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Health Care Bill: No federal money on abortion

I haven't read the new health care bill and I probably won't read it. But from what I've heard, it specifically bares federal money from being spent on abortion. I think this is very wrong. Regardless of whether you are pro-life or pro-choice (pro-abortion is a word used only by demagogues because no one really wants more abortion) , as long as abortion is still a legal medical option, why should we specifically deny it federal funding? Sometimes I think people forget what it means to be part of a community. You don't get to pick and choose what you want your tax dollars to be spent on. Just because we all can't agree on the same policy on abortion doesn't mean we should undermine it. If every other medical option get federal funding, why shouldn't abortion? And where does it stop? Will we stop funding mental health because we think the power of prayer should suffice? Will we stop funding planned parenthood because the catholic church doesn't believe in…

Diaper Review

Since we had the babies, we've used 4 brands of diapers: Pampers, Huggies, Costco and a white label brand. If I had to rank them in order of effectiveness, Pampers comes first. Costco is second followed by the white label diaper. Huggies are the absolute worst. Now I haven't tried Luvs but it'll have to really suck to be worse than Huggies. Fortunately, all the huggies diapers we've used were received as gifts. The rate of failure of the adhesive (in the size 1 version) was higher than that of the white label brand. The absorbency of the diaper itself left much to be desired. I'll say about 75% of the time the baby's butt was wet (which means the pee was not being absorbed completely by the diaper). So regardless of price and value, I will not be buying huggies. Each time we receive huggies as a gift, I am tempted to throw them out. That's how bad our experience with huggies has been.
The babies were started on Pampers Swaddlers from the hospital. And I hav…

I have become one of "them"

Before I got married and had kids, I was one of those guys that came to work early, left a little later than 8 hours, never called in sick and rarely took vacation or missed work for any reason. Why? Because I hardly got sick and work was way too much fun to need a break. And of course, it was beyond my realm of imagination to lie about being sick just to get out of work. And even when I had the flu, why sit around moping at home when you could get paid at work (yeah I know I could have taken sick days).
So while I didn't exactly disdain people who were routinely out for kid-related reasons, I didn't think they were super reliable. At least not like me. Oh no, I was a rock. Want someone to work Saturday morning, sure thing! Want someone to track down a production problem at 5pm? Am your man.
So now that I have kids and in the 5 months since they were born , I can honestly say I have missed more days of work than in all my 11 years of working professionally put together. If the b…

Obama, meet me at Camera 3 (a la Jon Stewart)

Look Mr President, would you please stop showing your inexperience? You have advisers that are allegedly experienced Washington insiders, please listen to their advise. Ok? It's not appropriate to give a visiting head of state a box set of DVDs. No matter how great those DVDs are, they simply don't have the gravitas of a presidential gift. That's #1.
#2: Please never ever give or even contemplate giving the Queen of England a CD set. Just don't!
#3: I know you want to be a man of the people, but please tell your first lady that getting out of Air Force One in shorts is simply not acceptable. It might have been a long trip but please please change into something befitting a first lady before stepping out of the palatial plane
#4: Don't insert yourself into local politics. It's beneath you and it's a zero sum game. Just like a parent should never take sides when siblings fight, stay out of local political in-fighting
#5: Don't waste your time and political cr…

Nostalgia-based business ideas: can they really work?

Occassaionally I run into websites that were created solely to take a general purpose idea and put a Nigerian spin on it. For example: Facebook for Nigerians, NaijaFeed (an aggregation of anything related to Nigeria on the web); Sturvs.com (a Nigerian social bookmarking website) etc etc
I admit I am not the most hardcore Nigerian person but can these sites really survive long term (i.e. past 6 months)? Is there really a marketable demand for Nigerian news that can't be found on Google News? Who would take the trouble to register on FacebookForNigerians when all of us are on the real facebook? NaijaFeed is ok but Nigerians that really care about Nigerian news know the websites of all the Nigerian newspaper. Besides, all the American-born Nigerian kids don't care that much about the fatherland. The ones that care were born and are stuck in Nigeria. Once they come here, I doubt they'll go to NaijaFeed to get news of the place they just left. So apart from old-time Nigerians an…

Things I've learnt in 3 months of fatherhood

It's very easy to take good health for granted. When your siblings (by birth and marriage) have a combined total of 7 healthy children it's very easy for you to forget all the health risks (to the mother and babies) associated with pregnancy. I like to say it's like buying a lottery ticket for a drawing that doesn't take place for 9 months!We are so lucky that these babies have no health issues (fingers crossed). They were so tiny when they came out, being early twins and all. It's amazing that at their size (4lbs) everything was fully developed and working.Nothing beats seeing your 3-month old daughter literally jump up for joy upon seeing you for the 101st time in the same day. It's amazing how a 3-month boy can be so in tune with music. Play any sort of music and Toni will start dancing. Doesn't matter the song...just play it and he'll dance. Perhaps all babies do these things and mine aren't special. But still, it's cool to watch them both d…

Technical Certifications are worthless

Technical certifications, especially in the IT field, are totally worthless. Why? All a technical certification prove is that you were able to buy a couple of exam prep books, cram them in a week or two and take an exam. My monkey (if I had one) could do that. I can't tell you how many times I have interviewed certification-carrying candidates for open positions at my company only to find them severely lacking in thorough understanding of computer science. I don't care that you have an MSCD or MCP or whatever it's called these days if you don't know foundational concepts in computer science and database design.
For example, I don't want someone who just knows that you store things in a hashtable using keys. I need you to know why a hashtable is better than an array in some cases. I need you to know when an interface is better than an abstract class; when to use recursion; the different kinds of joins and when to use each one; I need you to understand how crucial sou…

Health care reform

Why would someone that's against the so-called public option on the grounds that govt can't do anything right be proud of having gone to Virginia Tech or another public university? Why would the very same person feel secure knowing the men and women of the [insert juridiction here] police department are on the watch? Last time I checked, the federal govt was in charge of immigration (bad job), airport security (ok job), emergency response (ok job) and military defense (good job).
I don't know which health care system we'll end up but I know a few things: our current system is broken, ineffective and shameful. If we want to claim "best country in the world" status, we should be ashamed of a system where people are forced to marry Canadians for healthare. We ought to be ashamed of a system where every body (except for the very rich) is just one major health issue away from bankruptcyif we don't cover the uninsured in a structured way, we'll cover them in …

Why I hate Nigerians

Ok maybe I don't totally hate Nigerians but I really really hate having to engage in any business deals with people that I call "overt Nigerians". The guy that answers his phone and proceeds to greet you in Yoruba (a Nigerian language) just because he hears your name is Tunde. The guy that goes all "my brother this" and "my brother that". Anytime I go against my natural instincts (or I am forced by circumstances) to use these guys, things inevitably go awry.
The latest moron that I had to deal with was the DJ for last saturday's Ikomo ceremony (baby outing) for our twins. Not being a party guy, I asked a friend of ours for recommendation and he recommended this dude (I'll call him DJ-certainly-not-christmas aka DJCNC). So my wife set things up with DJCNC to do 2 things: DJ the partyarrive (like the other vendors) at 7pm to set up since the party starts @ 8pmFor these 2 things, this dude's fee was $100 per hour. I don't know what DJs go…

The Redskins are fools

What killed the Redskins last season was the break down of the offensive line. The defense ended the year ranked 4th in the league, behind only Steelers, Ravens and Eagles. That means the Redskins defense ended the year ahead of the Giants D with their vaunted d-line. Granted the Redskins D didn't make much game-changing plays (28th in sacks and 17th in INT). But given all that, you would think the pressing need this offseason would be getting O-line help, right? Well that's conventional logic. Around here, we buck convention. We went out and got Haynesworth (DT) and Orakpo (DE/LB). We re-signed DeAngelo Hall (CB) and signed a FA punter. For the O-line, we signed a former Redskins that didn't play last year in Buffalo (not exactly a team with a stout o-line).For the first pre-season game, conventional logic say you give your starters enough reps to get in a rythm, then you play your backups. Against the Ravens yesterday, we allowed Jason Campbell to pass just 6 times (3 of…

Linq, SQL, CAML

So I went to a presentation about Linq yesterday. The presentation was given by Scott Allen. Before I get into my impressions of the content, let me say a few things about the packaging. You know how they say first impressions count? Well Scott Allen either didn't know that or he just plain ignored it. I wasn't impressed with the dude's appearance. But, before you crush me with accusations of superficiality, I have to say 5 minutes into the talk I was already impressed with his content. His tone was just right and the approach he took to explaining Linq (and even the use of "var" which I, hitherto, thoroughly despised) was excellent.
That said, I am sold on Linq-to-everything but sql. Some of the language enhancements that were made to support Linq are things I have always wanted to do. For example, you have a list with several items and you want to find items that match a criteria. How do you do it? You write a loop that has a lot of what Scott called "cerem…

Fatherhood Tales

One of the ubiquitous things in our living room, in addition to all the baby changing stuff, is a notebook that we call the "baby book". This notebook contains a record of our babies' lives. We record who ate what, when and how much. We record who was changed when. We record who weighed and measured what when. We record who pooped and when. We record who took what medicine and when.
Why all the note taking? When we first got home, we had all these time-sensitive things we had to keep track of: babies need to eat every 3 hoursbabies need to poop once a day (or we call the doctor after 2 days)my wife had to take 2 medicines: one every 4 hours and the other every 6 hours
At first, I tried to use the alarm on my cellphone. So basically, I would set the alarm for 3 hours after feeding the babies. That quickly turned out to not be sustainable. So we came up with this simple idea of a notebook with 3 columns: who did itwhat was donewhen it was doneNow if I want to know when the bab…

Drunk Driving

Read this article for background: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/07/30/AR2009073004030.html
I think drunk driving should be punished thusly: 1st offense, no fatality: permanent revoking of the offender's driving privileges2nd offense, no fatality: mandatory installation of breathlyzer for offender's cars (and all cars to which the offender has access)3rd offense, no fatality: 10 year prison sentencefatality (regardless of # of offense): charged with murder 1To me anyone who drinks and drives is essentially saying: "everybody's live isn't worth the inconvenience of me taking a cab". The person is saying: "hmm, who can I find to kill tonight". I really don't care if you took 1 or 2 drinks. Why should everybody have to pay a hefty price for your inability to watch what you drink?
Take the care of this f**king bastard. He rang up tab of $107 (17 bottles of Corona, 2 Lemon Drops and 1 Cuervo Gold) and proceeded to get on the h…

How I ended up scrubbing poop off the floor at 3am

If you are eating or have a sensitive stomach, you might want to skip this post entirely.

You've been warned.

It's 3am on Tuesday morning and my wife wakes me up to help feed the babies. Our overnight plan is that she gets the babies and food ready and wakes me up to help feed them. Each parent takes a baby. I feed, burp and go back to sleep for another couple of hours until the next feeding. At least that's the plan until she goes back to work.
So there I was trying to change Dara and like a well-trained new dad, I inserted the new diaper under the old, lifted up her legs, wiped her butt and what do I see? A little bit of poop dribbles out. Now this has happened before where she waited until I started changing her. So I say "Come on, Dara, how come you always poop when I change you?" I proceeded to grab another wipe ('cos by now the first one is ...use your imagination). The next thing thing that happened is a loud sound followed by projectile pooping. It was…

Race and Inexperience

First, let's take inexperience. I have written before about President Obama's inexperience. He showed it again when he was asked about the Harvard professor case. Why call the police dept's actions "stupid" when you yourself admitted to not having all the facts in the case. Add that to being a friend of the professor, Obama should have just punted that question. Now he's gotten himself into an avoidable PR mess when he wants people focused on his health care plans. A seasoned politician of the likes of Clinton (male and female) wouldn't have made such an elementary mistake. You don't answer questions like that in such definite terms.
Second, race. Accusing someone of racism simply doesn't end well. Especially if that person is in a position of authority, then it really really doesn't end well. I don't think it's beyond the realm of possibility for a police officer, responding to a burglary, to ask and expect your cooperation. Sure sure…

Things I've learnt in 4+ weeks of fatherhood

So we survived the first 2 weeks. Here's what I learnt in 4 weeks of fatherhood:Everybody has an advice on how to care for babies. Literally everybody! And everyone thinks their advice is the best. After all, they've raised x number of babies. Last week, we had 2 guests, one after the other. The first said we ought to cover the babies heads even in the house. So we did. As soon as he left, the next guest promptly said remove the hats! So what's a new dad to do? Initially, I would try to argue the small stuff (like babies don't really need hats in the house; that our pediatrician has said 72-75 degrees is fine for the babies and our thermostat reads 80). But then I realized, what's the use? Best case, the advice giver will simply not agree, after all she/he has raised x amount of babies. Worst case, the advice giver will think one is being an ITK after all this is our first babies. So if you come visit and say "put ski boots on those babies or they'll catch…

How HCGH justifies their $240 cable bill

So I wrote about how HCGH charges $240 per month for basic cable and local phone services last week. Today, I returned their call and here's their justification for putting the burden of cancellation on the (sick) patient: the charges for the phone and cable is spelled out in the consent form that new patients fill out upon admission to the hospital. This is the same consent form that grants the hospital the right to treat you. So if you don't consent to cable+phone charges and treatment, the doctors can't treat you. How nice!I asked why not make it two forms: one for cable tv and one for treatment. God knows patients have to sign enough forms during the admission process. Their answer:
"Our patients have requested that the admission process be streamlined". Oh yeah, streamlined my foot. Wouldn't it make more sense to not turn on the service until a patient requests it? Instead, they waste their employees' time reversing silly charges. Or perhaps, not enou…

(Google) Chrome OS

Did you know Google now has an operating system? You didn't? Well I didn't either. But, like the classic definition of vaporware, Google announced their OS last week to widespread acclaim from the google fanboys. People are talking about Google OS having stuff Windows doesn't have. Nevermind that not a single code of Google OS has been publicly released (alpha, beta or RC).
So when Microsoft releases vaporware, it's bad. But when Google does it, it's the dawn of a new day. I seem to remember the same acclaim when Google Chrome came out. Several months later, it's stuck way behind IE and Firefox (except of course amongst the fan boys).
Also, if Microsoft got into hot water for bundling IE with Windows, how will Google circumvent the same legal trapdoor? I suppose it's more likely the presiding judge would be a google lover (or perhaps Google will impress upon him the need to rule their way or have his search data be public knowledge....I kid). Currently Googl…

Why I'll never rent from Blockbuster

Blockbuster sucks! I know that's not news but one would think a company facing strong competition (and losing btw) from Hulu, Netflix and even from public libraries would try to not suck as much. But they don't even try.
So it's the saturday morning after we came home with the twins and I get a call from one of those automated systems. What was the reason for the call? Apparently, blockbuster thinks I owe them $38. What's the bill for? The automated system doesn't know and can't say. But it does provide an easy way for me to pay the bill with a credit card over the phone. What? At the very least I would expect the system to know what the bill was for.
Anyway, I waited till the local BB store opened. Called them and got the manager on the phone. She claimed they couldn't find some movies that I had returned (one of which was 7 Pounds by Will Smith. A total crapfest if I must say). Thus they have charged the movies to my account. Well I know I returned the m…

Of toilet seats and parking

Why do men get a bad rap for leaving the toilet seat up? It's all over pop culture that men are inconsiderate pigs that don't put the toilet seat down after peeing. Well...women are just as guilty. Sure men don't put the seat down after peeing but women also don't put the toilet lid down. Just as you hate seating on a cold toilet, men hate peeing in a toilet when the seat is down ('cos then you'll have to clean up the inevitable spill). Personally, I think the toilet lid should be put down every time! Not only does that solve the argument, it's more esthetically pleasing. And might be healthier.
Enough about toilets. How do you park? Are you one of those people that insist on backing into a parking spot (even when there are no rules requiring it)? I don't get why people do this. Unless you are robbing a bank, and thus anticipating an hasty getaway, there's no reason to back into a parking spot. You have better control going in front-first into a tigh…

Hotmail Team says "thank you" for being with us for 10+ years

I got this from Hotmail today. 10 years, wow. That's a long relationship.

How do you pay $240 per month for cable and phone?

How do you pay $240 per month for cable and phone? Simple, you spend 5 days at Howard County General Hospital. As you may know, my wife delivered our twins at HCGH. Overall, the people there (nurses, techs, doctors) were extremely nice and helpful. In fact, I would give them a 9 out of 10. However, the hospital itself is the provider of what has to be the most expensive basic cable + phone service ever! Why? Today I got a bill for television and phone services that was provided to us while my wife was admitted at HCGH. The bill was for $40 for a 5 day stay (which works out to be $8 per day or $240 per month). For basic cable and local only phone service!
Sure that's way way expensive but that's not the worst. The hospital doesn't provide a clear way for patients to opt out of this service. It is automatically turned on once you're admitted and nobody in the hospital (at least not all the people I asked) knows how to turn it off. In fact, one nurse we asked said tv was f…

Things I've learnt in 2 weeks of fatherhood

Looking at my two kids, I can now understand why parents can never ever see you as an adult. They'll always see you as the tiny little bundle that arrived after hours of labor. I look at my babies and think to myself: "one day, these two will try to prove they know more than I do". Yikes!"Output" from a 2-week old baby can smell really really bad! But if your baby hasn't pooped in several hours, the sounds and smell of his poop can make you literally dance for joy.Even 2-week old babies have little tricks up their sleeves. I swear my son was holding his bottle at 1-week. And when they're really hungry, they'll (attempt to) eat anything near their little mouths. And I mean anything: burp cloth, bib, their fingers, my finger. Thank God they don't have teeth yet.Having a plan for the overnight feedings is crucial. In our case, we operated in shifts. My wife's mom took the midnight shift, my wife took the 3am 'cos she has to get up to pump a…

Dara's home!!!

After spending a week in the NICU (as a feeder grower i.e. no medical issues just needed to eat), my daughter came home today. So now my family is complete and we can get on with our lives. The past week has been strange. Kind of like living in a suspended state. While Toni was doing beatifully at home (gained 2 oz in 2 days), we couldn't be 100% estactic since we were still waiting on Dara. Well, today the NICU called and said "come get your child!" And so we did. Toni, Lara and I loaded up the car, busted out the travel system and away we went to get Toni's sister.
Check out the pictures on facebook (friends and family) and geni (family only).

The babies are here

So it's a girl and a boy. The perfect combination. We wanted to wait until delivery to find out the genders. And we got so lucky to have one of each. The boy looks like his mom and the girl looks like me. For now.
So 12+ hours post-birth: I am doing ok. Mom is doing good. Babies are doing great. The nursery has been taking care of them, which I assume, gives me free time to post this blog :)

How far does your mouse travel each day?

In the past few weeks, I have been using my wireless mouse a lot more since I've been working from home. After changing the batteries yet again yesterday, I started wondering exactly how much distance does my mouse cover in an average day? Sure the mouse never leaves the desk but it moves from point to point each time you use it and that's distance that can be measured. And where something can be measured, there's data that can be visualized, sliced and diced.

So I went googling (or binging as Microsoft would prefer) and found Mousotron(http://www.blacksunsoftware.com/mousotron.html). It's free and pretty cool. Tracks your keystrokes, mouse clicks and more importantly the distance covered by your mouse. It sounds ridiculous but what if you found out your mouse moved 10 miles in one day. Sure it's no big deal for your mouse but your hand had to move your mouse, right? And you had to do it with your wrist on the table and your fingers on the mouse, right? That certain…

Wining is everything

I'll admit: I watch MLS soccer. Sure it's not La Liga or Premier League but it's fun and available without my paying a king's ransom in cable fees.
Anyway, I was watching DC United beating NY Red Bulls 2-0 and the camera cut to a feed showing Juan Carlos Osorio (Red Bulls coach) furiously scribbling in a notebook during the match. Now, for those who don't know, Osorio is known as somewhat of a tactician. His note taking during matches is well known and up until now has been touted as part of his genius. You see him scribbling in the first half; his team comes out with the "perfect" tactics in the second; and he and his note taking gets the credit.
But now that the Red Bulls are struggling (last in the eastern conference, 0-6-1 road record with no goals on the road), Osorio's note taking is no longer a sign of brilliance. His penchant for changing line up is now thought of as over-coaching. Last year, when he managed to get the Red Bulls into the MLS cu…

Sex sells. But inappropriate office behavior?

I love Hulu. I wish ABC would just hurry up and join already. Anyway, there I was last night watching Fox's "Mental" on Hulu and I got to thinking "what the heck is wrong with all these shows on tv trying so hard to sell sex and general bad behavior at the office place?!!" If all you had for example of office place behavior was Fox's House, you would be fired even before you had your badge set up. House practically commits verbal sex harrassment each and every episode and it's like no big deal. He says really really inappropriate stuff to his female boss all the time. I know it's a tv show but please a little realism.
Add to that all the shenanigans on Grey's Anatomy & Private Practice and you'll think all hospitals are a hotbed of casual sex. I've never worked in an hospital but I certainly hope if I do go in, my doctor didn't just come from having a 1-on-1 with the nurse in the on call room. Yikes!

First change from expecting children

I totally forgot about my birthday! It's in a few days but because we've been so wrapped up in this pregnancy thing, I absolutely forgot about it. And this isn't some subconscious don't-want-to-get-old thing. I just didn't remember. Until my wife asked me what I wanted. Usually, by now I am busy scoping out which gadget to get myself (a video baby monitor doesn't count, right?). But this year, it totally escaped my mind. Even though the babies will probably be born around my birthday.
I know they say once you have kids, it becomes all about them. I just didn't think it would start so early.

Lebron is a punk

While he may be the most physically gifted player in the NBA, he is still a punk. The proof is in his reaction to losing game 6 to the Magic yesterday. Rather than stay on the court to shake hands with the winners (a sports tradition) and talk to the press (an NBA requirement for all players), LeTravel did what any punk will do: he walked off the court without a word to anyone. I heard he even refused to get on the team bus and sulked off to his mother's house (she lives in Orlando). What a punk! If that was Kobe, we would never hear the last of how Kobe is selfish. But with LeTravel, everybody (especially the fawning press) wants to give him excuses. He was so passionate about the game he couldn't talk! He didn't wanna saw the wrong thing! Bull!
I just wonder if David Stern will fine him for violating that rule. I remember one post-game interview where all Rasheed Wallace's response to ALL questions was "Both teams played hard". Dude didn't want to get fi…

Jay Leno's last night

Tonight is Jay Leno's last night on The Tonight Show. He's being pushed out to make way for Conan O'Brien. Conan is funny but all Jay has done is kick Jay Letterman's butt for 17 years and been king of late night. But I guess that's not enough for the morons running NBC. What a bunch of idiots. I bet Jay goes to 10pm, gives it a shot for 1 season and calls it quit. I definitely don't think he'll be at 10pm for another 17 years.

Related articles by Zemanta Jay Leno steps down as The Tonight Show host (telegraph.co.uk) Jay Leno's swan song precedes his comeback (thestar.com) O'Brien: Leno Helping With `Tonight' Transition (huffingtonpost.com)

Waiting for babies

Have you ever taken one of those classes in college where the final exam counts for 30% of your final grade? Where you've worked so hard and know that going into the final exam, all you need is to just write your name and you'll get a B? That even if you skipped the final, the worst you'll get is a C? I have and the feeling you get prior to the exam is sorta mixed. You can't quite let go since you really really want an A in the class. At the same time, you aren't too worked up about the final since you already have a good grade in the bag. You know that feeling?
That's the feeling I have been having the past 4 weeks. I know the twins are coming and that's a big deal. But I am not going to be doing the heavy lifting (or pushing as the case may be). We have a very good hospital, very capable doctors and I have made sure the car is gassed up (no stopping on the way to get gas). I know the way to the hospital (courtesy of the scare we had 4 weeks ago); it takes …

A GOP I can respect

In the past few days, there's been talk about how the GOP is non-inclusive and how that will continue to cost them votes. People like Joe Scarborough and Collin Powell want the GOP to embrace non-right-wing ideologies like same-sex marriage, sex education, health reform etc.
While that's all well and good, I think I prefer that the GOP remain what it is: a party for rich white straight folks. Why? For 2 reasons: if you don't believe in a party's ideology, then you shouldn't be in that party. You can't call yourself a republican when you don't believe in the party's core ideals.the GOP remaining non-inclusive virtually guarantee more wins for the democrats. Not necessarily because they are better but because you gotta vote for someone, right? Better you vote for someone you know (and you will know because those 2 parties outspend all the other fringe parties combined) than vote for Nader.So while Rush Limbaugh is a fat idiot, at least he's willing to s…

Ready for them?

People keep asking me "are you ready for them?" Them being the twins my wife and I are having any minute now. When I am asked this, I give the customary "yes I am ready". Like what else am I going to say "oh shit! I didn't plan for this"? 
Sure the house is ready (set  up the cribs months ago; set up the bassinet this past week; pack 'n' play is on the way; baby video monitor is on the way; bought enough onesies). But am I ready? I certainly hope so but can you ever really know? After having lived with just 1 person for 5 years, how will I react to 2 babies crying non-stop? I am your typical early-to-bed-early-to-rise person, so how will I respond to midnight feedings disturbing mysleep cycle? What kind of dad will I be (thankfully I have an excellent template to follow)? Will they be healthy (this is my #1 fear every time I read about an abnormality)?
Am I ready? Ask me in a few months and I'll let you how ready I was.

What we've learnt Extreme Interrogation Techniques

It is torture. Torture, like a rose, by any other name is still tortureWe all knew it was going on and we all turned a blind eyeIt was systemic. It wasn't just a wink-and-nod kind of thing. There were memos and all sorts of legal instruments to give the doers legal authorizationYou know there's something shady going to when memos are being destroyed. That demonstrates an awareness of wrongdoing.We are better than that. If we have to resort to the methods of our enemies, then what are we fighting for?"Warrantless wiretapping" is illegal. Period.The funny thing is history is replete with warnings about the fallacy of trading freedom for security.If this was done by a third world country, you bet the president of that country will be charged with war crimes.Eventually, the period of Bush's presidency from 9/12/2001 till he left will be known as the dark days in American history. That along with things like segregation and race inequality.On the question of whether o…

Obama, now you've opened pandora's box...

Good luck trying to get it closed in your guaranteed 4 years! Of course we tortured people. Sure we called it "enhanced interrogation techniques" and we tried to legalize it with memo's after the fact. But what's the upside to opening this particular pandora's box? It certainly won't endear us to our enemies and it won't strengthen our bond with England (one of the few true friends we have left). So why release the memos? What could you possibly gain? Unless your goal was to further embroil congress in grave matters of little consequences. We all know if you really follow the thread, you'll end up in Dick Cheney's office. So are you prepared to prosecute a Vice President of the United States for conspiracy to torture?
First you said you weren't interested in looking backwards. Then you said CIA interrogators won't be punished but the writers of the justification memos will be punished. How can you not punish the actual CIA interrogators whe…

Retention Bonuses

The economy is bad. Unemployment is high. Higly skilled professional workers are settling for unskilled work just to make ends meet. So why then are some companies paying retention bonuses to the tune of millions of dollars? I can understand wanting to reward loyal hardworking employees that are helping your company through the difficult times. But should you bankrupt the company to do so? Paying bonues in time of plenty is all well and good. But why would you pay $13.3 million in bonuses to 703 employees on the same day you lay off 53 of their co-workers?
I just wonder what these companies think employees will do if they aren't paid retention bonuses. Quit and join the millions of unemployed?

Never renew your magazine subscriptions

Recently my subscription to Time magazine came up for renewal and I decided to compare the renewal price to the price of a new subscription. Renewal fee: $49.80. New subscription fee: $20. I am not a marketing genius or a customer retention expert but shouldn't existing customers pay less for renewal than new customers? Certainly, I shouldn't have to pay more than double after I have been a loyal subscriber for 3 years?
I suppose I could call them and try to negotiate a better deal but I think I'll just cancel and save my $49.80. Thank you Time magazine for nothing!

W4: What's your deduction?

If you ask an accountant for help filling out a W-4 form, the logical advice is try to claim as many exemptions so that your monthly withholding is as low as legally possible. The thinking here is that there's no use providing an interest-free loan to the govt by paying possibly more than you should in monthly withholding. Instead, pay as little as possible and send the IRS a check on April 15. This is a very logical advice but I have never followed it. For as long as I can remember, I have always put 1 on my W-4 form and I haven't changed it even after getting married.
The problem with this approach is how many of us really like the idea of cutting a big check to the govt on April 15? Most of us like to get refunds back (in fact, some people like it so much they think it's a windfall. It's not!). Apart from the illogical need to get money back, unless you've been investing that money during the year, it may be pretty hard to come up with the entire amount on April…

What we've learnt from the economic collapse

Good things don't last forever. Bad things seem to last forever.There's a lot of shady shenanigans going on on Wall streetCNBC is for "entertainment purposes only"There's even more shady shenanigans going on in WashingtonLiving within your means isn't such a laughable conceptThinking a software can predict the market for you is still a pipe dreamWhen there's a boom, better not be one of the morons that get into it late. You want to be ahead of a boom and definitely ahead of the bust. If you are going to make stupid decisions, better make monumentally stupid ones that can bring down the economy. 'Cos then you are guaranteed to get federal bail outSocialism isn't so bad when it's all that's standing between you and economic doomCredit cards do have an APRCredit cards do not like you. Not unless you don't pay your bills on time. Or you are one of the suckers that pay the "minimum payment".Reverse mortgages are a really bad idea.…

Why I hate Verizon

From consumerist.com:
Call it a "you're not making us enough money" fee. If you don't make at least 12.5 minutes of long-distance calls, Verizon is assessing some home phone customers a $3.49/month "shortfall charge." If you want to get rid of the fee, you can, but you'll have to pay a one-time $5.50 fee. Verizon told KING5, "that even if a person doesn't make long-distance calls, they still have access to the phone network. The "shortfall charge" helps pay for maintenance of the network." What a crock.
http://www.king5.com/business/stories/NW_052107BUBverizonfeeKC.911990c6.html http://consumerist.com/5173620/verizon-charges-you-for-not-making-long+distance-calls

Why I am still at Aquilent

Usually people are shocked when they find that I have been at the same company for over 8 years. Especially since I am in IT where the norm is to jump from job to job in search of higher and higher salary. They tell me I can make more money at other places; that doing short-term contracting can bring in bigger bucks. 
Well, here are the reasons I am still at Aquilent close to 9 years after driving to a mostly residential area of Laurel for a job interview with an anonymous IT contractor:the commute can't be beat. It's 7.3 miles of local roads.the medical benefits are excellent! Both in terms of the quality of the providers and in the price the employee pays. When my wife and I decided to consolidate our health care with a single company, we found out that what I'll pay at Aquilent for "Employee + Family" is way cheaper than what she would pay at her company for "Employee + 1". That's coverage for more people for less money. Tuition reimbursement. In …

This is why I hate Apple

Sure their devices are sleek, cool and cost more than your mortage. But is it too much to ask that when I install 1 of their software, the installer doesn't install a bunch of other Apple crap that I don't need/want? 
First it was iTunes: it doesn't work unless Quicktime is installed. Why I need another Apple video player as a pre-requisite for iTunes (a media player) is beyond me!
when you install iTunes, you get these "great" Apple software like "Bonjour", "Apple Software Update" (which isn't really a vehicle for delivering updates but one for delivering yet more Apple products to unsuspecting consumers). In addition to those, you get all sorts of Windows Services for managing iPhones even if you don't have one. 
I seem to remember there was a time Apple, Sun and others were against Microsoft bundling IE with Windows. I wonder how many MacBook Apple sells without all their iCrap software.
Today, I decided to try the beta version of Apple&…

Too big to fail...our tax money at work.

This is an excerpt from a letter NY's AG wrote to the House of Rep's Barny Franks:

Bearing in mind that Merrill moved up its bonus payments in advance of its announced $15 billion quarterly loss and $27 billion annual loss, we have determined that Merrill Lynch made the following bonus payments:The top four bonus recipients received a combined $121 million;The next four bonus recipients received a combined $62 million;The next six bonus recipients received a combined $66 million;Fourteen individuals received bonuses of $1 0 million or more and combined they received more than $250 million;20 individuals received bonuses of $8 million or more;53 individuals received bonuses of $5 million or more;149 individuals received bonuses of $3 million or more;Overall, the top 149 bonus recipients received a combined $858 million;696 individuals received bonuses of $1 million or more.
Again, these payments and their curious timing raise serious questions as to whether the Merrill Lynch and …