Posts filed under ‘Commentary’

Still Un-Managing

We made a decision some time ago to avoid too many political diatribes on these august (web)pages. I feel compelled to re-enter the fray this one time due to a recent occurrence that brings to mind President Obama’s poor managerial skills.

A friend of President Obama, prominent Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, was arrested when someone called 911 as he tried to enter his house without a key. He cried racism. Obama commented that he was unaware of the facts of the case, but believed the Cambridge Police acted “stupidly.”

Since then various law enforcement organizations have cried foul, many have vouched for the quality and effectiveness of the arresting officer, and the local district attorney has contemplated releasing recordings that could actually paint Gates in a very poor light if the arresting officer’s assertions are true.

This isn’t the first time that the President has waded into waters far too shallow for his situation. Since his initial poor statements he has made an effort to clarify, but it is still emblematic of his generally poor record on issues that are ultimately inconsequential to the office. I’d worry less if it wasn’t the first time, and I suspect it will not be the last.

July 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm 2 comments

No Lamentation Here?

The Croc Trend was lamented by lemare in this September 2007 post. I have good news for her, and bad news for many others.

Crocs, Inc. may be on its last legs.

According to the article linked above, aggressive expansion financed by debt has left the company in a very poor position to cope with the reduced demand of a recession AND the long-lasting nature of their product.

Thoughts? Please share below.

On a related/unrelated note I have a new favorite footwear item:

vibram_fivefingers_kso

July 16, 2009 at 4:44 pm 4 comments

The Lamentations of Lowry – Chapter 17: Wussification

One of my son’s favorite movies is The Incredibles. He fancies himself a speedster like Dash and loves to demonstrate how his little legs can move.

One of the themes in the film is how everyone loses when people are not allowed to be their best selves. It is a philosophical sibling in some ways to Atlas Shrugged.

The trend towards a toothless and bland populace may be traced back to the early 1980’s, with toys and films that affected an entire generation. From commentator Eric Snider

In the 1980s, the Care Bears were a major contributor to the wussification of America. Children who once roamed the streets barefoot, playing with broken glass and poking dogs with sticks, were now taught to share their feelings and to care about people. Fun cartoons like G.I. Joe reminded kids how satisfying it is to kill others; lame cartoons like The Care Bears said, “Let’s all sit around and talk about our hopes and dreams!” And what were the consequences? Everyone born since about 1975 thinks they’re “special” and “important” and “unique,” when in fact most of them are “ordinary” and “useless.” Thanks a heap, Care Bears.

Care Bears

The Care Bears Movie is a disturbing glimpse into an Orwellian future where caring reigns supreme and good old-fashioned misanthropy is forbidden. The Care Bears — emotionless, ambisexual drones who frolic nakedly in the clouds and giggle in a most unsettling fashion — rule Earth with an iron, furry fist, spying on citizens in a search for the slightest hint of uncaring. Each Care Bear is named according to its personality: Friend Bear, Cheer Bear, Tenderheart Bear, Pansy Bear, Wuss Bear, Big Fat Crybaby Bear, etc. There’s also the gloomy Grumpy Bear, who is clearly a genetic defect and must be looked upon with pity and loathing by the others of his species.

Much deep reflection is prompted by this pop culture cancer. It does make one wonder- What kind of bear would one be?

I hope none at all. Maybe the hunter who shoots the bear and makes a rug.

July 5, 2009 at 10:05 pm 2 comments

The Lamentations of Lowry – Chapter 16: Truth in Advertising

A woman sued Cap’n Crunch, or rather Quaker Oats, on the basis that Crunchberries are not actual fruit!

Awesome.

The blog I linked to has a fantastic line:

Judge England also noted another federal court had “previously rejected substantially similar claims directed against the packaging of Fruit Loops [sic] cereal, and brought by these same Plaintiff attorneys.”  He found that their attack on “Crunchberries” should fare no better than their prior claims that “Froot Loops” did not contain real froot.

I tried to grow a froot tree once.

On a similar note, this is an interesting article about the history of Grape Nuts, which are neither grape nor nuts. It’s actually…BREAD. Burned, dried, smashed bread. It makes you manly too.

Has Grape Nuts ever been sued as was the Cap’n? I don’t know, but in posing the question on Instapundit, Ann Althouse prompted this historical bit from Eugene Volokh. Coca-Cola was sued for not actually containing significant amounts of coca, as in the plant from which cocaine is derived. From the Circuit Court’s 1914 opinion:

‘The use of a compound name does not necessarily * * * indicate that the article to which the name is applied contains the substances whose names make up the compound. Thus, soda water contains no soda; the butternut contains no butter; cream of tartar contains no cream; nor milk of lime any milk. Grape fruit is not the fruit of the grape; nor is bread fruit the fruit of bread; the pineapple is foreign to both the pine and the apple; and the manufactured food known as Grape Nuts contains neither grapes nor nuts.‘ …

We conclude that the name Coca Cola as applied to plaintiff’s product, while undoubtedly suggestive, is not so substantially and really deceptive as to invalidate the registered mark.

It’s the pause that refreshes.

June 6, 2009 at 11:51 am 1 comment

Historical Blunders

A student teacher has to draw up an American history test for his tenth grade history students, focusing on post-World War II national events. He figures he will make it easy, seeing as how they’re just about to break for Memorial Day weekend.

Question #1: Name the intern who had inappropriate relations with President Bill Clinton in 1995.

This one stumps some of the students. What was that intern’s name?!!! One student writes, “Lebowski.” Student teacher laughs while he grades this test, but really enjoys the legendary response of “Martin Luther King, Jr.” What other conspiracy theories is this brilliant kid keeping from the United States? He certainly must know what goes down at Area 51.

martin-luther-king2big-lebowski

Question #9: Name the hippie music festival that took place in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.

Again, some kids are stumped. One girl in particular has no idea. She asks for help. Student Teacher says, “I’ll give you a clue. It starts with a ‘W’.” Girl rolls her eyes. “Okay, then an ‘o’ and another ‘o’, then a ‘d’. Girl’s eyes light up and she scribbles down, “Woodlog.” Student Teacher interjects and says, “Try again.” After thinking, she crosses out her first feeble attempt and confidently writes, “Woodshop.”

woodshop1

Woodshop vs. Woodstock (easily confusable!)

woodstock

Heaven help our teachers.

*Thanks, CJ, for the story!*

May 24, 2009 at 10:24 pm 2 comments

Staying Classy

On comedian Wanda Sykes stint at the White House Correspondent’s Dinner:

From Deadline Hollywood‘s Nikki Finke:

…I do think her overall performance was inappropriate for the room, and I say that as a liberal Democrat. Sykes herself was prescient when she began her performance with these remarks: “This is truly an honor to be here. It really is. I keep getting asked the same question, ‘Are you nervous? Are you nervous?’ With this administration, what is there to be nervous about? If I do a good job, I get great press. If I screw it up royally, Tim Geithner gives me a bonus.”

Mike Lupica from the New York Post also weighed in.

Isn’t the real issue here one of class? And not upper and lower class, but the class borne of consideration and self-respect.

But we’ve lost that. We’re not even trying, and the media doesn’t care enough to be fair. And society loses.

May 11, 2009 at 2:38 pm 1 comment

The Lamentations of Lowry – Chapter 15: A Requiem

This post truly is a lamentation. I lament the fall of greatness, a fall that seems premature given the potential already demonstrated by this man, Vince, the marketer of the marvelous ShamWow.

It is alleged that Vince, full name Vince Shlomi (Mazel tov!), was in a violent confrontation with a purported prostitute. After coming to terms on their arrangement it seems the woman bit Vince’s tongue and refused to let go. He hit her, many times as some pictures I won’t link to show, and he fled to the lobby of his posh South Beach hotel to summon security.

This is a most unsavory turn of events. Clearly Billy Mays now holds the high ground in the InfoWars.

What other shining stars have fallen ignominously due to ill-thought ventures?

Who makes your list of star-crossed personalities?

April 2, 2009 at 10:52 am 2 comments

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