Administrivia

Lab Daze

I’m doing some hardware testing today, looking at Sun’s Sun Ray 170 and one of Sun’s Linux servers in what we like to call in the biz a “solution review”. Basically, I’m running Sun JavaDesktop on a terminal–a 17″ LCD color terminal with all the trick-outs of most low-end desktop PCs.

So far, it’s been dirt-simple (once I actually got everything set up) to use. JavaDesktop is a lot like Windows, and if you spend your day in office apps, the browser, and email, it’s a pretty cost-effective way to run a small office.

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Baltimore

Total Immersion

I don’t get out much. That’s the sad state of things when you have (a) a job that ate your life, (b) three kids, (c) a travel schedule due to the job that ate your life that’s rapidly sucking additional time out of your schedule, (d) a large billet of home repairs and other crap to pay for.

So, I missed the blogger happy hour at Little Havana again. My exposure to people outside my basement has been limited mostly to time spent at the Coldspring Swim Club swimming with my daughter.

Coldspring is much more laid-back than Meadowbrook, where we’ve coughed up cash to swim for the past few summers. It also suffers less from affluenza and class warfare. (How many African-American kids would you find at Meadowbrook? Unless they were part of Michael Phelps’ entourage, zero.) The people are friendlier, there’s no fighting with the Hummers for parking space, and the throng is somewhat less massive.

So, net result–I’ve been to the pool more this year than I was almost all of last summer.

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General Chaos, politics, work

Assholes Rule The Earth

I have come to what may be a painfully obvious conclusion about our world–it’s one I reached quite some time ago but have only found the words to express it now. That conclusion is: while nice guys don’t necessarily finish last, they never finish first.

Generally speaking, if you want to succeed in the world–gain power, wealth, fame, etc.–you need to be a total asshat. The rules of civil society are there to make sure sheep don’t wander off and forget to pay taxes. If you want more, you should lie, defraud, steal, and betray on a regular basis.

That’s not to say that there’s no risk involved with that course of action. A significantly larger percentage of asshats end up as tenants of our nation’s growing housing market known as the prison system than end up as, say, President.

But the risk is directly proportional to your starting social position and race–not too many rich, white asshats end up in prison. Rich, white nice people generally end up less rich, or have enough money to allow themselves the luxury of separating their behavior from their tax bracket. Noblesse oblige is a sport for only those with the oldest of money.

Take, for example, the rich white men who currently run this country. Dubya is a profligate liar, and he lies with such boldness that it has left the press stunned. He and his underlings repeat the lies so often that people end up believing them (or at least parroting them). And he’s used his bogus piety and flag waving to ensure that anyone who publicly disagrees with him will be Mao-maoed into submission.

Take, for example, the Newsweek Koran-Flushing Story. After the White house went ballistic over the story, and the right went nuts over “irresponsible journalism”, the whole thing turned out to be, well, largely true. And there hasn’t been a peep about that from the White House, really–other than the aptly named Dick Cheney saying that the detention center at Gitmo will remain open.

It’s not an ideological thing, either. Clinton was a major league asshat himself, which he covered for (like Bush does) with his aw-shucks charm. Carter was a Nice Guy elected in response to the ultimate presidential asshat (Nixon), and he got absolutely nothing done.

Then there’s the business world. Generally speaking, those who reside at the top of the corporate food chain generally get there by constantly, agressively pressing on other’s sense of propriety and discomfort with conflict. They make shit up as they go along, and then find ways to sidestep the consequences. They change plans and contend that they always had actually been aiming for their new target. They are insufferable bastards.

So, if you want to get ahead in the world, remember–it will have to be at the expense of your moral, ethical, and social comfort zones. Because only total pricks ever get to the top. But make sure you pick the right rules to break (and make sure you’re white, or rich enough that no one cares), or you’ll just end up as a cautionary tale used to keep us sheep in the pen.

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Administrivia

Not too long ago, I was whining about how cold the spring had been. Well, wham! It`s 90 F and humid now, so we`ve got something new to whine about.

So, the long-deferred annual installation of the air conditioners day has arrived. It`s time to lug the cooling monsters from the basement and wedge them back into the windows they`ll live in until, say, October. I once again get to see if I can avoid gouging my arms on cooling fins and knife edges, or rupturing a disk in my back carrying four air conditioners up two flights of stairs and around various obstacles.

Whee.

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