What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Capitulation. I’m appalled that a corporation with the size and resources of Sony Pictures folded like a rag doll when faced with what basically scales up to nation-state level cyber bullying. Personally, I would have put The Interview on every screen possible, made it available for free online, and publicized the hell out of it at every step – a full page ad in the Sunday New York Times unequivocally stating that Sony will not be intimidated or extorted. I’m even more alarmed at the silence coming out of our political leaders in Washington. At first blush this was a cyber attack directed against a private company, but what it really was is an attack on intellectual property every bit as real as an attack on a US flagged ship on the high seas or a missile targeted at one of our cities. Hacking carried out at the behest of a foreign power should be treated as seriously and responded to with as much fury as a conventional attack on American soil. If cyber is going to be the new frontier, we’d damn well better start defending it instead of showing cowardice in the face of the enemy.

2. Story Time. I’m sure all your family traditions and legends of Christmases past are very important to you. The memories undoubtedly fill you with happiness and joy. As someone who’s only a step or two removed from being a complete stranger, however, your stories don’t do much for me besides make me wonder why the hell I’m sitting here listing to you tell me about mid-century Christmas in the American heartland. It’s not so much that I don’t care about Christmas as it is I don’t care about *your* version of Christmas in 1964. It’s a distinction that some people seem to have a much more difficult time making than they really should.

3. Cuba. The Cold War’s over. We won. The very best thing we can do for the hungry and oppressed people of Cuba in the 21st century is welcome their island country into the warm embrace of the Monroe Doctrine, normalize relations, open two or three Atlantis-style resorts, a few casinos, and turn the place into a tourist destination. Some day in the not too distant future the Brothers Castro are going to be dead and I’d rather our interests have a leg up then find themselves looking in from the outside.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Priorities. I don’t know that I’ll ever get use to something that was a earth-shatteringly critical issue yesterday being completely irrelevant today. Look, I completely understand that focus changes and priorities shift, but maybe it would be ok to give a guy some advanced notice before he spends eight hours working on something that will never actually see the light of day. Hard to believe anyone ever accuses us of being inefficient.

2. The Boy Who Cried Wolf. Since December we’ve been listening to Dear Leader: Part III lead a veritable chorus of batshit crazy tirades about attacking both the US and South Korea. Sure, everyone on the planet, including the Dear Leader’s biggest boosters in China think he’s taking his unique brand of nuts way out past the edge of reasonable saber rattling, but no one seems to know quite how to deal with him at this point. I’m a simple man, really. When someone is standing on my front porch with a lit match and a gallon of gasoline talking a lot of smack about burning down my house, I don’t just stand there waiting for him to add one plus one. It’s one of those occasional times in life that calls for swift and decisive action, rather than another six months of handwringing and hoping we can just “hug it out.” It’s all a lot of talk right up to the point where it isn’t. For once I’d like my country not to be on the receiving end of a sucker punch to spur us out of complacency.

3. Evolution. As an apex predator, humans have evolved over millions of years right along to the various flora and fauna that inhabit the earth. Over that vast amount of time, you’d think our species would have evolved some kind of general ability to deal with pollen and other allergens in the air – beyond getting a clogged nose, watery eyes, and scratchy throat. I think it’s high time we expect more out of evolution… and for that matter we should expect a hell of a lot more from science in general – because the allergy medications it’s come up with pretty much suck.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Springing forward. For the last 100+ years, we have jiggered with the time in the spring and in the fall. Maybe that made sense when everyone was a farmer (and maybe it didn’t), but in the 21st century there’s really not much of a practical reason to spring forward or fall back since our activities are more or less standardized to the clock rather than to the relative position of the sun in the sky. I say ditch the time change nonsense. Pick one, stick with it, and move on. It’s just one small pain in the ass that we can all agree belongs in the 19th century?

2. Follow-through, or failure thereof. I’m a simple kind of guy in a lot of ways – like when I tell you that I’m going to do something. Excepting completely unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, when I say it’s going to get done, it will be done on time and to standard. My frist mistake is probably expecting the same from other people. At a minimum it would be nice if they had the common decency to let a brother know they’re going to let him flap in the wind and look like a douche canoe. Really, how effing hard can it be to throw together some PowerPoint slides and send out an email? Apparently, it’s of a scope and scale that exceeds preparing for the Normandy invasion… I’m pretty sure those jokers got their slides on time.

3. Truth in advertising. The Dear Leader of our beloved People’s Republic of Maryland wants to raise the gas tax this year, except he wants to do it without calling it that. So instead of ending up with a proposed bill to raise the gas tax, we end up with a bill to reduce the gas tax this year and then supplement that reduction by phasing in a sales tax on gasoline over the next three years. Oh look, he’s reducing the gas tax! Sigh. I know most people are either dumb as a box of rocks or not paying attention, but if the Dear Leader wants to jam his hand even further into my pocket and take more money from my magical shrinking pay check, I wish he’d have the fortitude to stand up and at least call it a tax.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. North Korea. What on earth possesses us to go to the negotiating table with this backwards-assed country that’s more interested in lobbing missiles into the ocean that it is in feeding its own people or keeping its electricity flowing. If the Dear Leader wants to spend every spare dime he can scrape together on arms and armaments, it’s time we focus on nothing more than containing them north of the cease fire line. Eventually, the North Korean people are going to get tired of starving and essentially living in the 19th century. When they do, we should do everything possible to support them. In the meantime, we should stop throwing good money after bad.

2. Good ideas. I’m not opposed to having them, I just wish they would come along when I have time to do something with them rather than just scribbling them down and hoping to get back to them at some point.

3. People who can’t figure out the basics of using a toll booth. If you’re in the lane with the giant purple sign that says “EZPass Only”, there’s a pretty damned good bet that you’re going to need an EZPass to get through the gate. If you for some reason don’t have that wonderful little transponder, you’re going to be stuck in the lane waiting for someone to wander over from one of the booths that is designated for taking actual cash money. More importantly, the guy behind you in the big red truck is going to lose is bloody mind and have his blood pressure skyrocket into decidedly unsafe territory.

4. New computer day at the office. I’m totally excited to get a new PC for work. And then I realize it’s just as crippled by security software, blockers, scans, and bloatware as the computer I’m getting rid of. At least there are no scuffs on it and the battery seems to work. That’s something.