Monday, December 22, 2008

The Two Bobs: Dilbert on Consultants and HR

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Classical Chinese poem turns out to be a strip club ad on the cover of a scientific research journal...

Heard on NPR's Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, which by the way is one of my favorite programs, and had to check it out... Hilarious.
Max Planck Institute, one of Germany's top scientific institutions, wanted a picture of Classical Chinese poem in classical script on the cover of their special China-focused edition, so what did they do? They found apparently an advertisement of a strip club, promoting the special engagement of a pretty young thing, promising to deliver a scintillating performance with her voluptuous figure...
They cannot find Chinese in Germany? No Chinese restaurants in Germany?

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The good old "Good Samaritan Law" about to be overturned...

I love California, in general. I love the people there. Liberals. Warm-hearted. Open-minded. Willing to listen to different opinions and considering uncommon alternatives. Thus go the stereotypes. But this is taking the liberal spirit a bit too far.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that good Samaritans can be sued for not being careful when they try to help a victim in an emergency. The case centers on a woman who is suing her co-worker who "dragged" her out of the crashed vehicle like a "rag doll", causing permanent damage to her spinal cord. I feel for the victim, I do. But there will be huge ramification to the society as a whole if we ever allow a rescuer with honest good intentions to ever be sued for trying to save someone else's life.

The Good Samaritan laws, or "The Good Samaritan Doctrine" as it is legally known, is a legal principle that prevents a rescuer who has voluntarily helped a victim in distress from being successfully sued for "wrongdoing". Its purpose is to keep people from being so reluctant to help a stranger in need for fear of legal repercussions if they made some mistake in treatment.

This is insane. So now we have to tell our kids: Yes, of course, if you see someone in danger, you are going to try and help them out. BUT, NOT before you obtain their permission for saving their life first. Actually, that's not good enough, because it could become a "You said, s/he said scenario." You should have them write down their permission and sign before you save their life...

How ridiculous does this sound? The scene from the movie Hancock comes to mind:

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Promise: last post about Dr. Maddow this week...

Follow Rachel Maddow on Twitter!

Oh, oh, oh, and watch this old clip (from before we all fell in love with her) showing Maddow's commentary on John Bolton, dubbed as the Worst Diplomat, ever. Brilliantly funny!

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Confession time: I have a crush on Rachel Maddow...

and I am not gay!

I think the crush is the kind that you have for an extremely intelligent and articulate person who you know you will never be able to win a debate against, so you simply capitulate and give her all your admiration, starry eyes and all.

So far, I have only seen her shows twice since we do not have cable at home. Now I want it!! Or, I can manage to travel more frequently so I can watch her show while eating a quart of ice cream in the hotel room. (Shhh, don't tell my kids!) I have never seen a cable news show where I laugh out loud almost through the entire show. He wry sense of humor is superb. Simply divine.

It is so strange: I have never even heard of her before until one day, she was a guest on Conan O'Brien. (Conan is another one of my favorites, deceivingly simple and anti-intellectual, yet I believe that there are lots of well-functioning brain cells under that coif of his...) Even just chit chatting, she exudes intellect, wittiness, and grace. (I know, "grace" is an odd word of choice to describe a butch lesbian... But that's exactly the word came to mind when I saw her...)

Am I gushing?

But she also decidedly has that "girl next door" charm. Only that girl has a Doctorate from Oxford and is extremely well versed in world politics and any cultural subject you can throw her way, that you just want to shut up and listen to her, and be entertained.

Below are some of my favorite parts from the New York Magazine article on her published this November:

This well-written article started with Dr. Maddow's 12-second explanation of what Dadaism is to the cable audience (as she was trying to make an analogy between Dadaism and McCain's fixation on Joe the Plumber. Try that at home, I dare you!)

Ever heard of something called Dada?”

Rachel Maddow is trying to make an analogy. It’s mid-October, two weeks before the election, and the MSNBC host is comparing the McCain campaign’s recent fixation on “Joe the Plumber” to the anti-bourgeois cultural movement of the early-twentieth century. But this is prime time, and Maddow first has to define Dadaism in as colloquial a way as possible. This is something of a challenge considering she only has about twelve seconds.

“Deliberately being irrational, rejecting standard assumptions about beauty or organization or logic,” she begins. “It’s an anti-aesthetic statement about the lameness of the status quo … kind of?” She twists her face into a cartoon grimace that morphs into a wide smile. “Why am I trying to explain Dadaism on a cable news show thirteen days from this big, giant, historic, crazy, important election that we’re about to have?” she asks with a self-deprecating laugh, as she recognizes the Dadaishness of her own quest. “Because that’s what I found myself Googling today, in search of a way to make sense of the latest McCain-Palin campaign ad!”

As I was trying to figure out WHY I immediately gravitated towards her show, New York explains on my behalf:

"There’s something about the mix of personal details that is—to a young, educated, left-leaning, cosmopolitan audience—instantly recognizable. As one New York acolyte told me, “She is more like one of my friends than anyone else on television.” And her ratings have been astounding, especially in the coveted 25-to-54-year-old demographic. Maddow averaged a higher rating with that group than Larry King Live for thirteen of the first 25 nights she was on the air, enabling the network to out-rate CNN in that time slot for the first time. It’s an impressive feat, even given the fact that the show started two months before the election when political interest was at a fever pitch."

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Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sexism at work. What sexism?

I work for a software company, and needless to say, most of the female employees work in HR (all female), Accounting (one male), and Administration (all female). I work in the business strategy arm of the company, needless to say, most of the time I am the only woman at the meetings.

Let me not start with how many meetings at which the speaker refused to look at me when he talked. (yes, I can use "he" here since it always is a he). Hey, I can play the game. I am using my feminine wiles to maneuver around the labyrinth of testosterone and survive in the man's world. Oh, yeah. I know how that works, and I have resolved never to accuse anybody or any company of being sexist. Come on. We are in the 21st century, are we not??

What sets me off, right at this moment, is the fact that somebody just asked me to "coordinate" a meeting to have the product team update the sales people. Or did he use "arrange"? What other verb can I use to make this task, say, less secretar-y? Strategize?

"Please strategize how we may bring the two parties together and create some synergy between the product and the marketing sides."

How does that sound? I am so good at B-S, I must say.

Of course this is not the first time this person has asked me to "strategize" the same meeting. Finally I grew some balls today (Thanks, Hillary! Or, rather, thanks, Amy Pohler on SNL) and asked him, "This sounds like meeting scheduling to me. Couldn't you ask one of the admins to do it?" He looked at me, in all seriousness, and said, "No. This job takes more than an admin. I need you to persuade people to participate in this meeting."

What am I? A sheepdog?

I dare anybody in this company to ask the men on my team to do any of the shit jobs I have been assigned to!

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