Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Writer's Block: I'd like to do this with you



Wouldn't it be better if we all had to fill out forms like this whenever we meet people?
The world is already bureaucratic anyway, so one more form won't hurt. In fact, this might clear up a lot of things in our lives.
For instance, when you go on a date - you can have the "applicant" fill up the form and state exactly what they're looking for. i.e. I'd like to do this with you: (check) spoon
And done! You can decide whether or not you want to say yes.
If an applicant wants to nullify a previous application - then, they fill in another form and mark a news set of boxes in the list. It keeps things simple. - wmf

Monday, April 28, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Writer's Block: Corporate (Part II)

Here are 10 things you should consider if you want to survive the corporate life:

- 3 hours writing emails + 3 hours in meetings + 3 hours doing your real job = busy, productive and successful

- It is essential to ass-lick and to show off.

- When your boss says: "Let me know if there's something you don't like about the way I run things" - you aren't expected to do so.

- Declining to attend a corporate party is not an option.

- Chatter about shopping and celebrities with colleagues means you are a team player. So is lunching.

- The words 'paradigm' and corporate jargon should get you excited.

- Meetings do not necessarily have to lead to conclusions and plans of action.

- Instead of saying: "We are copying what the other company is doing by re-naming their product and putting our logo on it.", you should say, "We have re-evaluated our strategy and have made the decision to shift towards a different paradigm that will in turn, help us grow our business as well as create a more pleasant experience for our consumers."

- When the company releases its earning report, be prepared to see revenue on the top of the page instead of net income, because the numbers looks bigger.

- Do not talk negatively about corporate earnings no matter how bad it gets. Nor should you talk negatively about a project or plan, no matter how ridiculous it is. -wmf

Coffee Break: Monday morning greeting

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Coffee Break Poem: Sonnet XVII

by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Coffee Break: Corporate

1. You ask the waiter what the restaurant’s core competencies are.

2. You decide to re-organize your family into a “team-based organization.”

3. You refer to dating as test marketing.

4. You can spell “paradigm.”

5. You actually know what a paradigm is.

6. You understand your airline’s fare structure.

7. You write executive summaries on your love letters.

8. Your Valentine’s Day cards have bullet points.

9. You think that it’s actually efficient to write a ten page presentation with six other people you don’t know.

10. You celebrate your wedding anniversary by conducting a performance review.

11. You believe you never have any problems in your life, just “issues” and “improvement opportunities.”

12. You calculate your own personal cost of capital.

13. You explain to your bank manager that you prefer to think of yourself as “highly leveraged” as opposed to “in debt.”

14. You end every argument by saying “let’s talk about this off-line.”

15. You can explain to somebody the difference between “re-engineering”, “down-sizing”, “right-sizing”, and “firing people’s asses.”

16. You actually believe your explanation in number 15.

17. You talk to the waiter about process flow when dinner arrives late.

18. You refer to your previous life as “my sunk cost.”

19. You refer to your significant other as “my Co-CEO.”

20. You like both types of sandwiches: ham and turkey.

21. You start to feel sorry for Dilbert’s boss.

22. You believe the best tables and graphs take an hour to comprehend.

23. You account for your tuition as a capital expenditure instead of an expense.

24. You insist that you do some more market research before you and your spouse produce another child.

25. At your last family reunion, you wanted to have an emergency meeting about their brand equity.

26. Your “deliverable” for Sunday evening is clean laundry and paid bills.

27. You use the term “value-added” without falling down laughing.

28. You ask the car salesman if the car comes with a white board and Internet connection.

29. You give constructive feedback to your dog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Coffee Break: Two Cows

I couldn't resist but post another one of Ben's emailed jokes.
If you ever wonder about what journalists talk about over coffee in between deadlines, this is a preview of journalistic humor.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You sell one and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.
You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

A SOUTH AFRICAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
They get stolen, so you blame the previous regime and steal someone else's cows and shoot the owner.

A ZIMBABWEAN CORPORATION
A farmer has two cows.
You take over his farm, eat both cows and wait for the international community to supply more.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You re-design them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them worldwide.

A GERMAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

A BRITISH CORPORATION
You have two cows.
Both are mad.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You pray to them for food.

AN ITALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows, but you don't know where they are.
You break for lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
You count them again and learn you have 12 cows.
You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

A SWISS CORPORATION
You have 5,000 cows, none of which belong to you.
You charge others for storing them.

A CHINESE CORPORATION
You have two cows.
You have 300 people milking them.
You claim zero unemployment, high bovine productivity and arrest the journalist for reporting the numbers -- a state secret.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The More Loving One

by WH Auden

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time

Pulitzer: Journalism

Public Service: The Washington Post for exposing the mistreatment of wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital.

Breaking News Reporting: The Washington Post staff for its coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre

Investigative Reporting: Walt Bogdanich and Jake Hooker of The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune Staff. The Times won for stories on toxic ingredients in medicine and other products imported from China; the Tribune for exposing faulty regulation of toys, car seats and cribs.

Explanatory Reporting: Amy Harmon of The New York Times for her examination of the dilemmas and ethical issues that accompany DNA testing.

Local Reporting: David Umhoefer of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for stories on the skirting of tax laws to pad pensions of county employees.

National Reporting: Jo Becker and Barton Gellman of The Washington Post for their exploration of Vice President Dick Cheney's influence on national policy.

International Reporting: Steve Fainaru of The Washington Post for his series on private security Protection-Firms-for-Executives contractors in Iraq that operate outside most of the laws governing American forces.

Feature Writing: Gene Weingarten of The Washington Post for chronicling the violinist Joshua Bell Strings-Attached May-07 as he played beautiful music in a subway station filled with unheeding commuters.

Commentary: Steven Pearlstein of The Washington Post for columns exploring the nation's complex economic ills.

Criticism: Mark Feeney of The Boston Globe for his command of the visual arts, from film and photography to painting.

Editorial Writing: No award. (tsk, tsk - too much Hilary and Obama?)

Editorial Cartooning: Michael Ramirez of Investor's Business Daily for what the judges called his "provocative cartoons."

Photography: Adrees Latif of Reuters for his photograph of a Japanese videographer, sprawled on the pavement, fatally wounded during a street demonstration in Myanmar.

Feature Photography: Preston Gannaway of the Concord (N.H.) Monitor for her chronicle of a family coping with a parent's terminal illness.

(Click on title for link.)

Coffee Break: Mental Asylum

This is from an email I received from a friend. (Thanks Ben!)
I think I know people who should be pressing (or not pressing) each of these phone buttons.
Apparently on my end, I shouldn't even bother. No one will answer.


Answering Machine at a Mental Hospital...

"Hello, and welcome to the mental health hotline...."

If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.

If you are codependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.

If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5, and 6.

If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want. Stay on the line so we can trace your call.

If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be transferred to the mother ship..

If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a small voice will tell you which number to press.

If you are a manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press, no one will answer.

If you are dyslexic, press 9696969696969696.

If you have a nervous disorder, please fidget with the pound key until a representative comes on the line.

If you have amnesia, press 8 and state your name, address, telephone number, date of birth, social security number, and your mother's maiden name.

If you have post-traumatic stress disorder, s-l-o-w-l-y & c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y press 0 0 0.

If you have bipolar disorder, please leave a message after the beep or before the beep or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.

If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.

If you have low self-esteem, please hang up. All operators are too busy to talk to you.

If you are menopausal, hang up, turn on the fan, lay down & cry. You won't be crazy forever.

If you are blonde don't press any buttons, you'll just mess it up.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Cocktail Links: Art and Photography

1. This is what the world would look like if our world was inverted. An interesting note - the Phlippines and India are the only ones with Kingdoms in Asia. As Tom Cruise would say, "Bwahahaha!"



2. Fold-in magazine art
3. Splash photography
4. The most beautiful fractal art

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Renascence

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Time does not bring relief; you all have lied
Who told me time would ease me of my pain!
I miss him in the weeping of the rain;
I want him at the shrinking of the tide;
The old snows melt from every mountain-side,
And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane;
But last year's bitter loving must remain
Heaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!

There are a hundred places where I fear
To go, -- so with his memory they brim!
And entering with relief some quiet place
Where never fell his foot or shone his face
I say, "There is no memory of him here!"
And so stand stricken, so remembering him!

Writer's Block: "Unsubscribe me from your Internet"

Here's an honest-to-goodness letter sent by snail mail to this guy, asking him to "unsubscribe" her from the Internet because it gets full all the time.
Reminds me of how difficult it was to explain to my 92-year old grandmother what I do for a living. It was almost as hard as trying to explain to her how I earned a living working for the wires. So I told her I work with newspapers and computers.
She's proud of course - despite her lack of comprehension. But she says she'd rather see me a) doing a "woman's job" where I can sit at a desk all day and look pretty (her very own words), b) work as a news anchor on TV, or c) marry a rich doctor and give her great grandchildren.
Sorry grandma...fat chance. -wmf



(
click on title for link)

Coffee Break Poem: Ashes of Life

by Edna St. Vincent Millay

Love has gone and left me and the days are all alike;
Eat I must, and sleep I will, -- and would that night were here!
But ah! -- to lie awake and hear the slow hours strike!
Would that it were day again! -- with twilight near!

Love has gone and left me and I don't know what to do;
This or that or what you will is all the same to me;
But all the things that I begin I leave before I'm through, --
There's little use in anything as far as I can see.

Love has gone and left me, -- and the neighbors knock and borrow,
And life goes on forever like the gnawing of a mouse, --
And to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow and to-morrow
There's this little street and this little house.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday Strip: On the Internet

(click on image to enlarge)

The Pregnant Man

Search Engines


Writer's Block: Fate


Time draws near for me to move on -
life is making a path for me.
Doors are opening.
It's nearly time to forget and leave all this behind.

As I walk away, I have but one regret -
that in doing so, I am tearing away a part of me.

It has already begun.
Not because I wish it, but because I have no choice
The decision has been made, and there is only one way out.

I ache knowing that I am being torn away -
from all I know, have known.

The torch that I carry has dimmed, and will soon fade into the night.
Soon you will forget my face -
who I am and what I was.

It is nearly time to move on,
but the drizzle has not touched your face.

(wendy ferrer)

Friday, April 4, 2008

Some of Time's All-Time Top Albums

by Artist, Label/Year Released

Elvis: 30 No. 1 Hits
Elvis Presley
BMG/Elvis, 2002

The Anthology, 1947 - 1972
Muddy Waters
Chess, 2001

Kid A
Radiohead
Capitol, 2000

Stankonia
Outkast
LaFace, 2000

1990s
Sunrise
Elvis Presley
BMG / Elvis, 1999

OK Computer
Radiohead
Capitol, 1997

Time Out of Mind
Bob Dylan
Sony, 1997

(What's the Story) Morning Glory
Oasis
Sony, 1995

My Life
Mary J. Blige
MCA, 1994

The Chronic
Dr. Dre
Death Row/Interscope, 1992

Achtung Baby
U2
Island, 1991

Nevermind
Nirvana
DGC Records, 1991

Out of Time
R.E.M.
Warner Brothers, 1991

Star Time
James Brown
Polydor, 1991

1980s
Like a Prayer
Madonna
Sire/London/Rhino, 1989

Document
R.E.M.
I.R.S. Records, 1987

Sign O' The Times
Prince
Paisley Park, 1987

The Joshua Tree
U2
Island, 1987

Master of Puppets
Metallica
Elektra/Wea, 1986

Legend
Bob Marley and the Wailers
Island/Tuff Gong, 1984

Purple Rain
Prince
Warner Brothers, 1984

Stop Making Sense
Talking Heads
Warner Brothers/Wea, 1984

The Great Twenty-Eight
Chuck Berry
MCA, 1982

Thriller
Michael Jackson
Sony, 1982

Back in Black
AC/DC
Atlantic, 1980

1970s
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
The Sex Pistols
Warner Brothers/Wea, 1977

Hotel California
The Eagles
Elektra/Wea, 1976

Songs in the Key of Life
Stevie Wonder
Motown, 1976

Born to Run
Bruce Springsteen
Sony, 1975

Call Me
Al Green
The Right Stuff, 1973

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Elton John
MCA, 1973

The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust
David Bowie
RCA, 1972

Exile on Main Street
The Rolling Stones
Virgin, 1972

Talking Book
Stevie Wonder
UMG Recordings, 1972

Blue
Joni Mitchell
Warner Brothers/Wea, 1971

Hunky Dory
David Bowie
RCA, 1971

Led Zeppelin IV (a.k.a. Zoso)
Led Zeppelin
Wea International, 1971

Paranoid
Black Sabbath
Warner Brothers, 1971

Sticky Fingers
The Rolling Stones
Virgin, 1971

Tapestry
Carole King
Ode/A&M, 1971

What's Going On
Marvin Gaye
Motown, 1971

Who's Next
The Who
Mobile Fidelity, 1971

Bridge Over Troubled Water
Simon and Garfunkel
Columbia, 1970

John Lennon
Plastic Ono Band
Apple/EMI, 1970

Moondance
Van Morrison
Warner Brothers/Wea, 1970

1960s
Abbey Road
The Beatles
Capitol, 1969

Bitches Brew
Miles Davis
Sony, 1969

Astral Weeks
Van Morrison
Warner Brothers/Wea, 1968

Lady Soul
Aretha Franklin
Atlantic, 1968

The Beatles ("The White Album")
The Beatles
Capitol, 1968

Are You Experienced
The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Experience Hendrix, 1967

I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You
Aretha Franklin
Atlantic, 1967

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles
Capitol, 1967

Blonde on Blonde
Bob Dylan
Columbia, 1966

Pet Sounds
The Beach Boys
DCC, 1966

Revolver
The Beatles
Capitol, 1966

Highway 61 Revisited
Bob Dylan
Columbia, 1965

Rubber Soul
The Beatles
Capitol, 1965

A Love Supreme
John Coltrane
Impulse, 1964

Live at the Apollo (1963)
James Brown
Polydor, 1963

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music
Ray Charles
ABC/Paramount, 1962

1950s
Kind of Blue
Miles Davis
Sony, 1959

Songs for Swingin' Lovers
Frank Sinatra
Capitol, 1955

In the Wee Small Hours
Frank Sinatra
Capitol, 1954