Curacao, Netherlands Antilles

Just a few minutes after we left Bonaire, we found ourselves landing on Curacao. This airport was easily the busiest that we saw on the whole trip – including the one in Charlotte! This is not to say that there was the same amount of traffic, pedestrian or vehicular. Just that the place was packed. Part of this was because of construction and remodeling going on. Part of it was that the poor little airport was simply overwhelmed.

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Social Security and You

Social Security may or may not be worth saving. Much as with Girl Scout Cookies, the issue is probably one of framing.

To be quite clear: The Social Security program isn’t an investment. I think that’s the most difficult concept for me to get through my head. I’m not socking away money so that I’ll have it later when I retire. I’m providing it so that the government can give it to someone else.

While I don’t necessarily have a problem with giving to those less fortunate, I really dislike that we’re absolutely forced to do so. You simply cannot opt-out of Social Security. On occasion, you may be able to get off a spammer’s mailing list. Not Social Security. Once you’re in, you’re in for good.

I can understand the concept behind the program – providing a safety net of sorts for people who are unable to provide their own. What really torks me, though, is that it’s one more example (in a growing list of them) of how our country is governed to the least common denominator.

To Juice or not to Juice

Barry Bonds is all up in arms (again) about the use of steroids in baseball. Others are all uptight about the sanctity of records from a time when there were no steroids in baseball. Frankly, I don’t see why we care.

Obviously there is a call for steroid use. If there wasn’t, why would anyone do it? Why would these guys be pumping up – be it on their own or with some assistance – if there was no call for the results of their actions? And that’s the problem. You don’t want steroids to tarnish the game, fine. Be content to sit around and watch a handful of hits and the occasional rarity of a home run.

You want to go to the ballpark and watch ’em hit into the seats with some regularity, you know the cost. Deal with it already.

Windows 2000 Password Recovery

The other day I had a server that no one could access. It wasn’t actually being used or anything, but the company has been talking about using a server for a while, so it seemed to make sense to see if the one they had could actually be used. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks that way.

So I needed to get into it, but I had no way to do so. Back in the day, I would have used L0phtCrack, but since L0pht was purchased by At Stake, and then by Symantec, the costs have gone up a bit. A minimum of $450 for this? I don’t think so. The idea was to save money. So it’s off to the Internet.

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Girl Scout Cookie Scandal

Okay, it’s not really a scandal (at least not yet), but I wanted something catchy.

Ever the helpful neighbors, we bought a box of Girl Scout Cookies the other day. Actually, we bought ’em a few weeks ago, but they were delivered the other day. Cost? $3.50. Pretty pricey for a box of cookies, thought I. Then I opened them.

There were 15 – fifteen! – cookies in the box. The entire box. That works out to more than $0.23 per cookie. Now it’s not an issue of donating to the group. Had they simply asked for a donation, we’d probably give them one. But what a rip-off. Fifteen reasonable-quality cookies, for $0.23 each?

Government Machinations

Let me get this straight. We finally get Iraq to the point where they hold elections. Now, some people (admittedly, a journalist, but it wouldn’t surprise me if politicians felt the same) think that the person they are likely to elect is a bad choice? That’s it. Give them the opportunity to pick their leader. They do, decide they picked the wrong one. Give me a break. And people wonder why I think we might not have the best argument for being involved in Iraq.

Speaking of the middle east… The big D (that’s Dubya, not Dallas) has decided that invading Iran is a bad idea. I don’t really have anything to say about this. I just wanted to record it, so that in a few months or so, if he should change his mind, I’ll be able to come back and find it easily.

There actually was an interesting idea proposed recently for dealing with the mess of Social Security. It seems that Paul O’Neill (the treasury guy, not the Yankee) thinks the government ought to just give every person $2K per year for their own account. I actually like that someone proposed a new idea. But the numbers in the end won’t be any better than the current plan, and the money still has to come from somewhere. That’s what I don’t get. Do people just not understand that whatever the government gives away, they have to get from somewhere first? And that that somewhere is their very own pocket? I’d prefer to just keep my pocket lined, thank you very much.

Satellite Radio Programming

I don’t listen to much radio. Sure, if I’m in the car I’ll flip on (or flip off) Bob and Tom. Once in a while I’ll even turn on the radio on the way home to catch some updated scores from a game. But I simply cannot imagine listening to an entire sporting event on the radio. It just doesn’t fit with the way I process information.

So I’m amazed when I find out that satellite radio company Sirius pays (or will pay, perhaps) the NFL hundreds of millions of dollars for broadcast rights to the games. I can almost – almost – understand the packages on satellite TV for all the games. But radio? Are people going to fire up their radio to listen to a game, every week? Much less a bunch of games? I don’t get it.

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Why Is It So Hard?

The Problem: Some people want to see a female president, implying that we just ought to put one there, without, say, a vote on the subject. As if it’s time for quotas in government. Can’t we get over that hump already?

My Proposal: You want a woman in office, get the support of a political party, major or minor, foot the bill, run the race, and get the votes. Though I don’t necessarily agree with the current political system in our country, I at least recognize that it’s better than the alternative – namely being stuck with whatever trend du jour happens to strike everyone’s fancy.

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Are National ID Cards Coming?

CNet is reporting that national ID cards may be effectively on the way. Frankly, I don’t get it. The article says only that states must comply with federal antiterrorist standards by 2008. It doesn’t actually say that the federal government will be implementing a national ID card. Even so, who cares?

If you have a drivers license now, there’s a strong chance you have a bar code and/or magnetic information encoded on the card itself already. So the federal government will be mandating the standard containing that information? While I think it’s probably a waste of time and resources, I just don’t get all the hubbub about privacy because it is just a standard – the state will still be controlling the process.

And assuming the process follows its logical course, and one day the federal government has accesss to all that data? It doesn’t really matter, does it? Do you really think that they don’t have access to the data now?