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.

5 Reasons We’re a Throw Away Society

The votes are in, and they have been tossed out in lieu of my conclusion of the top five reasons we, especially here in America, are a throw-away society.

#1: Everything is Made in China

Look to Americans to devalue products made from a land abroad. For all we complain of stagnant wages, we’re sure proud that prices are low, as low as the quality of products we didn’t even make.

#2: Plastic is Cheap

Plastic, an amazing invention, feels like the cheapest thing in the world. We make toys out of if, wrap our food in it, and some of us go so far as to infuse our tits with them, just to look a little better than the other chick.

Its immense versatility and infinite life span provides us the sense we don’t have to worry about it losing value. If one had to worry about their possessions, they would care for them, like their car. Thankfully, our cars aren’t entirely made of plastic… yet.

#3: Produce from Mexico, Pills from Canada

It shouldn’t surprise anyone the reason for low priced food and pills: they, too, come from abroad. Once upon a time, there was a farmer in Arkansas. That’s about it for that.

#4: Middle East TurmOIL.

Slipped a pun in there for ya. Speaking of slipping, did you know that Americans only value the oil they have at home? We fight hard to protect it, but not as hard as we fought to ship it in from the other side of the world. Where people live in the mountains, the sand, and houses made of rock, instead of wood.

Then again, it’s over there, not our problem.

#5: Clothes Made by Children

Child labor is an awful thing, so the commercials say. This one I don’t get. When was the last time anyone was proud to wear something made by a child other than their own? Nobody? That’s what I thought.

If we all made our own clothes, we could put an end to the apathy. Then again, most will stick to the good ol’ American way of “Who gives a shit?”

What Happened On, February 18th

It’s been more than two weeks since my last update. Had a few days with food poisoning; note: do not buy anything instant that requires you to boil milk.

February 18th, 2013, marks a special President’s day for Civil-War buffs. On this day, in 1861, Jefferson Finis Davis was inaugurated as the first — and only — President of the Confederate States of America.

Confusion during parades is likely to ensue in the states of Texas, Alabama, and South Carolina, where some patriot will march down the street wrapped in nothing but a Confederate flag, drunk on moonshine, singing “I Wish I Was In Dixie. ”

In four years, Davis managed to lose the war and destroy the Confederate economy through inflation, but not before he shamed himself on the world stage. Something about being the leader of a pro-slavery confederacy, fighting an anti-slavery union, didn’t sit well with the leaders of the countries from which Davis sought to enslave.

In aviation and postal history, in 1911, the first official air-mail flight took place, and in a rather arrogant manner. About 6,500 letters were flown over the excruciating distance of six miles, and what better person to do it than a French pilot, Henri Pequet, over a British-controlled territory known today as India.

If you didn’t vote for Pedro in 1913, don’t worry; nobody did. In 1913, Mexican military general Victoriano Huerta staged a coup that overthrew the then-reigning Presdient Francisco I. Madero, ultimately conspiring with Pedro Lascurain to give some legality to the takeover. Pedro’s presidency lasted a mere forty-five minutes, about the length most people can pay attention to politicians ramble on the news before realizing there’s something better on the next channel.

The planet Pluto was discovered in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh, as he studied photographs he took the previous month. And, by no coincidence, Walt named Mickey Mouse’s dog in true Disney-fashion to cash in on the craze of whatever was sweeping the nation at the time.

Speaking of dumb animals, on this day in 1930, Elm Farm Ollie became the first cow to fly without the use of a catapult. The flight began in Bismarck, Missouri, and landed in St. Louis, as Elsworth W. Bunce became the first farmer to milk a cow in mid-flight, raising the bar of the mile-high club for bestiality enthusiasts.

Tom Cruise can celebrate today, for back in 1954, the first Church of Scientology was established in Los Angeles, California. Due to legal constraints, I regret to inform you I cannot comment further on the Church of Scientology or young Navy Fighter Pilots.

Finally, in a show of mercy on convicted felons, and to bolster bureaucratic budgets, the California Supreme Court decided in 1972 it was perfectly fine to invalidate California’s death penalty laws, and commuted all death-row inmate sentences to life in prison.

Not to be outdone, the California voters — then at the time more sane — voted for Proposition 17 just nine months later, thereby re-instituting capital punishment. And though they were quick to fix the law, they wouldn’t enforce it until twenty years later.

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!

The Point of All This

In the beginning, the point was to find food and shelter to eat and live.
In the middle, it was to further the endeavors of a civilized world through knowledge and research.
Now that we know how much bullshit everything is, it’s time to get back to the one thing humans do best: complaining.

That’s all it seems to be now. Everyone looking for something to bitch about. If they can’t complain about the manufacturing process of steel dildos, they’ll complain about the endangered species. If they can’t bitch about public education going in the shitter, they’ll complain about taxes being too high.

Lo and behold, we create things just to complain about them. Government, taxes, religion, and the idea that you can’t walk up to a beautiful ginger girl and ask her for a blow job and get one.

In all honesty, there is no point, there never was, and there never will be. Humans have completely missed the point of living: to just do whatever the fuck you want without any higher meaning. But, some douchebags along the way wanted a higher meaning, and what better higher meaning than something that can and can’t be denied with fake evidence conjured from their thoughts and a lack of evidence conjured from those very same thoughts.

The only point I care about is me pointing this bullshit out the door. Thank you, and I hope I made my point.

Idioms and Idiots

The glorious English language is full of phrases, and the most amusing are the idioms. Most laugh at idiots and the stupid shit they do, while others laugh at the stupid shit they say. Here are a few idioms I enjoy.

Off to the Side

This phrase means to move aside to speak with someone. But the side is never defined. Is it the left side, or the right side? Nobody knows, we just know it’s off.

Someone often pulls you off to the side for something you’ve done wrong, and they want to keep you from getting embarrassed when they criticize you. Don’t be fooled, folks. When someone pulls you off to the side they’re doing it to save themselves from being embarrassed. Not you.

What about when you pull someone off to the side, and want to tell them a little secret, only to have that person shout over your shoulder to the whole party. “Hey, everyone, Jack says he has a crush on Melody and wants to dress up in whips and chains with her!” Your heart drops, it sinks, and you think, “Holy, shit! I can’t believe everyone knows that now!”

That’s one way of looking at it. But, there are more uses for the phrase. Off to the side can be used in sports, like when the cameraman should be standing off to the side instead of blocking the wide receiver in the last play of the Superbowl.

Or how about when someone says they’ll do you a favor, but then brushes it off to the side? Doesn’t that make you feel awful? They’ve violated your trust, let you down, put your friendship off to the side. Well, you won’t be asking any favors from him for a while.

In happens to actors when their hair is parted off to the side. Completely ruins their character.

What about when you’re decorating a cake, and the icing droops off to the side? What if it’s a wedding cake? You don’t want that to be messed up. Then again, you shouldn’t have any complaints if the icing on the cake is crooked and the  bride and groom are cross-eyed.

Mum’s the word

When someone tells you, Mum’s the word, they don’t want you to reveal a secret. Okay, first of all, it’s not a secret if more than one person knows, so that’s out the window. Second, who decided Mum was the word? Is my mother going to force me to reveal a secret? And if I don’t, who is she going to make me cry to to tell her? Seems to me, Mum isn’t the best choice of a word to describe a secret.

You can learn a fine lesson from the CIA: they don’t use any words about their secrets. In fact, the CIA doesn’t even say no comment, because they’re smart: they ignore it all together.

But let’s be generous here. Why does it have to be Mum? Who’s idea was it to use a word that meant mother to keep a secret from people? The last person I’d ever find myself lying to is my mother.

Let’s suppose for a moment we use a different word. Hmm… how about, Dad? Why not Dad’s the word? Dad doesn’t want to know about all the shit his kids do. Dad doesn’t care; he’s too busy working, and when he comes home, the last thing he wants to here is how you banged the neighbor’s daughter, lit the rug on fire, smashed the mailbox, and had a swat team come over about a stinkbomb. If Dad’s the word, Mum will just go to him, and he’ll speak up about anything. First words he’ll say: I’m sorry.

But let’s move on here, and pick another word. Why not… pumpernickel? “Pumpernickel’s the word.” It’s a long word, people have to think about it, and throws them off. “Hey, Billy, what did that boy just whisper in your ear?” “Pumpernickel!” Gets them every time.

Or, how about a word that doesn’t exist? Like, Goshibulodooky. If someone asked you to reveal a secret, and you say, Goshibulodooky!, they’ll wonder what that word means. It deflects them from even thinking about the secret. Then, you go into a lengthy explanation about tour aunt’s best friend’s sister’s cousin’s nephew uncle’s great grandfather’s tailor’s shoe maker’s great grandson’s little brother, told you it’s a microscopic organism in the intermediate subatomic layers of the atmosphere. They’ll think you’re way too fucking smart and leave you alone. Problem solved.

Crossed the Line

Oh, here’s one of my favorites. When someone does something so horribly wrong, they have crossed the line. But where’s the line? Nobody ever defines the line. How are we supposed to not cross the line if we don’t know where it is? And second, whoever said we crossed the line?

You can’t cross the line by going over it; you cross a line by drawing a line through another line, thus resulting in a cross, and now — and now — you have two lines. Doesn’t that mean when you cross a line with your line that their line has crossed your line? We’ve been double-crossed!

Well, which line did I cross? Your line, my line, someone else’s line? I didn’t know we had lines here and there to be crossed in the first place. Can someone please draw these lines so we can stop crossing them?

And this phrase only comes after you’ve crossed the line. It only happens after the fact; post de facto. Isn’t it illegal to punish someone after the fact? And, to avoid punishment, to avoid being told we’ve crossed the line, we have to draw the line in the sand. But what if you’re not standing on any sand? What if you’re standing in a puddle of water? You draw a line, and poof, it vanishes in the ripples. Now you got lines going everywhere and everyone in the puddle is crossing the line!

Suppose you can’t draw; suppose your drawing skills are that of a one year old and your lines are squiggles. What then? Are the lines just wherever they’re at? I think, before you start telling people they’ve crossed the line, you need to draw the line. In fact, they teach kids to color within the lines. What a great way of teaching them to not cross the line. That’ll whip them into shape as little slaves for the rest of their lives.

What if I don’t want a line? What if I want to say you’ve crossed the circle? It would cover more space, wouldn’t it? It would be easy for someone to know when they’ve crossed the circle instead of the line. A line has to be directly in front and perpendicular to your feet, while a circle is all around. Take one step in any direction and you’ve crossed the line. Rectangles and triangles work, too, but circle beats them all.

Upper Hand

Another stupid thing people say. He’s got the upper hand. It’s related to playing poker, when one player has the advantage over others. Well, if he has the upper hand, what’s he doing with his other hand? What’s he hiding? Did his other hand cross a line, and thus it had to be brushed off to the side? Mum’s the word on that one.

‘Till the Fat Lady Sings

The phrase means something won’t be over until something happens. Supposedly it comes from a fat lady singing at the end of the opera. I don’t know about you, but many of the fat ladies I’ve met don’t exactly have the most pleasant voices. You ever meet those women who shop with their five kids, still wearing their nightgown and hair curlers, pushing two shopping carts, balancing an infant in one arm, and a cigarette in another? Their voice is hoarse and scratchy. I think if you waited for her to sing you’d find yourself wishing you left sooner.

And why is it always a fat lady? Why not a fat man? Sometimes that happens in opera, too, but suppose we used something else. Suppose we had a fat ostrich sing. Suppose we had a fat ostrich in heat and tied him to the stage with six lady ostriches prancing around. Suppose he had a really bad temper. Seems like it would make for a grand finale.

We could have the fat lady do something else, such as, It ain’t over ’till the fat lady shoots herself on stage and they close the curtains to cover it up. You’d be surprised at how few people would know it was real. In fact, she’d get a pretty big round of applause while her corpse is being dragged off stage. Then, when everyone is about to leave the theater, the host walks out on stage, and tells them it wasn’t part of the show, and the singer has really died. That would make a lot of people feel like a real dick.

By Chance

Finally, I’ll close with the idiom, by chance. This phrase means something will happen purely out of randomness; nobody will decide to make it happen. And the phrase is versatile.

First, something can happen by chance. You didn’t expect it, you wanted it to happen, but in the back of your mind, you knew that you couldn’t make it happen. By chance, it will happen, or it won’t. But it’s just a chance. You take your chances.

Second, it can be used when someone asks you something. “Excuse me, by chance, do you have the time?” “Why, yes, I do have the time. It’s exactly five minutes past your last chance for me to tell you the time. Maybe next time.” Can’t miss that chance.

Or, how about this. “If by chance she does want to go out with me, will you give her my number, Dave?” “Sure, Jack, I’ll give her your number. What was that… 5-5-5 you don’t stand a chance?”

Don’t wait ’till the fat lady sings, because, by chance you don’t mum the word, you may lose the upper hand and cross the line.

Here, let me measure that for you.

People are stupid with food, eating themselves out of health, and blame the place that cooks their sixth meal of the day. Oh, I’m sorry, you like eating a full steak every Friday, a 2lb fat burger every Thursday, and whatever else you can get with grease? Well, here, let the government help you.

Let’s require the calories, the fat, the sodium, and everything else about all the foods we eat everywhere, to be written next to it. Let’s forget all about listening to our own bodies and knowing when to stop eating, when something was gross to eat, and how it affects us. Never mind the majority of the population can’t read past a fifth grade level.

Uncle Sam will take care of it all, he’ll make sure every restaurant, fast food or cuisine, provides the calories, fat, sodium, lack of vitamins, minerals, and everything else about the food. Forget about letting you decide what you want to eat and give in to the numbers. You do remember numbers, don’t you? From math class, in that public school that taught you to write them down, without learning how to apply them? Oh, you don’t? Well, one plus one equals your loss!

Here’s how you decide what to eat: do you like the taste of it? Is it good for you? Do you feel good after eating it, today, and tomorrow; are you tired after eating it? If you’re tired after eating something, you’ve eaten too much, or something that wasn’t good for you.

Food is supposed to give us energy. If you’re sitting around after eating a triple mega super deluxe ultra fat patty, and don’t want to get up, perhaps you should have eaten that salad, and drank water, or milk, instead of the soda.

But what good is it for me to tell you this. Chances are you’re like the 40% obese population in this country. If you can’t listen to yourself, you won’t listen to me. And I don’t think those calorie numbers do anything anyway. In fact, I think they’re a deterrent to business. Putting those numbers in front of people tells them to be afraid, be very afraid, of how much you’re taking in.

I think, instead of numbers, they should have you stand on a scale that points the three different levels of eating: You’re hungry, you’re full, and get the fuck out.