Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Here's the Story of a Man Named Brady

Today's blog features excerpts from another conversation with MathGuy.

MathGuy: Other than having different brothers and sisters, how would your life have been different if Mike Brady were your dad?

Gleno: A gay guy?

MathGuy: Pretend it's the TV person not the actor. [shakes head]

Glen: I'd say that the tremendous surge in confidence that I finally developed in my middle-late twenties would have developed by the time I was 16. That attribute alone likely would have afforded me far more opportunities to grow and succeed. I was afraid of my own shadow until a few years after I graduated from Norwich.

MathGuy: Interesting. Mike was a clean cut professional, but his sagely advice always seemed to be delivered after the fact. He did not seem to do much pro-active parenting. The kids had a ton of freedom to come and go as they pleased. Carol was a stay at home mom, however they still needed a full time, live in maid. I think Mike and Carol did a good job, Cindy and Bobby, notwithstanding. I would have liked to be in that house. Cousin Oliver would have had to go. But having Davy Jones pop over to sing a song would have been a cool story at school.

Gleno: I know neither of our dads brought our families to either the Grand Canyon or to Hawaii.

MathGuy: Not once.

Gleno: But you raise a very good point. Mike was a reactive parent. It was almost as if he felt he had already done the work of raising his kids, or that they were just naturally well behaved and now he expected them to just "be good." He could always be found sitting at his drafting board working away, waiting to dispense advice. Do you remember that episode when one of the kids came in and said, "I'd like to try something," and he replied, "Ha, You? You're not good enough"? Never happened.

MathGuy: In one episode, a tube containing Mike’s architectural drawings was swapped with a tube containing a poster. Unfortunately, one of the kids left the tube with the drawings on an amusement park ride. Instead of Mike being furious, they rallied the troops and retraced their steps until the problem was solved. Everyone laughed at what almost happened (including the clients that Mike left in the conference room) and they all went out for a milk shake.
Most of my problems wrap themselves up in 30 minutes or less as well.

Gleno: I be happy if my life simply had fewer commercial interruptions.

MathGuy: None of their problems ever carried over to the next week. Mike and Carol really taught them to let the past go. I think they smoked alot of pot.

Gleno: If they did, then maybe we should too. It might help make our lives as simple as theirs.

MathGuy: No matter what any of the kids did, the parents always knew exactly what to do in order to fix the problem and laid out a plan for everyone to follow. They were like combat officers.
"Okay, Greg killed some guy named Kevin. Greg, you go take a shower and burn your clothes and shoes. Get Sam to dig a grave behind the old Hanson place. Marsha and Peter, you wrap the body in plastic and get it to the hole. Bobby, you help Alice clean the crime scene. Jan and Cindy need to organize a talent show that will be so good that everyone will forget Kevin ever existed. Mom and I are going to smoke some crazy weed, and we'll all meet at the malt shop at 7:00."

Gleno: Dude, that's awesome.
How would you and your life be different if your dad had been Mike Brady?

MathGuy: I would likely have thought I was just as good as the next guy, so I would have tried and did things from the time I was 6. I would have been confident and balanced. There's a good chance that I would have been a leader in high school, done well in college and gone off to be successful starting at age 21.

Gleno: Yeah... that's what I feel about me too.

MathGuy: I do not live in the past, but I certainly wish I could do a lot of things over again.

Gleno: In that house, you'd be accustomed to an environment of peace and stability. That place was a garden where good things grew and successes were harvested weekly. It would not be any "big deal" to have formed a life of great success and satisfaction for yourself. That's just what you do naturally.

MathGuy: Second generation professional.

Gleno: Yep.

MathGuy: Sometimes I feel like to much of my life is a cautionary tale. "Hey kids, here's what I shouldn't have done…"

Gleno: Did Mike Brady ever speak those words? No. He did not.

MathGuy: It would have been a nice touch if Mike's brother “Rich” was a drunk. Rich has to flop at the Brady house when his wife Mary kicked him out. Bobby's piggy bank mysteriously disappears, and Jan catches Rich taking a leak in the plants beside the big stairway in the living room. The cops have to drag Rich out of the house and Mike slips into a depression. His job performance slips. They need to let Alice go.
That kind of story line could have kept the show current for decades.
I could write for TV.

Gleno: You are a truly gifted individual.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Good Night, Conan

I just viewed Conan O'Brien's final statements in closing his last The Tonight Show episode. I've always thought Conan did a pretty decent job in his shows, though I can't say I've watched them with any regularity. However, his closing dialog was one of the classiest things I've ever seen on TV.

Give it a listen (or read) here. This link contains the video as well as the transcript. It's worth hearing his delivery in the video if you can view it. This is good stuff.

There Will Be Blood (Superbowl Predictions)

Oh, yes, there will be blood.

Given the enormity of this year's Superbowl game, I thought I might post my prediction for the game. So here it is:

Win, lose, or draw, there is going to be a riot in New Orleans.

Already there have been murmurings of how N'arlins "deserves" to win the Superbowl in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and the destruction that was wrought upon the city. That the good people there are still suffering from the devastation wrought upon them by the storm makes it incumbent upon natural justice to alleviate their suffering by that most glorious of human victories: the Superbowl.

With a victory at the Big Game, the people of New Orleans will have their pride restored, their self-esteem returned, and never again will they be questioned for having built their homes in a flood plain.

Unfortunately, I predict that most of the rebuilding that has occurred since the hurricane will be undone by pseudo-football fans, whether they be jubilant or crestfallen, as they roam the streets of the Big Easy smashing windows, setting fires, and flipping cars.

I burned a Chevy on the levy, but the levy was dry.

Once it was clear that the Patriots had little chance at returning to the Superbowl (a fact that became obvious in week 12 after the Pats had lost to both the Colts and the Saints), I began to root anyone who was not Peyton Manning and the Colts. Heck, I was even a Jets fan there for a while. (Imagine that!) In my estimation, if Peyton Manning wins the Superbowl this year, it moves him up to a level equal to Tom Brady and the Patriots, a reality I'm not quite sure I'm ready to face. But if Peyton fails, as I hope he will, it will forever seal him as the whiny poser that I'd prefer to think of him as.

This being said, I don't see the Saints being up to the task of beating him. Brett Farve and the Vikings, yes, they might have; however, I don't believe the Saints have the weapons they need to stop the Colts. Contrariwise, I believe the Colts defense is quite capable of getting to Drew Brees. (Sadly.)

Thus, though it pains me to say so, I expect a 35 to 28 Indianapolis Colts victory, and yet another painful off-season for me as I murmur the name "Manning" under my breath and dream of yester-years of the Patriot's Dynasty.

Those are my thoughts. I'd love to hear yours.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Score One for the Good Guys

For the first time in my life, my vote in a Massachusetts Senatorial race actually mattered. I'm stunned. Stunned. Since 1972, the Commonwealth has sent nothing but Democrats, liberal, radical left-wing Democrats, to the US Senate. Today, I feel like I was just released from prison.

Last September, after Ted Kennedy so graciously removed himself from the political scene, a small gaggle of Democrats lined up like lemmings all declaring themselves to be just like Teddy and all fumbling over themselves trying to be the furthest to the left.

"I'm the most liberal!"

"No! Me! I'm the most liberal!"

"I voted to implement a tax on the taxes that companies pay!"

"Well, I voted to have the Federal Government take over all sectors of the economy!"

"I voted to fund abortions for homosexual whales -- beat that!"

For over 40 years (47 years in the case of Ted Kennedy), the Democrats have behaved as though they were entitled to the Senate seats here in Massachusetts. And with each term, they strived to pull the country further and further into socialism. It took Scott Brown to make people realize, it's not "Ted Kennedy's seat, it's the people's seat."

Allow me to quote, from the Washington Post:

Coakley's fundraising abilities also ensures that she will be able to overwhelm Brown in the final weeks of the campaign as both candidates seek to drive their message home to voters... Coakley is expected to exploit her financial advantage by going on television this week, an ad campaign but almost certain to overwhelm the meager money that Brown is putting behind his own commercials... The second major reason not to believe that Coakley is in any real danger of losing is the overwhelmingly Democratic nature of the Bay State. Barring some sort of unforeseen -- and major -- event, Coakley will win this race.

Wash those words down with a live toad, Chris Cillizza. (

In other words, "Don't mind them, they're just conservatives. No need to take them seriously." Sickening. Which makes last night's Republican victory all the sweeter. For my entire life I've had to live with the embarrassment and aggravation that came with having a fat, drunken, murderer as my senior Senator. Now at long last, I feel as though we've driven a stake through Ted Kennedy's heart and stuffed his mouth full of holy wafers.

I fully expect that this is a bell-weather of things to come. Around the country, people are going to sit up and realize that while the Bush-Cheney era was a disaster, the knee-jerk answer of em brassing Socialism is far worse.

Now, if we can just find some true conservatives who are willing to stand up and put their hands to the plow...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Massachusetts Voters Deliver a Message to Obama

Republican Scott Brown - 52%
Democrat Martha Coakley - 47%

The Triumph of Politics

Today is sort of cold, sort of snowing, and very politicky.

Like the weather, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is trying to decide what it wants to do with itself. Do we want to elect the heir apparent to Sen. Ted Kennedy, our present Attorney General Martha Coakley, or will we choose the Republican candidate, State Senator Scott Brown?

This race has been watched carefully across the country for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the enormous message it sends to the White House as a tell-tale sign that the country does not support President Obama's health care plan and other enormous spending programs. In a state in which a Republican has not won a US Senate seat since 1972, Scott Brown's enormous surge in the polls has spelled out a very clear message to the Democrats that a great many people think, "You're doing it wrong."

After Martha Coakley became the front runner in the Democratic primary, debate about the campaign more or less fell out of the news. Both the public, and certainly she, assumed that this was a done deal. A "walk through" as it's been called. In Massachusetts, the Democrat party owns elections. The actual vote is something of a perfunctory technicality that passes without much note.

But not this time. This time, people seem to have something to say. I know I certainly do.

On behalf of the millions of voters here in the People's Republik of Massachusetts, I'd like to offer the following:

  • We do not want a "public option." The Federal Government has no place whatsoever in competing against private companies in any sector of our economy, let alone one as important and gigantic as health care and health care insurance. If you want to run an industry as a politician, go run for office in France.

  • We are sick to death of your "bailouts". Handing over our money to enormous companies as a reward for failure only prolongs the inevitable and drains money from the places where it should be used to repair our economy -- in new, agile, competitive, smaller, entrepreneurial companies.

  • The vast array of pork-barrel spending that the White House pretends is going to solve our economic woes is serving only to mire us deeper and deeper into this depression. Jobs are not being created. No government program has ever created a job. Jobs are created by companies and companies can best work when the government keeps its hands off.

  • Martha Coakley's expressions of concern for women's "right to choose" aside, abortion is still murder. Moreover, the notion that you are going to force me and millions of others to pay for your elective surgery, your elective murder, is patently offensive. There isn't a single other elective surgical procedure (at least that I know of) that can be paid for with public funds. Where do you get off suggesting one as abhorrent and hotly debated as abortion should be paid for in such a way? You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Martha Coakley.

The future is quite clear to every thinking person today. If we continue on the path we are on, taxing and spending and feeding an ever-increasing culture of entitlement, we are only a decade or two away from complete collapse as a country. The US dollar will be devalued, foreign countries that are currently buying up our debt will cease doing so, and we will not have the ability to even pay the interest on the debt we've rung up. Things need to change, and they need to change fast.

I'm voting for Scott Brown. I'm doing so, not because I am a Republican. I am no longer a Republican. Frankly, the Republican party disgusts me. George Bush & Co. had a mandate and eight years to do something great for this country and they completely dropped the ball. They accomplished next to nothing that helped this country and have caused a great deal of harm. The backlash to the Bush presidency is what helped bring on this Socialist regime of Barak Obama.

Scott Brown's election doesn't fix a thing in this country. It's merely one small step toward stopping the damage. But it's an important step that needs to be taken.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

"Who Gave the Gun to the Baby?"

This was a triumph.

I've just returned to the office from two days of Adobe PhotoShop class and -- damn -- this is one powerful and fun application. I've learned a lot of software in my time as an IT geek, but Adobe PhotoShop by far allows me to cause the most damage. Already, three people have looked at my "work" then looked at me and said, "You're dangerous."

The picture above was something I slapped together very quickly, but achieved some great laughs around the office. That gentleman under the cow there is Nick. Nick's one of our help desk guys. When he posed for this picture, he was working on a rack mounted switch in our server room. Though he's not afraid of a little hard work, I think he was a bit surprised at the visual job reclassification to which he has been subjected.

My boss is already cringing to think of what picture he might end up in. Heck, a few months ago he hung his head at the graphical transformation I put him through using nothing but MS Paint. (In four sequential panels, I morphed him into Billy Joe Armstrong from Green Day. It really didn't take much, the two of them pass as brothers.) I'm already pondering what embarrassments to subject him to with this new weapon in my arsenal.

It's astonishing how far we've come in the realm of computer graphics. The movie Avatar is a great example of the blending of real life with computer animation to a degree where it's obvious that very shortly we won't be able to tell the difference between the two. We've seen commercials where long deceased actors have been "Shopped" in to appear as though they had returned from retirement to make a cameo appearance in the ads. How long will it be before the highest paid "actors" in Hollywood don't even exist in real life?

And will the government some day create fictional news stories that they disseminate with video "proof"?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

History of the Internet

While the earth's crust was still cooling, back in the age when 8-track players still roamed the earth, and omniverous mammals known as "children" scavaged convenient stores for something known as penny candy, the Intertubes were in their infancy. Rising from the muck and mire of cathode ray tubes and oscilliscopes, the Intertubes were created by Al Gore at ARPA.

Over the next 30 years, the Intertubes mutated, grew, and evolved. Escaping the laboratories and universities where their first seeds sprouted, they grew virtually unchecked, spanned out, invasively, leaving no pooter untouched.
It was in the early parts of 1994, some 400 million years ago, that I first became aware of, and then plugged into, the Intertubes. At that time the Tubes were much smaller than they were now. The packets and frames moved more slowly, cumbersomely meandering their way from DTE to DCE and depositing their precious cargo onto your desk with a primal croak of "You've Got Mail."

As the Tubes grew and expanded, other species awaited extinction. Prodigy and AOL. Compuserve and a hundred thousand bulletin boards. All of these were swallowed up or, perhaps, sucked into the Tubes and amalgamated. Resistance was futile; you would be assimilated. Sooner or later, all your base are belong to us.

And then the Interweb gawdz spoke, and the meme was created. And it was good. And the gawdz LOL'ed. The makers thereof were leet and the Mario Brothers ruled the earth. And they brought forth LOLcats, and Badger, badger, badger, badger (A snake! A snake!) and the dramatic chipmunk, who was really a prairie dog.

But the Tubes grew full, and sluggish. And there came crackers and l33t haxz0rz, and this wasn't so good. Then there was an Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny. And there was much ROFLstomping and pwnage and thus, the MMORPG and was born. And this was the LOLz so that the baby and the hampsters danced. These were Goodtimes and this is Sparta.

And then came forth mighty warriors such as Leeroy Jenkins but he was Rickrolled before he can haz cheezeburger. But at least he has chicken. And there came ninjas and pirates and sharks with lasers. But none of these were so powerful as Chuck Norris who came forth with round-house kicks and fists in his beard. And the people rejoiced even though he never cried (which was probably because he never watched the two girls.)

And so today, the ubiquitous Intertubes are ubiquitous. It is in yur howse bringing you memes. "O Rly?" You say? Ya Rly.