Musical Coffee Shop Chairs

I find it amazing that everyone appears to have a favorite seat at coffee shops. This afternoon, I took a small table with a lone blue metal folding chair. I bypassed the blue chair. Instead, I got permission from a man at the next table to take a well worn but small, comfortable high back chair. Immediately after I sat down, but before I could get out my computer, another man came for that metal folding chair. He chose that blue chair over other closer empty chairs. And in the background, others swapped out the inferior (in their minds) for more desirable chairs.

My next move will be to claim the table from the man who let me take this chair. I think his chair is more comfortable, too. 😉

Football National Champions: Utah

The University of Utah football team is the national champion of the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision, the top level in college football, regardless of the outcome of tonight’s football game between the University of Florida and the University of Oklahoma. As the only undefeated team in the major conferences it is clear that Utah is the only team that can rightfully call themselves national champions.

No. 7 Utah beats No. 4 Alabama 31-17 in Sugar Bowl – College Football –
Brian Johnson and seventh-ranked Utah came down from the mountains to SEC country and established themselves as the best of the BCS busters, finishing 13-0 with a convincing 31-17 win over No. 4 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl on Friday night.

Yet, after winning the Mountain West Conference, the Utes were left out of the BCS national championship game in favor of perennial powers Florida and Oklahoma, even though both have one loss.

There is no reason to watch tonight’s game, except to take in another meaningless football game. So like many others across the nation, I’ll not bother to turn on the television because there is nothing at stake and my team (USC Trojans) is not playing. Oh, that and I really am boycotting college football as I said I would last year.

Time for a playoff. What other sport in the World crowns a champion with an arbitrary selection by people and computers without a head-to-head matchup? It doesnâ??t happen. Even boxing, fixed as it is, has head-to-head matchups.

Unfortunately, there are no financial incentives to change how things are. That is, until fans provide them. So I’m calling for a fan boycott. Yes, a fan boycott (again).

Boycott: How it will work

  • Refuse to purchase any memorabilia or merchandise that has a logo of any college that participates in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (list here). Also refuse to purchase any tickets to football games, including bowl games. I will not buy any more Trojan Gear until a playoff is installed. The ultimate decision is up to the school presidents of the big six leagues.
  • Contact companies that sponsor your football team, the league they compete in, and the bowl games to declare your opposition to the bowl system and
  • Target one specific company: FedEx
    • Contact its Customer Care (1-800-GoFedEx | 1-800-463-3339) and lodge your dissatisfaction with its sponsoring the Title Game and request it pressure the NCAA to form a football playoff it sponsors instead.
    • Companies are very concerned about image and a few thousand calls regarding its sponsorship will make it take notice.
    • As a last resort, if you want to go this far, is to switch your business.
  • Refuse to watch the games. If anyone has power to convince schools, it is the TV networks that paid beaucoup bucks to broadcast the games. They depend on advertising revenue based on the number of “eyeballs” watching the broadcast. If those “eyeballs” were to not show up …

Until a playoff is installed, I’ll just divert more attention to studying and soccer (a.k.a. futbol).

Do they mean NASDAQ is a Ponzi scheme?

I’m wondering how quickly it will take the Onion to write an almost-too-real article about the NASDAQ ponzi scheme and how Madoff pronounces his name as Made-Off. Unfortunately, this whole financial mess is starting to make all stock and other securities markets resemble gigantic ponzi schemes.

Not just super rich caught up in $50B Madoff case: Financial News – Yahoo Finance.

Around the world, investors who sunk cash into veteran Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff’s investment pool spent the weekend calculating how much exposure they might have. The 70-year-old Madoff, well respected in the investment community after serving as chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market, was arrested Thursday in what prosecutors say was a $50 billion scheme to defraud investors.

One thing was clear in the fallout from his arrest: The alleged victims span from the super rich, to pensioners and powerful financial institutions, to local charities. Some investors claim they’ve been wiped out, while others are still likely to come forward.

Total tax revenue | The Economist

I found this bit from the Economist interesting.

Total tax revenue | The Economist.

Tax revenues have risen as a share of GDP across the OECD over the past 30 years. In 2007 Denmarkâ??s government collected nearly half its GDP as taxes, making it the most heavily taxed among all the rich countries. … France, Norway and Italy also have tax revenues of more than 40% of GDP. At the other end of the spectrum, America and South Korea are relatively lightly taxed, with ratios of under 30%

Regardless of who wins the White House tomorrow, we will all pay higher taxes. How else can we afford two wars, bail outs, the Bush tax cuts, and everything under the sun politicians in all levels of government decide on to satisfy their/our fancies.

I should note that the national debt has risen $500 billion dollars since October 2 when it hit $10 trillion. Today, total outstanding public debt is at: $10,574,094,462,968.23.

I.B.M. loses its apples

I.B.M. Sues to Block Executiveâ??s Move to Apple –

SAN FRANCISCO â?? I.B.M. sued one of its top executives on Thursday in an attempt to prevent him from taking a position at Apple.

The company said that the executive, Mark Papermaster, who until last week had been manager in charge of the companyâ??s blade server business, had signed a noncompete agreement with I.B.M. that would prevent him from accepting a job with a competitor until one year after leaving I.B.M.

From the article, it sounds like nothing more than posturing because I.B.M. does not have a leg to stand on if Mr. Papermaster works in California for Apple.

The California Supreme Court, this summer, affirmed longstanding public policy in the state not to allow such non-compete agreements.

“[I]n 1872 California settled public policy in favor of open competition, and rejected the common law â??rule of reasonableness,â? when the Legislature enacted the Civil Code. … Today in California, covenants not to compete are void, subject to several exceptions discussed briefly below. … Also, Noncompetition agreements are invalid under section 16600 in California even if narrowly drawn, unless they fall within the applicable statutory exceptions of sections 16601, 16602, or 16602.5.” Edwards v. Arthur Andersen LLP, 44 Cal.4th 937, 945, 189 P.3d 285,288 (2008) (emphasis added).

Those exceptions are: (1) 16601 – with regard to selling a business (does not sound like he sold a business);16602 – with regard to a partnership (does not sound like he held a partnership with I.B.M.); and 16602.5 – applies to members of an limited liability company (L.L.C.).

I wonder if this is just a shot across the bow to make sure Apple is careful not to use any trade secret info its new employee might have gotten from I.B.M.

Video: War propaganda

Old war propaganda is entertainment. It appears old tax propaganda can be just as entertaining.  “Taxes to beat the Axis! … Taxes to bury the Axis! … Taxes to sink the Axis!” Too bad our current wars are far from deserving of this sort of wide support and our current government does not care to collect enough to pay for the wars.

Some of the scenes remind me of Detroit Industry, a mural by Diego Rivera at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

airplanes - Rivera Court

a machine in motion - Rivera Court

keys in the trunk

Have you ever done this?

1) locked your keys in the trunk?

2) locked your keys in the trunk twice?

3) locked your keys in the trunk of two different cars on the same day?

Well, I fall into the last camp. How, I don’t know. But I did. I locked my keys in the trunk of my car this morning when getting something out. I then locked my keys in the trunk of my wife’s car when I got to work. This was the first time I’ve locked keys in the car in about 18 years so it all evens out in the end.

Even then, my day wasn’t half bad. A munchkin visited me at work (he enjoyed the visit), I had steelhead (nice dark pink, too), and wasn’t tired for class (tax policy will be an excellent class this semester).

lost and found

We noticed these flyers a block apart while walking downtown yesterday. I know the bay area is likely just a little out of the norm; whether these flyers makes it more or less normal is left to be determined.

Lost: Tortoise

Found: Duck

If only the flyer regarding the duck was in regard to a rabbit. But then again that would be a truly hare-ey situation. 😉