Saturday, March 25, 2006

Give It Up, Grannie!

Since the concept of online banking came about, I’ve been its biggest supporter. Sure, there’s always some hesitation to trust your money with a system that, at times, has proven to be about as secure as a drunk sorority girl on spring break, and change is always difficult to accept in some measure. Yet, can anyone deny that the system of online banking has made our world a better place? I think I’ve written three paper checks in the past five years, and I’ve only had to mail one of them. This is a huge advantage for those of us that can’t be bothered with the trivialities of buying stamps or …writing.

Even for the standard adult male and female with normal attention spans, online banking provides a huge advantage over the old system of checks and stamps. Money is applied from your account to your bill almost immediately, eliminating the need to balance a checkbook in most cases. Also, no more checks getting lost in the mail! I know, the USPS has like a 99.999% rate of reliability, or something ridiculous like that…but lost mail still happens. This way, if the company to whom you are paying a bill doesn’t get your payment, it’s the bank’s fault, and they typically have some sort of reimbursement mechanism in place in case you get charged a late fee.

So why are there still holdouts!? I know some very intelligent and forward thinking people that are still unable to make the switch to the 21st century. Just last night, I was having a conversation with a lawyer (you know you you are), and he’s unable to accept online banking for admittedly trivial reasons. “I don’t know…I just like paper!” I think these people are holding up progress. Can’t banks do the same thing the airlines did to wean us off paper tickets? It’s the same basic situation – people holding onto paper because it makes them feel better, even though all the mechanisms for using the paper are electronic anyway. All the airlines did was start making it more expensive for people to carry around these stupid tickets in their pockets, and voila! Instant conversion. I guarantee you…as soon as banks start charging $1.00 to cash checks, the switchover will be complete. This will get us just a little closer to my utopia…

Major Marty Stroodler’s Utopia

  • All forms of paper payment have been eliminated and you pay for everything with chip implanted in your big toe.
  • Traffic cameras installed at all traffic lights penalize riders for speeding, running lights, and just being assholes, eliminating the need for traffic cops.
  • The George Foreman Hair Maker is introduced. It’s a device that fits on top of your head and does your hair the exact same way every morning, applying just the right amount of product. Can you imagine how much time we’d save!?
  • Flying cars. Come on, man. We’ve been waiting too long.
  • PDA-like devices at all restaurant tables that allow you to order and pay whenever you feel like it. No more being pressured to order by a waiter with an agenda or waiting for the check when the same waiter is on a smoke break. We only need them to deliver the food and take complaints.
  • Eveyone who is married, coupled, or in a significant romantic relationship has to wear a red dot on their foreheads. The Indians got it right the first time around, but let’s expand it to everyone…not just women.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Just some musings from the District. It helps if you listen to the Postal Service while you read...

Metro Closes Doors...HARD.
I was riding the Yellow Line back from my Chinese lesson yesterday, and was shocked to hear an unfamiliar voice telling me that doors would soon be closing. Apparently, Metro has concluded it’s search for the new “Voice of Metro”. 44-year-old Woodbridge resident Randi Miller will now be the one telling you what to do when getting on the train. Personally, I think Metro overlooked the most qualified candidate, DC native Wanda Sykes. Riders would respond much more quickly to “You out yo’ damn mind? Get your ass in the car. And I don’t want to see your dumb ass hanging out by the door. Move to the center, fool.”

Parvus Sed Potens
Apparently Senators this week are tripping all over themselves to avoid talking about Senator Feingold’s proposed censure of President Bush.

"I just don't have enough information," protested Ben Nelson (Neb.). "I really can't right now," John Kerry (Mass.) said as he hurried past a knot of reporters -- an excuse that fell apart when Kerry was forced into an awkward wait as Capitol Police stopped an aide at the magnetometer.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) brushed past the press pack, shaking her head and waving her hand over her shoulder. When an errant food cart blocked her entrance to the meeting room, she tried to hide from reporters behind the 4-foot-11 Barbara Mikulski (Md.). - Washington Post

Hillary wants to be my president? Sounds like we need a Feingold/Mikulski ticket in 2008.

Suck it, Yankee
China is refusing to take back an estimated 39,000 citizens who have been denied immigration to the United States and have clogged detention centers at federal expense, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said yesterday.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Chertoff said that China readmitted 800 people last year. But that made only a small dent in what he described as a backlog of thousands who are in the United States illegally.

Currently, 687 Chinese are being held in federal detention facilities, at a daily cost of $95 each, while about 38,000 have been released on bond or under a monitoring program, such as wearing an electronic surveillance bracelet, the Department of Homeland Security said.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not immediately return a call for comment (and is probably laughing hysterically). - Washington Post

Monday, March 13, 2006

Don't Ask Me Why

While it's about time for a new post from me, I am feeling lazy and apathetic. So, lacking in all creativity, I'm posting my response to a challenge from friend Mike's Blog. I promise to "bring it" soon.

Choose a band or artist and answer only in titles of their songs.

Band or artist: Eurythmics

Say Hello: Hello I Love You

Are you Male or Female: Missionary Man

Describe yourself: Wide Eyed Girl

How do some people feel about you: Thorn In My Side

How do you feel about yourself: Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

Describe your Ex-Boyfriend / Girlfriend: Better To Have Lost In Love

Describe Current Boyfriend / Girlfriend: I Need A Man

Describe where you want to be: The City Never Sleeps

Describe how you Live: Brand New Day

Describe how you Love: Right By Your Side

What would you ask for if you had just one wish: I Want It All

Share a few words of Wisdom: No Fear, No Hate, No Pain

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Marty's Album of the Month for March 2006

My albums of the month are usually new finds I’ve come across while trolling the internet for new talent. However, the pick for this month was one I came across at a K-Mart in 1987. It’s a little overdue for recognition in this forum, but sometimes quality wins out over timing. Do you remember where you were when you first heard Janet Jackson’s “Nasty”? I was sitting on my bedroom floor, listening to Casey Kasem’s Weekly Top 40, organizing my GI Joe figures (by outfit). Every since, I’ve had an appreciation for the truly talented member of the Jackson family, and especially her album, Control. The words are classic but timeless…

“What’s up, girl?”
“He stood me up, again.”
“Mmm hmm.”
“Well, what’s up with this guy? Do you really like him that much?”
“Yes, honey, I love him, and he is fiiiine. You know, he does a lot of nice things for me.”
“I know he used to do nice stuff for you, but what has he done for you lat-ely??”

Sunday, March 05, 2006


I’ve just returned from a trip out West (Colorado, specifically), and I’ve decided that I am most definitely an East Coast boy. Talking with the people that live and work out there, it’s impossible to deny that the mountainous western portion of our country holds an allure for a large segment of our population. Apparently, if you ski or climb rocks, it’s the place for you. However, in standard Stroodler fashion, here’s a list of reasons why I will remain only a visitor to the Rocky Mountain paradise…

1. Trees, or the lack of them. Don’t you just love driving around and seeing massive groups of trees that exist for no reason at all? So do I.

2. Brown. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.

3. EVERYONE drives a truck. Yes, I am including the “SUV” in this category as well.

4. Sprawl. I envy the soccer mom in Colorado. She can shop for groceries, get her nails done, find some deals at the dollar store, cash a check, get a cavity filled, and pick up a pizza for dinner, all after parking her car in a single spot at any of the billion mini-malls covering the state.

5. Air so dry it will eventually mummify everyone there.

6. EVERYONE is white, Republican, and a Christian, but that may be redundant. Now, I like white people (I am one), recognize the necessity of Republicans, and most definitely recognize the right of Christians to exist and worship any way they want to. I just wish there was a little more diversity. Come on, black Jewish Democrats! Go balance those people out.

In other news, I have rid myself of the blight that was my house in Dayton, OH. Yes, for some reason that I still can’t determine, I purchased property in that city when I lived there no so long ago. In the last two years, I’ve made efforts to sell and rent the place so that it didn’t liberate me of all of my monetary holdings, unsuccessfully. Closing on the house today was a relief that is hard to describe in words, even I sold the house below market value and had to pay out the ass to get out of the mortgage. So I close this entry with greatly conflicted emotions and a warning to all you kids out there thinking “why not buy a house? It’s a great tax write-off, right?” You can’t take a house back to the mortgage company like you can a belt you bought at Banana Republic. Rent…for God’s sake…RENT!