Thursday, August 30, 2007

Bathroom Etiquette for Men

Following Senator Larry Craig's arrest for disorderly conduct in a bathroom stall at the Minneapolis airport, Grumpy would like to offer tips for the men out there who are not looking for sexual contact in a bathroom, but whose personal habits might inadvertently lead them to fall victim to a bathroom sting operation. Yes, we all know Sen. Craig is innocent (he said so, didn't he?); he just forgot some simple rules that may have prevented this whole sordid affair:
  • Finding an open stall. This is where Sen. Craig initially went wrong. Never, never "look through the crack in the door" to see if the stall is occupied. Just walk up to each stall door and, if the door is closed, make a fist and bang hard (once only) on the door. If the door doesn't open and appears to be locked, and if a male voice yells "Occupied, you dumb shit!" move on to the next stall door. If the door opens, and is unoccupied, you may enter. Important note: If the door opens and the stall is occupied, move on to the next stall door anyway. Either the guy in the stall is a complete idiot and doesn't know how to lock the door, or ... well, you definitely don't want to go there. Move along.
  • In the stall: Luggage position. So, you've got your roller bag in the stall with you (because you'd be a complete idiot to leave it outside the stall). Now, where do you put it? The officer who nabbed Sen. Craig said that Craig "placed his roller bag against the front of the stall door" and that his "experience has shown that individuals engaging in lewd conduct use their bags to block the view from the front of their stall." C'mon, officer, where else is a guy supposed to put his bag? You've spent some time in those stalls. Surely you don't expect us to place our bags to the side? Is there any room other than directly in front, by the door, where you can park your roller bag?
  • In the stall: Foot position. Guys, this is very important, so listen up. The side panels of the bathroom stall extend from the ceiling all the way to the floor. No, don't try to tell me that there's a gap at the bottom and that the top of the walls are only about 6-feet high. Listen very carefully: The walls of the bathroom stall extend from the ceiling to the floor. Period. Do not at any time allow your feet to cross the [imaginary] boundary of the stall side panels. If you have an extraordinarily wide stance while seated on the toilet (as, it seems, Sen. Craig does), start training yourself to keep your feet inside the boundaries of your own stall. Wandering feet are not good.
  • In the stall: Hands. We all know how boring it can be sometimes when you're sitting on the toilet. What can you do while you're waiting for the event? Guys, this is important: Under no circumstances should you 1) pick up loose pieces of toilet paper from the floor, or 2) allow your hands to break the side panel barrier (see the previous item). First, you don't know where those loose pieces of toilet paper on the floor have been. Sure, you may have OCD and you may have a burning desire to clean the stall. Don't do it! The airport has people who are paid to clean the bathrooms; let them do it. Second, keep your hands to yourself. Don't "wave" at the guys in the stalls next to you—either above or under the side panels. If a guy next to you politely asks for some toilet paper because his stall has run out, you should fold up an adequate amount of TP and toss it over the side panel. Don't go under—that might result in hand-to-hand contact (and subsequent arrest).
  • In the stall: Happy feet. Suppose you're a guy who's always listening to your I-Pod and you tap your feet—to the music—a lot. Or, no I-Pod, but you just move to your own beat and tap your feet a lot. In either case, you're going to have to learn not to tap your feet while you're sitting on the toilet. For obvious reasons.
  • In the stall: Noises. This didn't come up during Sen. Craig's bust, but you should nevertheless pay heed. Excessive noise (like grunting and sighing) while you're in the stall could be misconstrued. You're not on the tennis court. It's best to be as quiet as you can.
  • Exiting the stall. When you're finished, you should get the hell out of the bathroom as quickly as you can (don't forget to wash up first, though). Don't make eye contact with anyone else—especially if that person emerged from the stall next to yours immediately following your exit. If someone tries to engage you in a conversation, pretend that you only speak Lithuanian and get out quickly.
Hopefully, by following these simple rules, you can avoid falling into the same trap that the unfortunate Senator Craig (R-ID) encountered.

For more information, you can visit The International Center for Bathroom Etiquette.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Grumpy for U.S. Attorney General

Dear President Bush:
Please appoint me as your new Attorney General. I have many of the same qualities you have come to admire in your current [outgoing] AG Gonzales:
  • I have watched many hours of Law and Order (ka-chung), from which I have gained a great knowledge of legal matters.
  • I have a very bad memory. To help me with this, I have written the following on a small piece of paper (which I carry with me at all times): "I do not recall."
  • Like AG Gonzales, I too prefer to delegate real work to others.
  • Also like AG Gonzales, I would hire some young people for key positions in the Justice department. For example, I think this young lady would be perfectly suited for a job in my Justice department.
  • I'm Ok with torture—as long as it isn't me being tortured.
  • And, finally, I would be your very best friend. (I can come visit the ranch, right?)
Please let me know as soon as possible if I have the job.

Your friend (wink wink),


ps: If I get the job, I will need to purchase a new suit (and tie, and shoes, etc.). Can you loan me $20, as Wal-Mart no longer extends me credit.

Monday, March 12, 2007

California Wildfires: Where are you?

There are wildfires in southern California. I know it, because I've seen it on the tv and Internet news sites (such as Yahoo! News and Google News) also have stories about the fires. The wildfires have been big stories for the last few days. But, aside from knowing that the fires are somewhere near Anaheim or are in Orange county, just try to figure out—using the Internet—exactly where the fires are. Go ahead, try.

I've got relatives who live somewhere east of Los Angeles. I know the name of their city, and I know where their city is located; but, I've had a devil of a time figuring out where their city is in relation to the wildfires.

You would think that in this age of the Internet the various online news services would place, within their stories about the wildfires, a link to a map showing the locations of the fires. You'd think it would be easy for either Yahoo! News or Google News, considering each have their own mapping tools. Nope. How about ABC News or CNN? Nope. None of the online news services seem to feel the necessity of providing a map showing the fire locations. What's up with that?

The GeoMac (Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination) website allows you to find the wildfires on an interactive map. However, the interactive interface for this site leaves a lot to be desired. It's better than nothing, though.

So, I'm left with trying to figure it out myself. I eventually did, and I now know that my relatives are in a safe area. But why couldn't it have been easier?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

EULA Madness

Corel Paint Shop Pro 10 EULA
… or How to Make Sure No One Reads Your EULA. Enlarge the image to see an example of how not to present your EULA. Would you bother to read this? Corel seems to think their customers might. I doubt it.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

MIT Developing Micro Gas Turbine Engine on a Chip

Check out this news release from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT is developing a micro gas turbine engine the size of a computer chip that "could run 10 times longer than a battery of the same weight."

I wonder, though: How's it going to work at the gas station? "Hi. Fill up the car. And, I'd like a quarter ounce of Premium in my laptop." If you think exploding lithium laptop batteries is a problem, just wait until everyone's got a gas turbine engine in their laptop. Say goodbye to laptops on planes.

Care of: Boing Boing.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mt. Hood Land Swap Deal: An Ethical Problem for Two Congressmen?

U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer, (D) ORU.S. Representative Greg Walden, (R) ORFor several days the Oregonion has treated us to two articles (Aug. 6, Aug. 8), an editorial and an opinion piece about the proposed land swap deal on Mt. Hood. This deal, brokered by Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D) and Greg Walden (R), proposes to swap U.S. government land in the Government Camp area for land currently owned by Mt. Hood Meadows Oregon LP, a limited partnership controlled by Portland businessman Franklin Drake. The articles do a good job of laying out the details of the land swap and the questionable appraisals of the parcels. What concerns me, however, is what I read in the last section of the August 6th article (by Peter Sleeth and Les Zaitz):

As the April congressional hearing approached, Blumenauer and Walden both saw cash infusions into their campaigns from Mt. Hood Meadows partners. Last Feb. 22, Drake, president of Mt. Hood Meadows, donated $6,000 to two Blumenauer committees.

Within days, his partner, Riley, donated $6,000 to the same committees. Blumenauer said he called Riley to seek the contributions. "It was part of my asking. I run for office. I raise money. I asked them," Blumenauer said, adding that the contribution had no effect on his position on the land exchange.

Riley said he has given to Blumenauer in the past and plans to in the future.

Matthew Drake, another Mt. Hood Meadows partner, last February gave $2,800 to Walden in what federal election records list as his first federal contribution. On the same day, Riley gave Walden $1,800.

Asked whether the contributions influenced his actions on the legislation, Walden responded, "The answer is as simple as the question is insulting: Absolutely not."
Am I the only person concerned about what appears to be a distinct ethical problem created by both Representatives? Specifically, the fact that both Reps accepted campaign donations from Mt. Hood Meadows partners during the time this land swap deal was being constructed. And, even more disturbing (if true), the admission of Rep. Blumenauer that he actually "called [one of the partners] to seek the contributions." Of course, both Blumenauer and Walden state that the contributions "had no effect on [their] position on the land exchange." Really?

Let's say that I'm negotiating a contract with a supplier to my company, and I just happen to have a favorite charity that needs some money. So, during the negotiating process, I ask the supplier to donate some money to my favorite charity. Of course, the donation won't influence my decision as to whether your company will win the contract. No, of course not. Don't insult me by even insinuating that! I would be fired if I tried that in my company. So, why is this type of activity Ok for our elected representatives?

The questionable appraisals have already created an "air" around this deal that doesn't smell so good. But, the fact that cash contributions were requested and accepted by the two congresmen who were working to finalize this deal creates an odor that, frankly, stinks. And this from two congresmen who, in March of this year, introduced bipartisan legislation aimed at improving House oversight of ethics and lobbying (see Congressman Blumenauer's website for the press release).

If I lived on one of the districts represented by these guys, I would be asking them very pointed questions about the ethics of asking for and accepting campaign contributions from some of the parties involved in the land swap deal. The appearance of impropriety in this case makes an already questionable deal look even more questionable.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Global Warming? What Global Warming?

So, we don't have "global warming?" Tell that to everyone in the United States on Tuesday, July 25th. The image in this post shows the projected high temperatures for the United States on Tuesday. With the exception of far northwest Washington state and the far northeast, the rest of the states were in the 90's or above. Any way you look at it, we were warm.