Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Dear Mr. President…

In Random on May 28, 2010 at 1:28 pm

If James Carville has nothing stupidly supportive to yapyapyap about the current administration’s reaction to the oil spill, that’s terrible.  At least you could count on him to purvey the straight party-line BS.  As Tip O’Neill said, “all politics are local”, and Carville’s backyard is covered in grease.

George HW Bush (41) once was derided for his statement about  not putting much weight to “the vision thing”.  What’s President Obama’s excuse?  Dude, you were ALL vision, all about something new?  Where are your advisors?  Isn’t the presidency a permanent campaign?  Where are all the political geniuses?

I wasn’t so perturbed by the healthcare thing, that’s just presidential overreach and all presidents should overreach on policy effort…historians will give credit to a failed policy effort because usually these things highlight the  moral questions of the day.  The failures allow the side supporting the failed effort to continue to articulate their stance, and those who stop it come up with alternatives because everything surrounding that topic is now in question.  This is how our republic works.

This thing with the oil spill though…Peggy Noonan wrote today that this is Obama’s Katrina.  No this is worse. This is getting into space of the Presidential bunglers of the 1850s.

Mr. President, there is no “event horizon” with a disaster like this. You can’t avoid it, skirt along the edge of it, or blame it on your predecessor.  Supporters have complained that you inherited wars and an economy from GWB and have been dealing with that…that’s over guys.  This is now an Obama’s economy, Obama’s wars/peace and now an Obama’s disaster…

To be fair, you could not have personally prevented the initial oil rig disaster, you probably couldn’t have done a lot to prevent the oil from washing up someplace.  However, you seemed to think that you could run away completely from this.  BP sucks of course, but BO ain’t doing any better.  In fact, the thing that I don’t understand is that with your policy of ever-expanding government (which I took on as a calculated risk when I voted for you 2 years ago), this event should have been your dénouement, the culmination of everything you believed in, your moment to pull together all the pieces of government as an example, your First Iraq war moment (not the second Iraq war), your proof that government can work.   This, and NOT healthcare and not the economic crisis, could have defined your Presidency.   You could have pulled a Rudy Giuliani and given us the straight facts each day or two.  We can disagree agreeably about social or economic policy but when disaster strikes everyone wants the President to show up, tell us what the problem is, and deal with the current issue.   People want their President to succeed now, in situ, not later for historians.

Dude…What the hell?!



Red Line to the Orange Line

In Random on May 18, 2010 at 12:29 am

So I was taking a scrum class in Boston on Washington St.   I had to take the same ride I had taken so many times in the 90s to get to the (former) Teradyne facility I worked in on Harrison Ave.  Actually it was between Washington and Harrison Ave, across the highway from N.E. Medical, Chinatown and across Harrison Ave from the Boston Herald.

Parking my car at Alewife I took the same escalators down, bought my Dunkin Donuts coffee, scanned my Charlie Card (different from then) and went down to the back of the train.  It was like I was in a trance.  I knew instinctively to go to the back of the red line train so that I could hop off and run down the ramp in Washington to get to the Orange line…up the stairs.

Riding in was pleasurable.  In those days, I used to buy the WSJ from the guy at the bottom of the escalator.  Thursday and Friday last week, I had my Kindle loaded with the new issue of the Atlantic Monthly and once done with that, switched back over to reading “Thinking in Systems”

Riding in was always pleasurable UNTIL changing trains to get on the Orange Line.  In those days, the Orange line was packed going into Washington coming down from Wellington and Sullivan squares.  Everybody gets off.  I even remembered how for a short while I was taking the commuter rail from West Medford and catching the Orange Line at North Station…getting on that train was bad because 3 or 4 trains would go by so packed I wouldn’t even waste my time getting on.

Anyway, hopped on the Orange line train, and 2 stops later, I was at NE Medical.  Got out of the train and there was the Hotel hosting the class.

Class was good, and at the end of the day, I went back down into the Orange line station and went back to Washington.  At Washington I was now the guy getting off the Orange line rushing down the stairs and over to the red line…and then it happened.  The thing that always killed me about the red line.  It would either happen between Davis and Alewife or more likely between Central and Harvard.  The train stops.   You sit there for a interminably long time.  You move around but then suddenly you feel sleep coming over you.  you start to doze and then the announcement “Waiting for the track to clear in front of us” or “an emergency at the next station, we’ll be moving shortly” something like that.  Finally you start up.  If you are going into Harvard after the delay people hop on and off the train and look at you sitting there like you have 8 heads.  If you stop between Davis and Alewife, you never actually feel the massive curve in the track going into Alewife station.

I went and got my car each day…drats on the second day I misplaced my ticket…had to fill out a form to get my car out, meaning I held up traffic leaving on a Friday.  Honking of horns.  filled out the form, feigned politeness to the attendant, cursed myself and sped down the ramp.

I miss it and I don’t.  I did read more during that 5 year people than any other period in my life.  Not much else to do on a train.  Back then I had discovered Avantgo for my Palm Pilot.  I used to read the stock quotes and news from a variety of sources.  When I took the commuter rail for about a year I’d eat 2 cheeseburgers and a small coke in North Station waiting for the Commuter rail train if I missed the previous one by a minute…a minute would cost me 20.

Those are my memories of the train rides.   It was fun doing it again…

Conan vs Jay

In Random on May 3, 2010 at 4:04 am

I’m so tired of this story.  In any other industry, when a veteran is set aside to make room for an up and coming talent and that new talent doesn’t work out, I’ve seen companies move the veteran back into that position.  I don’t care if you are a steel worker, a secretary,  a software expert or a guy flipping burgers at McDonald’s.  If they let you (the veteran) stay in the company there is a likelihood that you might return to your old position if the experiment/situation doesn’t work out…

And unfortunately for both parties in most cases (except in the entertainment industry) no one walks away with millions of dollars.

So my reaction to Conan O’Brien is “Shut up”…you have your 32 MILLION dollars, you have gotten your new show network, you move on…You should be gracious…

Leno, for some reason overcame the Johnny legacy, beat out Dave, and willingly gave up his job to go try an experiment.  His whole story smacks of being the right guy at the right time, without the “oh I’m so hurt” baggage.

Leno’s new show sucked.  Conan’s ratings sucked. Letterman starting winning the war.  NBC turned back to a known quantity.  Between the interviews, comments on the web, and other things I’ve read…I just have to come down on the side of NBC/GE looking at the numbers and saying “Shit we screwed up!”  And with a quick 32 Million dollars they returned to a better situation.

Let’s face it, in the entertainment industry, it is more lucrative to act out all your pain than say, “this was the best thing that could have happened to me and I’ve moved on”  It’s part of the gig.  It’s part and parcel of the fact that ever famous personality has to have a “story” in their background they’ve had to overcome…abusive parents, being poor, kids beat you up, you stupidly experimented with drugs et cetera et cetera et cetera…evidently you can’t be famous without having a “story” that you overcame great odds…as if  your talent wasn’t enough…

The flip side of it is, on the same 60 minutes episode, we learned about the famous chef that moved to the US with nothing in his pocket, had talent, made it big and guess what: he’s on 60 minutes too!  And he never once mentioned that his life in Spain was filled with horror that he had to overcome.  He just kinda worked hard, made contacts, learned and then excelled.  Is that so bad?  That sounds like Leno’s story…that means that a few years from now there’ll be a controversy from one of this wards that he couldn’t move forward due to his predecessor’s lack of being a good chum…

I’m kinda punchy tonight sorry…