Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Ok, thought it might be time for a post with no pictures. Don’t know why, as I’ve said, I’ve got stacks of E photos. But I seem to get more comments when I complain about something.

We are well into the “holiday” season. (guess I should be politically correct, don’t know why but . . ) I work in the credit card division of a big bank. There are about fifty people in the IT department – from programmers to database people to the analysts and the help desk. There are several hundred in the collections department; the one I work most with, and hundreds more in customer service and other departments. As at most companies the IT group basically ignores the holidays. There are no decorations in cubes, no piles of cookies (except for mine) and no spirit. The collections floor is filled with artificial snow and trees and Santas and snowflakes, but our area is bare.

It’s been like that for every company I have worked for – the technical guys are a bunch of duds as far as company spirit and activities. I’ve tried to push the group without much success. But we now have a new Executive Assistant and a few others tasked as a “Spirit Committee”, similar to what all the other departments have. They distribute balloons for birthdays and company anniversaries and organize activities. The first big one is a group potluck tomorrow. I’m bringing in my famous (well, to me anyway) chocolate cake. Baked it last night, hope my wife doesn’t fulfill her threats of eating it all today.

This past Saturday was the Santa Run downtown. I didn’t make it – other plans were organized before I found out about it. But I’ll have it in my calendar for next year – for the registration fee you get a full Santa outfit, down to the red suit and beard. They had about 4200 show up, trying for 5000. It would be an interesting experience, to be dressed up in a crowd with thousands of other Santas. Hope there weren’t too many kids getting confused. Being Vegas it should have been Elvi.

The Las Vegas Marathon was Sunday. The course runs a block from our house. This year there were two dozen Elvi running as a group. They pushed coolers of beer, don’t know if they made it all the way to the finish line. There was also a ‘run through’ wedding chapel, where a dozen or so people stopped to get married or renew vows. There were about 15,000 runners in the marathon.

There are barrels around the company for a toy drive. They are donated to some local charity, and after being out for almost two weeks are still relatively empty. I usually put stuff in – down in San Diego the Marines were outside of most big toy stores for the Christmas Toys for Tots campaign. Whenever I saw them outside I always purchased something while shopping and gave. But I can also be a Scrooge.

One of the big ‘heart wrenching’ stories recently was pushed by the Make A Wish group locally. An eight year old girl with cancer dreamed of being a rock star, so the group arranged for her to be a rock star for a day. A limo drove her around, she was interviewed on the morning radio show I listen to. The Palms Casino has a recording studio she used to make a record, and later in the evening one of the big casinos put her in one of their lounges to sing, and provided screaming ‘groupies’ to meet her limo out front.

Sorry, but if there is one charity I would ignore it is this one. I know, their line is to offer a dream experience to a young child dying of a terminal disease. Offer them one big adventure in their short lives. I always wondered why money should go for something like that. Look, the kid’s going to die soon anyway. (sound heartless?) If you are so religious, then the kid is going to heaven to live in the ‘Glory of God’ soon, isn’t that reward enough? Wouldn’t it be better to use the money for those kids over there in the poor side of town – maybe buy some new shoes and clothes for kids that don’t get anything but scraps? How about some good meals for those hungry kids, or even a regular breakfast?

Then I think about these things, and perhaps it’s for the parents and not the kids. At least they will have a memory of a happy day among all the sick days and hospital stays. Looking at it that way, where the memories are scattered around perhaps it’s OK. But I’m still not convinced.

I always did like being the 'Devils Advocate'. I'm able to argue almost any side, whether I believe it or not, just to keep the discussions going.

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