Unspun Logo

The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

Posted by RickH · November 30th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Several friends of mine are going through difficult times right now.  The world has dealt — or is dealing — several of them a hand which nobody wants to have to play.

I always feel inadequate in terms of knowing what to say in these kinds of situations.

Some time back, I read a novel (The Unbearable Lightness of Being), a central thesis of which is that because each of us is the embodiment of but one life out of so many billions, what happens in our lives is inconsequential, insignificant, and thus the decisions we make are unimportant.

I would say that because each of us has but one life, that makes what happens and our reactions to what happens all the more important.

[

→ 1 CommentCategory: Personal Life · Philosophy
Tags:, , , , , , ,

48 Things You Could Care Less About…

Posted by RickH · November 29th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Okay, I don’t usually do these, because I figure that they’re in the 48 things most of my blog readers could care less about. On the other hand, I sometimes like looking at them myself, because I enjoy learning new things about people I know — and most of the blogs I read belong to people I know.

So with that — and since I’ve been tagged by blogger extraordinaire and friend Joni Mueller of Joniverse — I proceed to give you this Holiday Season, the 48 Things YOU Could Care Less About….

[

→ 1 CommentCategory: Miscellany · Personal Life · Quizzes
Tags:, , , , , , ,

UnBelievably WOWOW!

Posted by RickH · November 23rd, 2008 · No Comments

The hotly-anticipated sequel to the online video game World of Warcraft hit the shelves recently.  Here’s a report:

The best part is that I could actually imagine something like this. I particularly like the comment in the “web only bonus clip” at the end, where we learn about the horrible worst thing is that could happen to your character.

→ No CommentsCategory: Humor
Tags:, , , , , , ,

They Say Common Cents Is The First Thing To Go

Posted by RickH · November 21st, 2008 · 1 Comment

City Collector Debora Marcoccio of Attleboro, Massachusetts, says, “My question is, how come it wasn’t paid when the (original) bills went out?”

It’s easy to understand why  Marcoccio wants to know: the city spent 42 cents on a stamp to bill a blind woman who “underpaid” her water bill by one penny — let’s not forget the cost of the paper, the envelope, the time someone spent getting it through interoffice mail, or otherwise handling it.

The city would be “fiscally irresponsible” if it decided paid someone to weed through the bills and pull all those below a certain amount out.

My first thought is, “Hasn’t Debora Marcoccio ever heard of a computer?  Computers can be programmed not to print bills when they’re below a certain amount.”  Then I remembered something else Marcoccio said: “A computer automatically prints letters for accounts with an overdue balance….”

So let me see if I’ve got this right, Ms. Marcoccio.  You have a computer that somehow computes whether or not there is an overdue balance.  It therefore probably was programmed so that if the balance is greater than zero on a certain date then a bill should be printed.

How hard would it be to have the computer programmed so that if the balance is greater than zero and less than aCertainAmount, then (and only then) print the bill?

Voilà!  No need to assign anyone to weed through the letters and pull out all those below a certain amount!

→ 1 CommentCategory: Government
Tags:, , , , ,

Proposition 8 & the Sickness of Christianity

Posted by RickH · November 17th, 2008 · 2 Comments

This post grows out of an email exchange with a good friend.  Although he and I differ dramatically in our views relating to religion, he’s still a good friend.  (Heck, my two closest friends both hold rather dramatically different views from those I hold!  One is night to my day on religion; the other is night to my day on politics.  And, yes, I made myself “day” and them “night” on purpose.  I hold different views, but I’m still human enough to think I’m the one who’s right! ;))

The email exchange began when I sent my friend a link to this article about a priest who urges those who voted for Obama to repent and do penance.  In a sense, I was baiting my friend.  The subject line of my email was “Sick people” and the text I wrote said, “There are indeed sick people in the world.  And folks wonder why some of us don’t like religion.”

Note that my original email did not actually say anything like “all Christians are sick.”  My friend read it that way, though.  He wrote a long and interesting explanation for why this wasn’t true.  (And, he is correct.)  Since he believed that I was saying “all Christians are sick,” he ended of his note by admonishing me: “Don’t fall for the bait.”  I responded to that by asking, “Why not?  You did. ;)”  I went on to say,

I have my personal views about religion, but they have very little to do with that priest’s comments and more to do with my own particular beliefs about human psychology and evolution.

Unfortunately, my comment lead my friend to think he’d “done all that writing for nothing.”

But you see, I enjoy a good debate over religion every now and then.  I knew my friend would be drawn in by the original email.  And I do not think his response to me was “for nothing.”

[

→ 2 CommentsCategory: Religion
Tags:, , , , , , , , ,

Should America Try Real Socialism?

Posted by RickH · November 15th, 2008 · 1 Comment

True capitalism does not exist.  Anywhere.  In the Known Universe.  At All.

You think I’m kidding? Name me one place where true capitalism, as a social structure driving the economy of a real country, actually exists.  It just doesn’t.

[

→ 1 CommentCategory: Social Issues
Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blaming Sarah

Posted by RickH · November 7th, 2008 · 2 Comments

During the waning days of the McCain campaign we were introduced to various characters.  There was, famously, “Joe the Plumber.” Later we got “Tito the Builder” and a whole slew of other “Someone the Somethings.”

You’d think that with the election over, we’d be done with that.  But, no, there’s still at least one more:  “Sarah the Stupid.” Post-election, it’s time for Republican hand-wringing and finger-pointing and not a few are now leaking stories about how Stupid Sarah cost Republicans the election.  CNN’s Campbell Brown gives the best reason for understanding how that argument is bogus.

Whether the Republicans now ripping into her campaign ghost are correct or not, what Campbell Brown noted is true.  Those self-same, self-assured, supercilious Republicans are the ones who picked her. They then vehemently defended themselves against charges that she had not been vetted.

Watching the feeding frenzy might lead some to think “Sarah the Sap” or “Sarah the Sucker” are the more appropriate monikers.  Surely she must have known she was not qualified to be (Vice) President of the United States. She was on a roll in Alaska, and if she’d stayed there, she might have had time to mature before diving headfirst (headlong?) into the pool of national politics.

But just as Eva Peron once exhorted Argentinians not to cry for her, so, too, might Sarah justifiably tell Americans not to worry about her.  “I’m gunna be fine,” she might say.

You betcha.

→ 2 CommentsCategory: 2008 Presidential Election
Tags:, , , , , , , , ,


Posted by RickH · November 5th, 2008 · 2 Comments

I should be celebrating today, but I’m feeling a little bummed out.  I guess it’s because, in concert with my wife this morning, I’m finding myself wondering why we (she and me) live where we live. We’re fairly happy that Obama won the election.  She’s ecstatic.  I’m have hopes that the downward slide of the United States Supreme Court will be slowed.

Closer to home, we proved that notwithstanding Obama’s victory, another kind of bigotry is alive and well.

So I thought for today, I’d try to not write too seriously about politics.  Or anything for that matter.  Instead, I give you some insight into me and what I like by posting my answers to one of those — as I call them — Friends & Family Trivial Pursuit emails.

Don’t gorge.  Take it slow and easy.

[

→ 2 CommentsCategory: Personal Life
Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are You Voting for a Myth?

Posted by RickH · November 4th, 2008 · 1 Comment

Robert J. Froelich is Vice Chairman and Chief Investments Strategist of DWS Investments, the U.S. retail brand of Deutsche Bank’s global asset management division.  He said something in a recent interview which I’ve (so far unsuccessfully) tried communicating to many of my “rich” friends.

[

→ 1 CommentCategory: 2008 Presidential Election
Tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Finding Followers on Twitter

Posted by RickH · November 1st, 2008 · 1 Comment

This isn’t something I’d normally write.  Heck, I’m not even close to being an expert on Twitter, having only recently joined.  But a friend asked a question, I wrote an email in response, and then realized two things:

  1. I had used up most of my morning writing time on that email, including doing some “mini” research for it.
  2. Even though I’m no expert, what I said might be useful on the subject of how to find followers on Twitter.

For both the above reasons, I reproduce that email, with appropriate edits and some expansion, here on Unspun™.  For those interested in Twitter, but who don’t care what I have to say on it — why are you here? — there are links at the end of the article you may find more interesting.

[

→ 1 CommentCategory: Media · Technology
Tags:, , , , , ,