I know I sure as hell am. See you there.
Yeah you heard me.
The editors of the Journal apparently think the outcome of the referendum in Venezuela reflects the sorry state of Venezuelan democracy. Right. When the guy who’s in power cares more about the plight of the impoverished masses than about the oligarchy, and the oligarchy can’t get rid of him, then that isn’t democracy. Thank you George Orwell.
Two little anecdotes illustrate the point of our title.
I’m at work and one of the geeks and I are playing around with a Dell laptop running Mandrake Linux 10 and trying to get its display output to a VGA projector. This should be trivial, but it wasn’t. I readily acknowledge that I don’t know shit about laptops and this guy does. But as he’s struggling and fumbling around for minutes after minute, I say, hey maybe it wants to be rebooted. No, he says, that’s not it. More minutes go by before he tries rebooting. Bingo.
A client for whom I do web development emails me a spreadsheet in which there is a column of numbers that is supposed to match id numbers in a database table. I start fooling with the sorting and unwittingly commit the most bone-headed mistake any fool who knows spreadsheets knows not to do: I highlight a column and say “sort..,” and when the dialogue pops up and prompts me to “widen the selection” I say, “bah, I know what I’m doing” and bypass it, and fail to notice that it sorted only the values in that column and left the rest untouched. Being a database guy used to saying “select * from some_table order by foo,” I suppose I just expect all the data fields in a row to stay together. But no excuses — I continue to examine this spreadsheet, see the ids have apparently been randomly re-assigned, and start mentally accusing the clueless ones of somehow screwing something up, and proceed to waste numerous minutes of their time with emails trying to encourage them to get it right, because they don’t know shit, and I do. Uh huh.
I finally, finally gave in a few weeks ago and got a mobile phone. I held out as long as I could on the grounds that (1) I was a contumaciously independent-minded eccentric who disdained herd mentality consumerism, and (2) I didn’t really need one.
But I guess I said WTF and joined the herd. And right away I learned something interesting: getting a mobile phone does not automatically make you more popular! Especially when you don’t tell anyone your number. And here I was expecting the cute sexy little device to be ringing off the… hook?
Whatever, if you’ll pardon the expression.
The 30 year anniversary of old Trickie Dick’s resignation got me thinking about this. Politicians and hotshot corporate executives just don’t know how to resign in this country any more. Oh sure you still get some resignations, like Governor what’s-its up in Connecticut who recently threw in the towel, at long last, when there was an angry mob circling his house with torches and clubs. For the most part the art of resigning is practiced more in Europe and in Japan nowadays. People in the USA, in general, just don’t seem to know when to say, “ok, I fucked up, give me an hour to clean out my desk and I’m gone.”
Nixon held on as long as he could, too long no doubt. But let’s remember — guys were dropping like flies all through the Watergate scandal, mostly resigning in disgrace, some in protest. Not like these arrogant, shameless shits you have in DC nowadays, like Rumsfeld, you should have hit the road long ago over the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal.