My other blog, Spanish Phrase of the Day, was inspired by my Cuban heritage. My grandparents emigrated from Cuba in the early 1960s and created a wonderful life here in the United States.

My grandmother passed away today at age 94. Her husband died in 1999, so it is nice to know that they are together again. I don’t usually get too personal on SPOTD, but I did write about her and wanted to link to it here.


July 26, 2009 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

Still Un-Managing

We made a decision some time ago to avoid too many political diatribes on these august (web)pages. I feel compelled to re-enter the fray this one time due to a recent occurrence that brings to mind President Obama’s poor managerial skills.

A friend of President Obama, prominent Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, was arrested when someone called 911 as he tried to enter his house without a key. He cried racism. Obama commented that he was unaware of the facts of the case, but believed the Cambridge Police acted “stupidly.”

Since then various law enforcement organizations have cried foul, many have vouched for the quality and effectiveness of the arresting officer, and the local district attorney has contemplated releasing recordings that could actually paint Gates in a very poor light if the arresting officer’s assertions are true.

This isn’t the first time that the President has waded into waters far too shallow for his situation. Since his initial poor statements he has made an effort to clarify, but it is still emblematic of his generally poor record on issues that are ultimately inconsequential to the office. I’d worry less if it wasn’t the first time, and I suspect it will not be the last.

July 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm 2 comments

No Lamentation Here?

The Croc Trend was lamented by lemare in this September 2007 post. I have good news for her, and bad news for many others.

Crocs, Inc. may be on its last legs.

According to the article linked above, aggressive expansion financed by debt has left the company in a very poor position to cope with the reduced demand of a recession AND the long-lasting nature of their product.

Thoughts? Please share below.

On a related/unrelated note I have a new favorite footwear item:


July 16, 2009 at 4:44 pm 4 comments

The Lamentations of Lowry – Chapter 17: Wussification

One of my son’s favorite movies is The Incredibles. He fancies himself a speedster like Dash and loves to demonstrate how his little legs can move.

One of the themes in the film is how everyone loses when people are not allowed to be their best selves. It is a philosophical sibling in some ways to Atlas Shrugged.

The trend towards a toothless and bland populace may be traced back to the early 1980’s, with toys and films that affected an entire generation. From commentator Eric Snider

In the 1980s, the Care Bears were a major contributor to the wussification of America. Children who once roamed the streets barefoot, playing with broken glass and poking dogs with sticks, were now taught to share their feelings and to care about people. Fun cartoons like G.I. Joe reminded kids how satisfying it is to kill others; lame cartoons like The Care Bears said, “Let’s all sit around and talk about our hopes and dreams!” And what were the consequences? Everyone born since about 1975 thinks they’re “special” and “important” and “unique,” when in fact most of them are “ordinary” and “useless.” Thanks a heap, Care Bears.

Care Bears

The Care Bears Movie is a disturbing glimpse into an Orwellian future where caring reigns supreme and good old-fashioned misanthropy is forbidden. The Care Bears — emotionless, ambisexual drones who frolic nakedly in the clouds and giggle in a most unsettling fashion — rule Earth with an iron, furry fist, spying on citizens in a search for the slightest hint of uncaring. Each Care Bear is named according to its personality: Friend Bear, Cheer Bear, Tenderheart Bear, Pansy Bear, Wuss Bear, Big Fat Crybaby Bear, etc. There’s also the gloomy Grumpy Bear, who is clearly a genetic defect and must be looked upon with pity and loathing by the others of his species.

Much deep reflection is prompted by this pop culture cancer. It does make one wonder- What kind of bear would one be?

I hope none at all. Maybe the hunter who shoots the bear and makes a rug.

July 5, 2009 at 10:05 pm 2 comments

Fewer Finer Things

What does the death of TV Pitchman Billy Mays mean for America?

Perhaps fewer excellent products, marketed directly to America’s hearths and homes.

In honor of Billy’s passing, here is Popular Mechanics on his 5 best products.

June 30, 2009 at 1:51 pm Leave a comment


I’m disappointed about Michael Jackson’s death. I’ve always hoped he would have a comeback.

For all his problems, his music was incredible. This is a music-focused memoriam.

June 25, 2009 at 10:09 pm 2 comments

¡Feliz cumpleaños Walkman!

I liked this retrospective on the now-30 year-old Sony Walkman. Check out this page to see more of that first, brave model. It was very expensive, at over $500 inflation-adjusted dollars!

I remember borrowing my dad’s enormous SPORTS Walkman. Not only did it play cassette tapes, but it also had an FM Tuner.

Then there were the exciting models that also had the 3 or 5 band equalizers and the MEGA BASS button. And then came the Discman, with models like this that could even be used IN THE CAR!

Still, for a long time, the Walkman was the most practical and attainable personal musical device. I think I owned this model, near the APEX of Walkman technology, enjoying Kris Kross and other great music.

Happy Birthday Walkman!

June 24, 2009 at 3:12 pm Leave a comment

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