Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'll Take One, Too!

I don't know if I know anything about anything, but the latest proposed government assistance to General Motors irks me. From what I understand, after the dust settles on this, the US government stands to have about a 70% stake in this ailing motor company. This means my tax dollars may soon be going to a place that makes overpriced cars with low gas mileage that I'd never buy. (Psst - Why couldn't we bail out something I like?)

So, I heard this on the Marketplace (Kai Ryssdal = dreeeeamy) coming home from work today, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement. Author Barry Ritholtz was being interviewed by Kai (sigh) on the current state of government bailouts:

"You don't want to reward incompetent management, and that's pretty much what we've been doing. Oh, you guys drove this company into the ground, and you've lost $180 billion, here's a check. Come back if you need some more. It's insane."

I know this guy was on Marketplace to sell his book, but I couldn't help but agree. I hate incompetent management. I hate the fact that old white men (and I AM making a vast assumption here, but it's my blog and this is the direction I'm going...) sit in their leather armchairs, taking risks, assuming THEY'RE TOO BIG TO FAIL and then lining up to suck at the teat of government handouts.

The thing that really kills me is that half these guys are probably Libertarians, too (!)

But, on the other hand, I understand that GM employes almost a quarter of a million people. I don't mean to sound hard hearted to the very real reality that these folks will be facing in the coming weeks and months. Some of these folks are my friends. Why should they lose their jobs because management didn't know what they were doing?

The thing I struggle with (aside from my latent hatred for the Global Patriarchy) is: what stops us from bailing out EVERYONE? We've all got (or most of us have) jobs. Why not my company? I realize I may be late in chiming in here, but WHAT THE HELL? WHO'S NEXT?

As Barry Ritholtz outlines,

"Once you reward people for their worst behavior, for speculative, irresponsible investing and punish the prudent and the people who are careful with that money. Everybody seems to think it's a free for all. Hey, you've got yours. How do I get mine?"

So yeah, where IS mine?


////.......It's with GM.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Old School Flashback

Last night I laughed and smiled so hard my face hurt.

My co-worker George had invited me and twenty of his closest friends out to celebrate his birthday. First, we hit Granite City Brewery in Saint Louis Park, where I was tricked into taking a shot of Patron (and literally paying for it!). I didn't know many of George's friends, but everyone warms up after a shot of tequila, so it turned out alright.

The dinner was fairly uneventful, but what came after was AWESOME. George (and the two other May birthday's he and his group of friends were celebrating, organized a roller skating party.

Remember these? With the advent of roller-blading, I thought that old-school, four-wheel roller skating had gone extinct. In fact, in retrospect, I guess I thought that since the roller rink had closed in Grand Forks, ND that they'd pretty much died across the US.

Oohhhhhhhh no. Oh no. They are alive and well, my friend. Turns out, there's atleast three roller rinks in the Twin Cities (not counting when they open up the Dome for roller-blading). Last night, we went to the Roller Garden, also in Saint Louis Park. It's not far from my friend Kate's house, but somehow I'd never noticed it on the side of the road, in a big, but unassuming building.

Walking in was like that part of the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy opens the door and discovers a world full of color and tiny, sparkly people. It was Technicolor - live.

First off, there were a TON of people there, in all shapes, sizes and colors....and man could they skate. Not just skate, but skate-DANCE. Skating backwards, one legged, jumping, bumping and yes, grinding. I had totally forgotten that skating could sometimes be 'porn on wheels'.

It was 25 and older night (random, right?) and also R&B evening. Lights flashed and whirled, twinkled and twisted, while skaters whizzed around the rink. The carpet was nasty, grey, worn and covered everything. There were tons of kiddy games on the side of the rink, but thankfully, no kiddys. The overall effect was completely disorienting; like eating waaaay too much cotton candy.

All of a sudden, I was a little kid again, and I couldn't wait to get on the "dance" floor. I couldn't stop grinning as I laced up my ancient rental skates (which weighed about 14 pounds, by the way). George's friends were all pretty good, so there was no judgement when my feet slipped from under me and I landed smack on my ass in front of them :)

Aside from the initial flailing, I got the hang of it again pretty quick. I was a bit unsteady, but managed to hold my own. I'd forgotten how physical it is! A few songs and I was literally, sweatin' to the Oldies. I managed not to knock anyone down (coup!) and to really, have one of the best nights of my year so far.

Who wants to go next week?

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Babies, Bikes and Alcohol

.......All good stress relievers.