Vermont Sucks Dot Gov

demotivational-posters-indifferenceI do websites. Maybe not the most amazing sites, but I try, and apparently do it well enough for my clients. I consider myself a Vermonter. So when a report comes out that highlights an official Vermont State website as one of the suckiest in the nation, I can’t help but pay attention. Of course, from the Douglas administration one has to expect the exceptional — tritium in the water supply, bullshit on the airwaves and so on. So I can’t say I’m surprised. But, seriously, Governor: you couldn’t have screwed this one up with your indifference and unwillingness to deliver if you tried. Kudos to you.

Oh, and I understand that the guy in charge of this particular clusterfuck has recently been promoted to CTO for the state — what an ace HR move, Mr. Douglas, really spot-on. The guy couldn’t even slap together a two-bit website, and now he’s running IT for the entire state?!? Wiz kid Evslin apparently was also in charge of our surpremely shitty roads for a bit, and nowadays seems to spend most of his time writing crappy novels. Christ, we could have hired Best Buy’s Geek Squad and gotten a better handle on our statewide tech needs.

Meanwhile, Evslin probably made the right choice by not bothering to update his “about me” profile online — at the rate he moves on to defecate in and on new corners of the bureaucracy every couple of months it’s just not worth the effort.

Trail of Tears in Palestine

You read this, and realize once again that the Israelis are doing largely what the settlers did to the native Americans in the United States a few hundred years ago: ethnic cleansing. Why my tax dollars must go to support this repeat of one of the tragedies of modern history is beyond me; that the world largely accepts it, condones it, watches it unfold, without doing much at all is incomprehensible.

Why is it that we are all so eager to scramble to offer any and all support when Haiti is struck by a disaster, while we do nothing to prevent a similarly tragic disaster — one that could have been stopped decades ago — from unfolding in slow motion before our very eyes? Think about it.

(Yeah, that’s my photo, taken in Jerusalem in 1994 while I worked as a stringer for the AP. More here)

Whiteboard Therapy

whiteboardI recently shuffled stuff in my home office, and the other day I got around to hanging my big, huge, oversize whiteboard on the wall again.

So, we’d had a really rough day — hectic, busy, crazy schedule kinda thing; mom was away at some work thing, and so I decided to make a very concerted effort to hang with the kids all evening and make the most of it. It was a blast — we had a great time, they had a great time, we did stuff together, they did stuff together (my goodness, at one point they were playing a board game — with each other — without fighting or accusing each other of cheating). Bedtime rolled around, we headed upstairs and while they got themselves ready I took a second to check email. While I was working they came in to tell me they were ready, and then they discovered the whiteboard. Oh, what fun. Big, virgin surface.

Now, normally, it would have ended up with another shoving match, or a fight over the red marker, or a “hey, you erased my bit, so now I get to punch you in the side” kind of thing, but tonight was just special. They stood side by side and doodled a bit, Lea wrote down the names of all her favorite horses, Lucas wrote down the names of his favorite cars… and then the most amazing thing happened: they spontaneously started writing nice things about each other. Now, understand: we haven’t yet made it to that part of our family meetings yet, so this is really uncharted territory. But as I turn around now, I have: “Lucas is awesome and really great at Monopoly hes the best brother you could ever have” over on one side of my whiteboard, and “Lea is really cool she is fun to play with and is nice to me she is the best” on the other. And I’m not sure what to do, because on the one hand I need my whiteboard, on the other hand I don’t want to erase this, ever.

I even got my very own shout-out: “Dad is awesome he lets me do stuff some parents wouldn’t and he left me make choices that some parents wouldn’t make the kids do so he is is AWESOME”. Okay, so he spelled it ASWOME, which really is just even cooler. I like being an aswome Dad. Sure beats being a grumpy old nagging nay-sayer. And from a kid who has been giving me the eye-roll and the heart-felt “whatevah” for months, it’s pretty big stuff. I’ll eat it right up, and ask for more.