Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Kept Delta My Delta

Something that I've been following rather religiously instead of doing things like blogging (which is either a good or a bad thing, depending on who you talk to) is the ongoing takeover battle between Delta Air Lines and US Airways. While I'm not the most frequent flyer in the world, I fly enough that I have got status and built a loyalty to a particular airline. Delta's gotten to be in that position in large part because of their Salt Lake City hub. I love not having to fly to Chicago or to Texas to get to most destinations in the US. On top of that, they've hooked me up with a variety of different perks, from the free upgrades to first class to pole position for operational upgrades across the ocean and a gaggle of miles that makes my personal trippery free. I got a trip to Japan this way and am headed to Germany and Austria next through this as well (both in business class). It's a sweet deal. Add that I like their service as much as someone can for an airline and that they're upgrading their business class to this seat and adding personal TVs to every flight and I'm a happy man. I was rather annoyed that US Air would go after Delta, in large part because they still haven't finished their merger with America West and because they have decided to follow Southwest and be a Greyhound of the skies. It seemed like this was inevitable at first, but here we are and US Air has dropped their bid. I am extraordinarily happy with this. SLC will remain a hub, we may get a flight to Paris, and my airline is still my airline. I really think that the way Delta ran this is almost a textbook example of how to run a defensive strategy. Delta was on the ropes with a good offer from US Air, the debtors wanted it, but Delta used their pilots, politicians, and people like me to make it seem as though Satan himself (or at the very least Frank Lorenzo) was after them. I think that in a sense he was. The CEO of US Airways, Doug Parker, while he seems to be pretty nice, looked to be on an ego trip with this. He hadn't finished the first merger and he was trying to go after something much bigger, constantly backtracking from his prior statements. Delta would have been better off in almost any other situation, which is why it is so satisfying that they have made it. Well, that and all the new stuff Delta's been putting on their jets.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Arby's = temptalicious

Damn you Arby's; first your curly fries, now this. One of the newest menu items that can be included in the 5 for 5.95 offer is Arby's Potato Bites. For those of you who don't know about the 5 for 5.95 offer (perhaps you have been living in Mongolia) it is a mix and match combo deal that can be described simply as late-night goodness. (Let's not kid oursevles, if it is noon in Provo no self respecting person is going to pay for Arby's over the Smokehouse. However, come 9pm and you find yourself craving something to shove down your gullet Arby's is quite the temptation.)

Back to the bites... These so called Potato "Bites" aren't really bites at all, they are HUGE. They are like a big ol' tot, deep fried in deliciousness. I'm a fan of any form of potato that is deep fried, but take shredded potato, mash it into a patty and drop it the fryer and you have yourself pretty much the most delicious thing on the whole damn planet.

Last month I decided that going on a diet would be a good idea. I was wrong. First off dieting means you eat pretty much nothing all day, so temptations are just that much stronger. Second, dieting means you ignore about 85% of food products available. I mean let's be honest, it is pretty sad when you are so desperate that you get excited over Quaker's flavored rice patties.

So here I am eating a measly 1500 calories/day, just hoping my gut starts to waist (pun intended) away. I'm cruising past Arby's when I see the familiar 5/5.95 that usually makes me salivate, THEN I see a big ol' picture of the Potato Bites and I practically cream my jeans. It was more than I could bare, and long story short the bites are pretty much everything I hoped they could be.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Go to Jell

Fiery leftist Hugo Chávez stopped just shy of giving America the finger (1), opting instead to send us packing with his most recent rant "Go to hell gringos, go home!" The remark was fired at the U.S. during Chávez's weekly radio and TV broadcast in response to a comment made by U.S. State Department Deputy spokesman, Tom Casey. Casey, relayed that Chávez's plans, under the "enabling law", " have caused us some concern".
In fairness to Chávez "have caused us some concern" is really just a nice way of saying "nutsier than a crack addict". So if you filter the comment that way, as an ardent anti-american would, you might justify telling your northern continental counterpart to shove it. So much for least we have the decency to be civil to you before we drop some bombs.
Removing the tongue from my cheek, I don't think Casey's comment is that far off. Personally Chávez, in general, causes me some concern. He seems to be really working towards his own little dictatorship down there. Systematically he is assuming ultimate power as a leader, almost like a slow moving coup. It is going to be interesting to see how events unfold in Venezuela.

(1) Admittedly though, this picture here looks like Bush is getting the Aussie "hi-and-how-are-ya", I love a good picture out of context.

Friday, January 12, 2007


After Steve Jobs' keynote a few days ago, I desperately wanted an iPhone. Sure, I already have a free 60 GB iPod, a free 2 GB iPod Nano, a BlackBerry, and a Cingluar 3125 Smartphone, but I wanted it. The Apple design people and the Jobs Markup have struck again. Sure it's the price of a PlayStation 3 and there is no way that Cingular will ever put a discount on that sucker - that's the Apple way and it's almost certain that Apple wouldn't allow it. The touchscreen controls look very intuitive and elegant, but the question is if it will work as well in my music library as the iPod scroll wheel. It may, but it may not. Nevertheless, knowing Apple, I trust it. Nevertheless, for as darn cool as it is, can I really justify paying that kind of money for this product? Seriously. In his keynote, Jobs said that an iPod costs $200 and a Smartphone costs $300 (which isn't quite accurate, unless you're getting a Treo), so the iPhone should cost $600, because it's so darn cool. We'll see if the market bears that price out, but I don't see how it can't. The PS3 is cool, but it's not got great software and it doesn't seem to have the value in it that the other consoles do. On the other hand, the iPhone is pretty darn revolutionary in its own right. I'll probably get one, but hope that I can hold out until Steve comes out with a 16 GB model. Here, take a gander at it in action:

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Out Like a Fat Kid in Dodgeball

Picked last and out first sums up Martin's short lived existence as a potential bright star of Trump's empire. The first episode started with a bang, with Trump shouting in his car, kissing babies and taking restroom requests, all of which makes me hopeful for this season of The Apprentice. Upon arrival to Chateau Trump, the candidates were tasked with assembling a tent which everyone fussed over, except for this season's dandy, Martin who seemingly was afraid to even stand in dirt let alone get his hands in it. This task led to the selection of this season's first project managers Frank and Heidi, selected by cohort consensus because they were the most "vocal" during the task. Apparently loud is the main qualification for leadership.
Schoolyard picks ensued leaving Martin last, forced to be adopted by Frank. The first face off came at the car wash. A simple task, earn the most money by washing cars. Heidi's team, stationed in West L.A. appealed to the homosexual populace with bare chested ivy leaguers (no, really that was her plan). I kept waiting for Martin to come around, but his candy ass was busy wussing out on sales for Team Frank. While Heidi was busy parading men, Frank opted for the opposite approach of sending out the female team members. His critical error was that he gave them no signs, so for the first hour or so citizens of LA were most likely confused by a bunch of leggy chicks waving their arms frantically, and rather aimlessly, at passers by. Once the marketing flaw was remedied with poster board and a Sharpie, Frank's team was finally off, with a low initial price point, and grand plans to upsell clients with wonderful car wash cliches. I swear Tim must have spent a summer at Supersonic what with the crap that came spewing out of his mouth: "we highly recommend wax for your particular paint job"...please spare me.
At the end of the day Heidi was triumphant by a hundred and change, although not a landslide, a win is a win on The Apprentice.
In Burnett-esque style this season came with a few twists. My favorite is that the losing team is relegated to living in the backyard Hooverville while their competition whoops it up in the mansion with a statue modeled after Ivanka, all hips and no torso.
The other main twist is that the project manager of the winning team joins Trump in the boardroom to make pithy remarks and hopefully have a say in the dreaded cobra strike. I do miss having yes-man George in the boardroom, but I'm excited to see how this new twist plays out over the season. This episode led to a struggle between Frank and Martin, which I was pretty sure would end in Martin getting sacked especially after Trump referred to him as a "pompous ass." For a while though, Frank was doing a good job of talking his way into getting fired, he seriously could not shut up. Luckily for Frank, Trump saved his fellow New Yorker and fired Martin who ceremoniously ended the first episode by saying "I can't say that I regret telling Mr. Trump I had to go the bathroom, I had to go."

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Squatter's Rights

For those who remember my saintification post from back in the day where I gave some people in my office their official titles, you'll remember St Maxwell the Clueless. In addition to being the Patron Saint of Technophobes, he's also a squatter. Initially, he came to the company and didn't have an office. Well, there was one of our corporate officers who spent a lot of time at our other office. What did St Maxwell do? Why he did what any carney or poor person would...he set up shop in that officer's office. After a month of squatting, he packed up everything of the other person's and put it out in the hallway and moved in all of his stuff. Forro and I were livid at the time that squatter's rights actually held any sway in the company. I mean seriously, we let this person just take over an office because he had the balls to kick someone out and nobody did one thing?
Well, it's happening again. Another corporate officer is about to be evicted. This one also spends his time in our other office, but the reason why St Maxwell is taking his office is because it's got windows. So St Maxwell is over there at the office moving his stuff into the other room and in general acting like somebody who just got off the boat from Mumbai who's trying to put a roof over his head instead of someone who actually needs something. This is part of the reason why, as head of the IT and Accounting departments, I won't be procuring any new equipment for St Maxwell for quite some time. You poached two offices, booting out their occupants, and you're not getting anything from me unless it's absolutely necessary. Even then, it will be the absolute minimum. I think some of St Maxwell's behavior is a massive case of penis envy and some of it is just because he can be the single most annoying person on the planet.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gerald Ford Dead Today...Brokaw Reports

The first thing I thought of when I heard that Gerald Ford had died was this skit from SNL a decade ago. It's not the proudest moment of my life, but I couldn't help it.