Thursday, December 04, 2008

This is convincing, isn't it?

Wow, the big three automakers from Detroit get shot down when begging for 25 billion dollars a few weeks ago. They come back, driving hybrid cars for 520 miles instead of using their corporate jets, and ask for, here we go, now 34 billion dollars. Now that I think about it, what more can you really ask them to do? They gave up their corporate jet to come to Washington and presented a plan that simply states, we will build fuel efficient trucks and cars that people want to buy. Yeah right, if it were that easy, you'd already be doing it. And the fact that their first request a few weeks ago seemed to have been 9 billion dollars short doesn't instill confidence either. I say let them fail and reorganize. That will cost jobs for sure but they might be able to restructure so that whatever is left will have a chance to survive. I highly doubt, that they will survive with or without the money. Reading the news articles, it sounds like they will burn through most of the bailout money within the next quarter or two. It's not a bailout, it's temporary life support.

Anyway, one thing makes me wonder though. If they took the trip in a hybrid vehicle, i'd love to know which brand they used and whether they carpooled.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Larry? Seriously?

No one has ever called me Larry ... until last weekend. Guess where it happened? Yup, you are right, at a Starbucks. My good friend Steve and I made a trip down to Long Beach to run the Long Beach half marathon. On our way back we stopped to get some Diesel (we did not get it at the Starbucks) and some coffee. I go in and order myself an iced coffee and instead of just dumping some ice in the cup and filling it with coffee right away, the Starbucks Barista grabs a Sharpie and asks me for my name. So, I say my name like any German would say it. What does he do? He scribbles something on there, asks me whether I want my coffee sweetened or unsweetened and finally says:

Thank you, Larry

I thought about protesting but realized there is no point in making him understand and spell my name. So I pay and wait for my unsweetened iced coffee, and wait, ... and wait until I finally get my sweetened iced coffee. WTF!!!
Ayway, I return the coffee and finally get the right beverage. Now, why can't they just fill a damn cup of ice with some coffee? That's faster than scribbling a name on a cup. I guess they want me to stare at their merchandise long enough that I actually buy something but that won't happen ... because I go there for a cup of coffee and not to get my Christmas shopping done.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Presidential Elections and VPs

I don't even know where to start. I can't vote because I am not a US citizen but I am very much interested in what this country does and how it behaves in the world because it is my home now. It's pretty safe to say that for the past two elections, Americans have truly screwed this up by electing a moron to lead the country. I hope they don't do it again. Why would anyone in their right mind vote for John "Maverick" McCan't and Sarah Palin (who can see Russia from her house)?

I watched the debate last night and analysts said she won because she didn't fuck up. Are you kidding me? That's the standard by which you measure the qualification or chances of a campaign now? She did not answer any questions, all her statements just stated what we need. And please, Sarah, get Tina Fey glasses, they look better than your rimless glasses. And what's with the constant maverick talk. Who gives a shit? And with all due respect, why does the fact that John McCan't was a POW in Vietnam make him qualified for handling economy or health care issues? Please, it's admirable what he has done as a POW and I am not ridiculing that but by no means can that be a reason for being qualified to become president. If so, then why was George W. Bush even allowed near the White House?

So, America, get this right and make a black man the next president. I have no illusions that Obama will be perfect and get everything right but this country needs someone else than a shooting-from-the-hip cowboy, or maverick if you like. If anyone (besides the maybe 10 regulars who care for my ramblings) reads this and hasn't made up his mind and doesn't live in California. Please go out and do not vote for McCan't and his absolutely, terrifically, astonishingly unqualified VP candidate.

But whatever you do, I can't wait for Saturday's SNL to see what Tina Fey will make out of Sarah Palin's VP debate performance.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

They are doing it again ...

Remember what I wrote a couple of years ago about the Olympics and Bob Costas? You probably don't but if you do, it was about the way Olympic games are broadcast in the U.S. It also mentioned that it seems more important to have some idiot (Bob Costas and the likes) in the studio talking about this and that rather than showing the actual competition. I can understand the home bias and that most Americans want to see mostly U.S. athletes but do I really need to know what Natalie Coughlin buys at a fucking farmer's market in Berkeley or San Francisco? Do I need to see Michael Phelps how he eats cereal? No, I don't. But if I want to actually see how they did I have to wait (or fast forward through my Tivo recording) until they show the actual event in the prime time broadcast on NBC. But I don't want to Tivo the Olympics because by the time I can watch it, the Olympics are on to the next event.

I understand that living on the West coast means that watching the events live would mean watching TV at very unreasonable hours, so I would expect that they show some sort of meaningful summary during prime time. But no, that would actually mean that people don't need to stay on the same channel and suffer through the same fucking commercials for 4 fucking hours. It is possible to do it differently, just look at how other nations broadcast the events. Are they biased towards their own athletes? Yeah, of course. Do they show the athletes on shopping trips? Most likely not because they use their air time to show athletes from all over the planet. I think it's hopeless for NBC to recover and Bob Costas still sucks.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How not to Recruit (Grammar is Hard)

I consider myself the occasional user of some of these social and or professional networks. One of the networks is LinkedIn. The other day I received an email from a recruiter and it looked liked this (I have changed names and locations to spare the recruiter the embarrassment):

Joe Recruiter has sent you an InMail:
Full Time Opportunity with COMPANY
Dear Joerg

How are you ?
My name is Joe Recruiter and I am recruiter with COMPANY in San Jose CA and I saw your profile on LinkedIn while searching for with Exp in Search and you seems to have a Very similar background so I thought I should contact with you and see if you are interested in Pursuing any opportunity with COMAPNY in San Jose CA, in case you are please send me your updated resume and you can also call me or send me best number and time to call you and discuss more on the positions we have open.
Looking forward to hearing back from you.
Best Regards

Joe Recruiter

Oh boy, I don't even know where to start. Is it even English? Obviously, punctuation is not Joe Recruiter's strong suit but he probably knows how to use a spell checker. Amazingly, all words are spelled correctly according to the spell checker available in my mail program. Starting with "My name ..." all the way to "... we have open.", Joe Recruiter jammed all he had to tell me in one sentence, with 97 (!!!) glorious words. I am not a native speaker and judging by the recruiter's real name, I don't think he is either but this is sad, very, very sad.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

How to get people to drive sensible (fuel efficient) cars

Just read this article on a German news site and I think some of the European countries are onto something here. According to that news article cars are going to be taxed based on their CO2-emissions. SUVs like the Porsche Cayenne or the Audi Q7 will get much more expensive. For example, the Porsche Cayenne S will cost anywhere from an extra €3000 in France to an extra €53000 in Norway.
This is the only way to go to get people to drive more fuel efficient cars. Now, the extra €53000 (that's approx. $80000 on top of the car's MSRP) may be a bit excessive but the US would do a very good thing in employing a similar strategy, or at least do away with these silly rules that don't consider some SUVs as passenger vehicles (even though they are only used as such) because they are too big. I love the fact that the European countries act now instead of pushing some far-way goal of improving average fuel-economy by 2020.

I am currently visiting Europe and I have to say, I very much like the fact that you can feel safe in a small car because almost all cars around you are pretty small as well. A gallon of gas is roughly $8 in Germany, I can't imagine driving a big SUV over here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008