Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Never Inside Man

As you may have heard, there is absolutely no mention of my name being batted around Washington nor the tales of my financial prowess dripping from the Bordeaux stained lips of the Titans of Wall St with respect to my lack of selection as the next US Treasury Secretary.  I'm here to say publicly, that nominating me to this high position is a really bad idea.  Let me explain why, even though it is totally irrelevant, because again, nobody has asked me to take the position.

Part of the reason is that none of those people of influence have ever heard of me.  I certainly do not want to get involved in the tired old games of name dropping and tea sipping and hobnobbing among the old Porcellian penny-pinchers of Lazard Freres.  Who needs the bother, I already have a Rolodex full of mid-level accounting managers, and investment bank summer interns to keep up with.

And let's not even discuss Senate confirmation.  First of all, the minute I step foot inside the hallowed senate chamber, I'd have to determine if you find the right wing of the room from standing in the back, or from the front, it can be very confusing, especially when you have to lie to both of them, and keep the lies straight.  Do I like all debt, or just the debt that goes to finance illegal wars in countries I can't pronounce, I'm working on a good bi-partisan answer to that.

Second of all, if I do manage to find the table at which to sit and be grilled about my perspective on public debts and fiscal cliffs and international trade and deficits, I would probably have a hard time explaining how I managed to get suckered into a credit card scam in college where I signed up for the card, thinking they were going to send me a free TV that never showed up, only to find out that 1/2 of the $300 credit limit went to buy the TV, and that I would only get the TV after making 6 on-time payments for my free TV. 

Too redeem myself, I would merely astound them with tales of quick "on my feet thinking" by telling them that only the very next week I decided that I would only sign up for credit cards if I got the free 2 liter of Diet Coke and T-Shirt up front, "fool me once," right?  I think Senator Reid would hail me as a genius, while throwing streamers and confetti from the gallery on national TV.

Thirdly, It was once said, "Now, officials inside the administration can of course have even more influence — but only if they’re good at a very different kind of game, that of persuading the president and his inner circle in behind-closed-doors discussion."  I've had a couple of sit downs with the president see here and here, I think we have a good rapport, however last time I tried to convince him to mint a Trillion dollar coin with my face on it, he just laughed.  Then I see in the NYT of all places, the president may actually do that, but with his own face on it. 

I don't know whether to call an IP lawyer and see if I can get a 3% royalty on that, since it was my idea, or just be a patriot and let it go.  $30 Billion is a lot of money though, I could finally pay off that TV I never got and finally work my way up to a decent credit score.  I might even be able to ask Visa for a $1,000 credit limit, then I can make it rain in the club this weekend, PBR and Diet Coke on me!

"So FOURTHLY of all, let’s talk frankly about the job I have."  I am an unpaid blogger.  Brig's Blog isn't just some newspaper somewhere, it is a blog, hidden deeply in the servers of Blogger, on the internet among billions of other web pages that you have also never read, some of them in foreign languages, and some of them about Star Trek stuff, in foreign languages, like Klingon.  So being an un-noteworthy blogger isn't a pretty big deal, one I'm grateful to have granted myself.  And those who likewise hold this position and know how to get 47 hits in a single day, can be almost as pompous a windbag as Paul Krugman at the New York Times.  Because like Paul, does anyone doubt that the White House pays attention to what I write?

"By my reckoning, then, and administration job, no matter how senior, would actually reduce my influence."  I can add to the national debt just fine where I am, THANK YOU!  I can continue to demand that the government coddle me until a government crony comes to my house every night to pick the stale government cheese out of my scrappy beard, because after I voted to have the government take away all of the sharp things like razors from American homes, I subsequently voted to have the government provide shaving services to all Americans, but the government shavers went on strike because I sued claiming that not shaving me on Sunday was violating my 1st amendment right to go to church clean shaven, and the government shavers didn't want to have to work weekends, catch 22.

So again, I'm flattered that nobody has considered me to be the next Secretary of the Treasury, I wanted to keep my current job anyway, making fun of the other internet blogger morons that were also not offered the job (Paul Krugman). 

By the way Krugman, the big fancy New York Times only gave you 327 words to tell the world you are a loser and didn't get asked to take the Treas Sec job, and then made an editor read your work and proof it.  I got over a thousand words and didn't need a corporate babysitter to make sure I used commas correctly,,,,, and I only had to embarrass myself in front of like 100 people to do it.  Lunch Tuesday?

Friday, September 28, 2012

Brig Wins Emperor of Atlantis Engineering Medal of Galactic Freedom

So, in a closed door meeting I was recently awarded the Emperor of Atlantis Engineering Medal of Galactic Freedom.  I know what you are thinking, "WOW, Brig is a pretty awesome guy if he can win an award so awesome and prestigious that I have never heard of it, he must be a member of the Galactic .005%, hobnobbing with the Masters of the Universe at parties I will never be invited to."

That could be true.  I am pretty awesome.

But it got me thinking,as He-Man awarded me the Flying Purple Titanium Tiger, which is the symbol of the Atlantis Engineering Medal of Galactic Freedom,  did I really deserve this?

I was also thinking that He-Man was really small, he told me it was so he could fit inside the TV, that seemed to make a lot of sense. How else was he going to get in there?

Sure, the Thunder Cats were there cheering me on, the entire Legion of Doom was there, [though I'm not sure how Grod got there, last night he got captured by Batman in the #2 Little Reader that I read to the boys] . 

Snake Eyes said some nice things about me including:  "“We see a great deal of emphasis and attention paid to ensuring that people know about galactic Freedom,"  he continued, “That is a really important message.”

Aqua Man, the self appointed acting Chairman of the Emperor of Atlantis Engineering Medal of Galactic Freedom Selection Committee showed the Grand Assembly an un-sourced document citing my promotion of galactic nuclear nonproliferation and a "new climate" in intergalactic relations that I had fostered by giving a speech to my 4 year old twins before bed last night, but especially in reaching out to the Martian world by advising others not to stereotype all of them as being big-headed green automatons.

“Over the past four years, Brig has gone to great efforts to make asteroids less menacing and distant planets more accessible than ever, and to provide people with information about those planets that they can use in their daily lives,” said Voltron, who noted that Brig also received an award for his commitment to open inter-planetary travel. However a press release later that day noted "The March 2011 presentation of that award was held shortly after Brig blew up one of the several planets that served only mayo on their super-sized galacto-burgers, Brig prefers mustard."

As I continued to ponder the great honor that I had received and whether my actions warranted such accolades, I ran across this story on Bloomberg.com. The article talks about how even though your actions are in direct opposition to the award being given, the fact that you may have "emphasized" or "encouraged" the importance and necessity of the underlying good work is enough to earn the honors of self appointed honor bestowers [not a word BTW] for actually accomplishing that great work, even though you didn't.

So, in the spirit of giving people awards for hypocrisy and self delusion.  I will award great praise and benevolent honors (and a medal [will probably be plastic, which is probably why it is not spelled "metal"] to the reader that leaves the best comment "promoting" some great cause or idea for which you have absolutely no intention of ever working to improve or fulfill.  Good Luck!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Career Day... Is Ex-Con a Career?

Career Day.  I get it, schools and teachers want kids to explore the idea of different career choices, but do schools really give kids all of the information to make these kinds of decisions?  Add to that the element of dressing up and you are going to get a lot of firemen, nurses and doctors.

Why are there going to be lots of firemen, nurses and doctors?  Because lots of kids have access to various elements of the costume, especially if there is a uniform.  This is good as we need lots of these kinds of workers.

The topic swirling around Facebook and Instagram last night was "What does your kid want to dress up as for Career Day, and what did you finally convince him/her to be".  I thought I had heard it all.

Some kids told their parents they want to be Olympic gymnasts and "track runners", then it got crazy, one kid wants to be a garbage man and another a guy in jail.  WHAT?  A guy in jail?

Now I am not opposed to the kid wanting to go to jail, but it all depends on how he gets there and if he has a "Post Imprisonment Planned Embezzlement" (PIPETM).  More on that later.

My son wanted to be a policeman, but we don't have a uniform for that, and I hate polyester.  Personally I think that cops should be able to wear more cotton based uniforms, the SWAT guys do.  In my opinion, any job that requires a really odd shaped hat is aesthetically and functionally problematic.

Then he wanted to be a karate instructor.  Not too bad, helping people become self sufficient from attackers, or better yet, he could be like Cobra Kai Dojo Sensei John Kreese.  "No Mercy!".  Then he could tell a bunch of little Johnny Lawrence's to sweep the knees and win a decade's worth of karate trophies.  But we didn't have a karate uniform either, so no dice.

I started thinking, maybe I should have a sit down with the kid and ask him about what he is thinking, and what his goals are.  Then I could give him some of my famous advice like:

"Only go to college if you promise you won't go to class and let the professors fill your head with useless information."  and;

"Make sure you hang out at the frat house enough to find the really smart kids with good ideas, and then either partner with them, or get them to sign something that you can use to sue them later on when they get really successful."

Then I asked him what kind of house he expected to live in, he said big, with a pool.  Then he said he wanted a submarine, etc.

So I started to fill him in on reality.  "Little Guy, If you want to have stuff like that, you need to know the facts, you either have to be really smart, and genetics is not on your side here, or you have to find a way to leech onto really smart people.  So you should consider being a venture capitalist."

He was intrigued, especially when I started showing him pictures of  yachts owned by VCs.  When he saw a picture of the Maltese Falcon (Left) owned by Tom Perkins of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, the deal was sealed.

I accidentally let him get a glimpse of the Paul Allen yacht "Octopus", and he started asking questions like:  "How many helicopters can you land on the Falcon?" 

I had to fess up and tell him "None."  To which he replied, "I want one with with 2 helipads and a submarine like the Octopus."  I told him not to set his expectations too high, everyone knows if you want the helipads and the submarine, you have to be the smart guy with the idea, not the guy who finances that guy's idea.  Again, sorry kid, it's not in the genes.

Then he asked, how do I dress like a venture capitalist?  This is when I got excited.  So I showed him the typical uniform of a VC is jeans, belt, dress shirt, tie and shiny leather shoes.

Now in a perfect world the Jacket would be Zegna, the tie Hermes, dress shirt by Beauhunks, jeans by whoever, belt by Gucci, and shoes by Berluti.  But we had to settle for Jacket by Walmart, Tie and Dress shirt by Calvin Klein, jeans by GAP, belt by generic, and shoes by Nordstrom.  If you can't tell though, he is using a five dollar bill as his pocket square to finish the ensemble.  I say close enough for a 6 year old.

I have been doing some research, and despite a recent singular outlier, I cannot prove that when you retire from being a venture capitalist and run for president, you are required to wear "mom jeans."  I think that was just a personal preference.

So this is how he went to school today, and when anyone asks, he says "I am a venture capitalist, I give people money to start businesses, hire people and make products, like Apple, Google and Facebook".

Hopefully he doesn't end up like the kid that wanted to be in jail, otherwise I'll have to teach him about establishing a good "PIPETM" or a plan to stash the cash in various overseas numbered bank accounts where he could go upon release and live off the ill-gotten gains for the rest of his life in a nice seaside villa in a non-extradition country.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Open Letter: NFL Players Association, Chill Out!

Dear NFL Players Association,

Chill out!  Seriously, your whining about the Replacement Referees is getting annoying, and a bit hypocritical.  Your latest statement:  "We believe there is substantial evidence that you have failed in your obligation to provide as safe a working environment as possible," is idiotic.

How exactly do the refs provide a "safe working environment" for your players?

You do know that all the Referee can do after one of your own players/members executes on a $10,000 bounty to critically injure another one of your own players/members inflicting enough damage to possibly end their career, is pick up the football and walk it 45 feet closer to the end zone making it 13% more likely that the injured players team will score 3 or maybe 6 points.

That injured player is thankful for that ref's service, because now that broken neck is going to feel much better after his team racks up those 3 points, but still loses by 26.

You do know that it is not the Refs that are grabbing face-masks, horse collar tackling, eye poking, arm stomping and helmet spearing your players right?  Well, OK, there was some confusion with this Ref who had a WWII flashback when he heard a cannon shoot off after this guy scored a touchdown and thought he was punching a communist while storming the beaches at Normandy, but nobody is perfect.

You may claim that in the absence of "different" referees, your own players/members have no choice but to critically injure one another, but seriously, do you really want to do that?  Are your players so undisciplined that in the absence of a different guy in a Foot Locker uniform, they can't control themselves?

I have an idea, why don't you sit down with your own players/members and ask them nicely to try to not kill one another, despite the officiating.  Is that outside your sphere of influence?  Do your own players/members not bear any responsibility for their on field actions?

My favorite part is that you then go on to berate the NFL owners by saying: "Your actions are looking more and more like simple greed."  Really?  You do remember that you just got done negotiating your own sweetheart deal with the NFL right?  Did you just take the NFL's first offer and thank them for their generosity?  Maybe if you didn't hold out for so much $$$, the NFL wouldn't have to pinch pennies everywhere else.

I seem to remember lots of "We are the product, without us there would be no NFL".  Do you now think there might be something else other than your own players that are required to make the league run?  Apparently your product is defective without adult supervision.

Oh, you think the league should just give up whatever the refs want?  Oh, that changes everything,  good strategy.  In that case I need to go to buy Disney World for my kids, otherwise they are never going to eat their vegetables.  The mind and logic of a 4 year old is an amazing thing.

Just wait until the Lawnmowers , Electrical and Helmet Makers Unions all go on strike.  Then I'd like to hear you complain about playing Monday Night Football in an unlit parking lot without helmets.  But hey, at least you might have good Refs to keep your guys safe, right?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Brig Chats National Security with President Obama

If you remember, I sat down with President Obama back in February 2010 to have a chat about his upcoming healthcare legislation.  That meeting went pretty well, we came to a meeting of the minds on healthcare and cooler heads ultimately prevailed. 

So I wasn't really surprised when he decided to stop by again this week, he is looking for a bump in his ratings since he didn't get one from his convention, and I guess he thought that my 3 readers were "community thought leaders" in their communities, so anything he tells me will reach at least 9 other people.

Since he is getting beat up because of the new CBO estimates that his signature healthcare law will double in cost from $940B to $1.76T, the President suggested we stay far away from that topic and focus on one of his administrations strengths, National Security.  Here is a transcript of our discussion:

Brig:  Mr. President, thanks for coming by.  I'm always happy to have you and your security staff over to the house for a chat.

President:  Brigham, we love coming here.  Sorry Reggie Love couldn't make it, he had a good time throwing the twins around last time, but you did hear he is getting ready to finish his MBA at Wharton.  Funny story about that, he actually made me write his recommendation to get in, I thought just stamping the form with my presidential seal would do it, but I had to write 3 paragraphs about a time when Reggie encountered a hostile situation outside his sphere of influence and how he resolved the issue to the satisfaction of everyone involved.  I wrote a bunch of nonsense and taped a thumb drive to the application with video of Reggie walking out of an interview with Fox News. 

Brig:  Hilarious!  Hey, lets talk about Obamacare.

President:  No.

Brig:  Noted.  National Security?

President:  That would be great.  I saw your copy of "No Easy Day" on your desk, did you read it?

Brig:  Yes, I read it last weekend.  It was really good.

President:  Did you read about the part when I shot Bin Laden?

Brig:  Ummmm, yes, nice work.

President:  I meant when I told that Navy Seal guy to shoot him, of course.  I wasn't there, I was bagging my putter on the 16th green when I got a call that those military guys were on a BlackHawk helicopter flying into Pakistan.  Good thing I got the call though, if I had finished the round, the course pro would have forced me to set my handicap back 7 strokes.  I barely got to the White house in time to see the action live.  Thank goodness Hillary was standing by ready to TiVo it for me in case I ran into traffic.  She is the best secretary.

Brig:  Let's talk about National Security Briefings.  There has been a lot of controversy around this subject, and the rumor is that you never go to them, in fact it looks like you only go to 38% of them, is that right?

President:  Kind of, most of that is spin from the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.  I get the briefings, I just get them on my iPad.  I get nervous sitting in a room with Military Generals and other people that are carrying guns, especially if the guns are loaded.

Brig:  So i hear.  So you read the briefings on your iPad.  By yourself?

President:  Yes, I can read...  let's not get all crazy Breitbart "Obama didn't really go to college" here.  Although I will admit that sometimes I have Siri read them to me.  I had her voice changed to Marilyn Monroe's voice, Apple takes care of me like that.  #itisgreattobepresidentkillertoys

Brig:  I don't think saying "hashtag" really does anything.  But sorry, I did not mean to imply that you can't read, I mean you were the editor of the Harvard Law Review, of course you can read.  I meant are you in the Oval Office by yourself when you read them.

President:  Sometimes, but sometimes I read them while watching Sponge Bob with the girls before school.  I believe that national security starts at home, Michelle told me last week that the biggest threat to national security was obesity and that teaching our kids to eat right will lessen that threat, did you know that?

Brig:  Wait, what?  Back to the point Mr. President, how does that work?  They email you the brief to your Gmail account?  Is that secure?  You know that Apple was just hacked and all of the user names stolen right?

President:  Don't be ridiculous Brigham, I have a Yahoo Mail account.  And the brief didn't say anything about the hacking, so it must not have been that big a deal.  I had to write in the obesity thing myself and send it back because they missed that part last week.

Brig:  Fair enough.  So Middle East, thoughts?

President:  Yeah, love that Arab Spring.  Democracies popping up all over the place.  People's voices being heard for the first time in decades.

Brig:  You do know about the Embassy attacks in Lybia, Egypt, Syria, etc?

President:  Of course I know about those, they were in the Briefs.  Sad events, somebody should look into those.

Brig:  Isn't that your job?

President:  I have people for that, somewhere.

Brig:  Let me just throw this out there, but isn't the purpose of the security briefing to keep you informed about security threats, and give you a chance to ask questions, get clarifications, or give orders to keep America safe?

President:  Calm down a little bit.  I read most of the briefings, I figure that if there is anything serious that my national security team would brief me on it in person.

Brig:  You mean they would schedule a national security briefing?

President:  Exactly.

Brig:  Wow.

President:  I know, the gears of government keep turning.

Brig:  Mr President, thank you for coming by again.  I always love having you here and getting your teleprompters perspective on national and global events.

President:  It is my pleasure.  But I have to say I was disappointed to hear that you named your kid after Mitt Romney's kid.  I had some great names picked out for #4.

Brig:  Yeah, sorry about that, that was an accident.  We named him after a character from Atlas Shrugged, and found out about the Romney thing later.

President:  You were being ironic though, right?  I know you and the wife are hipsters, love the picture by the way, I like how you incorporated my campaign logo into your OWS sign.

Brig:  That was a picture from Halloween. we were, never mind, always happy to help.  Best wishes in your upcoming election!

President:  Thank you.  Are you going to blog this interview?  Michelle loves your blog, she told me I had to tell you that.  She especially liked it when you went all black ops and infiltrated the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, that was hilarious.  That James O'Keefe has nothing on you!

Monday, July 09, 2012

New Baby Balboa

New Baby Balboa showed up today, and he was a whopper.  Not literally the delicious sandwich from Burger King, but the same basic effect.  So here is how it went down.

Lady during her pre-game pep-talk @ 12:41pm.  I'm now sure what the nurses thought of my pep-talk, but it was all the good stuff you might hear at half-time of the Rose Bowl.  "Keep Your Head in the Game!"  "Don't, I said Don't...  Drop the Ball."  "Push like you mean it, no sissy pushes."  Then I just gave her a classic "good game" and she was good to go.
This picture is literally a sum total of all the work, no joke, she only had to do this face scrunch thing like 3 times @1:00pm.  This is where coaching really makes a difference.  I was all like, "hey, he's almost here", and"holy cow, he is getting close" and "just a little bit more, and he's gonna be really really really close."  Then bam...  literally seconds after one of my 36 classic morale boosters, BAM...  kid is out.

And then @ 1:22pm, this 6 week old looking kid (8 pounds, 15 ounces) is all cleaned up and wife, having not even broken a sweat,  is looking like she is ready to hit some Enoteca downtown in the fancy clothes, followed by some dancing and a late night run to Gourdoughs.

For those of you looking for pictures:

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I Am Spartan!

The big story of the week has nothing to do with me surviving my first Spartan Race, it is all about how Little Guy just crushed his.  He was literally flying.  I wish I took video of him, it was awesome.  Somehow that is how I envisioned myself dominating the course.  That vision came to a crashing halt 2 miles into my race.

Little Guy did awesome, if there was something to jump he jumped it, if there was something to go threw he dove through it, crawl under he slid under it.  He was on fire.  He never let up, it was full blast the whole way.

In the pic of him below crawling behind those 4 kids, yeah, before they got the next 5 feet, he was already past them and up and running. 

I did horrible, I finished bottom 1/3rd out of 3200 racers.  One of my colleagues took 3rd in his age group and 35th overall, wow.  So now I am determined to make sure I am in great shape for next year's race, which I have already registered for.

The weather was perfect, it was about 80 degrees, partly cloudy, a nice breeze and cool water to run/wade through now and then.  The Spartan Sprint is advertised as 3+ miles and 15+ obstacles.  And by 3+ miles, they mean 6 miles (5.8miles but who was mapping it).  By 15+ obstacles, they mean about 24 of them, and that is lumping the sets of walls together as a single obstacle.

Look how optimistic I was at the start as I high five'd the boys out of the gate.  The first 2 miles were great, and I did pretty well, it was basically a trail run, and the trail was awesome.  It was up and down some nice hills, across some rocky outcroppings every now and again, it was just great. 

We hit some water, nothing big, just some ankle deep stuff.  Then we hit the first real obstacle, a 4 foot wall to jump, followed by a wall to crawl under, then another wall to jump.  After that is was more running, and more walls etc.

More running then monkey bars, log hops, really big walls, chest deep water, obstacles in chest deep water, then a 20' high net climb, then concrete blocks to carry, a horizontal plywood wall traverse, uphill sandbag carry, it was a blast.

Then it got ugly. Crawling through mud up and down a few small 3' bumps under barbed wire, then the worst thing of the day,  a small PVC pipe to crawl through.  I should have skipped it and done the 30 burpees (jumping squat thrusts).  I got in this thing, and there were about 10 people already in it, it was slow, full of dirt and nasty and probably 50-60 feet long.  The guy in front of me kicked me a few times, and then took a nap.  I couldn't breathe and when I got out I was basically spent but immediately had a 100' rocky climb at a really steep angle until I got to a water station where they told us we were half way done.  What?  I thought we had about a mile left, nope, 3 miles left.

The last 3 miles were really fun, except the mile I was basically hobbling because my left quad seized up, I lost about 1/2 hr on that one.  But I got it worked out, and got back to a really slow jog until the mud hills.  There were a few sets of those.  The mud was nasty, but at least is was nice and cool.

The final half mile was fun.  Mud hills, a rope climb out of thigh deep mud (which I didn't get up more than about 6 feet), fire jump, log walk over a pond, spear throw, more mud hills, big wall with a rope to climb and then about 100 or more yards of mud crawl/roll under barbed wire to the final 30 feet complete with 2 gladiators trying to hit you with big batons.

I finished, with a smile on my face. 

This is what I always thought running should be, I am not interested in marathons through big concrete jungles, or bike rides along endless miles of asphalt.  Give me 6 miles of mud, water, monkey bars and concrete blocks, and I am game.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Project Nighty-Night

This has been a busy month for building projects.  With a new baby (boy) on the way, Wife and I decided that we needed to move some people around and update the look of the house a little bit, but I am not a huge fan of spending thousands of dollars of hard earned $$$$  Moolah to do it.

Ill gotten gains are another issue, I am fine wasting those $$$$s on furniture and vacations, I'd like to send out a big thank you to Citi Group (C- NYSE) and Joez Jeans (JOEZ- NasdaqCM) for our Disney World vacation and living room couch respectively.  However I would like to send out a big thumbs down to Biosign Technologies (BITKF- OTC Markets) for losing 90% of the cash in my slush fund account, sorry kids, no vacation for you this year. 
My 300% run up on my 20,000 shares of Medical Alarm Concepts Holding, Inc. (MDHI.OB--OTC BB) didn't do me any favors as I bought each share for $0.0025, so the $200 I made on that was pretty paltry.  I bought it as a joke to humor my boss that often comes along with some hair-brained stock idea, so his eyes got pretty wide when I told him I just picked up 20k shares, [for $50], I think my transaction fees cost me more than the stock.

So, being that I don't sleep on commercially made beds, I decided that the first issue to tackle would be new beds for everyone.

Little Guy was my first victim.  We decided to put him in what was our guest room, but leave him on the queen bed.  Not that he is getting to big for a twin, but he probably would outgrow it in 6 months or so anyway.Picture above is post assembly, but pre-paint.

Wife found a cool website called ana-white.com that shows how to make lots of Pottery Barn furniture on the cheap.  All of our new beds are from the Farmhouse collection.  The instructions are super easy to navigate, and the shopping lists and cut lists are nice (though I would recommend reading all of the comments before starting to find the 1 or two options/problems in the plans).  
This bed went together really easy, even though I had to pretend to be living in Amish Country and use an actual hammer to hit nails, and a paint brush to apply paint, even though in the real world people use nail guns, paint sprayers and air compressors to do all of the hard work.
So I threw on knee pads and got to hammering. 

Outcome- Success, bed is black and assembled and slept on.

Next it was on the the Twins Twin beds ( I thought worst case scenario, it would sound really cool).  I bought all of the wood for two and assembled them together.  This took no time at all, especially since I whined a lot about how my knees were killing me and a nice air compressor would do wonders for my health and speed.  

Outcome- Success, Wife agreed to the air compressor and nail gun. Oh, and the twins got new beds too.

Wife's bed.  This was trickier,  because I wanted to do this as a surprise.  Wife happened to be out of town for a few days, so I worked from home and entertained the kids when they weren't at school or playing at friends' houses.  

Well, wife came back a day earlier than expected, so I didn't quite get it done, but her's is the same Farmhouse bed, but it is an off-white/cream color. Picture to come.

Outcome:  Success, wife is happy, and that is always a success.

Pottery Barn wanted $5,990 for these four beds (including shipping and tax), I clocked in right around $560, and that included the air compressor and nail gun.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

And it came to pass... That Twin #Trouble told a Story

I don't generally use this blog to evangelize, however tonight I have to make an exception.  Every night at around 7pm we have a bedtime routine that we stick pretty close to.  The little guys put on their PJs, then I help them brush their teeth, then I sit on the floor in the twins bedroom and read scriptures with them, to many of us, this would be the Bible, for the last year however, in our home, we have been reading from the Book of Mormon (we are Mormons, just in case you, like many Texans believe, that my name is Brigham because I am from New England, what?). 

For those of you that don't know what the Book of Mormon is, you can read about what it is HERE (official and Free) or HERE (Broadway version for like $600 per seat + Flight to NYC + Hotel + a healthy dishing of South Park snarkiness).  

In short, The Book of Mormon is the history and writings of ancient prophets in the Americas following the time of Lehi, a prophet that was lead out of Jerusalem about 600 BC to the Americas.  2 of Lehi's sons, Nephi and Laman spawn two warring factions known as Nephites and Lamanites.  Basically for about 1000 years, these two groups take turns being the good guys who follow Jesus.

More nighttime routine-  Then we usually throw in some videos, often times this is a YouTube version of "Punk Rock Girl" by The Dead Milkmen, but lately it has been clips from the new animated Green Lantern series (very well done I might add).  Then Wife takes Little Guy to his room to read books, while I read with the twins (right now we are working our way through the letter sounds, we made it to "D" tonight. 

Then we cap off the day with Prayers.  Everybody gets to say their own prayers, followed by family prayer.  Prayers are great, we are working on helping the boys learn that God isn't a Jeanie that grants wishes, if he was, we would have a Tiger in our back yard tonight.

Fast forward to tonight.  After books and letters, I went to throw the twins in their beds when both of them yell that they need to read me some scriptures.  They have done this before, so I figured I would humor them.  So first Twin #1 opens up this little blank notebook (actual notebook pictured below)  and starts yammering about something random, and it didn't make a lot of sense. 

Then Twin #Trouble yanks the little blank notebook away and starts:

"And it came to pass (if you are a Mormon you are probably laughing really hard about that line right now, if you're not laughing, just read the book) that the Lamanites came and started to fight with the Lamanites (probably meant Nephites), then a really big Lamanite came but he got beat up.  Then the Lamanites liked God, and then the other guys were bad and they got beat up.  Amen."

They do listen, so be careful what they hear.  #Awesome.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Labor Dispute: 6 Yr Old Under Investigation by Obama Administration

Austin TX.  A 6 year old this week is under investigation by the Obama Administration and the National Labor Relations Board after it was confirmed that he ignored a recent NLRB appeal to an administrative law judge forcing Boeing to make Airplanes only in Union friendly states like Washington and far from more business friendly States like South Carolina and Texas.

"Little Guy" Balboa, 6 (Left),  is under investigation for allegedly procuring aircraft materials under a historically widely used, but now under investigation,  distribution channel and assembling the aircraft in Texas.  When asked for a comment, Little Guy noted that he did not know what a National Labor Relations Board was, and noted that he had not contacted his local aircraft manufacturers union to discuss a possible deal.

The local aircraft union president said that he was looking forward to talks with Balboa, but that he would only agree to a deal where Balboa would pay all labor costs, plus overtime and expenses for 4 qualified aircraft assemblers.  He noted that the project was expected to take about 6 weeks, and also that the workers would require about 6 months of paid training on the specific type of aircraft to be assembled.  Additionally, he also noted that the assembly process involved dangerous components known to cause death if not handled correctly.  He specifically cited the warning label (below) on the component packaging.  The family has claimed that they have read and are in strict compliance with the warnings.

The timing of the project is pending as the government is assessing the need for an environmental impact study for which the Obama Administration has also filed suit with the EPA.  Though the administration noted that they would forgo the need for a study if the boy posted a $3.6B Superfund Bond with the EPA.

When asked for comment, a Department of Commerce spokesman noted that while the building materials in question may have been procured legally, the chain of custody of the materials could not be verified. The spokesman specifically noted that "We have reason to believe that the "agents" that brought the materials to be "dumped" were not the original procurers of the materials,"  he continues, "We did a background check on each "agent" and none of them had a credit card, and each of the products was purchased with a credit card from local merchants known to do significant amounts of business with countries such as China, Korea and Vietnam, so the transaction looks very suspect to us at this time, and we will have no further comment until we finish the investigation, though we have reason to believe that each of them had a close family member involved, maybe a parent."

The department contends that the materials were "given" to Balboa via a widely abused process often used by many countries wherein those countries would "dump" excess inventory at below market rates in countries were they are trying to acquire a footprint in commerce and drive local suppliers out of business.

In this case it appears that the suppliers all got together at a single location and "gave" their products to Balboa after a lavish reception that included a fully catered dinner and a "one of a kind" desert specifically designed by a Master Confectioner, who was also on hand at the reception to personally serve each "guest".

The family contends that the anti-dumping claims should not apply in this case as "consideration" (or payment, in non-legalese), while not immediate or documented in terms of receipts, is reciprocal for each agent supplying materials, and except in rare cases is done at fair arm's length rates.  The family noted that this consideration is generally spaced out over the course of the year, sometimes provided before or after this particular occurrence, though exact dates could not be readily provided.  The consideration is often given in cash, gift cards or "payments in kind" (legalese for exchanging one item for another "like" or similar item).

The government in anticipation of this "fair consideration" line of defense also invoked the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) whereby the government makes it illegal to bribe foreign or domestic officials in return for favorable commercial access to a specific territory or contract.  When asked about the alleged bribes, the accused's (not a word) father, Brigham, noted that giving out small tokens of appreciation to each supplier or "guest" as he referred to them, was normal and completely within government guidelines and societal norms.

The family said in a statement through their attorney that they would stand by their son, grandson, nephew and brother and fight what they see as an unjust government overreach into little kids' birthday parties.

The family has also vowed to to fight to help families everywhere feel safe knowing that if their son or daughter receives a Lego set, erector set or Lincoln Logs which require assembly at their birthday party, they will be able to legally resist the tortious union bosses and their enforcers.  In that spirit, the family has also vowed to join Boeing to fight government's war against manufacturing.  They believe that any child in any state should be allowed to build Lego airplanes without having to submit to backroom union payoffs and government red tape.

Additionally, the family attorney said that the family will continue to provide a small bag of candy, pencils and stickers to their guests despite the fear of investigation and prosecution from the federal government in order to ensure the happiness of their guests.

I crack myself up.