It helps to know some Lonely Island to get the joke in the subject line. -Ed
The citizen initiative in Oregon that would require labeling of GMO foods is polling very tight. It’s still within the margin of error and the undecideds but the nays appear to be holding an ever-so slight lead over the ayes. It is already the most expensive initiative in Oregon’s history. The nay money is pouring in by the millions. Companies like Monsanto, PepsiCo, Mead Johnson and Dow AgroSciences. Isn’t that telling?
As this process is proceeding apace, I thought I’d take a few moments to splice one last point on this important issue.
One thing is being made excruciatingly clear. The people who make food don’t want you to know what the fuck is in there. They don’t want you to know how it’s made. They don’t want you to see how they treat animals. (See so-called Ag Gag laws.) They want to hide unpleasant-sounding ingredients, things they know you decidedly do not want to hear about, behind clever euphemisms like “natural flavors.”
Which would you rather eat? All new fortified Tasty Anus or “natural flavors.” Gosh golly gee willickers. What sounds better in your tummy?
So I thought it over and decided, what if the debate was presented like this?
Suppose I was the food industry and I invited you over to my place for dinner.
I might try to do something nice, assuming I actually gave a shit about you, and find out if you have deadly allergies, like peanuts. After all, I’m not out to kill you, right? I want you to enjoy your meal.
Maybe you tell me that you don’t like yams. Are you allergic? No. Will it kill you? No. You simply don’t like them. That’s all.
How should I react to your humble request? What are my options?
Well, I could honor you as a person and forgo the ingredient. Hahahah! Thanks for the tripe laugh! We all know that’s not gonna fucking happen. Seriously, I didn’t just fall off the pesticide-resistant turnip truck yesterday.
Don’t be so goddamned naive. My dinner is a business. It’s kill or be killed. Nothing matters except profits.
What choices does that leave me?
I could simply say, “I’m not telling. Are there yams in here? You’ll never know!!!” That’s called being a good host.
My other option is lie. Hide it. Distract. Obsfucate.
What would you do? Isn’t this a nice way to treat each other? Doesn’t this sort of attitude help make the world a better place?
I make. You eat. Shut the hell up about it. I’m your host, Mr. GMO. By the way, I can’t believe you ate that. Ha ha ha!
My lies and hate. It’s what’s for dinner.
What do you call it when the people who are supposed to save the day, the so-called “experts,” fail to perform when the chips are down? There has got to be a terminology for that. For now, I’m going to go with the phrase “expert failure” or EF.
Example: “Yup. Things certainly went to shit. They EF’d up.”
In the excellent book Jurassic Park the character Ian Malcolm, a mathematician specializing in “chaos theory,” correctly predicts the failed hubris of the undertaking. (Also in the book the character John Hammond, the visionary, is ironically eaten by his creations. That tasty tidbit didn’t make it into the movie.) The genius of Michael Crichton’s book has nothing to do with dinosaurs. As Wikipedia puts it, the story is a “metaphor of collapse.”
Expert failure works like this:
- Only we are brilliant enough to design and breed dinosaurs. You are not brilliant by a long shot. Oops. The dinosaurs got out. Bad shit happens. Our bad.
- A virus enters the country. The hospitals and specialists we depend on for our very lives fail to follow basic protocols. (In unrelated news, studies have shown that 10 to 80 percent of ICU doctors fail to engage in sanitary hand washing as directed. Because, of course, they know better.)
- A politician says, “Doing ABC will lead to XYZ.” When that doesn’t happen, he adds, “Obviously we need a lot more of ABC. We have to give my policies a chance to work.”
- Your financial consultant advises you to invest heavily in Guru Of Negativity (ticker: GON) holdings and you lose your shirt.
- A baseball teams spends $50 million on a single player (cutting other players from the team to make this possible). Later, in game seven of the World Series, bottom of ninth, two outs, full count, bases loaded, trailing by one run the fellow whiffs flailingly at three straight pitches in the dirt and strikes out.
That last example is my personal favorite because I could have easily matched that performance for at least half price. Show me the money!
What else have experts gotten wrong? FEMA? Vietnam? The financial crisis? Mortgage-backed securities? Bridges? Stampedes at religious gatherings? Platforms at state fairs? Fires in disco clubs? Interfering in the civil wars of other countries?
The list is long and distinguished.
So now we look to experts to clean up the messes that were created by the same and/or previous experts. I’m no expert but I say that sucks. When you’re stuck on your the tippy-top of your roof and the water is lapping at your toes, just remember this: There is no expert correction fairy who will swoop in and save your bacon.
Ultimately, no matter what the experts would like you to believe, you’re on your own.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to change into my baseball uniform. You can depend on me.
Things fall apart. The center does not hold. –Yeats
So you want to be in the mail order business. Whether traditional “brick and mortar” or hanging out your shingle online, you have decided to ask the same question: How easy is it to rip me off?
Mail order is a retail system where fulfillment takes place at a remote location outside of your field of view and control. Think of it as the fog of war. By definition you are operating with less than full information. By design. Remember, this was your choice.
You might as well go in a dark alley and roll some dice. You might get better odds.
Here’s a typical scenario:
- Customer/criminal visits your website and loads up on plastic crap made in China. (Let’s be honest, that’s all you sell.)
- Payment is made with a credit card.
- You rub your hands together in glee, shout “Squee!” and box and ship the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend receives the crap.
- Customer/criminal fiend then claims crap was never received and “disputes” the charges with the credit card company.
- The credit card company (aka The Vig) is, in this situation, the sole arbiter of truth, justice and the American way. You agreed to this policy.
- You submit all of your detailed records regarding the transaction including: customer order, shipping receipt, emails, phone records, retina scans, DNA samples and a electronic facsimile of thumbprint.
- The credit card company says, “Well, there just ain’t no way to know!” and decides in the
customer’scriminal’s favor. There’s a giant sucking sound as the money is extracted from your account.
Let’s review. What just happened? The customer isn’t out one single penny and the customer has your stuff. Bazinga! And there’s no magical fairy in the universe that’ll ever do one thing about it. Welcome to your new reality.
Those of you who watch Orange Is The New Black may recognize this tactic as employed by the criminal mastermind Lorna Morello during her pre-prison flashbacks. People really get caught for this? No. Remember, OITNB is fiction.
The bottom line is that shipping product mail order to a customer is a supreme act of faith. You’re basically hoping it’ll all work out. And when it doesn’t, there’s isn’t too much you can do about it.
The point is that when this happens the boss is furious and that, of course, is hilarious.
It all started when I loaned a friend a hammer. A hammer is a tool typically used for driving metal objects known as nails into various materials like wood. Or so I’ve heard.
For the purpose of this story let’s assume I actually owned a hammer.
If we wanted to (and were sufficiently sick in the head) we could think of this loan as a transaction. The hammer represents the principle, my friend is the debtor and I must be, of course, the bank.
It isn’t too hard to assume my friend is a
debtbeat deadbeat and never returned the bloody thing. Amazingly, even though I dunned him many, many times, and threatened to assess late fees of 1.5 percent on a monthly basis.
Finally that worthless so-and-so left me no recourse. After consulting my voluminous and most accurate
scribbles documentation, I looked up his address and drove across town. I was literally seeing red. My goal? To retrieve the hammer and write the dude off as my friend.
I kicked in his door, tore the place apart, and, having found my precious hammer, I got the hell out of dodge.
The only problem? I made the totally understandable mistake of going to the wrong house. The hammer I repossessed wasn’t even mine. In my defense, it was of similar design. Oops. My bad.
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Busy Does a Bossy Good
The boss is a very, very busy man. We know this because he takes hours out of his day to tell us all about it.
WIDGET-424242 Premium has the wrong color listed.
It should be “Brown”
Please correct both color attributes and the name.
Note the subtle capitalization and punctuation errors. Like a boss!
I should be used to this by now. But still I sat there, stunned, staring at his email on my screen. He could have sent a shorter email. “Widget 424242 wrong color. Thanks.” But he didn’t.
I thought about hitting “reply” and asking a simple question: “Will there ever come a day when you don’t feel the need to include that extraneous sentence at the end?” I heard it can be beneficial to dream. Well, I have my dreams, too.
He went ahead and listed the correct color, even though I could have figured that out on my own. Maybe we can give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe he was just trying to be helpful. He saved me the bother of having to look it up in the catalog.
But WTF is up with that next sentence? He just told me the color was “wrong.” I know what that means. It has to be fixed. If I really strained my brain cells enough I might even be able to extrapolate, like an Eistein smartypants, what should happen next. We have to correct the wrong information on the website! Am I right, am I right, Alex Trebec? What do I win?
Luckily, though, the boss is ever vigilant and at the ready to provide more than enough information. Apparently he thinks we’re so damn stupid we won’t know to wipe our own asses unless he’s there to point out the obvious. “And use toilet paper next time!” That might also explain why he walks into occupied bathrooms without the courtesy of knocking first. It’s because he’s so damn smarter than us idiots. No doubt that’s why he hired us.
“You going to send that letter in the mail? You’ll have to put on a postage stamp. The post office won’t deliver it without one.” Are you fucking shitting me? (And, for the record, I’m not making this up. This is an actual verbatim from the boss to me.)
I can’t help but wonder. What if the boss was in charge of other stuff? What would that look like?
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Slay me, betray me
Filet me, all the way me.
Douse me in alcohol
Set me aflame and flambé me.
It was rapidly approaching 8pm. Darkness was engulfing the land. Wearily my wife and I made our way to the bedroom. It was time for the nightly ritual of getting ready for bed. The end of another long day.
For me, going to sleep is like giving up. It’s saying, “Once I close my eyes it will be time to open them again, on a new day, and do all of this stuff all over again.” Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
I can’t imagine a more gloomy sentiment.
Yet little did I know at that moment the betrayal that was heading my way before I’d even had the chance to experience that sadness. I wasn’t going to make it to bed unscathed.
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Marital Arts – Martial Law
How well can you ever really know another human being? You think that person is your friend? How would they react when the chips are really down? Or, in some cases, what have they already done behind your back? (Past tense.)
Believe it or not, I haven’t shared all of the juiciest tidbits about my boss. Not yet. But wait, there’s more!
Yes, I’ve deliberately held back when it comes to revealing all that could be revealed. The man is a veritable gold mine of asshat behavior. Call it some sick sense of decorum or good form, but (unlike him) I have my limits.
I do want to paint an accurate portrait of the lumbering mass but I have to be choosey. And some stories I’ll probably end up taking to my grave. But I have decided the following should be made available for public consumption. And it’s 100% true. I couldn’t make up shit like this.
One thing that makes the boss so special is the sheer totality of what he is. He brings his A-game to every person, every situation. Employees, of course. But also customers, friends, his children, and people he meets on the street.
Oh, wait. I almost forgot.
He also brings it to his wife.
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