Odds & Ends: June 2004 Archives

Loch Ness Monster sighting

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As some of you know, I'm currently in an MBA program at UMUC. I've learned alot so far and that's helped my company and my customers.

There is one overarching issue in the program related to teamwork. We have a huge amount of social loafing in the teams. The overacheivers want to do a good job and work hard, while some of the folks are content to act busy, deliver something that is inaccurate or rudimentary, and then be first in line for the high-fives when the team gets an A.

One team member is now being called the "Loch Ness Monster." He pokes his head above water on rare ocassions to act like he's engaged, then dives to the bottom of the Loch until the project is turned in.

I'm sure other folks have Loch Ness Monster sightings at work or school. Or maybe more colorful nicknames...

Please do not let this take your focus off of months-old American crimes at Abu Ghirab prison, nor the outrageous memo <sarcasm>which is the equivalent of the Final Solution</sarcasm>. I would like to point out that Al Qaeda has brutally murdered another American civilian, engaged in innocent, legal commerce.

This might cause you to think that the war on terror A) exists; and B) that a worldwide conspiracy dedicated to mass murder is much worse than a bunch of soldiers who are headed for prison themselves. Please dismiss such thoughts from your minds and think about that freaky West Virginia slut with the leash.

<total_seriousness level='high'>
May God rest the soul of Paul Johnson, and may the enemies of the innocent either repent or, as the Psalmist says, choke on their own blood.
</total_seriousness>

<humorous_conclusion mode='black'>
Let us not forget, however, that this is nothing compared to the Hitler-like treatment meted out to Josť Padilla.
</humorous_conclusion>

Fair is fair: Mark posted my e-mail to him on his blog, and links to Catholic Light. I am linking back to him. You may decide for yourself if my view is "absurd," but please read my elaborations in the comment box before you come to a conclusion. (Funny -- no one has commented on my assertion that "one should be very careful in using the word "polestar" in connection with Andrew Sullivan.")

This won't hurt a bit, darling

Biologists inject 'fidelity' gene into voles

These guys have good timing for publicity: with the remake of The Stepford Wives coming out, I suppose this is the right time to talk about love, fidelity, biology, and freedom.

For the last week or so, I've been aggressively commenting on Mark Shea's blog, basically arguing that people should refrain from rash judgement about a Justice Department memo (a memo! not a policy! a memorandum!) I've also said that some foreign detainees are not entitled to the protection of the Geneva Conventions, and that all forms of coercion are not torture.

Not for the first time, this revealed the worst tendencies of blog commenters. If you say X, somebody yells at you because although you said X, you "really" mean Y. Your motives get questioned, even though the people don't know you. Insults get thrown that would never be directed toward me in person.

And then there is my least favorite aspect of Internet commentary in general: rank hyperbole. As a part of the continuing torture discussion, Mark compares this memo to the statute giving Hitler plenary powers over the German state. Here's the exact quotation:

Taken seriously, and aggressively pursued and enforced as a course of actual action by the American State, I can see small difference between that statement and the Enabling Act of 1933 which gave Hitler the power to do Whatever He Deemed Necessary for the Security of the Reich.

Please read it in context, as well as his other statements elsewhere on his blog.

The memo argues that a law enacted by Congress is superceded by the president's constitutional authority as commander-in-chief. You can debate that point. You can question the substance of the memo. What you can't do -- logically, at least -- is translate a legal opinion written by a bunch of government lawyers into the birth of an American Third Reich.

Mark asks: "...how ready will we be to sell basic human rights down the river to the first Man on Horseback who promises us bread and safety should things get worse?"

I'd ask: if you're going to wail and moan about a *memo* you don't like, how will you be able to warn people of *real* dangers to society, when people have already inured themselves to your hyperbolic rants?

All I'm asking for is a sense of proportion. Because if you don't have a sense of proportion, you're worse than Hitler, Stalin, and the people who write computer viruses.

From the Onion

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Michael Moore Kicking Self For Not Filming Last 600 Trips To McDonald's

Combinaton spoon and torch? A burn mark from cigar? A stain that won't come out no matter what you do? Nope. You're all wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

SPORCH is the Society for the Preservation Of Roman Catholic Heritage. And they have a link to a website that has a pattern for a cassock. Does Steve's mom know about this?

"You have suffered the passion of the cross and have received grace. There is a purpose to this. Because of your suffering and pain you will now understand the suffering and pain of the world. This has happened to you at this time because your country and the world needs you."

-- Mother Teresa of Calcutta, addressing Ronald Reagan in June 1981, quoted here.

Stupidbannerads.com

I just saw an ad that said, "Congratulations. You are the 1,000th visitor to our web site and..."

I thought, "1,000??? Did the clock turn back to 1995 or something?"

A business school tidbit: The Customer Relationship Management people that write for Harvard Business Review and other publications think it's high time marketers were honest with people so that a real relationship can either happen or not happen.

So perhaps the banner should read:

"We aren't creative enough to come up with a promotion that means something, but why don't you give us all your personal info and we'll add you to a e-newsletter that comes out twice a day and splatters you with all sorts of travel offers. It will make you feel pretty. And we promise we won't sell your e-mail address to the Martians or anyone that has all five vowels in the sequential order you learned them in pre-school in their last name."

I guess that's too big for a banner...

Another Boston blogger...

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A Boston priest has adopted the nom de blog "Father Elijah" for his site Fides et Ratio, which approaches church affairs in Beantown with a refreshing frankness. Welcome, Father E!

Proof from authority is the weakest form of proof.

St. Thomas Aquinas
Summa Theologica

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz


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This page is an archive of entries in the Odds & Ends category from June 2004.

Odds & Ends: May 2004 is the previous archive.

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