Friday, March 29, 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Bucket List

A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he had to get started on his bucket list right away. This alarmed me, until I realized that he was taking orders for a run to KFC.

Of course, normally “bucket list” refers to that list of things, however outlandish, that you feel you must do before you … kick the bucket. The name comes from the movie “The Bucket List,” starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. (Subtitle: Two old actors between ‘Batman’ movies.)

I think it’s always a good idea to be prepared for the inevitable. Personally, I keep my bucket list pretty short:

1) Become a billionaire.
2) Spend it in all sorts of extravagant, self-indulgent ways.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of assuming I would accomplish these in order. I’m sorry to report that progress on goal #2 has outpaced progress on #1.

A lot.

But maybe it’s time to rethink the whole idea. In a way, it’s kind of like that game where you have to think of what you’d wish for if you had three wishes. Does anyone not wish for more wishes? So can that concept be applied to a bucket list?

Well, the first thing on the list could be to find a cure for whatever’s doing you in. But the bucket list is supposed to consist of things you can actually accomplish. So unless you’re a genius medical researcher, that’s probably a non-starter.

Of course, the only reason Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman accomplished anything (Oh … spoiler alert!) is that Nicholson’s character was a billionaire. Hence my item 1.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Monday, March 18, 2013

Google's Beliefs

1. Focus on the user and all else will follow.
2. It's best to do one thing really, really well Google products currently include: Web search, Chrome browser, Chrome operating system, Android operating system, Nexus phones and tablets, Sketch-up 3D design app, Picasa photo app and Web gallery, Maps, News, Books, Play Store, Earth, Drive, Calendar, Voice, Talk, Cloud Print, GMail, Sites, Translate, Wallet, Google+, Groups, Blogger, Orkut, Shopping, Code, YouTube!, among others.
3. Fast is better than slow.
4. Democracy on the web works.
5. You don't need to be at your desk to need an answer.
6. You can make money without doing evil.
7. There's always more information out there.
8. The need for information crosses all borders.
9. You can be serious without a suit.
10. Great just isn't good enough.

See Beliefs for more on Google's philosophy.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

How to Make a Living Being a Jerk

So the question is whether the title implies you can make a living by being a jerk, or merely while at the same time being a jerk. It’s an important distinction. Donald Trump has certainly made a living while being a jerk. But does he make a living by being a jerk? Does his income derive, at least partly, from his jerkiness? Charlie Sheen was fired from his day job for being a jerk, but has managed to use his jerkitude to launch a new career. Mel Gibson, by contrast, managed to integrate his jerkosity into his film career.

This goes right to the question of what celebrity is, because a celebrity is someone who is the product. They get paid just to be themselves in various contexts … talk shows, public appearances, etc. All they’ve got to do is show up. (Of course, many also try to do something self-aggrandizing at each event to maintain their celebrity status.)

Donald Trump originally made a living by investing in real estate. Now all he has to do is be himself and money rolls in. Charlie Sheen only had to be born to be a celebrity, but now he clearly supplements his income and reputation by being a jerk. And Mel Gibson? Well, he's just a very successful jerk.

So what does this mean for the rest of us? Can we all enjoy the wealth and fame of celebrity jerks? It’s tempting to think so, but remember that for every one of these jerk superstars, there are millions of jerks who still have to go out and work for a living.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequester Day

Sequester Day
All my troubles seemed so far away.
Now I have to do without my pay.
That’s not okay.
Sequester Day.

I’m a victim of the G.O.P.
All my colleagues at the D.O.D.
Can’t seem to see a role for me.

Why I’m on furlough
I don't know.
It’s so unfair.
They blame deficits
But those twits
Don’t really ca-a-a-are.

Sequester Day.
But I still have all my bills to pay.
The election didn’t go their way
But still they made
Sequester Day.

Friday, March 1, 2013