February 28, 2006

Precision in Numbers


Cube reports that the world’s population was projected to have reached 6.5 billion people at 7.16 pm EST, last Saturday.

Meanwhile, in the UK, yet another “new study” has shown that many workers are too busy to take a lunch break (that would be, roughly, study number 3.6 million about how busy workers are these days). Lunch, it would seem, is becoming such a luxury that the average time people take off to eat is just 19 minutes and 42 seconds.

I do wish researchers would be more exact with their figures, this sloppy rounding-off business is so unprofessional.

Meanwhile, former US President Bill Clinton is in search of new interns - 25 of them. Some for his digs in Harlem, some for Arkansas, and some for his office in Massachusetts. A man should never be caught without an intern, or two, or three, or four, or five, or six, or seven, or ...



February 26, 2006

Where the bloody hell are they?

Women are still invisible. That’s the finding of a US study into children’s visual entertainments – film, cartoons – all the “G” rated stuff.

Tiny tots are shown that women literally don’t count via popular, fun, and ubiquitous shows.

No-one ever need say a word; no-one ever need point it out to them; no-one ever need explain; instead it’s ingrained, embedded, systemic, institutionalized and the most potent of invisible messages.

Male characters out numbered females three to one in the top grossing G-rated films form 1990 to 2004. No real surprise.

Female characters had only 28% of the speaking roles in the 101 animated and live action films examined.

Crowd scenes contained a mere 17% women. Even the anonymity of extras is cast as a world populated almost entirely by men.

In real life women make up about 51% of the world’s population. Why is this still such an uncomfortable fact that it must be hidden, rewritten, distorted, rendered untrue in the land of fiction and entertainment? There's no conspiracy here, it's just a given, which is far worse.

(From the Review lift out; The Weekend Australian, 25-26 February 2006)

February 25, 2006

Are they all insane?


It’s always a good thing when organizations actually go to the trouble of planning ahead, especially if they plan ahead for more than just a day, or month, or two. “Visionary” is what we like to label such organizations.

We recently took a quick glance at the visionary planning of our own CSIRO, who are dumping baby boomers like a bag of hot dog turds, to make room for the non-baby boomer generations. Excellent stuff, as I noted at the time.

Now more excellent and visionary news!

Yes, the locals don’t need to go it alone when losing sleep over the biggest question being wrestled with by every organization in the world worth its salt: how to attract and keep Generation Y members in the workplace.

Apparently it’s an enormous problem, and as with all enormous business problems, it warrants its very own seminar. If you lived in Melbourne, you could pay a mere $66 to attend a two hour “briefing” to find out how to hold onto, or how to find and recruit, your very own gaggle of Generation Y-ers. (recruitment section; The Age, 25 February 2005). Because a gaggle, or several, of Generation Y-ers is what every company needs in order to create and underpin their dazzling organisational success. And because Generation Y-s, for reasons unknown to me, have to be cajoled, pleaded with, pandered to, and fawned over, in order to get them to take a job. I presume this special treatment is required because, unlike the rest of us, members of Generation Y have no need to work. Companies and managers have to knock themselves out and generally beg the Y-s to take a job, and then they have to treat them differently than they have treated every other worker ever known in history, so as to hold onto the slippery work-averse little blighters.

It’s certainly a problem that demands a two hour “briefing”, at that very least, and $66 is dirt cheap for solving such a monumental problem. But if, like me, you were wondering why Generation Y-ers are so impossible to recruit, and so very difficult to hold onto once caught – don’t worry, I won’t make you plead – I have some answers, and I provide them here, free of charge, in less than two minutes.

Who are the members of Generation Y?

That’s the generation born between 1980 and 1994.

This is 2006, so how old are the Generation Y-s now (I hear you ask, plaintively)?

Well Virginia, the oldest of the Y-s will reach 24 years during 2006; the youngest of the Y-s will reach the ripe old age of 12 this year.

Yes Virginia, employers are, so we are told, and all indicators would point to the affirmative on this (note the seminars; articles; entire books) ripping themselves apart trying to figure out how to attract and retain those high-flying rising stars aged between 12 to 24 years.

And it is tough; it does require special and visionary strategies. After all most 24 year olds are so over-qualified and unspeakably successful that they have enough money to retire by 24 ½ years, so you have no choice but to beg them to stay at work, and to pay them a motzilla to do so.

As for those 12 year olds? Come on, you must know how hard it is to get a 12 year old out of bed to go to school for 6 hours a day. Imagine how difficult it must be for employers to convince them to give up that way of life to take on a job for 10 or 12 hours a day. A free lolly pop, their own bean bag, and an iPod in their favorite color just isn’t enough any more, especially with those damned child labor laws getting in the way.

(Ah, and now I understand why the really trendy companies, with really cool cultures, have bean bags!)

Isn’t it good to know that managers and HR professionals all over the world are focused on such a critical work-place problem? And that they have the chutzpah to charge people real money for a solution?

I swear it makes my brain swell and throb.



February 22, 2006

Token Television Tid Bits

Have you ever wondered ...

When the contestants from The Biggest Loser eventually see themselves on the program, do they all gasp in horror: “oh my god, television really does add 10 pounds!"

---------------------------

During a momentary channel surf last week, I stumbled across yet another cop show “with a difference” (officially known as cop show concept three million five hundred and sixty eight).

Rob Morrow, seen in a previous incarnation as a young, hot doctor on Northern Exposure, has morphed into a chubby middle-aged man, bearing no resemblance to his former cute self, but he has acquired a young cute brother, who also, conveniently is some sort of math’s whiz – because that’s the kind of subject matter expert police normally turn to first when trying to solve a crime: mathematicians.

So, there I was, lingering for an entire five seconds on this fab concept of a show – called Numb3rs (isn’t the title sooooo clever?) – just in time to hear this line (disclaimer: did not quite catch the girls name, so that bit is made up, but it did start with the letter “n”; the rest is verbatim).

Scene: Rob Morrow, playing big brother cop; little brother mathematician; and a few random people in what looked like a class room; with a few computers scattered about. Little brother mathematician turns to a woman sitting at a computer and says, with much urgency:

“Natasha, are you ready to show us a 3-D scatter plot of the relevant locations?”

Now, you go stand in front of a mirror and try to deliver that line with meaning.

Imagine being the script writer.

Imagine being the actor trying to deliver that line as if one is entirely comfortable using graphical language in every day life.

Imagine being the actress trying to respond to that line with any level of conviction.

Imagine being the audience trying to find this compelling viewing.

Laugh? Oh, I very nearly did, until I didn’t.

February 21, 2006

Words of Wisdom


Remember Roseanne Barr? Well, she has popped up with a sage comment about the ubiquitous Paris Hilton.
"If my kid acted like that, and had a porn tape out there, she'd be in rehab in a minute. And grounded. Severely."
Yes, Rosy, and the rest of the world agrees with you.

February 20, 2006

Stand and Deliver

Or sit and eat, if you prefer.

But first, a disclaimer from your friendly blogger: No, this blog is not going to feature bottoms, or penises, or any other part of the human anatomy on a weekly basis. This blogger is neither responsible nor accountable for the thoughts and actions of others. These things are not my fault. It is my duty to draw them to your attention. That is all. Thank you. And now we return to our normal transmission.

Purely because they can, over in Beijing, men are feasting on an array of penises (or peni, as I prefer) and testicles.

Forget nasal spray and the Viagra, when they’re feeling on the flaccid side of perky, the equivalent of ‘the hair of the dog’ is the way to go in China, and they take that conceptual advice rather seriously.

Guo-li-zhuang is China’s first specialty penis restraint. (The Age, 18 February 2006)

“Here, businessmen and government officials can sample the organs of yaks, donkeys, oxen and even seals. In fact, they have to, since they form part of every dish — except for those containing testicles.”

Virility is obviously on the line here, and the measures taken are of the dedicatedly desperate variety. So, does a big bowl full of animal penises and testicles maketh the man feel like a new man?

Well, maybe not – and a special note to the owners of Guo-li-zhuang: don’t ever use your most regular customer as your advertising pin up boy.

“As for the supposed health benefits, Mr Liu, the most regular customer, was uncertain but hopeful. "I can't say I've noticed any difference yet," he said. "But it's a long-term thing."

Hopeful, ever hopeful.

“A booking comes with a trained waitress and a nutritionist to explain the menu and to boast its medicinal virtues. In China, you are what you eat, [said] nutritionist Zhu Yan…”

Yes: a total dick” is what I’m thinking.

The only question is: when a man eats an animal’s penis or a set of testicles, does he feel any tug of anthropomorphic kinship?


February 17, 2006

Educational Insert

Two or three times during the last week I was bereft of just the right word and wished that my normal (limited) lexicon had within its boundaries this excellent verb from Spain.

So that you too are not caught short without the perfect verb when you need it most, I share the following with you:

“Anaranjear”
, meaning: to kill a cock by throwing oranges at it”.

Ah! See, didn’t you immediately think of any number of recent situations when you would have been delighted to have this handy word on the tip of your tongue?

None of this decay of language for us! Go forth and verbalize with confidence!

February 14, 2006

Reminder to self


I just came across a post-it-note, a reminder to myself from many days ago, it reads:

"bum post; don't forget Bottechelli bottoms picture."


Do'h!


Especially for Jai, and the Captain, and Drunka.

Bottechelli bottoms, for the enjoyment of all.

Happy Valentines to everyone - hope you all had a wonderful day!

February 13, 2006

Key Selection Criteria


CSIRO continues to ditch middle-aged scientists. You know, those men at the absolute peak of their careers, standing in the rarified air of Everest, the best of their accumulated and cumulative knowledge and skills, the best minds that we have, still brimming over into new and dazzling wealth-making ideas, many of which also happen to benefit human kind.

Oh, yes, I know, they have altruistically sacrificed the wealth and glory of the private sector, not to mention forgoing ownership of patents or company shares in their own multi-squillion dollar ideas.

However, there are lots of youngsters– the Xs or Ys, or whatever letter of the alphabet they want to call themselves – who probably think they won’t ever get a shot at the golden ring if they have to wait for older folk to drop off the perch, and CSIRO continues to fall all over itself to accommodate the anxious young ‘uns, who don’t have time to keep learning lots of stuff until they’re, oohh, you know, in their 30’s, before being allowed to thrill the world with their brilliance.

Why any company is incapable of developing succession plans, and incapable of providing interesting & worthwhile work for a wide range of people with a wide range of abilities, all at different stages of their personal capabilities and potential, while also holding onto the best and brightest of all ages groups has got me flummoxed.

Our loss; entirely the gain of other countries. Bloody idiots. (The Age, 11 February 2005)

Meanwhile, Tim Blair shows all recruiters and managers the real meaning of hiring creative, multi-skilled, think-outside-the-friggin’ square, staff.


February 11, 2006

Bottoms

More silly studies and this one is entirely arse end about.

(This post is dedicated to Major Anya, for reasons that are no-one’s business but hers.)


Yes, a concerned group of scientists are in the process of answering the truly important, world changing question “does my bum look big in this?” (The Age, 27 December 2005)

It’s a question I have never been asked, by anyone, not by man, women or child.

It’s a question I have never asked of anyone either, although I can think of a few outfits – ah, but there ya go, I didn’t need to ask anyone’s opinion, because I can still remember that patterned, woolen winter skirt, totally “in fashion”, but oh so hideous, and having only given birth six months beforehand, it was probably not a good choice, from any angle. It was quietly laid to rest, after one or two outings, without the need to seek a second opinion.

I’m prepared to be proven wrong here, but my thought has always been: if you have to ask the “does my bum look big in this” question, then you probably already have your answer. Either that or you’re one of those excruciatingly vain individuals who will use any excuse to be told by anyone of any gender what a fabulous bottom you have, or that you are merely fabulous all over. In which case, naff off, because no-one gives a toss whether your bum looks big or not, in fact, they probably long for the day when it does.

Another rule of thumb would be: if you’re big everywhere else, odds are, your bum is too, and no matter what you wear, your bum will look exactly the size that it is.

Of course, there is also that old-fashioned idea of looking in the mirror, but no cheating: don’t kid yourself that just because you don’t have three dimensional mirrors, and just because you’re looking over your shoulder, that the image is distorted, or exaggerated, or unflattering purely because of the angle. Trust me, it isn’t.

Perhaps you are a svelte and lovely lass, with serious denial “iss-th-ues” about your enormous, yet boney hips. Face facts: your bum looks big to everyone but you, no matter that you have no need to wear a bra to support your minus A-cup endowments.

On the other hand, there is the entirely valid problem of designers, who, for reasons no scientists has ever investigated, insist on creating clothing for women that will transform the most attractive and / or scrawniest of women into ridiculous looking bundles of unattractive bumps of unbearable physical and asthetic discomfort – not to mention big bottomss, where none previously existed, and where no-one, in their wildest imagination had thought it possible for an over-sized bottom to morph.

Certainly our Scottish scientists will be offering up precisely the type of advice that one would expect designers should already hold the world’s most refined expertise, but a five minute observation of people on any street will demonstrate that designers do not create clothes to flatter women.

Hence my belief that this study is arse end about: instead of playing into this almost demented myth that all women refuse to leave their homes without first enquiring of someone – anyone – does my bum look big in this? – they should be studying why designers are, apparently, incapable of noticing the unflattering nature of the cut, the fabric, the pattern, or the style of the clothing they make for the female form. It has all the markings of being quite pathological. That would be a worthwhile study.

Another worthwhile study would be one that can establish whether or not women the world over really do ask the question, of all and sundry, “does my bum look big in this?”, because I don’t believe they do, or if I am proven otherwise, they could then conduct a study on why it is that women are, apparently, obsessed with how their bottoms look, and yet they entirely disregard every one of their other body parts; every oozing bulge and bump and crevice so plainly screeching to be tucked, disguised, or hidden in some flattering manner.

But, back to the actual study, as opposed to my fantasies about what they should be studying; an array of “standard” bottoms have been selected: Head researcher, Dr Lisa Macintyre, says four models had been chosen to provide a sample of female rears.” Just in case you weren’t paying attention, let me repeat the sample size: FOUR models have been chosen; that’s one, two, three, four. Quick – run out onto the street and try to find FOUR representative female bottoms, four, and ONLY four, no cheating!

Despite the preposterous sample size, not to mention the bizarre notion of being able to identify and find any “standard” bottom, let alone four "standard" bottoms, I am particularly pleased that the scientists will be making use of a rare technology, one that others have never thought of applying to the “does my bum look big in this” question. Yes, extraordinary as it may seem, they will be combining sighted people and photographs and seeking an opinion on how the various bottoms look. In other words, people will use their eyes to look at bums covered in different fabrics, cuts, colours, textures, and so on. Who would have thought? Don’t try this in the privacy of your own homes kiddies; leave it in the safe hands of qualified scientists.

February 7, 2006

Not the cartoon version

Real life rapper Kanye West (he may be obscenely rich and incredibly famous, but I’ve never heard of him) adorns the cover of Rolling Stone magazine, masquerading as a plucky little victim, in the guise of Jesus – the latter being a well known and revered figure amongst Christians.

Following hurricane Katrina, Kayne apparently appeared on US television and declared that “George Bush hates black people”. I guess the Rolling Stone cover is his way of acting-out, just in case anyone missed the point.

The Rolling Stone magazine can be purchased in any one of the many hundreds of thousands of newsagents, milk bars and grocery stores in a country near you.

What, no riots? No fire bombs? No killings?

Not one?


February 6, 2006

The Killer Cartoons


Tim Blair fails to heed orders from Islamic leaders -
Media Told.

Previously - The Danes Take One for the Team.

Earlier still, the New Zealand government comes over all skittish and woozy at a free press.

Meanwhile, kiddies in Australia just don't seem to understand why they should love and tolerate all thy neighbours equally. Seems that the ideological brain washing is failing in our schools, much on par with the failure in many other aspects of our education system.

Most pupils see Muslims as terrorists
.

Gosh, I wonder why.

February 3, 2006

Sounds suspiciously familiar


I saw on the news tonight that scientists are about to start testing yet another new and all-natural wonder drug to make weight lose effortless and fun. They claim that milk derived peptides will do the trick. (For those of you in a hurry, this can already be found in baby formula.)


My cynicism was on high alert as they breathlessly described this great hope of the great and large as having the effects of making people feel good, motivated, with significantly improved mood, all at the same time as suppressing their appetite, thus ensuring weight loss - “all with a plain white powder”.

That didn’t exactly sound “new” to me.

The thin line between licit and illicit drugs slowly stretches its gaunt self to breaking point.


February 1, 2006

Despair Inc


No matter how often I come across them, the motivational posters produced by
Despair Inc never fail to raise, slightly, reluctantly, and with a numb-tingling sensation, an ever so faint wry smile.

I was reminded of their fine work today when I read about their *attempt* to trademark frownies. Their offering of the classic frownie, the literati frownie and the angst frownie is a breathtakingly innovation, and – obviously – extends our previously singular frownie option, which, until now, has limited our repertoire of emotional expression. Excellent work, I say, and a job that TimT could have thought of, if only he’d tried harder.

After perusing the new frownie, I had to have a look through the motivational posters, for one of those quick pick-me-ups, as in: “please-[insert deity of choice omnipotent and / or omnipresent]-send-me-a-sign-anything-at-all-a-small-scrap-a-crumb-a measly-signifier-of-any-fucking-kind-to-get-me-through-the-day".

Almost impossible to choose, but today, the following had an disturbing amount and spluttering of heart-felt resonance:

“Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups."
"When the winds of change blow hard enough, the most trivial of things can turn into deadly projectiles.”
“If a pretty poster and a cute saying are all it takes to motivate you, you probably have a very easy job. The kind robots will be doing soon.”
“It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.”
"When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.”
“Madness does not always howl. Sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "Hey, is there room in your head for one more?"