30, 2012

Busy Week

The last week has been crazy with me working something like 9 out of the last 10 days, plus being on the phone or biking up to the doctor's office whenever I'm not working. Today is the first day I've had to catch my breath and get caught up with all my house-husband stuff.

The doctor issue is two-part. The first is just the usual scrambling that goes with changing doctors. I have no idea why switching doctors is more difficult, time-consuming and expensive than moving from one side of the country to the other, but it's certainly a pain. Then to keep things interesting, my A1C came back so bad (14+) that my doctor nearly sent EMS to the apartment, convinced that I had lapsed into a coma when I didn't call the office back right away. When I told him that the reason I hadn't called until the next day was because I was busy biking the 7-mile distance to my job, he just shook his head. I get that a lot. My other blood work also showed all the markers of final-stage leukemia, which also had him a bit worried, but those all disappeared on retesting, so either it was something transient related to whatever has been killing my lungs since the first of the year, or a lab screw-up. In any case, I seem to have appeased the gods of the medical industrial complex for a few months at least. Maybe now I'll finally have time to bake a couple loaves of bread.

Proportional representation has some downsides compared to the winner-take-all approach we use here in the United States, but one of its major advantages is the opportunity for fringe parties to develop:
Four members of the German Pirate Party have been elected to the Saarland state parliament, the second state in the country in which the party, associated with copyright issues, has gotten a foothold.

Disappointingly, no eye-patches or parrots; just geeks looking to reform copyright law, unlike the  Polish Beer-Lover's Party (or PPPP, no doubt in reference to the fact that you only rent beer), which is exactly what the name would lead one to expect. The Polish Beer-Lover's Party is, alas, no more, the victim of a split between the large- and small-beer factions.

Best Buy is closing another 50 stores and refocusing on being a cell phone reseller. Thus history repeats as Best Buy follows the business model of Radio Shack, which transformed itself about 15 years ago from a store that was actually interesting to enter, into a chain of cell phone kiosks. Way to innovate, Best Buy, and good luck with that.

Bigger picture is the continued implosion of big-box retail as they try to race Amazon to the bottom on price while slashing knowledgeable staff and customer service, the very areas they could give Amazon a serious spanking. But when you view your customers not as fellow human beings, but amorphous blobs of protoplasm labeled "consumers" contributing to the corporate bottom line, it wouldn't occur to you to act any differently.

Speaking of which, it looks like on April 1, Blogger will be forcing everyone to switch to the crappy new "minimalist" design that is supposed to look better on a smartphone or tablet. Having never used either of those, I can't say if the new design meets that goal or not, but on a computer with a real screen, it's like a trip in the way-back machine to how web sites looked in 1994. I'm sure I'll get used to it.

All the yapping about the shooting of Trayvon Martin continues. The county has had to close down its office in Sanford twice in as many weeks due to "rallies" by "supporters" of the Martin family. Meanwhile, in spite of attempts by the local news stations to slant the story in favor of Martin, details continue to leak out that show him as anything but the innocent little Boy Scout victimized by the big bad white dude (who was in fact Hispanic). Meanwhile, the Black Panthers have announced a $10K reward for the location of Zimmerman (the shooter) who has gone into hiding for obvious reasons. Here's the thing: Hispanics as a rule hate blacks with a white-hot hatred, and the feeling is certainly mutual. We had a number of incidents in the ghetto tax prep office between black customers and Hispanic staff as well as between black and Hispanic customers. And I'm sure it didn't go unnoticed by either side that my white cracker self and the Hispanic women were inside the air-conditioned office doing taxes while all the black employees were outside on the side of the road wearing a humiliating costume and waving a sign. Bottom line is that a number of people are attempting to light a fuse in the mistaken notion that the resulting explosion will somehow benefit them. The last thing we need is another long, hot summer.

Well, the bread ain't gonna bake itself. Later.

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