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Sunday, December 9, 2007

Hello, Dubai.

I figgered my trip to Dubai was a good chance to re-engage on my blog and to capture the experiences for all to read. I plan to spend 2 weeks in Dubai, working for the Emaar Group, consulting on the Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world.

My flight began as all flights do, with me counting down the lift-off and its' relationship to the loss of personal control of my life and safety.

As we power up and move down the runway, I mentally go through the scenarios:

At 150 mph, I submit to a horrific crash, but a possible survival.

At liftoff, I accept that a crash at this point probably means a permanent disfiguring injury, if I survive.

At 1000 feet, I know I have no chance of survival, but still have hopes for a one-piece burial.

At 10,000 feet, I accept that I'll just be 12" X 12" chunks at best, if I can be identified at all.

Of course, at 10,000 feet, I can turn on my personal electronic devices, so I'm happy.

You know, there is so much trust we place in our unknown pilot. I always wonder, out of the tens of thousands of U.S. pilots, where does my current one rank? In every field, professionals can be ranked. There is the worst doctor, the worst lawyer, the worst quarterback. That means there is probably the worst pilot.

The other pilots have a decent idea who is good and who sucks, why shouldn't we be able to look at the ranking of the pilot on our plane before we book? I suggest that the airlines could charge more for flying with the best pilots. It's a natural selection of sorts. People with intelligence and means afford the best pilots, those who can't are more likely to be weeded out over time. Kinda like people building in a flood plain. It's cheaper, but over time, it'll always come back to haunt you.

Someone is the worst pilot. I wonder if he or she knows. I know we should.

I flew the other day with a pilot on the last day of his career on a plane that was on its' last flight.. He announced it over the intercom. Please don't tell me that - it's just tempting fate. We only have so much luck and planes can only fly so far before they have a failure. Just because the pilot and plane are pressing their luck doesn't mean that I should have to.

I'd pay more to avoid a flight like that - and I'm a cheap bastard.

That's all I have to say about that.

Friday, September 28, 2007

(Another) Billion Dollar Idea

I fancy myself a weird blend of humility and arrogance. Arrogant enough to try some outlandish things and to think that I can have some measure of impact on this planet, but humble enough to understand that I may just be a total idiot.

The arrogant side of me believes, at age 41, that my intellect transcends industries. Law, Medicine, Elasticity and Parallel Universe Theory - I'm sure I can add something to all the fields of science and art.

My vocal stylings are suspect, but everything else, sure.

So today I unload on you a Billion Dollar Idea. This is a big deal as I only have 17 Billion Dollar Ideas - I have to be careful to save one or two for myself and my family. But, as I am an enlightened citizen of this earth, I feel I can give away one or two if they benefit mankind to the level I think they can.

Billion Dollar Idea #9: (no patent pending)

- I believe that we should retrain all kids, as well as adults, that sneezing into your hands, or the more recent practice of sneezing into the opposite side of your elbow (I'm sure that spot has a name - comments welcome), should be replaced with sneezing deep into the interior side of your shirt.

Grab the collar, stretch it out, aim the nose down and sneeze with wreckless abandon.

This practice, called Snirting, or Shneezing, can reduce the environmental spread of your nasal projectiles by an estimated (trust my arrogance here) 85% by using the fabric of your shirt/blouse/sweater/jacket as a filter for all that viral matter.

Please understand that the Shneeze needs to take place on the interior of your shirt, and works best when you wear an undershirt like I do. V-Neck undershirts or "wifebeater" T-shirts won't work - crew neck shirts seem to have been designed just for this evolutionary, or dare I say, revolutionary concept.

I think it's even possible to create "Snarves" to be worn similar to scarves, but folded underneath your shirt.

As fashion seems to boomerang every 20 years, it may very well be possible that turtlenecks, embedded with anti-bacterial material, might become the fashion as well as health accessory of the next decade.

Okay, okay, you think that this is a joke. But the next time you're on a plane or in a restaurant and someone sneezes - ask yourself the question:

"Would I feel more comfortable if that person Snirted"?

As far as the unintended by-product of a damp chest from all your Shneezing, it's a small price to pay for reducing the spread of flu and cold by 85% - don't you think?

If anyone has a contact at the NIH, please let me know. I need to begin writing my grant proposal.

That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

When Dad Takes Over

A few times a year, Michele hits the road to a conference or to visit some of her liberal Berkeley friends on the West Coast. That leaves Dad, alone, to take over the "Mom" responsibilities. The kids know that this means a few things:

- Hot Dogs, Mac & Cheese and Tater Tots for Dinner. And Lunch.

- Leftover Mac & Cheese for breakfast.

- An extra hour or two a day playing Mario or Wii.

- A bath every 3 days - 4 days if we hit the "cuzzi"

- Several trips to Blockbuster.

The kids do look forward to it, but I think they also crave the limits that Mom is much better at enforcing.

Mom is also better at understanding upcoming events and the potential negative impacts our actions of today might have in the future.

Take the above photo. Michele knew when Picture Day was - I had no idea or even cared. Zoe knew, but has yet to fully grasp the concept of the legacy impact of your Kindergarten photo.

So, when I bought a few packs of Temporary Tattoos for Zoe and her friends, I had no idea it was a decision that could come back to haunt me for the next 30 years - longer if I make it to 80.

All I knew is that the girls disappeared for an hour and I had some alone time to do important things. Like catch up on Season 3 of the Sopranos. Or research Tight Ends for the upcoming Fall draft in my Fantasy Football league.

Important stuff.

Well, as I dropped off Zoe the morning her mother was set to return from a trip, I had no idea that I was positioning to become the most thoughtless father in the history of the Woodland School District.

I'm sure it was the highlight of the teachers, not to mention the photographers day.

So the photo above, is more a statement on my parenting skills than the memorable kindergarten photo it was intended to be. I can only hope that this doesn't foreshadow a future where Zoe believes that tattoos are part of her "look" and her ability to stand out in a crowd.

All I know is that her Grandmother thought the photo was great.


That's all I have to say about that.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Amazing Photo of The Day

As some of you may know - I'm kind of a news, discovery, info junkie. I plan to use this site to bring you stories, news, photos, etc that are important and not to be missed. Follow the link here for an interesting photo that is truly magical - the photo is taken two ways - one is taken with flash, the other without flash. The difference is amazing. Click here. Please let me know if you can see the difference.Link

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bathroom Etiquette

Just when I was getting over my bathroom phobias, this Senator Craig thing happens. Ignorance is bliss, or so I've been told an inordinate number of times, by too many people in my life

Well, as I passed 40 years of age, I was just getting comfortable with the Public Poop, and now I have a new stress as I hit public bathrooms - "will my actions be misconstrued as some unknown signaling that I'm looking for restroom romance?"

Look, I've mastered the common public bathroom etiquette - the "Courtesy Flush", the "2 Degrees of Stall Separation" and the "Urinal Tile Trance".

I know to "announce" my presence with a cough as someone enters a bathroom to avoid the chance they'll try to open my door. I've mastered the art of controlling bodily noises until I know I have an all-clear in the bathroom. I've also learned to combine the cough, the courtesy flush and newspaper shuffle to run interference for any unavoidable bodily noises tied to a Mexican dinner from the night before. It's part art, part science, but I do have it mastered, and it's one of those things I'll have to teach my own son, Zach someday.

Now, however, I have new things to teach. Don't tap your feet, have a wide bathroom stance or reach for anything on the floor or you may invite a visitor from a neighboring stall. And more than likely that person is an undercover cop.

How do you get that job? And how do you detail that on a resume?

The reality is that cops should have more important things to do. I'm surprised that this practice exists, but I do remember my friend Jeff Butler witnessed it in a stall next to him in Wescoe Hall at the University of Kansas back in the late '80's. To this day he still has issues with public bathrooms.

The cool thing was that their noises ran interference for his Taco Johns from the night before.

So, as Senator Craig flushed his career away, I'm left with a new stress in public bathrooms.

I've taken to walking into restrooms and announcing loudly - "I'm just here to poop, not interested in playing footsie with anyone" - I usually get a knowing chuckle or two as other guys acknowledge the change in the the public bathroom dynamic.

Guys can do what they want, I just don't happen to be into public, bathroom sex. I'm sure that if this were a heterosexual story, we'd all act differently about the story.

The hardest thing for me to deal with is that I've recently been Googling "Bathroom Signals", "Bathroom Protocols" etc. I'm sure the Homeland Security Office now has me followed at airports as I travel.

That's fine - it's a waste of money - all I ask is that you don't take the stall next to me.

That's all I have to say about that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

FLASH! - Worlds oldest Living Person Dies!


This story is amazing to me for the following reasons:

1 - It happens once a week, it's not news.
2 - Flash? It was kind of expected, right?
3 - The oldest living person only holds the title for a week at a time - big deal.

You know, the Media has really decided that we're stupid. A "News Alert" used to mean something, but today it's a graphic meant to pull us to the TV and a story that doesn't rise to the level of a "News Alert" from the 70's or 80's.

So here's the reality. The Worlds Oldest Living Person dies on average, once every week or so. It's not like the person held the crown for years, was a celebrity or someone that we knew. Sure it's interesting, especially if they took a shot of Tequila everyday or smoked like a chimney, but that only happens once or twice a year, and if that is the case, they are usually from West Virginia.

Generally, the person is a woman, lived in a remote village somewhere on the planet, and their husband died 40 years ago. You rarely see this person residing in Las Vegas. I'm sure there is a lesson here.

My issue is that as they recap the life story of these people that we don't hear that they were a test-pilot in the 60's, was a groupie for Lawrence Welk, toured with the Dead or started the first brothel in King County in the 40's.

Instead, we hear that they ate oatmeal every morning or treated themselves with a scoop of Rocky Road Ice Cream every night, before hitting the sack at sunset. Alone.

I value longevity. I have recently decided that I want to live to 100, and I appreciate hearing how these folks lived their lives, but let's dial down the hype a bit.

It's not a News Alert.

Unless they lived in Vegas, took a shot of Tequila everyday, was married 7 times, carried a gun, owned a bong and had never visited a Whole Foods Store in their life. That's a story.

That's all I have to say about that.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

It Isn't Easy Making Green

I've recently asked a source to find a Croc-Like shoe manufacturer in China to customize some shoes for a client.

Without too much lead paint.

The pricing looks to be good, shockingly good, and it makes me wonder what other products might make some sense to import and to build a business on.

I looked at many different products but finally decided on the product I'd like to import.

And the Girl Scout of America had better look out - I'm taking them down. That's right - head to head competition with the Girls Scouts on cookies.

And it's about time. $4.00 for a box of cookies I can get for 37 cents from China - you gotta be kidding me. The GSA have been railroading the US Consumer for far too long. Sure, the veil of innocence projected by the GSA has been a great front to the actual charter of the organization - to corner the US cookie market - but capitalism has a way of kicking your ass if you get a little too arrogant in pricing and quality.

Ok, so here's the plan. I secured the website - (the .com was taken already by Michael Moore) and plan to launch a competing website that sells Girl Scout-Like Cookies for $2 a box. Delivered.

No bratty girls at your front door.
No table at the grocery store to play on your guilt as you exit.
No over reaching co-worker or Boss extorting you into purchases to keep the work environment healthy and your income intact.

As a matter of fact - feel free to start your own business. Set up a table at the Super Wal-Mart (they understand the market dynamic) and sell your Knock-offs for $3.00 - and feel free to work with the local Hooters to "spice up the sales process".

Hey GSA - business lesson #1 - SEX SELLS!

Sure, we don't have Thin Mints (we have Thin Chins) nor do we have have Tag-a-Longs (we have Tag-a-Wongs), but you're going to save $2 a box -and you know what that means - MORE COOKIES! As we all know, Americans need more cookies.

Another thing - we have decided to actually put more cookies than packaging in our boxes - something the GSA has yet to understand. Honestly - $4 for a box of Somosa's with only 12 cookies inside? Our Shanghai knock-offs have 22 cookies in every box.

The battle lines have been drawn - the Girls Scouts are going down. They've had a good run, but you can't stand in the way of capitalism.

Now, about that Labor Day Telethon scam........

That's all I have to say about that.

Great Clip 'O The Day - Arrested Development