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28 March 2008

Bump in the Night...

The Easter Chocolate is all gone,
The upcoming holidays are few to be found;
What is there left to look forward to?
What's out there to make us not frown?

Your fears are unfounded dear reader,
There's no reason yet to quake;
For tomorrow night around the world,
Begins Earth Hour 2008.

At 8 pm wherever you are,
Turn out the lights and become a miser;
Organizers say it will save energy,
And for you there's a reason that's even wiser.

This month also marks an anniversary,
Of a breakthrough male blue pill;
Yep, Viagra debuted 10 years ago,
And gave Jack a new reason to go up the hill.

So if you find a need to use such an aid,
Then tomorrow is a blessing times two;
The lights will be out and the mood will be right,
Then you and yours can act liked caged animals in a zoo.

Enjoy your weekend !!

26 March 2008

What's in the Bag, Sir?

"Union officials ... say a ... supervisor tried to cut down on lengthy bathroom breaks by telling workmen to use disposable urinal bags in the field."

Work smarter not harder right?

As one who has, um, tinkled in utilized more than my share of empty Gatorade bottles (wide mouth dontchaknow), coffee cans and the like, I have often wished for such a clever device.

"The manager distributed the bags to 25 male field technicians, telling them not to waste time leaving a job site to search for a public bathroom..."

Now this reportedly occurred in the mountains of Colorado. Let's picture this: male, field technicians working in a "sparsely populated area" in the majestic Rockie Mountains...and not being comfortable whizzing outdoors? Yeah right. Letmetellya, peeing outdoors is as close to a spiritual male rite as having our first beer. It is primal, it connects us to nature and yes, it serves a biological need to celebrate our uniquely male efficiency at performing #1.

Most readers already have this nailed. Can't you just hear it now: 'Boss, I gotta pee. Be back later, after I drive around for a couple of hours looking for a flush toilet that smells like lavender - in this sparsely populated area. And while I'm gone, I'll be stopping in to see my gomatta, then picking up a 72 oz Big Gulp for me and each of the boys so we can repeat the process again as soon as I get back. Please forgive the fact that when I applied for a job as a field technician that I didn't think that it actually meant I had to work my days in the field.'


"We deal with a lot of silliness in corporate America, but you've got to admit, it takes the freakin' cake," says the head duck union dude.

Actually, he's half right. There is a lot of silliness in corporate America but us independent thinkers don't have to admit that this was one of those examples, regardless how far out it sounds. The silliness to me is a union defending the right of its member to suck the productivity from its employer under the guise of having to go to the loo.

The company that makes the pee bags, American Innotek, has been doing so for 20 years and they started coincidentally with the same industry (utility) that is the subject of this story. Perhaps even the union spokesman dude used one or two. American Innotek also provides portable rest stop bags and related products for the military, emergency services and even distributed 2.5 million of them in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. There is clearly a demand AND a supply.

Just wait until the teenagers find a way to light them on fire and then the paper bag will be out of business....

There now, didn't you miss my high brow topics? :)

And so you're thinking, Mike has been gone for nearly 2 weeks writing this piece of, uh, literature? Not exactly, I pulled it from the pile of plainly preposterous news stories I have read recently. After 108 straight days of blogging, I wanted to see what it felt like to not post every day. Don't fret, I have plenty more to say so please stay tuned....

Now is another great opportunity to grab your Daddios Daily Dose FEED so that when a new post is posted, you will notified via the free method of your choice. Check out the Feed Me! link on the right panel.

12 March 2008


Common sense is under attack again.

Seems that in Chicago-land, a suburban housewife parked in a loading/unloading zone, left her 2 year old in the car, left the vehicle with her other children to donate some coins to the Salvation Army kettle and took a few gratuitous picture of the kid's making the donation.

The whole episode allegedly took no longer than a few minutes and the Mommy was allegedly never more than a few yards from her vehicle where her 2 year old was reportedly left unattended.

The local police Community Service Officer (assumedly a civilian employee of the police hired to ferret out low level crimes) came upon the scene and confronted the mom. An argument ensued. The CSO called a bona fide police officer. The mom reportedly became belligerent and would not cooperate with the police officer. Hello matching stainless bracelets (handcuffs).

She is now awaiting trial for child endangerment and obstructing a peace officer.

Jim Croce used to have a song about not "pulling on Superman's cape, don't pee in the wind, don't pull the mask off of the Lone Ranger.....and don't piss off the police (also know as P.O.P.)" Okay, Croce didn't sing the last one, but he sure should have. You see, P.O.P. is usually an instant ride to the jailhouse in most places.

We vote for elected officials to represent us. We vote for judges. We vote for District and County Attorney's. Collectively, we citizens have decided that we want to live in a lawful, civilized and humane place. In order for that wish to be carried out, our cities and county's hire law enforcement officers to enforce the very laws that we asked our elected officials to write.

So for example when a couple gets into a domestic disturbance that gets elevated to the point where the police are called, most departments require that one of the two goes to jail in order to forcibly separate the two combatants. Regardless of how super special or cooperative or apologetic the two domestic partners are after the fight, the responding officer would be in violation of his or her job duties if they didn't transport at least one of them to a cell to cool off. Yet the police are often the brunt of criticism for 'arresting' that harmless housewife or apologetic husband after they had a fight.

Isn't that a bit hypocritical to elect people to write laws and hire police to enforce them...and then blame the police for doing their job? Discretion in police work is a slippy-er slope than in many jobs because if they guess wrong and somebody ends up killed or injured, the public's trust is eroded and the system is damaged. It is therefore safer to err on the side of caution. They don't call it "Protecting and Serving" for nothing, dontcha know?

So back to Chicago-land. The mother in question created this scenario, not the police. She left her child in the car and she flipped her lid when the police came to sort it out. Not being there makes it difficult at best to know exactly how much endangerment was involved in the child endangerment claim. However, I suspect that while her judgment could have been better, perhaps it had not crossed into a criminal nature until she decided to pull rank on the police trying to do their job.

Like our friends in the recent chicken and the egg story, a little bit of attitude and a sprinkle of entitlement can earn one a pretty painful dose of push back. In this case, a possible 1 year jail sentence.

Is this story really about child endangerment or is it really about the way the 'suspect' chose to respond to her accuser?

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07 March 2008

Deal's Management Law

Deal's Management Law -- Bad management drives out good.

Taken to a more descriptive level, Bad Management drives out good people, innovation, productivity and ultimately profits. Yet astonishingly, may organizations are blind to this and place bad managers in a position to do grievous harm. And those bad managers don't disappoint do they?

In our earlier discussion about harpooning the whale, we mentioned some of those bad managers in the context of being arrogant driven, harpoon worthy buffoons. We'll wait while some of you go read it and get caught up.


40% of respondents to a recent survey in Europe cited "Bad Management" as the issue that makes them the most angry with their job. Even if you take out the perpetually unhappy employee, there is still a considerable number of folks who are negatively influenced by crappy managers. By any measure, angry employees are not a good thing. Just ask the postal service.

In 2007, Florida State University conducted a more comprehensive study, which corroborated the European findings and discovered virtually the same level of discontent due to to poor management.

According to their research, 40% of employees believe that they work for bad bosses. Broken down further:

39% said their managers failed to keep promises.
37% said their bosses did not give them the credit they deserved.
31% indicated their supervisor gave them "the silent treatment."
27% reported negative comments from their management.
24% claimed their bosses invaded their privacy.
23% stated that their supervisor blamed them or other workers to cover up personal mistakes.

The first statistic to me is the most troubling. Lacking grace, civility and even humility can be corrected with enough patience, leadership and training. But making a promise and not keeping it is a trust issue, plain and simple. And without trust, you have nothing. It is a miracle some of these companies even exist!

I recall a supervisor who would ask us each year what we wanted to accomplish that next year, both personally and professionally. In retrospect, he was merely citing that approach from his Manager 101 book since we all became highly invested in our goals, thinking that we might actually achieve something noteworthy to every one's benefit. But alas, it was not be. He did not fund any of our initiatives, did not follow up with any of our requests and did not share credit for any noteworthy accomplishment we produced in spite of him. And there was never another word that came out of his mouth that was trusted...

So if, according to Deal, Bad Management is against the law (Deal's Law anyway), why can't bad managers be charged with a crime and then punished?

04 March 2008

Can You Hear Me Now?

Can You Hear Me Now?

The sticky and annoying wireless company catch phrase. But effective in boiling down our primary goal of using the telephone, yes?

Once upon a time, we were doing some work for a wireless carrier back in the days when phones were analog, the phones were as big as a hoagie and the usage time was .35 cents per minute or more. Remember that? Nobody that paid for their own cell bill loitered on the phone the way people do now. And boy, do they now.

Back then, statistically, empirically and historically people chatting on the phone ad nauseum were likely using a cloned phone - which was illegal. So we had some nifty gadgets to legally listen in on the cellular airwaves, browsing if you will, for conversations that took on a lolly gagging type-feel. We could verify our hunch with some other nifty gadgets and then effect a, uh, service interruption of the people in possession of the cloned phone. We knew what we were doing, people with cloned phones were in danger of arrest, search and seizure; and people without cloned phones were not. There was no time, no interest and no motive to voyeuristically listen to and investigative calls that did not meet our criteria and end-of-game objective.

Oh and by the way, some very, very bad people used cloned phones to coordinate some very, very bad crimes. Stopping them required creativity, resolve and yes, an occasional invasion of privacy. The result (people still do like results don't they??) was Us=1, Bad Guys=0.

A lot has changed since then...or has it?

Let us remember folks, that there is a difference between information and intelligence. People talking is information. Suspects talking about certain things could be usable intelligence. Since most of us I presume are in the first category of conversation, we don't merit a glance, a file or a flag. But if you are in the second category of conversation, then yes, you should be pissed about the allegedly widespread privacy invasion because you will likely get snared. So go ahead and complain, it will make the search for you even easier. :)

We enjoy our Freedoms and we enjoy our Liberty. Heck, we have been singing about those since kindergarten. But evil is knocking at the door.

Are we willing to allow our intelligence gatherers to do their work to keep evil at bay? Or do we maintain a death grip on our privacy and demand our right to talk privately about our grocery list while the crooks are planning their next caper under the same absolute protections?

RRRRiiiinnnngg......anybody gonna answer that?

02 March 2008

Memories....Part 2

Hindsight is what again?

Oversight is most often a good thing. However, misuse of that oversight by committing political sabotage is just plain absurd. Especially by self appointed pundits whose only Intelligence gathering experience is when they helped plan a panty-raid while in college.

A woman who used to work for me was the queen of the clever one liners. One that stuck with me was "If you lay with dog, you rise with flea".

In the dirty business of intelligence gathering (which is more refined and useful than mere information gathering by the way), our government's ability to know what the fleas are doing is critical. And so our government agents must lie with some dirty dogs to get a bead on the fleas.

While it would be convenient, clean and cocktail-party-discussion-worthy to get our Flea intelligence by reading the New York Times (who is one of the greatest saboteurs of government counter intelligence by the way), it just doesn't work that way.

There are people that wish to do harm to the American way of life. Their wish extends beyond President Bush, extends beyond previous presidents and extends beyond future presidents. As long as there are Americans doing what Americans do (living large, buying gas, marrying whomever/whenever, practicing religion freely, watching Jeopardy, etc.) then there will be people intending us harm. History is filled with these facts.

Politicizing or obscuring those facts for political gain helps no one. And when our sovereign soil is attacked again, innocent people from all political persuasions will be affected, regardless of who is in office and regardless of who they voted for.

Be sure to tune in for the upcoming post entitled "Can You Hear Me Now?" about America's misplaced obsession with the issue of Domestic Spying.

Golly, what will he talk about next? Well, don't fret, just get your Feed and never miss another post. Go to the Feed Me! label on the right panel and pick your preferred, free method of delivery.