We’re asking a lot of bees…

17 Dec

Did you know that colonies of bees are being pimped out across the nation? Neither did I. Apparently, we need bees to pollinate almond flowers during their critical (the almond that is) growing season. Because these large groves of sorts have been created to appease the great demand of the almond (I’m allergic, thus not at fault this time around), the “natural” bee colonies that reside within the groves are not prolific enough to pollinate the vast plantation. Bees are trucked in to the Central Valley of California from landmarks ranging from New England (it is too early to come up with a catchy colony-colony anecdote here) to Australia.

The article where this information was extracted from was a New York Times Magazine piece about sustainable agriculture. A lot of people are throwing the sustainable terminology around, but few have any idea what it means. Just like those lovely neo-hippies in our office who have placed a few recycling bins here and there and are apparently “going green”. Where was everyone when I was learning about the pros and cons of going the shade of Kermit? It is amazing that the discussions and commentaries that I used to read about the “cost of recycling” in terms of energy wasted reusing materials and washing dishes, as opposed to using disposable cups and trashing your comingles. I don’t know, maybe that’s just the world today…there’s a popular wave and you’re either hopping on for the ride, or going to get drowned underneath it. It’s weird, it’s like there’s a popular “counterculture”, which goes against everything that the counterculture is supposed to stand for. Sure, Willie Nelson is burning corn to fuel his tour bus…that’s great…no fossil fuels…awesome…so, um, where is this corn coming from? how much of this yummy indigestible vegetable will we have to produce to fuel a few cars? what is the impact on the soil (the always forgotten middle child of this equation) from all of this farming? Whatever, I digress…back to the article

So, I had done a little Philosophy project in college about the impact of careless fish farming on the environment. Here is the concise overview for the uninterested. We (well not like us, but the uh, royal we as the dude would say) create these fish farm-salmon in this case-to help prevent over-fishing of wildlife. Perfect, yes. Problem, yes. These fish, as attractive as it may be, naturally spawn or ya know get it on with each other. Problem, the fish are related…ya know, like fishy cousins (best case scenario) getting it on, and what happens is you get ‘handicapped’ fish. Ok, i didn’t want to say retarded, but that’s what in-breeding causes and that’s what happens. Do they taste different? No. So what’s the problem? These fish…have superhero-like jumping abilities…meaning they get out in the wild, and spawn with the wild salmon…thus genetically deforming their wild nooky mates. Problem. The bees cause a similar problem when they are trucked around the way that they are. They bring disease and other dangerous bacteria strains around with them wherever they go. These diseases and bacteria could prove very dangerous to our health.

Yea, we’re messing with nature, again, but what am I getting at? An interesting correlation between my day-to-day life and the bee article. We are increasingly (in the “business” world) looking for the quick fix…the speedy silver bullet for all of our problems. Instead of waiting for the bee colonies to develop naturally, we truck in the equivalent of migrant working bees. And, instead of researching the effects of having these foreign species in a different ecosystems, we research ways to squeeze more money out of the current model. Maybe we can ship bees via boat from China like everything else? Or somehow get interns to pollinate flowers? Ok, ok, I may be stretching a bit, but that is what clicked while I was reading the article. In the workplace, we are bringing in bodies…whatever it takes to meet the need. They can be untrained, immature, or just plain-ol out of place, but that is ok. As long as the monkeys keep the assembly line going nobody really cares. You are just inspector #3 at this point. The viruses that come along with you, both of the theoretical and medical nature, are of no concern to The Man. If you get sick, we’ll just toss you off the wagon Oregon Trail style. Awesome.

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What the Hell is Going on in New York???

11 Dec

Read solely the cover stories on DailyNews.com over the past couple of days and you will see…sh!t is getting real f&ck3d up, real fast! Kids video taping themselves beating up some pedestrian on the subway. Some dude out in Brooklyn recording real-life felonies and selling the DVDs online. The Knicks from top to bottom are just crap. The MTA is hiking fares again and everyone is going crazy. I am afraid. I am officially afraid. I was always naive enough to think that those videos of people fighting in sandpits, and girls fighting in the middle of a parking lot, and ridiculously under-aged girls dancing to “Miss New Booty” were all products of the Midwest. Stereotypical of me, yes…unprovoked, who knows. Nevertheless, something needs to happen.

Strangely enough, I believe this strongly correlates with my previous post and generation gaps. This generation-for argument’s sake the 12s to 19s/tweens and teens-is information hungry. These individuals have grown up in an all digital world…whereas we grew up in the analog/digital world. We welcomed the broad descriptions and daily news deliveries. Nowadays, everyone wants all of their information and right now. They want their RSS feeds to scroll along letting them know about Amy Winehouse’s latest stumble, and enjoy the convenience of uploading a video to YouTube or MySpace. Remember the days of SASE…yes kids, the self-addressed-stamped-envelope? The days where you’d have to mail in a video for a contest, and there would actually be a screening process? Those days are out the window as everyone wants to be the first with everything. If you are the first to post the video of the mailman getting peed on by the dog, your site will get the hits, your cheesy ad revenue will go up, your credibility in the dog, pee, and mailmen worlds will go up, etc. etc. Unfortunately, this has seeped into the entertainment world…as aging and jaded executives make rash decisions in the present, because they didn’t believe the well-researched reports in the past. To be continued…

Keeping It Ambiguous

11 Dec

I know I know, I know…it has been a while, but what can I say…busy boy. Nonetheless I was flipping through the latest edition of (my new favorite publication) The New York Times Magazine. There was a brief article about what I like to call “man caves” that I wanted to discuss with my ever-so-flourishing online audience. Then, I read further into the Magazine and found an even smaller article–actually a blurb within a bigger/cover story–that caught my attention big time! Did it discuss the anthropological background of my previously discussed aural juice? Haha, no, and hopefully the topic is plenty more engaging (twould be kinda nasty to engage with that “liquid” anyway).This issue of the Magazine was entitled “The 7th Annual Year in  Ideas”.  Naturally, or maybe more synthetically, I was expecting the article to touch innovations in the iPhone-that-makes-mean-expresso-while-cleaning-your-eyeglasses realm. Instead, the alphabetically-presented piece covered topics that varied from new “schools of  thought” (shit was that my chance to finally break out the term zeitgeist??), to new ways of creating cyber havoc. And, as much as I’d love to “speak-on” the “Lap Dance Science” which involves a study of strippers and how their menstrual cycle affects their cash (oh goodness I can’t say flow) intake, I don’t want to lose any of my early  supporters :-). (As an aside, that segment was interesting because it  was trying to refute the previous studies of how we are the only primates to not go into “heat”, but whatever–moving right along!)The title was “Ambiguity Promotes Liking” and was basically trying to say that we are a less-is-more crowd in regards to the dating and social networking scene. We prefer to interpret what the ambiguous descriptions people post refer to, as opposed to digesting a wealth of details before meeting the person. OK so I hit you with a run-on sentence, let me break it down for you. According to this piece, we enjoy decoding what it means when you select “enjoys outdoor activities” in that ‘ol dropdown menu, versus someone stating that they like snowboarding or hunting, if we are the optimists in the  bunch, we will interpret this as enjoying our favorite activities–awesome this person must love bass fishing–when the person in reality is an avid member of the Polar Bear Club. I found this very interesting, as I rehashed thoughts of writing/reading personal ads  for people. You know, like in the newspaper…before Match/eHarmony/JDate, etc. You pretty much paid-per-word (read: the entries were curiously short)…and had to be down with the cryptic acronyms and such of which the most obvious were provided for you in a key at the top of the page. Nowadays I guess you could call me a 25 SWJNSHDM. Single white Jewish non-smoker heavy-drinker male. Just an example; don’t hold me accountable for my description :).  Overall, I thought it was cool…of course there was plenty of research data, etc. etc., but it is just interesting.  In the information-hungry environment that we live in nowadays…in the end, I’ll we want is to be on a need-to-know basis…we prefer to view things through our own filter (maybe even one like a smudged screen) as opposed to being fed hard facts…I don’t know, this may not apply to anything beyond social relationships in the embryonic stage…but thought I’d throw it out there nonetheless for some ponderin’.  Ponder away!

An Eye-Opening Article (pun intended)

27 Nov

So…catching up on last week’s New York Times Magazine, I came across an interesting article…well hardly came across it, as it was the cover story, but dammit you know what I mean!  The article was about all of the marketing dollars being put into getting us a “good night’s sleep.”  And about how we have to go back to the good ol’ days when we used to sleep…at least that’s what the mattress and drug companies say…but, the truth is…we “used to” sleep, well, a lot less.  The article goes on to point out how in the late 1800s and early 1900s people used to sleep in (literally) piss-poor conditions.  Three or four people would share a “mattress” on the cold floor, usually next to their porto-latrine, in a not-so-sound-isolated room.  Also, people would sleep in two “shifts.”  There would be three hours of sleep, then they’d awake and either lie there, read a book, do a tribal dance (see the article) or you know, get busy…any combination of the preceding, for about an hour…and then sleep another three hours.

What am I getting at?  Well, as usual, not much.  I have purchased a great visco-memory foam mattress and I love it…it’s just, i don’t know…sometimes we are over-thinking some of the frivolous things on this earth, and under-thinking (if that’s even a hyphenated word) the more important things.  It’s like Justin Timberlake is bringing sexy back—when it never really left now did it (so says Prince.)  Like, the only reason you need a “good night’s sleep” is to just be more productive at work anyway right?  You never have a good day’s work leading into your slumber…that’s not how it works.  I think maybe we are focusing too much on facilitating the unconscious as opposed to taking the most advantage of the conscious state. Though I’m definitely not recommending it, your body physiologically can function fine on about 2.5 hrs of sleep.  You can train yourself to operate on significantly less than your average 6-8 hrs of sleep, you just have to, you know, try.  Hahah…trying…why would you go do that?

As the inventions and innovations get more and more clever and “practical”, they got more and more obsurd.  I can see it now…”buy the all new catheter 5000 – got to tinkle, but can’t step away from your powerpoint presentation – boy do we have the product for you!”…. I’ll let your imagination figure out that rest.  Peas 🙂

Agreeing with Ben Stein

26 Nov

Sometimes I get a little prophetic, or philosophical, or religious…I apologize, but when things make sense in this crazy world we live in, I like to point them out! Read on (sorry for formatting, it came across crazy on email):

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.
And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call
those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I
don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against.
That’s what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away .
I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of
us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a
laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a
joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking. Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an
extremely profound and insightful response.
She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”
In light of recent events…terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK. Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why
it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says . Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in
the school and workplace. Are you laughing?
Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it. Funny how we can be more worried about what other people
think of us than what God thinks of us. Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it… no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards .
Honestly and respectfully,
Ben Stein

I don’t even know where to begin with this one, but let’s just leave it at.. Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah everyone! 🙂

Music Was, Music Is…Loving You…Always?

23 Nov

Ok, sorry, pretty lame title…tried to mix too many things together obviously!  At any rate…at that amazing Stevie wonder show last Saturday, they were playing some interesting 80s R&B hits before he graced the stage.  It got me thinking…Luther Vandross…hadn’t listened to any of tunes in a while…but then naturally, after the show all I could think about was Stevie Stevie Stevie (Prince) Stevie…so the whole Luther thing slipped my mind.  Then, today I was perusing YouTube for some interesting Stevie clips and I came across this one: There he was…Luther! Man, the guy could sing….man…look at this video…Whitney Houston…Stevie Wonder…Luther Vandross…ugh…Dionne Warwick…One is dead, one is blind, and one is pretty much both, but with a pulse, and the other is one of the founding mothers of the Psychic Friends Network…to the modern day Fall-Out-Boy-My-Chemical-Romance-Emo-Tyke this would be a solid foundation for a South Park episode or Family Guy musical interlude…instead, looking back, it is one of the few performances I’ve watched online where I get progressively happier as the song goes on….this is music…this was music…damn…cocaine is a helluva drug :(.

Thanksgiving Eve

21 Nov

Are you ready for it?  It is that time of year, when your social butterfly within each and every one of you decides to sublimate errr metamorphisize. The problem is, I am at that awkward age range…I’m not in college anymore, so it isn’t like ‘nice to see ya/how’s school treatin’ you/what’s your longest kegstand/getting laid?  And I’m not 40 and married with two kids — which apparently is a free pass to get drunk and sing “Sweet Caroline” (even when it’s not being played) or one of the other it’s-4am-we’re-turning-the-lights-on-get-the-f-out-of-the-bar songs.  I’m a mid-twenties guy now…I can basically go to a bar whenever…so why would I go to some local bar on Thanksgiving Eve?  To see all the girls that didn’t want me in High School and still don’t want me now? To see all the nerds who want to check out my iPhone and smudge my screen with their little Grey Goose-soaked fingers? Ha…no.  I probably go just because there is a chance I will run into someone I haven’t seen; that I actually want to talk with and vice-versa…or, heck, it’s an excuse to drink copious amounts of alcohol and not be considered an alcoholic. See you when they’re spinnin’ Neil Diamond.  One Love – Y-O Style!