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Free Verse Doggerel to the GOP September 28, 2009

Posted by voolavex in Social Issues.
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What the heck
We don’t have Rush
And we don’t have Beck
We never had Cheney
And we didn’t like Bush
Take ’em all to a cliff
And then holler
They hate Obama
They loathe Al Gore
They’re mad hell
And what’s more
They’d rather see you sick
or worse,
while they tighten
the drawstrings
on their purse
Carry their guns
Spread some lies
While we keep
winning the Nobel Prize.
Angry, nasty, always railin’
I think they caught something
from Sarah Palin.



Junk Science. Gospel Truth. Down for the Long Count September 15, 2009

Posted by voolavex in global warming, Social Issues.
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The year 2012 is mentioned a lot lately and it makes me curious about a few things that should be more obvious – yet I have not seen anyone address them.  

Basically the Mayan calendar (followed only by Mayans until very recently) predicts that there will a huge change on this planet on 12/21/12 or – depending on how you read it. Furthermore it seems this eventuality  is global theme from antiquity – not just Mayan antiquity.  It also appears that no matter how you crunch the numbers all of them are pretty close to this date (the former, not the latter). Scientifically, there will be an alignment of the planets in our solar system that occurs only every (26),000 years (give or take).  I wonder if the number (13). is special because it is half of 26?  I don’t know.   Then again, no one else has explained it very well  one way or another either.  I do know many that  many people – mainstream and fringe  –  seem to be cashing in on this entire phenomenon quite handsomely.  One man ( a scientific sort) has created an algorithm using game theory to make similar predictions for 2012.  So I am troubled because if even one of the many supposed events occur – it won’t be very pleasant for this world and this is the very thing that keeps doubt in my mind.  That and fear.


Let’s all agree, for the sake of this piece. that religion is based on predictions, prophets, amazing events, celestial signs. These happen by the hand of God – any God or many Gods – so we should take this theme very seriously.  The idea of  “the end of days” seems to be part of many religions and is signified by wars, fire, floods, explosions and bad behavior among the citizens of Earth.  And then redemption or hell, fire and brimstone. Or some here and some there. While the term “junk science” covers many of these catastrophic events in the mainstream –  no one ever seems to use the term “junk religion” or ask why this silly idea is a thread through so many cultures who have no use for one another now nor a long time ago. Consider this:  In Eastern countries the astrological charts of two people marrying, for example, are very important – yet astrology – in the West is considered a pseudo science with no real meaning. Yet it relies on celestial measurements to predict compatibility. What makes it junk?  Why has it been so important for so many millions of people on Earth. Why is it still? And why were a people such as the Mayans so concerned with dates and calendars and the heavens when they possessed no technical or scientific basis for their observations.  Was it faith or advice? Is it some accident or coincidence that the idea of religious monuments  at  precise astronomical intersections is farfetched, yet we can consider climate change a fact? Why is the idea of Armageddon a religious myth? And why must we reject as junk, one,  but  not the other? Who makes these decisions and why?  If anyone knew this all to be true and inevitable – just as billions believe that Christ is the Son of God, that Allah is the only God and Mohammed is his Prophet, that Moses delivered the Jew out of Egypt and brought us the 10 Commandments, that this is the Age of Kali – all this faith is accepted as gospel – why do we doubt 2012 – for example? And assuming for a second we take a flight and accept it as a possibility. Then what? If Eastern  thought and Western science has seen these changes coming for ages – theoretically and/or metaphysically – what are they going to do about it? In two years? Aside from money being made on the whole business, I can’t see what we possibly possess on our planet that would stop any of it from occurring – even if we knew what “it” was.


So do we attach any credence to The Long Count or is it wild conjecture?  And if we do believe it, then what?  And if we don’t and something  does happen who will be around to claim bragging rights?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions.  I’ m  not sure what parts I consider reasonable and what parts I hope are wild and impossible theories, if any.   Are we a failed experiment? A final exam gone bad.  Or is this just good sci-fi.  You choose your ending.  Or is something about to come true.  And did we blow it?  Maybe we should all plan to meet on  1-1-13 and see what the outcome is – if anyone is left to care.  I miss Arthur C. Clarke.

Corporate Anthropology. An Introduction September 12, 2009

Posted by voolavex in common sense, Social Issues.
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One day in the future, anthropologists will look at corporations as they did new cultures in the past. What a load of scary crap that will be.


Cultures used to be bodies of people who were related in significant ways. By blood or religion or tribal and clan kinship. They intermarried and outer married and created important ties that lasted through generations and millennia. They had names and hierarchies and they greatly influenced the future. We received mores and language and family customs from them. They were who we have become. They would throw up if they were with us now.


I recently read a brilliant New Yorker article about the firm Zappos.com. They sell shoes. Shoes are essentially foot coverings. They are also fashion indicators and signifiers. Zappos sells lots of these shoes over the Internet and they make a huge amount of money. They are in commerce. It should probably end the story there. You want some shoes, you go online, you go to Zappos.com and you find some and order them. You can also shop for your shoes at shoe stores in person. But the article was about Zappos.com and how they are more than a shoe company. The founder of Zappos.com believes in the concept of a “company culture” with “core values”. This has become very prevalent in the world of commerce. I think it is frightening.


Before the 90’s (give or take a few years) companies were supposed to have corporate/consumer policy that governed customer service, returns and merchandise questions. For your $7.00 an hour or less, you came to work on time – maybe you made a commission or not, you were polite, well -informed and did your job. Pay raises reflected merit and/or time served. If you were bad at your job you were fired. Your title was job appropriate – clerk, waiter, host, repair person, – well you get the point. You earned money and the company earned money and the customer was always right (at least 95% of the time.) It was not complicated. This is no longer the case.


In the new century, most companies, decided you cannot just be hired for a job. Now you are a team member, a crew member, a customer care representative or an associate. Anyone with half a brain can see these are idiotic titles. For one thing – you do not make better money with these titles. You simply work harder and have corporate rules that guide every move you make.  And they watch you. You are cog, with a fancy name, in a huge machine.  This is defined as being a member of the “corporate culture”. Now, along with church or your place of worship, ethnicity, holiday practices and family traditions, these jobs want you to become a part of their “corporate culture”. I think the only place this actually works is Japan. Americans are raised to be individuals and one cannot exercise that inalienable right with any company that insists you are part of a team. Americans – except in sports – are not really team players. We are individualists striving to get ahead of the crowd. We enjoy backstabbing and stepping on others to get ahead. Corporations (upper management) have confused Japanese corporate culture with American reality. It is a bad mistake.


By creating “core values” and titles with no meaning, they are attempting to seduce their workers into doing more work for less money so they can get richer. They are relying on the premise that at least enough of the employees will fall for it and play along. It allows for an abundance of stupid employees with no desire or motivation to get ahead. We are building the pyramids and we will never even go to the funeral of the king.


Corporate culture is largely cult making. After I finished the Zappos piece I had the urge to a) sing Kumbaya and b) throw up. I suspect the upper management moguls are laughing all the way to the bank or the Grand Cayman Islands. They have cleaned up the masses and turned them into automatons with fancy name badges and given them entry level positions in return. The team members never get past the entry way and they are now seater-greeters at the door (annoying beyond words) and pitchmen at the cash register. They make snake oil salesmen look meek. I think one of the reasons “older” Americans can’t get jobs is the fact that they refuse to lower what little dignity they retain by saying “Welcome to Walmart”. I couldn’t do it. But at least I know for sure that if I did do it would not lead to anything better. Corporations may believe (they don’t really) this will lead to better returns and profits =bonuses for them – but the truth in my opinion is that it leads to street violence and drug use. After a day of minimum pay, bowing and scraping – you are surely going to want to take this out on someone.


Part One (some day soon.)  Who does it. Why it isn’t customer service and why a “team member” is not a member of any team.

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