Things That Suck #361: Weenie Commentators, and #362: Assorted Ass Pilots

Disclaimer: I like Will Ferrell.  The character he portrays in Anchorman, Ron Burgundy, is a humorous depiction of the douchebag that lives inside just about every newscaster.

It’s inevitable.  Whenever there is some kind of highly visible public tragedy there has to be at least one highly visible public figure who says something so asinine you want to bitch-slap him or her through the monitor. Usually there are several such weenie commentators, as they start repeating each other ad nauseam once one weenie commentator rears its ugly head.  I try not to watch TV news too much as I am prone to anxiety and depression. At least I can pick and choose a bit more getting my news online.

Most of the crap in the mainstream media is exactly that- “Crap” with a capital “C”-so sickeningly politically correct and skewed to reflect one particular world view that it lacks any kind of substance.  Don Henley said it back in 1985- crap is king, and we all love dirty laundry.  I don’t think even Don Henley had any idea just how stupid “journalism” would eventually become, although he was spot on as far as humanity’s flaming desire to see the carnage broadcast live and in color.

I hate to admit it, but even though I try not to have that “stop and gawk” mentality, I do too.  It’s human nature to go past an accident scene and try to determine if anyone’s injured, if it’s anyone I know, and worse yet for me, because of my automotive background, I’m actually assessing the damage to the vehicles.  Saturday I actually came upon the scene of a car/motorcycle accident.  Those seldom turn out good.  The motorcycle was in pieces, the front end of the car was pretty much hosed, and the guy that was on the motorcycle ended up motionless on the pavement.   I figured if he wasn’t dead he was probably close to it.  I’m glad I was wrong.

There is a reason why I don’t ride these things.  Note the damage to the Explorer is comparatively minimal (though that front fascia, fog light, bumper reinforcement, core support, radiator and condensor will cost you.)

I found out today that the dude involved in Saturday’s accident actually got off with relatively minor injuries, though he was life-flighted to the trauma center.  He got sent to the trauma center because he was knocked unconscious, and God only knows what kind of brain injuries and internal injuries and broken bones can happen to someone thrown off a motorcycle.  Especially if you’re not wearing a helmet.  ER staff have a name for motorcycle riders who choose not to wear helmets: organ donors.  This guy dodged a bullet so to speak, and what he does with his motorcycle riding in the future is up to him.  I wouldn’t ride one of those things but hey, if you want to, knock yourself out.

Society is not obligated to protect people from every possible stupid thing they can do.  Shit and stupidity are the two most common elements in the universe, and even the most intellectually astute among us are not going to avoid either one entirely.

One of the beautiful things about individual freedom is that you are entitled to be stupid to a degree.  No one should have to tell you the coffee is hot, that you shouldn’t smoke crack, or that riding a motorcycle without a helmet is a bad idea.  But no one should have the “right” to sue because of pouring hot coffee on themselves or because of their own negligence.  No one else should be obligated to bail others out of the consequences of their own stupidity.

Another situation that disturbs me is when a weenie commentator excuses a person’s criminal behavior based on their past experiences.  I am appalled every time that some ass pilot gets a pass for everything from armed robbery to mass murder because “he/she had a bad childhood.” So you peed your pants and your peers called you “Pissy” when you were seven, so you decided to go on a killing spree 20 years later and take out people who never knew your sorry ass from Adam’s housecat?  I have no sympathy for dumb shit like that.  Neither should anyone else.

Do you whiz your pants when you’re executed by lethal injection?

I had a shitty childhood.  I got my ass kicked every day.  I was lucky to get three hots and a cot- and didn’t always get that.  Big freaking deal.  Does that give me the right to go fire bomb the WalMart for failing to have English speaking cashiers on duty when I need to buy a jug of Pennzoil? Give me a freaking break.  No one owes me a damned thing, and what is the point of taking out my misdirected feline aggression on others?  I’m fortunate in that my cats get along well and don’t fight- but what good would one cat beating up a completely innocent cat do?

Isabel is not impressed.

It disturbs me that the media almost immediately wants to exonerate people who get caught doing the most ghastly things.  I understand in this country (and this is probably unique to the US) that a suspect is innocent (according to the law) until proven guilty.  I don’t think criminals should be tried and convicted in the media (though they often are, and often wrongly) but when someone’s caught red-handed, on camera, committing an atrocity, let’s not just start in making excuses for the alleged criminal.

I don’t want to hear about some ass pilot who molested kids but he’s “not responsible for his actions” because his Dad beat him.  Bullshit.  Yes, life cut you a bad deal.  I’m sorry to hear that.  Welcome to the club. Now get with the program, learn from history, and figure out how to be a decent human being.

I also don’t want to hear from the ass pilots who scream and cry on either side after a shooting incident that either a.) everyone who is not a convicted felon should run out and buy a gun (I am a believer in the 2nd Amendment, but whether or not to carry a gun is an individual choice) or b.) guns should be banned, like in the UK and other parts of the world.  Screw that too.  Both of those views are too extreme and uncalled for.

Gun laws aren’t the issue.  By definition, a criminal is one who breaks the law.  How many criminals are going to give a rat’s ass if guns are suddenly made illegal?  They don’t give a rat’s ass about the law, otherwise they would be law-abiding citizens.  Outlawing guns would simply create a black market much like the one already in place for illegal drugs.  That “war on drugs” is going so splendidly, ‘ya know?  Why not expand it, and expand the crime that naturally follows?

Why not expand the concept of personal responsibility, and enforce the notion that individual choices and individual actions have consequences?

 

Motivation Comes from Within, and Try It On at Home

My favorite instructor in college taught me the most important and fundamental rule of management:  Motivation comes from within.  The only thing that a manager can do is provide incentives.

Fear is not technically motivation, but it can be a powerful incentive when it is used in the proper context.  Some people are afraid of everything (sadly, I fit in that category most of the time, as I am a horrible coward) and others fear little if nothing at all.  If you can find another person’s fear and harness it to your advantage, (sounds a bit like blackmail, and it is) you can for all practical purposes own that person.  He or she will have sufficient motivation to honor your requirements and requests with very little effort or oversight from you, other than a threat now and then if things aren’t getting done to your liking. 

Fear as an incentive can backfire big time if you don’t have any currency to back it up.  If you lack the power to carry out your threats then you no longer engender any fear in your subordinates and you have to find another incentive.  Some people like to be made to feel important.  I know I’m not important, so telling me how much you like me, (most people tolerate me at best and very few actually like me, I know that already) or how “essential” I am to you doesn’t mean jack unless you have some dead presidents to go along with your vapid praise.  Money as an incentive works very well for a good number of people, yours truly included, but you have to be able to provide the money if the person fulfills your objective.   Money fails to be an incentive with the quickness if the person fulfills the objective and then is cheated out of the money in some way.  I’ve been there and done that too many times.

I don’t like to manage by fear.  I’ve had too many people control me that way and frankly, it pisses me off.  Fear has ceased to be an incentive for me most of the time.  Money is fine, as long as the other side delivers on their promises.  I like certain other material perks as well such as dinners, clothing and other assorted goodies, but money is generally the favorite.

Some people are big on recognition and status and titles.  Titles and status don’t impress me at all.  As the saying goes, money talks and bullshit walks.  I could care less about authority unless I have been given a responsibility to carry out a certain task.  Don’t ask me to do something or to be responsible for something and then not allow me the authority to carry it out.  It is amazing how many organizations hobble their employees and even low to mid- level managers by giving out responsibilities without granting the needed authority to carry them out.  How many times have I seen a network of people rendered completely useless because the only guy who is authorized to make a decision can’t be reached because he is out in the Bahamas on a cruise somewhere?  What the hell do you even need him for if he has time to fart off on an expensive and likely company-funded cruise?  If you don’t trust people to make decisions, don’t make them responsible for outcomes.  In fact, don’t make them responsible for anything- unless they also have the authority to make a decision.

Human nature is said to be such that we pursue pleasure and avoid pain (another little nugget from Psych 101) which in most instances is true enough, unless you’re a sadist or a masochist, and then pain is pleasurable which makes no freaking sense to me.  Then again-I do find the humor in disappointment and emotional pain- does that count as masochism?  Or is that just a coping mechanism?

Jerry should never be allowed to shop for clothing alone again.  Yesterday he decided of his own volition to go to Old Navy and get another shirt like the one he already has.  So he goes to the Old Navy, picks out a shirt, tries it on, (which is something I absolutely refuse to do in public) buys the size large he tried on, only to discover the shirt he had at home is an X-large.  These shirts are 100% cotton and will shrink when washed, which is why the large fit in the store, but probably would not fit after being washed.  Logic would tell me, look at the tag on the shirt at home before leaving to go to the store, then go get another one exactly like it, in the proper size.  That way you neither suffer the indignity of undressing in public fitting rooms, and you get a shirt that will fit after being washed. 

There are numerous reasons why I absolutely refuse try on clothes in public fitting rooms.  The oldest and most primary reason is because Mom always made us try on everything.  If she liked it (and she liked some pretty ghastly stuff) you had to try it on.  Generally if she wanted you to try it on you didn’t want it to begin with, but most of the time she just wanted to see “how it would look on you.”  Who gives a rat’s ass what it looks like if you aren’t going to buy it?  The way I always looked at it is I would find out soon enough how bad I would look in my sisters’ old clothes without ever having to try them on in public in front of the two-way mirror that some pervert is monitoring. Unfortunately I could never win her over to my point of view- but if I can’t try it on in the comfort and privacy of my own home I didn’t need it anyway.

Today is even worse because of the video cameras.  Back in the 70’s and 80’s video cameras were too expensive so all you had to worry about was the one or two perverts watching the two-way mirror.  I know full well there are cameras in those fitting rooms, and they are being monitored by some pervo in India or somewhere who is taking all that scrumptious footage of you in your old bra and threadbare granny panties, recording it, and putting it on a video montage for pervos around the world to share via YouTube.

Somewhere in Siberia some pervert is watching Jerry try on that shirt at Old Navy, and making commentary in a foreign language regarding Jerry’s  thin arms and very hairless chest.  I can only hope he didn’t try on jeans, although I just bought him some new whitey-tighties.  I bet older guys fumbling about in whitey tighties would be funny in Siberia too.