Bits & Pieces (Hump Day Muppets Post)

Tresspassers William did a great cover of “Rainbow Connection”:

“Mah Na Mah Na”, made famous by the Muppets (and Benny Hill) was originally a song featured in the 1968 softcore film, Sweden Heaven and Hell.


In 1981, I experienced nirvana, as the pop star I was in love with at age 12 (Deborah Harry of Blondie) showed up on The Muppet Show and did a duet version of “Rainbow Connection” with Kermit. Still gives me goosebumps. 
As Christmas approaches, it reminds me of a classic Christmas special I loved as a child: Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas. 
Emmet Otter was voiced by Jerry Nelson, who also provided the voices for Gobo on Fraggle Rock, Kermit’s nephew Robin, Count von Count on Sesame Street, among many others. Although he no longer performs his characters, he still provides the voices for them on Sesame Street.
With the passing of Jim Henson, Richard Hunt (one of the original performers of Elmo, before Kevin clash, who provided the original voice for Scooter and Janice and Beaker), and the retirement of Frank Oz from Muppet work, Jerry became one of the few original Muppeteers still working. The others include David Goelz, Carroll Spinney—Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch—and Steve Whitmire, who began working with Henson productions in 1978, doing mostly minor characters. However, with the passing of Jim Henson, Steve took over Kermit and some of Henson’s other characters, then took over Beaker with the passing of Richard Hunt. 
Still haven’t seen the new Muppet movie. Word of mouth and reviews are great, although box office has been modest (especially given the promotion). Word of mouth and steady business may pump it up, thought. 
Adjusted for inflation, the first Muppet movie made $207 million. By comparison, their last outing—Muppets from Space—only made $26 million in adjusted gross ($16m unadjusted). By that yardstick, the opening weekend for The Muppets was pretty darned good. 

More on Jury Nullification

Story out of NYC where federal prosecutors have charged a man with jury tampering for handing out literature outside on jurors rights outside of a courthouse. The story explains that the defendant has requested a jury trial, but prosecutors have opposed it, arguing that we would likely ask the jury to nullify. Question for the lawyers … Can the prosecution do that? The defendant is claiming his actions are protected speech, which it obviously is in my opinion.

Story available at the New York Times

Morning Report

Vital Statistics:

Last Change Percent
S&P Futures 1223.2 26.7 2.23%
Eurostoxx Index 2262.4 28.210 1.26%
Oil (WTI) 100.9 1.110 1.11%
US Dollar Index (DXY) 78.445 -0.624 -0.79%
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.03% 0.03%

Markets are gapping higher on coordinated Central Bank intervention in the money markets. The Federal Reserve, Bank of Canada, Bank of England, Bank of Japan, and the ECB have lowered US dollar swap rates by 50 basis points. “The purpose of these actions is to ease strains in the financial markets and thereby mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses and so help foster economic activity.” the statement said. Separately, the Bank of China lowered reserve requirements for its banks. In some ways, this reminds me of 2008, where the Fed of the government would step in to help ease conditions in the financial markets, short covering would cause the futures to gap up, and then futures would sell off as people contemplate how bad things must be to warrant the action in the first place.

In economic data, ADP Employment came in at 206k for November, well higher than estimates. Productivity was light, and unit labor costs fell more than expected. Yesterday, consumer confidence came in much higher than estimates, which shouldn’t have been a surprise if you have been watching the actual spending data. S&P / Case-Schiller came in -3.6% for September. Overall, the data indicate things are on the mend, albeit slowly.

In keeping with the energy story I have been flogging, the WSJ has an article this morning discussing how the US is about to become a net exporter of refined product. This doesn’t mean we are energy independent – we still import more oil than we export – but we are closer and closer to becoming a net energy exporter. And that will have enormous implications for the US, from our trade deficit to our Middle East policy. Perhaps the peace dividend we have been waiting for since the end of the cold war will finally materialize.

Bits & Pieces (Tuesday Night Open Mic)

I’m a long time fan of Apple products, and prefer to exist in the Apple ecosystem. And that’s not going to change—I’m going to be using an iPhone 10 years from now, I have no doubt.

However, there is one area where I envy the Android-toting rebels and misfits: Google maps for Android. It is light-years ahead of the map functionality on iOS. It just is.

3D models of city areas, information on the indoors of certain places, restroom information, etc. Not to mention, vector data so it’s wicked fast and much easier on your dataplan. Sigh.

Ah, well. I’ve got nothing to complain about. I long wished for a device that combined music player, telephone, and PDA, and now I have it—plus it’s also a still camera and a video camera and a video game device! And an acceptable GPS. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again: I feel blessed to have been born when I was. But I still would like to see Google Maps for Android on iOS. But, I won’t, because they’re competing or something.

***

I have many favorite movies. One of them is Fight Club.

At age 12 or 13, I first saw Looker. Other than Scrooge, it was my first exposure to Albert Finney. This was the scene from the movie that first caught my attention:
Only it wasn’t in French when I first saw it. 

— KW

Anders Behring Breivik Was Insane

Surprise! Anders Behring Breivik is not right in his head.

Much TV watching, playing of checkers in his future. Just punishment for the brutal murder of 77 innocent young people.

Too bad they couldn’t have moved the trial to Texas.

Prosecutors said Breivik, a self-declared anti-immigration militant, believed he had staged what he called “the executions” out of his love for his people. “The conclusion … is that he is insane,” prosecutor Svein Holden told a news conference on Breivik’s psychiatric evaluation. “He lives in his own delusional universe and his thoughts and acts are governed by this universe.”

If the court accepts the psychiatrists’ conclusions, Breivik would be held in a psychiatric institution rather than in a prison. Norwegian courts can challenge psychiatric evaluations or order new tests but rarely reject them. Breivik could be held as long as he poses a threat to society, but may be released if found to be healthy.

CPA Sex – it’s not just for accountants!

From Herman Cain’s attorney, describing the new allegation:

This is not an accusation of harassment in the workplace – this is not an accusation of an assault – which are subject matters of legitimate inquiry to a political candidate,” said attorney Lin Wood, who Cain hired after several sexual harassment allegations surfaced against him earlier this month

Rather, this appears to be an accusation of private, alleged consensual conduct between adults – a subject matter which is not a proper subject of inquiry by the media or the public. No individual, whether a private citizen, a candidate for public office or a public official, should be questioned about his or her private sexual life.

I wanted WJC to resign because he diddled a WH clerk.  It was their relative power positions in that workplace that  motivated my thinking, not the infidelity itself, about which I had no opinion for public consumption, nor was I impressed with his misdemeanor false swearing under oath in a deposition about an immaterial subject.

In theory I agree with Lin Wood, but the news loves S-E-X and I am sure there will not be a public outcry to protect the privacy of anyone in public life, ever.  Of course, one party here made her conduct quite public, for whatever reason, so the genie is out of that box, so to speak.

In theory, do you agree with Lin Wood?  I am curious how many  of us think consenting private adult [cpa] sex is not a legitimate ground for inquiry.

Is it any wonder?

Good morning, everyone!  I apologize for being absent for solong.  Currently, am still job-hunting,and not focused much on politics at all. I miss it!  I miss y’all!  Even QB.

Kevin and Michi: Thank you for contacting me.  You have no idea how good it feels!  I am stuck here in Manassas, and don’t darego out anywhere to spend anything.  Won’teven go the pool hall, damnit!

All of which leads me to the following:

The job market has changed so much in justa few years, literally! It is drastically different from what it was just 10years ago, and at THAT time, it didn’t have much in common with the way that Iwas taught to job hunt waaaaay back in the 80’s. Now it feels like I am on aroller coaster ride taking the long way around to the Black Hole of Resumes.

It used to be that with some good oldpavement pounding, you could find a job. In the mid-90’s, I took the yellow pages, and just started cold-callingevery business that had an interesting name. I found a job in a week.  I usedthe Sunday newspaper (you know, actual PAPER?)

Today, I go to Careerbuilder andMonster.  I’m trying to figure out LinkedIn.  Gadblummit, I am NOT going to signup to Facebook!  Enough already!!  Besides, I have NO CLUE where any pictures ofme are.  I have nothing to post.  I’m looking for employment, ‘k? I don’t wanta date. Unless they’re paying for everything.

So where am I going with this?  Why does this rant belong here, on this blog?Well.

In job-hunting today, on one hand, you areexpected to hand out all kinds of information about yourself to the generalpublic, in sites such as LinkedIn and FB.

On the other hand, be very carefulregarding identity theft, and pick your friends carefully, as some employersnow routinely run searches on social networks and Google about you before theyhire, and they check your friends as well.

It is these searches that are the cause ofmy ire.  I am looking for a job, youknow, that stuff that you do all day in order to collect a paycheck?  I am not looking to date you.  It really isn’t your business that my brotherhas mental issues.  They don’t affect MYjob!  It isn’t your business that myex-fiancee is still my friend, and that his daughter had a baby out of wedlock(how quaint!) a month ago. It isn’t your business that my old friend fromcollege, that I haven’t seen for 10 years, may have a drinking problem.  He lives in Atlanta.  I am looking for a job in the DC area.  Yes, I play pool.  I love to play pool! What does that have todo with fixing workstations?  If you wantme to dedicate every waking hour to YOU, Pay me!

And now we move on to finances.  Don’t you think, that if I am job-hunting,that I then may have a cash-flow issue? Isn’t that part of the whole situation that I am job-hunting to get outof? Steady paychecks have a way of clearing those things up pretty quick.  So, why are you denying me a job because Ihave been slow paying a couple bills?  Doyou really think that I am going to pay them faster now?

All of the above though, is just theinsult to the injury.  The injury:

I found your job listing.  I went to your website, I spent an hourfilling out an application with all the same info as the resume that yourequested I upload/cut’n’paste, I spent another 30 minutes browsing your site,and running searches on you.  Theresponse from you? Nothing. Black Hole. Nothing.

Oh, I might get one that says, “We gotyour resume.” That’s it. No other follow up. (more on this in a bit).

What happened to etiquette and manners? Afterspending all of that time, I expect a response. Something that says “Thank you for applying, position is filled”, or theone that says “Thank you for applying, we are not accepting apps now”.  You can’t be bothered for a little courtesywhen your job description clearly stated that “Friendly and prompt customerservice is a must”?

Or, if you are going to send a cannedresponse like “We got your resume”, do you mind following up on that?  I have responded to a job ad where thedescription also stated “track issues and follow up on all tickets promptly”.  Obviously, you need to hire me, because I neverhear from you again.

Worse. You apply to a position, and amonth later, and two months later, the SAME JOB IS STILL BEING ADVERTISED. Youknow what? They were just fishing. Trying to compare salary requirements, is all. They have no job. Theynever did.  Arseholes.

So, we have rudeness inside the workplace,and outside the workplace, and in our politics, and in our blogs. Is it anywonder there is such random violence, or that there is protesting going on?Really?

Ok. My rant is done.

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