Saturday, 24 October 2009

Ballon Boy

I really don't care to comment much on the balloon boy episode in Colorado. I knew from the start it was a joke....and yesterday....the wife finally stood up and admitted this. She's off the hook for most charges....by admitting. She'll be able to keep the kids and just live on. This father? Well....I'm thinking he's going to get a Fed charge or two....and get a minimum of eighteen months in prison.

The really bad part about this is some production company is standing there....writing the script from the first hour of the episode to now.....and will produce some NBC or ABC Wednesday night movie off this story. It's a zero story....that should simply get dumped now.

An Interesting Flight

So you are on a plane from San Diego to Minneapolis. You are a smart guy or gal. You have an agenda....folks waiting at the gate....some hottie at the Marriott Hotel waiting for you.....a speech to give early the next day.....and you know the plane is destined to land at a certain time.

You watch your wristwatch. You know that typically about twenty minutes before landing time....the pilot gives the "Folks, we are in final approach. Rise up your seats. Give the trash over to the stewardess. We will be landing in twenty minutes".

Then you usually note four minutes from approach, the landing gear employs. And then you land.

But here this week.....around the time that the guys should have announced they were landing....they didn't. In fact, the pilot was 150 miles past Minneapolis....before they finally got the radio back on and played "dumb". This only occurred....when the stewardess came to beep them and ask if issues were existing.

I'm guessing some guy was sitting there.....watching his wristwatch....and gazing down to see this mass of lights below....knowing it was Minneapolis. It's kinda like that Twilight Zone episode with the guy on the wing. So you know something ain't right....you are still at 30,000 feet and nowhere near landing although it's damn time to land.

So naturally, you call up the stewardess and comment...."something ain't right". She is calming you....probably offering paper cup of water....not booze. Eight minutes later....you call her again...."something ain't right". She's starting to realize that you aren't an idiot. But she's hesitant to do anything. So finally, another eight minutes pass, and you state pretty loudly that "something ain't right". She's forced into calling the pilot now.

Basically, without any doubt....both idiots were asleep....and if this guy in the back hadn't asked stupid questions....they would have flown for another hour or so....and been deep in the heart of Canada, without enough fuel to return to American soil. Then it would have been a big mess as a bunch of folks without passports are walking onto Canadian soil.

Frankly, the pilot and co-pilot are finished. No airline is going to touch these guys. The curious thing is that before 9-11....the pilot door was always unlocked and a stewardess would wander in and drop off coffee...and check on the guys. This kept them honest. These days? Both guys could be engaged in some private and kinky weird act at 37,000 feet and not realize they were supposed to be landing.

Meanwhile....our Twilight Zone guy in the back....who kept asking stupid questions....is wondering if flying is safe and if maybe he ought to drive from San Diego to Minneapolis in the future.

You Make How Much?

So imagine this....sitting in a modern country...you pay your taxes each year....and the government stands up and say they want to publish...across the whole country...the official record of income for you, your neighbor, your minister, and just about everyone.

You'd like start to hyperventilate and then ask for a stiff drink.

Well...up in Norway, it's being published...the "skatteliste" (tax list). This is supposed to show transparency in the tax system.

So everyone gets published. Drunks, homeless folks, farmers, bartenders, hookers, political figures, doctors, and yes, even military guys.

There are a significant number of folks in Norway unhappy about this. Imagine yourself at the grocery store and buying some steaks...and the cashier says something about you not being able to afford stuff like this. Imagine yourself at the local bar, and the bartender tries to cut you off from the fourth beer because you really don't have the money to waste on this. Imagine yourself at the school to pick up the kids and some teacher is hostile because they know you clear $100k a year writing stupid books.

What these guys from Norway believe...is that this puts a CEO or executive in a very difficult position. When he stands up and starts talking about manpower cuts....they can pull out his salary numbers and ask why he makes $40 million a year and why he doesn't take a cut on that pay himself? Call it peer-review or peer-adjustment....but frankly, you can't escape being noticed or pointed out.

This is a social tool of sorts. It tends to force people to be more honest and to grasp what your society is making in terms of income. The sad part is that you start to know too much about your neighbor, your soon-to-be husband, your butcher, or your best friend.

The chances of this ever happening in the US? Zero, we've got one hundred senators who simply don't want you to know how much they clear via corrupt deals and handshakes.

Your Money

Today, Fox reports that the US government went out and paid $130,000 to 16 professors. Their job? To study the "truth and meaning" of life according to Aristotle.

I sat there thinking over this.....probably like Socrates would have done.

There are several problems with this. First, any idiot could study the truth and meaning of life according to Aristotle.....it doesn't have to be university professors. You could have paid me and 15 other guys $100 each and two cases of beer each....to proclaim the same "meaning". You could have saved yourself $125k.

There's the question here how you pick the 16 professors. I'm pretty sure.....they are all from upscale eastern universities or from California. They wouldn't dare pick 16 professors from Auburn, Georgia Tech or University of Alabama. That would be another problem.

Then there's the issue of this being the four hundredth "meaning" published on Aristotle. Have we really improved this "meaning" over the past thirty years? Lets be honest....Aristotle is Aristotle, and it's very likely that nothing has been improved for well over 1,500 years.

There's also a problem here in that the sixteen guys likely met at some resort in Bali....sipped good whiskey for an entire week while debating, then got on the plane and wrote eight hours of text while flying back to their lousy job at Ohio State to fulfill their obligation of some kind of script for their idiot government supporter.

Then you have to wonder why sixteen guys? Why not eight? Why not four? Could you have come to some meaning with just two guys at the Birmingham Marriott hotel? Couldn't we have paid them $500 each for a 3-day weekend, with plenty of ribs and some ice cold Pabst instead?

I think Aristotle would have been kindly upset over this. He was fairly simple in his analysis and thinking. To believe that you needed sixteen professors to hire up to the US government and take our tax money.....to announce a new "meaning".....makes no sense. Even Aristotle himself would have said that.

So finally, what would have Socrates said? Socrates probably have asked fifty or sixty questions to these professors....till they kicked him out of the meeting room. He would have gone down to the hotel bar....sipped some juicy fruity wine....and argued some more with some traveling salesman and an engineer from Berkley.....and then got tossed out of the hotel at 2AM for arguing too much with customers.

Greek philosophers were the lucky guys who came along when agriculture got smart and a guy could easily grow everything he needed and twenty hours of real work a week meant you had time to think about things. Nobody really worried about making money because you had your 'hut', your wine, and enough food to survive off. So they sat around and talked alot....kinda like guys at a flea market or barber shop.....and asked questions until they got them right. Then they made a couple of interesting simple observations. Someone wrote these down....and then they got passed down over 2,000 years. It was that simple. A bunch of guys just sitting around and BSing....coming to a simple analysis. Nothing has changed in 2,000 years.

So the government forked over $130,000.....to repeat what a bunch of guys at some tree stump said, and to just say it differently. That's the sad part of this story.