Total Recall

Phillip K. Dick’s novelette, “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” (which was very loosely re-imagined as the movie Total Recall starring Arnold “The Governator” Schwarzenegger) imagined a world in which the budget constrained went on exotic vacations by having the memories just implanted into their minds. During the 60’s, this was known as “taking a trip without ever leaving the farm,” although the process involved chemistry rather than electronics.

Tropical BeachThe point being that the rejuvenating after-effects of the vacation could be achieved without ever actually going on the trip, as long as you remembered it. However, a team of Dutch researchers have discovered that the benefits of a vacation are largely enjoyed before you ever leave.  People are more relaxed and content than their non-vacationing peers during the build-up to a trip.  But once home again, their Reason To Live Index once again drops into line with their colleagues.

The study concluded that, “…to maximize the restorative powers of vacation, people should take multiple short breaks over the course of the work year, instead of saving everything for one long trip.”  And that when it comes to planning a trip, the top priority should be low stress.

Being on the verge of a long planned and well deserved vacation myself, I can certainly agree that the anticipation is compelling and restorative in it’s own right. Kim is in her element under the sun and frolicking in or near (shallow) water, and as her extra-pale Irish man I’m packing enough sunscreen to make my skin think it’s nighttime.  We are ready, and maybe a little anxious.

Further, we opted for a packaged deal to keep the planning stress low.  So all that seems on track.   I suppose for all I know we’ll be strapped into memory implantation chairs rather than airline seats upon departure.  But regardless of how the memories are achieved, I intend to have them, cherish them, and not let the return to the work-a-day world melt all those good feelings away prematurely.  Yet I’m sure everyone plans for that.

Either way, at least we still have a few weeks of contented yearning to enjoy.

It’s Who You Know

CBS has a new show on Sunday evenings called Undercover Boss.  The premise is kind of interesting.  A company CEO  goes into his own company as an entry level employee and learns something about what really goes on in their organizations.  I’m sure many of us who work  in corporate America wish their CEO had a similar taste.

Not surprisingly, often the undercover executive meets some fascinating people with underdeveloped potential or pressing personal problems on their journey.  And this is where the program runs off the rails.  At the end of the show the CEO revels himself and provides feedback to those he’s worked with.  Fair enough.  But then he starts giving away perks.

Waitresses become marketing managers, truck drivers get their own store franchise, and overworked employees get sent on exotic fully paid vacations.

That’s all well and good for the folks involved.  Most of them seem like they are deserving.  But the chances that the CEO randomly encountered just the rare few deserving employees in his company is negligible.  These are a few of among thousands of hard working deserving folks working for them.  But these few are getting rewarded, and their colleagues are not.

In reality, they are simply being rewarded because they are met the CEO and made an impression.  If the CEO actually met every one of his employees and gave them an opportunity to make a similar impression, would he reward all of them?  I doubt it.  It simply wouldn’t be practical, much less a financially sound decision.

So in the end, while these folks are not undeserving, they are being rewarded simply because they made a connection with the big boss.  The program, which purports to bust the executive stereotype of a detached and uncaring tyrant, winds up bolstering a different stereotype, that getting ahead is all about who you know.

Maybe it’s entertaining, but it’s not good business, and it’s not terribly encouraging to the average worker.

The Perfect Man

George ClooneyKim doesn’t know it, at least consciously, but she prefers me to George Clooney and Toby Keith.  Oh sure, I know I’m not as smooth and good looking as George, and while Toby makes her swoon when he sings, I make her ears bleed.  But apparently none of that matters.

Toby KeithI know this because a poll of 2,500 women revealed that 91 per cent would actually prefer a guy who had a few flaws.  A spokesman for, which carried out the research, said: “Publically, girls will claim they want a muscly guy, who is hair free and manly enough not to show his emotional side.”  But their secret desires explain why the rest of us get dates from time to time anyway.

As a service to Kim, I’ve listed the most sought after qualities in a man and compared myself against my celebrity competition.  In fact, if rooting for my sons’ school teams counts as being passionate about a sports team then I’m a clean sweep.  She so wants me. Although I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if I could sing to boot.

Kim's Perfect Man


Shark vs. OctopusI know many of you were left hanging at the conclusion of Mega Shark vs. Giant Octopus.  Would Debbie Gibson’s new love last?  And more importantly, did the plane eating shark and the submarine wielding octopus really destroy each other at the end?

Well SyFy has another installment to settle this issue.  Apparently Ms. Gibson wasn’t the only one smitten in the first movie.

Syfy’s original movies director Karen O’Hara tweeted recently that B-Movie God Roger Corman will be producing SHARKTOPUS!  Yes folks, the illicit and unlikely love child of two improbable prehistoric creatures will wreak its own havoc from the deep.

No word on who the human actors will be, but you can bet they’ll have limited skill.  And SyFy’s special effects department works on a tight budget, so we’ll be treated to delightfully hokey CGI.

Let the popcorn pop and the couch potato heckling begin.  This is gonna be epic…

Frickin’ Rocket Surgeons

I’d like to make this a rant.  Usually the disingenuous, manipulative, untruths spouted by Conservative mouthpieces really gets my back up.  But sometimes the tide is overwhelming and the stench on the beach is self-evident.  These geniuses give true conservatives a bad reputation.  Judge for yourself.

First up is Michele Bachmann, the reality impaired Representative from Minnesota.  (Seriously guys, Jesse “The Body” Ventura was a better choice for public office.)  Ms. Bachmann was stumping recently for the North Dakota Republican party.  During a keynote address at their convention she lambasted Obama for racking up more dept than all the other Presidents combined.  She was pining for the days of George Bush who only racked up $400B in debt according to her version of the facts.  She then went on to explain that Obama was going to raise your taxes 40% this year.  All easily disputed facts, and not even directionally correct.  But they resonated with her audience.

Next up is Fox & Friends.  Tucker Carlson comes on to assert that college makes you liberal and teaches you nothing about civics.  He sites stats about how college graduates are more liberal and somehow makes the leap that this is due to indoctrination by liberal professors.  They are clearly brainwashing students because uncomfortable portions of graduates don’t know basic civics facts.  Never mind that even larger percentages of non graduates flunk these questions.  Finally, when asked point-blank if college is worth it, he says the jury is still out, but accedes there may be some value.

And finally comes Tracy Klugian, a Teabagger from Elyria, Ohio.  Tracy finally Googled the term “teabag”, and is suddenly embarrassed.  Apparently he’d been wondering what all the tittering was about.  But he’s putting his new-found knowledge into action by urging Tea Party leaders to consider changing the name to… “Donkey Punchers.”   Yup, that should do it.  No one will make fun of that name.