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Awkward Ollie

by Greg Krehbiel on 16 December 2017

Awkward Ollie

Here’s a silly short story about an awkward middle school kid and his spooky friend.

Awkward Ollie and the Stolen Banana.

It’s loosely based on somebody I know, but the story is entirely made up.

The story is an attempt to humanize the weird kid for the benefit of the normal kids.

I have no idea if it accomplishes that goal. I’d love to have some middle school kids read it and let me know what they think of Ollie.

Oh … and it’s free today on Kindle.

If you don’t have a kindle, you can download the kindle app to your phone or other device.

If you like it, please post a review.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-16  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Just because she sounds stupid …

by Greg Krehbiel on 16 December 2017

I like to listen to CSPAN radio, and recently Janet Yellen has been on a bit. I’m certain she’s a very smart person, but there’s something about her voice that makes her sound stupid to me. I’m not sure exactly what it is, but she sounds slow, if you know what I mean. 

Recently I called customer customer service for a vendor we use and the rep sounded stupid another way. She sounded ditzy. Like “ha ha, yeah, gotcha” sort of ditzy. But she was actually very efficient, knew her system and did exactly what I needed, quickly. 

A woman who worked for me in a previous job was very smart and competent, but she had this terrible habit of getting giggly in meetings, or whenever she got nervous. She knew that she did it, and she hated it, and … it did cost her. My (female) boss thought she was a ditz and didn’t take her seriously. 

We make a lot of judgments about people based on very superficial things, and maybe that’s not fair in some cosmic sense, but … that’s the way the world is. Which makes me think there’s something to the concept of finishing school. (If there are such things any more.)

And that reminds me of another story.

Women from some elite woman’s college were sent out on job interviews. They didn’t wear makeup, they looked frumpy, their resumes were a mess, they slouched, etc.

Women from a secretarial school were sent to the same interviews. They dressed well, sat up straight, had multiple copies of their resumes on crisp, good paper, they smiled, etc.

Who do you think got the jobs?

1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-16  ::  Greg Krehbiel

The shameless shall inherit the earth

by Greg Krehbiel on 15 December 2017

I know a man who’s pretty successful, but everybody I know who works with him says they don’t know why. I’m not going to share the details.

I’ve heard this sort of story often. People who aren’t very bright or talented or disciplined or … really much of anything … get ahead. Despite this, you hear people say, “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you rich?” As if there’s a relationship between the two. If there is, I haven’t seen it.

Clearly there is some relationship between talent and success in some fields. Some football players are astonishingly good athletes, some performers are amazingly talented and some salesmen are very good with people.

But talent often isn’t enough. I’ve known very talented people who can’t seem to get a break.

The one thing that does seem to correlate with success is a willingness to put yourself forward and promote yourself. In other words, shamelessness.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-15  ::  Greg Krehbiel

“Says a man” and other sexist crap people shouldn’t put up with

by Greg Krehbiel on 15 December 2017

I tweeted this. (The image of the tweet links to the article about Matt Damon.)

Cailyn decided to make a comment that seems sexist to me.

Because we’re supposed to judge opinions by the sex of the person offering them. So I replied …

(Cailyn was a good sport and liked my reply, BTW.)

But seriously, I’d like to know. I regularly hear women saying that men don’t have any right to express an opinion on abortion, and I doubt Cailyn is alone in her apparent feeling that a man’s opinion on sex abuse isn’t important.

So … which opinions can I dismiss because they come from a woman?

Farm Boy seems to dismiss the promise of a woman. Maybe we can start with that. Anything else?

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-15  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Australia makes a fool of itself in demand for reform

by Greg Krehbiel on 15 December 2017

Remember the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church? Australia does, and recently issued a report with recommendations.

There is obviously a huge problem with abuse. Not just in the Catholic Church, of course, but in schools, in sports programs, in other churches, …. Basically in any place where adults exercise authority over children, there’s going to be abuse, and things need to change to stop that.

The report says, “Society’s major institutions have seriously failed.” That’s very sad, and it’s nice that people are looking into the problem and making recommendations. But making ridiculously stupid recommendations doesn’t help anything.

A government commission in Australia has recommended that clergy be required to report evidence of abuse revealed in confession. (Or at least that’s what the story says.)

There is simply no way the church can change their rules on this, and anyone who thinks otherwise is horribly ignorant.

What goes on in the confessional has to do with reconciling a man to God, which the church must view as a higher priority than any civil or criminal issue. Anybody who doesn’t understand that has no business making recommendations to the church.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-15  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Is the world getting tired, or is it just me?

by Greg Krehbiel on 14 December 2017

A friend said something about how motivation seems to be down in his workplace from a decade or two ago.

As I thought about that, I realized that I have a somewhat sinking feeling that motivation and energy and enthusiasm are down in general — across the board.

I certainly don’t mean freakouts and hissy fits and “I’m offended” campaigns, which seem to be on the rise. I mean motivation to do something productive.

It’s not wise to put much stock in feelings like that. I realize this is just a subjective thing, which isn’t necessarily representative of any reality outside of my head, and there are lots of ways to explain it.

* Memory is tricky, and my recollection of the past might have a bias.

* I’m getting older, so what I saw and interacted with then is different from what I see and interact with now.

* It’s possible that people are just as energetic and motivated, but they express it differently now, and I don’t see that.

I’m sure more explanations could be offered.

So I ask you — do you have a similar feeling? And if you do, to what do you attribute it? Do you think things have actually changed, or do you think your perception or memory has changed?

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-14  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Gillibrand and phony outrage

by Greg Krehbiel on 13 December 2017

If Donald Trump says that Romney would “get down on his knees” for campaign contributions, there’s nothing sexual about that. If he says Cruz would “do anything” for money, there’s nothing sexual about that either. But if he says Gillibrand would do anything for contributions, of course it’s rude and sexist and insulting. That’s the only possible interpretation and you’re hiding your head in the sand if you deny it.

What’s particularly funny about this is how heteronormative it is.

11 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-13  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Thoughts on the Moore loss

by Greg Krehbiel on 13 December 2017

When there’s a single election like this one, I think it’s a stretch to make broad-brush, national conclusions about it. Especially with this election, where you had all the accusations about Moore being a pedophile. So I mention these things simply as ideas to consider, and not as anything all that serious.

* To start off with something pedantic, it’s inaccurate to accuse Moore of pedophilia, even if the accusations against him are true. Pedophilia is an attraction to prepubescent children, and I’m pretty sure none of the girls in the Moore accusations are prepubescent.

* The Moore loss could be taken as a setback for Bannon, in particular, and for the extreme political wings in general. I’m not sure that’s a fair conclusion, but it could be an early sign. People may start to realize that it’s better to have the milquetoast “establishment” candidate, who might actually get elected, than the fire breather who loses.

* On the other hand, this may further inflame the anti-Washington, anti-establishment sentiment. Alabama Republicans might be thinking, “Gosh, the nerve we have, putting forward somebody who actually intends to do what Republicans have been promising us for decades.”

* Democrats effectively rebuffed persistent, verified accusations against Clinton (and others) for decades. They rallied behind their creeps. Why aren’t Republicans able to do the same? Is it because times have changed, or is it because Republicans can’t close ranks the way Democrats can? I think it’s some of both.

* It’s worth noting that the idea of a teenage girl marrying a man in his 30s is not only non-controversial, but acceptable and even preferred in some cultures. It seems strange to us because we’re WEIRD. Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. In historical terms, we’re the odd ones. I don’t know the details of all of the accusations against Moore, and I’m not trying to defend him. I’m just pointing out that our modern, affluent expectations are not the right standard for every time and place.

* Moore’s loss probably means that Franken will have to resign. I’m pretty sure he held off his actual resignation in case Moore won, and could use that as a point of leverage. (“Hey, if they get a creep, we get one too.”)

* This current #metoo / “stop the abuse” wave seems to be getting stronger, and I expect it to dog Trump’s presidency for a long time. Democrats will continue to insist on investigations of Trump’s alleged abuse, etc.

* Republicans won’t be able to get much of anything done with a 51-seat majority. They were lame with 52.

* Expect abuse accusations against other Republican Senators, especially those from states that aren’t reliably red. Democrats smell blood in the water, and they want to eliminate the Republican majority. All it requires to ruin somebody is a few credible accusations, and that is a very low bar in such a high-stakes game.

15 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-13  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Who’s exploiting whom?

by Greg Krehbiel on 13 December 2017

In this age of sexual hysteria and insanity, it’s refreshing to see some plain old sense. There’s nothing particularly new or insightful in this article — Can we be honest about women — but when you hear almost nothing but abject craziness shouted from every angle, it’s quite relaxing to the mind to hear someone speaking the truth in sane, calm tones.

I particularly liked this.

I was watching a Premier League soccer match the other day, and the camera focused on one of the rich owners and his wife. He was short, old, and terribly unattractive. She was a foot taller than him, with long blond hair and legs for miles. She was dressed in a fur, and diamonds graced her fingers. She didn’t look miserable at all. In fact, she looked like the cat who ate the canary. One has to ask, who here is actually exploiting whom?

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-13  ::  Greg Krehbiel

Birds that turn into barnacles

by Greg Krehbiel on 12 December 2017

Have you ever seen a goose barnacle? It does look strangely like a goose.

If you were to combine (1) the seemingly unrelated fact that a caterpillar turns into a butterfly (thus proving that animals can do some pretty weird things and make some pretty impressive transformations), (2) the mystery of where geese go every year, with (3) a healthy imagination, you might begin to wonder if geese turn into barnacles. Some people used to think so.

Until fairly recently, people didn’t know what the heck was going on with the annual disappearance of (some of) the birds. According to an “In Our Time” episode I heard last night, we’ve only known about migration for a couple hundred years, at best. People used to think birds hibernated, went underground or underwater, changed into fish, or other creatures, or even flew to the moon.

While those theories sound silly, the more we learn about migration, the more incredible it sounds. Changing into a barnacle might actually seem more likely than what actually happens. Some really amazing transformations happen in birds before and after migration.

Some birds consume the organs they don’t need for the trip, and then grow them back afterwards. Their immune systems have to adapt to radically changing environments over hundreds of miles and different ecosystems. And there’s still the question of how they find their way, which, while scientists are beginning to understand, still has lots of mysteries. And that’s not the whole story. It’s fascinating stuff.

So, a couple thoughts on this.

First, the gap between what people know now and what we thought a few hundred years ago is getting rather atrociously large, and it’s no wonder to me that people have a growing disregard for the opinions of previous generations. It’s a mistake to assume that because John Adams didn’t know much about electricity that he had nothing good to say about politics, but as people see all these weird things people used to believe, you can see why people might become increasingly dismissive of the past. In some respects they can come to seem as if we have nothing in common with them. (Which I think is part of the agenda, at times.)

Second, the discoveries that await as we learn more about these things are astounding. Once we find out what’s going on in these birds’ bodies, think of all the things we might be able to do.

Birds physically transform into travel machines. Their bodies go through amazing changes. If we discover how they do that, and what triggers it, think of all the medical marvels that might result.

We’re not birds, of course, but I still think we’ll learn things that are applicable to humans.

And I’m pretty confident that people a hundred years from now will look back on us as complete dunderheads who didn’t know much about anything.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2017-12-12  ::  Greg Krehbiel

2017-12-12 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
If mankind is improving …
2017-12-05 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
The process of modern discourse
2017-12-05 :: Greg Krehbiel // General
Krampus struck early this year
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Horses, athletes, masculinity and meekness