Saturday, March 25, 2006

Back in 2001, I developed chest pains at work and had difficulty breathing. I had someone call an ambulance, which came from the next block, picked me up, and drove me a mile to the hospital. It cost $735 to start the freakin' ambulance. They charged me $500 for an ekg, which I understand because of the chest pains, $100 for turning on the siren, and $7 for each pair of gloves worn by the three ambulance attendants! The final bill was $1579. For a one mile trip!

So this guy has nothing to complain about! Ken Ward was transported by ambulance from a hospital in Rockford, Illinois, to a heart clinic across the street, a 5 minute trip. His bill? $673! Ward has refused to pay it, and said, "If I had known it would be that much, I literally would have crawled across the street."

That's what I told my family. "Next time I get sick, I'm walking to the hospital." Then I shattered my ankle. Oops.

Friday, March 24, 2006

I've been playing around with Linux on my old Compaq computer. For a period of two days, I got wireless networking to operate. The USB wireless adapter now refuses to use the channel on which my router broadcasts. Having nothing to lose, I tried Mandriva 2006, which at least tells me the driver for my adapter doesn't exist in its database. However, that's only during startup. Once the computer has started, it dumps me at the command line. I want it to boot into the desktop.

The only reason I installed Mandriva on the Compaq was because I just purchased a used laptop with Ubuntu Linux on it. It only cost a couple hundred bucks and is screaming fast. It's a PIII with a 20G hard drive, and 512Mb of RAM. I have to confess, however, that I didn't read the auction too closely. The seller said the laptop was "WiFi capable," now "WiFi equipped." So I bought a wireless card, put in the slot, but I still can't enable WiFi on the laptop. Wlan0 just doesn't exist.

This is why Linux will never be able to replace Windows: It's not user friendly enough. Much as I hate to admit it, Gates and Company have done one heck of the job making the technology accessible. When someone asks, "What does that person want to do?" the Linux community answers by saying "Well, they want to configure the drivers and enable the Internet connection." Microsoft said, "They want to check their email," and they made it idiot proof. Linux users, on the other hand tend to be more computer literate, and, well, geeky. They love the idea of tinkering under the hood of the OS.

Don't get me wrong. I like using my Linux computer. Ubuntu is sleek, and the desktop looks sharp! I just want to be able to connect to the Internet without jumping through a zillion hoops. It's almost enough to make me buy Windows XP and install it on the laptop. I wonder if Micro$oft will let me install a beta version of Vista on it?

Thursday, March 23, 2006

As mother nature warms up for another wicked hurricane season, Mayor Ray "Don't Let 'em Use The Buses" Nagin says that New Orleans now has an evacuation plan that is better than the last one (They had a last one?). However, in another story carried by CNN, Nagin is saying that the city will allow residents to rebuild in the New Orleans East and Lower Ninth Ward even though they will be vulnerable to flooding from any future hurricanes. No word if he's going to park evacuation buses on the corners.

In a move that surprised no one, the New Orleans police cleared officers seen loading carts of merchandise at a Wal-Mart after the storm of any looting charges. Assistant Police Chief Marlon Defillo, commander of the somewhat dubiously named Public Integrity Bureau, said the officers "had received permission from their commanders to get clothing for fellow officers," and that Wal-Mart was informed later. They were, however, suspended for 10 days without pay for doing nothing while the other people in the store loaded up carts of merchandise that was not intended for police officers. One officer, Olivia Fontenot, who told a tv reporter who asked her what she was doing in the store that she was "Looking for looters," then turned her back, got an extra three days for being discourteous.

And to round out this update of Katrina related news, the Washington Post asks this question:

How many contractors does it take to haul a pile of tree branches? If it's government work, at least four: a contractor, his subcontractor, the subcontractor's subcontractor, and finally, the local man with a truck and chainsaw.

If the job is patching a leaking roof, the answer may be five contractors, or even six. At the bottom tier is a Spanish-speaking crew earning less than 10 cents for every square foot of blue tarp installed. At the top, the prime contractor bills the government 15 times as much for the same job.

The story also reported that this kind of inverted pyramid scheme occurs after every natural disaster, not just the ones with Republicans in office.

Ah, human nature.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Aruba must be feeling a slump in high school trips, because they are advertising like mad! While they rightly emphasize the beauty of the island, they are missing the boat a bit. They should be advertising the numerous places to hide a body, and the ease of getting away with murder thanks to an apparently inept police force. Oh, yeah! And a top class media outlet that can blast the disappearance of a pretty blonde girl across the globe! (Minorities are not guaranteed equal coverage.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A crevice in the Afar Triangle signals the birth of an ocean. In ten million years this ocean will split the African continent. If you are a creationist, that'll be 600 years.

Monday, March 20, 2006

In Calabasas, California, you can't smoke indoors in public. Now you can't smoke outdoors in public! That's right! Most outdoor public spaces in town are now smoke free.

Margo Arnold, a 19-year-old college student, said that second-hand smoke gives her a headache and she was tired of having to move in public parks to avoid it.

Sanctimonious, holier than thou college students give me a headache. Where's the protection for me?

When you wonder where your abortion rights went, remember Margo: one person who was offended and had to be accommodated.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

I just got my first CafePress commission check!

I sold two of my books and a couple of mousepad for $30! It only took three years!