polemicist: a writer who argues in opposition to others 

20061220.1533 Smite Down upon thy only-slightly-successful Children

I've been giving Google an easy time up until now.  I'm slightly amused by this blogging stuff, though it's hard to keep consistent interest going...  (Not to mention bypassing all of the NSFW topics I keep dreaming up)

But now the venom is flying - What The Hell Are They Thinking!? I now suddenly start to lose sight of where they're going with this "try everything & fail often" approach...  Providing a Web Service interface isn't something that failed.  This was a key move to implement a Service Oriented Architecture and provide extensible functionality.  What it might have done is to fail to contribute to the company's bottom-line significantly.  That is not the same thing.  It is also an arguable point - less ad impressions vs. statistically weighted results based on listing payments.  Ad impression dollars vs. listing service dollars.  And what is their business model again?  Hellloooo?  Beuller?  Beuller?  McFly?  Is this thing on?

There are entire books based on (ab)using this interface - and they've just canned it?  OK, so the developer who originally worked on it has left the company.  So?  Is everyone there too busy playing with Python & PHP to learn SOAP?  Put down the ping pong paddles Sir Nerdsalot & pick up a book, download a PDF, chant a mantra in pure XML - whatever you've got to do and get cracking!

20061205.1519 Holiday Charity

Holidays and Charity - two wonderful things that no one could possibly complain about, right?

Well you'd think so.  I'm not going to belabor evils the commercialization of Christmas, since I think that for the most part Santa Claus & 'Christmas' Ham, & the 'Christmas' Tree are Good Things.  This is because they remove the missionary work from the celebration and also incorporate elements of the original pagan celebration & fertility rite, Yule - though for the most part they've been forgotten.  (The ham is the aping of the sacrifice of a Boar to Freya and the tree is a reference to fertility - Santa, well he's Macy's man...)

Charity in general is a decent thing.  It's the physical act that embodies compassion.  Compassion is essentially a Good Thing, and it's what the Buddhists claim to be the keystone to Enlightenment.  Cool!

OK so - where's the complaining?

Put the two together and it turns a little ugly.  From well before Thanksgiving the charities start in on people in their yearly drives.  Note the schedule.  Why is it that food drives are so interested in people not going hungry on days like Thanksgiving & Christmas, but don't seem to give a crap about you in the middle of say .. July?

Is it some application of guilt going on here?  You're spending money buying gifts for loved ones that they don't need & while you've got your wallet out why not pitch into this little bucket here?

I guess all I'm saying is - where's that bucket the rest of the year?

Yes, I give to a charity.  My wife & I did research & picked one out that we believe in.  So when I get the shakedown I can say with a straight face  that I've already made a charitable contribution thank you.  When they get more aggressive I can one-up them by saying "I'll give to yours if you give to mine."  This is a great way to get pushy people to leave you alone next time, and it lets you pick what cause you think is worth fighting for with your own money.  It also makes sure that you get the pat on the back from Uncle Sam for your efforts in the form of a tax break.  If you have issues with what the federal government is doing with your tax money - give it to charities you believe in instead.

That strategy works all year.  But somehow, unless there's been a terrorist attack or a natural disaster recently I don't have to use the social part of it except during the 'Holiday Season'.