Thursday, December 29, 2005

Justify your existence: Marketing people

So what do marketing types do and how do they know if they've done it? From observation they must get together and go through the archives and say "Hey! We're due for Chia Pets (tm)!" or something like that. There certainly is a recrudescence of the stupid things and there is no evidence the buying public wanted them. Then there were the Christmas Ornament beanheads that decided we needed strange lime-striped things that looked like Dr. Seuss rejects. Yep, that says "holidays" to me. At least the part where you were forced to thank Aunt Erma for the hideous chartreuse hand-mangled knit hat that even the dog refused to play with.

Speaking of colors, can we please stop the whole "stupid colors only for women" thing? I am not shaped like a man. Not even close. So, dear Clothing Manufacturers, when I have a choice between gack-inducing pastels (that would fit me) and nice deep colors (that won't) I DON'T BUY ANYTHING! I know we can make all sorts of dyes not found in nature, that doesn't mean you have to USE them all, you know. Let's make pink special order only, m'kay? Try some nice green. No, not the neon lime stuff, forest green. I know you can do it, there's plenty of it in the men's section.

Meanwhile, hordes of small children delight in shoes that have wonderful red sparkly lights lighting up in the soles when they are stomped. Of course they don't have them in adult sizes, because some marketing person decided big people don't want them. I wasn't asked -- how about you? And I'm not the only one who has noticed a vast lack of personal jet-packs out there. I suspect jet-pack research has been squashed. Not just due to marketing weenies, though. Can you imagine all the idiots now on the road -- only able to be stupid in 3 dimensions instead of just 2? Unconstrained by jersey barriers and painted lines? ( This won't be a problem when I am Evil Overlord since idiots will have their driving licenses revoked and only people I like will get jet packs. )

So -- justify your existence, Marketing People! Be prepared, among other things, to explain why you think bringing back the '70s styles was a good idea. Show your work.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Cleaning out the Snark closet

Some tidbits I don't have the time or energy to inflate into full Snarks ...
  • Torturing Bad Guys: Yes, it should be illegal as long as we understand torture to mean serious physical harm and NOT merely having to endure being ordered around by a woman or having the AC cranked up to "refrigerate". Before anybody starts the "what about if they knew where the nuke going off in 2 hours was" deluge, I would like to point out that there has been more than one instance of a soldier (non-suicidal) diving on a grenade or otherwise giving up their lives to save others. I think that in such a situation (I definitely know there is a nuke in the vicinity about to go off, Achmed knows where it is, and I have pliers, then Achmed is going to be made very unhappy.) And if I survive, I will report myself for breaking the law and accept my punishment.
  • Pajamas Media is Evil/Elitist/Causes skin rash: My admittedly vague recollection is anybody with a pulse (and a blog) could enquire about joining. I didn't bother since my hit count rarely gets above 100/wk, so I don't know if there is, like, a *bar* or anything you have to meet to belong. I also recall that about the time PJM was coming together there was a lot of concern around the blogosphere regarding possible "campaign contribution" rules applying to blogging, and that "recognized media sources" were exempt -- and so it might be a good idea for bloggers to have a sort of protective union IN CASE that threat became a reality. I dunno why some people have their knickers in a twist about this, either way. Doesn't bother me.
  • Happy Holidays: I use the term because I am agnostic and try to watch my step around other people's sincere religious beliefs, but I have never snapped at someone wishing me Merry Christmas/Happy Hannukah/Festive Deepwali/Whatever. Looking around, I see a lot of the world's religions having some kind of festival right around the time of year it gets dark, usually involving presents, lights, and yummy food. Snarkatron wishes to state she is 100% in favor of presents (giving and receiving), lights in darkness, and yummy food and she will cheerfully partake in any religious/cultural celebration that promises same. Cope.
  • Executions: (cheerful, I know). Tookie should fry. Not because it will bring back the people he killed, or because it is punishment, but because it is the one form of incarceration that cannot be escaped. I was once less than 100 yards from a bunch of escaped (life in prison, ha ha) convicts BEFORE they surrendered. In the process of escaping and running off they killed a police officer. I'm sure the officer's family would like to hear that people imprisoned for life can't do any more harm and can give back to the community. Life is important and that is WHY deliberate murderers do not deserve to have it any more. Please consider the lives of the victims, past and potential future, as at least as important as the killer's. For a change.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The Cargo Cult Returns

Strangely enough it was the tsunami last year that made me start noodling this idea around. There was one section of beach at Phuket where nobody died -- because a vacationing British 10-year-old girl had paid attention in class. She recognized the signs and warned everyone within earshot.

Please note. One little girl, no technology. So what did the pundits and chatterati go on about? How all these devastated countries didn't have the fancy warning system like the U.S. did and we should all pony up and get them one so people wouldn't die. Left as an exercise for the reader, it seems, was the initial problem of how to communicate the warning from the fancy, technologically complex, and EXPENSIVE buoys to the tiny fishing villages with no communication equipment. Now, I think for the price of one of those signal buoys you could hire a bunch of (local) people to go out and visit these tiny villages with a set of colorful illustrations and *teach* everybody what that 10 year old girl knew, and then they wouldn't NEED the expensive technology. Fishermen are accustomed to watching the sea. All they needed was to know the signs that meant "head for the hills".

But .... it wouldn't be fancy Western tech. It would save more lives, more cheaply, but somehow that doesn't matter. It has to be the same stuff the Westerners use, because that's what gives them their power! And influence! and ... but you get the picture. Cargo cult. If only they had those buoys *they* would be invited to take a seat on the Security Council!

I think the recent attempted Internet-snatch was the same thing. Westerners say the Internet is wonderful, and produces money, and everybody wants to use it. So the UN and its eminences grise' want to steal it for themselves, meanwhile making certain "necessary changes" -- like censorship and taxation -- that would destroy what makes it work. Sure there are African countries that have little Internet presence. Could it possibly be that they are more concerned with NOT STARVING or NOT GETTING SHOT? That a truly concerned international organization would first make sure nobody is getting whacked with machetes before trying to give them their own internet domain? Priorities, folks! Dead people don't log in!