Sunday, November 28, 2004

In my view, it was criminal conduct when Dell Corp. kept installing Windows ME in their Dell Dimension computers after they began getting complaints about it as an operating system, but if you cannot fault them with that, then not to notify each and every purchaser of the problems is a complete betrayal of their customers. It is like selling cars with faulty carburetors, you've had scores of complaints from dealers and customers, but you ignore them and continue doing the same thing. The government has determined that such conduct in the auto industry is wrong and the law requires that they fix the problem.
To me Michael Dell, the CEO of Dell, is just as responsible for such problems and as the government is holding Kenneth Lay responsible for the problems at Enron, the buck stops at the top with Dell! With Michael Dell, 14 times a billionaire, and much more in the Corporation itself, it would not have been a hardship for Michael Dell to rectify this problem by replacing ME systems with the XP, then holding Bill Gates and Microsoft responsible, as well they were in the beginning.
Allowing users of ME to suffer interminable hours of agony trying to solve their problems, which most of them are incapable of doing, is cheating them of their time and money. It's dead wrong.
(see Archives for other poems and articles, including a suggested punishment for Michael Dell).

Saturday, November 27, 2004

A week ago I drove over to Phoenix and returned early this week, driving more than 1,200 miles.
At one time I drove that almost every week throughout the year as a tranveling salesman. I've driven more than a million miles since I got my first Driver's License in 1943, using my brother's 1937 Ford to take the test. The back of the passenger seat fell off as soon as I started up, throwing the Inspector into the back seat, which seemed to irritate him for some reason. Then it stalled about half an hour later and he and my buddy, Sedgie, had to get out and push it for half a block to get it started again. I think he passed me so that he would not have to chance a ride in that car again, or else because we were in uniform, or both.

I quit the sea in 1948 and took a sales job, one that carried me from one end of the country to the other, coast to coast and border to border, so I can tell you what it was like to drive in those days. For one thing, most roads were a single lane in either direction, so you moved only as fast as the car ahead. On rural mountain roads there was but one lane for cars going in either direction, so someone had to give way. A good highway had a passing lane in the center, where some drivers played chicken, resulting in some pretty messy head-on collisions. If there wasn't a passing lane, then you had to wait until you could safely enter the on-coming lane and pass the car or slow-moving truck ahead of you. This was also dangerous, but that is all we had and somehow most of us survived it.

When we came to mountains, there might be a slow moving truck ahead crawling up the incline at about ten miles an hour, with forty or fifty cars strung out behind it. A foolish driver might attempt to pass on a hill and curve, and blotto, he became a highway fatality. Traffic would then be stalled for hours. Burma Shave had a good rhyme on their highway signs that I never forgot:
He was right, dead right, as the sped along,
but he's just as dead as if he were wrong.

DRIVING 1931 Model A, 1934 Dodge, 1937 Ford, 1941 Falling-apart-Pick-up
We had smaller windshields, barely effective windshield wipers, fogged windshields that we kept wiping with a cloth, flat tires with tubes that had to be patched, radiator problems with overheating and boiling over, no air-conditioners in the summer, heaters that might not work in the winter, but one good thing was that we did not have to fill our own gas tanks in the cold and/or wet weather! My Dad bought a 1941 Ford Pick-up for business, with a broken heater and in the Connecticut winter, when the wind whistled up through the floor, Wow! The engine threw red burning oil embers out the tail-pipe so frequently that other drivers would yell at us that we were on fire! I can remember the two of us getting home nights, stiff and frozen like today's Thanksgiving turkeys.

My first new car was a 1948 Kaiser, blue, with white-wall tires. I drove that, then a 1949 Kaiser, later a 1950 9 passenger brown DeSoto through 46 of the 48 states. From Maine to Washington State, and California to Georgia, but somehow, until much later, I missed Florida and North Dakota. Barbara (later my wife) and I flew over those highways at sixty and seventy miles and hour, and even up to ninety, carrying a group of young sales-people. She drove a 1950 blue 9 passenger DeSoto, and she was an exceptionally good driver. Gas was ten to twelve cents a gallon then. They had lots of speed traps in the deep south in those days and especially liked to catch Yankees and fine them. I got stopped in North Carolina by a State Trooper nicknamed "Hot-shot," and was fined $34.40. I had $35 in my wallet, so I left his baliwick with 60 cents.

Today, in some ways, I believe that there are more dangers out there than ever before. Why? Higher speeds because of more powerful engines, blinding headlights due to use of high-intensity bulbs, and the numerous rapid unsafe lane changes they seem to make with high-powered engines. Another problem noted is the numerous pick-ups or SUVs with extra large tires, built-up suspension systems, with four headlights that are level with your rear-view mirror. It seems that many of the drivers of such vehicles are either young and inconsiderate or red-necks and inconsiderate, but whichever they are, they tailgate the cars ahead until they intimidate them and force them to move aside, even if there is a solid lane of fifty cars ahead of them. If they cannot scare you that way, they'll pass on the shoulder and scatter dirt and stones on your car, just to gain one car position on you. Mercedes and BMW cars go by at 90 to 120 mph. The big difference today over yesterday are the seat belts, because in those days if you hit something, you'd fly through the front window, so they'd have to scrape you off the pavement, but today, most often, they find the corpse firmly belted in place.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

I wrote this poem between ten and midnight on November lst. I had turned off my TV earlier in the evening, just kept the house silent while I checked out my email, answered some, worked on the poem, and I sent it out to about 40 people around midnight. I simply avoided checking any Blogs that might contain the news about what was going on.

My sons would call, I felt, if anything startling happened, but I figured that they'd not call until there was a definite win for one side or the other. I awoke after nine (sacked in at three a.m.; it had beem raining all day) and waited until almost eleven and then put in a call to Jeff. He would give me the most direct read, short and analyzed in a few words, but he wasn't in. Okay, Howard's cell phone, and he answered before I could say a word, "Dad, it's a beautiful day." I looked out the window to see bright sunshine and fleecy white clouds in a blue sky. Indeed it was!

I don't crow over a win. Ever. The other guys are sore enough. But, I hate all this crazy stuff about 68 million stupid people. Why are the Conservatives always the dumb ones or the ones full of hate, when all the time I read the diatribes by Liberals, outright venom, while the more reasoned words seem to come from the Republican side of the bench? Anyway, here's the poem I sent out, with a bit of a change at the end. I think that everyone should adopt this attitude.


I'm sitting here and just typing away,
I've had my TV off for the whole damned day.
I'm so tired of all the analysts
I'd rather have suffered a butt full of cysts!
They guess, they predict, they pontificate,
While I sit quietly and gesticulate,
The middle finger sticks out from my right hand,
My opinion's quite clear, y'all understand.
Not a thing they can say can change what's done;
When the votes are counted, we'll know who won.
When the voting's over, the winner named,
If we've lost…I won't claim that I've been gamed.
For four years that man is our President,
Them's the rules of the game, that's the intent.
We've all lost before and it ain't no sin;
We'll work harder the next time, then we'll WIN.

copyright 2004 Howard E. Morseburg

Back in the l930s, my Dad was not a Democrat. All around us, the Democrats controlled the political process, and the corruption was rampant, and he was against that. Then, in 1936 and 1940, FDR was elected again, but Dad could see war clouds on the horizon, and with sons approaching the Draft age, he felt that FDR was too close to getting us involved. However, once we were in the war, we were all in it together and 16 million men and women went to war, together. To talk otherwise was to betray those who were in the Front Lines.

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