Friday, December 31, 2010

Top 10 things employees should remember

I often give Management a hard time.  More because I find that anytime you give an individual extended power over the lives of other people, that Individual can find themselves easily corrupted.  This certainly does not happen in every case, but it is hard to argue against the fact that it happens a lot.

The truth is, Good Management is a pretty hard task and done poorly it can be even harder.  Middle management can be a particularly thankless job where you have the worst of both worlds.  You're not one of the commoners, but you are not an upper echelon employee, and they will keep you on that hook for ever seeking after that ever elusive promotion.  Employees generally are an unruly lot that make it hard on managers.  Lets look at these things that employees should remember (heck they might even help keep you employed!).  I will create this list based on the basic assumption that you are already DOING YOUR JOB.

During this past holiday season, I decided to do a turn for our corporate benefactors.  For all of you that resent those 'rich fat-cats' that run companies, just remember that those rich fat-cats are the ones making the jobs and these days there are many more people looking to get paid than people looking to pay them.  But I digress...

10.  Your emergencies are NOT the companies emergencies. - Someone calling in to say ' I won't be getting in on time because of .  For some reason this is thought of as an excusable absence.  People don't wanna use their sick days etc for actually being sick because they used them all up on their vacation.  Usually a company starts out being very generous with sick policy and being on time to work.  Unfortunately it only takes one complete idiot BONEHEAD to mess this up for everyone.  This person seems to be at the constant whim and fancy of fate.  They often wonder why they are so unlucky and why fate casts a wan glance towards them.  Here is a hint:  You've probably made some very bad choices which in turn creates vulnerability to bad circumstances.  In other words, it's probably your fault and if it isn't your fault, it IS your responsibility.  Don't ruin it for the rest of us.  Play fair with company time.

9. Company equipment and supplies are NOT yours - I just needed a pad of post-its!  Ya know, I do a lot of work from home.  Nobody was using this monitor!  There are any number of ways that you can justify petty theft from any given company.  Why do you think big companies put their names on everything?  Advertising?  No, Theft tracking.  The exit interview from a large company will include a look in your junk drawers at home to see if there are any company things missing.  Just kidding.  But seriously, you should probably ask before you take the store home with you.

8.  Employers are NOT cash machines - Don't ask for an extension on your pay. - We all have problems, and in this economy it seems many of those problems begin and end with money.  Try to remember, money has everything to do with how much you spend over how much you make.  If you have over extended yourself, maybe you should think about dumping the premium cable package, or perhaps not go to Costco one time that month (where rumor has it that you are not allowed to leave with less than 200$ purchased, that's why they check your receipt on the way out.)  The reason you don't want to ask employers for extensions in pay is several fold.  First, you are simply extending your expenses into the next check which has it's own set of expenses earmarked.  Second, how would you feel if the company said 'we are having some cash problems, so would you all mind not getting paid next check so we can get back on our feet?'...I see...I don't think companies can even ride a horse.  Third, early credit causes heartburn to a lot of departments that they shouldn't have to feel because you HAD to HAVE that 3d-LED tv for Christmas (that you couldn't afford) sheesh!

7.  If you need to nap, take a sick day - Sleeping on the job?  really ?!?  You have got to be kidding me.  Never a good idea, but after that big lunch you get those droopy eyelids and your job really isn't that exciting, maybe you could just duck into a store room for a quick catnap.  Or better yet, just doze off in front of your monitor.  If you are losing sleep, you are not performing on the job.  Take your lunch break and take a nap in your car.  More tired than that?!  take a sick day and get some rest!

6.  The company employee handbook is not there to rest your mug on. - Be acquainted with your company employee handbook.  It's going to tell you great information about what does or does not count towards PTO (Personal Time Off) and how much vacation accrues per pay period.  Overtime policies and workplace injuries are usually noted as well.  It's all there.  If the company doesn't have a handbook, you might want to ask for one.  There should be company rules and those rules should be known by company and employee alike.

5.  You are expected to be more valuable than you are being paid. - This nonsense about how much you are worth to the company is just that.  Nonsense.  It's not that you aren't valuable, but if you think that by your leaving the company will cease to exist, you are sadly mistaken.  Also if you have that attitude, it's likely time for you to look for gainful employ elsewhere.  If you aren't giving enough value to assist in the company's growth you should likely work a bit harder.  The company is there to make it's investors/owners more money than current bank rates.  It pays you in order to help it do so.  That's the price you pay for not having to risk owning your own company with your own money and all of the heartburn that includes.  This is America and for the moment, anyone can take a turn at making money in private enterprise.  If you don't like the way your company does it, then build a better mousetrap and prove them wrong.

4.  No, you can't just throw on 'whatever' and come to work. - If you see a section in the employee handbook (mentioned above) about a dress code, it's highly likely that someone earlier on in the company's history decided to come to work in ill fitting sweats and a ripped t-shirt, or hot-pants and a halter top because 'there isn't any dress code so I thought this would be ok'.  Dress codes are like super villains (or hero's for that matter).  They all start with an origin story.  You don't want to be the subject of that origin story.  It's not the kind of legacy you wish to leave...or do you?!

3.  Remember who the founder of the feast is. - It's interesting that often people will complain about company parties or company perks like t-shirts or fun contests.  Just what kind of an ungrateful child were you?!  Out of those employees that want to play Schindler to the companies Nazi party and talk about how many jobs could be saved for the expense of this or that 'waste of time'.  Remember many of those jobs would not be here even if the company didn't have the little extras that all of the sudden you are playing Penny Pincher Petunia on.  You certainly didn't have this problem when you were relieving the company of a ream of paper because you printed your w-2 at home.  So don't screw up the few nice things a company may do for you and try to show your gratitude once in a while because oddly enough the company might deserve it.  Along these same lines, if the company is providing you with an in company benefit.  Don't abuse it!  Free or subsidized drinks on the company are meant to be used on premises during work hours.  They are NOT meant to be stowed in an employees car for the party that employee is throwing this weekend!

2.  If you are working on it during company time, it is company property.- Working on little pet projects during company time?  Writing that great American novel that will get you out of this hole?  Organizing your scout troop from work?  The company owns (and rightfully so) any work you do while they are paying you.  If you happen to invent perpetual energy while you are at work and so much as a scribble of the design sits on a napkin in your cube, you probably will end up owing the company a piece of that if they want you to.  Many company's just assume it is a part of having humans as employees and that is more than fair on their part.  But for your part, you may want to either make an arrangement with the company or keep your work at home.

1.  Don't be a pain in the Rump - All of you wanna be Lawyers and Barristers that wish to examine all company laws and by laws for any obvious loopholes or hypocrisies, just remember:  The company gives you money to spend time on their behalf. Phrases like "I'm not paid to do THAT" will definitely put you in solid with your managers (I'm rolling my eyes now).   Playing the rules like a lawyer plays an Injury case may be perfectly within your rights and a perfectly 'fair' to do, but you are being a pain in the butt and that pain will wear on your superiors.  It really will only be a matter of time before they find you less useful than you are being paid for and encourage you to find 'exciting new opportunities'.  Remember, sometimes you don't need a reason to be fired, just an excuse will do.

No, I don't follow all of these little rules. No I haven't been recently switched into a management position and am trying to play toady (If you even thought that, you probably don't know me very well, if at all)  I just realized that for all of my complaining about management, there are plenty of things that we do as employees that cause management to do what they do.  Trying to mitigate bad circumstances will usually work in your favor...Usually...;)  Happy New year Everyone!

I hope your holidays were Merry!  only 2 more years till the end of the world!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top 10 Crappy/Great Christmas Songs

How many things can you say about Christmas?  Well lots of things.  You can talk about all the good things that happen around Christmas, and frequently I do.  This time.  I think it's time to talk about the songs of Christmas that really need not be there, along with the ones that are completely necessary. The good songs are good because they fit in tone and lyric with the holiday.  Then there are the stupid songs...You know the ones.  the ones that you've heard so many times that they have lost all meaning; or the ones that have had precious little meaning in the first place.

This is the first time I've got no pictures but links to YouTube videos.  Go ahead and click through, they are safe.  Except for that second to last one.  ick.

10. Jingle Bells/Jingle Bell Rock - Traditional Crappy - Originally a cute song sung by children, this song is also one of the first to be re-lyriced to the denegration of the Dark Knight.  Bat-mobile Lost it's wheels my left chestnut.  If that's not enough then we have to take the same song and give it bit of a swing rhythm for a whole new craptacular song.  This song has always been around during the holidays as a means nothing kind of song.  So people can use it and manipulate it a hundred ways and nobody really cares.  This is not as much a song about Christmas as it is about winter anyway. All this being said, the Chet Atkins instrumental of Jingle bell rock is one of my favorites, but all others are abominations.

9. Joy to the world - GREAT - The bigger the choir the better.  The more voices in the mix, the harder it is to screw up.  This song is terrific with or without bells. On the other hand this is another song that is messed up by soloists all the time.  I'm convinced that this song was meant to be sung in chorale.

8. Grandma got run over by a reindeer. - Gosh this song is so clever that somehow it's found it's way into the Christmas radio rotation.  This song just blows.  No wait, that's really not harsh enough to explain what I think about this song.  Ha Ha very clever. The idea that this song got it's beginnings from a Radio DJ.  It's not that I find any aspect of the song offensive.  It's that the song is really pretty inane.  Did you ever think that maybe there is a Laplander in Finland to which this actually happened?  It's not beyond the pale.

7.  God Rest ye Merry Gentlemen - This song seems to go hand in hand with A Christmas Carol, the finest Christmas story told during the season. I've always found it to be a touching song that has a great lyric but will stand without lyrics.  This is a rare thing in music.  I've found that the song can be improvised with pretty good results as well.  The link above is one of my favorites.

6. Rudolph blah blah blah - In America, we love an underdog.  we love him so much that we make up underdogs that win just in case there aren't any real ones to point out.  This song is more about America than it is about Christmas.  If you haven't heard it.  Don't bother.  It's a story about a mutated reindeer.  Some say he was found as a faun on the outskirts of Chernobyl.  Apparently He makes friends with a bunch of other mutants and a dentist.  Fits so far.  Well the mutants convince the mutant reindeer that when you are an outcast, you are simply part of a different group, just not the one you were cast out from.  You can see the analog to Christmas already can't you?  No?  Ok, so Santa Clause apparently can't fly his sleigh when there is too much snow.  I guess it never happens around the end of December.  So they were going to cancel Christmas.  Santa and his rough and tumble bunch of reindeer decide to swallow their collective pride and see if Rudolph would use his mutation to help them navigate to somewhere, I'm not sure where.  It doesn't matter, it was snowing there too.  When they got back in a couple of hours, they all had a fine dinner of crow and Rudolph was accepted as a hero to the group of bully reindeer.  This is the only part that doesn't ring true.  When a group of bullies use you for your mutant powers, they quickly ostracize you again once your usefulness has expired. Now the original song has been peppered with musical asides that turned this song from vaguely amusing to a vapid main course played to Jingle bell's appetizer.

5. Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah - I'm sure Mr. Handel thought this was a pretty hot number once he finished it, but I don't think he figured he would become the subject of countless High School choirs' Christmas programs.  The great thing is, if you have enough people, it will sound terrific (see #9).  This song more than any other reminds me of when I was singing at my best and part of a pretty good sounding choir.

4. 12 days of Christmas - The pyramid scheme of Christmas.  Everyone pays off the partridge in a pear tree.  This musical ponzi scheme is to music what Trivial Pursuit is to games.  Just a bit too long.  11 pipers piping I'll say.  By they time you get to 12, you've payed the piper over and over again. This song is the venison of  Christmas songs.  If you mix it with enough other things and try to disguise it, it just might be palatable.  Best to avoid it all together.  Just stop with 5 golden rings and call it a day.  Most people get the swans, maids and lords confused anyway.

3. Hark the Herald Angels Sing - This song is murder to sing, but if you have a really good choir or a bunch of cartoon drawn kids singing it, it really is one of the markers of Christmas.  The above video link is the Steamroller version.  Not my favorite, but I love the synchronized Christmas lights thing. 

2. Jingle Bells, Barbra Streisand. - Just listen for yourself.  This song sucks.  If you think otherwise.  I'm sorry for you and those around you.

1. Silent Night - With no modification and no personal aria this song is another terrific Christmas song.  one solo soprano with full tone and good pitch it's as good as Christmas songs get.  Any remake of this song is but a distant shade of it's original.

Yes, I know there are a wealth of good and bad Christmas tunes.  I'll probably visit this in a part 2 next year. 

Amazing!  I was sure I was going to peter out this year.  It just didn't happen.  In fact, at this writing, I've got material to last into February already.  It's quality may, of course, be another issue

Merry Christmas to all!  Thanks for reading.  I really very much appreciate it.  Tell your friends!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

top 10 inventions by the Devil

Satan is an interesting character.  He's often blamed for influencing us poor humans into doing some pretty bad stuff.  I know in my own case, I have nobody to blame but myself for the stupid/bad things that I do.  I'll take full credit when I ring my items out of the convenience store checkout counter of life.  There are some things in life however that I think may have in fact been invented by the father of lies.  They seem to be there and yet serve mostly an evil purpose.  I realize that all of the things I will mention have actual originators that may be offended, I'm sorry.  This is just my take, and perhaps the take of the Dark Lord of the Netherworld who had no part in this blog...that I'm aware of...

10.  Insurance - Every kind of insurance is based on a couple of things.  Distributing risk, and fear.  Invented by the Dutch to offer an alternative to bankruptcy when your ship sank at sea, Insurance is the sale of perceived protection from fear.  Without the fear part the whole thing doesn't really work.  Distributing risk speaks more to the product.  Fear speaks more to the profit.  In the end, no matter how much you pay, you rarely ever get your money's worth out of insurance.  Anyone who is a big proponent of insurance in general is probably someone that thinks that they benefit from it (like an owner or shareholder) or someone who is deathly afraid of having sudden expenses in the case of illness or accident.  Which they will anyway even if they DO have insurance.  The Devil thrives on fear, so if he didn't invent it, He'd be proud to take credit.

9.  Pharmaceuticals - Medical Doctors take an oath  to 'do no harm'.  I don't think there is any such motto in the Pharmaceutical industry.  I think it's motto is 'do harm that is small enough to not get you a class action suit'  Which I'm pretty sure is not even translatable in Latin.  Medicine tries to lengthen life.  Pharmaceuticals try to lengthen treatment.  Why cure something in once dose if you can do it in 20?  This has Lucifer's hoof prints all over it

8.  Teeth - Lets be serious.  Our teeth are a big part of enjoying food which is a big part of life.  If you had to eat everything from a straw, then things would get pretty boring on the food front.  So we have teeth that are great for tucking into all kinds of victuals.  If these teeth were designed like shark teeth, we would be just fine,  tooth goes bad, pop and in clicks a new one.  no problem.  Of course we have the other kind of teeth that get ground down and decayed if you eat anything sweet (which we happen to like a LOT). Pain and suffering?  Yeah, I think we know who appreciates that and it's not your middle school Gym teacher...wait a all makes sense now!

7.  Motion Picture council of America - Jack Valente is the leader of this OH so secret band of movie judgment passers.  You just never know what they are going to do on any given day.  The reason this group is probably spawned of Baal is due to the fact that they seem to be followed blindly and yet are so capricious in their judgments.  Sometimes you see a movie that's PG and it seems really violent.  You see a movie that has a little bit too much innuendo and it's Rated R.  Sure the ratings help us as parents and consumers, but it seems to also be a tool of money making for the film industry.  They can decide if a film makes money or not just by the right or wrong rating.  There are shifting standards and subjective rules.  I believe the Devil is in these details.

6.  2 and a half men - I just know the devil is involved with this show somehow.  I just KNOW it.

5.  Publishers Clearing House - As a kid I was CERTAIN that we would win the PCH if we would just get a couple of subscriptions and do all the little things correctly we would be walking away with a giant cardboard check.  It was really my first introduction to gambling.  Those things were loaded with lots of hope but only offered vague despair.  Not only did you not win, but you had to send a self addressed stamped envelope to see if you won.  I never got the list.  I guess I never expected to be on it.  If this isn't the magazine club of the Devil himself, certainly it is that of a lesser demon since most paper publications are going the way of Ed McMahon.

4.  BCS Bowl system - This is more about protecting money than evil.  On the other hand, it's pretty evil to not let teams play in a bowl game just because they aren't a part of the 'club'  or better yet they can't play for the large rankings because some bunch of minions of Satan decide which direction the votes go.  If the college football Gods would deign to interfere with Beelzebub's racket I believe they would institute a end of season tournament.  Of course some sacred cows would have to be melted down in order to get that to happen.

3.  Technology - You buy something that is the treasure of your heart initially.  5 years later.  It is garbage and might not even be worth throwing away because it's probably too heavy.  Does it work?  Of course it does, perfectly.  Who other than the son of the morning would give us such a maddening situation as technology.  Working for things we throw away?!?  Talk about slaves.  My shackles are as great as anybodies.  I just hope that 3-D TV is the end of the road (as far as flat panel displays go.  I think we are a ways off of holographic style displays.  Lucifer LOVES to keep you buying the same things over and over again.

2.  Cabbage Patch Kids - I Still remember the year that the Cabbage Patch Kids came out.  It was my first experience with hot Christmas toy fever.  You see, the same year, Laser Tag hit the market.  It was HUGE!  but not nearly as huge as those butt-ugly collections of cloth and stuffing.  Each one more hideous than the next, but they were IT.  I saw lines of people waiting at stores at the mere rumor of one or two becoming available.  It was bizarre.  Only a true serpent would influence a child to love this kind of rubbish and in turn enslave their parents to burning blood and treasure in the pursuit of a silly toy.  A greater, more ironic perversion of Christmas there really couldn't be.

1.  Post Classic Loony Tunes -  Loony Tunes are a quintessential classic cartoons series.  Created in the days when censorship was limited to adult themes and even that definition was pretty loose.  Loony Tunes were so great that every cartoon series that came after was, and still is, influenced by the creative genius of the greats of the day.  I'm speaking of course of the Artistic direction of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampet, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, Robert McKimson along with the ubiquitous vocal talent of Mel Blanc.  If you have read my blog on how suits ruin everything, then you know that this is no exception.  There have been so many re-mixes and re-makes of these classic cartoons and they all fall so far short of the Mark that Only Satan with his clever counterfeits of truth and beauty could create such monstrosities.  The vocals are usually done by Mel Blanc's son.  He has some of the pipes of his old man, but not quite.  The cartoon direction falls under any one of many nameless wannabe's.  The sad part is you can tell that the bottom line is the only bottom line in the production of these horrible rhinestones. 

If this is what awaits me in Hell, then I hope I'm only visiting.  Thanks for reading.  click on some ad's If you all do several times, I'll make something on the order of .38 cents.  SWEET!

Monday, November 15, 2010

10 tips for the successful stalker

Ah, I remember my first adolescent crush.  The cellphone was still on Captain Kirks Belt and the only Batman around did the Batusi with Eartha Kit.  Since I had little or no confidence, I was not about to go galumphing up to the object of my affections, I had to be smart about it.  I had to feel out the situation.  I had to use every bit of cleverness at my 13 year old disposal.  I know!  I'll stalk her!  Back then it wasn't called stalking, it was called being annoying.  I wasn't even THAT successful.  But looking back, I think I have some good tips for those wanna be stalkers out there.

Now before some of you get all unglued about this I want you to remember, I was a 13 year old stalker, not a 32 year old stalker.  There is a big difference.  Ok, not really, except for the 19 years.  But when you're 13, you don't really have any other choice.  32 on the other hand...  If you are stalking someone and they are not only not interested in you, but actually have gone to the trouble of getting a restraining order, or even just threatening to do so, that is a really strong social cue to CUT IT OUT.  Besides, stalking is only really fun if there is still a chance that the other party will find you even remotely cute for the effort.

10.  Take up exercise - What does this have to do with stalking?!  Well, a lot.  You see, if you are going to get a random glimpse of your target on the way in or out of their house from getting the mail, you have to have a reason to be riding your bike down their street when the mail arrives.  Well if you are exercising, that makes it a lot easier to find yourself there and for somewhat legitimate reasons.  Do it at roughly the same time every day and at least you are getting some sun!

9.  Look without being seen - Always sit on the school bus next to a window at 45 degree angles from your quarry.  This way you can look at them longingly while everyone else thinks you are looking out the window.  Nobody will be the wiser.  Unless of course they look at you through the reflection.  Then you have to quickly shift your gaze to something outside the bus.  Like maybe that half crushed tin can or something.

 8.  Bring Zingers - If you are on a stake out waiting to get another look at her, you need several things, but chief among them is to keep your strength up!  If you don't have a ready supply of sugar and starch around, you're liable to find yourself napping on the job.  That's no good.

 7.  Talk to your prey with all of your stalking knowledge - Few things will make you more attractive to your target like talking to her about things you know she is doing but the average person wouldn't know.  The internet of course makes this a LOT easier.  Used to be you had to attend their church, or hang around their parents if you saw them in a store hoping to overhear some tidbit of information.  A conversation could go as follows:  Target talking to her friend on the bus:  'So yeah I guess I'm going to my uncles house this weekend with the family'  You interject slyly ' I hear that Moscow Idaho is lovely this time of year'.  Your target will give you a look that is a combination of awe and suspicion.  Now you've got her thinking about you!  good job! 

6.  Live to fight another day!  -  Stalking is a lot more like being a bad secret agent than anything.  You are trying to be stealthy while being seen.  If your target all of the sudden approaches you, bolt!  Make a get away.  She might actually talk to you or something.  We both know nothing good can come of that, so get out of there!  A different trick that is fun is being seen by your target and then as they turn away get out of sight like in the movies.  It's really creepy, but you won't think it is.

5.  Who doesn't want a secret admirer - Write your hearts desire a note filled with cryptic references that she will not be interested at all in figuring out.  Leave obvious clues that point to you, but deny it if you are confronted with obvious evidence like your dad's letterhead.  Make an ill fitting poem that has ham fisted verse filled with rhymes like Awesome and Blossom or even Cool and Fool or Pool.  Just listen to some pop music, you'll get the idea.  No, I never kept the poem and I don't remember it's contents.

4.   Well if you don't like notes, how about presents? - Buy your subject a surprisingly expensive gift and leave it anonymously.  This appears to fly in the face of prior advice, but really, it all makes sense.  You just have to look at it the right way.  If the present is something fairly personal and yet well beyond the scope of a friendship gift, you've hit a bullseye.  Something like a heart pendant on a gold plated chain would be nice.  Or perhaps one of those combination lip balm brooches you find in Avon catalogs.  It's all gold.

3.   Get the INFO - Now that we have the internet, this is stupid easy - Getting information about your target is so easy now, it's probably not even worth doing.  After all, one of the objects of stalking is proving what kind of trouble you will go to in order to prove your feelings.  Internet information is so easily had that it doesn't show much effort at all.  In fact it will probably make them block you on facebook.  Sure it's not particularly effective, but still it's a sign that they don't really want you paying them any attention at all.  So instead, keep your actions live.  On the other hand, having a website dedicated to your true love shows some initiative and will score big in the simultaneously creepy/cute category.  Make sure you have all of your poems and mix lists on it so they know how you feel.

2.  If you don't have pictures, it didn't happen - In this age of technology, you need to take lots of pictures.  This used to be a lot more difficult because you had to take the film somewhere to get developed.  Now you just have pictures.  You can print out your favorites and decorate your shrine to her or better yet, decorate the afor mentioned fan website with pictures taken at times and places where they had no idea that someone would be watching them.  They will think you are so COOL!  I'm sure they will admire you from afar while calling the police.

1.  re-plan all of your class routes so that you will incidentally see her after every class - Nothing can get you through the day like seeing your crush on a purely accidental basis.  This is a lot like the bike thing, but this is while you are at school.  Nobody can stop you from taking a different path to class.  who cares if you have to double back and pretend you forgot something every day if it gets the timing right.  If you play your cards right, she will just think she sees you all the time because of dumb luck.  ha!  Dumb like a fox!

This was painful to write on some counts.  I won't tell you which because it's all too embarrassing.  On the other hand, I have a feeling it's all too common (I hope).  Once again, these tips are for the painfully shy yet goofy 13 year old, If you're an adult.  It's time for a new chapter in life.  If you're 13, this really isn't very good advise, I wouldn't follow it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Top 10 Characteristics of Extra Terrestrials (assuming they exist)

Halloween again.  Time for scary, gruesome fun.  Kids walking around begging for candy dressed up as favorite celebrities or supernatural entities.  For some reason, Extra Terrestrials get lumped into the same columns as ghosts, vampires, and werewolves.  While the latter have no chance of actually existing, Extra Terrestrials on the other hand certainly exist.  That's right, I said it.  CERTAINLY.  I have no doubt whatsoever that there is 'life' as we can define it that exists outside of our planet.  If we only look at the odds of life happening in a universe full of BILLIONS upon BILLIONS of solar systems, then factor in our absolute ignorance concerning life and it's components.  It's very safe to assume that there are MANY places in the cosmos that probably have life and some of those could very well be intelligent life.  This really isn't about that.  It's more about what the characteristics are of extra terrestrials if we were ever to see them here.

10.  Unless they are immortal, they really are only interested in our resources. -  Sorry folks, Aliens would not come here to do anything else, but look at the WEALTH of complex chemical compounds that comprise our planet.  They would easily be able to come and take samples of what they want and leave.  Later they could come back to harvest anything they deem useful to them.  I know this sounds like I am projecting our harsh history on external entities, but really, if they are mortal, then they deal with time and living in the same way we do.  Survive, reproduce, try to gain the illusion of security.  Wherever there is scarcity, there is monetary exchange and there are rich and poor.  Therefore they could be a business like entity that would harvest what they want from our planet.

9.  If they ARE immortal, they would use blinds to observe us - Immortal Impossible you say?  Well check out my blog on transporter technology.  Any race that has technology sufficient to cross the cosmos, probably has transport technology.  Why observe us then?  When you are immortal, your motivations for doing things are very different.  The only thing that is truly scarce to you is new experience and new knowledge.  They would study us out of immortal curiosity.  The blinds of course would be so they could observe us in our native habitat.  Any large city could have several blinds created to observe us.  I've always wondered how sears stayed in business.

8.  They will not know how to 'heal' us - Sure they've got scads of technology, That won't help me with my bad knee.  Life evolves in different ways in different places and our brand of life will be so different from theirs that they will have no way of knowing anything about our life systems.  It is much more likely that our environments will not at all be compatible, so they would only look at us to learn more about us.  We will be as entirely odd to them as they appear to us.

7.  They will not care about our environment - We don't care about fish poop in the ocean.  It doesn't matter to us at all.  Aliens will see us as beings on the top tier of our food chain.  They will likely view us as intelligent as we view dolphins or other simians.  We look at army ants and how they wipe out everything in their path, we do not consider them to be 'destroying' their planet, we have a MUCH wider view of their surroundings.  Aliens will look at us in the same way.  A part of the planet doing things in a way that benefits us the most with little regard for our surroundings.  Sure, we recycle etc.  So do ants and bees and lots of other social animals.  Others don't recycle at all and don't care.  Still we are all part of the planet.

6.  If they are mortal, they will come from a part of the cosmos where they do not represent all forms of their particular species.  -  There is no reason to believe that even the slightest differences in environment will not effect the same kinds of changes amongst any species in existence that we experience as humans.  Mortal aliens will represent only their governmental form from where they hail.  Mortality breeds a sense of scarcity.  scarcity in turn creates fear and insecurity.  fear and insecurity creates a desire to gather in like groups for protection.  Various groups will create their own forms of governance and one will likely rise to the technological top and strive to explore space.   If they are immortal on the other hand.  They have likely homogenized their species into one group that survives by default and are less likely to have anything more than some kind of collective government.

5.  The only problem we have that they can solve will be one of energy - All of our other problems will likely either be unsolvable by them, or they will not have the specific technology available in space faring craft.  Energy on the other hand.  Is the one technology that can help any semi-intelligent species.  They would have to have the ability to both generate it as well as store it in order to just get here.  All of our other problems are home grown and can really only be solved by us over time.  If we look for evidence of extra terrestrial technology look for power storage and transmission.  This will be the most important discovery in any emerging species existence.  Much like our own astronauts are pros at physics and aeronautics, our alien counterparts will have little knowledge of their entertainment ,  food preparation or domestic technologies.  They probably can't tell jokes very well either.

4.  Immortal aliens will deal with governments, mortal aliens will just take over - Our government for all of it's faults is our method for communicating with any other countries or social entities that do not share our language or values.  There are a lot of things that our government keeps secret from 'we the people'.  That's probably a good thing since that's what we hired them to do.  80% of Government secrecy is genuinely for our own good.  19%  is corruption and 1% (but a very important percentage) is Aliens.  If Aliens have contacted us, it's very likely that they are immortal or posses such longevity that they are indistinguishable from immortals.  On the other hand, if we have been discovered by mortal aliens, it could well be that we are looked at as some kind of resource farm that we pay in exchange for their continued 'protection'.

3.  The good news, the Aliens speak English, The bad news, They all sound like Uncle Jesse on the Dukes of Hazzard. - All of our television signals have been beaming into space for decades.  Aliens have been watching.  Their favorite entertainment show is Dukes of Hazard.  Their favorite comedy is NOVA and their favorite science program is Dexters Laboratory.  They will learn their language from our TV like every other non-english speaking country does.  The truth is, they will talk to us with flawless English and we will believe that they have some kind of flawless translating device (you know, like Google-translate 2.0) when in all likelyhood, our Alien visitors were taught english by the Walt Disney corporation and Alex P Keaton of Family Ties.

2.  Mortal aliens probably won't go to church with us - Any intelligent mortal race will develop some kind of mythic answer to the question of life and sentience.  It's simply a matter of course.  A critical thinking race will try to answer the questions of nature with simplistic stories and mythologies at first that will then evolve into science.  This is of course unless the aliens themselves established the different religions on our planet.  That would explain a lot.

1.  Aliens probably don't look anything like us at all - We always want the ET's to have a head and arms and legs etc just like us, just variations on a theme.  Lets take a loot at bacteria.  how do they look?  wow, scads of legs.  hmmm..tons of feelers,  eyes that are sensitive to all kinds of light spectra.  There is nothing suggesting that they would evolve in even remotely similar fashions. This is good, because if they looked anything like us at all.  There would be some redneck that would claim to the first baby-daddy of a hybrid alien/semi-human.  They would live in their hover-trailer-home and would be rabid ook-mok fans which they watch on their alien 10 foot satellite dish.  Most popular sport in the cosmos.

Friday, October 15, 2010

top 10 things you say before you die

Death. I'm sure I've blogged about it before, but If I haven't, that's good, because it's an easy subject to get REALLY philosophical about. Death. The End. Finito. Hasta La Vista. It's one of the few things we will all experience. Many times, people will be remembered for their last words. But if you want to be remembered for a while, you'll say something pretty ironic. Not many people know when they are going to die. The people that do are not the lucky ones because they are either on death row, or they have to try to 'beat' a terminal illness. The rest of us are going to die under fairly unexpected circumstances. What will you say before that happens? Soon, you are going to read what I think are the top 10 things you may say. I don't know that avoiding saying these things will keep you from dying. But avoiding the circumstances where you would be prompted to say those things might help. Who knows?

Here are the things you may say before you die.

10. OK, TURN IT OVER!  -  Your head is deep in the transmission of your loaded trans-something or other and your buddy is there to help.  You've made a few 'adjustments' to the engine and you want your friend to give it a roll while you listen to the engine purr.  Of course at that point, just about anything could happen with your head buried under the hood of the car you look vaguely like a suicidal person with their head in an oven.

9. I think I know what your problem is - This one is broad, but could be a bellwether of doom no matter how you are saying it.  If you are genuinely giving good advice, it may not be well taken.  On the other hand, if you are using it sarcastically you could find yourself on the moving end of a big stick or worse.  If you are using the phrase to help your buddy with that large piece of farm equipment, even though it was meant in the most helpful of terms, you could be on your last leg.

8. God himself could not sink this ship - What a great phrase.  One of my favorites to say on an airplane or boat.  It may kind of worry the passengers around you, but it has worked at least one time in the past ;).

7. O.k., I'll do it this time - If at first you don't succeed die, die again.  Trying to do something and failing, may be better for you than trying and succeeding.

6. Hey, guys watch this! or Ok! is the camera ready? - Gonna impress your friends?  Gonna show your new girlfriend that you could have been a stunt man?  Gonna do something stupid that may get you famous on U-tube for a little while, but probably gets you dead?  This is what you'll say before this occurrence.

5.  I wonder if I can take it up to 120? - Most cars can go around 110 MPH.  The problem is they weren't engineered to go that fast and neither were the roads.  But when you are in your new car driving down that abandoned stretch of road you figure you could break the 120 barrier.  Just remember, any little rock on the road will send you careening  off the edge of the road and likely to your doom.  This is most often said in your head and not out loud as your significant other will likely ask you to pull over and let them out first.

4.  It's ok, I can drive. - This is the saddest one I can think of because it happens so often.  Just because you are stupid doesn't mean you have to take it out on us.  Good rule of thumb.  If you say this phrase, you've probably lied.  Stay off the road.

3.  Race you to the other side of the rise over there. -  Funny how off road vehicles give you a feeling of invincibility.  You race around on your 4 wheeler or snow mobile and you think you can go anywhere.  So you race another snow mobile to the edge of that rise.  When you get close enough that rise ends in a sheer cliff.  Or that rise ends up being a loose slab of snow that will fall on you like the wrath of God (which it may be)

2.  Crap, I wired that backwards.  -  so you just undo the wires and then reverse them.  problem is, you didn't shut off the breaker because it's ALL the way over there and it's such a pain, and I've done like 12 of these now, so I don't need to turn off the power.  Yes you do.  (This is that much more poignant in countries with 220v standard electricity)

1.  I can get the perfect shot from riiiight...heeeere - Gun?  No Camera.  Cameras seem to give someone a feeling of invincibility and entitlement in direct proportion to the amount of money you spent on the device itself.  you have a 1500$ camera?  You are going to stand in the middle of a geyser waving your hand at a none too amused buffalo  to get that PERFECT shot.  Oh, you'll get that shot alright.

Stay away from these things!  I need as many readers as I can get.  If you are a spam commenter, please don't bother.  Otherwise thanks for the feedback!  Happy Halloween!