Dec 30, 2003

Sport Homelessness

I've been looking at catalogs of camping gear lately. I got the
idea that I would look for the minimum set of equipment and
supplies that would allow one to be comfortable. Of course,
you don't want to be out there and have your equipment fail
so you would want to select the best-of-breed for each item.
Of course.

So let's see... you would want the Gortex Jacket, the titanium
cookware, the polycarbonate water bottle (all the space age
materials!). Then there is the tent, sleeping bag, pad, boots,
microfiber underwear, moisture wicking socks, pack, camp
stove, head light, multi tool, lantern, etc etc...

I started to add up the prices and determined that you would
have to be rich to go out in the woods and be homeless!

That obervation aside I don't want to leave this entry on that
note. Winter is upon us here in Chicago and this time of year
I always wonder how they do it. They being the countless
homeless in the parks and under the viaducts. And they do it
on a long-term basis without any of this equipement.

Dec 26, 2003

The Days are Getting Longer

Earlier cultures were very aware of the passing of the seasons,
the phases of the moon and the angle of the sun in the sky.

They noticed that the sun (which they thought of as a god)
appeared lower in the sky each day as December 21st
approached and they thought of it as "dying". On the 21st
the sun was at it lowest point in the sky and day to day
changes in the sun's position of was barely noticeable.

They thought of the sun as dead.

But after about 3 days or so a small increase in the sun's height
above the horizon was noticeable and the sun, they thought,
was reborn.

Such an interesting story those poor uninformed ancient pagans
had. That is, the idea that their god had died only to rise from
the dead three days later on about December 24th. Yeah, born
again around Christmas. Perhaps parts of the story were
compelling enough to be incorporated in to more "modern"
belief systems?

Dec 9, 2003

More about Wal-Mart

There is so much information on WalMart's bad behavior
that one can really spend a lot of time taking it in. Turns
out there there is more than one web site devoted to this
sort of thing. Here are just a few:

Here is just one little snippet (and this is far from the worst):

In Bloomington, Ill. some 20 Wal-Mart workers, in their
trademark blue vests, invaded a local Kmart store, handing out
leaflets that advertised job openings at a Wal-Mart across town—
including the benefits of working at Wal-Mart. Caught in the act,
Wal-Mart manager Jerry Herrin, who was present during the raid
but claimed to be unaware of the leafleting going on, said that
the visit was a 'routine price check.'

Wal-Mart prohibits competitors from checking prices in its stores.

Nice job whoring for WalMart - Jerry.

Dec 8, 2003

Wal-Mart (including Sam's Club)

A recent Fast Company (magazine) article about WalMart
closes with a mention of the difference between "price"
and "cost". The article is largely about how brutal WalMart
is in forcing their suppliers to deliver product at an ever
lower price. The result is that the supplier often winds
up having the product made overseas - that is if Walmart
doesn't dump the supplier and go overseas for the product

They quote the head of a thread making company who says
of Americans:

We want clean air, clear water, good living conditions, the
best health care in the world - yet we aren't willing to pay
for anything manufactured under those conditions.

I can agree with that but for the most part we Americans, once
lead to the trough, are just unlikely to say no to anything. And,
by far, most Americans are unable to equate the slightly higher
price to a cleaner environment or anything else. They can't be
bothered to think about it. Among those who can, even fewer
act on that knowledge.

I'm amazed at how many people justify owning an SUV by
explaining that it saves them money -- being able to buy that
life-time supply of toilet paper from Sam's Club at "fantastic

Nov 6, 2003

Riddle of Epicurus

The Riddle of Epicurus (c. 341-271 BCE).

Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent.

Is he able, but not willing?
Then he is malevolent.

Is he both able and willing?
Then whence cometh evil?

Is he neither able nor willing?
Then why call him God?


etc. vs. et al

et cetera - and the rest

et al - and others

Sep 5, 2003

How long it should take?

How come if your boss has no idea what he wants, or
how to do it, he still thinks he "knows" exactly how
long it should take?

Aug 12, 2003

Artificially Flavored

I was just sitting around the office lunch room and noticed a co-worker munching on a bag of Jay's Vinegar and Salt flavored potato chips. Then I noticed the big letters...

"Artificially Flavored".

So, they're not even using real salt or vinegar anymore?

Feb 3, 2003

Hello, World!

Welcome to the arbalest blog/blog site/web log.