Thursday, April 29, 2010

Man on the Moon, Fall of the Berlin Wall, and Now this?

I had lunch with Dickie the Peap yesterday and it truly was a momentous occasion. Ok, maybe not as dramatic as the title suggests, but c'mon, anytime Dickie Boy pays, it is a cause for note. In fairness, I have to be completely honest: Dickie does buy alternately when we go to lunch. It's just that the act of getting him to voluntarily pull out the wallet without having to be reminded is the part that is so amazing.

We usually end up going to a familiar place most of the time, so much that, we are recognized by the waitstaff as, "Oh. It's you two". This is more of a commentary on the fact that they know that it is a complete crapshoot for any type of tip to be left depending on who is going to be responsible for the bill. When I pay, I am not afraid to leave a token of my appreciation and reward for good service. In the past few training lunches we have conducted to get Alligator Arms conditioned to hosting, the concept of an additional amount for the server has never been fully grasped. It seems to be a memory thing.

Regardless, the lunch was good, the beer was cold, and I will schedule another lunch meeting in the future. Of course, at that time, it will be my turn to buy. I've already been reminded. I guess the memory thing was fixed.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is that craft fitted with the proper number of lifejackets?

Sometimes the best intentions go astray due to lack of proper planning.

This suspiciously sounds like something that one of our guys would do. If I didn't have the ability to run it from such a distance, I would recommend to the cheap-assed Board of Directors that we open a European branch as well since there is an obvious population that would guarantee our existence. I've got my hands full here, however.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Its Tough Relaying Your Message

Most non-profit organizations, like FTI, constantly struggle with the task of developing a message to educate the community concerning the work and results they achieve. The challenge is to make the message viable, concise, and memorable, so the organization is easily identified with the message at the time.

The FTI media relations team has been working for nearly a year to develop a vehicle to publicize our cause. Different methods of relaying our message have been discussed at length with no clear choice ever actually determined. It was initially decided that a simple slogan could be used that would easily identify our cause with our work. The original slogan of "FTI: Doing Good Things With Odd People" was abandoned as it invited the mistakenly repeated scrutiny of our local law enforcement's Vice Department. Another idea was to have Gummo, the Balloon Boy, wear a sandwich board type of sign reading, "Even I Am Employed; FTI-Helping All Types of People." This ideas was shot down as being in poor taste during the recent employment downturn as well as being taunting to people with lesser intelligence. Later, the idea of planting a feel good "news story" in the local newspaper was advanced. The thought was to have a story and picture featuring Dickie the Peap with 2 other of the Misfits at the nearby Taco Bell with the headline reading "Local Man Discovers Joys of Low Cost Value Menu". The story would go on to describe how the FTI team had helped Dickie realize that he could actually host an event in a social setting and not feel that the small expenditure of funds would be harmful to his overall wealth. This idea was scrubbed as Taco Bell would not allow our team into their restaurant.

Finally, discussion turned to creating a TV commercial that would show how we help our members using exclusive FTI methodology and practices. If we could show some of the innovative practices employed by FTI, the resulting boost in the self confidence of our team would be a positive change for the community. Knowing that most media relations teams are staffed with people whom think differently than the rest ( and then, to be on our team on top of that), the cheap-assed Board of Directors wisely stipulated that a trial run be undertaken so we could see where they were going before committing our few precious resources to such a venture. The result is below.

I don't think it will ever hit the airwaves.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

It's Green Sunday

Hey c'mon, it's Sunday and tough enough to get this group to think during the week, let alone the weekend. We get a day off too, you know.

We're glad you're here, though. We have endorsed a new "green" policy here at FTI and want to do our part. Since you've already spent the energy to get here, it would be wasteful (not to mention how harmful to the environment) if you leave now without getting what you came for. So we'll do our part: it's not new, it's just gently read. Take a look here and see if you missed anything from the past.

The weekly struggle begins again tomorrow. See you then.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Yep. We've got an app for that

Part of our supposed success here at FTI is our ability to stay technologically current and aware of the various tools to transmit our message.  Despite the repeated failures, goof-ups, and outright bungling by the FTI IT department, the most reviled department here at FTI, somehow we manage.   A case in point:  my recent acquisition of a new cellular "smart" telephone. 

The cheap-assed Board of Directors recently authorized the purchase of a Droid smart phone.   With all of the "apps" available, my life can be managed, enhanced, entertained, and made easier all with this small device.  Overwhelmed by the stench at the FTI sewage lagoon and not able to think clearly in order to move elsewhere?   Simple.  Press the app for the compass and map feature and navigate yourself away.  Unsure how to tie a necktie for the upcoming FTI Doofus Induction Banquet/Yard Sale?  There is an app that gives step by step directions for tying both a Windsor or Four in Hand knot.  Or, and this is a biggie, unsure of where the nearest FAST FOOD PLACE IS LOCATED!?  Reach out to your smart phone and it can locate it for you. 

A lot of this seems silly, juvenile, and  a time waster.  I'm talking about the phone apps.  Not this site.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Give me that thing. I'll show you how it's done.

At our weekly staff meeting yesterday, I was welcomed back from my few days hiatus attending to the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Kfred Jr. 1.   The entire agenda here at the Institute seemed to go into a "sleep" mode as nothing was accomplished and all was put on hold.  With that said, I wish to make one last wedding observation and then pledge not to make the wedding  a topic of any future postings.

My basic photographic skills consist of taking the easiest to operate digital camera I can find, find someone I know, tell them to stand still, center them in the viewfinder, and snap the picture.  A professional, however, is an artist.  They see things  as a point of reference, as an accessory, as something to build around.  That's why they command and receive the fees they do to perform their work.  In viewing the advance work of the photographer who worked the recent wedding, I am amazed at how they can take people and scenes and transform them into works of art.    I would love to share some of his work at this time, but obviously, the guy hasn't received his full fee, so I guess you will have to take my word for it.  The guy is good. 

In the meantime I offer 2 examples of my skills.  One is an action shot captured at  the wedding reception and the other an example of my wildlife viewing skills consisting of  the mole I trapped in the backyard.     Do you think I can land a gig?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sometimes, You just got to go with the Flow

Well, it's all over. The happy couple will be on their way to Cabo by the time this appears, and all in all, things went very smoothly. I didn't mention in last weeks post, that a major glitch almost destroyed  the grand event.  You see, the hotel where the wedding and reception were scheduled to occur, double booked the rooftop space for the same time on the same day. 

Though the kids had signed the contract for the room in advance of the other party, the date of the actual event on the contract  was wrong by 3 days.  Wednesday!  Who gets married on Wednesday?  Subsequently, the later contract signed by the other party had the correct date, and legally, would be the one recognized if things escalated to  a legal dispute.  (The FTI Legal Dept. pored over this document for hours attempting to find any type of contractual error allowing our side to enforce the original date, but had little success.  Attempting to argue before a judge that the contract was written by the hotel staff on lined paper, had numerous meaningless doodles, and that  a jello wrestling pit would not be provided as requested by an anonymous phone call, were not  felt to be actionable offenses that damages could be won over.)   Ultimately, it was decided that a plan B was needed to be devised and  instituted quickly as the photographer, flowers, invitations, deejay, etc had all been ordered and scheduled.  Fortunately, Friday night was available and decided to be used as the day of choice.  The hotel admitted this incident was all their fault and made numerous concessions on fees and accommodations to make it right for all involved.    In the end, the bride was beautiful, the dinner tasty, the reception rollicking, and the evening  perfect.  And yes,  Goldilocks decided to give up her maiden name and  to take her new husband's name.

 Ladies and gentlemen,  I present Mr. and Mrs. Kfred Jr.1.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's "Post Wedding" Sunday

Hey c'mon, it's post-wedding Sunday. It's 2 days past, we're still cleaning up, and it's gonna take a while.

We're glad you're here, though. We have endorsed a new "green" policy here at FTI and want to do our part.  Since you've already spent the energy to get here, it would be wasteful (not to mention how harmful  to the environment)  if you leave now without getting what you came for.  So we'll  do our part: it's not new, it's just gently read.   Take a look here and see if you missed anything from the past.

The weekly struggle begins again tomorrow.  See you then.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Simply some odd wedding rituals and beliefs

These are all actual traditions, I did not make these up.  (   I would have suspected some of these actual practices were developed by our team...........

In Greece it is a tradition to write names of all single women at the wedding party on the sole of bride's shoe. After the party, the shoe is checked. Women whose names have been worn off will be married soon.

Rather strange tradition exists at Russian wedding receptions. Those who would like to get married soon should secretly pull the tablecloth. It is also a bad sign if the heel on the  bride's shoes gets broken.

After the wedding ceremony in Australia, guests put satin horseshoes on ribbons to the bride's wrist for good luck.

The date of the wedding of the Daur people whom live in China  is settled in a rather interesting way. The young man and his bride to be hold a knife together to kill a chick. Then they analyze its liver. If it is of suitable appearance the date of wedding is decided. If not, the happy couple kills yet another chick.

The grooms at Irish weddings has to be very careful when dancing with their brides. His feet have to stay on the floor all the time. Why? If he moves even only one foot off the floor the fairies will steal the bride.

At the wedding in Yemen, the father of the groom takes a handful of raisins and throws them onto the carpet. People gathered there try to pick up as many raisins as possible. Why? Raisins are believed to be symbols of the bright future for the bride and groom.

Actually, these all seem to symbolize something.  Our team isn't bright enough to develop anything with this type of substance.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

With our Best Wishes

Hurtling rapidly toward the Big Day of Wedding Week, a number of gifts have been arriving for the soon to be betrothed.  Wedding  gifts are a token of affection and symbol of best wishes, happiness, and future success  for a new bride and groom. 

Rather than the traditional types of material gifts, the Misfits thought it might be unique to offer some personalized, from-the-heart, offerings and life lessons that would be of benefit to a young couple. These concepts would actually be real-life methods and secrets to a long lasting marriage that they could each relay.  I have to admit, initially I was quite proud of my little band of stooges and it brought a small tear to my eye.  Knowing however,  that potential disaster is possible and lurking just below the surface on any concept developed by these losers, I  asked that each gift giver  reveal their plans to me  in  advance in order to judge the sensibilities of each of their ideas.  It was then,  after the details were revealed, that I began to realize that the tear in my eye was, in fact,  due to the nauseous feelings I was beginning to experience.

Among the offerings:

From Dickey the Peap: "Dick(ey)ering Your Way to Financial Health" Dickey thought it would be appropriate to teach the young couple how to avoid paying full retail via any method possible including  wearing a shirt until you develop a hole in it and then return it claiming it to be the wrong size; browbeating a clerk into submission over retail pricing at any establishment and  then waiting until they lower it just to get rid of you; and  his self developed classic, suggesting to dine out with friends, then once the menus have been cleared away, gently remind them  that you believe you bought last time and it is now  their turn to buy.

Marv the Neighbor offered: "3 Tasty, Deep Fried, Meals Guaranteed Your New Husband Will Enjoy".  Does this need to be explained any further?

The Green Comic wished to relay the concept of humor and laughter by gift wrapping a copy of  his well-worn,  dog-eared,  edition of "Everyone Else's Best Jokes".  That way, when  the inevitable disagreement between man and wife comes up, they could take a timeout, search the index for the topic at hand, and read one or two 35 year old jokes relaying to the matter to lessen the tension of the situation.  I told him to rather send a blender.    

The intent is definitely there; for that credit is due and given.  It's just that that the result is a bit off the mark.  Kind of like our population. 

Monday, April 12, 2010

The beginning of a Joyful week

Today marks the official beginning of Wedding Week for Kfred Jr.1 and Goldilocks.  I have requested  the cheap-assed Board of Directors to authorize a temporary leave of absence and will only be spending limited time here at FTI as I will be doubling as shuttle driver, chief go-fer, and auxiliary banker for various events during the coming week. 

As this is scheduled to be a small wedding, a limited number of guests were invited.   Kfred Jr. 1 is highly familiar with the Misfits and  struggled  in deciding which ones to invite. Among the various factors in reaching his decision were the needs  of  convenience of travel, ability to comprehend what was actually occurring at the moment,  and the overall safety of the normal guests.   In the end, the only 2 Misfits scheduled to attend are Marv the Neighbor and Freako Deako.  He has known both Gummo, the Balloon Boy and  the Rat Bastard G since being a small boy, but felt the  rice throwing tradition after the ceremony could indeed re-trigger some painful flashback memories.    Both were one time busboys during a Greek wedding and the father of the bride, highly agitated with their habit of pelting the goat in attendance with wedding rice, threatened to render both of them  inoperable "as men" should it continue.  (I'll leave it to you to determine the actual threat.) 

Dickey the Peap will not be attending as he is actually conducting an alternative event this same day to celebrate the medical discovery of a surgery to correct short arm syndrome.  Correspondingly, he has invited numerous guests to a restaurant, requested that all order ala carte items for his consumption from the menu, and then sit back and relish the experience one last time before realizing he will no longer have a medical excuse not to reach for the check.     Brother Eddie is scheduled to attend in spite of his various exaggerated, physical ailments, as well.  We will have a fully staffed maintenance contingent available should there be any problems. 

All in all, I am excited.   It should be a fun week.  I sincerely hope it doesn't go the way of most events with which we are associated.   

Sunday, April 11, 2010

It's Green Sunday

Hey c'mon, it's Sunday and tough enough to get this group to think during the week, let alone the weekend.  We get a day off too, you know.

We're glad you're here, though. We have endorsed a new "green" policy here at FTI and want to do our part.  Since you've already spent the energy to get here, it would be wasteful (not to mention how harmful  to the environment)  if you leave now without getting what you came for.  So we'll  do our part: it's not new, it's just gently read.   Take a look here and see if you missed anything from the past.

The weekly struggle begins again tomorrow.  See you then.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A simple point of view

I purposely avoid inserting my family's or my own personal life experiences into this forum.  Sure,  there are some striking similarities and our staff is populated by those with traits very similar to people I know, but for all intents and purposes, I  choose to make this as anonymous as possible:  I want you to consider the possibility  that FTI could be located in your city.  And you don't even realize it. 

Anyways (a gentle nod to the Rat Bastard G),  our 2 faithful readers already know that Mrs. Kfred is not only my long time wife of over 28 years and reluctant Director of Safety here at FTI, but also, the mother of our 2 sons, Kfred Jr.1 and Kfred Jr.2.  Both are fine young men whom have already achieved success in their young lives and I am sure will continue to enjoy the same.    I have a feeling they both left home at an early age to avoid being drawn into the FTI web. 

Neither has traits superior to the other, they are just different.  Kfred Jr.1 is a creative, artistic, flamboyant sort. He is well-read, a wonderful writer, likes to learn new things, and has a delightful sense of humor.  enough about me.  Graduated from college, he is scheduled to be married to his longtime girlfriend, Goldilocks, next week.  Kfred Jr. 2 is  the athletic, precise,  serious, and determined one.    Yesterday, Kfred Jr.2 called to inform us that he has been selected to a leadership position  at his school for next year.  His school:  The US Military Academy at West Point.  As a "Firstie" (Senior) next year, he will be responsible for overseeing a group of people, have day-to-day duties for which he will be accountable, and ultimately lead his team.  (Are you starting to see some striking similarities?)  We lovingly refer to him as ""Bilko" for the manner in which he is constantly working Mrs. Kfred and myself for any type of non-college expenses he incurs.     (Case in point:  a $138 charge on his credit card  to a local brew-pub is somehow a financial obligation we agreed to before sending him off to college.) 

We are very proud of both young men and unfailingly never forget to tell them so.  In return, both of them constantly include us in their lives and cheerfully invite us to be involved with their activities.   We couldn't be more happy.  I relay this scenario not to brag or boast, rather, to demonstrate the simple joy of family.  I am worried a bit about the younger one's insistence for me to call him by his new name, though. 


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Acting intelligently is out

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has started a program he calls "Pedal Vision," in which inmates pedal stationary bikes to generate electricity for television sets. The bikes are customized to turn on connected TV sets once inmates at Phoenix's Tent City Jail pedal enough to generate 12 volts of electricity. An hour of pedaling equals an hour of television.

This story caught my eye as this sheriff has become nationally known for his innovative ways to deal with his jail population. I think it is a creative and different way to deal with 2 issues: the health of his inmates and as a method to teach them that everything has a price; if you want something bad enough, you will work for it. 

I am currently researching some type of parallel program for our staff in the same manner.  If I could develop some type of simple, mundane, task that when performed, the resulting actions would be converted to energy, we may become a bit more self sustainable here at FTI.  The difficulty, however, is to determine what type of program would be beneficial to both our staff and  to FTI overall.   I presented this concept at yesterday's staff meeting and solicited suggestions.   Here are a couple of rejected ideas and the reasons they wouldn't work: 

1)  Counting and recounting  money.  Dickey the Peap would short out the lines. 

2)  Develop new jokes for entertainment.  The Green Comic acted as if I were speaking in tongues when I mentioned this one. 

3)  Shopping for Groceries.  The entire meltdown of our recent Easter event was a result of the actions of the Rat Bastard G.  There is no way in hell that he will step foot inside a grocery store again on our behalf. 

4)  Offer telephone support for users of the soon-to-be discontinued Windows Vista operating system.  The FTI IT Department, the most reviled department here at FTI,  is still working on upgrading our system to Vista.  You can't support something you don't understand.   

Interestingly, Gummo, the Balloon Boy, seemed to be in favor of this entire program. I suspect it had to do with his affinity for a bicycle, though, I have never figured out what that connection was.  Regardless, we welcome your input should you think of anything our staff could perform of value. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Will Obamacare cover the subscription fee?

I had a discussion with Dickey the Peap the other day and we were discussing investment strategies.  The short-armed one is infamous for deep analysis, careful consideration, and unique timing when determining which sectors and companies in which to invest his tightly-clenched dollars.  Once this arduous task is completed, he sits back, monitors his choices, and grimaces as he watches the plummeting value of his portfolio occur almost instantaneously.  Now, Dickey  is not short on resources or intelligence; he is actually a very bright, successful individual.  He is just deficient, however, in logic.  His recent adventures included investing in a small biomedical company that is exploring  ways to deal with erectile dysfunction in men and another that is building software for the gaming and entertainment industry which detects electrical signals produced by the brain.  This type of product could eventually morph into some type of technology that would help paralyzed people control movement  via thought or gaming enthusiasts play games without having to have the mandatory eye/hand coordination to be successful.  The Peap-ed one surmised that if he were to corner the market on both of these companies, he could actually gain enough voting control to force a merger resulting in a company that would cure impotency instantly, simply by  the thought patterns generated by the brain. 

I still shake my head in amazement in reflecting on this conversation.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that a highly  successful, alternative type of product , used and known by men beginning at approximately age 13 all over the world  has been around for nearly 60 years.  It's called Playboy magazine. 

Sunday, April 4, 2010

It's Easter Sunday

Hey, it's Easter Sunday, the Misfits are out looking for one another. They never have seemed to understand the egg thing. Anyway, it's tough enough to get this group to think during the week, let alone the weekend. We get a day off too, you know.

We're glad you're here, though. We have endorsed a new "green" policy here at FTI and want to do our part. Since you've already spent the energy to get here, it would be wasteful (not to mention how harmful to the environment) if you leave now without getting what you came for. So we'll do our part: it's not new, it's just gently read. Take a look here and see if you missed anything from the past.

The weekly struggle begins again tomorrow. See you then.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Caution: Don't feed the animals

Today's pending FTI Family Easter Event and accompanying Beer Garden plaza have me more than a bit concerned. As chronicled earlier, I was out-voted by the cheap-assed Board of Directors in even conducting this event, so,  have adopted the " if-you-can't-beat'em-join'em" attitude in observing this fiasco.  I will be testing the beer in the plaza behind a set of dark glasses and fake mustache disguise and wish to have absolutely no association with this event.  

A few observations so far:

1.  The Rat Bastard G, communicating on an old model, poor quality, cell phone provided by our infamous IT department , the most reviled department here at FTI, mistakenly heard the request to "pick up 5 dozen chicken eggs" as "5 dozen chicken legs"  and purchased the same.
2.  Gummo, the Balloon Boy, fully regaled in his paper chef's hat, cheerfully decided to go ahead and boil the legs anyway under the guise of "the show must go on".  This is of course, is in direct conflict with the fact  that there is no practical way to dye cooked chicken legs. 

3.  Marv the Neighbor is pouting because he didn't get to deep-fry the chicken legs.

Surveying the compound as I write this, I note that the Misfits are constantly shooing away 2 stray dogs,   one cat,  and reminding Dickey the Peap not to touch, while hiding the chicken legs.  In addition, I have noted a few raccoons and a circling hawk attracted by the cooked meat.    

Like most family Easter events, I am sure this one will be remembered for a long time.  I just hope it's not for the wrong reasons.