You Got to Be Kidding Me!

Some Boxes of Hammers for Jan. 16, 2009

Posted in Box of Hammers by Stacy McMahon on January 16, 2009

Saving the best for last, here are three items that made me roll my eyes today.

* David Zaring at The Conglomerate reluctantly suggests that we may see nationalization of some major banks soon. I’m afraid he might be right, but it’s amusing that he seems to reach that conclusion partly by sharing Washington’s myopia on the subject:

rumors swirl that BofA and Citibank (which would leave just one do-everthing bank left in the US: JPMorgan, depending on how you feel about Wells Fargo) are both headed for conservatorship

Just one bank? I’ve had a good run as a business customer of First Union Wachovia Wells Fargo, but it’s hardly the only game in town. Here in Northern Virginia we also have – to name a few – Chevy Chase, BB&T and Community Bank, all of which managed to identify and sidestep the subprime mortgage trap.

* But that’s nothing compared to Richard Lambert of the Financial Times, piously lecturing us on the absolute necessity of more and more band-aid bailouts. Here’s a thought – how about “nationalizing” the subprime mortgages that are causing the credit freeze for a fraction of what all these bailouts are going to cost – hell, are already costing. Anyone? Bueller?

* And finally, an updated version of the McDonald’s coffee lady (appropriately tagged ‘entertainment’ on Slashdot):

MCFARLAND (WKOW) — Abbie Schubert paid more than $1,100 for a Dell laptop hoping to enroll in online classes at Madison Area Technical College, or MATC.

But something stopped her: she bought an operating system for her computer she never heard of, Ubuntu.

Shades of old-school AOL users, she was convinced she couldn’t get online with her Linux laptop because the Verizon CD wouldn’t run on it. (I can hear Matt’s facepalm all the way down here…)


I’m Enjoying My New Category

Posted in Box of Hammers by Stacy McMahon on December 11, 2008

That would be “box of hammers” – as in ‘dumb as a’. Like this South Carolina car dealer’s radio commercial wherein he declares Japanese cars “rice ready, not road-ready” (via Autoblog)

We salute you, Mr. Redneck Blockhead whose solution to mass debt default is to invoke nationalism to push people to make major purchases that could really wait another year or three, so that you can get a nice commission check from one of the self-destructing domestic automakers currently begging on the street outside Congress. That’s some chutzpah right there (I’m sure it’s still OK with him to use that word, at least until Israel starts making cars…)

What I’m Looking At, and a New Category – 12/8/2008

Posted in Box of Hammers, Computers and Software, Four Wheels by Stacy McMahon on December 9, 2008

* Bailed-out mortgage holders defaulting all over again.

“The results, I confess, were somewhat surprising, and not in a good way,” said John Dugan, head of the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, in prepared remarks for a U.S. housing forum.

You mean bailing out subprime mortgagees didn’t magically make them into responsible citizens who live within their means?

Dugan said recent data showed that after three months, nearly 36 percent of borrowers who received restructured mortgages in the first quarter re-defaulted.

I’m so proud to be an American.

Oh, the new category? “box of hammers”. Should be self-explanatory by now.

* On the other end of the spectrum, the lowly checklist is making a comeback (maybe) in hospitals, where it turns out that there are a few (hundred) too many things per patient to remember during a shift. Based on actual experience, it’s estimated that a $3m investment in creating checklists for standard ICU practices could prevent up to 28,000 deaths a year in the US.

* A guy with some wrenching talent and one hell of a rolodex has built a brand-new Jaguar E-Type from leftover factory parts (and a few aftermarket restoration bits – about 5% of the total) Cool, huh?

* And an interesting discussion about how lawyers (or other companies) do or don’t take advantage of technology in the office. In a nutshell, most people don’t think very far outside the box.