President Obama’s Promise Zones

Promise Zones? Really? The president promised Detroit that he would not let it fail. He promised us that if we liked our doctors and our insurance, we could keep them. He promised us that he would close Gitmo. He promised us that he would lead the most transparent administration in history. I look at his promises like a bad case of gas.  They stink from the moment they are made and eventually they are followed by crap that needs to be cleaned up!

Post-Modernism

In general, post-modernism amuses me.  It reminds me of my youngest daughter who called me at work one day when she was about 14 and asked if I knew where she could pick up “goth in a box.”  This was about ten years ago when the world was engulfed in a new crop of emo-teens who swore they discovered The Cure and faked black nail polish with Sharpies.  I had to explain to her that “goth-in-a-box” was what the more “senior goths,” whose looks were totally organic (of course), called Hot Topic because you could walk in looking like Ally Sheedy at the end of The Breakfast Club and walk out looking like her at the beginning of the movie.

Post-modernists, and their nearly uniform dogmatic anti-dogmatism and closed open-mindedness, are no different than the mall rats with their non-conformist uniforms.  They think they are so special and unique in their carefully programmed self-realization that everything which is right is wrong, and that the wrong may be right.  They are almost Gargamel-like.

Star Trek and the Systems Analyst/Project Manager Bargaining Game

The bargaining game of analyst estimates and PM timelines is key to an analyst’s success. The analyst typically asks for too much, the PM offers too little, and they meet somewhere in the midst.  The best example of how the analyst wins at this game is seen in the rare crossing of the original Star Trek engineer, James Montgomery Scott, a/k/a Scottie, and the Star Trek, The Next Generation (TNG) engineer Geordi LaForge.  Scotty locked himself in a transporter buffer loop thus allowing himself to exist as unaging demarterialized energy.  The Enterprise’s crew figured out how to release Scotty from the buffer.  As a result, there were two chief engineers on deck.  Scotty was the old salty dog who always said things couldn’t be done and then did them.  La Forge was a younger, more idealistic, by-the-rules engineer.  The following dialog took place in a scene where Captain Picard (the captain of the TNG Enterprise) had given La Forge an order to produce some critical analysis.
LA FORGE: Yeah, well, I told the Captain I’d have this analysis done in an hour.
SCOTTY: How long will it really take?
LA FORGE: An hour!
SCOTTY: Oh, you didn’t tell him how long it would *really* take, did ya?
LA FORGE: Well, of course I did.
SCOTTY: Oh, laddie. You’ve got a lot to learn if you want people to think of you as a miracle worker.

You see, everything I ever learned about systems analysis negotiation, I  learned from Star Trek.  We may have been considered nerds when we were young, but we make more money than the cool guys ever will.

The Joebberwacky

The Joebberwacky

‘Twas thrillig, and the slimy joves
 Did grint and gibble on the stage;
 All dumbsy were the politcoves,
 And the dume bydns outrabe.

“Beware the Joebberwack, my son!
The lips that sneer, the teeth that flash!
 Beware the Barrybarry bird, and shun
 The debious Wassersnatch!”

He shone his shiny pate by hand:
 Long time the moxiny joe he sought—
So rested he by the Dumdum tree,
And stood awhile without a thought.

And as in matthyooish thought he stood,
 The Joebberwack, with eyes of blame,
 Came overcombing through the oogley wood,
 And sneerkled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
 The lolling tongue went blabber-back!
He left it dead, and with his empty head
 He went amphtraking back.

“And hast thou slain the Joebberwack?
 Come to my arms, my gopish boy!
 O barriless day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas thrillig, and the slimy joves
 Did grint and gibble on the stage;
 All dumbsy were the politcoves,
 And the dume bydns outrabe.

A kosher Elvis sandwich

Elvis Presley was known for many things including a peanut butter, bacon, and banana sandwich. I just made a kosher version of it. Take two slices of challah, a healthy schmear of peanut butter, three strips of bacon, cut off the tip of the banana, and feel guilty for eating it.

Daddy, there’s a bully at school

Child: Daddy, there’s a bully at school!

Father:  Why do you say he’s a bully?

Child:  He doesn’t let other people talk.

Father:  Does he do that all of the time?

Child:  Yesterday, my friend dropped a marble in a jar every time he didn’t let the teacher or one of us talk.

Father:  How many marbles were in the jar?

Child:  81

Father:  What else does this bully do?

Child:  He lies.

Father:  What does he lie about?

Child:  There was this really bad third grader who was waiting around the corner and then he ran out and crashed into a teacher.

Father: So what was the lie?

Child: Well, the bully saw the third grader getting ready to crash into the teacher and when the principal asked a bunch of us if we knew what happened and the bully said he didn’t.

Father:  This sounds like a very bad boy.  Is there anything else the he does?

Child:  Yeah.  You know how you teach me how important it is to be nice to people and not say mean things, even if I don’t like them?

Father:  Yes.  That’s very important.

Child:  Well the bully isn’t like that.  He laughs at people and makes fun of them.  There’s something else.

Father:  OK.

Child:  You know how you said it is bad to use words that are just make believe for bad words just so we don’t get in trouble?

Father:  Sure.  That’s important because what really matters is what you think, not just what you say.

Child:  The bully uses words that mean…poop…a lot.

Father:  This boy is a bully.  What does he look like?  I’m going to school and talk to the principal.

Child: He looks like this:

A tale of Sukkos past

 

If you are a Jew, you can skip to the second paragraph.  For the goyim (gentiles) reading this, Sukkos (or Sukkot) is a Jewish Holy Festival where we build and then take our meals in a temporary sukka (or booth) in obedience to the command of G-d in Leviticus 23.  We do this to remember how our ancestors lived in temporary booths in the years following the Egyptian captivity.  You’ll find it mentioned in the Christian scriptures in John 7 as the “Feast of Tabernacles.”  On 15 Tishrei (late September/early October) we start the seven-day festival.  With your introduction to Judaism freshly learned, you may be able to appreciate the brief tale that follows.

I have a funny, if not somewhat sad tale of my first Sukkos away from home. I was a freshman at Rutgers University. I went to the Newark campus which was for commuters only.  Newark, NJ, like many big cities, is mostly paved. A few Jewish students and I tried to erect a sukka in the Rutgers quadrangle without the benefit of soil to stake it in or trees to tie it to. As fate would have it, Sukkos started on a very windy day so our sukka did not survive. I have to wonder if G-d looked down and said, “what schmucks, they don’t even plan to build a proper sukka,” or if He said, “such faith and commitment these kids have, believing that an untethered sukka could stand on a windy day.”

I am looking forward to finding out which of these He said.

What they didn’t teach you in Hebrew School

If you are Jewish, you’ll understand this post.  I don’t know who the author is but my nice Jewish mother sent it to me.

1. The High Holidays have absolutely nothing to do with marijuana.

2. Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.

3. No meal is complete without leftovers.

4. According to Jewish dietary law, pork and shellfish may be eaten only in Chinese restaurants.

5. A shmata is a dress that your husband’s ex is wearing.

6. You need ten men for a minyan, but only four in polyester pants and white shoes for pinochle.

7. One mitzvah can change the world; two will just make you tired.

8. After the destruction of the Second temple , God created Nordstrom’s.

9. Anything worth saying is worth repeating a thousand times.

10. Never take a front row seat at a Bris.

11. Next year in Jerusalem . The year after that, how about a nice cruise?

12. Never leave a restaurant empty handed.

13. Spring ahead; fall back – winters in Boca.

14. WASPs leave and never say good-bye; Jews say good-bye and never leave.

15. Always whisper the names of diseases.

16. If it tastes good, it’s probably not kosher.

17. The important Jewish holidays are the ones on which alternate side of the street parking is suspended

18. Without Jewish mothers, who would need therapy?

19. If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it. But if you can afford it, make sure to tell everybody what you paid.

20. Laugh now, but one day you’ll be driving a Lexus and eating dinner at 4:00 PM in Florida .

The White House tweeted me!

I must admit, I tweet; not in a Cartesian sense (dubito ergo tweeto, tweeto ergo sum), but I occasionally make use of the service.  I follow a few folks and groups.  One group that I follow is @whitehouse.  My friends on the hill sent me this tweet less than an hour ago:

My first thought was pretty simple, “gee guys, if you are right, then I guess that isn’t too bad since you’ve added six trillion to the deficit in just four years.”

Lex Luthor or Superman?

Greg Gutfeld, host of the late-late-night show “Redeye”  was commenting on the fact that Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland, co-founder of the Solidarity trade union, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and key player in the transformation of Poland to a post-communist state, endorsed Mitt Romney for president.  He then mentioned that Hugo Chavez, the authoritarian president of Venezuela, endorsed Barack Obama.  He equated that to having one candidate being endorsed by Superman, and the other by the arch-villain, Lex Luthor.Barry and Hugo

Lech and Mitt

Too poor to pay attention

People are often too poor to pay attention.  When I was in the Army, a chaplain friend of mine told me a story of how he checked to see if people were really paying attention.  In the Gospel Church tradition, when the preacher would say something and pause, the crowd would recite “amen” in unison.  One morning he got going and started with a string of statements, each of which were followed by “amen.”  Then his next statement was, “and I’m wearing purple socks.”  As you might guess, the response was “amen.”