21 October 2009

Well, now you've finally gone and done it.

Part of my job is to add sales tax to orders that we ship across the good old USA.

I see all different types of rates for different states and the variegates within states, counties and towns.

Most places are a constant 6 or 7%, usually an accepted rate in America.

But lately I've been seeing that number creep upward in the normally suspect areas - blue (liberal states), which we've come to expect almost.

At first I noticed areas that moved into the 8% range. Then the same areas almost overnight it seemed jumped into the 9% range. And especially now with the economy still doing poorly, I don't understand how this is beneficial.

Today, I noticed a community that crossed the threshold into the 10% range. And not just 10% or slightly over it.

Graham, Washington now has a sales tax rate of 10.6%.

Remind me never to move there, let alone visit.

13 October 2009

Family Bonding, 2009 style?

Sunday morning we decided to treat ourselves out to a nice big Sunday breakfast out at a local country eatery. But that's not what this is about. Stay with me here.

10 feet or so from our table, the waitress seats another family of 3, this time with a boy of about 7 or 8 years of age.

::bleep bleep::

I turn my head in that direction.

::bleep bleep boop bleep::

Ok, they let the boy bring his Nintendo DS Game Boy. Ok, that's fine, let him mindlessly entertain himself while Pa catches up with Ma. Saves some of the childish hassle and whining. No problem.

::bleep boop bleep bleep boop bleep boop bleep bleep::

Oh. My. God. All three of them have Nintendo DSes, and they are all playing simultaneously.

Ok. So I shouldn't judge, but have we devolved that much as a society that we'd rather play video games by ourselves while we are out in public, waiting for meals or in between waitress visits?

Personally, I wouldn't even dream of this scenario, let alone plan ahead for it for my family.

Well, Redbeard, have you considered maybe they REALLY enjoy their video games? They may even be practicing for a major competition?

Sure, although I find this highly bizarre even in this day and age. Maybe I haven't subject myself in public to make myself aware of this phenomena, it may even be some sort of trend.

Ok, I realize, the ideals of a Norman Rockwell or Leave it to Beaver family have been long gone, but as a society we still grasp on to a fraction of those ideals, am I wrong? Sure, some nights I'll be on the lap top and my wife on her DS while Sierra is doing her own thing or watching one of us, but we're not doing it out in public. We don't do it to avoid each other, because *sarcasm* what would be worse than having to talk to one another as we bond over a meal at a dinner table, whether it be ours or not?

04 October 2009


One of the new features when you open up your Yahoo mail is Yahoo Buzz.

Seems like a good idea on paper - promote good topics that people think are newsworthy and you can comment on them, and give them thumbs up or thumbs down.

However, it doesn't take very long looking through Yahoo Buzz that the only topics being trended up are hot-button controversial issues.

I'll spare you the inane comments people make on Buzz, but it's quite obvious the people commenting on Buzz are of a specific slant, then similar people vote up the conservative and/or ignorant comments, and any dissenting educated opinion is voted down.

My opinion? This is not a cross-section of world views, or even American views, but rather certain organizations have instructed (or possibly even employed) groups of people to post on Yahoo Buzz, then buzz up or down according to that certain slant in order to influence popular opinion and politics.

What say you?

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