Friday Fives – habooby edition

Image result for beset phoenix haboob photos

Have you ever had a vacation ruined by the weather or did you just work around it?

Nothing dramatic I can remember.  We go to Mexico a LOT, almost every year.  I remember we were there one year when a hurricane was coming soon, but it petered out.  I realize this is first world cruel and fucked up, but lots of places we go to (not the tourist spots, obviously) you think “how could a storm fuck this place up?  There is no infrastructure. I good hurricane might give them a chance to start from scratch. However, this isn’t Japan. The town would be rebuilt in just as haphazard as it was the first time.  You go to a small down and see the decimation, and realize a hurricane whipped through here. “When did this happen?” (thinking in the last 2 years) “oh, about 18 years ago.” When you see building happening in Mexico, it is done mostly without mechanization.  They have guys carrying 5 gallon buckets of cement up 4 floors of stairs.

Rocky Point is a real heartbreaker.  I was just there for the first time in 30 years this year.  I was stunned by how many empty and half finished huge resorts there were.  There was a couple dozen (source below) buildings which had been abandoned during construction.  Many of these were HUGE… 20 stories or more.  Someone ran out of money and just quit. The buildings stay there for decades.  Like a proper entitled liberal straight white male, I have a fix that I am sure no one has thought of.  For any new building permit for a huge resort there (of which there are plenty), I would say “here is the deal.  I’ll give you the permit, AND the land, and resources already deployed… if you take one of these half done buildings and finish it.  Yes, even the land for free. We’ll make plenty of money off the taxes and tourism. Otherwise, it is a 10 year wait for a building permit.

Oh wait, they have thought of this.  Even though they admit nothing has happened in at least a decade.

Javier Tapia, general coordinator of the Sonora tourism development commission – the state’s tourism chief – created a task force called the rescate de inmuebles turísticos inconclusos, or unfinished tourism real estate rescue, that has now met with condo builders and city officials. The result: a half-dozen builders have requested state assistance, including use of a private industry expert, to look at how to conclude construction and what to do with a building whose end product, if offered, would be one for which there’s little or no demand.

There is clearly no OSHA in Mexico, and I doubt much building code.  This is why a 4.0 earthquake can break some glass in the US, but kill hundreds in any other country.  Jesus, look at Haiti earthquake in 2010. They are still ‘recovering’ and living in tent cities. It will be a 100 years before anything is restored to any kind of glory.  That isn’t a knock on the Haitian people, but against their shitty leadership, and decades of unfair debt laid on them by the first world.

What were we talking about again?   Sorry, that went way off topic.  How deeply unlike me.  🙂

Man, I am such a pretentious windbag… like every good liberal.  At least I am aware… and well intentioned.

What small changes do you feel people could make to give the planet a fighting chance against global warming?

Stop using single use plastic water bottles!  I see all this outrage about plastic straws ****, but come on people.  Now, you know the environmental impact of the water bottles, right?  The Great Pacific Garbage Reef?  Last month, Consumer Reports taught us that the water isn’t even better.  Not even by a tiny bit. Almost all bottled water is just other cities’ tap water.

Are you adversely affect by the weather, such as SAD?

Are you calling me a pussy?  No, Winter does not make me sad.  Christmas mostly makes me happy. However, it is also a time of great anxiety.  Not because I don’t have enough money to buy Timmy a doll house, but because of my wifey.  I love her, and she means a lot to me. And she is super duper tough to shop for. So, every year I just panic.  I end of doing well, but it super stresses me out every year. Yet another first world problem. 

How is the weather where you are and have you seen drastic changes in it during your lifetime?

It is cold and snowy, which is natural for Denver in December.  What I have noticed is what happened to Phx, AZ. You know those freaky special effect looking sandstorms called ‘haboobs’?   They are really something, and I am sad I have never seen one in person.  Growing in Phx, and so having lived there approx 19 years, this had never happened ONCE.  According to this source, they happen about 3 times a year.  Now, is that climate change? I have no idea, and won’t pretend to know.  This PBS piece says it is directly related to ocean temperature.  If that is the case, it is absolutely related to climate change happening.

Just sayin, they just started happening in the last decade or so.  From afar, I just have to say it looks cool as hell.  If you are driving home, though, and see this?  I have a term for that.  I call it ‘Steven King outside’.  If someone says look at your window, what do you see?  I would look at this and say “it’s rather Steven King out today.”   Meaning > something this freakish, otherwordly, and endtimes-y… could only be in a Steven King story.

Do you think we can stop global warming or is it too late?

I think it was the prophet Donald Trump Tiny Tim Nicky Minaj Kid Rock Robert Burke who once said  ‘Evil triumphs when good men do nothing

Yes, it is too late to avoid the impacts, we are seeing them all around the world daily.  How about when a couple years ago, Kansas had the most tornadoes in history? Or when last year, for the first time in history, 3 cat 4 hurricanes made landfall?  Obviously, there are a million anecdotes like that. And obviously, one can likely find half a million anecdotes to disprove it.

Ok, soapbox tirade coming.

Let’s say climate change is a hoax made up by liberals.  For why? What, exactly, do we gain? What is the worst case scenario of us as a culture reacting aggressively to combat climate change?  Less pollution? Cleaner water? Gee, ok. Maybe it isn’t such a bad thing. Please consider this, mechanization (or… electricity… or automation… or engines) all came about about 120 years ago.  Let’s pin the date at about 1900 for reference. This is when cars, electricity, and the industrial revolution began. Do we not think that has had any impact on weather, or the environment? The only question to me is… how did it take so long?

If that planet isn’t getting fucked by very quickly changing for the worse environmental reasons, why are we hell bent on getting to mars?  Though the president does not acknowledge climate change, the US Govt does, and you can bet your ass the US Navy does.  Rising sea levels are a pretty BFD to deal to them.

“The pressures caused by climate change will influence resource competition while placing additional burdens on economies, societies, and governance institutions around the world,” 

Look at the pollution in Beijing?  In short, it exists because the Chinese economy was growing at a super scary rate of 12% annually, as opposed to the median 3%.  The govt was taking advantage of it, and they aren’t know to be touchy feely environmental impacts. This is the impact of coal burning fuel (cars, machines, manufacturing).  You cannot dispute that is where that is coming from. Perhaps a temperature inversion is making it worse… but this is carbon burning based pollution. This is what we have done to the earth for 120 years.  You can’t argue that. I guess what we can, and do, argue about is if we caused it. Well no shit we did, jackass.  I am no Ed Begley.  We live in a house larger than we need, and I drive a big ass pickup truck.  It’s for the horse trailer, but still.

I also think it is odd we have made it a political discussion, instead of an environmental one.  I have been lucky enough to be around the world. Just about everywhere I go, it is acknowledged.  Not with judgement, just as an observation. Most other countries see it as a thing that simply is.  There is also proof that even righty lawmakers know it is a thing, but they know they will get drummed out of office if they say anything about it (just like discussing gun violence).

it can all be addressed in SO much more a succinct manner with this

Image result for imagine a group of plucky scientists


JD Powers is a scam


One day, long ago, JD Powers started loudly announcing companies who had won their prestigious and rather made up*** ‘JD Powers Award’.  (editors Wikipedia note:  company started in 1968, but it was 1984 when they came to public attention with their ‘awards‘).

It meant best in class service.  Now, 35 years later, this name carries some weight.  That isn’t because it means anything, it is just through persistence and advertising that they have made their name something.  In those regards, Kudos to them.

Why do they bother?  Well, to most consumers (myself included), there is really only one company’s opinion that meant anything – Consumer Reports.  Know why consumer reports endorsement means so much?  They are a non profit!  They take no grift, which is incredible.  When they test a car, for example, they don’t get one issued to them from the manufacturer.  They actually go out and buy that car.  That way, they aren’t getting a special souped up car that the manufacturer handpicked.  Go ahead and pick one up, notice something you have never seen before:  no ads.  Not a single advertisement!

So, why not just go with Consumer Report’s reviews?  This is where it gets even better; Consumer Reports won’t let company’s use their name.  It is how they stay pure.  This is why you will hear car makers say ‘a leading consumer publication named (insert product here) truck of the year’.

So that is the great and wonderful Consumer Reports.  What does that have to do with JD Powers?  JD Powers uses a similar system of gathering consumer info, complaints, praises… etc.  This is good, and we like this.  Here is where my beef comes in –

  1. they sell that info to other companies.  I have an integrity issue with this.
  2. they charge you to use their name as an endorsement

This last one is a BIGGIE, and I have direct experience with it.  Let’s say your company wins the ‘prestigious’ JD Power award for best butt cleanser.  Let’s say that butt cleanser is your company’s butt cleanser.  This is great news!  I can’t wait to tell the world!  I can’t wait to put this on our door, and in our press briefing.  I want that logo on my website!  Hold up there, little buddy.  That will cost you $50,000.  True story.  I worked for a company that won a JD Powers ‘Best in Class’ award.  We were REALLY proud of that.   Honestly, we were genuinely stoked and proud.  This was a small team that worked their ass off to be the best.  In fact, the line of business that won the award was something I had a large hand in building from scratch.  This was something my team and I were so proud of, but we couldn’t tell ANYONE.  Not without paying $50,000 to JD Powers.

Because I am fearless, and work hard to tell you these tales, I did some research.  I camped out in front of the JD Powers building during their last nominating committee.  I took some pictures, but it’s kinda illegal to just post people up in here without their permission… I have an artists rendering –


While that isn’t exactly extortion, it sure looks like a shakedown.  I would bet when JD Powers started out, they gave away rights to their little prize… like a drug dealer always gives you the first taste free.  Even if you do ‘win’, they are all up in your business –

J.D. Power now fiercely protects the advertising of its ratings, and companies must pay a licensing fee to do so. Additionally, ads must be pre-approved by J.D. Power, and the categories that can be used in advertising pitches are pre-determined each year before the surveys take place.

This reminds me of a very similar scam, ‘Who’s who in Business’.  When I was a kid, I remember my dad was featured in a ‘Whose who…’ feature.  He was a big important banking something or other.  I was so proud of my pop.  Maybe back then (30 or 40 years ago) this was a legitimate thing you had to earn.  Now it isn’t.  I know this because since then I have received many many solicitations to be featured.  They don’t ask your accomplishments, and there is no governing body to decide who is worthy.  Like being a member of the Universal Life Church (of which I am), turns out all you need is a name and ideally a face.  At least it’s free to join the ULC.  I have been a good Reverend under their banner for 19 years now.  Their vetting is akin to JD Powers and Who’s Who.  You have to have a name, be able to type in that name… AND… hit ‘submit’.  Kinda like how I get this web page URL.  Turns out, you don’t have to be correct at all.  I just… am.

You pay these people, and then they feature you in a short write up in their publication.  Then, you can use it on your resume.  I have seen people put this on their resume.  Don’t.  It doesn’t tell me you are a well regarded business person, it tells me you had $100 to spend.

When I see a JD Powers banner on a site, I don’t think ‘wow,  now this is a great company!’  I think, wow, maybe they could have spent that $50,000 on something more meaningful… like hookers and blow.

*** rather made up – ok, I admit that is some judgmental semantics.  Everything was made up originally.  I just feel every move by this company is calculated empty bullshit.  PLUS… I have never once claimed to be objective.  That isn’t why you are here.  Judging by the really terrific response and hits this piece gets… y’all agree with me.  We are Correct!

Friday Fives – jokes and russian sleeper cells

1. If you were held at gunpoint and had to tell a joke to save your life, what joke would you tell?

Well, I probably can’t tell any of my pedophile jokes.  I have a bunch, and I love them.  Seriously, I love pedophile jokes.  Know why?  It is one thing we can all agree is the most horrible thing imaginable.  Racist jokes aren’t funny, they come off more as mean.  Plus, I fear people are more racist than they let on.  Heck, I might even be, as much as I hope I am not.  Blonde jokes aren’t great, as they are mean to blondes.  We are all just secretly jealous.  I mean, the rap is what; blondes are oblivious to current events, are too busy having fun and great sex, and don’t fully grasp technology.  Man, that sounds AWESOME.  I wish that described my life.  Growing up, every blonde joke you know was told with ‘pollack’ as the subject line.  Not sure why, but people sure LOVED making fun of Polish folks in the 70’s.

I think my favorite is one I call ‘spinach pie’.  It’s so stupid it just rules.  However, you have to go camping with me hear that one.

So, I’ll go with this one.  It only works if the person holding the gun is a baseball nut.  You have to know who Marge Schott is, and what she is famous for.  She owns the Cincinnati Reds, and is known to be a horrible and intolerant racist.  Just a horrible human being.  The joke goes thusly:

A reported asks Marge Schott who will win the pennant this year.  She says “well, I think the Reds are the best team in baseball right now.  Of course, I am prejudiced”.

2. What is a time when you laughed and definitely should not have done so?

oh, jesus… too many times.  The reason you are reading this is because I have a twisted and keen sense of humor.  So, I see humor in everything.  That being said, I should have a zillion examples of such zany antics.  Well, I don’t.  So, just get off my dick already and leave me alone.  You think I live to make you happy?  huh?  how about if I just stop my entire goddamn life so at I can be your little cymbal banging prank monkey?  You make me sick!  ***

3. Streaming media time – dig deep.  What have you found on Roku/Hulu/Netflix/Amazon that is the off the beaten path and just the best.

not off the beaten path, but this is my newest discovery – The Americans.  It is a fiction set in the early 80’s.  The protagonists are a couple of Russian KGB sleeper agents… living in deep cover as a regular American couple.  It is SO compelling.  It feels almost like a documentary.  I wish this show was on HBO, so it could be darker.  However, it is on deep cable, so it is MUCH darker than anything the big three would put out.

Now, in the spirit of the question… if you are looking for something just stupid.  Nay… past stupid… you can thank Mike Ellis for this gem –  Professor Toothie

Not dumb enough?  FINE

4. What is NEVER going to happen?

Americans learning our congress doesn’t do DICK for them.  Never have, and never will. It gets worse every day.  I know I talk about this a lot, but it is literally the reason America isn’t number one in anything except infant mortality.  The following are not made up stats.  92% of Americans feel Congress sucks balls and is useless.  This is from a pew research poll.  They are super legit, and likely didn’t use terms like ‘suck balls’.  You have seen this meme in email about how Congress has more criminals than the NBA and NFL combined.  YET – you fucking dipshits re-elect them every time.  94% of congress and senators were re-elected in the last presidential election.  So, why wouldn’t they suck.

Let me put this in terms you will understand.  You know how you pride yourself on being a good dog trainer?  Imagine if your dog kept jumping on the counter.  You don’t like that at all. So, each time he jumps on the counter you say so very softly ‘bad dog, don’t do that’, and then gave him bacon.  Every time he jumps on the counter he gets bacon.  You wonder why he keeps jumping on the counter even though you say softly every time ‘bad dog’.  This is what you do with congress.  Every year you scream ‘they are all criminals and assholes and thieves’ to anyone who will listen.  Then, you re-elect them.  There is ZERO point in complaining about, or to, your congressman, and then re-electing them.  Your congress doesn’t suck.  YOU suck for voting them in.

Same thing with Wal Mart.  Wal Mart doesn’t suck.  They are doing what every company does.  Provide the best value for customers and the best returns for stock holders.  So, you know they don’t offer health care or a working wage.  It’s a super easy fix.  Stop shopping there.  Wal Mart isn’t the problem, you are. Stop bitching and go shop at Coscto.  Consumer reports said they are the best shopping experience according to polls.  They are also regarded as one of the best employers.  AND, they pay a livable wage and offer health care.  Plus, around every corner is free samples. Why in the world are you shopping at Wal Mart still?  You save maybe $1.37 across your entire $200 bill.

So, as long as Americans can’t put their money where there mouth is, and keep re-electing a congress they hate, and keep shopping at retailers that sicken them, we are doomed!

5.  What is your most boring encounter with a celebrity?

First time (of many) that I met the guys in Toad the Wet Sprocket.  They are super sweet and wonderful.  They are as delightful as their music is great.  I saw them play a free show here in Denver.  I was chatting with them backstage and I said “welcome to Denver, and thank you SO much for playing a free gig.”  Glenn replied, “Thanks, but we got paid a ton”

** how did I do on that?  I am trying to be darker, you know.  Something heavier, and artier.  I always hear about my hero’s’ dark side.  I don’t seem to posses one.  I am pretty much as amused and amusing as you think I am.  So, to be a great writer, I really need to turn up the smoldering rage, right?