Friday, June 27, 2014

The Dog Ate My Homework, and also my Backup Homework…

Although I certainly missed my share of homework assignments throughout my unspectacular journey through higher education, I never had the nerve to use the above-mentioned as an excuse for not turning an assignment in.

First off we never had a dog, only a small cat and the thought of her choking down a spiral notebook could only be envisioned with the aid of some choice pharmaceuticals.

Although admittedly after blowing off an English paper in 11th grade, I once used an old ace bandage I found in my father’s closet, wrapped it around my writing hand rather professionally and claimed that it was rendered useless after an unsuccessful slide into home plate.

For those keeping score at home, my teacher didn’t quite believe me and requested a note from a certified orthopedist, which to no one’s surprise, I failed to produce.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Where was this when I was taking statistics?

During one broiling Arizona summer (is there any other kind?) I spent three days a week and two hours each of those days taking a course in graduate statistics during a brief matriculation at the University of Arizona. 

In between immersion in such concepts as binomial distributions and interquartile ranges, I wondered how I was going to slog through six hours of this on a weekly basis when all I really wanted to do was lounge by the school’s Olympic-sized pool and watch the women’s synchronized swimming team practice.

For those keeping score at home, I miraculously managed to secure a B+, by far the best I’ve ever achieved in any course (high school or college) that had to do with numbers. 

Friday, June 20, 2014

All This Technology and You Can’t Find My Order?

Years ago, I was at the historic Algonquin Hotel in New York and happened encounter famed novelist John Updike. His reputation obviously preceded him, penning such edgy tomes as “Couples” and the “Rabbit” series, but it was his 1960 magazine piece on the last at bat by Red Sox legend Ted Williams that remains one of my perennial favorites. And bypassing my usual credo of never bothering celebrities proceeded to tell him so.

He politely thanked me and moved along. When his biography became available on Amazon I quickly ordered it and sadly, after weeks and weeks of waiting, it never came. Back and forth correspondence ensued and the bottom line was that to this day, I am sans the Updike bio. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

No Bad Questions?

Years ago, one of the icons of satirical publishing, Mad Magazine, used to put forth an annual guide titled “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions.” It was an often laugh out loud tome on snarky responses to questions whose answers were painfully obvious.

Years later, comedian Bill Engvall delighted audiences with a sort of similar routine “Here’s Your Sign,” whereupon his contention was that people who ask asinine question should be forced to wear a sign around their neck that simply reads, “I’m stupid.”

Case in point: A man pulls up to a smoking car stopped on the side of the road.

“Is your car on fire?”

Owner: “No every half hour we just have to pull over so it can take a cigarette break.”

At our company we have been applying an oft-used axiom for a number of years now and it simply states, “there are no bad questions.”

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Worst CPA?

The late comedian David Brenner used to perform this routine he called “the worst doctor.”

He would contend that of all the people allowed to practice medicine in the U.S., it would stand to reason there had to be one person who was the worst doctor in the country.

And he would then continue the gag by imagining himself and others as patients who were being treated by the worst doctor. I would certainly hope that nobody has had the misfortune of having the worst doctor as his or her primary care physician, especially with the rollout of Obamacare. That alone would jump-start a whole other comedic routine about the worst IT people, and their Dilbert-like supervisors leading up to the Oval Office.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

You Get Paid To Do What?

There used to be this shopworn cliché that circulated throughout the business world about consultants and it goes something like this: A consultant is someone who glances at your watch and then charges you to tell the time.

I may have ad-libbed a bit but you get my drift. Detractors insist we charge for things you can do yourself.

Actually that line is about as old as “do you come here often?” (Which, incredibly, was once asked of me at a smoky lounge in Las Vegas when in full disclosure, it was much closer to sunrise than sunset).

But that’s fodder for a future column.