Saturday, March 25, 2017

Simplicity of the Ford Model A: Strength or weakness?

After the car failed the test...
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Soichiro: You need a new car.
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Henry: It’s 1997. It is old. The cost of repairs is greater than its value.
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Soichiro: Time to upgrade.
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Not as simple as it looks...
Henry: Maybe downgrade. Saw a 1927 Model A on eBay. Nice simple machine. Engine needs a little work, but it’s simpler than modern cars.
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Soichiro: But a Model A engine only lasts a fraction as long as a modern engine.
________
Voice-over

Simplicity is not the only consideration. A Model A engine has only three main bearings instead of five, weak connecting rods, unbalanced crankshaft and flywheel, poor oil seals, and many more engineering deficiencies. You can re-engineer the motor but that costs. Not to mention the poor brakes and handling. Classic is not always synonymous with quality.
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Saturday, March 18, 2017

Rooster Air

A weird administration tests the normalization of the absurd…
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DT: I’m thinking of starting a new airline. Last one didn’t do so well.
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SB: How?
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DT: I have a plan. It’ll be a great plan. With my face painted on the nose of the aircraft.
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SB: You know as president you have a conflict of interest.
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DT: I know, OK. So I’ll call this one “Rooster Air.” Rooster faces on the noses. Give the airline industry a wake-up call. Cock a doodle-doo!
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SB: I’m thinking, roosters have red eyes.
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DT: Ha! Great idea Steve! All the flights will be red-eyes.
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SB: Maybe Ivanka could sell eyedrops on board. And safety announcements could be rooster crows.
_________
Voice-over
...

Monday, March 13, 2017

From Yakutsk to Khabarovsk: Moving ahead

Lyosha receives an unsettling text. “Call urgently, need to talk about Vlad.”
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Tatiana: His landlord is selling the apartment so he has to move.
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Lyosha: It seems a door closes. But he was thinking of looking for a job out of Yakutsk anyway. I heard he got a couple of interviews. This is a good push for him.
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Don't wear spectacles outdoors!
Tatiana: Maybe. He did say he got offered another job.
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Lyosha: So a window opened. This is good news, isn’t it?
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Tatiana: But the city is Khabarovsk.
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Lyosha: Well Khabarovsk is warmer than Yakutsk. A little. And there are more jobs.

_________
Voice-over

Aren’t urgent messages unsettling? “Call now! We have to talk about Vladimir.” No subject to help prepare. The challenge for the receiver is to frame the news positively. Vladimir being told to move melts his inertia of staying put. Average low in Yakutsk is -40 degrees C in January, in Khabarovsk in January is only -20 degrees C. There’s good news in this. When a door closes, a window opens.
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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

The éminence grise and his puppet con-man

How to spin snake oil…
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George: Back in the wild west days, a medicine man would show up in a community of people with aches and pains and coughs and colds and give them snake oil and relieve them of a lot of money. He’d be gone before any of the sufferers noticed that the so-called medicine didn’t work.
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Bill: An apt metaphor. But I would add that this particular conman is under the control of a man with a plan, an éminence grise.
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George: You think the éminence grise tells the conman what to say?
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Bill: How to spin the story, the timing of the diversions.
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George: But those early morning tweets, are they all in the plan?
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Whoever controls the media…?
Bill: This éminence grise has a hard job controlling his puppet. The conman goes way too fake with his stories, over-performs with child-like tantrums. Still, the spin and the spiel help distract the people from the snake oil product.
___________
Voice-over
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A snake oil salesman has few qualifications, sells phoney medicines using fake evidence. To drive sales, accomplices often kick up a rumpus.
...

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

ARG! White Rabbit

"ARG!" said Alice as she fell down the hole following the white rabbit.
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And entered the Alternate Reality Game meeting the March Hare!
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WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT, WHITE RABBIT
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Follow the White Rabbit to learn how to cope with Alternate Realities.
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And tell time.
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Monday, February 27, 2017

An alternate reality game played in public

A conversation of agreement...
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Not even an alternate fact...
Sergey: Some people live in alternate realities. They inhabit alternate worlds.
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Mark: Like the "so-called" leader of a certain country?
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Sergey: He’s playing an alternate reality game. An ARG. One in which he mixes reality and fiction, tweets false stories. He exists but his talk is false.
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Mark: No harm if it were a game played by a private individual. But when a person who lives their life based on fake news and conspiracies enters public office, in a democratic society, that person is on a collision course with people who live in a more reasoned and evidential universe. Chaos.
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__________
Voice-over
Where the alternate beliefs of an individual impact on other people disturbance occurs.
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At a private level, infantilism and indulgence, lying and anger is a pebble dropped in a pond. At the public level, winds blow and the ocean roils.
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Monday, February 20, 2017

Can someone hand me a rope?

A telephone conversation…
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Kermit: Hello. (rising intonation)
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Sam: Hello. (falling intonation)
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Kermit: Something wrong? You OK?
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Sam: I’m depressed.
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Kermit: What’s up?
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Sam: Rain, Grey sky. No coffee. Honey pot’s empty.
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Kermit: Come over here. I can lift your spirits.
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Sam: Can’t move. I’m depressed.
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Kermit: I can counsel you on the phone. But it’ll cost you.
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Sam: Money’s all gone.
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Kermit: You can pay it back in your will.
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Sam: Won’t be any will. Entire estate will be used up to pay fines for overdue library books.
___________
Voice-over
Country's going to the dogs.
Is Sam the American Eagle’s depression connected with the current state of the U.S. politics?
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Sam was always appalled by the nonsense that passes for entertainment. I wouldn’t doubt that Sam is also appalled about the shenanigans that passes for American politics these days.
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I heard Sam say in one episode, in a deeper than usual depressive tone, “Can someone hand me a rope?” But google doesn’t seem to suggest a link to that episode. Anyone know of it?
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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Troll bones found in Norsewood

Ready for a new assignment…
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Woodward: Things are getting exciting. Today he rambled incoherently, then shouted at everyone they weren’t giving him a fair hearing and burst into tears.
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Bernstein: Sounds like a story I could report on.
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Woodward: Get yourself up here. There’s more than just giving speeches nobody understands. He’s giving orders for the police to arrest mayors and judges who won’t do what he orders.
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Bernstein: This sounds more exciting than reporting from Norsewood. Hey, did I tell you they just found evidence for the existence of trolls? Troll bones have been excavated.
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Woodward: You’ll get more readers if you cover the news up here.
_________
Voice-over
Incoherency? Anger? Tears? An approval rating suggesting that still a third of the people approve of him? Maybe they identify with incoherency and anger and tears…

Choose your stories. Know what people will read. What’s hot, what’s not. But sometimes a little light relief is good too, eh Trevor?
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Gaudi vs Le Corbusier

When Antoni met Charles-Édouard…
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Gaudi: There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature.
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Le Corbusier: A house is a machine for living in. Form follows function. The quickest way from A to B is a straight line. A machine has straight lines.
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Gaudi: It may look like a straight line but there are many corners on the roads to Rome.
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Le Corbusier: Putting it another way, does not this post hold up the wisteria?
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Gaudi: Which is more beautiful: the post or the wisteria?
__________
Voice-over

There may be no definitive answer here but you might conclude that Gaudi is the wisteria and Le Corbusier was the post?
...