Archive for February, 2009


Garden Redux

This blog has always had a “Garden” page, but it was just that: one long page that allowed one set of comments.  That was not the best solution for the poster, reader, and especially commenter.  Version 2 is here!  When you click on the Garden page (top menu link), you’ll be taken to a completely separate blog.  You may not even realize you are on a separate blog, and that was by design.  This new format will allow Angela to more easily update everyone with all of the great work she does in the garden, and will allow commenters to write back on individual posts.


(On a technical note, if you subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed, you’ll need to go to the Garden blog and subscribe to that one too.  They’re different feeds.)


Worst Google Logo Ever

I have always enjoyed the Google holiday/event logos.  Not only are they often very creative and artistic, but they highlight a wide variety of notable dates beyond usual holidays:  birthday/anniversary days of significant people, and landmark events of all types ranging from the well known to very geeky.  Some of my favorites appeared just last year:

Earth Day:

Large Hadron Collider activation (and the potential end of Earth):

Election Day:

Their artistic ability (or standards, for guest artists) has greatly improved over the years.  Here is their 2008 Halloween logo:

Compare that to their less impressive, cut-and-paste clip art effort from 1999:

They’ve definitely raised the bar, and I’ve come to expect high quality, clever logos from Google.  Which brings us to today, Valentine’s Day 2009:

Boy, they really spared no expense on this one!  Font-color = Red.  Wow.  And the kisses and hugs…  well my first reaction when I saw the logo was that had been hacked.  The X and O look like something found at a crime scene in “CSI”.  Not well done, especially for Valentine’s day.

Oh well, maybe next year.  I still like the holiday logo concept and Google’s minimalist style (as opposed to the fancy animations over at, but they showed their slack side today.

In addition to the headline-making layoffs recently announced, CAT and Peoria have received some other attention you may not be aware of:

  • Obama’s Secretary of Transporation, Ray Lahood, most recently represented central Illinois (and Peoria) in congress.
  • CAT CEO Jim Owens was added to Obama’s economic advisory board.
  • Owens will appear on “60 Minutes” this coming Sunday, Feb 15th.  I’ve not seen this in the press, though it was announced internally.  Expect him to slam the “Buy American” provision of the stimulus bill.  I’ve seen him on CNBC a few times and he’s an effective speaker.  Try to catch this interview if you can.
  • Obama will probably be in (East) Peoria on Thursday visiting a CAT plant.  We’re such a good backdrop for messages about the crumbling economy.

It would be neat to see Air Force One land in Peoria.  It’s been here a few times recently but I’ve never seen it myself.  Of course the schedule of the whole event is under wraps so I’ll probably miss it again.


Name That Movie

Enough serious posts for one week…


Not only is the diesel sign nostalgic, it’s a hint.  Too hard?  Try a slightly easier version.


Slowest Common Denominator

So far Obama hasn’t done anything to really irritate me, but the democratic congress has.  One of the smaller pieces of legislation they’ve prepared that is misguided involves the delay to Digital TV, or rather a delay to allowing analog TV to shut down.  It bothers me because it is indicative of waste, slowing society down to the slowest, and a lack of personal responsibility.

Start with the assertion that there are some in remote areas, possibly low income, that haven’t yet made the switch.  Why is that?  If they haven’t been watching TV and didn’t get the notices, they can continue to not watch TV once we’re all digital.  When they choose to watch again, they go buy the $40 box.  For those that do watch TV, they have either made the switch, don’t need to switch (i.e. have cable or satellite), or they’ve ignored the incessant warnings for the past two years.  This gets to personal responsibility.  If someone can’t, over two years, get around to forking out $40 to preserve their precious TV, then they should be allow to suffer a bit.  (At which point they’ll get off the couch and go buy the box.)

Congress seems to treat TV like it’s electricity or running water: an essential service.  Sorry, it’s not.  We watch a few hours a week tops and survive.  So on one side of the equation we’re worrying about lazy couch potatoes experiencing a minor inconvenience.  On the other side, you have all of the stations out there who are screaming to turn off their analog transmitters.  They’ve already had to upgrade to digital, yet they’re still paying the power and maintenance bills for their analog transmitter.  So faced with the opportunity to remove a substantial, real cost for a lot of business, congress is on the verge of pandering to the irresponsible.  I think this is the wrong decision

Of course this a is relatively small matter in all respects, but the issues surrounding it are indicative of much larger problems.  I’m disappointed and worried that progress (and efficiency) is being held up by slowing everyone down to the slowest among us.  We need to do much better to get out of our various messes.

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