Give him his due.

Our local NPR affiliate carries a show called Soundcheck, and on my drive home yesterday I caught a feature called the Soundcheck Smackdown, which on most days sounds like the arguments between the record-store clerks in “High Fidelity,” only not as funny.

Yesterday’s discussion was over the most influential figure in popular music in the last quarter-century. The host nominated Steve Jobs. Most of the rest of the free world disagreed. I noted many of the comments were yet more of the Steve Jobs hate that some have been expressing since the Apple CEO stepped down from his position, presumably to await the fate coming for us all.

A couple stipulations here: Y’all know I’m a Mac girl. I don’t revere Jobs in any way, although I do respect him. I’m on record as saying, “It’s an operating system, not a religion,” despite how many people want to treat it as such. My loyalty to Macs goes back to when I bought my first computer in 1994, and learned that formatting a floppy in the Windows OS would require a series of commands including colons, backslashes and the like. In the Mac, I’d get a window that said, “This appears to be an unformatted disk. Would you like to format it?” Sold. I knew, when I handed over my credit card, that I was paying a steep premium for that ease of use, but I was a total dolt with MS-DOS, and I knew that if the curtain of Windows was ever pulled back — and it often was, with that generation of PCs — I’d be powerless.

In subsequent years, both systems have improved immensely. But I like my Macs, and will remain a customer. They speak my language.

During those years, I occasionally come across someone who will remark, “Oh, you have one of those toy computers,” when they see the apple on the case. “When are you going to buy a real one?” I sometimes ask them if they’d buy a car you had to raise the hood on several times a week, just to get it started. A computer is a tool I use to do my work. I don’t want to spend time fixing my tools.

But man, ever since Jobs announced his exit from the company’s top office, the vitriol. Much of it has been in comment sections and hence, not credible, but you have to wonder about a person who would cheer the impending death of someone because that person made a product they disapproved of — that wasn’t poison gas or electric chairs.

I’ve been particularly interested in Jobs’ patents, a story that splashed in the big papers the day after his announcement, which I have to figure was planted by Apple. To be frank, I don’t know if I’d like to work for him — while an undeniable nurturer of creativity, he also had the sort of micromanaging style that has always made me nuts. That said, he had enough creative people who would die for him that I imagine he kept it under control when he had to.

What a late start today. Sorry, I’m down at Wayne, meeting with my students and writing in between. So this blog by Paul Campos at Lawyers, Guns and Money strikes a chord, about the financial bind too many college students find themselves in today:

I graduated from college in 1982, in the middle of what would turn out to be the worst post-WWII recession until the current mess. But I had no debt, because I went to an excellent public university that charged very low tuition. This, I realize in retrospect, made a huge difference in regard to my psychic as well as economic health. A few years later I went to a top state law school for not exactly free, but for a low enough price that I could earn the total cost of tuition from summer jobs. Today if I had done exactly the same thing I would be graduating with easily six figures of non-dischargeable educational debt at 7.5% interest.

A couple weeks ago, a former Michigan Supreme Court justice now running the state’s Department of Human Services was the human face on a policy change that ripped the food-stamp rug out from under thousands of Michigan college students who had previously qualified for same. In a staggering Marie Antoinette moment, she said those students should “get a part-time job, like I did,” if they had trouble putting food on the table. I meet my students at this urban university, and I am stunned and awed by the challenges they’re juggling to go to school. Part-time job? Most of them are working at least two, and many are full-time workers who wedge classes in around the edges, along with family responsibilities and many others that would, or should, shame a woman who could say such a thing. Never mind financial aid — these young people work harder than I ever did in school. “Get a part-time job?” Why not get a clue instead.

OK, I need a palate-cleanser. I see Mary threw those krazy Kardashian girls into the mix, here if you missed it. The Kardashian Kollection of — underwear, I guess — is for Sears. Yes, they spell it with a K, just like Khloe and Kourtney and Kim. Never underestimate the power of hustling white trash, I always say. Here’s Tom & Lorenzo on one of Kim’s grocery-shopping outfits. (Does she always have her makeup applied with an airbrush? I need to do some research on these girls.)

And with that, I’d best get rolling.

Posted at 12:21 pm in Current events, Media, Same ol' same ol' |

45 responses to “Give him his due.”

  1. coozledad said on September 1, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Put a breastplate on that dress, and you’ve got the Greek cavalry look, circa 479 BCE. You never know when the battle of Plataea is going to break out in the shampoo aisle.

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  2. Bob (not Greene) said on September 1, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    That photo reminds me of that line by the Gestapo dude from Raiders of the Lost Ark. “You Americans — Always overdressing for the wrong occasions.”

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  3. Sue said on September 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    College Tuition Financial Bind:
    Of my kids’ friends who tried to put themselves through college, only one – 1!!! – was able to do it without the financial support of parents or family members.
    I just lost my second job – the cleaning company I worked for was underbid and lost the contract, damn them for paying me more than minimum wage – so I’ve got to hustle and find something in an economy where suddenly two jobs are becoming the rule, with more competition for the jobs people used to disdain or leave for… college kids. I never had school loans before I took them out to get my daughter through school, and of course I needed to find a second job to help pay for the loans I took out. She, of course, took out loans and worked to the point of illness herself.
    But we’re all just lazy losers, looking for a handout just like those illegals.

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  4. adrianne said on September 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Nance, you gave me my first belly laugh of the day with: “Never underestimate the power of hustling white trash.”

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  5. Deborah said on September 1, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    The Kardashian Kollection would be at home in K-Mart.

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  6. april glaspie said on September 1, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Sorry, chunky Cali girls, and Sears, Kollection with a K is rightfully the sole possession of the Davies Brothers, Ray and Dave. Maybe Ray should write a catty song about them. Or sue them. Kim Kardashian should understand she doesn’t need to wear an outfit that features saddlebags, since her own are naturally more than ample. And anybody that would pay for and wear those Python shoes is clearly an idiot, and probably has dromhidrosis.

    I worked two jobs during college, between 60 and 70 hours per week. Not so much for tuition, which in state was still very low all those years ago, but because I was for all intents married by that time. One major problem in more modern times is the protection by the GOP of the student loan industry despite it’s absolute superfluity. In Georgia, the great defender of these leeches is Nathan Deal, whose family fortune comes from payday loan and car title loan businesses. Loansharking birds of a feather.

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  7. Peter said on September 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I’ll go slightly off tangent here, and Deborah, I would appreciate your assistance.

    I was going to comment on Steve Job’s patents the other day, as I read that article in the NY Times. Here’s what I don’t understand – how did he get a patent for that stair? Admittedly, it’s a nice stair, but there’s nothing unique about it. I understood that you can get a COPYRIGHT on a design concept to prevent someone from copying them en masse – it’s why architects are copyrighting their construction drawings. However, you can’t get a PATENT on design alone – it has to have a feature or function that is unique – and that stair, nice as it is, doesn’t meet that criteria. Glass treads? Done. Glass balustrades? Been there. Steel tension support? Over it.

    Just like how can he patent a packing box for an item? It’s a box! What’s so unique about the box?

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  8. april glaspie said on September 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Henry Ford patented packing crates he had parts delivered in to his assembly plants.The deconstructed crates were used in A and T Model Fords as dashboards and floorboards.

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  9. Deborah said on September 1, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Peter, I don’t know anything about patents. I looked up the NYT article that shows the stair, it’s exactly the one in the Michigan Ave Apple store that I see all the time. It’s not a comfortable stair for me to walk on, with my fear of heights and all the glass, it looks good but doesn’t feel good. Just a week or so ago I listened to a This American Life radio segment about patent trollers and computer companies(come to think about it, wasn’t that in one of Nancy’s recent posts where I heard about it?). Pretty disgusting stuff.

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  10. MaryRC said on September 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Deborah, I so agree about finding it hard to climb the glass staircase in Apple stores if you have vertigo, especially in combination with open treads with no risers. Not to mention that I usually wear skirts.

    I guess I don’t understand how patents work. Steve Jobs didn’t design the glass stairs, the architects and engineers involved in the design worked for other companies. But Jobs gets to take out the patent on them, which seems odd to me.

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  11. moe99 said on September 1, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    Oh, those clever Republicans. What will they think of next.

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  12. brian stouder said on September 1, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    Moe, that was a cake-taker. The lead sentence was in somewhat covert bad taste, too – or maybe I’m just too squeamish: (emphasis added by me)

    Eyebrows shot up all over the country Thursday following news that that the Republican Party in Pima County, AZ — home to Tucson and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ (D) district — is raffling off a Glock similar to the one used to shoot Giffords in the head in January.

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  13. LAMary said on September 1, 2011 at 4:42 pm

    Here’s an informative tweet from Christine “I am not a witch” O’Donnell.

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  14. april glaspie said on September 1, 2011 at 4:53 pm

    Michelle superPAC is running this anti-Rick ad in SC.Is it just me or does the voice-over sound just like one of those obnoxious Tom Bodett ads for Motel 6?

    The GOP vote fraud canard and vote suppression is a story that is simple to understand and should turn conscienscious Americans against the moos en masse, particularly after the outright theft of Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004, and the hijinks by Republicans in Wisconsin in the recall and judicial election recently. Somehow, voters seem too damn dumb to get that they are being made fools of, used like tools, and convinced to vote against their own interest.

    Those aholes in Tucson shot ’emselves in the foot.

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  15. LAMary said on September 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    That will teach me for mocking the non witch. We just had a little earthquake. 4.1 with the epicenter just a few miles away from my office.

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  16. april glaspie said on September 1, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    Brian, if I hear “eyebrows shot up” in connection with GOPers, I’m immediately attuned to Botox humor.

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  17. beb said on September 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    I guess when you are the CEO of a major business no one dares say bad things about you but the instant you’re out of the loop…. I know a lot of people sniped at the “Jobs distortion sphere” in which people in or near him would caught up in whatever concept he was wrapped in. But I’ve never followed much of the discussion pro or con about Jobs. I’m not sure that Jobs had much influence on Pixar beyond giving them the money they needed to get started. That and hiring the absolutely brilliant Lassiter to lead the company. His return to Apple demonstrates his own genius. I’m not sure that macs are better computers or that iPod were better MP3 players, or iPhones were better phones, etc. but he created these markets.

    I’ve often wondered how the Gabor sisters ever got famous. They were before my time but aside from Queen of Outer Space were any of them in movies? The same is true of the Kardashians. How did they get where they are?

    But speaking of fashion dos and don’t, I was fascinated by this story:

    She was eighteen at the time and more to the point, I thought it was a somewhat modest dress. Sure the hemline is high but she have that surcoat covering much most of her legs. And sure the neckline was low but again the surcoat’s lacy edging covers up most of her bosoms. The only problem with it that her head is so large that she continues to look like a child. In fact she looked like one of those dress-up babies on Toddlers and Tiara. But as a dress for an 18 year at a prestigious awards event — I thought it was a good choice. Oh course I have no idea what Tom and Lorenzo thought about it.

    Another fashion article that made me go “huh?” involved Jennifer Anistan’s “special” bikini. Turns out its special because she continues to wear the same bathing suits 2 or 3 years running. Like most people do. God, we are easily distracted. Squirrel!

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  18. Deborah said on September 1, 2011 at 5:22 pm

    I don’t think it’s unheard of that Jobs designed the stair. It likely could have been a napkin sketch that he handed to an architect. The one thing about the stair that may be unique is the glass sides go all the way down to the floor. Code requires that you must protect people from banging their heads walking under a stair. Most of the stairs I’ve seen like that have a platform underneath that you can sit on, but keeps you from walking under the stair. The glass sides design allows it to feel open but keeps you from being able to walk under it. I don’t know, maybe there are tons of stairs like this with glass sides?

    One thing that sets Apple apart from the rest is good design, well designed hardware, ads, packaging and stores. The company I work for does roll-out for all (well maybe most?) of the Apple stores. Come to think of it I should ask one of the architects who works on those projects about the stair design and how come Jobs gets credit for it.

    I’m a Mac person, between us my husband and I have 3 Mac laptops, 2 iPhones, an iPod and an iPad. In my office there are only about a dozen paople on Macs, the rest of the 150 or so all use PCs. I hate PCs, I can’t even figure out how to use a mouse on a PC.

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  19. Jeff Borden said on September 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    I am not much of a consumer of the pop culture these days, but a certain amount comes through the transom by osmosis, I guess, and teaching undergraduates also puts me in proximity to those who traffic in it. Nonetheless, I don’t “get” the Kardashians. Maybe it’s me, but I don’t find any of the young women particularly attractive and I gather that, by and large, they are a talentless lot. Are these young ladies down-market Paris Hilton, another baffling celeb but at least one with a famous name?

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  20. Deborah said on September 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Way more than you ever wanted to know about the glass stair

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  21. april glaspie said on September 1, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I will never say another derogatory word about Paris Hilton after this stroke of genius mocking McCain. No way a Kardashian does anything remotely that hilarious. And somewhat smarter than Shrub.

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  22. alex said on September 1, 2011 at 6:42 pm


    Zsa-Zsa and her sisters were Hungarian courtesans shopped around to the rich and powerful by their mother as teen-agers. Zsa-Zsa went to the highest bidder, Conrad Hilton, with whom she had the first of her many brief marriages. The other two, Eva and Magda, also married well their first times around and bought their way into showbiz.

    Hungarian whores are reputed to have been considered the best by western Europeans and Americans in the early twentieth century. This I learned from the book The Austrian Mind: An Intellectual and Social History 1848-1938. Just as the English were renowned for their nannies.

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  23. LAMary said on September 1, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    I recall Eva Gabor actually being sort of good on Green Acres. I know Green Acres was a crap show, and the idea of a Gabor being good on a crap show is ridiculous, but she had a certain charm that Zsa Zsa lacked. Go ahead. Shoot me.

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  24. Dexter said on September 1, 2011 at 7:59 pm

    Baby. Girl. Our youngest, Vanessa, delivered a daughter this morning in Dublin, Ohio, near Columbus. 7 pounds and change.
    All is well.

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  25. april glaspie said on September 1, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    Congratulations, Dexter.

    Heckuva Job Brownie thinks Cantor’s doing a heckuva job, too. What a buffoon.

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  26. coozledad said on September 1, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    Alex: In my reading, I constantly see references to Polish milkmaids and farmhands turning up throughout Europe, even after WWII. I gather there were just too many of them to find work in Poland.
    The White Russians cornered the whoring market in Shanghai.

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  27. Suzanne said on September 1, 2011 at 9:11 pm

    The only thing I know about the Kardashians is that their step-father is Bruce Jenner, the hearthrob Olympian from back in the day. And then, in a tale as old as time, he ditched the wife that stuck with him through the lean days of training once he became rich and famous to hang out with the rich and famous.

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  28. nancy said on September 1, 2011 at 9:17 pm

    Otherwise known as Dan Jansen’s Disease.

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  29. Bitter Scribe said on September 1, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    What really surprised me was the photo of that model in the middle. At first glance, she looked like a mannequin. When I saw her name in the photo credit I did a double-take and, yup, that’s a person.

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  30. MarkH said on September 1, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    beb – Alex is correct on the Gabors’ provenance, but both Zsa Zsa and Eva have a hefty string of screen credits (see, something you’ll never see out of the triple K’s or Paris. Zsa Zsa appeared in the original Moulin Rouge with Jose Ferrer in 1952, and the same year she was the Queen of Outer Space, she appeared in Orson Welles’ masterful Touch of Evil (1958). I’m with LAMary; Eva was the better talent and showed an underappreciated light comedic touch. And, yes, Green Acres can still be a guilty pleasure. Alvy Moore as county agent Hank Kimball was a favorite.

    Suzanne, the Kardashian name became synonymous with the OJ Simpson Trial, as the girls’ father, Robert was a close friend of OJ’s and re-activated his law license to be on the legal team. Watch the reading of the not guilty verdict. At the defense table, it was his face that has the “Holy shit, he DID get a way with it!” look of disbelief.

    April, the Triple K’s could get a much better creative team than Paris and you’d shut up about them, too. Do you honestly think Hilton understood a word she said? It was funny, though.

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  31. brian stouder said on September 1, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    LA Mary, I think that for a show dating to the days when there were only 3 networks – and it was big stuff when Fort Wayne got a PBS station, and therefore a fourth channel to tune to – Green Acres had a remarkably subversive vibe.

    I recall Mr Kimble, the ag department guy; and Mr Haney, the merchant on the make; and Eb the good natured rube; and Mr Ziffel – who may have been up to God-knows-what with his pig named Arnold….

    I think if they ran that show in 2011, they could have Mr Drucker listening to some rightwing radio blowhard as he passes the day in his General Store, the better to parrot whatever inane meme-of-the-day is being aimed at “the real America”, as represented in Bug Tussle, or Hooterville (or wherever)*.

    Except it would play out more as a dramady than a comedy.

    AG – I never read the tidbit about Henry Ford’s dual-use crates, but it sounds interesting. A few years ago I read (and then lent out and never got back) an interesting biography on Henry Ford, which stated that Henry’s River Rouge factory received raw materials (chiefly iron ore) at one end, and disgorged Model T’s on the other – with Harvey Firestone’s tires as the only other thing brought in from elsewhere. (It was said that, with the unceasingly burning furnaces and so on in the Rouge factory, it was the closest thing to hell on Earth)

    *The references on Andy Griffith’s show, about “goin’ up to Raleigh” somehow always sounded somewhat exotic

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  32. joodyb said on September 1, 2011 at 11:12 pm

    Compelled to draw the parallel between Kris Jenner and Mama Gabor. though the gabor sisters may have had a mote of talent amongst them and the Kgirls have none, the Ks have certainly made the $$$ Mama G would killed for. maybe literally. strange little bedfellows there.

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  33. Sherri said on September 2, 2011 at 12:11 am

    I wouldn’t have wanted to work for Jobs in his first incarnation in Apple. I have heard enough stories from enough people who did work there to know I wouldn’t have wanted to be yelled at and cursed at, which was pretty much par for the course. Maybe he grew up some by his second incarnation at Apple.

    Not that Jobs was the worst at that sort of thing, though, not by a long shot. Larry Ellison of Oracle is infamous for being a jerk. Bill Gates wasn’t exactly a nice guy in the early days of Microsoft either. However, I was fortunate myself to work for Adobe in the days when John Warnock and Chuck Geschke, the founders, were still there and the company was still small enough to have interactions with them, and they were both marvelous people. Probably helped that they were already grownups when they started the company.

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  34. moe99 said on September 2, 2011 at 12:18 am

    I understand this guy is a former Republican mayor of Indianapolis:

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  35. Rana said on September 2, 2011 at 2:55 am

    Dexter, pass along my congratulations.

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  36. april glaspie said on September 2, 2011 at 6:18 am


    Yeah I do think she knows what she was talking about, because I have watched part of House of Wax, and I know she can’t act her way out of a paper bag. Maybe McCain was a sitting duck, but she schooled him. Bringing her up in the first placce was about as moronic as Dannyboy Quayle calling out Murphy Brown. The K sisters would never had the brains to take umbrage at McCain’s bad behavior, and would certainly have had no response clever or otherwise.

    And if its so easy to fake it, why did the GOP never manage to get anything like that sort of performance out of Palin?

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  37. ROGirl said on September 2, 2011 at 6:37 am

    At least no sex tapes of the Gabors have surfaced — yet.

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  38. april glaspie said on September 2, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Thanks for that mental image ROGirl.

    On Steve Jobs:

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  39. coozledad said on September 2, 2011 at 9:00 am

    You’re in good company if you like Green Acres. Roy’s right: Paul Henning was a surrealist. Almost a dadaist.

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  40. MarkH said on September 2, 2011 at 11:24 am

    Brains, April? How about dollars. The K’s will do almost anything for exposure and money. They don’t have to know what their talking about and don’t care,as long as they look great. Same with Hilton, she was a tool; THEY schooled him, using her. But, as I said, it was effective; I liked it.

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  41. LAMary said on September 2, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    I appreciate the validation for my Green Acres memories. I’m glad I revealed that particular questionable judgement. Next: Bar Rescue. Anyone else watch that show? I have to figure out why I love it.

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  42. DellaDash said on September 2, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I worked about a year for Apple Latin America in Coral Gables, Florida (Miami)…and even though I ended up wielding Microsoft tools not native to the MAC OS (therefore riddled with workaround-quirks at the time)…and although I’ve had to stay in Microsoft’s pocket for the ongoing aiding and abetting of an on-again-off-again livelihood…here’s my take on the 2 opposing camps:

    MS PCs/Bill Gates is like a California waiter at a new-age restaurant (The Source on the eastern edge of Sunset Strip, back in the day)…a waiter as hungry for your attention as you are for your food, which he’ll admonish you to chew many more times than you are inclined to (in order for it to be digested properly), while peppering you with TMI about his fledging “real” career, and camouflaging poor service with unsolicited displays of questionable performance skills (turning you into a captive audience)

    Apple/Mac/Steven Jobs is like the consummate British butler (Anthony Hopkins in ‘Remains of the Day’) or housekeeper (Helen Mirran in ‘Gosford Park’) who understands and anticipates your needs so seamlessly and unobtrusively that you don’t even realize they’re there…right at your elbow…providing enhancement to whatever business you’re going about from moment to moment

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  43. Lex said on September 2, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    Late again as usual, I’m gonna go off thread topic and back to the original post.

    I, too, graduated in 1982, and not from a state institution, either. I graduated in debt, but it was manageable debt. Why? Because I worked full-time as a radio disc jockey, making considerably more than the minimum wage, while also going to school full-time. Most weeks that meant midnight to six on the air, six nights a week, plus several hours of production work, some of it on nonnegotiable deadline.

    I also got no sleep, and my GPA showed it — not bad, but considerably lower than I was capable of. I started college intending to be a star, but I quickly figured out that given my schedule there was no shame in taking the B, or even the C-plus, and running. The debt took me 10 years to pay off, but during much of that time I was eligible for food stamps (never took ’em) and still didn’t miss a payment.

    And you know what? It was awful. I will do without many things to try to ensure that my kids don’t have to do the same thing. But at least I’m in position to do that. A lot of folks can’t even do that much for their kids. And because of the looting of our economy and a few rich folks getting all butthurt over the notion of raising income-tax rates to Clinton-era levels, we are, if I may mix metaphors, eating our seed corn in a knowledge-based economy.

    Because that always ends well.

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  44. april glaspie said on September 3, 2011 at 12:31 am

    Brains, April? How about dollars. The K’s will do almost anything for exposure and money. They don’t have to know what their talking about and don’t care,as long as they look great. Same with Hilton, she was a tool; THEY schooled him, using her. But, as I said, it was effective; I liked it.

    I don’t even think they look normal, much less great. To me they look like pay for dates at one of those GOP bondage clubs Mark.

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  45. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on September 3, 2011 at 8:29 am

    It does seem that sometimes if you aren’t totally cheering for the D team, it’s hard to say anything here for the other side of the debate that doesn’t get smothered in f*** & s*** and multiple uncreative variations of the same. Which I consider, priggishly in the opinion of many, no doubt, to be more than a wee bit suppressive of discussion.

    So, if you can’t beat ’em . . . here’s a good word for the Obama team on bringing a new OS to the moribund executive branch, and how it could open up the entire government to a wider (better!) range of technology:

    And left or right, I think there’s something we all can like here – – plus, everyone (I mean, EVERYONE) likes Carol Marin, and not because she’s a bland, inoffensive milquetoast of a columnist/journalist, neither.

    If you’re in the Newark OH neighborhood, come on down to the Great Circle of the Newark Earthworks, where the first official Native American gathering on this 2,000 year old site since 1889 is happening today, tomorrow, and Monday. 1889 was Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, and a Sioux Village was near where we will encamp. Grand entry is 1 and 7 pm today and tomorrow, 1 pm on Monday and we close about 5 pm. Time for fry bread!

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