In two weeks, Zing will have a total of four employees (woo hoo!). Two of them, including me, are in Colorado… and through long experience I know all of the tax rules and documents I need to file for the state. However, one employee is in California and another is in Oregon. Thus, I’m faced now with figuring out all of the arcane tax laws of those states so we can properly pay everyone and submit our taxes to The Man.

I’m doing my homework on the California stuff, and when I downloaded the 107-page tax manual (whee) I was struck by the introductory message. For some reason, the phrase “Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger thanks you for choosing to do business in the great State of California” made me bust a gut.

This world map shows the distribution of spam sources across the internet. Although it’s not terribly scientific, I must say I’m shocked– shocked!— that the United States is the “hot spot” of spam in the world. What about all those Nigerians?

The kids have been asking to see the new movie Two Brothers, which is a heartwarming tale about two tiger cubs who get lost in the woods or something. I headed over to Blockbuster today and used up the last of our free movie rentals, and we all sat down to watch it this evening.

According to the box, the movie is “enthralling”. After about twenty minutes I couldn’t stand it any more, so I left to do some work. Laralee’s comment: “Well, I don’t know about ‘enthralling’. More like ‘appalling’.”

So two thumbs down from the adults in the household, although all three of the kids liked it.

“What can I do with a constitution if I have no water, gasoline, and electricity?”

— Hanan Sahib, Iraqi woman

As part of a seminary recruiting campaign, some Catholics are using a poster modeled on The Matrix to make the priesthood look somehow “cool” or “hip”. Interesting idea; I wonder how it’s viewed at higher levels in the church.

No, this isn’t a joke, although the possibilities are endless.

Seen in a discussion on Kiro5hin about failed anti-terrorism measures:

Each time I hear about a “terrorist incident” on the news these days my first reaction isn’t “Stupid scumbags – let’s kill them all!”.

No. My first reaction is “What is my stupid government going to do to ME in response to this action?”

For whatever reason, I keep getting spam messages about television show DVD sets. Here’s part of one:

Sabrina the Teenage Witch
Ally McBeal
The Golden Girls
The Nanny
Sex and the City

All of these and many more available on COMPLETE DVD SETS!!!

Wow, I shudder to think how many people are jumping all over things like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and The Golden Girls. I mean, the opportunity to own the complete series must be pretty tantalizing…

Yesterday I was talking to Zack about how everyone should think about how they can help people around them. I asked him if there was anything he could do to help others. His response was yes, absolutely. When I asked him what it was, he said:

“Well, I could help a mouse… that’s drowning.”

Craig is working on a web site for one of our clients, and it’s in that phase where the site is 99% complete, but the client has all kinds of terribly minor changes that need to be made (like capitalization or changing one word on a page). Craig’s comment:

“There must be some definitive mathematical relationship between the amount of tweaking and the less I care. ¬†Each tweak leading to another tweak until the tweaks become infinitely small and the not caring becomes infinitely large.”

The TSA does it again! In their ongoing quest to keep America’s skies safer for travelers, their laughable No-Fly List has snared a new set of terrorists…

Ingrid Sanden of Washington, D.C. was boarding a flight home in Phoenix when she was stopped because her daughter’s name showed up on the list. While Senator Kennedy might be accustomed to something like this, it surprised Ms. Sanden.

Her daughter is one year old.

Yep, that’s right. Definitely a terrorist threat, that baby. Sarah Zapolsky and her husband had a similar experience when flying out of Dulles International Airport– their eleven-month-old son was on the No-Fly List. After a half-hour of wrangling with the airline ticket agents, including faxing a copy of their son’s passport (lucky he had one, I guess), they were finally allowed to board the plane.

Now, I’m an outspoken critic of the TSA and their comically stupid antics. It’s sure easy to point out the flaws in this system (and there are many), especially with incidents like this. Yet despite stories like this, which seem to occur over and over, the TSA and the whole Department of Homeland Security continue to insist that their methods are working.

I ask this, then: show me one– just one— example of an incident where TSA security managed to stop someone from boarding a plane and doing damage. Show me the guy who was smuggling a bomb, or a gun, or a set of Ginsu knives, and fully intended to use them for harm. I’ve not heard of a single such case in all the years we’ve been enduring this frustrating and flawed airport “security” routine.

Perhaps the TSA keeps those incidents under wrap? Perhaps they don’t want to share their successes because they’re worried about some kind of national security issues? I can’t imagine why, however, because it seems to me that trumpeting their success would be a further deterrent to those with evil plans. It would show that the TSA is effective, that these security measures are working. So it’s hard for me to conceive that they’re hiding their successes. As such, the only logical conclusion is that there aren’t any.

San Francisco’s BART authority has put up posters telling people to report bombs. I’m sure that’ll foil terrorists.

That aside, the masterful jokesters at Fark had a contest based on the poster. The results were hilarious. Shown below is the original poster, and two of the Fark submissions.

Hoo boy, here we go again.

Today Bush was asked about the situation in Iran, and he responded, “As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country.”

My immediate response was twofold:

1) “Secure our country”? How on earth did the invasion of Iraq secure American soil?

2) As if Iraq isn’t enough of a bottomless pit of disaster, we’re going to add Iran to the mix?

After a moment of reflection, however, the answer presented itself.

3) Bush lives in a different reality than I do.

“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

— George Bernard Shaw

Saudi Arabia has crowned a new king, and a high-powered delegation from the United States went over to pay its respects. Vice President Cheney, former President Bush, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell gave obesance to the new king of oil.

Samuel Bodman, Secretary of Energy, perhaps said it best:

“As the world’s largest producer and as the world’s largest consumer, our two countries have a special relationship. We are, at least in certain respects, partners.”

That’s right. America, self-righteous and self-proclaimed defender of freedom and liberty, is a partner with one of the most oppressive regimes on the planet. In my mind, only China and North Korea are worse. The treatment of women in the Saudi Kingdom is deplorable.

But hey, they’ve got gas! Buddies! Pals!

Windows Vista continues to lose features. Today’s chopping block includes Monad, the virus-enabled command shell no different than a dozen other Unix shells. Good riddance. Of course, with all the other things being cut or “delayed”, it’s becoming harder for Microsoft to figure out a way to convince their customers that upgrading to Vista is worth the time and (let’s face it) hassle.

This is all summed up quite nicely in a post from Slashdot:

So that leaves Vista with the following features I guess:

– Slick ‘Vista’ wallpaper
– DRM to protect the wallpaper

Rock on!