Monday, July 30, 2007

Hollywood Box Office Trends

I can't really understand why Hollywood isn't more concerned at the alarming rate at which movie life-spans are shrinking. Seems if you don't catch a movie the first week or two it comes out, you can't see it on the big screen at all. I've been meaning to see Spider-Man 3 but it hasn't been playing at a decent outlet in weeks even though it only came out in May. Even a movie like Transformers or Die Hard 4 is hard to find now.

I understand the argument that Hollywood now makes more money on DVD sales than theatrical release, but all things being equal, wouldn't the studios want to extend the time and amount of money they make from each channel of distribution? Whatever happened to a movie with "legs"?

The hard part is that I think the opening weekend numbers have become a signaling device that audiences assume correlates to how good a movie is. Anyone who has tried to sit through Miami Vice will attest that this method doesn't always work.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Worst TV Show EVER

I was at the gym earlier this evening when I happened upon the worst TV show EVER! Seriously, this show should be banned. I'm absolutely certain this show has more negative and corrupting influence over kids than rap music or TV voilence ever will. So there's this show on MTV called My Super Sweet Sixteen or something similarly stupid. Basically, the entire show highlights these little spoiled brats getting these ridiculous sixteenth birthday parties. Who was the brains behind this one? Seriously, as bad as the show sounds, it's worse.

With crap like this on the air, I guess I can understand why Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan are so popular....

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Time Shares?

I've had a few interactions with folks in the time share industry while working out here in Vegas. The cost of sales for a time share a ASTRONOMICAL. These guys pay top dollar on everything from free rooms to meals and entertainment to lure customers into hearing the sales pitch and ultimately buying a share. I would have thought that everybody is well aware that time shares are a horrible investment and moreover a complete rip-off. I mean, why else would anyone give you so much just to listen to the sales pitch? The profitability must be huge (which equals "RIP OFF"). Yet, time shares in Vegas are thriving! Who are you people buying these things?

Also, if you are going to listen to the sales pitch, you should try to demand much more than free show tickets. Some operators will actually give you as much as 2 nights accommodations with meals in addition to the show tickets just to sit through the time share presentation.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

New 7 Wonders

So the New 7 Wonders have been announced and they are:

I've been to the first five on this list but not the last two. Personally, this is not the list I would have chosen. Here's my list of the New 7 Wonders (which disqualifies the great pyramid of Giza since it's one of the original 7 wonders):

Of these sites, I've been to the first six. In looking over my choices, I realize that I have a bias toward ancient feats of engineering. The youngest structure on my list was built over 500 hundred years ago (Machu Picchu) and gets the nod for its unbelievable location. Perhaps it was the 3 day hike to get there but Machu Picchu is easily one of the most spectacular sites I've ever seen. Here's my list of runner-ups and why they didn't make the cut. Interestingly enough, I haven't been to any of these sites. Perhaps they'd make the cut if I actually saw them:

Close calls (spectacular, but not spectacular enough)
Petra, Jordan
Timbuktu, Mali
Bet Giorgis, Ethiopia
Golconda Fort, India
Samarkand, Uzbekistan

Too Recent:
Taj Mahal, India

Too Primative:
Easter Island
Nazca Lines

Great Zimbabwe

Man, I'm getting itchy feet....

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Importance of Industry on Job Satisfaction

I've never placed too much emphasis on which industry to work in. I guess it comes from my ADD nature and knowledge that I'd eventually get bored with any industry I target. That being said, I think there are two very important considerations for selecting an industry.

First, you've got to have some core ability to succeed in your industry of choice. Unless you're a technophile or electrical engineer, working in high tech probably isn't the best choice for you.

Second, and more important, you've got to like the type of person who is also attracted to the industry. I never really thought about this aspect of job selection in the past but have come to appreciate it more lately. I've found that different industries attract different types of people. I think working an in industry where you like your peers really helps with job satisfaction, particularly for workaholics such as myself.

Agree? Disagree?

Monday, June 25, 2007

New Theory on Fertility Drug Usage

I was talking to a friend about the prevalence of peers using fertility drugs or seeking invitro fertilization. I was quite frankly shocked that healthy, successful people in their early thirties are having difficulties conceiving. Her theory was that some of these over-achievers may simply be overly anxious and impatient about having a child. In thinking about it more, I think her theory makes more sense than anything I came up with.

So are you people just impatient or is there something else going on here which is adversely affecting fertility?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Jury Duty Awaits

In case you're wondering, if you don't respond to Jury Duty summons, they just send you another one. If you don't respond to the next two, then they get serious and send you a very threatening note informing you that you have one last chance to report to jury duty before they send the cops after you.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Who's Ringo?

Alright --

All this time I thought "Ringo" was my friend Tyler, but Tyler just left a few messages using his own name. So who are you "Ringo"?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Genius of Jack Welch

I love what I've read about Jack Welch's management philosephies. He make a heck of a lot of sense with some pretty straightforward ideas such as the importance of candor within an organization. One of his lessor discussed tennants has to do with celebrating successess. Although he doesn't emphasize this pricipal too much, I have found it to be very important. Rather, I have experienced the consequences of failing to do so first hand.

The main drawback of not sufficiently celebrating successes is that it kills employee morale. I'm not talking about the promoting flowery, "Hey, isn't this a great place to work!" morale. I'm talking about avoiding the "That isn't my job!" mentality. When you don't celebrate success, there's no incentive for people to stick their neck out and put extra effort into their daily jobs. Sales people side with their customers on the margin. Marketing departments run promotions during peak times when their assured success, ironically when the marginal effect of marketing dollars is lower. Employees start leaving at the stroke of 5:00 PM. I wouldn't be surprised if expense accounts slowly creep up as well.

This problem can be very easily overcome by simply remembering to celebrate successes, no matter now small.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Elementary School Teachers

A completely haphazard memory came to me this morning. I distinctly recall being repeatedly reprimanded as a child by my elementary school teachers for the same offense. Anyone who knows me can probably guess what that was.

I talked to much during class.

Even to this day I'm not quite sure why this was such a crime. I was undoubtedly bored out of my mind by the banal teachings in class. Additionally, the oratory and socialization skills I was developing have been FAR more valuable to me than any possible lesson about... to tell you the truth, I don't even remember what sort of crap they were trying to teach me in elementary school because I was too busy trying to talk to my friends during class! Interestingly enough, by the time I reached graduate school, these very traits I was chastised for became the basis for academic success.

Seems to me that there's a serious disconnect in our primary education system. The students just want to be engaged and the teachers just want to get through the day. Unfortunately, most students probably find playing and goofing off to be more engaging than the teachers' lesson plans.

For that matter, aside from indoctrination, why do school mandate certain works as "required" reading? Why is Shakespeare so important? Heck, it's not even written in modern English! If a kid wants to read Black Hawk Down or Moneyball (two of my favorite books) instead, why not let him or her? I'd argue that those two books are more relevant to today's world than some story about some murdering playboy and his little hoochie mamma (Romeo and Juliette).

That it, I'm home-schooling my children.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Pet Peeve of the Day

What's up with people who have administrative assistants answer their phone but don't provide them with any information like when a better time to call back would be? If you're going to have someone answer you phone, at least equip them with some information. Why the heck don't you just have me roll straight into voice mail away?

Quote of the Day

I love this quote:
"I'm a very well-educated, successful, intelligent person," he told the paper. "This is insane to me that I have an armed guard outside my door when I've cooperated with everything other than the whole solitary-confinement-in-Italy thing."

Click here to read the entire article. I find it ironic how this moron proves my point about the U.S. health care system being better than anywhere else.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

My Plan for Universal Heath Care

Rather than just come out with some half-baked idea about increasing income tax to the rich and forcing businesses to pay more medical coverage, I have an extremely actionable and inexpensive plan to provide for universal health care coverage.

Step 1: Tax the crap out of unhealthy behavior. Whatever the tax on on cigarettes and alcohol is, freakin' quadruple it. Institute a new tax on trans-fat or whatever it is in junk/fast-food that makes people obese. In fact, just institute a new tax based on body mass.

Step 2: Tax the crap out of polluting businesses, especially fossil fuel burning companies. I think government is missing out on a HUGE opportunity to both increase revenues and do something good for the environment by not taking action here. Pollution is a sizeable negative externality that government should try to curb. I cringe every time the news reports the number of deaths from a cold front and people rally for the government to subsidize heating oil costs. Why don't these people just wear more clothes in their homes? And where are all the Greenpeace folks then?

Step 3: Build more parks and playgrounds. Gym membership fees are outrageous. A little jog path with a few pull-up bars works just as well. We just need more of them.

Step 4: Ban American Idol. Is there a more effective way to get people off their couches and exercising more?

Step 5: Sponsor more beauty pageants. Feminists always talk about the evils of women with poor self-image and all the eating disorders the media causes. Simple solution here is to promote a healthier definition of beauty. A little government propaganda could go a far way here.

All kidding aside, I think the key here is for people to take more responsibility for their own health and stop thinking that government can effectively provide health care for the population. And before anyone points out that many other countries do in fact have universal health care, ask yourself this: If you were ill, which country would you go to seek treatment?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Unsolicited Resume Advice

I've been noticing a strange trend lately. More often than not, I've been seeing resumes which are longer than one page. I'm not talking about full CVs that headhunters send which are understandably longer. I'm talking about good old-fashioned "hey, I'm responding to your job posting" resumes. I've always felt that the purpose of the resume is to get you an in-person (not on the phone) interview. The resume only needs to get the perspective employer interested enough to talk to you and doesn't need to list each and every merit badge you earned while in the Boy Scouts. As such, one page should suffice. And if you simply can't squeeze everything into one page, there's nothing wrong with 10 point font.

That being said, nothing will ever come close to matching the three-page resume I saw while working in Alabama last year that listed "skills" such as "The ability to hear a sound and discern from which location it came" and "The ability to see what is happening to one's side while one's eyes are focused forward." I'm not sure what's sadder: the guy's resume or the fact that I actually spent an hour interviewing him.

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