Don't blame them 
Someone sent this email, copied and pasted from the company's website, to a mailing list I subscribe to:

Welcome to the MadTux Store

We regret to inform you that economic conditions have forced us to close our doors after eight years in business.


Should read: "..that our inability to adapt to economic conditions..."

Many companies, believe it or not, survive recessions and depressions and sometimes companies go out of business during good times as well. The media won't tell you that but it's true.

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Print 
Earlier this year, I received a copy of Linux Pro Magazine instead of Linux Magazine. Linux Magazine ceased printing and went online-only and Linux Pro completed the subscription. Yesterday, I received the last copy of PC Magazine. They are going online-only too and I will have to pay for the online content.

Recently, it was announced that the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press were cutting delivery back to three days a week and readers will have to go online to get news on the non-delivery days.

I suppose some of this is inevitable but, honestly, online news and magazines hold nothing against a good paper or magazine, even if they are 75% advertisements. Of course, nothing tops a good tangible book. Ebooks? No way!

Some benefits to print over online content:

1. Once printed, the content cannot be changed. Good for holding people accountable and good for being used to prove that certain things were at one time considered true and undeniable and to disprove what's "true and undeniable" today will always be so. The fact that the news can constantly be updated, i.e. changed, is not necessary a good thing. We've always been at war with Eastasia.

2. They don't require electricity or other power source to work.

3. They are more portable than any portable device. They can be dropped and if they get wet they will work again once dry.

4. Book burnings are more difficult to organize than hitting the delete key.

5. Google, or any search engine, cannot selectively hide content from searches of old books, newspapers, or magazines that exist somewhere in physical form.

If everything goes electronic, and I fear someday it may, people's rights will be abridged and thoughts will be completely controlled by some other entity. We've already seen this in a similiar form on television during the most recent elections.

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Gas Prices 
A bumper sticker I saw crop up earlier this year read:

"When Bush Took Office, Gas was $1.46 a gallon"

As it stands now, the U.S. average is $1.68 a gallon.

When Bill Clinton took office, gas was $1.06 a gallon. Mark that down as a 38% increase under Clinton and only a 15% gain under Bush as of today.

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Remember 
But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people—we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.


Taken from Franklin Delano Roosevelt's address to Congress, December 8, 1941.

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Ab so lutely 
Vatican: Beatles music better than today's songs

Sensible and wise people, those Vaticans.

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A Sighting 
Keeping with the animal theme - seen the other day in my yard: a gray fox. Apparently, seeing these is a rare event. I heard a growl of sorts and looked out in the yard and couldn't believe what I saw. I grabbed the camera, which had no batteries and by the time I found batteries, the fox had moved into the woods. About five minutes later, my cat came trotting in from around the garden. I think the two saw each other but the cat was not aroused with the puffed up fur like he usually has when he encounters something.

The fox was a little more gray than the standard web search images I'm finding and it actually looked a little like a small coyote. However, judging by the ears and tail, this was definitely a gray fox.

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Just a Name 
Another letter to the editor today: [Link]

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Duplicity 
Ever notice that the same people who castigate ExxonMobil for making a profit are the same people who are making the most noise about all these firms losing insane amounts of money?

When big companies make money, the market does well. When ExxonMobil makes money, some people want to lynch them. Democrats have gotten their wish (just before a presidential election, coincidentally), big greedy American companies falling on hard times and now they gripe about it and pass a feckless pork-laden bill that will cause more problems than it solves; rewarding fecklessness and passing the bill onto us - well, at least the most responsible of us - those who live within our means.

I say put ExxonMobil in charge of everything, they seem to be able to do what the government can't do - make more money than they spend.

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Scary thing is, I might be right 
Last month, I made a post speculating what might happen to the world markets if ExxonMobil ever fails; (as many people in this land are hoping for, by the way). Judging how the market reacted today to a Congressional vote on a handout from the taxpayers, I might be right.

Additionally, after years of rooting for bad economic news and pumping up anything that was even remotely bad (and overlooking anything that was good - like when the DJIA topped 14K, the MSM made sure they didn't credit Bush, but he'll get a big chunk of blame for this current plunge), the MSM looks to have gotten their wish - crisis right before election day. Part of this is a manufactured problem designed to do just what it's doing - give people gloom and doom right before we go to the polls. The big part, of course, is the people themselves - spending, borrowing, and living beyond their means and lenders and the government doing their best to encourage it. It has now come time to pay for this foolishness and licentiousness that took root in the late 1990's; a prime example why the "if it can be done, it should be done" philosophy is nothing more than obtuse judgment and immaturity. But I digress, philosophical ideology is not entirely to blame, there's been plenty of malfeasance from everyone from the top down in both politics and business.

Just as children need their parents, even if they don't think they do, society needs the acute and mature who are the responsible citizens who manage their affairs properly and we seem to be a vanishing breed.

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Happy Constitution Day! 
From About.com:

On September 17, 1787, forty-two of the 55 delegates to the Constitutional Convention held their final meeting. Only one item of business occupied the agenda that day, to sign the Constitution of the United States of America.


Of the 42 who attended, 39 signed and 3 did not; nine more facts.

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---- Hitting the Fan 
My wife and I been doing our part as responsible citizens. We save and we also invest. We don't buy things we can't afford. Excluding the mortgage, we have no debt, which, really isn't considered a debt but more of a loan. Yet, financially, things are a mess and I believe it's due to not enough invisible hands doing their part. Yes, the invisible hand can have negative effects too - if people continually live beyond their means and spend spend spend on things they don't need or can't afford. And, what worries me most, is that those of us today who save and invest and manage our finances wisely, will end up, in about 20 years, subsidizing those who aren't planning for their future. If it sounds like I am lecturing, it's because I am. I know that we are doing things right. Maybe people laugh at us when they see that we don't have a new car or maybe they laugh because our house isn't as big as theirs. But I sleep at night knowing that my bills are paid and that we'll have the house paid off in ten years and that we don't live paycheck to paycheck and, not to boast, an impressive credit score. Oh, we still are concerned with money, don't get me wrong, but we set limits and bounds and budgets and work within them.

My wife and I firmly believe that "it's not what you make, it's what you don't spend."

Is this current meltdown solely due to malfeasance of the consumer; no, but, maybe these failed companies should have had bounds and limits that were a little more strict. Nonetheless, if people don't pay what they promised to pay, no matter how established or big the lender is, things will go wrong.

Hopefully, those who manage such financial institutions will learn from these mistakes. Hopefully, those who've overextended themselves will learn, too. Of course, many people suffer foreclosure through no fault of their own; they just hit a bad stretch. Bad things do happen to good people too but that's life. I've had my share of financial hardship but I dug myself out without bankruptcy or government assistance and if I can do it, anyone can.

Yes, the economy has seen better times, but it also has seen worse times. Rising prices at the pump and grocery store affect us too. But with years of training and disciplined money management, we are dealing with it. Yes, I still worry that things may go wrong and we end up in dire straights but I feel with how we conditioned ourselves, we'll be able to handle it. Parsimony isn't hard if you try.

In every society, there are people who have hardship due to needs. However, it seems that in the U.S. there are way too many people whose wants are the primary reason for hardship. This more inimical to society than those whose needs are to due to legitimate hardship.

It also concerns me that those who manage our money seem to be incompetent and reckless - whether it's government or business - and, of course, it's the frugal and responsible citizen who gets the bill when things hit the fan.

Many businesses are really beginning to irk me with their carelessness - whether it's irresponsible lending practices or farming out their manufacturing with no regards to quality control or consumer safety or contracting out customer service with the sole intent to discourage anyone from ever calling customer service - often to complain about a shoddy product or an arcane fee on some service. But, this is a topic for another day. I am rather displeased with the many once proud businesses seem to have abandoned principles and practices that had made them strong.

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Much Ado About Nothing 
I don't watch a lot of TV but I have seen (before the Eagles-Rams kickoff) the much publicized and criticized Microsoft commercial with Bill and Jerry. Awful. First of all, I had no idea what the commercial was for and, secondly, Jerry Seinfeld isn't funny at all; never was, and Bill Gates certainly isn't either. I never liked Seinfeld to begin with and that show wasn't very funny either. In fact, it's one of the shows that opened my eyes and led me to totally ditch, save Jeopardy! and sometimes the Simpsons (probably the best-written show ever), prime-time television viewing. From what I have seen, it's only gotten worse over the past 12 years. Newton N. Minow, how right you are.

Speaking of comedians, Obama's lipstick on a pig and stinky fish comments seem to be the talk of the town. The vast wasteland of the cable news channels is hyping this too much but not near at the level you'd see if McCain had said the same if Obama had a woman running mate. Plus, with McCain's bounce the MSM has gone into red alert damage control mode to cover for Obama once again. However, polls in September mean nothing, no matter who's leading. They'll sway many times over the next eight weeks.

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