Why So Much of the Same Ads?

If TV this month is any indication then I’d say that clearly:

1. We all need new car insurance (and haven’t decided on who to buy it from)

and…

2. We’re all potential voters that are “undecided” at the moment

 

Really?  That many of us haven’t decided?

 

My theory is that advertising agencies and their “inside” men and women are doing a phenomenal job – a phenomenal job of convincing their clients that we the people haven’t decided yet and that another 100 or so viewing “impressions” (industry term) of that “reptile” each week will make the difference (Geico’s The Martin Agency does a good job too).

They’re slinging what the industry calls FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) at their own clients and it’s working.

So people, brace yourselves for lots and lots more Flo, Gecko, the deep-voice actor guy, the guy that played Brenda’s boss on The Closer, Aaron “Discount Double Check” Rodgers and, oh yeah, Barack and Mitt because the agency guys are gooooood.
On the bright side at least I get to see more of Ronald using karaoke to get his “profile” out there and save money on online dating (it is so popular btw that they released an extended version on YouTube for Ronald’s fans)
Apparently Ron’s “hairline is receding, but (he’s) getting a weave”

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Election 2012

So the polls say this thing is a done deal. Really, Obama for 4 more years? Is He not the most radical president we have ever had? What the hell will he try and do in the next 4 years, when he doesn’t face reelection? Really, Obama for 4 more years? Can we point to one area that he has succeeded? Not really. Can we count the number of hours he has sat through national security briefings? About 420 hours. The number of hours he has spent golfing, about 630 hours. Did I just make that number up, yes but we know he has been at least 105 times, you do the math. Am I angry, You bet ya! That’s why I’m posting.
Would anyone argue that economy is floundering? Other than Paul Krugman, who has left his position as an economist and became a political shrill, would anyone say we are on the right path. When you see Paul Krugman on television he gives a subtle clue he is not being honest. It’s when his lips are moving. This jackass would never approve of a national debt when a Republican was in office. Anyone? Anyone? I thought not. I hate double standards.
What the hell will America look like in 4 years? Will we punish success and reward losers? Pathetic people that want to suck off the American Teet and never have a full understanding of where the money comes from in order to afford their life. We just saw it this week with Obama Phones. An interviewer asked where the money comes from to give you an Obama Phone, the person in Cleveland said I don’t know it’s Obama money. When 51% takes from the government has no idea where the money comes from, this country is doomed. I love the look on liberals face when they suddenly realize their policies have hurt people. Wow, I had no idea, wow. These stupid fucks are killing this country. Am i being polite, no but the destruction of this country isn’t polite either. Oh, I’m Angry.

TwoKegs
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Why Do We Expect a Scorpion Not to Sting?

Why do we expect the NFL to care about player safety and the integrity of the game when we know all they really care about is money?

Why do we expect a new CMO to only fix what’s broken when we know they’re 100% predisposed to do a flashy branding/rebranding exercise?

Why do we forget “The Frog and Scorpion” Tale?

Why do we expect politicians to do what’s best for their constituents when we know they’ll always do what’s best for themselves?

Why do we expect our favorite team to replace a fired coach with the best candidate when we know they’ll hire the “safest” option who is the most opposite of the last guy?

Why do we expect universities to use that billion dollar+ endowment to keep/make college affordable when we know they’ll use it all to grow bigger? {And why do we keep donating money to that university when we know the above is true?}

Why do we believe TV networks will obey the “commercials will never be louder than the program” regulations?

Why do we expect business leaders to really lead with the long term in mind when we know they’ll mortgage the future to make the number this quarter?

Why do we expect that this particular scorpion won’t sting that innocent, unlucky “target”?

Is it the hope that better things are just ahead?  Drinking-related memory issues perhaps?  Insanity?  Cockeyed optimism?  Well, why do we check the coin slot to see if a quarter is in there?…  Because sometimes there is a quarter in there and last time, I found a Sacajawea dollar coin.  That’s why-

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So what’s the worst that could happen?

It seems to me that the political pundits on American TV all have a similar attitude when discussing the merits of each crazy plan from the democratic and republican elected officials and candidates for elected positions.

To the average person it’s simply unfathomable just how ridiculous the plans of both parties often are.

Right now there are tens of millions of people out of work, hundreds of thousands of defaulting mortgages every month, a national deficit that has been expanding for decades, thousands upon thousands of military personnel in harms way overseas and thousands more returning home with terrible physical and psychological injuries, crazy countries posturing for a fight, millions of people below the poverty line, a quickly evaporating middle class and an education system failing to educate the next generation.

Yet the key topics of interest are sexual orientation, equal rights for women and how much religion should be allowed in government.

Let me make this really simple, this last set are not government issues. These are solved, done discussions for the great federal government. In law everyone is equal irrespective on sexual orientation or gender or religion, and there is no religious test for any elected position in government and there is already a strict line separating religion and government. It’s done, over, complete, sorted, fini, solved, quod erat demonstrandum. So stop pissing around and focus on what is important!

Do we need more tax revenue? Possibly, but what’s more important is to stop wasting what we already collect. Clearly there are efficiencies that the large purchasing power of the government can control, and this should be used more effectively. That’s not socialism, that’s fiscal responsibility.

We need to stop sending jobs overseas, and that will only happen when it’s not economically advantageous to hire locally.

Healthcare is unbelievably expensive in the USA today, and the quality of service (compared the rest of the world) does not justify the highest costs. We need outcome based cost models rather than litigious and per-service cost models. This drives up efficiency and drives down costs, and does not require anyone to give up quality. There is no perfect solution, as medicine is not perfect, but having bleeding bandaged old people sleeping on subway benches (I see this daily btw) is not the answer.

We need to use the armed forces more carefully. Soldiers are not policemen, when they are asked to meet a goal, make the goal clear, and once they have met it get them home. Our heroes deserve no less.

And the US education system is so burdened by top-down mandates, shrinking funds and finger pointing that it’s time to stop the madness and place it back in the hands of the people who actually care about the students, and this is the teacher’s.

Both political parties today along with the pundits on each and every one of the networks are avoiding the difficult decisions, and instead focusing on the bullshit questions.

There clearly are other issues both trivial and critical, but the only way to fix the big issues is to work together and not put personal reward above ethical responsibility.

Any politician that chooses to make a decision for political gain over the needs of the electorate needs to be called out for what they are, and voted against at every opportunity by the people.

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All the big issues are obvious, and technically quite solvable, once you remove personal gain from the political equation.

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Where does it go then?

Every day thousands of power stations around the world burn dead animals and plants to create heat to boil water into steam, and then they use that steam to push the blades of turbine fans which in turn push rotors with magnets on them which turn magnetic fields, inducing electrons in coils to move. It’s a little more complex than that, but only a little. We generate power by burning coal and oil to run steam engines.

You’d think that over a century after the end of the victorian age we would have found better ways to generate power, and while we have, they are nowhere near as economically powerful as fossil fuels. Sunlight, wind and waves are not a consumable commodity that can be traded as easily.

There is of course a lot of industry focused on the creation of new forms of power stations, but none of them offer the lucrative business model of oil, gas and coal. And for this reason a huge amount of money is spent to convince the world that global warming isn’t real.

Clearly when you pump millions of tons of shit into the atmosphere it must have some effect. It turns out that much of the crap pumped out creates a nice duvet for the planet, causing the average temperature to raise just a tiny amount. But it also turns out that even a tiny amount has a huge cumulative effect.

Every year the earth wobbles on its axis, absorbing the suns energy in slightly different amounts in different places. Add to this that the sun’s energy output varies every year as well. Well it seems that the ecosystem we have on earth has evolved to fit within these parameters. So when you add even a very slight change to the way in which the earth deals with what it absorbs you will have some years when the maximum and minimum levels that is the earths normal cycle are exceeded.

What does this mean in real terms.? Well it’s not easy to calculate but smart minds have been looking at this issue for a while and have determined that it will mean, changes to sea level, larger storms, longer draughts, hotter summers, colder winters and generally things that we would prefer not to happen.

Of course those who prefer to keep pumping huge amounts of crap into the atmosphere have decided that this is horse crap.

It always amazes me how people with a vested interest in a situation are so clear that they are right, and are willing to invest heavily in promoting their “rightness” even when there is absolutely zero supporting evidence.

I loved the movie “thank you for smoking”, and I can’t wait for the sequel “there’s nothing like a clean coal powered power station”

There is always the possibility that all of science is wrong, and that global warming isn’t happening. But since the only people who don’t believe it are actually paid not to believe it (oil, coal, gas industries and those they pay who run political parties etc.). yet the people who are saying that it is an issue, are not making money out of there being global warming (except for those who write books on the subject I suppose), then it seems most likely to me that it’s absolutely a real threat.

Slowly but surely the commodities industries are working out how to make money out of non-fossil based energy creation. When they have a viable model, I suspect that all of a sudden they will want to make the change, and be seen as heroes, but until then we will have to listen to the likes of Al Gore drone on about the terrible effects of global warming.

Please fossil fuels industry, please find an answer soon. If not to save the world from terrible natural disasters, as least to save us from pious ex-politicians.

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Communists are total idiots!

There is a concept called communism that was considered by many people in many countries to by preferential to the systems that were in place at the time. These concepts were tried and roundly proved to an abject failure.

The idea of a classless society, where everyone is equal just doesn’t work. People have different skills and different motivations. When you try and pay everyone the same for doing different work, then there is absolutely no motivation to make things better.

What you end up with is a ruling elite that becomes frustrated by the lack of progress, and they start to force people to act as they need them to. This leads to a terrible society for most of the people in it (see Russia and China)

Capitalism has been proven to be a much better system. Where capital is invested to produce things. The more you produce the bigger the rewards.

But it seems there is a point where capitalism can actually start to look like communism. When capital is not invested to produce things, but instead is invested in such a way as to move more and more money into a smaller and smaller number of pockets (Wall Street making money out of playing with money, and not out of producing). Then the ability for the working person to get more by working harder is diminished.

What you end up with is a ruling elite that becomes frustrated by the lack of progress, and they start to force people to act, as they need them to. Sound familiar…

Capitalism works best when there is a framework in place that ensures that everyone involved in the capital machine stands to grow.

When the ruling elite is allowed to make ever-greater profits, by actually destroying the workers this is failure.

When the ruling elite pays lower and lower levels of taxation on a larger and larger share of the money. And they do this while lowering the quality of life of the workers by paying them less and less (outsourcing, reduction of benefits) then the capitalist system and the communist systems have intersected.


This isn’t complex. Capitalism has to be free to be effective. But that does not mean that business can move production to places that offer lower benefits and still expect to sell their goods the same way. The playing field needs to be balanced by levies placed on goods made (in part or totally) outside the country. That taxation must be reinvested as capital to replace the production that was moved offshore.

This creates the balance that capitalism needs to be healthy.

Without this balance economies fail, and capitalism stalls.

The issue is that there is so much money involved, it’s almost impossible for a politician to get into a position of influence without selling their soul to the business ruling elite. Every single politician today seems to be totally infected.

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Why the Euro is terminally ill

When you get down to it a currency is just a way of trading goods and services. You work, and in exchange are given money (hopefully), and then you use that money to buy stuff. The more you work, the more money you get (in theory), and so the more stuff you can buy.

When you go to another country you find that they have a different currency, and there is a rate of exchange, for example you may get 1.5 of a local currency for each US dollar you have.

Of course the goods in local currency are priced at a rate around the same as it would have been in $, but as the exchange rate changes you may find that things cost you more or less that they were a week or year ago.

You may have wondered why currencies move the way they do. Well think about it this way:

If you go to France, you will see that every August everyone is on vacation, and every day in the summer in the south everyone takes a two or three hour lunch break. Now compare this to the country next door (Germany) there most people work from 8am until 5:30pm (much longer days) and take six to eight weeks a year holiday. While in the US, most people work from 9 until 5 and take about 2 weeks a year holiday.

So some countries spend more time working while others spend less. But everyone still needs to have a house, eat food, pay bills etc. so the value of an hour worked in one country is different to the value of an hour worked in another country. People get paid different amounts depending on the social values and efficiency of the work they do.

Without exchange rates in place, how to do manage these differences?

In the US (before the civil war) there was in effect 2 different social value sets each with different economic models. When these two groups were forced to follow the same currency, it put huge pressure on people to be the same. People didn’t want to be the same and so had a war over it.

In Europe the same pressures can be seen under the Euro. In some countries where all of a sudden their money was worth much more they were able to borrow huge amounts of money causing hyper inflation, and a massive debt bubble.

While in other European countries, companies moved their workforces out to places where the cost of a work force was much less, causing massive unemployment and due to the already in-place social systems, bankrupting the governments as their tax revenues could no longer keep up with their costs.

Countries in the middle (Germany) benefited from the pain from the two extremes.

So today you have a three tier Europe, caused by the single currency (The Euro).

Can it be fixed?

Well history shows that there are only three ways to fix the issues caused by the merging of multiple currencies.

1. Stop the madness – go back to the previous model of multiple currencies. This is almost impossible for Europe today, as the cost of deconstructing now, may actually take the whole of the region into the dark ages,

2. Force everyone to change their social values for the good of the European union. Make them move to where the factories are, and live the life you need them to live for purely economic reasons. This model has been tried before; fascists forcing people to follow the rules of an undemocratic ruling force, can work but is the most unpleasant possible existence imaginable.

3. Civil war. Also not a pleasant option, but the one that has been seen most through history (Roman empire falling , Spanish civil war, British Empires collapse, French revolution, United States of America’s civil war are just a few examples)

My guess is that the Europeans will find a fourth way. One that will take a hundred years of slow decay before a better idea is found for the remaining economy to find its health again.

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Angry About Retirement Parties

I’m angry about retirement parties.

“Happy Retirement” keg stands in your future?

The University of Connecticut (and pretty much the state of Connecticut), just threw a retirement party for longtime head basketball coach Jim Calhoun.  He worked hard for them and stayed loyal and they stayed loyal to him during some rough times as well.  He had a hugely successful career that included 3 national championships over his 26 years as head coach at UConn.  He helped generate much success and revenue at UConn and he’ll collect a hefty pension to retire on; no one feels guilty or cheated.

My father had a retirement party when he left his employer of 45 years.  He worked relentlessly for all of those years and drove achievement of ever higher sales goals year after year.  Nights, weekends and even while officially “on vacation” for 2 weeks per year he was dedicated and “on the job” for his company and his customers.  He loved the challenge and beating the competition and overall he was well compensated enough to raise a large family and send them all to college.  The party was great and included old photos and stories about his dedication and drive as well as humorous anecdotes from co-workers, bosses, employees and his customers.  He made them a lot of money and they were grateful for his contributions, happy he would get to travel and relax, and sad he wasn’t coming in to work next week (or ever again).

My father-in-law is retiring in November and will no doubt get a similar, well-deserved send-off too.  He’s very smart (Mensa smart), hard working and dedicated, like almost all of my friends and relatives who will be forced one way or another to change jobs every 5-10 years or so in the name of “maximizing shareholder value,” “management restructuring” or something similar to make a fiscal quarter or two smell better.  My generation and those which follow it will follow a different path than the “company” men and women that preceded us in the workplace, a much more wasteful one for all involved in my opinion.

Yes, I’m angry about retirement parties.  More specifically I’m angry about the lack of real retirement parties (like Dad got) to look forward to for the rest of us.  An impromptu happy hour drink or trip to the nudie bar with a few co-workers on your last day before taking your next job doesn’t cut it.  I want a cake, a keg, bourbon, embarrassing stories and perhaps even a stripper or two in the office when I “retire” after a long career in a good firm that understands the irreplaceable value of institutional knowledge possessed by its smart, loyal workers.  Too much to ask?  Probably- (11)

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Dragons and Zombies are clearly real.

Here’s the thing, as a thinking sentient person I find the boundary between what is okay to believe and what is myth to be very difficult to comprehend.

Let me summarize

I’m told that it’s okay to believe that the world is 6000 years old, and that the universe was created in a few days by a unique deity.

It’s okay to believe that there was a Garden of Eden, and a talking snake convinced the only woman on earth at the time to take a bite out of an apple that was forbidden.

It’s okay to believe in burning bushes, talking lords that no one else can see or hear, devils and angels, alien overlords, spirits and saints.

But it’s not possible for dragons and fairies to exist. And zombies and vampires are just myths.

Frankly I don’t see any difference!

If in a thousand years time, people find a copy of lord of the rings in a cave, does that make it more truth and less fiction?

Just because stories have been around for a long time does not make them any truer.

The American Constitution is an incredible document that transcends many of the limiting social and political restrictions of its time, that were placed on people around the world by those who had (and wanted to remain in) power.

When the constitution was created, the civilized world had already developed a very powerful method of teaching and disseminating great ideas. We already had books, schools and a social framework most people adhered to.

Imagine if a great document (like the constitution) had been created thousands of years earlier. The people of that time would have created stories to pass from person to person to teach the ideas outlined within it. These stories would have had to be exciting, powerful and memorable to be passed from village to village and generation to generation. But they still would have been stories.

Groups would have got together to refine the stories keeping the best ones and replacing those that were not strong enough with better ones. Eventually these stories would have been written down and passed around in scrolls and books to ensure consistency.

None of this makes them any less fictional or any truer. It just speaks to the importance of teaching the best ideas to as many people as possible to create a consistent society.

There is a lot of good that can come from teaching people, and from sharing ideas and cultural memories from generations past. But if anyone thinks that because the same story has been shared for generations that gives it some special dispensation for being called true without evidence, then as a sentient person, question it!

You may decide you like the idea of living your life guided by the stories of ancient people, or in some cases contemporary people. Or you may decide on a different path, thats the choice everyone should have. Enjoy.

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Who will be the next blackberry?

There was a time when to send a message you would pay a man to carry your note to its destination.

There was a time when you could take your note to the post office, and they would take your note to its destination.

There was a time when you would write out your message on a form and the man at the telegraph office would transmit your note to the telegraph office near its destination.

There was a time when to make a call you would pick up the earphone, and talk into the mouthpiece and ask the operator for the person you wished to speak to.

There was a time when to make a phone call you would pick up the receiver and turn the rotary dial to send pulses down a cable to a robot in an exchange that would rotate to plug in the digits and complete the connection to your destination.

There was a time when to make a call you would extend the antenna on your phone, punch in the digits and press send.

There was a time when to send a message you would type the message on your blackberry and press send.

There was a time when to make a call you would ask siri to call that person and their face would appear on your iPhone.

There was a time when to call someone you would move your eyes to the call icon and say the name of the person you want to speak to, and their face would appear on your head up display.

There was a time when to call a group you touched your implant and thought of their names and their images would appear in your minds eye.

There was a time when it started to be weird… I just can’t remember when it “started” to be weird.
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