Friday, April 23, 2010

Obviously a fundemental misunderstanding of the term "regulatory watch dogs"

Okay, the whole thing about the guys at the SEC who were under investigation because they were watching internet porn at the office. While Rome was burning, they were fiddling.

Honestly, I don’t have an opinion on porn, as such. Whatever creams your coffee. If that is how you chose to spend your time, up to you.

My issue is that if it’s at work, that is not “your” time. Your employer bought that time from you. And of all the non-productive things you could be doing, porn has got to be at the top of the pile. Not only are you eating up bandwidth, you’re making the poor IT guys go through all the logs of you pinging off of blocked sites and updating the firewalls. Plus, your door is closed, so you have no idea what’s going on around you (obviously). Even if it was fantasy football, you could theoretically have called it “team building” since you would have been yakking about it with you buddies. Not so much water cooler conversation about what you just saw on

And since it was at the SEC, it’s just that much more irritating. You know. In the last ten years. When somebody might have been up in the crow’s nest so that they could yell, “Captain, iceberg!” You’d think after, oh, say, Enron, they might have thought to themselves, “Mmmm. Maybe I should be paying more attention. I might should up my game.” Perhaps. Perhaps. Derivatives. Sub-prime. Any of this ringing bells? My IRA in the crapper. Stop me when I get to something that sounds familiar.

But, no. Apparently these guys had too much time on their hands (and hopefully that’s all they had on their hands. Ick). So instead of cracking open a 10K, or brushing up on their regulations, they were figuring out ways to go around the firewall. Brilliant. Heck of a job.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Maybe I oughta re-think this whole agnostic thing. An animal that produces my two favorite things - bacon and yarn. Maybe there is a god.

That'll do, pig.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Something with a little bite (that doesn't involve vampires)

I’ve seen a lot of criticism of the new movie Kick-Ass for being violent and/or dirty-mouthed. Okay. If it’s your thing, it’s your thing. If it’s not, it’s not. What I’m having a little trouble with is that it seems to be marketed to teens and the teenaged at heart. And it has an R rating. So basically, a large chunk of the target audience will either have to ask their parent’s permission to see it (and aren’t most parents supposed to object to this sort of thing?), or they’ll have to break the rules. It’s kind of the Joe Camel of movies.

It’s that weird intersection. Adults who aren’t ready to grow up and teens who are growing up too fast. And movies like this are really the McDonald’s of brain food. Quick, delicious and (I’m guessing) no nutritional value. Then again, so’s the whole Twilight franchise.

In the last 10 years, young adult fiction has come so far. There are great books out there for teenagers. And the not so young. I love YA books. Generally, they have less elaborate plotting, and tend to rely less on $20 words. But, many stand up on a literary basis to books written for adults, and they deal with tough social issues that some adult lit doesn’t even touch. J.K. Rowling is the cross-over sensation, along with Stephanie Myers. But Libba Bray, Scott Westerfield, Holly Black and Eoin Colfer, among many others, are writing some really good stuff aimed at teens. And adult authors like James Patterson, Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Chabon have all released books in the YA field. This is not dumbed-down fiction. It’s good fiction written for a young audience. If you haven’t read YA since Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret, you would be stunned. If you need a good beach read this summer, check out the YA section.

But movies haven’t made a similar jump. There is no movie that is as serious and relevant for teenagers the way a book like The Wintergirls is. Which, frankly, sucks. And the ones that have crossed over, Harry Potter and Twilight, aren’t even the best of what’s out there (sorry, Muggles and Twi-hards). The kids got the fuzzy end of the lollipop on this one. Is it any wonder that the serious adult movie is dying when we never give young adults something to teethe on?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Oooooh, the humanity!

I don’t know. What should we call it? The Great Tortilla Disaster? A Corntastrophe? The Masa Massacre?

I obviously way overestimated my facility with tortilla making. It was arrogance, pure and simple. And an arrogance punished with a near Calvinist fervor. Spanked. Just spanked.

And I thought I was doing so well. I was just mixing the masa with water. Simple proportions, a little more liquid than flour. Typical flatbread ratios. Nada problem. I’m kneading like I know what I’m doing. It’s all looking good. And I’m chuckling to myself about the wizardry of my skills. I pull out a walnut sized wodge of dough and shape it into a little fat disc and slap on the tortilla press between two pieces freezer bag – whap-ah! A perfect, beautiful round of bliss.

That won’t come off the damn plastic. I mean, just won’t come off. I finally have to scrape it back into the bowl, this thing that’s is supposed to just peel right off. Right. Sure. I figure it’s humid, so I add a little more masa to the mixture and need it again. Again it sticks like Bombshell McGee to another woman’s husband. Right. New plan. I switch to waxed paper. I come up with a vaguely Virgin Mary shaped tortilla, and slap it on the skillet. It’s not browning. It’s burning. I flip it quick, and try to save it. It was just one big mess. And it was all downhill from there. Uglier and uglier horrortillas. Luckily, most of the words I know in Spanish are bad words – and I used them all.

Okay. Fiasco. I’m fine with that. But I’m unbowed. I will not be beaten by the tortilla. I will master this skill, if I have to poison every one of my friends with bad tortillas to do it. I WILL make a good tortilla, just like mamacita used to make. MARK MY WORDS! You will be mine, tortilla! Oh, yes. You will me mine.

TIME: Quotes of the Day