Category Archives: General

Musicians doing other people’s songs is morally equivalent to joke theft.

If a comedian performs someone else’s jokes, they are called out and shamed. However, musicians regularly perform other people’s music.

How is one bad, and the other OK?

There are discussions about this topic online (for example, here and here). The answers comes down to: music is different than comedy. “We understand that musicians might be doing someone else’s music, so that’s acceptable.”

DSC_0612That is, of course, the equivalent of saying, “We understand that comedians might be doing someone else’s jokes, so that’s acceptable.” It’s not an answer to the question, it’s an obfuscation. Saying, “we expect immoral behavior out of them” does not render that behavior moral.

When I say, “other people’s music/jokes,” I am, of course, excluding music/jokes written by someone other than a particular performer, but specifically for that performer. Hiring others to write music/jokes is a time-honored tradition, and if you explicitly buy the rights to someone else’s creation, then it’s yours. It may be lazy, but it is exempt from the moral trouble I am speaking about herein.

Am I, in fact, saying that musicians doing other people’s music is immoral? Yes, I am saying exactly that. Yes, cover bands are immoral. Calling yourself a “cover band” is the equivalent of calling yourself a “thief comic.” It may be honest, but it’s not morally acceptable.

Your baby is not special.

Babies are boring and stupid. That’s not a criticism, it’s biology. Parent’s shape babies into adults that are, hopefully, neither boring nor stupid.

16e13fb9e6fcda7c39080a29a02b4a7cBut the fact remains that there are LOTS of boring and stupid adult humans. And guess what all of them, no matter how boring and stupid they may be, can do? They can have babies of their own. Even complete morons, provided some medical condition doesn’t otherwise prevent it, can have babies.

That’s why your baby isn’t special; at least not to anyone but you. That’s biology, too. You need to find your baby very special so that you’re compelled to keep it alive. However, you should be aware that your baby is, objectively, just as boring and stupid as the boring and stupid babies that morons create.

So when you present your baby to me, don’t be offended because I couldn’t care less. Congratulations, you had sex without protection. Whoop-dee-doo. That doesn’t make you special, and it doesn’t make the result special.

Now, if you raise that boring and stupid baby to become a decent, productive, and kind adult, then you’ll have my kudoes.

Keep it simple: explaining what extro- and intro- mean.

Extroverts don’t pay attention to others. They are more concerned with flapping their own jaws, and interrupting others speaking, than with taking information in. The “extro-” refers to them spewing themselves all over everyone else.

Introverts pay attention to others, listen, and think before they decide to speak. They find joy in taking information in, and are less concerned with having their ideas heard at any cost. The “intro-” refers to them collecting information from outside themselves.

Stop taking photographs.

When you’re looking for a “good shot;” deciding which photo app to use and opening it; looking through the miniature rending of the shot on a viewscreen; asking friends to tuck in closer; wondering if there’s a better place to improve the light in the shot…

What you’re *not* doing is actually taking in the moment itself. You’re not being IN that place, seeing the things happening with your eyes and mind. You’re not allowing your emotions to bounce off the constantly-evolving, moment-by-moment experiences that comprise the entire scope of that instant. You’re not opening yourself and your experience of that moment. You’re closing yourself to a hyper-focused piece of the wider moment.

What you’re doing is sacrificing your experience and memory of that moment in order to try to capture pieces of it in sterile 2-D. You’re robbing yourself of the whole experience, of the way you interact with a moment, of the way only you can personally experience a moment, in order to distill that moment into a universally-downgraded version that can never be more than a certain number of pixels.

You’re robbing yourself of the possibility of a sudden unexpected surprise, one that may come in visual form, but most likely will come in visual, nasal, auditory, even tactile form. You’re turning off most of your senses so that you can focus on the limited experience of one sense. You’re taking the YOU out of the moment.

How to Run a Meeting

  1. No meeting ever needs to be longer than 30 minutes.
  2. If your meeting exceeds 30 minutes, you have not prepared enough.
  3. If there are aspects of your meeting that can be handled by email before the meeting, handle them by email before the meeting.
  4. If you honestly believe you’ve pared things down as much as possible (you haven’t), and you simply can’t fit it into 30 minutes, then you’re preparing two meetings.
  5. If your meeting runs to 25 minutes, interrupt whoever is talking and say, “we have 5 minutes left.” In 5 minutes, interrupt whoever is talking and say, “we’re done.”

Phone Etiquette in Other Countries

I hate telephones, and I avoid telephone conversations in all but the most necessary of cases, because phone calls are rude. Having said that, this article about phone etiquette throughout the world is fascinating. Some highlights:

RUSSIA: “If you call a Russian, be prepared for the person to not answer! Phone tapping used to be very common in the Soviet Union. Many years later, some people are still suspicious of telephones. Cellular networks are pretty spotty and not very dependable, so generally people avoid talking on the phone whenever possible.” …Sounds like a great place (at least as far as phones go) for someone like me.

INDIA: “It’s common in India to call somebody late at night, for any reason at all!” …WTF?!

CHINA: “For the Chinese, it’s totally acceptable to answer the phone wherever you are! If you’re in a meeting or talking face-to-face, expect to be interrupted by a ringing phone! This is for a good reason. In China if you don’t answer the call, the person trying to reach you will ring your phone tirelessly until you pick up!” …No, no, goddamn it NO!

ITALY: “Should you want to leave an Italian a voicemail, make sure it’s no longer than 30 seconds long! It’s considered rude to leave a rambling voicemail, so messages should be quick and concise!” …Kudoes to Italy!