Inappropriately analogistic speaking makes me angry

For a while in the 80’s is was slightly humorous when a blonde valley girl on a TV show would incorrectly use the word “like” in a sentence. But the joke did wear of quite quickly.

Today it seems that virtually everyone talks purely in analogies, and it is wrong!

Incorrectly using the English language in such gratuitous ways should be an instant firing situation for any writer or presenter. Anyone in business that uses the word incorrectly is showing his or her level of ignorance.

The next time you hear someone say “I was like so happy” or “It was like so raining” please recognize his or her ignorance in anyway you feel is appropriate (personally I prefer insulting them or even the throwing of rotten fruit, I would like to insult then like a Victorian would have)

And Facebook has to answer for the crime of the “like” button. While they have not fallen into the analogy pit, they have created a monster that is being used in very ridiculous ways.

bad analogy

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No I don’t want discounted electricity, please go to hell!

I signed up to the “Do Not Call Register” a long time ago, and while I’m sure some telesales organizations do adhere to the rules, far too many do not.

The one that annoys me the most, are a bunch of fu$kwits who call virtually every day to try and sell me discounted electricity. These a$$holes call with an automated message offering to lower the cost of my electricity bill. I continue to ignore them and they continue to call me.

Each time they call it’s a different phone number so blocking the number doesn’t work. I’ve reported them to the DNCR, and yet they keep calling.

One day I would love to meet these pri&ks and explain to them with a variety of household DIY tools the error of their ways.

Electric Meter

If there is one perfect way to ensure I will NEVER buy your product, it’s to call my home phone with an automated message.

Discount Electricity Company I wish you would FOAD

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I’m Hep!

Olly Murs singing "Heart Attack"
Olly Murs singing “Heart Attack” for ~30 of us at the Sony Club

So I’m picking up my monthly supply of currently legal anti-fat guy pills at the GNC and I realize I recognize the song on the radio station!  No, not the “oldies” station that still plays Ronnie James Dio mind you, the one that the young people enjoy.  It was a song by emerging Sony artist Oliver Murs from the UK who did a quick two songs a cappella at the Sony Club a few weeks ago when I happened to be there following a branding conference in that building.

While checking out I even found a way to slip in a comment about how Olly (I can call him Olly because we’ve met), was really enjoying America and touring with One Direction (I think that’s one of those popular “boy bands” like the New Kids on the Block).

Don't be a "square!"
Don’t be a “square!”

The young cashier flashed me a look that indicated she was skeptical about my level of “hip” and tried to trip me up by asking me, “What’s his story?”  I searched my memory banks for anything else I remember from the Sony event and recalled something about him being on a British show called the “X Factor” so I replied with that little nugget and a snide remark about how annoying that “Simon” guy is (he’s on or owns all those “Star Search” shows since Ed McMahon died I’m pretty sure).  Well, I got the approving head nod so I must have nailed it.

Anyway, I got the hell out of there before I got any questions about anything else and now I’m walking around feeling pretty “hip” for the first time in a long while.  Being hip is getting tougher and tougher though and I overheard some young people referring to Facebook as “Oh, that’s sooo 2008!” so I guess even the Gen Xers and many of the Millenials are in danger of becoming squares now.  As for me, I’ll bask in the glow of total personal coolness status for both 2012 and 2013 (I’ll avoid the GNC til at least January 2nd so that counts as 2013), secure that at least a few young people consider me “hip” (or is it “hep” these days?  Or maybe I’m a Hep-cat now???… Dammit, I can’t keep that stuff straight)-

Cab Calloway was "Hep"
Cab Calloway was “Hep”

 

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Anonymous seems to me to be the natural extension of society.

I’ve been playing with computers since well before they were fashionable. I was building my own hardware and writing code in the late 70’s when it was just the domain of very nerdy people, and was considered in the same way as train spotting or playing dungeons and dragons board games (things I personally never had any interest it btw).

In those early days, I was involved in the world of bulletin boards, a loose network of home computers, which connected users intermittently via home-phone connected modems. People dialing into a local bulleting board could leave and receive emails that would be forwarded around the network allowing a message to pass pretty much anywhere in the world within hours. And like-minded people could share and grow their ideas on message boards, sharing their program code and thoughts.

Even in those early-connected days it was amazing how quickly you could learn about any topic of interest, just by asking people, who could ask others. The power of sharing thoughts quickly dominated our lives, and for those of us connected “on-line” every other form of learning quickly paled into insignificance.

People outside of our network had no idea what we were doing, had no comprehension of the pure pleasure a group of disparate people who had never met each other got from learning amazing new things together. It didn’t matter what anyone looked like or how much physical wealth you had, what mattered was your whit, your intelligence and your creativity.

In those early days some people loved the challenge of breaking into other electronic systems, telephone network and other computers. While others took pleasure in building new things, more complex email and message board systems, databases and creative applications that could do things visualize three dimensional objects or create a speaking voice out of a sound system designed to create nothing more than a beep.

It was obvious even in those early days that some of these creative people would be able to use their skills in support of their political ideals. While I do not agree with widespread disruption as a means of political protest, it is an obvious strategy, and as the world continues to rely more and more on information technology it will become an increasingly powerful weapon.

Today there is an amazingly complex hidden world that anyone interested in learning about subversive methods of hacking or social manipulation can use to learn how to break security systems or steal identities. The world has (frankly) changed forever, and society will have to live with the fact that personal information stored electronically will allow others to impersonate our virtual selves.

The concept of a loosely associated group of smart people helping each other is a very powerful force that will influence the world we live-in in-perpetuity.

anonymous

The concept of the group anonymous is the natural extension of the world I saw evolving in the late 1970’s. I don’t agree with all the things I have seen this group do over the last couple of years, but I think that is the point. This group isn’t a fixed structure, but a mesh of smart people who can pinpoint the skills they need to achieve any specific goal. I’ve been quite amazed at how morale-bound their strategic activities have been so far.

I suspect there are many other less overt groups out there that form and meld to achieve many other less morale goals.

This is the world that we now live in, and just like any other area of society, the technology and the skills that are developed have good and bad applications.

Over the next twenty to forty years I suspect many of the people who are active in the world of anonymous today will become the leaders of society, in very much the same way that activists in the 60’s have become many of todays world leaders. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens…..

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An honest discussion between theologians and scientists

The bible says that god makes the sun rise and fall. But I know the rotation of the earth is the mechanism that we interpret as movement of the sun.

The bible talks about god making clouds, but I know that clouds are the result of evaporation of water rising into the atmosphere.

The bible says god makes rainbows, but I know that it’s the effect of light passing through water droplets that separates the colors based on the refractive effect of different frequencies of light.

Tides, bible says god, evidence shows gravitational pull of sun and moon.

tides

Stars, bible says god, evidence shows nuclear fusion reactions in large balls of matter that we call stars.

The bible says that everything that is unknown at the time of its writing by men is down to god.

Theologians when presented with the evidence of science will always say that while the mechanism can be understood, god created the underlying rules of the universe. So it’s all down to god.

I’m actually okay with that thinking, as it allows theologians to support further investigation into the deepest levels of understanding. And maybe one day we will see the fundamental rules of the universe, and maybe when we get to see and understand those, there will be a lot of very happy theologians who can say “see I told you so”

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The way of the gun.

The gun is the ultimate show of power for the average person. If you have a gun then you have the power to kill, maim or intimidate. Of course if your opponent has a gun then they also hold that power.

So the logic of gun ownership goes like this : I cannot know that any potential opponent will not have a gun, so I need to have a gun to ensure that I can protect myself in all circumstances.

This assumes that all the risks of gun ownership are manageable. The most obvious risks are:

1. Those who are untrained and unready to use guns, get access
(eg. a crazy son steals and uses his moms weapons or a child finds a gun and plays with it).

2. In the heat of the moment a bad decision is made about gun use
(eg. a home owner kills his child by mistake while looking for an intruder at night or during an argument over dog shit on the lawn a neighbor is shot, or a scared neighborhood watchman kills a suspected intruder because be uses a gun rather than calling the police).

3. The loaded state of a weapon is incorrectly assessed and an accident takes place
(eg. Opps I thought that shotgun was unloaded or the safety was on when I shot you in the face by accident).

4. Gun thefts place weapons in the hands of criminals
(eg. I keep guns for personal protection, but don’t lock my house at night because I live in a safe neighborhood or I have a gun-safe/trigger guard, but the thieves stole the safe or the key to the guard with the guns).

These are all direct examples I have read about, spoken to gun owners about or have seen on the news. These risks have proven themselves to be too great.

It is extremely rare (but not non-existent) that guns held for personal defense are used effectively for personal defense. While the errors listed above are all caused by gun ownership, are well documented and occur very regularly.

rambo

Quite simply if someone goes out to perform a crime and takes a gun, they have taken days or weeks to mentally prepare themselves. While anyone thrust into a situation with a gun-wielding criminal cannot have known even a second before that this was going to happen. So they are mentally unprepared and will be suffering from the effects of immediate and intense adrenaline release. This makes decision-making and effective aggression difficult. When attacked in this way the human body is much better at flight than fight. It takes soldiers and professional security forces years of intense training to be able to deal with this, the most difficult of all situations. And even most of them will find it hard to achieve a “win” in these situations. The best action taken by these experts is to find cover and build a defensive strategy.

Pundits that propose that more guns would have in retrospect saved any particular situation have never been in a similar situation. If they had they would know better.

In the cases where weapons are required for personal protection, I suspect most of the time non-lethal weapons would work better, as they remove many of the risks. But where lethal weapons are required then their needs to be an increased level of regulation and professionalism employed.

I question why the average city dweller should have a gun, but I can see why people living a long way from society may have a need. But I cannot see why military type weapons are needed even then. The risks to others are just too great.

stripper

Guns are not toys. I know that many people see them in the same way they see hot girls wearing little clothing and baby oil, excellent rock music, or a six-pack of domestic beer. Guns are not the same. I know hot girls can be dangerous, head banging holds the risk of brain damage and beer doesn’t mix well with thinking or driving. But guns have a unique and terminal purpose.

What is it going to take to ensure that crazies and criminals can’t get their hands on guns?

And please stop talking about the need to have guns to protect us against the government. That kind of thinking is so below the concept of American exceptionalism. Conspiracy theorists have their rights of course, the right to a tin foil hat and to put Hitler mustaches of images of those they don’t like. I don’t like or agree with them but I accept they have those rights. But they don’t have the right to stop strong regulation to protect us all from crazies and criminals.

tinfoil-hat-guy

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Tipping is Not a City in China

housevsaptHouseowners deal with many issues that are foreign to apartment and condo dwellers.  Beyond the seemingly endless (and often expensive) hassles associated with purchasing and moving into a home, one then has to deal with some combination of tasks which include: trash disposal, lawn maintenance, appliance repair and maintenance, outdoor holiday decoration placement and removal, basement flooding, HVAC maintenance, “Mischief Night” soaping and eggings, neighbors’ rogue pets, and on and on.  But this is the time of year where you “make some of that back.”
The "Where's my tip?" hand
The “Where’s my tip?” hand

The holiday season for apartment and condo dwellers might as well be renamed the “Tipping Season.”  Every person that works in and services the entire building (and parking garage if you have one), expects a hefty tip this time of year.  A reward for a job well done (or perhaps some insurance for good service in the year to come).  Many of these people are relatively invisible for 11 months of the year but like clockwork they’ll appear in your vicinity several times between Thanksgiving and the end of the year.  You’ll get a hearty “Hello!” and smile and even a handshake with eye contact from some of them as they happen to be there vacuuming in front of your door, getting to that old maintenance request, tidying up the lobby or offering to help with a package.  Wonderful, friendly busy staff as far as the eye can see.  Much like waiters and waitresses, the tip is essentially an expected part of their compensation so you’re a heel if you stiff them.

 

But how much to tip?  When?  Who?  How do you appropriately “slip them the cash?”  Despite literally hundreds of years of doorman buildings and other apartment complexes with staffers on the books, there has been no progress on exactly how to do this “tip drill” well.  Does each one get the same or do the people that know your name get more?  Is there a “class system” in which doormen get the big dough and maintenance gets 50% less?  Can you send a big check or bag of cash to some management flunky and trust them to divvy it up fairly?  What’s this year’s “rate?”  $100 each?  $200?  $50 due to Obama and the recession?  Does the Super really deserve $500 (after all, he already makes more than everybody else, right?)?  Do I slip a $20 to the weekend substitute parking guy?
Will "Schneider" fix your overflowing toilet in a jiffy next year?
Will “Schneider” fix your overflowing toilet in a jiffy next year?

 

It’s crazy!  Don’t you already pay a “maintenance” fee each year for these services?  Even if you want to do the right thing, there’s no way to know what “the right thing” is.  Ask most doormen and they’ll shrug and say, “Whatever you think is fair sir.”  That’s no help.  You may spend thousands of dollars tipping different people and still miss the guy that fixed your toilet during your Superbowl party because you forgot what he looked like (note: you’ll know if that happened the next time you desperately need his services and he’s conveniently unavailable btw).

 

So to all you house-owners out there, be happy this holiday season knowing that this is your time… a time where you can relax in your home and enjoy the holidays while your apartment-dwelling counterparts are struggling with the all that goes with the “Tipping Season.”

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Cowards Fear

Building a wonderful society demands that we express the best attributes that we wish society to be. Long lives, healthy people, great education, ever expanding knowledge, care for the needy, fulfilling and rewarding work for everyone, equality for all, tolerance of all others, crime free, blind and fair justice, rehabilitation along with punishment, defense against tyranny, equitable rewards for honest work and the strength to be brave and not scared.

This last point, the strength to be brave and not scared is critical. Scared people feel the need to own and carry weapons, brave people do not!

Brave people believe in the ability of others to follow their example, and live a decent and honorable life.

Brave people are ready to act when a situation demands it, but brave people don’t live their lives nervously waiting for a reason to act. Brave people live their lives aspiring to be the best they can be and the best they can make society.

people sil1

Cowards fear, while brave people do not fear. And fear can be infectious. It’s easy to listen to scary stories and feel they have some merit. While it’s much harder to aspire to be better than those stories and those story tellers.

Being afraid is a biological response to the sum of a situation. It’s the body’s way of heightening your responses to conditions that could lead to danger. Certain chemicals start to course around the body that aid flight and potentially defensive action (blood leaves the extremities, allowing arms and legs to be bitten without too much loss of blood, etc.).

But the bodies fear mechanism is not particularly good for aggression. It limits thought, and is really designed for running away.

People who are able to fight effectively in a truly dangerous situation are those that are able to conquer their fear and act rationally.

If you think that everyone is out to get you, and that you need to be armed at all times, you are clearly a very scared person.

If you are scared all the time, you are not the right person to truly deal with a dangerous situation.

People who are afraid of everything are those least capable of dealing with a truly dangerous situation.

Every day millions of brave people strive to build our wonderful society, we give them titles by the jobs they perform, teacher, EMT, fireman, garbage collector, carpenter. Every now and again one of them is called upon to show their bravery overtly, and they just act with the same brave grace they do every single day.

The land of the brave does not need everyone to be armed at all times.

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Start It Up In NY?

New York wants new businesses to start up here!   Newly hired employees, innovative new services and products, new revenue and profits and tax income to the state and more!  I’ve heard NY politicians talk about it, “We’re making New York an attractive place to start and grow your company!” and the like.

Steve and Woz in Jobs' garage creating Apple.
Steve and Woz in Jobs’ garage creating Apple.

We’ve heard the stories about successful companies started in a garage or studio apartment with an idea and just a few hundred dollars in some cases. The next thing you know they’ve got a campus, thousands of employees and plans to hire thousands more.  Those stories are never about New York companies though, are they?  Coincidence?  Bad luck?  New Yorkers aren’t as smart as people in Washington state or Virginia or elsewhere?

Actually, just the opposite.  New York entrepreneurs are smart enough to know that New York state and especially the 5 boroughs of New York City have a unique “Publication” requirement for all new LLCs that will likely cost them thousands of dollars and 6+ weeks of hassles.  Open your business elsewhere, no such requirement and no such fee.  Hmmm…, NY and pay the fee or anywhere else and not pay the fee.  Tough choice for them, eh?  How does NY compare to neighboring states for formation of new LLCs per capita?  Terrible, of course.

The “Publication” requirement requires new NY businesses to publish an official notice of their existence in multiple printed newspapers for 6 consecutive weeks.  Any newspapers?  Of course not.  They select the newspapers and you have to call the county clerk to get the names of the papers who will get the $.  They say the requirement is so the general public is “notified” yet the New York Law Journal with its high rates happens to seemingly always be one of the required newspapers.  Big circulation of the general public for that one, eh?  Oh, and the information is already available online, for free, to anyone in the general public who wants it on the Secretary of State’s website.

How unique is the fee?  48 states don’t have it, that how unique it is.   If you’ve ever been curious about what a “special interest” group is and how their influence can drive lawmakers to do something for just them at the expense of virtually everyone else, here’s your case study at the state level.

$2000.00 may or may not seem like a lot of money to you but to some budding entrepreneurs it is money they could clearly use better elsewhere (elsewhere meaning anywhere other than New York).

NY and its lawmakers don't seem to love new business
NY and its lawmakers don’t seem to love new business

 

 

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The amazing attraction of the “watch”

There was a time not so long ago when people in their teens would not be seen dead wearing a watch. Watch-less-ness seemed to go along with inverted baseball caps and trousers that hung around the knees.

A watch is one of the only pieces of jewelry that is acceptable for a man to wear. It has a practical function. That and maybe a single subtle ring on a single finger (as it’s part of the marriage contract), and possibly cuff links (because the shirt has holes in the cuff and needs it).

Studs, earrings, chains and wristbands are not the accouterments of real men, it’s that simple.

prince

Real men do not adorn their skin with ink or color their hair.

They don’t wear makeup or require “creams” of any description.

And getting your nails done, should mean going to the hardware store to get your nail gun fixed because it broke.

Now I’m sure there are some people who may disagree with me, but these people are not “real” men.

Now I know lots of men do have tattoos, or wear lots of jewelry, and I’m not saying they are in some way inferior to real men, just they are making a fashion statement, and as we all know real men have no idea about fashion statements.

I’m just saying….

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