Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Monday, May 26, 2003

MEMORIAL DAY 2003 The Myth of...The Military Not Being Appreciated As sure as one war follows the next, comes the always certain refrain that "people just don't appreciate what the military does." It is often invoked by those in the services, or by their relatives. And I think it's bunk. First off, I don't know many people who don't appreciate their efforts. And few would trade places with them. We understand that war is hell and that someone's got to do it. And we're thankful that they're getting shot at -- and not us. So I'm not sure where the problem is. Don't we celebrate Memorial Day and Veteran's Day? Doesn't the media slather over the heroic deeds of the grunts? Aren't there enough war memorials around the nation to sink a battleship? Don't vets get medical care for life? Don't we put most of them through school? I'm not trying to be cavalier about this, I just don't understand what else we can do? Besides, with the advent of the all-voluteer arny, this is their chosen profession. If they went into it expecting a specific payback (other than the education) they were sadly misled. And let's be real, no amount of adulation, no parade, no memorial, indeed NOTHING will pay you back for the pain, the loss, the fear, the anger or the hell you went through....

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

Will anyone in government ever do "the right thing" when it comes to education? Doubtful. Why? Because a sheepish, mindless electorate works in their favor. People without the ability to parse difficult and complicated issues can be much more easily swayed and spun. So don't look for either side to invest much in the education of your kids....despite all assurances to the contrary

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Is the NBA rigged? Seems like it. After all, once it became nothing more than "entertainment" (as players started reminding us in the 80's) what difference would it make anyway? I mean, in essence, all entertainment is rigged. Every TV show, movie or play is rigged, because the writer wrote it to work out a certain way. Once the networks and the sports franchises stopped being sports, and gave in to the entertainment model, why bother worrying?

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Honk if you've stupid. Honking to "say goodbye" to someone when you're about to drive off is an annoying habit and it's about time you stopped doing it. The horn was invented to warn horses that this mechanical beast was headed their way. And I know who you are, you're the same person who puts smiley faces under your signature and says, "Have a good one!" all bright and chipper-like.

Panera is one of the chain restaurants that are doing well, and eating the lunch of MacDonald's and many of the other "classic" fast food places. But while the food is acceptable and the places pleasant -- there are some subversive minds at work. And it has to be coming from the demented craniums of upper management, where most stupidity ultimately resides -- and is often more evident as a company grows and succeeds. So here's the deal.

Recentlly, they started calling people "guests," instead of customers. This is such a load of happy horseshit that I just can't stand it. I invite "guests" to my house and I may reasonably be called a "guest" at a hotel, but I am not a freakin' guest of Panera -- I'm a customer, a hungry person who wants a bagel and some coffee. So cut the shit and go back to saying, "Can I help you?"

But I should have seen this coming, because a year ago, a Panera manager said to me what I still think is the funniest/most moronic comment I'd ever heard from a service person. After my number was called, and I gathered up my tray, the pudgy manager-type said.....

"Have an enjoyable salad!"

And he said it with such delicious, intense purpose that I think he really meant it!

So is this bad? Yea, it is. The pre-programming of workers is sad and stupid. While it's important to train people not to spit out "Whaddya want?" like Annie Potts did in "Ghostbusters," it's also important not to create dopes who can't think for themselves or learn to interact with other humans like a human.

More on this later.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

In the 60's, it seemed that the world was overflowing with promise...and plastic. We had some hope and a good dose of despair. We thought the world might change. Has it? Sure. Is there more hope or less despair? Unlikely.