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.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Updated LinkedIn Profile: Master Jedi Confectioner

It is official, I am adding Master Confectioner to my resume.  Now I know what you are saying, The term "confection" does not generally apply to cakes, biscuits, or puddings which require cutlery to consume.

However, I don't want to use the term "Cake Baker", partially because I had nothing to do with the actual cake baking, but mostly because it just doesn't sound as cool.  And everybody exaggerates on their resume right?

I could just write "Cake Decorator", but again, would you just call da Vinci a painter?  I know he mostly did ceiling work and other hard to reach areas, but if his resume just said "painter" he probably wouldn't have landed lots of live-in palace royalty gigs.  It is all about marketing and brand value enhancement.

Back to the point, I am going to assume "confection" because technically, sucrose is the most common sweetening agent in confectioneries, and this cake has an overabundance of sucrose (sugar).

As you can see from the chemical structure diagram  to the left, sucrose starts out mocking Santa Claus, then gets all ooooooo cool, then praises Ohio State.  So to you sucrose, because in my family, our #1 family is :  "Never leave a brother hanging",  I give a hearty IO to your OH.

This praise for The Ohio State Buckeyes alone could make sucrose the coolest sweetening agent.

However, add to that the fact that excessive consumption of confectionery has been associated with increased incidences of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay, and you have yourself a good down home southern state fair, complete with Cotton Candy, Chicken Fried Bacon and a Hot Beef Sundae.


Oh yeah, the cake took me about 2 1/2 hrs to frost last night, most of it was done with a cough syrup syringe, that is my idea contribution to cake decorators everywhere.  My hands are still black form the frosting. 

Who knew that Wife could make a cake in a glass bowl?  That made a perfect Death Star.

Friday, March 02, 2012

What is the biggest animal you can beat up with your bare hands?


I was talking with a colleague and she pulled out a picture of a deer.  This was the same deer that Twin #Trouble stood toe to toe with last year when it was just fawn.

At the time, my colleague who raises longhorns (we live in Texas, that is what we do here), invited us over to meet their new cows.  The boys love playing with them.

She also told us that we could go to the neighbors house to feed some goats.  When we got there, in the goat pen was a baby deer.  Everyone had a great time playing with the goats and feeding the deer, but when Twin #Trouble went to feed the deer, it got spooked and reared up on its hind legs.  I thought Twin #Trouble was pretty brave because he didn't even flinch, but I think if I hadn't stepped in, Twin #Trouble would have gotten clobbered.

In walks another colleague, and after relaying the story of Twin #Trouble, he asks "what is the biggest animal that you can beat up with your bare hands?"

Obviously rhetorical, as I would never advocate violence toward animals, but I think for the sake of conversation, what animal would it be?  One of my other colleagues said a baby giraffe, interesting choice.

So to answer the question?  I think I could take the baby deer (with antlers looks dangerous), but that would be about it, maybe a bobcat, I'm crazy like that.

What do you think?  Could you take a bobcat, or a bear?  Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

#Occupy This... Really Nice Suburban Home

Copied from WITNESS TO INSANITY (with my comments in RED)

Brig and I were invited to a couples Halloween Party last year, and we forgot to take a picture of our costumes. How lame are we?  super lame, I'm pretty sure that was well known, but good to restate for newer readers who might be confused.

It was the first time we actually picked out a couples costume and this was Brig's idea (wait, this is an "at fault" situation?). Amazingly, we had all this stuff in our closet (wow, that is even lamer, what, is WIFE in a Scottish Bag Pipe band that she didn't tell me about?.

In case you can't figure out what who we are you might need to check out this blog entry. It's kind of buried in Brig's post. So if you've given up I'll help you out (I'm sure most of you were smart enough to figure this out, my readership is pretty sophisticated, you all read the backs of cereal boxes and pizza coupons right?). We are Occupy Wall Street Protestors. I guess we weren't totally playing the part because we both showered that day.  Well, and we weren't playing the part well because we were protesting inside a really nice house in the burbs, and I am still employed and I forgot to delete my LinkedIn account and well, maybe Wife showered, but I can't guarantee that I did.

So we went online (but we did it on a Dell, not on a fancy Mac like regular protestors would) and browsed photos of the protests and got all these great ideas (especially as we never attended an actual OWS rally). Mabye I have secrets, Wife didn't tell me about the bag pipe band, so maybe I sneak out at night and go to OWS rallys.  We probably should have taken a picture without the signs so the whole outfits could be enjoyed. What you're totally missing is the book nerd t-shirt I'm sporting with one of our kid's monkey harnesses (note of clarification, wife is a Book Nerd, I'm pretty sure she is the text book definition of Book Nerd, and she is the president of Book Nerds, I have the transcripts, diplomas, SATs, GMATs and LSATs to prove it). At least you can see how hip I am with my side ponytail and hipster glasses. (I spent all night wanting to pull on the pony tail.)

And who can't love Brig in some man-capris? He's rockin' it! (I wanted to claw my own eyes out, wife is just being nice.)

And what's not to love about a nalgene bottle worn on a belt. It's always the accessories that complete an outfit, isn't it? I thought the earbuds were the highlight, but I guess you could make the case that the empty water bottle was a good call out.

And here's a close up of the signs. These were definitely two of the best signs.  Despite your politics, you have to love the protestors, especially the OWS protestors who proudly proclaim to have no message and no specific demands.  I am all for this because it sounds an awful lot like "Camping" and I love camping, and they get to do it without paying tent fees, and they get to shake down food cart vendors in lower Manhattan for free food.  The only thing better than food cart food in lower Manhattan is FREE food cart food in lower Manhattan.

#Occupy

Thursday, February 23, 2012

What Did You Give Up for Lent?

I pose the question, what did you give up for Lent?  I know, I know, I'm not Catholic, but I have always had a lot of Catholic friends, so I like to play along.  After all, I am sure that they are bored of asking me (every Monday morning), what did you do this weekend, in which I would answer soccer/basketball, naps and CHURCH for 3 Hours. 

So I figure it is the least I can do as my friend's struggle to give up chocolate, sodas, favorite TV shows and other assorted things that give us but temporary pleasure, but we know long term are just going to kill us faster.

Aside:  A friend of my wife and I told us that her son was giving up his Birthday party for Lent, his birthday is in October...  I like this kid's style!  Gaming the system has always been one of my greatest strengths, but I have been bested by a child.  And that is the only time this week that has happened IF..... you don't count Twin #1 lapping me on the track last night, YES, there were witnesses, and YES, I pretended not to notice.

So, what did I give up for Lent?  Diet Coke, who did I notify of this just YESTERDAY!  Wife, yes, I told Wife I was giving up Diet Coke for Lent.  What did wife buy at Target today?  TWO 24 PACKS of DIET COKE. 

Whhhhaaaat?

Exactly.  Now some of you probably remember THIS.  Yep, that was the post where I lauded Wife for her foresight into the futures trading market when she bough 2 24 packs of Diet coke at the start of the Summer of 2010.  I bowed to her knowledge of commodity pricing and retail trend analysis.  So you are probably thinking, "what does she know this time?"  You are probably also asking, "should I get in on this early?".

Well, let me tell you, this time she has really outdone herself, not just to torment me and play the Devil's Advocate, no, get this.  She was thinking just one 24 pack, but she went with 2, even though I gave up Diet Coke for Lent, BECAUSE, she could get a FREE Diet Coke Themed notebook with the purchase of 2 - 24 Packs of Diet Coke.

Wow.  It is not even "college ruled" and I have small handwriting.

Oh, and we bought 20 of my favorite notebooks just a year ago at a super back-to-school sale at Wal-Mart, enough for roughly 16 years.

I love Wife.  She knew I would love the notebook.  Am I really that predictable?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Major Award!

Every once in a while I have to post something so that my mom and my mother-in-law don't think I am a complete failure. 

Check this out!  I got this for having the best legs in the office.  No joke, I've been running a lot lately.

Fortunately this week, I got some proof that I am not just a bum that breaks my kids out of school in the middle of the day to go climbing.  I don't even post the good stuff for fear that my kid will get expelled when his school administrators hire another 300 people to do nothing but sit in rubber-rooms and troll family blogs for incriminating information.

Which reminds me, I probably need to pull down my Recession Series blogs from 2009, some teacher might see those and send the cops and CPS over to investigate. Seriously, I can't even read stories anymore about a little girl getting expelled from Junior High because she shared her inhaler at school with a kid having an asthma attack.

In other news, I helped land a couple of really big deals for "The Man", and for my efforts, I got these really sharp cornered glass desktop things.  I've already cut myself twice.  I should probably not scramble to hold them up every time someone walks past my desk.

Being the finance lead for all of Dell's Healthcare and Life Sciences solutions definitely has its perks.  I get to use really fancy titles like Unified Clinical Archiving, Unified Clinical Cloud Computing, Mobile Clinical Computing and Electronic Medical Records, but mostly all that means is that I get to talk with sales guys all day and tell them repeatedly that they shouldn't be afraid to make money.  And don't think I didn't write all of those big titles on my LinkedIn page, because I did.  That said, these solutions teams are great, and because of them, I get glass.

And yes, that is my favorite Rudy's BBQ cup in the Background, thanks for noticing, and yes, I will be eating there next week, and yes, if you are here, you can come with me.  You may also have noticed my Christmas sock thing, that is full of  candy, mostly suckers that I stole from the boys after Halloween to give to them when they come to the office and I am trying to keep them quiet.

So brag brag braggidy brag brag.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Texas Sunset 'n Smiles

One of the things I like best about Texas is is the Sunset. 

Every night we get treated to something different.  Here is an October sunset that we captured right outside our front door.

Enjoy.

In Other Fashion News -Beauhunks

In other fashion news, I am working on some new custom shirts.  Most of the time I would have spent blogging this past year was spent designing a series of dress shirt collars, getting shoulder and side seams to lay flat, and figuring out the perfect stitch length for each piece of my shirts.  I am really really really close to getting these perfect.

Here are a few of my latest shirts.

This is a white 100% cotton broadcloth shirt for a friend of mine.  It is waiting on a second fitting and then it will be done.

The soon to be owner of this shirt is really tall and pretty fit, so I had to make some significant modifications to my standard pattern.  I lengthened the arms and took in the sides to make it fit a bit more snug.  I think this is going to turn out really nice.

The collar stand is Italian 100% cotton pink gingham.  The collar is a 88 degree 2 11/16th inch spread.  The cuffs will mirror the collar.

This is my first shirt with sew in interfacing, I hope it wears well.  I haven't been able to find the perfect iron in interfacing that holds up well in the wash.

My Friends next shirt is going to be made entirely from the pink gingham.  I may have to go buy some of this for myself, it is going to be nice.

This shirt was supposed to be for sale, but I ended up giving it to Twin #1.  He has been bugging me for a blue dress shirt for church for weeks.  I found some really nice blue broadcloth, but haven't had time to put it together, so he got this one.

I am really happy with the way this turned out, the arm plackets are some of my best so far.  It helps that I redesigned them to take some of the bulk out of them so the edge stitching can be perfect.

It is cheap Cotton/Poly, but it has held up really well.

This collar is a 90 degree 2 1/8th in spread and looks perfect with a tie.

I liked this shirt so much, I made one for myself.  This has made it into the office rotation and looks really nice with a pink/purple tie.





This next shirt turned out perfect.  It is the same white cotton broadcloth as above, but with the blue cotton/poly gingham inside the collar stand, back of the cuffs and on the arm placket (basically the reverse of Twin #1's shirt).

This was my first attempt to mix fibers, cotton and a blend, and although I probably won't do it again, it really didn't seem to hurt the finish of the shirt and has held up incredibly well in the wash.

The collar is a 87 degree 2 3/4 inch spread.  I made this pretty wide because Little Guy loves a fat knot in his ties.  I thought a nice spread that winged out a bit on the collar bones would show that off nicely.

Most of my shirts are sporting mitered cuffs, but I have experimented with some straight multi-button cuffs as well.
Little Guy decided to have fun with the photo shoot despite my best efforts to get a really good shot of all of the shirt elements.

Here you can see the inside of the cuffs.