Wednesday, October 28, 2009

When Grandma Went to Court...

Via my lovely wife:
Lawyers should never ask a Mississippi grandma a question if they aren't prepared for the answer.

In a trial, a Southern small-town prosecuting attorney called his first witness, a grandmotherly, elderly, woman, to the stand. He approached her and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know me?'

She responded, 'Why, yes, I do know you, Mr. Williams. I've known you since you were a boy, and frankly, you've been a big disappointment to me. You lie, you cheat on your wife, and you manipulate people and talk about them behind their backs. You think you're a big shot when you haven't the brains to realize you'll never amount to anything more than a two-bit paper pusher. Yes, I know you.'

The lawyer was stunned. Not knowing what else to do, he pointed across the room and asked, 'Mrs. Jones, do you know the defense attorney?' She again replied, 'Why yes, I do. I've known Mr. Bradley since he was a youngster, too. He's lazy, bigoted, and he has a drinking problem. He can't build a normal relationship with anyone, and his law practice is one of the worst in the entire state. Not to mention he cheated on his wife with three different women. One of them was your wife. Yes, I know him.'

The defense attorney nearly died.

The judge asked both counselors to approach the bench and, in a very quiet voice, said, 'If either of you idiots asks her if she knows me, I'll send you both to the electric chair.'

The Laryngospasms...

I really don't know what I can add to that!

Paul Lutus...

Here's a story about (and by) Paul Lutus, a famous programmer – the guy who wrote Apple Writer.  The lede:
You may have heard about me. In the computer business I'm known as the Oregon Hermit. According to rumor, I write personal computer programs in solitude, shunning food and sleep in endless fugues of work. I hang up on important callers in order to keep the next few programming ideas from evaporating, and I live on the end of a dirt road in the wilderness. I'm here to tell you these vicious rumors are true.
Those of you who know me well will probably be unsurprised that some of what Lutus has to say resonates strongly with me.  I can easily imagine being a “programming hermit”...

Holy Falling Revenues, Batman!

If you've ever had even the slightest thing to do with running a business, here's a graph that would send chills up and down your spine.  And start you thinking about your next career.  Click to see the full horror.

What you're seeing on this graph are the weekly circulation numbers for some of the major U.S. newspapers.  For a newspaper, circulation is a good proxy for revenue – not just because of subscription revenue, but because their ad revenue is mainly determined by their circulation (and, of course, by demographics).

Looking at this chart, two things reach up and slap you in the face.  First, the Wall Street Journal seems to be the only U.S. newspaper that's figured out how to attract readers in the modern era.  Second, every other newspaper looks like it's in a death spiral – it can't be too much longer until they close their doors.  Of these newspapers, I'm most familiar with the New York Times (I used to be a daily reader) and the Los Angeles Times (more by proximity than for any other reason).  As a picky consumer of news and commentary source, I am unsurprised that they are shedding readers – they're publishing junk today compared to what they did as recently as ten years ago.

I would hate to be an executive on one of those newspapers right about now...

Warrior Song...