Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The 99 percent...

This picture appeared on the Occupy Wall Street website along with many other, similarly presented tales of woe and I don't doubt that this young citizen posed for this with the very sincere intention of telling his story and showing his solidarity with America's downtrodden.  But, in reading his little bio-in-Sharpie, I am forced to conclude that this is nothing more than the pathetic - and really embarrassing - admission of a failed life.

I will assume, Mr. Ex-Printer Repairman, that you are not so morbidly stupid as to have paid 87 Large to be trained as a printer repairman.  Under that assumption, you obviously borrowed eighty-seven thousand dollars to get a degree in something that did not make you employable when you graduated.  One can only wonder what your degree is in, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter.  At your age, I borrowed $36K to buy a house and it scared the crap out of me, but I recognized that I would end up with a house.  Did you know what you would end up with after your $87K expenditure?  Did you have a plan beyond spending four years on an all-expenses-paid bong binge?  Did you have an inkling of what the job market was for the skill you had chosen to train yourself in?  Or were you just fucking clueless on the concept of "borrowing"?  Whatever.  You took $87,000 of someone's money and now they want it back.  Welcome to the real world.  Be grateful you didn't borrow from someone who ties delinquents to some cinder blocks and tosses them in the East River.

Listen, broheim, I've been unemployed twice in my life and also underemployed for something like 3 years, although admittedly not underemployed-squared as your toilet cleaning job would seem to be, and it sucks.  Totally sucks.  Suckity-suck-suck-sucks.  I could even argue, with some legitimacy, that my unemployment was not my fault and the result of dark forces at work, incompetent corporate overlords, yadda, yadda, yadda.  However, for all that, it never even crossed my mind that anyone should be involved in fixing my problem except me.

I'll leave you with two thoughts, Mr. Ex-Printer Repairman:

  1. The real unfortunates in your Sharpie bio are your cats.  Unlike you, they didn't get to pick the loser life they now have.
  2. Capitalism has been much, much better to me than the government ever was.  Food for thought as you have your hand out for some of the alleged "Obama stash."

CORRECTION:  On closer examination, it would appear that, contrary to using a Sharpie as I stated, Mr. Ex-Printer Repairman used the mad skillz he picked up as a printer repairman and actually printed his bio.  Apparently, mom's basement is fully wired.  However, he did print it using Comic Sans font, which further highlights what a loser he is.

    Saturday, October 8, 2011

    A geek's tale...

    Nobel Prizes are all in the news right now, so here's a Nobel Prize story:

    In 1922, Niels Bohr was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics for his work on the structure of the atom.  Bohr’s model, where an atom is represented as a micro-solar system with electrons orbiting a central nucleus, is the one most people are familiar with.  Unlike some recent Nobel Peace Prize awards, Bohr’s Nobel Prize was well-deserved and made him quite a celebrity in his native much so that the Danish Academy offered Bohr lifetime free occupancy in the Danish House of Honor.
    The Danish House of Honor was originally the palatial estate of the founder of the Carlsberg Brewery, Jacob Christian Jacobson.  When he died, Jacob left his entire estate, including the brewery, to the charitable Carlsberg Foundation.  The Foundation turned Jacob’s house into the so-called Danish House of Honor, occupancy of which was reserved for Denmark’s most distinguished citizen, and was considered to be the most prestigious address in the country, outside of the king’s palace.  An invitation to live in the House of Honor was considered a very significant honor and Bohr's being awarded lifetime occupancy is indicative of his celebrity at the time.  The House of Honor was located immediately adjacent to the Carlsberg brewery and one of its many perks was a hard-plumbed line to the brewery that provided an infinite supply of fresh-from-the-brewery beer.  Sweet.

    Bohr’s tenure in the House of Honor was interrupted by the Nazi invasion of Denmark in 1940.  Although the American Embassy had guaranteed the Bohr's safe passage to the United States, Bohr decided to stay to help insure the safety of the Jewish scientists on his institute’s staff.  He also found himself in a minor dilemna - and this is the "geek" part of the story:  Max von Laue and James Franck had given him their gold Nobel Prize medals for safekeeping.  However, with the Nazi occupation, sending them out of the country was impossible as exporting gold was illegal and, since each laureate’s name is prominently engraved on the medal, could not be done without incriminating von Laue and Franck, who were both still in Germany at the time.  Keeping them was also dangerous as the Nazis, who were desperate for hard currency to finance their war effort, would confiscate them for the value of their gold if they were discovered.  Bohr came up with a physicist’s solution, in a very literal sense, to the problem.  He dissolved the medals in acid and stored the solutions in unmarked jars on his laboratory shelves.  These jars sat out the war unmolested and, afterwards, the Nobel Foundation recovered the gold and recast the medals.
    Side note:  I don't doubt that some might claim that Bohr actually came up with a chemist's solution to his dilemma, but physicists have always claimed that chemistry was nothing more than the smelly part of physics.
    Another side note:  Bohr remained in Denmark until 1943 when it was learned that the Nazis were about to start rounding up Jews (Bohr's mother was Jewish).  Bohr's international celebrity was such that he was able to travel to Stockholm where he convinced the Swedish government to agree to intern any Danish Jews that made their way to Sweden.  The Swedish government also sent a formal letter of protest to the Nazis, which was made public.  The publication of the letter had the effect Bohr desired; the Danes were alerted to the imminent danger to their countrymen and when the Nazis began their round-up, there were no Jews to be found.  The Danes, to their eternal credit, had hidden their Jewish citizens away and began to smuggle them into Sweden.  Of the 7,000 Jews living in Denmark at that time, only 284 were picked up by the Nazis.

    Monday, October 3, 2011

    Following up on: Bad vacation choices

    This just in:  An elderly French woman, reportedly confined to a wheelchair, was abducted by gunmen from yet another Kenyan luxury resort located near the Somali border.  Once again, I'm left to wonder what part of "near the border of Somalia" is confusing people.

    and an interesting bit of trivia:  Recent Iranian prison dweller nee' free-spirited hiker, Shane Bauer has a degree in "Peace and Conflict Studies" from the University of California at Berkeley.  There's all kinds of things I could say about this information, but why bother?  The jokes just write themselves...