Artificial Unintelligence

The younger and younger people I see in positions in major organizations—client service phone lines, retail sales, airline desk agents—the poorer and poorer judgment I encounter. It doesn’t seem to be a matter of smarts so much as a matter of seeing what they do as merely a (short-term) job and not a customer support function. There’s also an over-reliance on technology instead of one’s brain. In the coffee shop yesterday morning, the “barista” asked me twice about the size …

I’m Sorry, That’s Not Funny

I just saw someone on Linkedin advertise herself as a “neuro-humorist.” That sounds like one of these ridiculous menu entrees talking about all kinds of sauces in five languages when what you basically have is a garden salad. Can you see a buyer saying at a meeting, “What we need around here is a good neuro-humorist”?


I’m continually astounded by the lack of serious education displayed on Facebook by people who don’t understand socialism, throw “fascism” around as if it’s all around us, find conspiracies under all the rugs, and seem to believe there is only one good answer—theirs—for every problem. Then there are the people who, when questioned, become violent as if attacked and unloose a barrage of obscenities. Facebook serves a perverse purpose in displaying what is otherwise hidden in terms of bias, ignorance, …


I went for a manicure on Sunday to my usual place since I’m flying out today for San Francisco. I had never seen this receptionist before, perhaps because she was new or perhaps because I’m not usually there on Sundays. She had a horrible metal thing hanging through her nostrils, what I considered unwashed, uncombed hair, and an outfit she could have played soccer in. Here is the verbatim conversation: Her: Says nothing when I enter. Me: Hi, I’d like …

High Maintenance

A woman’s seat in business class apparently wasn’t working, so British Air upgraded her to the one empty first class seat. She then took over a bin meant for two, made incessant demands, and acted like some member of the royal family (thought I believe they are actually quite polite). I can’t imagine what she’s like to be with. This was an 11-hour flight, and she hit the lottery, then complained about the game.

I Know What’s Best (for Those I Don’t Agree With)

This is HL Mencken: “Moral certainty is always a sign of cultural inferiority. The more uncivilized the man, the surer he is that he knows precisely what is right and what is wrong.” There’s a certain revulsion one acquires on social media reading about how politicians (of the “other” party) should be held to higher standards, expected to be perfect, thrown out of office for lying—all of this pontification from people who cheat on their taxes, speed on the highways, …

Perfectionism and Hobbies

If you’re a perfectionist, it’s hard to have a hobby. Everything would have to be exact, accurate, and precise. There could be no flaws. You’d have to guard against imperfection constantly. In other words, it’s just more work and no fun at all. My electric trains crash and derail. The models I build have paint defects and an occasional missing part. My cars have a few nicks and aren’t always spotlessly clean. In other words, like real life.

Want to Race Me?

So now we have a “non-judgmental” gym in Scottsdale, which doesn’t provide any scales. We’ve had schools abandon “top ten” lists for scholars, and end the practice of valedictorians. Then there are kids who get “participation awards” for just showing up, irrespective of contribution or talent. Why not abandon all accountability, all indicators of excellence, all the positive outcomes of competition? We could stop keeping score at athletic events, shrug off the trains not being on time, forget about the …

If You Want Privacy, Keep It To Yourself

Among the great hypocrisies of the day is that so many people crave privacy and object to cameras, recordings, and disclosure of their lives, the same lives which they display in often revolting detail on social media. Hospitals have to abide by HIPAA privacy laws, yet people feel free to post photos of themselves complete with wounds, tubes, and incisions on Facebook. When we say to someone we meet, “How are you?” we usually don’t mean it.