Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Management by Santa.

Christmas is coming fast. A runaway locomotive barreling down the Main Street of your life. Ignoring the stop lights, and lane signals, crushing the smoothie stand (erected and staffed by the happy memories of your life) at the intersection of Third and Main. Scattering the pedestrians and civil servants who help maintain the sanctity of your life. A cruel, careless, rampaging bull. Seeking, in its blind rage the total destruction of the happiness you have managed to cultivate and harvest throughout the year. And it is almost here.

Now, in the face of the looming tragedy you have to find the perfect gifts for all the people who have treated you so callously. It falls upon your frail, stooped, tender shoulders to find something that will make all of the ingrates, the ne`er-do-wells, who have spent the last 330 days undermining everything you wanted to accomplish, a nice present. How do you do that?

We, here at Whacko Nation, are here to help. We have scoured respected, scholarly sources for the answer to this pressing question. Finally, we found the solution. It was buried in a university reference source, hidden, secret, safe, until we cracked the code.

It seems that Santa has an apparatus, a method of avoiding giving gifts to certain people. People who don't fit in with Santa's way of thinking, people unwilling to follow "the Santa example. This device, is revealed here, to the public for the first time. It is almost certain we will need to find sanctuary after exposing this revolutionary discovery.

"He's making a list
He's checking it twice
He's going to find out
Who's naughty or nice"

What a stroke of North Pole Genius. Take the people who are hard to shop for, or want expensive crap, and transfer them to your naughty list. Problem solved.

Of course, there is some recent research indicating this is an excellent method of organizational behavior modification (OBMod). Post a "naughty and nice" list in the break room. You will want to start with everybody on the "naughty" list. This forces an adaptive scenario wherein all the associates will scramble to be moved over to the "nice" list. There is even anecdotal evidence of people sabotaging other employees to make themselves look "nice" by comparison.

Clearly, Santa is on the cutting edge of human resource management practices in the new millennium. It explains how he can get so much work out of a small, "undersized" staff. There is a lot we can learn from the Jolly Old Elf.

Tune in tomorrow for "the Tooth Fairy, a study in the economics of supply and demand" here on Whacko Business Television.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Horoscope, if you were born today.

Today's Horoscope, brought to you by Dr, 👀

If you were born today you might as well stop and get a couple of donuts, a sausage sandwich and a creamy, delicious mochaccino with extra whipped cream, it is not going to be a very good day. It will start out smoothly enough, but about halfway to work the car audio system will start to get a little fuzzy. Soon the audio book on the power of positive thinking that you have been listening to in an effort to improve your puny, meaningless life will stop altogether.

Replacing the mantra "I am a success, and I can achieve" will be a countdown, beginning at 15, and slowly working toward 0. As it gets closer to bottom a large black cloud with fiery tendrils will darken the bright, cheerful morning sky. Cars will careen into each other, and soon the freeway will look like a battlefield with burning, crushed wreckage from one side to the other. Due to your cautious, defensive driving you will make your way through the flaming hulks, and the screaming frightened people littering the road.

Only to find the building where you work laying in a smashed, shattered heap of twisted metal and broken glass. Your phone will ring, and when you answer it your boss will tell you to take the day off, with pay. And you will thing "dangit, I could have slept in!" Your drive home takes two and a half hours. Life is so unfair.

Your lucky number is 73 and your lucky letter is Q. It is not a good day to invest your time in foolish pursuits, like that ever stopped you.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Blogging measurements, and how to avoid them

I like to think of myself as a fairly successful blogger.  If you were to measure success by number of posts I am the Dude. Likewise, if you measure success by duration I am doing alright. So, the measurement I choose is number of blogs, or years blogging. Easy to understand, easy to implement, no code to install, no sites to visit.

Still, once in a while an article will grab hold and force investigation.  “5 Metrics Every Blogger Should Measure.” But, in the end it will be a lot of words, strung together in some things that look like sentences, and assembled into what appear to be paragraphs. However, since most of the words make very little sense to me, the sentences are a little silly, and the paragraphs might as well be written in machine code.

For one thing, why “metric’'? Which is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary of English and Grammar (a free app on the Windows Market Place Store)  as “of or using the meter or a system of measurement based on it.”   Why use a meter, some vaguely European unit of length? And how do you measure a blog one meter at a time?

Additionally, most of them insist you add some “simple line of code” to the “HTML” of your blog. What? I don’t know anything about code, and HTML, I tried to add Google analytics to one of my blogs, and it about melted my brain. Plus it kept saying no one was looking at my blog, it was like the flat line in a medical drama. I kept seeing a doctor pounding on the lifeless chest of my blog, as a nurse said consolingly “he’s gone, Jim, you did everything you could.”

Naturally, I didn’t look at that again. Even if no one was reading my blog I certainly didn't want Google rubbing my face in it. And I am pretty sure at least one or two people said "hey, I read your blog," once in a while.

 I went to a Tae Kwon Do class for several years and every class ended with the entire student body screaming “I am a success, Sir” to make us feel good about ourselves, even the class where I separated my shoulder, which did not make me feel successful at all ended in the scream of self assurance. So when I look at my blog, I thing “wow, that is a lot of posts.” And it makes me feel like a champion.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The Meek Shall Inherit (If We Fight For It)

As many people will readily attest, I am not too keen about parties (or meetings, or anywhere you are forced to endure an "organized assembly of mutual acquaintances). But, it is the bane of society, and an organizational addiction to need to throw parties.

If you listen closely, and I do, echoing down the canyons created by corporate high rises echoes the constant call "hey, let's have a party." And memos are composed and sent, emails are "blasted" signs are hung, and plans are made. Supplies, decorations, and food is coordinated, and ideas for participatory imperatives are laid out. "Hey, we are having a world peace day party, everybody can bring their favorite ethnic dish."

"Great, I will bring deep fried tarantulas, a Cambodian delicacy."

"Hey, we've changed our mind, we are having a Halloween party, everybody bring candy, but make it American candy, here is a list of approved manufacturers."

As is obvious, I have tried to confront this problem head on. In a traditional, fixed piece battle. But, being vastly outnumbered (everybody in the world vs. me) I have failed, repeatedly, and miserably.

So, I decided to wage a guerilla campaign, I delete the emails that say party without even reading them. Plus, I turn all of the "signs" (actually just 8.5 by 11 pieces of paper with festive clip art and party instructions) around and leave the plain white side showing. People look at the paper and think "odd, somebody hung a plain piece of paper in a prominent place in the elevator, I wonder why."

It is working, too. I can see the fatigue as they repeatedly turn the "signs" forward, the will to carry on is waning. The Imperial Lackeys have not the strength to stand against the power of the people (in this case, me). But, it needs a slogan, something to rally around, something to offer a beacon of light, of hope to the introverted masses (me) who have no one to speak for them.

French resistance fighters in WWII were legendary in their bravery and sacrifice. Facing terrible retribution and overwhelming odds they stood and fought on in the face of terrible tyranny (kind of like me). And a friend of mine +Susan Leighton used the phrase Viva La Donuts to describe a small problem I had, trying to buy donuts this morning.

So, I chose that. Viva La Donuts! If you need to take a stand, no matter how foolish, just use the
hashtag #VivaLaDonuts and you will instantly have an army (me, and possibly Susan, if she isn't busy, though I haven't asked her yet) to take up your cause.

Carry on, Mon Amie, we are there for you.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Another Tool Bites the Dust

Well this week one of the most important tools to a blogger, that wants to stay syndicated throughout social media has closed. Twitterfeed was the go-to application for people like me for at least the last five years. It was a bit slow, it was often a kludge, but to the starving blogger (like all of us) it had something that nobody else had, it was free and unlimited. Yes with a single Twitterfeed account you could load up as many RSS feeds as you want, and then have them all post to as many Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIN and profiles as your heart desires. Needless to say it has been what has fueled The Whacko concept throughout all of it's social media homes, and the announcement that it was over was a bit disheartening.

I was taken completely flat footed, considering that I had 23 Whacko Bloggers who were being automatically fed to the Whacko Facebook Page, The Whacko Twitter Feed and of course The Whacko LinkedIN page. It all ended this week, or did it? I knew of Buffer, which would do most of this but with a very limited amount of free things you could do with it and also a not too much better paid for model, which I have been using for the Health Whacko for months now. Buffer unfortunately would store a whopping 15 feeds, and would post it to a whopping 10 social media accounts for the 100$ a year, and that of course wouldn't even cover half of the bloggers I have promised a lifetime of loyalty. What the heck am I going to do now?

Never fear, it's impossible to keep an evil genius down, and thankfully our friends at Twitterfeed did send out an e-mail recommending that we all move over to (Deliver It .. get it, that's humor son) and sadly I had never heard of it before. I can't believe this little beauty had escaped me until now, because even though it has a very limited set of perimeters for the free service (5 feeds and 3 social media outlets, which should be plenty for anyone with a blog or two) for about the same amount as a Buffer subscription you can get a ginormous 100 feeds and the same whopping 10 social media accounts. There is a caveat here also that Buffer doesn't cover. You can use personal G+ pages, Tumblr accounts, and a few other social media services I will need to look into. Now thanks to this service I can not only post Whacko Bloggers blogs to The Whacko Blogs G+ but also to my own personal one. The difference between 500 followers and 8000 followers.

Well let me put it this way. I am pleasantly surprised by what I have gotten out of a great loss. I also have a rejuvenated outlook on the whole Whacko Blogs media empire (ok media snow fort, but we are getting there) and will be expanding where and how you will be able to latch on to the newest and best bloggers around. Just being a Whacko makes you the best, don't forget that, and of course as always if you want to be a Whacko it is as easy as reading this blog entry and following the instructions. We'd love to have you, and you'll love the attention. Happy socializing folks.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Blogging Virus

After blogging for just a little over two years now, I have finally caught the Blogging Virus. This may be a little hard to understand for those of you who don't blog yourselves so I will explain it to you. Compared to the other bloggers who grace the screen here at The Whacko Blogs, I am relatively inexperienced. I think that makes me the best candidate to explain this Blogging Virus issue because I have recently caught it.

There are hundreds of reasons that one may choose to start a blog. Generating a reader base is probably the biggest reason. Whether you're an author or a business owner, it's nice to generate a large following to promote whatever it is you're selling. Maybe you're an "expert" in your field and you want to share your knowledge and grow your own through research, writing and feedback. Or, if you're like me, you just like to ramble on about stuff and it's fun to see it online.

Whatever the reason for starting a blog, we all start out at the bottom with nobody looking. That is of course assuming you start your own from scratch rather than joining another established blog. It's not a bad thing to start with few followers because it gives you a chance to get the hang of it without thousands of eyes watching your every fumble in the early days. (FYI- Fumbles still happen in the Pros too....or so I'm told since I'm not there yet.) 

So where does the Blogging Virus kick in? It's different for everyone. For me it was around the two year mark. At that point I suddenly went from a relatively unknown blog hidden on the internet to having my views shoot up and the comments started rolling in. That writer-reader interaction spike is what did it for me. I can say that I write for myself all day long, but in reality - it's a lot more fun when your readers are interacting with what you do. I've made a number of new friends along the way too!

I found Google+ to be the driving force on my personal blog. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have their place, but I have found Google+ to be the most beneficial when it comes to blogging. It seems to be a more effective and productive platform for blog and blogger interaction than the others. That doesn't mean I gave up on the other platforms though. (This was my #fixtheplus plug.)

Ok. Back to the virus thing.... Blogging is a passion for whatever reason you find drives you, but it doesn't start out as contagious. In the early days you may struggle to find your niche and generate content to write. Once that Blogging Virus kicks in though, there's no turning back. 

I have people ask me all the time how I come up with ideas for blogs. Well, first of all, they're not all great ideas and I admit that. What I have learned though is that the more blogs I write, the faster the content seems to come to me. If I set a schedule to write one post a week, I would probably struggle for an idea because I couldn't narrow it down. I have found that writing closer to one a day seems to generate more ideas that I have the time to write out. 

When the Blogging Virus hit me, I started branching out to other blogs like Life Explained and The Whacko Blogs as alternate platforms to ramble on for a new group of readers. Blog sharing (or whatever the "real" term is) has kicked my Blogging Virus into full gear. It gave me multiple platforms with slightly different themes to fit my blogging ideas. Sure, I could have just created more offshoot blogs of my own, but I would have been missing the best part of the Blogging Virus - Collaboration. 

Working with other bloggers, sharing ideas and playing off each others' posts is a blast. It gets the creative juices flowing. In an instant your head full of ideas just explodes. It's contagious. The good thing is that this Blogging Virus isn't something to be afraid of. It's something you want to nurture and grow. 

I am now surrounded by amazing bloggers and continue to learn from them on a daily basis. I also have a new group of readers I get to interact with. All in all, I am having a blast and I don't see it slowing down any time soon. I am thankful to all the bloggers who let me write on their blogs (like Jeremy here on The Whacko Blogs) and for all the readers who provide feedback and comments that stimulate new ideas. If you're blogging already - keep it up. If you're not - give it a shot. The Blogging Virus is easy to catch and it spreads quickly. Until next time....

Thursday, October 13, 2016

A Smile, and a Little Hope

Yesterday I was driving home, and had to stop at a traffic light. I was turning right, but it was a busy intersection, and there were several cars in front of me. These two factors combined led to the inescapable conclusion that I was going to set there for a while.

After the light changed as many cars as could turned quickly, then the pedestrians walking through the crosswalk slowed progress. During the waning seconds of the green light, and it was easy to tell because of the flashing “don’t walk” sign a car swung out, just so he would be in the lane, and make it around the corner, even after the light turned red. Not entirely legal, but common practice.

A young lady walking across the street stopped, and raised her hands in disbelief. Glaring menacingly at the driver, who was stopped and really had no intention of going further until she passed.  Then she extended her middle finger and held it up at the car. She finished crossing the street.

Why did she do that? I couldn’t help but wonder. What possibly made her feel that was an appropriate response? And in that one moment I saw the bigger problems of life. That one gesture of angry defiance against a simple act of misplaced time management was a microcosm of our world.

You see it driving to work, you may even take part in the play. Somebody cuts in front of you on the freeway and your first response is to lay on the horn, move in close behind the offending car and follow them at high speed until time or circumstance forces a break in the chase. What is this going to accomplish?

Is the offending driver going to feel remorse? No, it will probably anger them, and you have just taken a foolish risk at high speed, increased your fuel consumption and accelerated the wear on your car. For what? Odds are you did not feel any better. Your heart was racing, your blood pressure was elevated, and in the end you accomplished nothing. On top of that you could have caused serious injury to people, and not just the people who angered you, innocent people whose only crime was driving on the same road.

This seething rage is echoing across the country and world. Opposing views are mocked, ridiculed. Compromise is seen as weakness, and discussion has been replaced by scorn and contempt.

I’m not really sure what the answer is, or if one exists. But, I am going to make it a mission to try every day to be accepting of those around me. A smile can go a long way, particularly when they are so rare.  It is a small start, but it is a start.   Maybe if all of you who read this come along we can change things. It is worth a try, isn’t it?