Thursday, 12 May 2011

Simply Observations

Someone finally got around to asking the poll question....is bin Laden dead?  Naturally, nineteen percent say he's still alive.  It's roughly the same number that believe that Bigfoot lives, or that the Loch Ness monster is real.

Texas is debating this idea of investing $250 million into Austin....for Formula One racing.  For those not familiar with Formula One racing....it's what commonly occurs in Europe with fancy one-of-a-kind race cars....not the NASCAR type racers which typically come from Ford or Chevy.  Some political figure pointed out that the state could hire 500 teachers for the $250 million...which kinda shocked folks who felt you could hire 5,000 teachers for that much money.  At the bottom of this....you have to suspect a bunch of Austin folks are wondering who the heck came up with the Formula One idea anyway.

Finally, someone in the British political establishment came up with this idea around 2005 that letters going out from the government....didn't necessarily have to have a real name attached at the bottom.  For example....you were writing a letter to some taxpayer in Bristol....and your real name was Dick Jackson.....you could make up a fake name like Jim Smith.  So, hundreds of thousands of letters have gone out since 2005....with fake names attached.  I sat and pondered on this.  You can imagine a guy in Bristol getting a letter....getting upset about the improper grammar used, and wanting to personally talk to the guy who wrote it....but each time you call....you find that there is no Jim Smith at this government office.  So far, this practice is confined to the UK.  I'm thinking it'd work wonders for the US government....if we all had aliases.  We could even create a ministry of sorts in DC....called the Fake Name Bureau (FNB) and let them manage our fake registry.

When Doubt Casts a Long Shadow

A few days ago....I blogged on the status of the long-awaited census in Germany.  It's taken over two decades to get through the court system and agree on some basic questions....to make the privacy advocates happy.  So, the forms are going out now.  And there's already a problem.

Some Germans woke up this week and have found forms in their mailbox....just forms.  The census folks note that they only mail their forms in official government envelopes.....and these are just loose forms laying in your mailbox.

So naturally, a German picks up this loose form....sits at the kitchen table and starts to fill it out.  It's a curious thing.  Some folks are finding forms that asks "which drugs do you take?".....giving them various choices of LSD, mary-j-u-wanna, or such.  Some folks found forms that asked about medical history...."have you ever undertaken breast or penis enlargement procedures?"

The chief manager of the statistics department for the government is quick to declare: “These questions were all entirely fictitious, we wouldn’t ask anything like that."

So far, it's confined to three areas of Germany....and the cops appear to be less than concerned over this.  I would imagine that they'd take a report over the phone but they'd rather you not demand a visit to your house to view the fake census form.

What you've got is a bunch of Germans with a $400 color printer and a bit of a sarcastic streak.....wanting to challenge their neighbors a bit.  Someone has gone to a fair amount of effort to copy the original form into some format, and then leave open a couple of areas for customized questions.  What could develop is a natural fear by Germans that all census forms are bogus....therefore, they should avoid all contact with any census taker.  You could actually create a wave where total distrust is cast upon the government....just over a question about your favorite dogfood or the best pizza in your neighborhood.

Kinda sad....if you think about it.

A Long Pause

It was a curious thing to note today.  Down at LSU....in Louisiana...the campus had a bit of excitement today.  Some guy (Graduate communications student Benjamin Haas) had decided that a US flag had to be burned to say something personal about the killing of bin Laden and the evil American government.

Unlike situations that occur in California....this is Louisiana, where I spent three years of my life.  Flag burning...at any campus in the state....is generally not tolerated very well.

The school had given Haas permission to burn the flag....but since he lacked a burn permit.....a key factor in a state that has grass fires left and right during leaf season....he was told burning wasn't going to be allowed by the local county.

Then a problem came up with students who eventually decided to chase the flag burner dude...even with campus security around him.  Things didn't go well....as kids shouted: "USA, USA".

At this point of reading up on the event....I kinda stopped and paused.

It's a strange thought process.  When it comes to flag burning....you just don't see IHOP managers, Dairy Queen employees, 7-11 guys, folks on welfare, folks who get food stamps, or roofers ever attempting to burn a flag.

So I continued on with this thought process.  I've never seen a guy who was a Ford mechanic, or a guy who fixed lawn mowers, or a gal who was a beautician.....who might be willing to burn a flag.

In fact.....I came to realize that it's generally always college students from fancy colleges....not technical colleges or community colleges.  You'd never see some 1st year student at a Bible College doing something like this.  You wouldn't see an electrical engineer doing something like this.

Generally, the flag burners are all punks who settled in for a four-year degree deal....without much engineering tied to their degree.  If it was....they'd be asking themselves questions....which the other flag burners would hate.

In the entire history of America....I doubt if a single septic tank salesman has ever burned a single flag.  The same could be said for farmers, diesel mechanics, and blacksmiths.

This might leave you with a long pause in thinking....if you got that point of wondering about things.

Just something to think about.