30 November 2007

Have it your way, fuck workers over

Dear Reggie Brown, VP, Florida Tomato Growers Exchange,

Tighten up, you narrow minded asshole. The backstory: In 2005, a variety of coalitions united to improve labor rights for thousands of Floridian and Californian migrant workers that for years had labored under multiple exploitative conditions, including working 10 hour days without bathroom breaks, receiving less than the minimum wage, rampant sexual abuse, etc.

To save its image with the American consumer, Taco Bell and McDonalds caved to consumer pressure to address working conditions over which they had control and agreed to pay one penny extra per pound of tomatoes. This represented a pittance in the overall cost structure of the companies. In terms of a cost of living adjustment for the small percentage of migrant workers who received the wage adjustment (and the amount they are able to reinvest in their local economies, Reggie), this amounted to a laughable raise, but it was something. Now these hard won demands are at risk because, of all things, the corporate "powerhouse" Burger King's refusal to pay the extra penny per pound.

Brown, who effectively represents a component of Big Agro, and emboldened by the King's idiotic stand, equates anyone who opposes Burger King's position as un-American because of the nationality of many workers. Dammit Reggie, is there any charge that has held less water in recent history as something being un-American? If screwing immigrants that provide the labor for the employers you represent is American, then count this Eagle Scout out the next time you say the pledge of corporate allegiance. Do the massive agro subsidies that make Latin American farm products wholly price uncompetitive, forcing mass immigration to los EEUU, constitute an "American values" set of policies? Just how little are we willing to pay for shit food that arrives in paper wrappers from the backs of exploited labor?

Florida grows over 80% of the tomatoes we eat between Thanksgiving and New Years. TUR readers, perhaps a perfect way to say thanks to the workers that will ultimately get screwed by corporate greed and anti-immigrant policy is to resist the urge to have it your way. I know few of us patronize fast food joints anymore, but any little reduction helps. PS> if you think isolationist immigration policies are good for the American economy, you're not Bill Gates.

Also, you can send Reggie an email at reggie.brown@floridatomatogrowers.org

The font of my yard is not a place for your empty forty.

Walking home from work tonight I spied this lovely treasure as I approached my house.

Dear Wino boozing it up on my lawn: Tighten up and dispose of this thing properly. However, it is trash night, so I put this where it belongs: the recycling bin. Perhaps the Fates guided your Schlitz bottle to my stoop after all. Either way, consider yourself on notice, Edward-40-Hands.

29 November 2007

I CAN'T OPEN THE CANDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The packaging for M&M minis fun size is hard to open. At the top you can see that there's a white dotted line, with "Tear Here" written on it. Well, you can't "tear here". What you can do is mangle the damn packaging, gnaw on it some, in hopes that the tasty little candies come out. If I have such a hard time, think about kids opening these things! Rainbow candy sprays everywhere! Won't someone think of the children!

If you're going to put perforation on packaging for delicious treats, Mars, you better tighten up and perforate it because I'm hungry and I want to eat the sweet sweet insides.

28 November 2007

Tightness Has A New Weapon

...and it fits in the palm of your hand. Apparently bloggers really can get things for free, and in the absence of tightness cards, a stamp will have to do.

Thanks, VistaPrint!

Corner Bistro, a haven of tightness except for this

Ah, the anticipation of the Bistro Burger.  You try not to think too much about it from the time you place your order to the time you see your waiter come back with your eight ounces of heaven.  Then your mouth starts to water as the moment has arrived... only to find a latex glove in the burger?  Unacceptable.  The situation is only made worse by the fact that you now have to wait for a replacement while thinking about how weird and disgusting this is (presumably a bare hand that was previously sweating profusely inside the glove has touched your burger) but also that it is seemingly impossible to misplace a latex glove.  Why was it taken off?  Why was it so easily forgotten?  How did they manage to turn what should be a symbol of cleanliness into this?  Why do I have so much time to think about this before the next burger arrives?  When can we go back?

latex glove in the burger

27 November 2007

Tightness Award: Japanese Blogger "optima optica"

The new Mac Leopard operating system has some pretty nifty features, one of them being that you can add these things called "stacks" to your dock. They're pretty much anything you like: applications, documents, downloads, recently-used stuff--and they explode crisply from the dock when you click them.

On irritating thing about stacks is that any stack's icon is always changing: whatever the first item in the folder is, that's the icon. For example, if you download a lot of .PDFs, your downloads stack will always be changing. If any of your stacks are just folders, they all look exactly the same: like a blank folder (they won't change even if you try).

A Japanese blog called "optima optica" created a workaround whereby you basically insert a transparent bin or drawer into a given stack--making it the first item and resulting in a unique identifier that only partially obscures the old [changing] icon behind. It's irritating that you have to keep this extra icon file in the stack at all times in order to make it work (i.e. by naming it "000", but that's Apple's fault), but this at least allows a visually appealing alternative. Check out a sample before + after:

Of course, you could just rename a default icon as "000" and leave it in the stack, but once the hierarchy problem is solved, it's kind of cool to have a changing icon behind.

Super tight.

Go to download here.
Fuller English explanation here.

Costco Cocktail Parties, Now So 3 Years Ago

Let's leave the shameless family promotion out of this, but the New York Times ran an article two days ago about the relationship between Washingtonian host/hostesses and Costco. The article more or less celebrates this symbiosis, but I must go on record as saying most of the Costco pastries and baked goods suck. There should be much less pride in serving those mediocre black and white cookies (ask Pete). Look, we're all busy, we all love Costco, but so much pride is a little unwarranted. I love my sister, (Julie I love you), but I believe this article portends the death of the Costco Cocktail party. Once it's in the NYT, it's sooo 3 years ago.

Dear Safeway:

Your location in Adams Morgan (a.k.a. The Salsa Safeway, a.k.a. The Soviet Safeway) was out of 2% milk tonight. Out. No organic 2%, no soymilk 2%, no acidophilus 2%, no organic acidophilus 2%, no moocowfuckmilk 2%. None. Please tighten up. No milk does a body no good and I hate dry cereal almost as much as I hate being awake before 10 am.

Yours in tightness,

19 November 2007

Best First Dance at a Wedding Ever

It's moments like watching this video that makes me happy the TUR exists.  This is so tight I can't stand it.  

Sweet Army Stuff

Check out how tight fighter pilot's new helmets are.  They actually allow pilots to virtually "look" through their planes.  Now we will totally be able to kick every other air force's ass.  Oh wait... we already can.

PS- Matt was going to post this, but the picture scared him too much.

Cannabis compound 'halts cancer'

They added that it would be highly unlikely that effective concentrations of CBD could be reached by smoking cannabis.
BBC NEWS | Health | Cannabis compound 'halts cancer'

Worth the six paragraphs

Andrew Sullivan drops a severe TU on Rudy Giuliani.

[The Democrats and some Republicans are] more concerned about rights for terrorists than the terrorists' wrongs. I mean, these granting of rights to criminals and terrorists, even when they're necessary, come with a price, a price at the other end of it. Even for the ones that are necessary, like, let's say, the Miranda ruling, it's one you agree with--there's a price for that. Maybe it's one worth paying.

The exclusionary rule, there's a big price for that: Criminals go free. They walk out of court. If you say, you know, no aggressive questioning, then we're not going to find out about situations. If you say no wiretapping, well, there'll be conversations going on, planning to bomb New York, or Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and you're not going to find out... . People will say that aggressive questioning doesn't work. I, you know, I ... Honest answer to that is, it doesn't work all the time. Sometimes it does.
'Aggressive questioning'? And you thought 'enhanced interrogation' was Orwellian. 'Rights for terrorists'? How about rights for terror suspects? I'm sorry but those of us who support the Constitution, the rule of law, the Geneva Conventions, and the separation of powers are not in love with the evil that terrorists do. And it's deeply offensive to say we have more concern with terrorists' rights than with their wrongs. We have concerns about human rights and civil liberties - things that Islamists want to destroy.

Notice, moreover, that Giuliani seems to harbor no notion that any terror suspect in the US is innocent until proven guilty, and assumes a complete, reflexive conflation between 'criminals' and those charged with a crime, as if no government official could ever confuse the two, or ever make a mistake and decide to cover it up.

Notice also his assertion that some Democrats want no wiretapping, period. What they and rule-of-law Republicans favor is wiretapping with warrants, and minimal oversight, to prevent abuse. Again: what's staggering to me is that Giuliani never seems to contemplate that such abuse is even possible. Nothing could be more alien to a truly conservative mindset.

It seems to me that a vote for Giuliani is a vote for a police state that uses torture. I put it that bluntly because I don't see how granting one man the right to seize and torture anyone anywhere is anything else.

(Reynolds: You support Giuliani, right?
I'm interested in hearing your take.)

17 November 2007

We are now living the prequel to Gattaca

Welcome to 23andMe, a web-based service that helps you read and understand your DNA. After providing a saliva sample using an at-home kit, you can use our interactive tools to shed new light on your distant ancestors, your close family and most of all, yourself.
23andMe - Welcome to You.

I, for one, welcome our new knowledge overlords.

16 November 2007

Lights Out in Reno

Reno, though it is no Vegas, is a neon city, with blinking, sweeping, and glowing lights straining to block out the stars. So you'd think they'd have the whole electricity thing down pat. I'm sure that's what the Supercomputing '07 conference committee had in mind when they chose Reno to host their show. After all, supercomputing means power cables as thick as your arm, with rooms full of liquid-cooled machines simulating particle physics and supernovae.

Tuesday, however, the two hangar-sized rooms hosting the conference went suddenly dark. Fans whirred quietly down; nerdy snickers echoed across the floor. The power to millions of dollars of fancy silicon had gone out.

It would have been one thing if this had been the Ninja Convention or the Adult Entertainment Expo. A little darkness could have livened up both of those. But without power, what are a bunch of computer geeks going to do, talk to each other?

(Snarky article from the Register here: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/11/13/worlds_biggest_reboot/)

15 November 2007

14 November 2007

Dear American Medical Association: please stop pissing me off.

The AMA has stood in opposition to most major efforts to expand health insurance coverage for the uninsured for much of the past century. It makes perfect sense. As an organization of physicians advocating for physicians, they have physician interests (high pay, less regulation, more independence) rather than public health interests in mind. When those interests are in conflict, physician interests take priority. Totally obvious- it's like asking the NRA to lobby against assault rifles (their primary goal, defending the 2nd amendment, trumps any argument why it is freaking ridiculous for individuals to have these weapons). And remember, nobody is spending AMA-like money every year advocating for the diverse and fluid group that makes up the 47 million uninsured. 999 times out of 1000 doctor interests win out. Those interests often align with keeping the current system in place; the system that has allowed doctors to be paid more in America than any other county, by far.

This same logic applies to health insurance as a whole. The current private, market-centered system has actually been remarkably successful at it's primary goal- profit taking (check out WellPoint, the nation's largest private health insurer) but astoundingly inept at achieving broad public health goals. Every year there are more uninsured, higher premiums and less overall coverage. Why would you expect these two goals to be inexplicably linked?

I know, I know, I sound like a dirty pinko commie. But wait, I love capitalism. I can buy a mother f-ing DVD player for $25. 25 dollars!!! That is freaking ridiculous. Which begs the question, why does the market work gangbusters for DVD players and not for providing health insurance? What I believe- health is not a commodity (or good, or service for that matter), it can not be accurately priced, it is not like making a choice between a Honda Civic or a Toyota Camry.

What got me started- a few weeks ago now I noticed an AMA advertisement in the New York Times, voicefortheuninsured.org. I got really excited. I thought they had changed their ways. But then I read their actual policy. Their position- no more employer based health insurance (the way the MAJORITY of American get coverage), no individual mandate, tax credits for individuals to purchase coverage. The logic: sick people are not insulated ENOUGH from their costly illnesses. If only they were more responsible for paying their $200,000 in chemotherapy they would understand it is a much more cost effective option to save that cash, buy a sports car and then drive it off a cliff.

'Your Creation Museum Report'

Props to you, John Scalzi, for your thorough, albeit "snarky", review of The Creation Museum. Your photographic tour provides mighty insight and wit, and your metaphorical tale of horseshit is far from horseshit, indeed. From one Report to another, I say, well done!

Tighten up AP and stop making me look like a jerk

A certain source of mine, who shall remain nameless, with strong ties to the seedy underworld of the zoo-based media just tipped me off to the AP's retraction of their Paris Hilton elephant story I made fun of yesterday. Apparently, Paris said no such thing and could care less about drunk elephants. I will have to retract my TU on Paris and give her some props for realizing that she is, in fact, a worthless piece of human bowel movement whose only real reason for being alive is to convert oxygen to carbon dioxide.

The tighten up, in this case, must fall fast and hard on the idiot AP reporter that got this story wrong. One would think that checking one's sources when something as ridiculous as Paris Hilton trying to save drunk pachyderms comes up, would be a good idea. Apparently, said reporter disagrees.

13 November 2007

Elephants are hot...

It's been a long while since I threw a tighten up on anything, so I really wanted to come back strong. Thankfully, one can always look to celebrities for a solid TU. Paris Hilton has decided the best way for her to make a phoenix-esque rise from the ashes of her once meaningless and still meaningless life, is to develop an Angelina Jolie/Madonna-like crush on some plighted being. Rather than starving children, education, or disaster relief, however, Paris has decided to focus her time and attention on the more personally meaningful cause of drunk elephants.

Hilton, who recently did a stint in county lock-up for drunk driving, has stated that "the elephants get drunk all the time. It is becoming really dangerous. We need to stop making alcohol available to them... It is just so sad."

Oh Irony! Paris is thy name...

09 November 2007

Apretado, che, muy apretado.

Do yourself a favor, friend, and dig Rodrigo y Gabriela. Metal mexicano y clasico!

self tighten: remember personal affects

When I came back from DC on Wednesday, I forgot to bring my cellphone charger. I didn't realize this until my phone battery began to die on Thursday evening.

I do this all the time. Becca had to mail it to me, and until it arrives, I am without phone. Need to tighten that up. [I'm also good at leaving scarves and coats at friends' houses, in classrooms, etc. Sometimes, I put cereal boxes back in the fridge]

Meantime, if anybody has a cellphone charger that will work for an LG CU500, wanna lend it to me? I'd like to call Becca to thank her for mailing it to me.

08 November 2007

For serious, VDOT?

No spellcheck on the old Sign-o-Matic? Come on, these signs have a cumulative vocabulary of about 30 words--is it that hard to spell them correctly?

07 November 2007

I didn't know the devil could shake hands with himself

This should tell you all you need to know about both men.

Dear Microsoft,

It seems your Windows operating system likes to use virtual memory to tell me I'm running out of virtual memory.

Don't do that. Tell those programmers to tighten up.

Someone who will never use Vista [opens flash video].

05 November 2007

Treacherous Alliance, Troublesome Editing, Teetering Premise(s)

Dear Mr. Parsi (please note, doctors can perscribe medicine--you are not a doctor but rather a simple mister like the rest of us not trained in the healing arts):

I have read your work Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the U.S. and would like to take this opportunity to ask you to tighten up and get a new editor. Are you aware that the first printing of your book contains boldfaced errors in editing, not least of which is the wrong date for theProphet Muhammad's ascension to government in Medina by nearly 1200years? When you cite a poll, it is helpful to footnote it[1] along with its methodolgy, sample size, and where possible, wording of the original question to which the answers derived from polling refer. "Based on this premises," should read, "based on this premise." If you have an address for your editor, I'll be happy to direct my further criticism to him/her about his/her terrible/awful grammar/factchecking.

02 November 2007

Dear Cavman,

How to do this, especially after our last encounter? How about this:



Obama Matters

In a shameless act of self-promotion, I submit to the TUR the newest cover of The Atlantic, designed by our tight art director, Jason Treat:

Flickr vision

This site is tight. It displays newly-posted Flickr photos on a map of the world in real time.

Tightness revoked

I take back every good thing I ever said about you, Mayor Fenty. When you paraded down 17th Street at this week's High Heel Race (not in drag, unfortunately) and someone shouted "Mayor Fenty kicks ass!", I cheered with the rest of the crowd. This morning, I learned your plan to switch taxis in the District to meters meant that the signs atop our taxis would illuminate when vacant and shut off when carrying a passenger, as is the case in the rest of the civilized world. Huzzah, I thought, another triumph for the D.C. Don of Tightness.

No more.

The next piece of taxi-related news to appear today was the $4 minimum fare price, as compared to $2.50 in New York and under $3 in every other city I know of.

This is unacceptible. Fare prices are going to rise across the board now, angering riders, yet the independent contractors that dominate the Washington taxi market remain displeased because meters will bring in larger operators to crowd them out. In other words, nobody is happy. Way to go, Fenty. You have squandered your legacy: affordable rides home for drunk 20-somethings, to say nothing of the thousands of impoverished Washingtonians who lack an alternative means of transportation. Way untight.

UPDATE: I just discovered that existing fees will still hold, including the loathesome extra passenger surcharge ($1.50 per person). I could go on for thousands of words about the insanity of this new policy if I wasn't rendered completely speechless.

01 November 2007

Michael Hughes: Giving us a reason to buy kitschy souvenirs since 2003.

A fellow named Michael Hughes takes some pretty amazing photographs. He has one collection of images he calls "souvenirs". It's an ongoing project I like to check in on from time to time and today I thought I'd give it a nod.

The premise? Foreground: cheesy souvenir. Background: actual thing it represents. A great idea that makes for fun images. Here is the slide show.