The Arrow

There are no answers; only choices.

Archive for July, 2011

Blame Bush for the Deficit

Posted by thearrow on July 29, 2011

A very illuminating graph and two punchy paragraphs that explain how the United States got in the hole it is right now. Which Republicans are happy to dig further into. While blaming Obama.

And dragging all of us down with them by not approving the damn debt ceiling increase. If U.S. debt is downgraded, all our personal debts will be and, as a result, we’ll pay higher interest rates — on private student loans (of which I have a hefty one that I’m paying through my nose), credit cards, mortgages, car loans, everything.

From The New York Times :

And as explained by Ezra Klein:

“What’s also important, but not evident, on this chart is that Obama’s major expenses were temporary — the stimulus is over now — while Bush’s were, effectively, recurring. The Bush tax cuts didn’t just lower revenue for 10 years. It’s clear now that they lowered it indefinitely, which means this chart is understating their true cost. Similarly, the Medicare drug benefit is costing money on perpetuity, not just for two or three years. And Boehner, Ryan and others voted for these laws and, in some cases, helped to craft and pass them.

To relate this specifically to the debt-ceiling debate, we’re not raising the debt ceiling because of the new policies passed in the past two years. We’re raising the debt ceiling because of the accumulated effect of policies passed in recent decades, many of them under Republicans. It’s convenient for whichever side isn’t in power, or wasn’t recently in power, to blame the debt ceiling on the other party. But it isn’t true.”

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Posted in American hypocrisy, American Politics | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Portrait-Taking Device

Posted by thearrow on July 28, 2011

Something that will definitely make it very easy for you to take portraits.

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Today’s Beauty

Posted by thearrow on July 26, 2011

Posted in photography, Plants | 1 Comment »

Biking Inspiration

Posted by thearrow on July 25, 2011

I was getting some cash out of my bank’s ATM the other day, and a guy who had helped me out with a check issue a few weeks before was closing the glass wall separating the bank from the ATM area. We greeted each other and then he says, “I haven’t seen you on your bike recently.”

Um, how did he know? Well, his desk is right in the corner of that bank branch, it has floor-to-ceiling windows, and I bike around it when I come to work. I didn’t realize he was paying attention. “Oh, yes! I haven’t but I’ll be back on it next week.”

“You’re my inspiration!” he added, making my day.

Yes, I will shamelessly cling to any strand of compliment thrown my way.

Posted in biking | 2 Comments »

Networking While Drenched in Sweat

Posted by thearrow on July 20, 2011

We have a brutal week with 35-37 degrees Celsius (almost 100F) and humidity up the wazoo. Walking feels like swimming in glue. And exactly today, one of the hottest days, I had to get some food for lunch with my colleagues, which involved walking many blocks with the backpack on right after I got out of the metro. By the time I got to work my shirt was almost all wet; there were big wet spots on the front and a huge one on the back. I looked awful. Thankfully, I could stay in my office and the A/C took care of it.

But in the evening I was supposed to go to an event (at a wine bar) sponsored by one of our vendors and I really didn’t want to miss it. Not only because of the wine (although that’s always a big plus) but it promised to gather interesting people from industries other than my own. So I toughened up and went there, walked about five blocks to the metro and another five from the metro to the bar. As imagined, my shirt was a big mess. I went to the restroom and realized that I cannot possibly take the backpack off, that’s how sweaty I was. It was embarrassing, but I wanted to stay. So I decided to keep the backpack on. Now, how professional it is to mingle when looking like that, is a different question. But I decided to do it. I figured there must be others in a somewhat similar state.

To my dismay, everyone looked fabulous, as if the plucked out of a nice spring. Also, I was not on the RSVP list, despite the email confirmations. I did get a name tag and proceeded to the bar, although I couldn’t shake the feeling that I didn’t belong there. Not only because of my backpack, but it was clear all those people didn’t talk about something I could latch on to. I check my email and, what do you know, my event is actually tomorrow. Ugh. I had schlepped all the way there and lost a good part of my evening for nothing.

I returned the wine glass to the bar and told the barman that I was at the wrong event. He was very nice and said, “you might as well drink the wine since you’re here.” I took two sips to quench my thirst and left. “See you tomorrow!” he said. When I go there again I’ll have a friend.

As I was walking out, all I could think of was, how on earth am I going to avoid this tomorrow, when it’s going to be even hotter than today? Very simple: I’ll bring a spare shirt with me. There’s no other way. Oh, and no backpack, just a regular purse for a change.

In the end, it was all for the better that I did a dry run today. Or a wet run, rather.

Posted in fun | 2 Comments »

A Laptop or a Grave?

Posted by thearrow on July 18, 2011

I’ve told my parents that I want to get them a laptop so that we can see each other over Skype. Also, my dad, who is almost bed-ridden due to a dislocated vertebrae, can read newspapers, watch videos, and in general not get bored. There was an initial enthusiasm about it, then my parents started fretting that it’s an expense, and then it all culminated this Saturday with my mom’s request: “Rather than getting us a laptop maybe you can help us buy a grave lot in a cemetery.”

I don’t know if I should laugh or not. I know she is genuinely concerned about us not being prepared at all for the inevitable, but it still came as a shocker to me. She’s more concerned now because one of her friends has just died of cancer at 62; my mom (who is 72) said her friend had bought a lot two years ago, when she was doing really well and had no major health concern.

Black humor aside, I can’t let death win and break our spirit. I don’t care about the cost, I’ll get them both the laptop and the grave lot.

And then we’ll celebrate being alive.

P.S. — If you’re curious why I filed this under the “Romanian culture” category, it’s because most of us (and especially my parents’ generation) are more concerned with death and doom than with how to make the most of our lives now. Pessimism is deeply woven into our DNA. Sigh.

Posted in home, Romanian Culture | Tagged: | 4 Comments »

I Don’t Mind the Netflix Price Hike

Posted by thearrow on July 15, 2011

The beloved DVD rental and streaming service is now deeply hated by everyone because it raised the price for its most popular plan (one DVD at a time + unlimited streaming) by 60 percent. Or, 6 dollars. Get real, people! Ten dollars was way below the value of that plan. Netflix looked at its rental and streaming numbers and figured it could do better.  Or you can read David Pogue’s post to see what the company had to say and get lost in their fumbling explanations.

I’m fine with the price increase, though. I’ve had close to 500 movies in my queue for years and I think cancelling my subscription at this point would be stupid. Am I locked in? Yes. But the queue of movies has value; if I lose it I’ll forget what I wanted to watch and I’m not good at watching movies anyway. Plus, you can’t stream just any movie from Netflix’s otherwise large database. Even so, I can stream almost 200 of the 500 movies in my queue. Hey, that’s good enough for me.

And really, six more dollars more every month is not a deal breaker.

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