Little Joke for Friday

Did you hear about the woman who killed her husband with an emery board?
She claimed that she was just filing for divorce.


George's Summer Vacation Plans

I tried my hand at screenwriting recently, for an episode of a friend's animated series on YouTube. Check out the results in below, where George discusses his summer vacation plans.


Happy Thoughts for a Holiday Weekend

If you love someone, let them go.
If they love you, they won't sue if they survive the fall to the pavement.

There are no bad questions – only dumb ones.


Owed to Peet's

Alfred Peet, founder of Peet's Coffee & Tea, passed away recently. Being a Peet's coffee convert (read: addict), and appreciating everything that he did for coffee lovers everywhere, I figured I owed him this ode.

Owed to Peet's

Peet's coffee fills the cracks inside
The corners of my brain
Helping me to think a bit
Or at least it helps explain

The jitters of my hands and toes
And various nervous tics
The rushing heartbeat thumping thumping
A powerful energy mix.

I love my cup of Peet's each morning
And then one later on.
If lucky, I can grab another
After lunch is done.

And then one in the afternoon
Another before my supper.
I'll also have one with the meal,
And with dessert a cup or

Two and then one in the evening
and two more before I sleep
Except I'm never tired these days
So I get and up steep

Another pot of strong, strong coffee
Nice and hot and black.
It's a hard drug, but it's legal -
A lawful citizen's crack

Or dope except it keeps me wired
Cranking all day long.
"Just another cup," I say
But then I find I'm wrong

Because one small cup turns into two
And two then into four
And then I've drunk the whole carafe
And still I want some more.

If only there were other ways
I'd use in future years
Of getting more into my system
Like beans in both my ears

Or coffee lotion rubbed all over
Or grounds under my eyelids
Candy made from espresso
(Just keep it away from my kids).

A coffee shaker at the table
Instead of boring salt.
A sandwich spread called "coffee butter"
A coffee shake and malt.

Good coffee is addictive,
One taste and I was sunk.
Now that I've had brew from Peet's
I can no longer drink the junk.


Happy Thoughts for Friday

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. That's a long way, so don't take that first step.

A leopard can't change his spots. But dye works amazingly well.

When Albert Einstein died, was it a stroke of genius?


When I am King: Thanks Giving

When I am King...

Every employee will be thanked for everything they do, always, automatically.

Anyone who has worked for a company with more than, say, one employee is familiar with the thanks-giving ritual that follows some event in the corporation. An individual or a team does something, like shipping a bugfix to an incremental update based on a major update to some product version, and their manager sends an email thanking them:

To: someteam
From: boss1
CC: boss2
Subject: Good work!

Great job, team! Well done, shipping that thing you shipped in such a timely and responsible manner! If we didn't have such awesome hard working drones, we would never be able to ship such important things as the thing you've shipped today. I can't thank you enough, but I'll sure try! ;)

Thanks again,
Your Boss

This email starts an e-avalanche. The boss's boss, boss2, was CC'd and she figure's it's her job to thank them as well, on behalf of the larger organization:

To: boss1
From: boss2
CC: someteam, someexecutive, bigorganization
Subject: Re: Good work!

Fantastic work shipping that thing! Way to go! Sure is great to have your team on my team!

Then the executive, not wanting to appear aloof and too executive-like jumps into the fray:

To: boss2
From: someexecutive
CC: boss1, someteam, biggerorganization
Subject: Re: Good work!

Awesome! Fantastic! Neato!

At this point, entropy kicks in and random people in the organization that happened to be shelled by the wide coverage will wake up and figure that they should add their voices to the rabble. After all, there's upper management and executives on the email thread, so it must add good career points to join in:

To: someexecutive
From: joeshmoe
CC: someteam, bigorganization, boss1, boss2
Subject: Re: Good work!

Hey, good job guys! I guess I'll have to buy the donuts this week! :D

Now it's a free-for-all, with people chiming in from up and down the ladder and out on the lawn. Meanwhile, nobody really understands what the team did. They just know that they have to thank them for it, both from a desire to not appear rude and a fervent wish for advancing up the company ranks. Random phrases of congratulations rocket around the organization:



Huge kudos!

You guys rock!


Then the end-game is finally reached, where people in unrelated organization have been copied who don't know the product, the team, the management chain, or the executive, and they start sending out their own barrage of return fire:

To: everyone
From: disgruntledemployee
Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Fwd: Re: Good work!

Please remove me from this alias.

This salvo starts a new phase for the discussion that then results in an explosion of new emails, with such winning phrases as:

Remove me, too!

And me!

Everyone: stop sending emails out to the entire organization!

No, you stop sending!

Shut up, everybody!

No, you shut up!

No, you shut up!

Soon, everyone in the organization has their inbox filled with replies to replies to replies on this thread until finally the weekend hits and a ceasefire is declared. In some lucky instances, everyone forgets about it over the weekend and the insanity ends for now. But in some cases, the emails continue until inboxes max out, servers crash, people quit, and the company goes under.

When I am King, I will ensure that this situation will no longer occur. The waste of time writing these emails, the uncertainty of whether to join in the conversation or not, and the hurt feelings of those teams that sometimes don't get thanked at all is counter-productive and harmful to society overall. I will institute a new policy of thanks-giving where every company will install a system, currently marketed under the name Thank Goodness!, that sends a single email to every employee at the end of every day, thanking them appropriately:

To: employee
From: Automated Thanking System 221-B
Subject: Thank you.

Thank you for your excellent work today, Mr/Ms Awesome Person. Kudos, etc. Fine job. Your manager has been instructed to feel thankful toward you.

Smiley follows:

Automated Thanking System 221-B

Note: This email does not in any way imply continued employment by the company. Your job may be terminated at any time for any reason.

Thank you for reading this. Excellent job, dude. No really, thanks. I appreciate it. And so does the company.


When I am King: Party Pooper

When I am King...

Birthdays celebrations will be far less frequent.

Aren't you sick of birthdays? I don't mean your own, I mean kids' birthdays. In particular, I mean other parents' kids' birthdays.

Kids' birthdays in my own house are bad enough. Once a year, we have to figure out what to do, whom to invite, what to get, and then we gear ourselves up for another onslaught. But that's just our own personal torture.

But there's a larger problem in society where every one of the kids' friends are going through this same thing every year, resulting in a vast multitude of birthday celebrations. In any given year, there are about 10-20 kids from school that might potentially invite your kid. Then there are the kids they know from other activities, so add another 5-10. Then there are the family friends kids, say another 5-10. Then there are the cousins, another 5-10. This conservative estimate adds up to something like 497 kids that are going to invite your kid to a party in the next year.

You find yourself double-booked on any given Saturday, trying to figure out how to drop Janey off at Bob's Bouncy Bubbles at the same time that you're picking up Jimmy from Big Scary Rat's Arcade Hell. And before you get to the parties, you'd better have bought and wrapped some presents (wrapping is a truly thankless task, since the kids wouldn't notice whether it was gift wrap or bloodied butcher paper, as long as they get to rip it to pieces in getting to the loot).

Meanwhile, as we adults get older our birthdays come like water torture, gently and regular at first, but then striking faster and faster until it feels like a steady stream drilling directly through our decaying skull.

Why do we have to do this every year? Nobody actually cares that Janey turned seven except for Janey and any hapless six year olds that she'll start bossing around. Just like nobody cares that I turned 42 except for my optometrist and his accountant.

When I am king, annual birthdays will be banned and we will instead celebrate birthdays once every five years. With such large delays in birthday celebrations, maybe we can bring ourselves to actually care when someone has one.

There will be an exception for children reaching the age of 18, which is worthy of celebration because it is an age at which their parents get to either charge rent or kick them out.

Of course, there is a physical reality here that we cannot deny – these five-year birthdays will recognize that we are, in fact, five years older than we were last time. It would be better, especially for the aging geezers, if we could somehow slow this down. For that reason, we are under discussion with the Solar System Council (a subsidiary of Haliburton, Inc.) to inquire about altering the Earth's rotation around the Sun. Our year is based on a single revolution of the Earth around the Sun, so slowing this down to happen at one-fifth of its current speed means that we would then actually age only one year for this increased amount of time. If this works, we can return to a model of annual birthdays, knowing that each year provided more days in which to fit all the damn parties.


Happy Thoughts: 11/03/07

Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
Give it a full physical instead.

Measure twice, cut once.
Because you can only cut that finger off once.

Hard times need strong leaders.
I'll have a liter of scotch.