Monday, November 28, 2005

Back from errantry

I just got back from Arizona. Light on the blogging because I have not been thinking very much lately. Or, at least not thinking about things that would make for an interesting essay or story. Storage shed unit mixes. Vertically oriented web sites. Valuations of pyramid scheme investments. Business is such utter banality sometimes, it’s a good thing there’s money involved or no one would do it.

Actually, that’s not true (about the banality, not the money…well, sometimes about the money, too). Right now I’m just in the thick of instruction that is all very well and good but not exactly voluntary. Nothing takes the fun out of learning like being forced to do it.

Normally, enterprise and economics are absolutely fascinating. I learned a funny thing while working in a bank a couple years ago. I learned that making money can be as subtle and creative as drawing a picture or writing a book. So far, I have loved finance and banking. The money and asset markets are organic computer systems that no one person can control. They represent the combined efforts, dreams, desires, abilities, and ambitions of most of earth’s population – directly or indirectly.

If you wanted to find the mind of God in earthly terms, I think you might just look for it on Wall Street.

Meanwhile, I’m out of town for a week and what have they done to my wonderful Wasatch Front? When I left it was all “crisp college football Saturday” and upon return this evening it’s a definite “early winter in Kemmerer, Wyoming” vibe. Not good at all, especially since it was 65 and sunny when I got into my car this morning.

Speaking of banality, I checked out the web site for a recent reality show that featured my cousin.

This show was bad. BAAAAADDDD. As in, so bad that even though my cousin was in it I couldn’t be troubled to watch anything after the first episode. The only redeeming feature (aside from my cousin), was the hosting setup where the judges all had to match American Idol Host personalities. So, going from memory, there was the roly poly nice guy, the attractive sweetheart woman, and most particularly the very elegant snarky ambiguously gay guy – you know, the sort that probably does ostentatious arm-waving finger snaps with no sense of irony at all.

Oh, he didn’t make a very good Simon Cowell at all, but it was funny that the producers thought that’s what made American Idol a success – a certain specific combination of judge personality and chemistry along with liberal dollops of snarky gayness, and nothing else to the mixture. “They’ve got an effeminate ponce? Well, so do we! Let’s get cracking on those Emmy acceptance speeches!” I really like those moments where the engineering of these “reality” shows is laid bare and you can see the machinations and manipulations—however poorly wrought—in action.

Anyway, so it turns out cuz was kicked off after a few episodes for being arrogant, I think. Since he is personable and polite, any conflict (and anything else that happened on the whole stupid show) was probably engineered by a desperate group of producers that could envision their jobs being exported abroad and done for 50% less by Indian engineers that can make reality shows that don’t stink.

By that point the show was being shown at 6 AM on Sundays on their Mexican affiliate. Or something. The sixth and last episode was never even aired. Not good enough to compete with Guadalajara’s early-morning weekend farm report? Ouch.

I love how the website turns this rather substantial liability into an asset. The unaired final episode is recapped thus: “In a result revealed exclusively on, Chris and Sammy, inventors of the Hydromax System, won the coveted grand prize and had their lives changed forever!”

Nothing like declaring a defeat a victory and bugging out as quick as you can.

That’s probably how we end up getting out of Iraq.

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