We’re off the map.

November 24, 2008

Bing is trying to throw me a hint that the system is broken:

At this point I believe that Wall Street and our entire stockholder-centric culture is killing American business. What’s good for investors is not always good for the companies and the workers who have to live in the system, not just feed off it after paying a small price for admission. Is it possible, that at some time in the future, the welfare of the companies we serve could be divorced from the fear, the greed, the feral hysteria of the securities marketplace?

The whole thing is worth reading.

I don’t know how you accept this conclusion — which makes perfect sense as he explains it — without concluding further that the capitalist system we’ve been told to put our faith in all these many decades is constructed in such a way that it can’t work.  Some people have been saying this all along, and they have been dismissed as kooks by the mainstream.  Nobody wants to admit this, not even Bing, because that would force us into unknown territory.

But we’re already in unknown territory.  Some of the landmarks look familiar, and others look like they dropped in from an alternate universe.  We are off the map.  Maybe I’m wrong about people being a lot crankier this year, but if I’m right, this could be the reason.


Adjust your expectations

November 19, 2008

It’s the holidays again, and that means time for a certain segment of the population to become crankier and more pinheaded than usual.  This year I guess it’s a bit less of a surprise, considering the good economic news that just keeps on a-comin’.

That’s part of it, at least.  Some of it is because some folks are deeply, bitterly disappointed about the way the recent election turned out.  Not everybody can be as gracious in defeat as McCain.

And then there is my favorite group, the people who think, “I love being a jerk during the holidays, because if I offend anybody — or even if I just plain screw with them for my own amusement — they have to forgive me.  If they don’t, then they’re nothing but big mean Scrooges with no goodwill toward men.  And by men, I mean me.  Because the point of the holidays is for other people to be nicer to me, not for me to be nicer to other people.”

So here’s my little heads-up to you.  The holidays almost always suck to some degree.  This year they are likely to suck just a tad more than normal.  More people than you think are apt to be wellsprings of discontent.  Goodwill is going to be as hard to come by as a sub-prime mortgage.  Adjust your expectations accordingly.


Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside

November 15, 2008

I left a comment over at The Talent Show

Personally, I’d be glad to give a thorough pounding to anybody who uses the word “delicious” in a commercial. Very seldom does a food merit “delicious,” and that goes for most of the food I really like. But seriously? Crackers are not delicious. Soup, often good, rarely delicious. In general, if it’s advertised on TV, it doesn’t qualify.

And as far as beer goes, I’m convinced that nobody really thinks it tastes good anyway. If they did, wouldn’t there be beer flavored ice cream and beer candy? If you got your all-important buzz, what do you have to complain about?

“Delicious” is a word lazy ad writers use when they’re stuck for copy and late for cocktails.


Political comedy: doomed forever?

November 7, 2008

Once again, funnyman and bigjerk Bill Maher gives us something to think about:

We need to get over our nervousness about making a joke about a black person. Obama isn’t black, he is the president. And when we make fun of him, we aren’t making fun of all black people in the same way when we make fun of George W. Bush, it isn’t like we are talking about all mentally challenged people.

Bill Maher says a lot of stuff I completely disagree with. But I admit that he’s right more than twice a day, when a lot of other less jerky people can’t even do as well as the proverbial busted clock.