Monthly Archives: January 2009

Surviving the Financial Panic

I originally wrote this post several months ago, and decided against posting it. But I had a friend recently lose his job and the insulation from living in Utah means the economy is starting to hit closer to home… I thought now would be a good time to put it up. I know, I know. It’s a serious post. I’ll be back to the normal idiocies soon enough.

In the meantime, enjoy a rare “serious” post…

Okay. I’m no economist, but I’ve been watching Continue reading

Trying to Avoid Traffic Tickets? Forget the Myth of the Gray Buick and Buy a Jag

Growing up, I always heard the story about the professor that taught statistics at some university and forced his wife to drive a gray Buick LeSabre, or some other equally boorish vehicle, absolutely banning her from driving a red car.

So why no red cars? Because red is the color of the devil? Remember now, the guy in the story is a statistician. According to legend, drivers of gray cars and Buick LeSabres receive fewer tickets than any other driver. Drivers of red cars, the story goes, receive the most tickets.

Now people will say that cops target red cars and sports cars and blah blah. Well, I personally think it has more to do with Continue reading

Saving Your Business in Tough Times

When the economy hurts, consumers hurt. When consumers hurt, businesses start to feel the squeeze pretty quickly, some industries more so than others. If your business is feeling the squeeze, it’s time to take action. Even during the Great Depression, some businesses continued to thrive. The innovators and those willing to adapt are the ones that will make it through these tough times.

Here are a few tips for the business owner that feels like the doors are starting to close on the financial hurt locker. Continue reading

Tribute to One Jeanne Calment, the Superest of Super Centenarians

Jeanne Calment. Regarded as the oldest living person in recorded history. Over a period of 122 years, she saw a lot. But this is perhaps my favorite story of hers.

In 1965 André-François Raffray, an attorney, agreed to pay Calment 2,500 francs per month until Calment’s death in exchange for ownership of her apartment after she passed. Calment was 90 at the time while Raffray was a spry and young 47. Seems like a great deal, right?

Whoa now, not so fast! A funny thing happened. 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

Visiting Peru? Might Want to Avoid Taking the Taxi

On the other hand, you might want to move to Peru permanently depending, as the Jedi like to say, on your point of view.

Beware the Peruvian taxi driver!

One Pablo Cayo, a janitor, showed up to work plastered one day. So his employer did what any scum-sucking pig of a corporation would do… they fired him. Fortunately for Pablo, a justice of the Constitutional Tribunal felt his pain and ordered that Pablo be given his job back. Maybe the justice has tossed a few back while on the bench. Who knows? All that matters is that Pablo, a fine upstanding and responsible citizen of Peru, has rightfully gotten his job back where he can sweep the floor while sloshed all he wants.

And people say America is the Land of the Free? I’m packing my bags for Peru, the only TRUE free country left in the world.

Truth comes in drunkeness

Thanks to ChurchSignGenerator.com for helping me out with the above image. Making fake signs is so much fun!

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.

Fastest Way to Become a Billionaire: Move to Zimbabwe

When I was in high school, I took an economy class. Up to then, I thought that inflation was caused by greed. Shoemaker charges more for his services, shop owner has to raise price of shoes, people need to get paid more to afford shoes, employers have to pay more to keep employees else they find better paying jobs so they can afford higher-priced shoes.

Then my economy teacher tells me, “No, inflation is mostly caused by the government printing more money.”

Then suddenly I understood. The more money there is in circulation, the less it’s worth. This concept was cemented in my mind when I watched a Duck Tales episode titled Dough Ray Me in which the economy was flooded with quarters due to Huey, Duey, and Louis using a duplication device to increase their funds. But the the device had a bug. Anything you duplicated would continue duplicating itself, along with its duplicates. Next thing you know, the streets are overflowing with quarters and a candy bar costs $10 trillion.

If you want to see runaway inflation at work, visiting Zimbabwe right now would be a great idea. While it seems like there is always some country somewhere with runaway inflation (often resulting from a corrupt government), Zimbabwe is in the midst of it right now.

Visit this blog post for some good stuff. My favorite picture is this one:

$100 Billion!

Notice the issue date of July 1, 2008. And then, notice what essentially amounts to an expiration date:

Spend it quickly!

The value of a $100 billion dollar bill today? As of this writing, just under $10,000 US. In other words, one U.S. dime is worth $1 million Zimbabwe. So your pocket change makes you a multimillionaire… in Zimbabwe.

This is what happens when the government pours money into the economy. Think about that next time you get free money in the form of a economic stimulation check.

How to Get Your Coworkers Fired

Office antics are always great fun. But can they ever go too far?

I don’t know about that. But I do know they can definitely be taken advantage of to get rid of certain coworkers that you don’t much care for.

One common office antic that is quite universal is to mess with somebody’s workstation when they leave it unattended and unlocked. If you know time is short, then you are probably limited to accessing their email or instant messenger software to send funny messages or something else equally useless.

If you have plenty of time, a classic is to take a screenshot of their desktop, make it the wallpaper, then hide the taskbar and desktop icons. When the unsuspecting victim returns, their computer will appear to have locked up on them.

OR…

You send an instant message to yourself, walk back to your own workstation to respond, and back and forth having a conversation with the victim — or so it appears:

Framing your coworker

By taking a screenshot of the threats on your life, you can send the image to your boss, thereby getting him or her fired. If you really want to get crazy, you can call the cops. Threatening another person’s life is against the law!

One thing you must be certain of, however, is to not make the mistake I made and talk like yourself when you are pretending to be the intended victim. Also, make sure that your boss values you more than the coworker you’re trying to get rid of. Otherwise you’ll end up like me, in the boss’ doghouse — or worse, fired yourself!

Extensive kissing up prior to conducting the framing of your coworker is recommended. But that’s a whole other post.

Utah Baby Namer Has a Pet Equivalent

It’s said that Utahn’s have a thing for giving their kids weird names. And, perhaps, that is true. The Mormon influence here has some sway on that I suppose.

I remember going to high school with a kid name Moroni. Working with another named Nephi. Having a college professor named Von Del. Confessing to a bishop named DeVerl. Hearing rumors about a gentleman named Moriancumer (though I haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting him).

Well, if you’re expecting and you just absolutely gotta give your kid some weird and crazy name that will emotionally scar them for life, check out the Utah Baby Namer. No joke. You’ll find some seriously sweet stuff on there.

But for those of you who keeps pets in lieu of kids or (so as to not offend anyone who views their pets as their precious children) as their kids, check out the list of crazy pet names.

One emotionally distressed dog

Sparklemonkey? Now why didn’t I ever think of that?!

How about you? Know of any crazily named people (or pets) — Utahn or otherwise?