Friday, 22 November 2013

My Ten Bits of Wisdom for November 2013

1.   Nothing is rocket science.....even rocket science.

2.  A dimwit in a fancy suit.....is still a dimwit, just finer-dressed.

3.  If your life, your dreams, your accomplishments....are all run by polls or approval ratings....you might want to think about moving into the real world.

4.  Fifty years later, we more less see that this Oswald idiot was an anti-capitalist, anti-Wall Street pretender, and would easily have fit into the Occupy-Wall Street team of today.

5.  If fatty food just tasted bad, we'd all pretty much give up the stuff, and just eat marginally-tasting nutritional food.

6.  No farmer ever got into the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, earned a Nobel Prize for anything, or noted for the Presidential Medal for Freedom.  It's mostly because they've got real work to do.

7.  A hundred years ago.....the first guy to utter "bigot" usually was right about the other guy.  Today, the first person to utter "bigot" is usually the "bigot" him or herself.

8.  Any idiot could wander onto the NBC Today Show, run it for two hours, and get the same numbers of Matt and the gang.

9.  It might be easier to contact foreign alien societies, find a Big Foot, or train a Loch Nessie to do fancy tricks.....than make the Affordable Healthcare Act stuff work as advertised.

10.  The term "investigative journalist".....doesn't exist in 2013.  It went with Beta tapes, 8-track, and CB-radios.

A Procedure Killing the Republic

Harry Reid sat down and this week decided....enough was enough....with this filibuster business.  The new rule?  Fifty-one senators can shut down conversation over a topic.....not sixty.  Some folks are upset by the deal....mostly Republicans.

In 1776, if you had seen the massive degree of frustration with people and how filibusters would be used.....you would have invented some totally different method of representation.

To be honest, filibuster is simply a dynamic argument used with useless talk....to talk things to 'death'.  There is no real conclusion....other than folks being tired at the end.

I've seen the commentary on how this was an "art-form", or how it's been around for years and years.

Would filibuster work in a university?  No.  Would filibuster work in a business?  No.  Would filibuster work in a church?  No.  The plain simple truth is that we've manipulated the filibuster into some mythical beast that won't work anywhere else in society.

You can imagine some guy coming home one night, with his wife about to level some massive argument onto him or his behavior, and he launches into a filibuster.....talking for hours and hours....till the wife is fed up and just goes to bed angry.  Frustration sets in eventually.

We are wasting valuable time in Congress and the Senate.  Announce bills, give folks a week to read them, then open the floor for a day or two of speeches.  End it with a vote.  It either passes or it fails.  End of the story.  We don't need some dimwit standing there and talking for hours over nothing, then pretending that he is helping democracy or the republic.  He's just plain wasting time.

Maybe there was a time when filibusters made sense, and they were used on the rarest of occasions....mostly to entertain folks and to make a point.  We are at a point where it's more of a comic routine and not a tool of a republic.

My only issue with this episode?  It took Harry Reid to fix the problem.  That's the bad part about this that I have a problem with.

Gimmick America - 2013

A gimmick typically means something created.....to cheat, deceive, or maneuver a consumer.  Usually, gimmicks show innovation, or invent a highly modern game to move a mass of people (maybe ten to twenty, maybe eighty million).

To be honest, gimmicks tend to always be misrepresented as they are discussed and advertised.  What you see....is mostly an illusion, but it's typically a believable image.  We used to be ready and prepared for gimmick gadgets.  These were the $50-to-$300 types that some buddy would tell us about and we'd rush to Radio Shack to buy.  A week later, we'd admit it was a waste of money.

 Politics....has become a gimmick.  Lobbyists play the public and the elected officials as fools.  Journalists either naively fall into the trap, or readily accept their part of the gimmick.  Church figures and religious salesmen are slowly becoming part of the gimmick.  University professors eagerly play their part of the gimmick.

We'd all admit....things were obscured and we just never understood the implications of the gimmick.  Things have reached a state where you can't pick up the gimmick because it's at a hundred pages or it's got economic pieces that simply don't make sense.

Yeah, we feel deceived.  Something was promoted and advertised as "X".  "X" was delivered.  "X" is talked about as a marginal success or simply a failure.  A month or year later, the same guys come back with "X-enhanced" and you fall into the same gimmick trap.  You'd like to believe some trusted soul who pretends to be your friend, and you bypass all your logical questions.  You skip your mechanism that would protect yourself, your family, your neighbors, your society, your culture, and your country.

I suspect that through the years....through all the gimmick users....we got used to it.  Your barber used the gimmick of Bangkok-oil to rub your neck after a razor cut.....but the truth is that this oil stuff was just a cheap jar of some rubbing alcohol with High-Karate aftershave added to it.

Your car dealer had the gimmick of spraying some magical and mythical anti-rust stuff on the underbody that would cost $300 more, and always advocated as the only way you could save the vehicle.  The fact that Ford, Chevy and General Motors never sprayed this stuff on at the factory....ought to make you pause and think.

Your grocery would run sales, but they'd tend to raise prices the week prior, and the new sales price wasn't that much cheaper than the original price.

COSTCO gets you into the store by advertising a sixty-pound bag of potato chips, a thousand pill bottle of vitamin C (it'd take you three years to run through the container), or a one-gallon container of syrup for your waffles.

Your Congressman tells you about his great ethics, and then he jumps on a plane paid by lobbyists and flies down to Florida to play golf with some guys from Brazil who want some favors written into legislative practice.

Your doctor gets an offer for a weekend trip to Aruba, if he can just prescribe three thousand doses of some unusual drug that rarely sells.  The drug company collects data and knows how to gimmick their pitch....skipping you the consumer, and just aiming at Doc Jones who forces you with difficult medical language to believe you have such-and-such condition.

Your minister convinces you that you really need to get into third-world country help.....by talking you into jumping on a plane and flying into Peru, where you go and paint some orphanage and school over a five-day period.  You could have sent the $1,800 for the airplane trip to some "Juan" in Peru, and he would have painted a dozen schools with that money.  Your group of ten?  Close to $18,000 flushed on travel and some life-experience for ten folks who probably could have done better things with the money and their lives.  

So we come to affordable healthcare.  Yeah, it's a gimmick.  It took three years and a whole bunch of journalists working different angles to convince you to just keep looking the other way.  At some point, affordable healthcare....isn't affordable.  Then the gimmick of the web site and the ease of signing up.....turns into a gimmick.  Then grasping it's a failed gimmick, you try to revert back to where you started....but then discover you can't even go back to square one.

Now?  You'd have to believe that the only way to get out of a maximum turbo-powered five-star gimmick....is to create another maximum turbo-powered five-star alternate gimmick.  That's the logical solution.

Sadly, we've reached a state where gimmicks aren't selling well, and the alternate gimmick won't be accepted.  We've got a bad taste in our mouths.

Gimmick America is in a bad situation.  We can only hope the NCAA's new bowl process with four teams working toward a championship game....isn't a gimmick.  Well, we can always hope that anyway.