Kill Your TV, Stupid

Ask yourself how many TV shows you’ve watched this past year. Go ahead and say it aloud. Did you do that? I can’t hear you, because I’m not there. Nor is anyone on the other side of that screen that most people spend hours every day passively staring at.

If you did say it aloud, you’ve passively accepted and obeyed a command from someone you likely will never meet. This is how watching TV works. This behavior, exhibited by over a billion people every day, is one of the many reasons why most people are stupid.

Apparently people do this voluntarily or we wouldn’t have prime-time television. If you choose to partake in this passive sport, that’s your freedom of choice to be among the many who just let life roll on by. I can’t remember the last time I sat down to watch a TV show, or what that TV show was! That’s not to say I’m stupid. We all do and say stupid things, but some of us to a lesser degree than others.

But it’s this passivity of watching TV that’s the problem. A TV is just a box with sound and pictures. It can’t grow beyond that or it wouldn’t be a TV anymore. And because people refuse to accept their passive behavior, realize they’re stupid, then they will never grow beyond the couch.

It’s not just time spent watching TV that’s stupid, either. It’s money, too! No, no, not the money you could be earning if you weren’t watching TV, nor the money that the TV itself cost. I’m talking about subscriptions to services that cost in the hundreds per month. I hear from people they’re spending well over $200 a month on TV alone! That’s enough to feed a family of four for a few weeks, if you stretch it out correctly.

So where’s the math in that? If you can save $200 a month for one year, and feed your family for an extra two weeks per each of those months, then don’t you feel stupid with that large TV bill? How many times do you need to see your favorite football team play, twelve times a year… for ten years. That’s $200 x 12 x 10… that’s $24,000! Bet you didn’t think of that math, no did you? You can buy Superbowl tickets for less than that, and have a once in a lifetime, unforgettable moment seeing LIVE football.

Adulthood: A 4th Grade Presentation

Hi, kids! It’s me, Uncle Carl from Carl’s Corner! That crevice where two walls meet where nobody else hangs out. Your teacher asked me to give you a presentation on the wonders of adult life today. If anyone needs to take a shit, now’s the time to do it.

Nobody? Good. I didn’t want to wait anyway.

Now sit there behind your state-issued, lifeless, cold desks with its inoffensive yellow smoothness, and plant your ass on the equally uncomfortable plastic chairs that will give you back problems for the rest of your lives. Uncle Carl is going to tell you what Mommy and Daddy do while you’re stuck here in this prison.

First, your parents told you this place would be fun. Sure, you believed them, when in kindergarten you ran around carelessly meeting friends, painting pictures, and drinking glue. Wasn’t that a special time of your life? I bet you miss it already. Now you’re frozen in line, quiet as a statue, studious and awaiting instructions, from an unbiased textbook written by some loser who couldn’t do anything meaningful with his knowledge.

For some of you, Daddy is at work, while Mommy is taking care of the home. She’s out shopping to buy you new clothes, cleaning up not only after you, but also your Dad. Picking up his beer cans, wiping his crumbs off the dinner table, because her drunk bastard of a husband never learned to eat with his mouth closed.

Don’t you just hate when your parents tell you how to eat? “Chew with your mouth closed!” What’s mom afraid of, having her son emulate his father? She’s already repulsed by one man, the last thing she wants is to see a miniature one, like a midget in a bad holiday movie. Chew with your mouth closed, kids. It just might get you laid.

The rest of you probably have a Mommy who does all the work. Daddy doesn’t have a job. When you get home, I bet the house looks like shit. Clothes and dishes are everywhere, and both mom and dad are too tired from work to clean. Except Daddy isn’t the one who’s really tired; he just acts that way because he wants people to feel sorry for his lazy ass.

Kids, your Mommy’s the real victim here.

You little girls here will learn one day how much men shit on women. You’ll be expected to have a career, be a full time mother, and still pick up the shit stained underwear mysteriously left in the halls of your once beautiful home. On top of that, you’re expected to have a perky attitude about all your contributions, unless you want to be called an ugly cunt.

There’s a word you girls will come to love: contribution. You’re expected not only to be the family mediator, while Daddy’s hot temper gets his fist within swinging distance of Mommy’s tits, others in your neighborhood will expect you to get involved in community activities, unless you want to be judged as a crazy old maid who hates everyone.

Boys, get an education, because these independent, career-minded women won’t deal with picking up after your shit for long. They’ll earn their own money, because in today’s world, women don’t have to submit to being beaten in the middle of dinner because they forgot to pay the electric bill. You know, between making lunch for everyone in the family, dressing the kids, and the father, then cleaning up that orange juice that just won’t come off the table, and somehow making it to work on time, where she’ll have to blow her boss just to keep her job.

Did I mention Mommy works harder than Daddy, and Daddy complains more than Mommy? I hope you boys learn who the real bitch in the relationship is, because I can tell you right now, she doesn’t have a pair of tits and vagina.

How’s the cafeteria food around here? Judging by the burgeoning waistline of 40% of you, it must be pretty good. What are they feeding the other 60%, broccoli and that celery stick with peanut butter and raisins? That’s called ants on a log, a nutritious and delicious snack for people who, later in life, will suffer from insecurity and depression because they’re worried about their body image. Especially you women, who will have those thoughts beaten into you from men and other women who think they’re prettier than you.

I like to think they feed you kids right, but I know they don’t. When I was a kid, they started taking milk out of a carton, and putting it into a bag. A shitty little pouch you punched a straw into and squeezed the milk out, like squeezing a girl’s tits. Some of you will experience that some day, the rest of you boys will just lie about it.

Moving along, don’t they give you some salad, in those tiny cups, already soaked in ranch dressing? It’s not enough. Salad itself is not enough for a kid. They should just give you kids a whole head of lettuce and a bottle of Creamy Caesar from Ken’s Kitchen. Now that I take another glance at you buckets of lard, might want to make it Lite Creamy Caesar.

I can tell by the depressed look on some of you that you’ve been bullied. I got news for you: it never ends. The bullies continue to be assholes well into adult life. Not that you’d notice. There is no Disney movie miracle that plays out where the kid getting his ass kicked today becomes the hero tomorrow.

Bullies just learn new tricks. They like to disguise themselves today as masters of the art of finance, economics, business management, and running technology start-ups funded by their bully friend investors, who earned their money from laundering and bully tactics. Bully tactics, like suing your best friend for five-billion dollars and fifteen years in prison, just for sharing one too many MP3s of Hannah Montana.

Alright, I think it’s time I covered the topic of sex, my 4th-graded individuals. Sex is a three-letter word that sells anything, especially to idiots. Sex is an act of love, lust, and something insecure women do when they’re shit-faced drunk, and some of you will find this out in college. The rest of you will never know what it’s like to have sex with a girl under the age they have to lie about.

That last one doesn’t include you little ladies, as you’ll learn that society has little problem with girls experimenting with girls, and a severe hatred of guys experimenting with guys. Part of that male dominance and double standard you’ll encounter: lesbians are hot, fags should be beaten.

Don’t forget disease, children! When you get to high school, you’ll be reminded by your teachers about how having sex can make you sick, disgusting, and need to lay on a hospital gurney, gripping your balls as you scream out in agony, shouting, “Why did I fuck that whore!?”

One message after the other will be thrown your way that sex, and wanting sex, is a sin. A terrible thing that can get you in trouble, ruin your finances, and turn that prom queen girlfriend into an old hag overnight. Some of you will have the confidence to not give a shit and fuck each other anyway; some of you will be so afraid that you’ll wait until you get drunk in college to wake up and find out you won’t remember your first time; still, others will fuck and fondle themselves, to the world’s freest source of sexual stimulation, the Internet.

Speaking of things that give you bad information, I have one final lesson to prepare you for the adult world: you will endure for the next eight years one terrible message after the other, rooted in a neurotic hatred of life from teachers, parents, and other authority figures.

You’ll be told you’re being prepared for the real world. That knowing the middle name of the sixth President of the United States, and who his favorite midnight mistress was, would help you keep that shitty job as a bar mitzvah clown.

You’ll be pressured to succeed, thereby pitting you against the fear of being impoverished. That if you don’t succeed, you’ll be a bum, wearing dirty clothes, getting drunk every night, and pissing on someone else’s lawn. Then again, a lot of you will be doing that in college anyway. The acts aren’t too far off from each other, just under different financial circumstances.

Most of you will be shown a dream of instant success, too. That tossing that cap and gown somehow guarantees you a job like your mom and dad’s. They didn’t tell you the truth, because they don’t want to kill your ambition, but Uncle Carl will: You’ll have to endure one shitty boss after the other. And the more you take it, the longer it will take you to be your own boss. Better get started now, because it’s a short road to complacency, and a long road to independence.

I hope I haven’t scared any of you little guys and gals from becoming an adult. Have a pleasant journey, and see you next year for 5th grade orientation, where I will introduce the wonders of a political landscape that has such a dramatic and meaningful presence in your otherwise insignificant lives.

What Happened On, Nov 9th

History is full of… historical events. Some of which have taken place on this North American continent. November 9th seems to be a day for the British and Germans.

On this day, November 9th, 1780, during the American Revolution, the Battle of Fishdam Ford took place. Now this wasn’t a fight where a Ford motor vehicle blocked a river; no, it took place in what is now Carlisle, South Carolina. Neither of which have anything to do with Henry Ford or fish.

British arrogance has no sense of camoflauge.
British arrogance has no sense of camouflage.

In this battle, British forces tried to launch their — obvious — surprise attack. It, however, resulted in utter failure. One might wonder how the British were able to hide anywhere behind trees and inside bushes, what with those bright red coats and ridiculous hats. Blue was a better choice of color, and could be the reason why we won in the first place. It works better for nighttime raids.

And this ambush was in fact a nighttime raid. The British hid in the usual bushes and trees, fired a few good shots with their muskets. However, their ambition was swiftly cut down when they charged into an American camp and got their bayonets and flamboyant coattails caught in a fence. They, apparently, couldn’t get free for nearly twenty minutes, likely tossing aside all their clothes, and running off in the night, nude.

Nineteen years later, a famous short french dude by the name of Napoleon, lead a coup d’état and overthrew the French Directory. Apparently, he was fed up that his name didn’t appear in the French semaphore phonebook, an invention that resembled the telegraph by using line-of-sight.

Regardless of the reasons, this was one of the precursors to Napoleon’s reign as French Emperor. Originally, it was to be a peaceful coup, but the midget, er, short French, okay, Dictator, oh all right, General Napoleon. On the first attempt, he merely stormed the chamber of the Directory, and shouted this and that, it all doesn’t really matter. What matters most is what happened next:

Short Dead French Dude
Short Dead French Dude

Napoleon decided to storm another chamber, one filled with other French leaders arguing back and forth about stuff. During the arguments, Napoleon was smacked clear across the nose by someone else who was five-foot-seven.

Through some randomness that no longer matters — because, frankly, after you become an emperor, what does your past matter? — the French Directory would fall apart. A provisional government was put in place, with Napoleon as one of its leaders. And, as the French public hardly reacted at all, it was their way of saying, “We don’t really give a shit.” The Revolution was indeed over. All in all, it led to him becoming Emperor.

Robert Blum, of Germany, was executed in 1848. He was an opponent of antisemitism, ethnocentrism, and oppression, a supporter of democracy and equality amongst sexes; essentially, the complete opposite of Nazi Germany. After his arrest on November 4th, he was given just five days for a tribunal and execution. When the idea of hanging him failed, someone just pulled out a gun and said, “Oh, lass uns einfach hinter uns bringen.” Which, according to Google, translates into: “Oh, let’s just get this over with.”

1861: The first documented account of Canadians trying to play American football. It didn’t become as popular as American football because it had three-downs, ten extra yards, and teams could score an extra point when their ball is kicked into the endzone and not returned by the receiving team. Regardless, Canadians chose to keep Hockey as their national past time because Wayne Gretzky’s lack of teeth paled in comparison to that of NFL players.

US President Teddy Roosevelt's Official Portrait
A real man’s man, man.

In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt became the first sitting U.S. President to visit another country, where he inspected the building progress of the Panama Canal. This was the first sign that the United States somewhat, sort of, kind of, said to the rest of the world, “Yes, we do give a shit.”

Speaking of worldly history events, Kaiser Wilhelm gave up his throne on this day in 1918, effectively ending the German Revolution (by this time their eighth revolution).

Robert McNamara was named the president of the Ford Motor Company Nov. 9th, 1960. He swiftly gave it up a month later when he was asked to join the John F. Kennedy administration, persuaded by the chance that he’ll meet Marilyn Monroe.

And if you’re a fan of Rock ‘n’ Roll, or bands filled with old people, you’d be delighted to know that November 9th, 1967, was the first publication date of Rolling Stone Magazine. Yes, even the Internet’s throat-grab of the publishing industry can’t stop a Rolling Stone.

Speaking of rocks falling, on this day in 1989, checkpoints were opened at the Berlin Wall, allowing East and West Germans to find out that, truly, on each side, people are exactly the same.

Finally, the British, with their wonderful brilliance on the rights of mankind, declared in 1998 the end of capital punishment to all capital crimes, proving to the world that the English truly have chopped off their left nut.

Why Teamwork Doesn’t Work – And Math to Prove It

You’ve seen it recently on help wanted ads:

  • Be a team player.
  • Able to work well in a team environment as well as alone.
  • Work in an exciting, vibrant, dynamic team environment.

Being a team player seems nice: You work with others with a similar interest, and the team effort should get more done, collectively.

The truth is less gets done with more people working toward the same goal. I’m not talking about major government projects. I’m mean small tasks. For example, let’s look at a team of 10 salesmen.

Danger #1: A team member’s productivity is measured by dividing 1 by the number of team members.

Team members are supposed to do their part: a little of this, a little of that, and with everyone contributing, the work will get done. But, this is where the problem arises.

When each team member thinks the others will pick up the slack, they will give less than 100% effort to complete the task.

The first equation:

1 / X = Productivity

… where X is the number of team members. In our case, we have 10, so:

1 / 10 = 0.1, or 10%

If each employee did give 100%, that would be great, and would be equal to 100 team members. Except, it breaks the point of a team: to work together and rely and support one another.

If the remaining 9 team members are contributing 10%, you’re paying them 100% of their wages for 10% of the work. Makes you wonder why you pay these people in the first place.

Danger #2: Motivation is crippled because no matter the effort, everyone gets an equal share of the prize.

In a competitive scenario, there would be no teams; each for their own. In the Olympics there are more events with individuals than teams. When an individual has to do the task themselves, they are far more motivated because they will get more of the reward.

When the athlete goes for the gold, and achieves it, they get the medal. When a team goes for the gold, in the Olympics, they each get a gold medal. Except, this is work. In work, a team member won’t be motivated to do their best because they aren’t going to get the greater amount of the reward. So, they only give as little effort as necessary, or 10%.

Consider the following equation with a one-million dollar contract:

$1,000,000 / 10 = $100,000 X 0.1 = $10,000

The team member who scored the contract is told that out of $1,000,000, his effort is valued at $10,000.00, not including expenses and wages deducted.

This is terrible motivation, but it gets worse. When you calculate expenses, the weeks and months spent talking, dining, wining, and schmoozing, we bring up, to say, $5,000 in expenses (including wages).

$10,000 – $5,000 = $5,000

The team member did the work himself. But, because he was a team member, he can’t claim all that reward. It’s wiped away – whoosh! – gone into the void. But, things change when the employee isn’t part of a team:

$1,000,000 X (1 employee x 100% effort) = $1,000,000

If your employee’s efforts are worth $1,000,000, then they should be given an equal amount. When the employee is a team member, their value is brought down to 0.05%, or $5,000. However, take them out of the team, and their value goes to $50,000!

However, because they are a team member, their work is valued at $5,000 / $1,00,000. Go figure why team members are unmotivated to perform their best.

Danger #3: When mistakes happen, you’re no longer a team member.

This one is a curveball that employers like a lot: When a cog in the wheel is loose, it needs to be fixed. The team member is pulled aside and, for a moment, becomes an individual. Employers do this because they know, as a team, you have strength and support; as an individual, you have fear and weakness. So, they punish you as an individual.

But wait, aren’t you supposed to be part of a team? Yes, you are, but not when you screw up. When you screw up, you’re an individual!

This is an insane way of treating employees, and again, one asks how team members are supposed to be motivated to do their best. They’re confused on who is responsible: when everyone achieves, it’s a team effort, but when someone goes wrong, it’s no longer a team effort? Somehow, this doesn’t make sense.

The equation is like this to the boss:

100% responsibility = 10% of the team members (or 1 team member).

Except, if this were a true team environment, it would be like this:

100% responsibility / 10 = 10% for each team member

But bosses don’t see it that way. They want to support the feel-good giddy idea of a team environment. However, when something goes wrong, they’re more than willing to thrust down the hammer on an individual.

All the responsibility falls on one employee, and it’s not the team leader, or the boss: it’s the individual who, suddenly, when they need the help the most, is torn from the pack and beaten to fall in line. I remember a country that did this back in the 1930s, except, I couldn’t understand them because I don’t speak German.

Danger #4: The boss’s share prevents team members from giving 100%.

When a team member decides to give 100% effort, they should be rewarded with 100% of the commission that would normally be shared amongst the team.

But, that’s not the way it goes. In a team environment, no matter how much work a team member gives, each member receives and equal share. But, that’s not the way it works. If you’re a team member, no matter how much effort you put forth, you’ll never get more than a so-called fair share.

The rules don’t apply to a boss; only the employee. The boss, on the other hand, will capitalize on the value brought in. Because the value of each team member equates to 0.05, or 5% total, the other 95% has to go somewhere.

Boss’s Share = $1,000,000 – (0.5 x 10 x $5,000) = $975,000

The problem here is the boss didn’t do the work! But, hey, getting $975,000 certainly teaches the boss not to give any effort. No wonder employees aren’t motivated to do better. The boss is busy stuffing her face with cocaine-laced Benjamins.

Solution?

The solution, a foolish boss would assume, is to motivate employees to give more. However, effort fits nowhere into the equation, because of danger number two.

So, then, how do team members get a bigger piece of the pie than the boss, even for the team as a whole?

Sorry, doesn’t happen. The math works against it. Even if each employee gave 100%, the efforts would still equate like so:

Boss’s Share = $1,000,000 – (10 X 10 X $5,000) = $500,000.

Now, the boss’s contribution was nothing and they still got the lion’s share. Each team member has to split $500,000 amongst themselves, for $50,000 each. That equates to 5% each, or 50% total. And yet, the boss still did nothing! They did nothing, and get 50%!

Have fun being a team member!