Category Archives: Crazy History

Give a Crazy Person a Bunch of Lottery Numbers, and This is What Happens

So an interesting thing happened to me today. I was checking my external hard drive (a 2 TB monster I bought a couple years ago) to see if I had ever backed up the DVD for The Incredible Hulk to it. Why was I doing this? I wanted to get the quote from Edward Norton — as Bruce Banner — saying in Portuguese, “Don’t make me hungry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m hungry.”

Sadly, I had never backed up that movie. But while I was digging around in my hard drive, I discovered Continue reading

Bob Dylan – Friday, 1976

It was 1976. My father, after 12 years in the US Navy and two tours to Vietnam, had decided not to re-up so he could get to the business of caring for his family. My mother and I traveled from the Philippines to San Diego to meet my father as he disembarked from a destroyer for the final time. As my father came down the ramp, I spotted him. Reaching my arms out, I screamed for him, “Daddy! Daddy!” as my mother held me. Finally, she released me. I ran into my father’s arms as he scooped me up. He looked in my eyes and handed me a vinyl 45 sheathed in white paper. With the gift, he included the following letter: Continue reading

Unplug Your Cell Phone Charger When Not In Use!

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this is some sort of message to be environmentally friendly by unplugging your cell phone charger when it’s not in use so it doesn’t sit there drawing power all day.

Well, sure, there is that. But my message to you today is a matter of life and death. My concern is not that you are draining life from our planet Earth, but that you may very well be putting your life — and the lives of others — at risk, not to mention the much bigger issue of possibly contributing to the complete destruction of Continue reading

Will We Ever Be “Free At Last”?

In August of 1963, one of America’s finest men spoke to a crowd of nearly a quarter million people in the shadow of another great American, Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln, during debates for his first presidential campaign, fielded many questions regarding Blacks and the issue of slavery. Lincoln’s opponent held a common belief among White Americans that the Black race was inherently inferior.

During one debate Lincoln’s response was Continue reading

Don’t Dine in Hell Like the 300 Spartans

Nothing against anybody who likes to compare their business to the Spartans, but if you do be aware that you might have the unfortunate problem of having an educated person at your company.

Leonidas is guest of the devil

Recently, during a company meeting where I work, the movie 300 was brought up. The question was asked, “Does anybody know why the Spartans were so successful [at the Battle of Thermopylae]?”

So I raised my hand and responded, “Well, to start with the Spartans were a warrior society. Their soldiers were trained to fight almost from birth. Secondly, they chose a location that gave them a significant tactical advantage.”

Somebody else piped up and said, “And they were all slaughtered in the end,” which becomes significant later on.

The response was, “Okaaay…” That is to say, not the answer they were looking for. Another person spoke up and said something about the phalanx formation and how each hoplite was responsible for protecting the soldier to his left. Of course, he didn’t use the words “phalanx” and “hoplite” because the only thing he knew about military strategy of the time is what he saw in the movie 300.

Nonetheless, he received a “Yes! Teamwork!” And that’s what they were looking for.

“Cool,” I thought to myself, as I realized I was probably the only person in the room that had any actual military experience. Teamwork is, indeed, a huge part of any military unit and mission.

I worked late that night. I left at 8:00 so I could tuck my kids in before they fell asleep. Then worked at home until 10:00. We are so crazy busy (in a good way), “teamwork” in my department means working your ass off… or on, as the case may be, since you rarely get to leave you chair.

Anyway, I went to bed that night and for some reason unknown to me I woke up at 2:30 in the morning. My heart was pumping hard and I had difficulty falling back asleep. But during my half-dazed waking period, I thought about the Spartans.

The Spartans certainly worked together as a team. But so did the Persians. It’s possible that the 300 Spartans worked together better. But so did the South during the Civil War. The South had better officers, better tacticians, and better overall technology. So why did the South lose? Numbers. Pure and simple.

Spartans kicked ass!The Persians also had numbers. Huge numbers. Nobody knows for sure how many were at the Battle of Thermopylae, but estimates at the low end say 80,000 while Herodotus reported over 5 million. Either way the Greeks, with an estimated 6,000 total, were heavily outnumbered. The only way the Greeks were able to hold the Persians was with a very strong tactical advantage, that being the narrow corridor the Persians were forced to fight within, thereby limiting the number of Persians that were able to attack at any given time with the only option being a frontal assault.

The Greeks, Spartans in particular, had better training, better armor, better weapons, and better leadership. In a face to face match, the Persians didn’t stand a chance. But once the Greeks lost their tactical advantage, the battle became quickly lopsided.

A man named Ephialtes (which today is Greek for “Benedict Arnold”) informed Xerxes, the Persian king, of a path around the mountain. Tactical advantage gone, the Greeks were quickly done away with.

But it was what I thought about next that caused me to laugh in my daze. It wasn’t really funny, but in my half-conscious state, it was. The Spartans were a military might for centuries; one of the most feared armies of the world. But all things must come to an end.

As military technology and tactics began to change, the Spartans — so confident in their phalanx strategy (which they had formed their entire society around) — failed to adapt to changing conditions and thus lost the advantage of having the world’s strongest military. And, as a coworker of mine so eloquently stated, “They were all slaughtered in the end.”

Bringing that over to the corporate world, one could say that sitting on your laurels is a bad thing. Don’t forget the lesson of the Spartans. Dining in Hell makes for great stories to your grandkids, but is bad for business.

I eventually fell asleep again, probably with some crazed smile on my face.