Daily Archives: May 3rd, 2011

Google Maps: Osama Cribs

Now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, the location of his “compound” can be revealed.

Described as a “mansion” by some, it is reportedly “about six times larger than neighboring homes with walls as high as 15 feet, topped with barbed wire.” (Source: Los Angeles Times.)

Thanks to the magic of Google Maps, you can magically transport to Pakistan and visit the compound yourself.

Link to Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout Compound (Google Maps)

And that’s where things get interesting.

If you click the link to go there, Google Maps shows the satellite image of the “mansion” where Osama lived. If you click the little icon for “Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout Compound” a little bubble that pops up with a bit of info and a thumbnail image.

Screen shot of Google Maps show Osama's Hideout Compound

Wait a moment! What is that little thumbnail image shown in the bubble? That looks strangely familiar. Let’s click it to see the image associated with Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout Compound.

The main image associated with Osama's Hideout Compound on Google Maps

George Bluth (in orange). Also pictured: Michael Bluth. No touching!

Of course! It’s a Bluth Company home! They illegally built homes in Iraq for Saddam Hussein so it’s not too surprising.

But wait, that’s not all. In the left column is locations and reviews by Google Maps users. There is a listing for Osama Bin Laden’s Hideout Compound. As I write this, it currently has 582 “reviews.” (Click here to read them.)

One traveler, named only “Mike,” gave the location a five-star review:

Perfect romantic couples’ getaway spot if you’re looking for something a little different than your ordinary Hilton or Red Roof Inn. We were charmed by the lack of internet and telephone services, although there was a delightful little courier who would bring us baskets of figs every couple of days. Our host, “Osama”, couldn’t have been more pleasant – he had the cutest nickname for my husband – “The Great Satan”, and we truly enjoyed how he went out of his way to make us feel welcome by tossing little green metal balls into our room each night – this must be a local tradition. The hotel is obviously doing quite well, as evidenced by the fact that the cleaning crew is actually helicoptered in each evening, and in fact they go so far as to destroy any furniture that they feel is outdated or in need of repair. Of course, the owner must be quite a disciplinarian, as on our final night he actually had the entire staff shot and killed, presumably for underperformance. Even the cute little housemaid, who we had taken to calling “Mrs. bin Laden” for some reason, wasn’t spared. All in all, however, we have no complaints, and can’t wait to return for our anniversary in September when the renovations are complete. Bravo, Abbottabad Inn!

Between the Twitter bombs and hi-jinks Sunday night when the news original broke and Google Maps, I’d have to say, this has been quite the exhibition of what modern technology is capable of.

My nine-pound hammers

Office cubicle, circa 2001This is my scheduled Tuesday post, but as I sit here and write this, it is still Monday morning before work. It’s a special period of time I like to call The Dark Time. I just woke up and before I know it, lickity split, I’ll be back in the shit hole.

The act of going to work has a physical and emotional impact on me. The closer it gets to 9am the more ill I feel. And on Mondays this effect is especially pronounced.

Because I love my job so much I thought this would be a good time to share a couple of videos about work.

As we all know, those of us who work full time have to face certain realities. The first is that in a typical week, “work” is the single most important aspect of our existence based on the amount of time. As far as hours are concerned, work is rivaled only by sleep. If you think about your week as a pie chart, things like spouses and family are inconsequential slices compared to work and sleep. And one of the smallest slivers that can be found in that pie? Time spent doing things we enjoy and voluntarily get to do. In other words, the time we spend doing what we choose to do. For most of us, that’s the smallest part of the whole damn week.

John Henry StatueSo it is important to step back and evaluate our existence from a different perspective. How is work working out for us? Is it meeting our needs? Or only those of the boss?

It’s a surprising idea to think that we can take more ownership of our work experience and proactively make it better for us. This idea is explored in the first video.

In the second video, some important questions are raised. Why is it required for employees to go to places called offices which are actually obstacles to work getting done? How is it possible to get more work done? And who and what gets in the way?

So, the theme of this Monday morning post is fittingly: Work. It’s what’s for dinner. (Or something like that.)