Category Archives: Idiots
So early this morning a ten ton space rock slammed into the atmosphere above Siberia. It streaked across the sky then exploded with the force of an atomic bomb miles above the surface. It was an amazing sight but also somewhat tragic as around 1,000 peopled were injured by shattered glass from the enormous shockwave it created tearing through the air. Now for thousands of people it has become difficult to heat their homes and businesses with no windows in weather that is well below freezing.
But taking away the spectacle and tragedy of the event I found myself appreciating one fact. For once, at long last, here’s an event that no one can point fingers on. This meteoroid had been circling the sun long before humans even walked on the earth. From the moment the universe was created, that ten ton rock was destined to crash down to earth today, whether there were humans here or not. So we can’t blame it on global warming, politicians, corporations or policies. There are certain forces in our continuum that are beyond our ability to control, and this was a shining (literally) example one of them. A tragedy of inescapable fate.
But even I underestimated human arrogance. It didn’t take long for political figures to call for more robust sky searching and a plans to seek and shoot these things out of the sky. Commentors on the stories cried of the injustices of cutting science and exploration program budgets that could have PREVENTED this! I find it hard to believe that some people think so highly of the human race. That we are only a few misplaced intentions away from solving any problem that stands in our path to Utopia. Doesn’t anyone ever reflect on our utter insignificance in the universe?
I think people just don’t fathom the scale involved here. The sky is a big place. The sky is measured in degrees, and the total area of the sky is about 40,000 square degrees. By comparison the moon is only about 0.5 degrees across, which gives an area of approximately 0.2 square degrees. So the moon takes up only 0.0005% of the sky. That’s one-twenty-thousandth of the sky! And you thought the moon was pretty big! And it is. It’s 2,150 miles wide and it’s 239,000 miles away. Let’s compare that to this meteor that is guestimated to be (generously) 60 feet wide. So the moon is 189,000 times larger than this meteor. Therefore if we would have discovered this meteor as it came within the orbit of the moon around earth, it would still only appear in 1/3.8×10^10 of the sky. That’s 1/38 billionth of the sky. In other words… it would have been remarkable to have seen this thing coming.
Now let’s talk about the speed. This thing entered the atmosphere at 19 miles PER SECOND. Let’s say IF you caught sight of this tiny little thing at the same distance of the moon’s orbit, you would have almost exactly 3.5 hours until impact. That’s 3.5 hours to detect it, calculate the trajectory, inform missle command, evaluate the probability of hitting a populated area, program the missile guidance, launch the missle and intercept the meteoriod. Does anything happen that fast at your job?
Let’s face it. Our lives here are insignificant and fragile. We can no more prevent our demise than we can take credit for our existence. That’s not a “God” thing, it’s just a sum of the forces at work in the universe. On most days we can blame each other for most of our problems… but today was not one of those days.
I joined Biebs and Carver for another podcast… finally! It’d been so hectic recently I missed the past couple weeks.
We had some major side tracks, which were probably the best part of the show!
Ugh… well we got our new neighbors this week. I knew this would happen here eventually. We’d been lucky so far that the folks that have lived behind us were 1) a quiet single guy, 2) elderly woman, and 3) single college student.
Now make that 4) Two hoodlum roommates.
The way our place is situated our house is what you see from the street. But behind our house, literally in the back yard is another small house with a little two car garage. There’s one driveway that runs from the street out front of our house, to the alley in the back. It’s not ideal, but it works for now. I guess I had kinda gotten used to a single person always living there (I’m pretty sure it’s a one bedroom house), so there was always one car there. Made maneuvering around pretty doable. Now there’s two cars back there, which sure they are entitled… but it makes getting in and out of our half of the garage a pain in the ass now.
The worst part is that ever since they moved in, people have been coming and going all the freakin’ time. There were two high school aged kids that were sitting in the driveway, waiting for the new neighbors to get home for (no exaggeration) 4 hours. There’s not too many things kids that age will wait that long for, and I’m pretty sure none of them are legal.
Maybe I’m a grumpy old fart now. But I just don’t feel like putting up with it. This really isn’t a great time for a move, but since we aren’t locked in to a lease here, I’m really going to start looking around. Ugh. I can’t wait until we’re ready to buy a house.
So nothing much of interest usually happens when I’m at the radio station late running the board for a ball game. But last night I got a call on the business line that I just about couldn’t keep a straight face though. I wish I could have recorded it. I’ll try to recite the call as well as I can remember it.
The woman was older, but not senior aged. Maybe late 40’s with a slight rasp to her voice. Her words were spoken with a general tone of bewilderment.
“Eagle Radio and Hull Broadcasting,” I answered.
“Yeah, uh. Is Trader John on today?” she said, I assume she is talking about ‘Trading Post’ hosed by our AM guy, John.
“Umm… Yes ma’am. It was on at 9:00 today and will be on again at 9:00 tomorrow,” I answered.
“Oh, so he’s going to start doing it at night now?” she said a bit suprised.
“No, no. 9:00 to 10:00 in the morning,” I said.
“But I have my radio on right now and I’m picking up some other guy,” she said as if I were lying to her face.
“Well, it’s 9:30 a night right now…” I replied in a deadpan tone.
“IT’S NINE O’CLOCK AT NIGHT?” she bellered.
“Yes, ma’am,” I said trying to keep from snickering, but somewhat wondering if she is messing with me.
“Oh, don’t tell me I slept all day. Are you sure? Oh no. Okay… well… thank you…” she said.
“No problem, Trading Post should be on in about 12 hours!” I couldn’t help it, I let out a small chuckle before hanging up the phone.
Well I’ve had a resolution for this winter to be better equipped to handle the weather. So a few days ago I picked up some snow boots and insulators to keep my feet nice warm and dry. Well I tried the boots on at the store, but I couldn’t try on the insulators unless I took them out of the package. Get home and boots + insulators = too small. No biggie. I’ll just take them back and exchange them. I figure a couple sizes bigger on both outta do it.
So last night we roll up to Orschlen’s. There were several cars there, but I wouldn’t say they were swamped. I grab the boots, insulators, and my original reciept and head to the nearest checkout stand. I’m not sure how exchanges work at Orschlen’s, but I explain to the guy that I just want to exchange these for the same thing bigger size. He says that’s fine and asks me to place my stuff in a cart right up front there and go get what I need.
We do so, and look around a little bit to see if there’s anything else we need while we’re there. After a while of just window shopping we head to the front with just the items I want to exchange. I go to the same guy I went to before (you know since I already talked to him about exchanging) even though his line was a little bit longer. As it would turn out, this guy is the Smokey Dan of Orschlen Farm & Home. So from now on, we’ll just call him Dan.
Dan appeared to be “training” someone. I use the quotes because the trainee seemed to be helping this guy make it through some snags in the computer system. It wasn’t the computer system’s fault. It’s just that you can’t do things like, type in a zip code, when there’s an error message on the screen saying you forgot the city “Please click OK.” Eventually he gets my old reciept scanned in, rings up my new items and says, “That’ll be $25.”
“Huh? I’m just exchanging this stuff for the exact same things. Same prices and everything!”
“Well you didn’t tell me that before,” Dan said.
“Sorry. I had both these items in my hands when I talked to you the first time AND placed them both in the cart you told me to put them in which looks like somebody else already hauled off.”
Dan sighed and said, “Okay.”
The next 8 minutes or so involved Dan trying to undo everything he just did. After many dings, and error messages he finally decides it will be FASTER to start over. Genius. So he trys to, I guess, cancel out the sale and manages to freeze the check out machine up. I don’t know how you crash a POS machine, but he did it. Meanwhile somebody is asking him for his override code for another register. OH, apparently this guy is IN CHARGE tonight! I can’t even ask if the manager is here! After giving the gal the WRONG code and her having to come back twice while he fiddles with the machine trying to figure out how to restart it he decides it would be FASTER to move to another register.
So for the third time I explain how to spell my last name, and give him my address and phone number so he can put it in again incorrectly a third different way. BUT FINALLY I have a receipt that says I can leave the store with boots and insulators and not owe them anything! HOORAY!
It was frustrating, but now I’ve got me some boots that will keep my feet and pants warm and dry. Good thing to as it looks like we’ve already got a good amount of snow overnight and more to come today. Bring it ON!
Answer: Terrible copy.
The following has got to be one of the worst commercials I’ve cut in a while. I’ll first give you the whole thing. Read it. Digest it. Then I’ll tear it apart line by line. The names of the person and the business have been changed so I don’t pop up in search engine traffic and then word gets back to the boss. Not good for Matt’s employment.
John Spanner and Great Valley Packing… Two names that are synonymous with success. Great Valley Packing IS John Spanner. That’s means they are part of the oldest continuous meat manufacture in the United States. John Spanner in Great Valley specializes in the production of specialized meats like smoked hams and bacon. They use the latest in technology along with the principle of quality by all their workers to produce the taste in meats their customers want. John Spanner of Great Valley…Shipping smoked hams and bacons across the United States…and the world.
Okay. I’m no copy writer, but I do have a knack for sensing when somebody is a bit full of themselves! This commercial starts out terrible from the beginning. When I proof read it, I thought surely it would get better as the spot went on, they they just had a terrible lead in. But actually it was very in tone with the rest of the spot.
John Spanner and Great Valley Packing… Two names that are synonymous with success.
Now there’s an unsubstantiated claim if I ever heard one. “Nintendo” is synonomous “video games”. People say, “Hey, let’s go play Nintendo.”
They DON’T say, “Wow, Bob. Your business is really taking off, you’re a regular John Spanner!” When people think “success” NOBODY thinks “John Spanner” OR “Great Valley Packing”. And this commercial has yet to convince me otherwise. Let’s continue, perhaps they’ll back up this claim.
Great Valley Packing IS John Spanner.
I suppose that’s true, if both are synonomous with success, I suppose they would be synonomous with each other too. And it IS true. Success IS success. No if’s an’s or but’s about it.
That’s means they are part of the oldest continuous meat manufacture in the United States.
What? Wait, THAT’S what that means? I’m feeling really out of the loop about now. How long have people in the United States been packing meat? Was John Spanner really there when it all started? How old is this dude? IF John Spanner REALLY IS Great Valley Packing AND that DOES MEAN that they’re part of the oldest continuous meat manufacture in the United States; THEN by my estimation This guy has to be AT LEAST 100 years old. Is that somebody you really want handling powerful spinning blades? And who’s this “they”? I thought it was just Mr. Spanner.
John Spanner in Great Valley specializes in the production of specialized meats like smoked hams and bacon.
Well if you’re going to specialize in something, it might as well be something specialized, I guess. But are smoked hams and bacon really all that special? I’m pretty sure I can get those from the Schwan’s guy, or Wal-Mart. What’s so special about them?
They use the latest in technology, along with the principle of quality, by all their workers to produce the taste in meats their customers want.
First of all, I don’t even think this is a sentence by grammatical standards. And I don’t know about you but when I walk into the Specialized Meat section to check out the bacon, I try to look for the bacon that was sliced by LASERS! After all, meat just tastes better when you use the latest technology.
John Spanner of Great Valley…Shipping smoked hams and bacons across the United States…and the world.
This line would be a perfect end to the commercial…had John been able to back up any of his grandiose claims. But instead it leaves me thinking, “Seriously, John. Name one place outside the USA you’ve shipped some bacons. I’ll even let you count Hawaii and Alaska.”
This isn’t a commercial about selling a product. John just paid a princely sum in order to hear his name on the radio and feel good about himself. While it may satisfy is narcissistic tendencies, I feel that money would be better spent on therapy.
As I’m going about my business, I like to take in what’s going on around me. I used to walk on the campus at K-State and hear people talking on their cell phones and to each other. Just random stuff. Some people call that eavesdropping, I just call it entertaining.
Today I heard a group of people talking and one of them said, “Go to the FBI website. They have a list of all the sexual predators and your daddy is on there.”
Did I hear this at?
b) Grocery Store
If you said (c) you are CORRECT!
I tell you the more I observe all the weirdness in the world, the more I think “normal” is pretty rare.
My phone starts ringing at about 7:24am this morning. It’s my day off and I was wondering who in the hell was calling me this early. I pick up the phone and it’s my manager at the store. He says “Did you know you work 7-4 today?” I was all groggy from just waking up after going to bed at 3am. I said “No. I thought I had today off since I asked for it off.” He said “It says on my computer that that’s what you work today. If you could come in as soon as possible everything will be ok.”
I’m thinking I already have my 40 hours for the week, why would they have me scheduled for another 8 hours? I told him “I asked for the day off cause I have family coming to visit, so I really can’t come in. Plus, that would put me over my 40 hours.” He proceeds to tell me “That’s all right. You could work till 1 and the rest of the day should be fine.” I said “The schedule on the wall doesn’t say that I’m scheduled today.” He goes “Really? Let me go check. …. Yeah, it doesn’t have you on that one, go ahead and forget about it and go back to sleep.”
I didn’t even bother to say goodbye, I just hung up and went back to sleep. That just goes to show you that computers can really help you, but they can also put you on the schedule when you’re supposed to have the day off. Tricky little things!
Consider this. We just finished up our Extreme Makeover contest. If you’ve ever seen the show, Ty Pennington busts in on somebody’s place, takes over there house and remodels it. Kinda like a Pimp My Ride for homes. Well we just kinda steal the name and use it instead of calling the contest “A bunch of crap you don’t really need.” We delivered today “Almost $7,000 worth of stuff.” Which was actually around $6,250 worth of stuff, so we really should have said “Almost almost $7,000 worth of stuff.”
And that’s all it is, is stuff. No real rhyme or reason to the collection of items. We gave a surround sound system but no TV or no couch. Not one, but TWO dining room tables! (For BOTH your dining rooms!) And antique wood framed mirror. A closet organizer, and supposedly $800 in bed and bath accessories. Which should take up more than two bags if you ask me. Check out one of these dining room tables, yeah…where you gonna put that in your house?
Point is, even though it sounds good on the air, don’t be too heartbroke if you don’t win some of that stuff. There’s a young couple in a small house in Manhattan that isn’t going to be able to use their living room until they have a garage sale or an auction, or rent a storage unit. When $6,000 cash would have fit in their back pocket and they could have gotten something they actually wanted.
Most of the decisions you’ll face in life are trivial at best. Let’s face it, out of all the choices you made today, how many will affect you a year from now, or even tomorrow? At the same time, there’s some decisions that will affect you for the rest of your life.
One example of an important choice would be…say…choosing a name for your company. For instance, if you needed a contractor, would you trust a company called “Jon Doe Enterprises”? I kid you not, I cut a commercial today for “Jon Doe’s” contracting company. The copy didn’t have the address (naturally) but I’m sure it’s somewhere in Anytown, USA.