Category Archives: Misc

Hail to the Chiefs

It seems like everyone gets to be Chief something or other these days.  It started with the now-ubiquitous CEO.  Then we got the COO, because the CEO was so busy with his E that he didn’t have time for his O.  (Isn’t that what secretaries are for?  Ba-dum-pum.)

Then we got the CTO and CFO, because naturally the CEO didn’t have the F’ing time to keep up with T.  Then came the CIO, CCO, CLO…

Sure, it seems like overkill.  Especially when each ‘C’ means another seven figure salary for companies already having to cut employee bonuses and health benefits… because of the down economy.

Never mind that — it’s the new corporate way.  Companies need more highly paid executives than their competitors, just to be competitive.  Even if it means laying off workers.

Taking a look at the alphabet, there is still lots of room for more Chiefs.  So here are some of my suggestions, along with companies who might be interested:

CAO = Chief Acceleration Officer (Toyota)

CBO = Chief Bluescreen Officer (Microsoft Corporation)

CDO = Chief Dancing-silhouettes Officer (Apple Inc.)

CGO = Chief Gambling-debts Officer (Citigroup, AIG, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, HSBC, etc.)

CHO = Chief Horsemeat Officer (Tesco, Burger Chain)

CJO = Chief Jihad Officer (Al Jazeera)

CKO = Chief Knockoff Officer (TJ Maxx, Winners, Marshalls)

CMO = Chief Monopoly Officer (Wal-Mart)

CNO = Chief Nugget Officer (McDonald’s, Tyson Foods, Pampers)

CPO = Chief Propaganda Officer (Fox News)

CQO = Chief Queef Officer (Maxim)

CRO = Chief Rightwing-nut Officer (Koch Industries)

CSO = Chief Spill Officer (Exxon)

CUO = Chief Underwire Officer (Victoria’s Secret)

CWO = Chief Whitewash Officer (British Petroleum)

CVO = Chief Value-dilution Officer (American Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Air Canada)

CXO = Chief Xmas Officer (North Pole Industries)

CYO = Chief Yabbadabba Officer (Hanna Barbera Productions)

CZO = Zero? Zulu? Zygote? um…

I ran out of ideas for ‘Z’.  Any suggestions?

The Hollywood Convention Center

I watch a lot of movies.  Like any art form, they tend to follow certain rules.

As I live in the good ol’ US of A, the films I see mostly come from Hollywood.  They have their own set of rules.

So for the Hell of it, here are my favorites, in no particular order:

  • when foreigners get together, they must speak the first few lines of dialogue in their native tongue, at which point they will spontaneously switch to English, even if everyone speaks said native tongue
  • foreign accents are an acceptable substitute for a foreign language
  • anyone with a French accent is a villain
  • anyone with a Russian accent is a gangster
  • ancient Romans didn’t have Italian accents, as one might expect; they actually had English accents (and modern ones, at that)
  • any scene in Canada or Russia must have snow somewhere in the picture
  • if a scene is set in the USA, you must show a subtitle with the city and state, but if it’s in any other country, you only need to show the city and country (or just the country)
  • computer hacking is always performed with a colorful 3D graphical interface that looks like a video game, and if the graphics are still too boring, the computer will talk as well, and its voice will come booming out of even the tiniest laptop
  • even the most brilliant computer geek will use a short password of all lower case letters to protect his computer, and he will base it either on something from his past, or on something in the room
  • passwords from the previous rule will be guessable by anyone who knows that character in three or four tries, but only during a dramatic moment
  • if the hero comes up with a clever plan, he must keep it to himself, even from friends and allies who are directly involved and would certainly benefit from knowledge of this plan
  • the killer in a murder mystery is someone we met, but never the first one the cops interrogate
  • any time there is a prairie scene, a hawk will screech… and it’s always the same hawk
  • when a man and woman are in bed, his chest will be bare and hers won’t be, even though he just saw her naked: corollary, when she gets up to go to the bathroom, she will demurely cover herself with a blanket, even though he just saw her naked
  • all movies must take place in LA or New York, unless there is a compelling reason it be set somewhere else, in which case this is unusual enough to make it into the title; as examples: Last Tango in Paris, Mystery Alaska, Sleepless in Seattle, Chicago Hope, Fargo
  • in every city in North America, all phone numbers start with 555: corollary, even 800 numbers
  • no matter how many people are at a kitchen or restaurant table, they will leave one side of the table open
  • no matter how loud people are or freakishly bizarre their actions in a crowded restaurant, every else will ignore them
  • hospitals only hire young and beautiful doctors
  • in real life, about 90% of adult men have chest hair… in movies it’s zero
  • movie lipstick never smears, movie mascara never runs
  • lasers must be visible and make cool noises
  • no one will show up to interrupt a climactic battle between hero and villain until the battle is all over, no matter how many shots were fired or explosions hurled fire into the sky
  • after the climactic battle in the previous rule, cops will announce their arrival with distant sirens just as the villain is gasping his last
  • World War II didn’t really start until December 1941: corollary, of the five beaches stormed on D-Day, only two had anything of significance happen on them
  • the colonists in the American Revolutionary War all had modern American accents, even though they grew up as British subjects
  • the redcoats in the American Revolutionary War all had English accents, even they were from all over the British Isles, and the modern (non-rhotic) English accent wouldn’t evolve for a century hence
  • semi-automatic pistols have no recoil
  • bad guys are terrible shots, but they do get a lot more ammunition to make up for that

Think of some I missed?  Put ’em in the comments!

You can’t make this sh!t up: well, turns out you can

Every so often a news story comes along with a nearly infinite capacity for humor.  I saw one today I couldn’t resist.

But first a little backstory.

It’s no secret that we are a buggy species.  You would be shocked to find out how buggy, though.  Some estimates are we carry one hundred trillion bacteria in and on us.

Those bacteria outnumber our own cells.  Think about that: you are more bacteria than person.

Apparently that adds up to five pounds of bugs.  So… you need to drop five pounds really fast?  Saturate your body in antibiotics!

Assuming that would actually work, it would eventually kill you, because we need some of those bugs.  You couldn’t digest food without them, for one.  Hence the probiotic yogurt craze, under the theory that if some bugs are good, more must be better.  Fortunately, you don’t need their ‘special’ bugs; all yogurt aids digestion (fortunately, because the probiotic stuff gives me wicked gas).

For roughly half of us, bacteria in the vagina will protect this beautiful organ from yeast infections and keep the vagina beautiful.  That gives the other half of us good reason to appreciate bacteria as well.

It works because bacteria and yeast are arch-nemeses from ancient times.  Even before Fleming isolated the penicillium mold, our ancestors used mold to treat infections, not knowing why it worked.

Or at least, it used to work.  Penicillin was once a wonderdrug, but over the decades most bacteria have evolved to laugh at it.

In fact, last year gonorrhea became an official superbug — it has evolved to the point where not much works against it anymore, except prevention… although it’s only time before it learns how to chew through latex and lambskin.

So that brings us to the point of this article.  Clostridium difficile is a bad bug that can cause havoc in your colon.  Diarrhea is the least of your worries with this guy.  He can kill you.

Some antibiotics can knock him out, but most make it worse by killing the good bugs that normally displace C. difficile.

And of course sticking antibiotics in factory meat and soap and sponges and cutting boards and shoe insoles and deodorant and God knows what else is accelerating the evolution of this and other superbugs.  But I digress.

A new treatment for treating particularly difficult C. difficile is to insert (somehow, I don’t want to know the details) fecal matter with good bugs into your colon.

Apparently it works very well, but the ick factor has people hesitating.  Understandably so.  So a microbiologist from the University of Guelph in Ontario has created… wait for it… artificial poop.

The good news is it is proving to be as effective as real poop.

The better news is she is calling it “rePOOPulate“.  Brilliant.

With such a fertile comic field, let’s plant some slogans and see what grows:

rePOOPulate: The best to you each morning.
rePOOPulate: Oh what a feeling!
rePOOPulate: Come smell what we’ve been cooking.
rePOOPulate: It’s finger lickin’ good.
rePOOPulate: There’s peanut butter in my chocolate!
rePOOPulate: There’s something special in the air.
rePOOPulate: Makes the going great!
rePOOPulate: Driven by what’s inside.
rePOOPulate: What’s in your wallet?

Hmm… there must be some other good ones out there…

So enter to win our rePOOPulate slogan contest in the comment section below!  All entries will be judged by a forum of your peers.

First prize winner could get a crock of rePOOPulate!

The runner-up might be entered into a draw for a free colon cleansing!

Goodbye, Old Friend

He was old, probably suffering, though his kind never complain, so how could you tell?  Stiff with arthritis, they will still struggle to their feet when they hear you at the door.  Gone blind, they will still wag their tails at the sound of your voice. Riddled with tumors, they will still lick your hand if you bring it near.

He lost the sight in one eye when he was around ten, but he had two good years before the cataract in the other eye grew in, leaving him completely blind. We considered paying the two thousand dollars per eye to get them removed, but at his age the surgery itself could kill him, and by then other things had gone wrong.

Besides, dogs use their other senses far more than we do. He could navigate the house well enough without sight. Unfortunately it meant we could no longer take him for walks, because any breeze that brushed him made him think he was about to run into something, and he would stop.

Arthritis had crept into his joints by then. He was cutting short his twice-daily sniffing tour of the backyard.  This was the same yard we used to chase him around not more than two years before, when he would bark and wag and never seem to tire.

Near the end, he would go out to just beyond the deck, do his business, and return. He always found his way back though. Even blind. It was inspiring to watch.

The worst were the skin problems. When he was around thirteen he developed a fatty deposit the size of a fist. It squatted just under the skin of his lower belly. He became obsessed with licking at it, to the point where he broke skin and it began to fester. We put a collar on him, but he found ways around it.

That was the saddest part of it all.  The smell of rot clung to him, and no bath could get rid of it.  He was never comfortable, especially with that damned collar.  And with the smell, no one wanted him around.  Even I had a hard time cuddling with him.

Finally we made the decision.  We took him to the vet for the last time.  As a bonus, the vet found a heart murmur.

Then she suggested various surgeries that could prolong his life — we could get another two years, perhaps. Maybe we should reconsider.

I still can’t believe she said that. Did she have any idea how long it took us to come to this decision? How we were barely holding it together as it was? Was she looking to pad her pockets? I nearly left in disgust, but we were too close to turn back now.

The vet stuck a needle in his butt and he collapsed in my arms. He began licking the palm of my left hand. Another needle and he was dead.

We had him cremated and buried him behind our pond, in the backyard he loved so much. We bought a statue of St. Francis to watch over him.

The next summer, I bought a little garden stone to leave with the Saint. It had the epitaph:

In memory of our faithful friend and companion.

It was painfully inadequate, but it was the best they had. He was all that, and so much more.

He was family.

Farewell, my friend.  And so much more.

The Mayan Apocalypse is upon us

So the end of the Mayan long count came and went.  We started another b’ak’tun and nothing terribly unusual happened.

Around the world, people held end-of-the-world parties.  Some were serious.  Most were just looking for a reason to party.  Some were looking to sell T-shirts.

Did people really want the world to end?  Some do, no doubt, but most don’t.

So why was this international news for months, nay years (it had its own major motion picture)?  Why the obsession with a thousand year old relic?  Why are people sporting “I brake for zombies” bumper stickers?  Okay that’s another unrelated doomsday event, but it relates to my major point.

It’s because people are hoping for a change.  We are still recovering from the worst economic collapse since the Depression, with millions of people homeless and out of work — hell, entire countries went bankrupt.  We see daily reminders of global warming: arctic ice disappearing, glaciers receding, record high temperatures, record low temperatures, record drought, record storms.  We see religious fundamentalism spreading and surging, in countries which used to be moderate (oh, Egypt).  We see people angry and disturbed enough to massacre schoolchildren.  We see North Korea and Iran racing toward a nuclear future and, outside of opening up another war we can’t afford, there is little we can do to stop them.  If that isn’t enough, Pakistan is already packin’ and they are rife with terrorists who would love to have a few nukes of their own.

Then we hear we are overdue for a super volcano, and a super earthquake, and a super asteroid.  All those have happened in the past and there is nothing stopping them from happening tomorrow… other than luck and long odds.

And now we hear about a threat we have always had, but only recently found out about: coronal mass ejections.  These things happen all the time, but most miss us.  Sometimes they don’t, and can be big enough to fry satellites or blow out an electrical grid.  As our world becomes more and more wired we become more and more vulnerable to them.

And don’t forget the ever present threat of global pandemic.  In case you do, Hollywood has plenty of ways to remind you.

In short, we live like we are masters of the universe but deep down, we know we are not.  Our world is fragile.  We are fragile.

The English word “apocalypse” comes from the ancient Greek “apokalypsis, which is an unveiling of something hidden.  From there we get “revelation”, and then to the Biblical book of the same name, and from there the global catastrophe that the Biblical book describes.  This etymological evolution isn’t unusual — look at the English word ‘awful‘.

Therefore, by the original definition we really did have an apocalypse today.

It was an unveiling of how generally freaked out we all are about the future of Earth, a microscopic blue flyspeck on the bay window of the universe, and — since we haven’t figured out how to get off said flyspeck yet — our future too.

Since we can’t do anything about asteroids or CMEs, and our leaders don’t want to change economic policy because that would piss off their campaign donors, and invading countries to force democracy on them is just not working — we need to focus on aliens.

I prefer aliens to zombies because zombies don’t have spaceships.  No, I’m not an anti-zombite, I’m just being practical here.

So to any aliens who read this post: I’m willing to represent my species.  Take me with you.  And say Hi to Elvis for me.

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