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Odds and Ends Again

Odds and Ends Again

On January 23rd I wrote here that Taylor Swift had the worst voice at the Haitian Telethon performance. In my opinion, she can’t sing, has no range, can’t hold a note. Well, on the Grammy Awards the other day she sounded like someone in pain, and even the forgiving insiders at the event reached the same conclusion. We have the dubious ability to create “celebrities” without competence.

Let me understand this: Unemployment declined in January, the market pulled itself back from a 170-point drop, some firms are deliberately taking smaller bonuses because of public heat, the use of corporate jets us up at the SuperBowl for the first time in three years, the housing market is experiencing gains—and a lot of pundits are still predicting gloom and doom. If the bad times are truly bad, and the good times are illusions or ephemeral, there’s a word for that: cynicism.

New Orleans is a great city, and they deserve the rallying point that is the Saints phenomenon. But over the last six games or so they’ve been more lucky than good, and luck won’t beat Payton Manning. I’m rooting for the Saints because it’s more fun (I’m really rooting for the commercials), but if the Saints don’t sack Manning, they can’t win.

An employee is sitting in a coffee shop drinking coffee and eating, while using his cell phone. He finishes, goes in the back, and ignores a waiting customer. I asked the owner why she doesn’t just give him her bank book and let him steal money more easily.

If “safe” congressional seats, such as Patrick Kennedy’s here in Rhode Island, are FINALLY going to be seriously contested (he’s in trouble in the early polls), it’s a victory for democracy no matter who ultimately wins. The last time I looked there was nothing about hereditary aristocracy in the Constitution, and George Washington politely declined to be named “king.”

The first episode of the final season of Lost, which was supposed to begin to provide answers, confused me more than all of last season combined. I’m beginning to root against everyone, especially the writers, whom I wish the smoke monster (AKA John Locke) would devour. But I only have three advanced degrees. Maybe they should speak more slowly for me….

The funny thing is, the way James Cameron directs, I could believe that Avatar actually happened, but not the Titanic.

Professional basketball is about as exciting as watching someone else play a pinball machine that has the “tilt” mechanism disabled. If I could have ignored the rules like that when I was in high school, I would have been all-state!

Malcolm Gladwell’s What the Dog Saw is a rare example of a compilation of articles producing a wonderful book. The guy can write.

Consultants take note: Toyota is a good example of a bad practice—allowing cost controls to dominate your business. Their ignoring early warning signs is a throwback to the GM and Ford errors of decades ago. We have not heard the last of this sordid story.

I remember watching the incoming tide as a kid, hoping it wouldn’t reach my sand castle. I’m watching that blizzard in Washington, hoping it doesn’t reach New York, where I’m headed tomorrow for the grandchildren, SuperBowl, and a couple of days on the town.

© Alan Weiss 2010. All rights reserved.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 3

  • February 6, 2010

    Great post. While I see pro basketball only on the news, I thought perhaps the rules had changed. When I grew up, there was a prohibition against “traveling.” Now traveling is routine and no longer results in a turnover. I could have made more baskets if I never had to dribble.

  • February 6, 2010

    Holy cow! Are you in shape this morning or what? Did you eat extra Wheeties?

    As for pro B-ball, it’s boring because they’re giants on a small surface. It’s as if football were played on a hockey rink and hockey were played on a b-ball court.


  • Alan Weiss

    February 6, 2010

    It’s boring because it’s so predictable until the final two minutes, during which they call times out and deliberately foul. It’s become a dumb game, no finesse, brute strength. Might as well watch cage fighting, where the IQs are higher and no one has guns in the locker room.

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