Schlock Steve

LiveJournal Suicide

So my first LiveJournal post in a very, very long time is prompted by what seems to be an attempt at suicide by... LiveJournal.  Frankly, it was on life support already, but I think this has put the nail in the coffin.  I just logged in to LJ, as I do daily, to read my friends' list and see what was up, when I was faced with a new LJ interface.  Upon switching to this interface I discovered the following:

  1. I can't figure out how to actually view my friends' list!  I did eventually manage to find it by going to my own LJ blog and clicking on the "friends' page" link that still exists at the top of that page (in little tiny type) but that *can't* be the way they intend this system to work.

  2. The friends' list is now presented in such a way that I'm scrolling waaaayyyyy down the page to see what's new, and the separations between posts are not as visually obvious as they used to be.

  3. The main menu is incoherent, and there are a whole bunch of sub-selections under "My Blog" that I have no understanding of, and which don't sound interesting enough for me to take the time to figure them out.

  4. The new posting page has controls all over the place, several unintuitive selections, and doesn't follow a consistent visual flow.  It's overly large and clunky, and the spell checker doesn't like the word 'unintuitive'.

LJ, I knew you were on the way out, but did you have to jump onto a greased off-ramp?
Schlock Steve

Tax Policy

I was recently reading a set of comments on Facebook in regards to the "super-rich"  "big business" paying their "fair share" of taxes.  Usually I let such things roll by without comment, but in this case I was feeling particularly pedantic and annoyed by the use of fuzzy terms, so I wrote a response.  I am also posting that response here.

Two observations - first, why doesn't anyone in there discussions ever define "fair"? I expect everyone has pretty diverse opinions on just what fair means. In terms of the income tax, in 2008 the top 1% of wage earners paid about 38% of all income taxes and earned about 20% of all income. In other words, they paid approximately double the "average" income tax payment. (And that is an actual paid amount, not a doubled tax rate.) Further, in 2007 the wealthiest 1% held 34.6 of all wealth. So how much of a higher percentage of their income should the "super-rich" pay? 50%? 75%? We tried 91% until the Kennedy administration, when he cut the highest rate substantially to 70% (as well as cutting other rates) and we saw tax revenues go up for the next for years. So certainly, the rich *could* pay more, but at what point do they stop being people and start becoming turnips to be squeezed by the public for monetary juices?

Second observation - corporate taxes. It is a common misconception that corporations pay taxes. While they transfer money to the government in the form of something we call "corporate income tax", that money actually comes from their customers. It doesn't come from the owners and/or shareholders, because their return is set by economic conditions and if it is "cut" to much by income taxes their money moves to another corporation that does better, either here or overseas. No, a company gets the money to pay taxes by raising prices on customer and consumers. So rather than sheltering low income people from taxes, the corporate income tax actually (and regressively!) adds to their tax burden because purchasing the necessities of life consume a proportionally higher percentage of their total incomes.

  • Current Music
    Daughtry - What About Now
Schlock Steve


Why not a little silliness?  Ran across these and giggled my way out of the room.  They are particularly appropo for some of my friends...

Take this, Rose and Lynda!


Says "Will Build Thermonuclear Weapons for Food".

And just so I'm not accussed of stealing without billing, both of these saying (and many others) can be found on T-Shirts at Instant Attitudes.
Schlock Steve

100 Best SF and Fantasy of All Time

NPR did a survey and came up with what they consider the 100 greatest Science Fiction and Fantasy books of all time.  "Books" is used loosely, as several short story collections and some graphic novels are included, but I shant quibble about that.  Overall, it's an interesting list, though there are definitely some entries that sparked a "WTF!" from me.  (Chief among which are 12, 50, 54, 73 and 99.  Especially 99!)   And 92 just elicited a "who?"  Definitely a good set of volumes over many decades though, not too heavy on recent books, which is often a problem with these kinds of lists. 

I have read a lot of the first half, much less of the second.  That's not surprising, as my reading preferences fall into certainly particular (though wide-ranging) styles. 

So what do YOU think about #92?

  • Current Music
    Evanescence - Imaginery
Schlock Steve

Quote of the Day 08/09/11

Today's quote is one of my all time favorites, and one that I see the wisdom of time and time again, particularly in the business world.

"Don't make the perfect the enemy of the good." -- Morton C. Blackwell, "The Laws of the Public Policy Process"

Also, and on a completely different note, did anyone notice that yesterday was Dead Man's Hand Day?  The date was 8-8-11, and, as everyone knows, the poker hand that Wild Bill Hickok had when he was shot dead was "aces and eights".  For more info, see the (surprisingly long) Wikipedia entry.

Dead Man's Hand
Schlock Steve

Quote of the day 08/07/11

The triumphant return of the Quote of the Day!  Back now for only a limited engagement!  Act now because supplies will soon run out!

As it happens, I've collected enough additional quotes to bring this back for awhile.  Enjoy while you can.

"In the absence of clearly defined goals, we become strangely loyal to performing daily acts of trivia." -- Author unknown
Schlock Steve

You wouldn't believe it

Coming next year to a theatre near you...

Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter

"President Lincoln's mother is killed by a supernatural creature, which fuels his passion to crush vampires and their slave-owning helpers."

No, I'm NOT kidding.  Who's up for it?  (Yeah Doug, don't even both to raise your hand, I've counted you already. :) )

  • Current Mood
    amused amused
Schlock Steve

As time goes by

New Year's is as good as excuse as any to think about life, and what is happening in it.  I have had a most eventful year, starting with the first few months of recovery from a heart attack and an engagement, peaking with my marriage in July, then a new job in October, and finally serious preparations to sell my house and move Heather and I into a place of our own.  It has been a very stressful year, as had the last one, and that has been continuing to take its toll on me, even as I try to come to terms with it.  I have come to realize that while I've always known that I have a low stress tolerance, I didn't know just how many things in my life I have been doing that minimize the amount of stress that my environments throws at me.  With the marriage, new job, house hunting, and the two step-Malamutes, I find that I can no longer realistically control the amount of change and stress in my life, and it has been *very* difficult learning to deal with that.  I don't know if I can say I've made more than the smallest beginnings at it.

And yet... I've always said that everything in life has it's price.  In fact, I've always been amazingly mistrustful of things that come freely or too easily, because my experience has been that nothing of value is free.  In a strange way, the difficulties and stress of this new marriage validate the worth of it.  That may be somewhat problematic, but it is the way I look at things.  Yes, I'm going to have to move, and give up much that it is familiar and comfortable to me.  I'm going to have to live the the responsibilities and unpredictable issues of pet ownership.  I'm going to have to adjust to having someone else have a voice in every significant life decision I make - and not many of you know how difficult and unfamiliar THAT will be to me.  And I'm going to have to adjust to a level of change, tumult, and life activity that is well outside of my comfort zone.

But what do I get for this?  What is it that is worth this price?  To be blunt, in many many ways I get the companion that I've always dreamed of.  Someone that loves me fiercely, strongly, and unshakably.  Someone that can keep up with me, and finds my little quirks and eccentricities cute and absorbing.  Someone that I can depend on, that I can talk to, that I can be as honest and open with as I know how to be.  (And getting better at this all the time.)  Someone that I find beautiful, desirable, exciting and stimulating - in a whole host of ways.  Someone that knows how to tell me when I'm wrong without animosity, and somehow manages to criticize me without antagonizing me.  Someone who cares, who wants what's best for me, and who thinks about me every time *she* has to make a major decision.  And someone who simply loves to be with me because I'm me - as hard as I often find that to believe!  I try every day to be a better, more thoughtful, more loving person than I was the day before, because that's what I want for you.  And because I know you are doing the same for me.  I love you very much.
Schlock Steve

The Short List

OK, I've been nibbling away at my task list since my time off work a few weeks ago.  Significant progress continues to be made.  The list is now down from a peak of 58 tasks, to a current 14-and-a-fraction.  Here's what's left...

1.       Have the bathroom and porch repairs done.

      • Recaulk bathtub edge.
      • Wall repairs next to tub and behind toilet.
      • Caulk porch outer wall and reseal.
      • Replace stick-on linoleum tiles in porch.
      • Paint porch interior. (?)
      • Repair kitchen wall drill holes.

2.       Start arrangements to list the Farmington House for sale.

3.       Rebuild Windows on Gateway desktop computer.

4.       Return a couple of damaged wedding registry items.

5.       Start writing wedding thank you notes.

6.       Make tea for Heather and give her lots of affection.

7.       Send out Penguicon Board activity reminders.

8.       Enjoy the very tasty home-cooked (and low-fat) meals that my talented wife makes for me.

9.       Repair the carousel CD player using the hanger queen downstairs.

10.    Add all wedding china and crystal patterns to the registry.

11.    Combine both mobile phones in to one family plan.

12.    Pick up the alterations from Gene

13.    Have doorwall screen repaired.

14.    Send letter and silverware sample to Towle for replacement.

15.    Buy new window fan.

And several of the items left are well along, just not completed yet.  Hopefully soon now.  It feels good to get things done - though I'd feel better if a couple of these weren't left over from my LAST task list of a couple of years ago! :)