Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I Got Nothin'

A long-time aspiration of mine has been to write a novel. To create an original and engaging story filled with quirky characters that readers grow to love and care for. The problem is, it takes a long time to write a novel - sometimes years, and I just don't have the attention span to support that kind of commitment. I've considered trying my hand at short stories, but even that seems too daunting a prospect. And so here I am, writing blog posts: easily digestible bits of drivel that I can spew out in a few paragraphs and be done with.

Embarrassingly, I am often unable to come up with a topic that warrants even a single paragraph of fluff to frame it. Such is the case today. So, rather than making a futile attempt at cohesiveness, I am simply going to regail you with unrelated tidbits of thought. I've done my best to make them sound like wise sayings, in the hopes of one day finding myself cited in the "Quotes of the Day" on Google. After all, what have we, if not our dreams to cling to.

Crack: It’s killing our children and immortalizing our bells.

To everything there is a season. Except spotted owls; they’re endangered.

The surest cure for hiccups is to count to a billion by tenths.

Statistically speaking, you are much more likely to die of a heart attack than in a plane crash. Of course, that’s also true of your pilot.

Roses are red, violets are blue,
They’re eaten by horses, and turned into poo (which is kind of greenish brown).

A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So, before you go grabbing a wild bird with your bare hand, think about the market value of two birds in a bush.

Tofu is like life support. It will keep you alive, but is it really worth it?

All men are created equal. All women are created greater than.

Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep, and you weep alone - unless you’re on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

In business, the whole is greater than the sum of all its parts. In golf, the sum of all its pars is greater than the holes.

In heaven you will sing praises for eternity to the Most High while surrounded by angels. Hell is the same, only the guy next to you will be playing air guitar.

A cry for help from a proud man rarely comes in the form of words; especially if that proud man is tied up and gagged in the trunk of his kidnapper’s car.

Death is the great equalizer, but Sony makes a pretty decent one too.

I lived in Las Vegas for eight years, and never once got up the courage to try my luck at the roulette wheel. I can’t even imagine how the guys in Russia do it.

Problems are like clouds. They can be daunting, and sometimes seem to cover the whole world. But, if you can just work your way up through them, you’ll see the sun again - then fall 30,000 feet.

The ant is the strongest organism on the planet – able to lift up to 50 times its own weight. I can crush 5 ants with my pinky. Step off punk.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Saving Time

Satisfaction Guaranteed*

It has been said that time stops for no man. While that may be true, it does bounce back and forth a lot for most men – and women for that matter.

If you’ll forgive me a rant, I’d like to relate my feelings about daylight saving time.

In general, I have nothing against saving. I think it’s an important discipline that, when executed appropriately, can promote peace of mind and enrich one’s life. What I take issue with is being told how, what and when I must save – and exactly when I must withdraw and use that which I have so judiciously put away.

Once each year I am forced to extract one hour from my day and set it aside for later use. And it’s not just any hour. It’s a 2:00 AM hour. Three times out of four, I am asleep at that time. I sleep too little as it is, and for my own government to swoop in and snatch up one of my precious sleeping hours is just plain inconsiderate. If they insist on taking an hour, they should do it at 4:00 PM on a Friday. I’d be happy to offer up that hour.

Furthermore, most experts agree that the benefits of saving are best achieved by investing in long-term prospects. This philosophy is not shared by those that mandate saving time. While the method of extraction is somewhat cruel and ill thought out, I could overlook the inconvenience if my saved time was being locked away safely and gaining interest. If, in retirement, I had the option of withdrawing my youthful hours as I saw fit, I would happily cope with the hour I find missing one morning each spring. But no, I have to use my saved hour within the year on a specific date at, once again, 2:00 in the morning.

I have, in the past, voiced a strong opinion that daylight saving time should be done away with entirely. My position has changed. I think the idea has merit, but some practicality and flexibility need to be introduced into the institution.

Each of us should have complete control over what time we save, and when that time is deposited. In an emergency, saved time should be available for immediate use. Perhaps a minor penalty might be assessed for early withdrawals to discourage misuse. Also, similar to a 401K plan, a maximum yearly contribution would be appropriate.

To illustrate this plan, I’ll describe a likely scenario:

Jane is a 37-year-old woman. It is midnight on January 1, and she currently has 8,760 hours remaining in her year.

Jane has decided to participate in the time saving program. She can invest a maximum of five percent of her time in the program and therefore has 438 hours this year available to deposit.

Jane was exhausted yesterday and fell asleep at 7:00 PM, but she set her alarm clock for 11:55 PM so she could wake up to celebrate the New Year. Now it is midnight and she can’t get back to sleep. She decides to save the next 8 hours, which makes it immediately 8:00 AM, and she goes to work.

Throughout the year, Jane continues to contribute to her time fund. She is committed to the program and wants to save as much time as possible. She is able to find time to put away every time she is in a doctor’s office, on hold for customer service, turning on her computer, or watching Paula Abdul critique a contestant on American Idol. She is so successful, that by September she has stowed her maximum hours.

The time she has saved is now gaining 3% interest and will be available for penalty-free withdrawal when Jane reaches age 59.

Flash forward to Jane’s 60th birthday. She has decided to treat herself to a day at the spa and is getting a 30 minute foot massage from a 25-year-old Hungarian boy named Matthias. She is in seventh heaven and, on a whim, decides to withdraw 8 hours from her fund and insert it directly into the middle of her half-hour massage. She smiles as she begins to reap the rewards of her practical planning.

Our current daylight saving system has a grain of smart mixed with a sandbox of stupid. If we can just reverse that ratio, we’ll all be able to enjoy multi-hour foot massages in our golden years.

*This blog post is guaranteed to bring you satisfaction. If you feel unsatisfied after reading, simply contact the author for a full three minute refund.