The joke below has lain dormant on my Humor page for well over a decade now. No one knows who wrote it. No one remembers who sent it. There’ve always been several things wrong with it.

1) It’s too close to the truth.
2) There are too many variants of the joke, all kludged together by others trying to get more mileage out of a self-evident fact.
3) These days it seems more appropriate than ever.

Boat Race

The Americans and the Japanese decided to engage in a boat race. Both Teams
practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance levels. On the big
day they felt ready. The Japanese won by a mile.

The American team was discouraged by the loss. Morale sagged. Corporate
management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found,
so a consulting firm was hired to investigate the problem and recommend
corrective action.

The consultant’s finding: The Japanese team had eight people rowing and one
person steering; the American team had one person rowing and eight people

After a year of study and millions spent analyzing the problem, the
consultant firm concluded that too many people were steering and not enough
were rowing on the American team.

So as race day neared again the following year, the American team’s
Management structure was completely reorganized. The new structure: four
steering managers, three area steering managers, and a new performance
review system for the person rowing the boat to provide work incentive.

The next year, the Japanese won by TWO miles!!!

Humiliated, the American corporation laid off the rower for poor performance
and gave the managers a bonus for discovering the problem.

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Dear Abby (by Alex)

Gentle Reader, Alex is filling in today.

Dear Abby: My husband and I are having a disagreement … he has two children, ages 17 and 13, who live with their mother and stepfather. He always gives them generous gifts … (but) they never give my husband any gifts. — HAD IT

Dear Had It: THAT woman is obviously the source of all the problems in your otherwise lovely home life. She should serve hard time for the thoughtlessness of your stepchildren. As for them, they should be disinherited. In the future, your husband can get back into your good graces by lavishing expensive gifts on you instead, since you deserve them more than any one else.

Dear Abby: What is the proper reply to a business acquaintance who sends a notice, with pictures, announcing that he was married two weeks earlier? – ASKANCE

Dear Askance: How rude! You are perceptive in grasping that you should have been invited to a wedding, and in fact this deliberate slight must not be overlooked. Assert your moral authority. You should return this notice to the business acquaintance, with instructions to stick his notice where the sun don’t shine. If it was an e-mail notice, be sure to “Reply to All”, and “cc” Corporate as well.

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My Sunday Andy Rooney Moment

Sales types even have a name for it: “create a sense of urgency.” Don’t walk the prospect; close the sale. This means that when the prospective customer hears or sees your pitch, they need to made to realize that time is limited … this is the deal of the century; they NEED this offering, and they must act promptly!

The sales, advertising and marketing people are clever at this. You might think some people, paying big bucks to go to sales seminars to learn these rhetoric tricks, would have a sense of moral scruple about trying to convince you their product or service is the only game in town.
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Suitable for Framing

Suitable for Framing

As Jay Leno says so often, “Oh I know we’re WAY out of line, WAY out of line …”

But we received a mail solicitation the other day, from the Republican National Committee, for money. And we have no idea why. If this is how your campaign donation is being spent, the Republicans will lose in 2004. A free color glossy of Our Leader was included. It seemed such a shame to waste so fine a photo opportunity.

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News: Air Bags and Voluntarism

U.S. taking another shot at Mars with 2 spacecraft

Giant air bags will cushion landings

Republican, or Democrat?

Signs of SARS quarantine Bay Area man

He violated voluntary isolation order

Thta’s what we thought, too. Let that be a lesson to us: never violate a voluntary order.

Headline Source: San Francisco Chronicle, June 6, 2003
commentary: Alex Forbes
© June 6, 2003

Starting in October, tenants must volunteer 8 hours a month

Headline Source: “Public Housing Surprise”, San Francisco Chronicle, August 2, 2003. “Starting in October, a new federal law requires them to volunteer in the community eight hours each month or risk eviction.”

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Clock Radios For Troubled Times

“I’m so mad that I would write the Mayor a letter, if I could only write, if he could only read.” – Al Capp

We have one of those new clock radios that does almost everything.

It’s light, portable enough for travel, and it plays AM, FM and CD. For those who can figure out how to program it, it also offers built-in sound tracks for waterfalls, rain showers and a variety of natural sounds to sooth. The sound quality is good, and it’s reliable. It has a battery backup, which saves an hour of figuring out how to reset everything if the power goes out.

The function buttons are small and hard to read. Some of the programming function key sequences are diabolical. I keep the instructions in the nightstand drawer, folded upon to the page on “how to set the time”.
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Notes From Uncle Tubbs

Happy Fourth of July

USS Constitution

July 3


Hey, Nephew, how you been?

Charley Reese is the feller in the paper writes from down Florida way or somethin. He writes this piece, see, no this time it’s not against your gays or basic flag burners, its just for Decency, oh lessee, lemme think …

Oh yeah, Charlie says who the hell does your minority think it’s doin’ tellin’ the majority what to do?

He says SCHOOL PRAYER is free speech so it’s protected, and if you think for a minute Separation Of Church And State means the CONSTITUTION can ban school prayer, well, Charley sez: you’re just plain wrong. Actually, he says, the FIRST AMENDMENT just means the government can’t make its own official religion, he says only the Congress can do that …

I can’t keep track of all them amendments, but it sounds like Charley’s got a hold of the only end of a one-ended stick.
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