Sunday, September 28, 2014


It is official. I am against change.

Yes, I'm at that point in time in my life where I hate almost any sort of change that occurs. It is called being an old person.

It is not that all change is bad. It isn't. I remember a time when people smoked cigarettes everywhere, including doctors in operating rooms performing open heart surgery. If the second hand smoke made you cough or gave you cancer, it was because you are a weak person and you should just get over it. Now, a smoker can't smoke anywhere unless the smoker is smoking marijuana and he's in Colorado. It is like what Cedric The Entertainer said, "You can't smoke on earf no mo."

Back when I was a kid, there was basically three channels on TV and you had to get up from your chair and change the channels. Most of the shows back then were Westerns, like Bonanza, which was about a father trying to raise three sons in the old west with one of them being as old as he was, another one being as big as a dump truck, and the youngest one who was probably gay.

I guess you can say it is better now. We watch Kim Kardashian who is mainly known for being Kim Kardashian instead of Little Joe explaining to Hoss why he wears so much hair gel.

My problem with change is this: change always promises to be better. Nobody tries to be honest and sell change as It will be different , it will be worse and it will truly suck. No, change is always sold as the answer. The problem is always with the question it is supposedly answering.

During my life, there has been this constant mantra of change like it is a good thing. Sometimes the change has been mandated by the government, like Obamacare. Obamacare was sold as a change we were hoping for-we hoped for a time when health insurance was free like air and doesn't cost anything and there are no rules and everything is paid for at 100% and the doctor will look like Dr. McDreamy and he'll take all of the time necessary to cure my planters wart. Plus, he'll give me mint flavored birth control pills and make a Catholic Nun pay for it.

We (voters/taxpayers) were told that Obamacare was the answer to the serious question of how to insure uninsured people. It wasn't. It was the answer to this serious question: How can Barack Obama win an election and become The President of The United States?

At the workplace, it has been nothing but change, change, change. Again, some of it has been good. But a lot of it has been bad.

For some reason, and I've never been able to quite figure this out, but moving me to a different desk has been a major agent of change. "If we can move Alan from that desk to that desk, there's no telling what this company can do".   Of course, the desk moves have never been accompanied by a change in salary like an increase.

One change that gave me a headache was "empowerment". The company bigwigs said I was now "empowered" to do my job, that I was working at for ten years, powerlessly. That is, I was "empowered" to help solve a customer's problem without (and this is important) bothering anybody in leadership about a customer's problem because leadership was at a strategic two hour lunch.

Problem: this was a health insurance company and the only way to make a customer happy in health insurance is to pay their claims with no patient responsibility. The reality is some medical issues are not covered by medical insurance such as the time my company denied a lady's tattoo.

Now this wasn't a butterfly or a flower, etc. Rather, it was tattooing the nipple on her reconstructed breast to match the color of the nipple on her other breast. This was not covered by the insurance. Usually, that procedure is part of the "global fee" (i.e.: total cost) of a breast reconstruction and is not billed separately by  physicians because most humans want their nipples to match. For some unknown reason, this patient's physician apparently decided to give a discount to patients that didn't care if their nipples matched ("Matching Nipples" would be a great name for a band) and charged her for coloring (by tattoo) her nipple. This person wanted to speak to a supervisor or manager about this matter, however, I assured her that I was empowered to talk about her nipples. I never felt so dirty in my life.

My brother in law (speaking, ahem, on another topic, but you can apply it to this one) said, "Sometimes you just put your head down and hope for the best and it always ends up being the worst." That's really the best you can do with change- manage it. That doesn't mean you have to like it.


Saturday, September 20, 2014


When it comes to the topic of "leadership", I'm one of those "Lead, Follow or Get Out Of The Way" guys. Most of the time, I choose to follow or get out of the way. I have the leadership skills of a cocker spaniel.

I couldn't lead a horse to water or a group of middle school boys to a stack of Playboys. Whatever it takes to be a leader, I don't have it. I'm fine with that. It has worked for me for 55 years.

Being a leader is tough because you have to make decisions and some of the times those decisions are wrong. The reason for a wrong decision can vary but usually general stupidity is a factor in the equation.

Which bring us to Roger Goodell and his leadership problem.

Roger Goodell is the Commissioner of  The National Football League and is probably the second most powerful man in America, just slightly behind President Barack Obama who has a leadership problem of his own.

It all started on the night of February 15th when Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked out his finance in an elevator in an Atlantic City hotel-casino. There was videotape of him dragging the unconscious love of his life out of an elevator.

Goodell seriously evaluated Rice's actions, if you consider serious evaluation as sort of thinking about it and talking with some buddies. Goodell put his massive gray matter together and decided that an appropriate punishment for a professional football player opening up a can of whoop up on a woman was.....a two game suspension.

Sure there was some hue and cry from all of the panty waist bed wetting liberals out there. Then, the tape from inside the elevator came out. It showed Rice knocking out the mother of his daughter with one punch. Suddenly, everything changed.

My question is this: Why?

I know there is a visceral reaction to seeing a woman punched by a man, but really, did you need to see it to realize Rice needed to be suspended for more than two games? After the video from inside the elevator was released, Rice was then suspended indefinitely. 

There is a question about when Goodell learned about video from inside the elevator. Goodell says he learned about it when everyone else did. Common sense tells you he knew about it long before any of us did.

That's because Goodell is in full Saving Heiny mode. He held a press conference last Friday. He's hired former FBI director Robert Mueller  to "uncover what happen" in Goodell's "admitted fumbling of the Rice investigation". He's made an extra point in announcing the league's support of the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center.  He's going to mandate training and education of players to not punch women in the face. At least, not where there are cameras. 

He also said he's not going to resign because he's got too much work to do. Plus, he makes $44 million a year and you don't walk away from jobs like that.

Of course, it is not all Goodell's fault. He's living with the glorious result of a misspent culture that glorifies misogyny and violence. As long as you can throw a football, hit a baseball, dunk a basketball, sing, dance, act in a movie, et. al. you can do almost anything you want because rules do not apply to you. Last year's Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston was suspended from FSU's big game against Clemson because he shouted in the Student Union of Florida State University: "I (sailor word for sex) in her (girl part)". He was repeating an internet meme that is popular because the kids think it is so dog gone funny. Of course, the fact that he was investigated for rape last year never popped up in his mind. That's the best player in the upcoming draft.

But Goodell is supposed to be a big boy and he is making big money. You don't have to be a leadership expert to see that Goodell is being reactive instead of  proactive. There's no real principle at work here except to save Roger Goodell's skin.  That's not leadership and he should get out of the way.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Chubby, Chubby

In case you haven't noticed, everybody is fat now days. Except for those few of you that are not, but don't worry, you'll get there, trust me.

The causes of this epidemic of huskiness are many.  The most common reason is our sedentary life style.

Most of us work in offices that the first thing you do when you get to work besides turn on your computer is eat a couple of donuts (or a box if its from Krispy Kreme). Then you start planning where you are going for lunch. Then you go home and the most exercise you get is going to the mailbox to get your junk mail. Pretty soon, you turn around and you weigh about 400 pounds more than you did in high school.

In the old days, they didn't have offices, they had fields, and you ploughed the fields with a mule that wore at hat. You did this 365 days a year. Your kids walked three miles to school, in the snow, and it was uphill both ways. Your dessert was a jug marked "XXX". You died when you were 35, but hey, you were skinny when you croaked.

Another reason, and if you watched any daytime TV you would know, is our parents.

If you are a Boomer like me, your parents survived The Depression and World War II. They had nothing growing up ("We got a grape for Christmas and it was the best grape ever") and so after World War II ended they did two things: Have sex and ate whatever they wanted. This is in addition to smoking cigarettes everywhere, including operating rooms in hospitals.

I didn't have to walk to school, uphill, in the snow, which in Georgia would have been a stretch anyway. I rode in a nice school bus, with nice school bus monitors, and when I got home, Mom had a bottle of Coke and cookies waiting on me.  My parents made sure I had something they didn't have: ADHD.

Throughout my young life, I was a skinny thin child and I ate whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted it.

But something happened. I got older and I put on more weight. Now, I am constantly monitoring what I eat and most of the time I fail because food that is good for you doesn't taste as good as the food that is bad for you.

I try to combat this by exercising. My wife and I go to a gym usually 5 to 6 times as week. I have learned a few things.

One, I sweat like a pig. This is good because at least it shows I 'm trying.

Two, there are people that carry gallons of water with them and they have to drink water every 45 seconds or every time they glisten, whichever comes first.

Three, there are people of a particular gender that wear particular outfits that sometimes do not cover certain particulars of their bodies. This has nothing to do with my topic (obesity) but it is health related because my eyes tend to bug out like a Tex Avery cartoon character at these women people and my wife ends up punching me, which isn't good for my health.

Sort of like this except I'm wearing a t-shirt and gym pants.

Obesity leads to many health problems. One problem is diabetes. Diabetes can cause men not to able to perform a man function men like to do. This caused the world's greatest scientists to work with Bob Dole to create a wonder drug to help these poor unfortunate men to function like they did before they got Diabetes. This led to multiple commercials during football games showing men doing manly things (that usually involves getting things up and running, ho-ho) advertising this wonder drug. One caveat: a side effect of this drug is a killer headache. So I'm told. Not that I would ever have need for this wonder drug. But I wouldn't hesitate to take this wonder drug, if I needed it, which I don't.

Obesity is also the "emphasis" of First Lady Michelle Obama. She is always telling us to eat a carrot and shaming schools into serving Brussels sprouts for lunch instead of  hot dogs. SAY NO TO FOOD THAT TASTES GOOD would be a good slogan for her.

Now the government that beat The Nazis is trying to beat Obesity.  Bet on Obesity.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Tech Fan Conundrum

For about ten years, I did something called "This Week's Picks" in which I would pick the winners of college football games using a little more manly and scientific method than Diane Chambers (who in one episode of "Cheers" won the weekly football pool by picking the winners solely on the teams' colors).  I usually picked a team that I liked and/or I picked a team that seemed like it was a better team than the team they were playing.  I should have won several Pulitzer Prizes.

Those days are over. Although I enjoyed writing "This Week's Picks", some days it was a big pain in the butt to write. People, particularly here in The South, take football very seriously, and they don't like you making fun of "their" school even though they may not be a graduate of the school or know where it is located.

Alabama fans, of course, and I say this in the most loving way possible, are the most clinically insane. I've had Alabama fans take up my valuable time giving me detailed blocking schemes even though a) I'm not an offensive lineman for Alabama; b) I'm a middle age man; c) I couldn't care less and d)It was in April when I'm sure the offensive linemen for Alabama didn't care.

There is a set of fans that puzzles me: Georgia Tech fans.

Before I get e-mails saying "I thought you were a total moron and this proves it. LLAP ", let me say that I know a lot of Georgia Tech graduates and fans and I love everyone of them. My wife's uncle, who said he barely graduated from Tech, had a very successful business career and enjoys a comfortable retirement. That's in contrast to me-my retirement plan is now basically buying scratch-offs. My wife's grandfather owned a legendary tavern on Peachtree Street and had many Tech customers including Bobby Dodd.

But, it seems like Tech fans are always just a wee bit defensive.The institution is one of the best in the country. Although, like other schools, it costs an arm and leg to attend, it doesn't cost two arms and two legs like other elite colleges.Tech folks have nothing to be defensive about. I think the problem may stem from their fight song, "Ramblin Wreck".

There was an article in USA Today that listed the top ten "best" fight songs. Number One was, obviously, "Hail To The Victors", which is Michigan's fight song.(By the way, Kennesaw State has a fight song, "We're The Kennesaw Owls---WHO ARE YOU?" I'm not looking for it in the top ten anytime soon.)

"Ramblin Wreck" combines two things Georgia Tech fans are good at: narcissism and cussing. It says, "I'm a ramblin wreck from Georgia Tech and a hell of an engineer".  It just seems to me that if you are such a great engineer, you wouldn't have a wreck. It is a bit of a mixed message, don't you think?

If there is one subject that drives Tech fans nuts it is the University of Georgia.

My Tech friends basically acknowledge that I have a college degree, although it is not important and if the world was depending on me to make an Iron Man suit, well, the world is out of luck. However, they all acknowledge that I am a human being, endowed by my creator with certain unalienable Rights.

However, you would be hard press to get many Tech fans to acknowledge Georgia fans are carbon based life forms. 

It all has to do with football. Right now, Georgia is doing well, despite having some "student-athletes" that are mainly athletes instead of students. Georgia has a lot of band wagon fans because they win. Georgia's head coach is this handsome matinee idol looking man.

In contrast,  the Tech student-athletes actually have to be students. Most Tech fans are fans because they either go and went to Tech. Tech's head coach looks like an insurance salesmen that just got laid off.

I know I'm weird, but I like both Georgia and Tech. I'm a little more partial to Georgia because my cousin went to Georgia back when I was just a tyke and it was the first college I ever heard of. I also like Vince Dooley, Herschel Walker and all of the rest. But I like Tech too. I want to see Tech beat FSU. It would be great. I want to see Tech beat Miami. That would be awesome. It would tremendous to see Tech beat Clemson. I just want them to lose when they play Georgia and when they play Georgia Southern this year because I've paid that school a boat load of money.

Yes, Tech fans, I will admit some  Georgia fans can be annoying. Seeing a 75 year old man sitting around and barking can be disconcerting.

As the late Rodney King once said, "Can't we all just get along?"

We need to unite because they are a lot of Florida fans around here. They are the worst. (I'm joking.)