DC BARRY

Dispatches From Suburbia

Drones, Drones, Drones on the Range

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There’s been a lot of negative commentary out there regarding Amazon’s proposal to begin home delivery of its lighter weight products via drones. 

 

I think the plan offers a lot of positives:

 

                It would offer parents an updated and more plausible version of “the stork brought you” to tell children too young to understand the birth process.

 

                It provides a new, plausible threat to stop young children from misbehaving: “If you don’t stop that, I’ll have the drone take you back to Mr. Bezos’ warehouse for naughty children.”

 

                The family dog’s disappearance could be explained as Fido hitching a drone off to a distant farm.

 

                It’s a way better idea that Amazon’s plan to build a series of hundred mile diameter Lazy Susans near major population centers, or giant Amazon Slingshots (patent pending).

 

 

Sure, there are enormous logistical, technical and legal challenges with drone delivery.  But who in the world has proven better at overcoming such challenges than Jeff Bezos and Amazon?  And who knows?  If those drones were to be equipped with a few sets of NSA approved “eyes and ears”, the idea might just fly through Congress in no time at all.

 

 

Written by dcbarry

December 4, 2013 at 12:54 am

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The Thanksgiving Debriefing

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Well, we did it again. Hosted another Thanksgiving with family and friends. I thought it important to think through and share a few of the lessons learned:

1. Thanksgiving is probably not the best day to blaze new culinary paths. Sure, the popcorn-based stuffing idea was clever, but our free turkey from Acme apparently suffered from a weak body cavity. On the bright side, no one was badly hurt, and we were planning to repaint the kitchen anyway. Any idea what color would work with dark meat?

2. When hosting the Thanksgiving meal, you can ease your workload by quietly substituting some store-purchased or store-made products for homemade. For example, buy some already baked dinner rolls, pop them in the oven just before dinner and remember to check on them around dessert time. No one will ever know that they weren’t from scratch.

3. It’s smart to seat people with similar interests next to one another. For example, you can seat vegan Aunt Tina and vegetarian Cousin Marie near one another so they can whisper condemnation of your other guests back and forth to one another. Uncle Bob and Nephew Jimmy, both raging alcoholics, can sit together, and pass the gravy boat they’ve filled with bourbon back and forth between them without fear of judgment. And while you can seat the MSNBC viewers and the Fox News viewers near one another, remember that they only get the plastic forks and no knives.

4. People often wonder what to do with leftover Brussels sprouts. Here’s a great tip. Slice them as thin as possible with some garlic cloves. Add a few sprigs of rosemary. Get some butter nice and hot, almost to the point of smoking in an old-fashioned heavy cast iron pan. Brown the sprouts for about 5 minutes then flip them. They should be nice and brown. Let them cool a bit. Then throw them out, pan and all, prior to serving. No one really likes your damned Brussels sprouts or that disgusting pan either.

5. After the food has been put away, the last dish washed, the final football game concluded, take a few moments to reflect upon the meaning of the day. Think about what your family members and friends mean in your life. And take a deep, deep sip from your gravy boat.

Written by dcbarry

November 30, 2013 at 3:47 pm

Reflections on Thanksgiving

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1. After a great deal of Internet research, I’ve discovered that turkeys don’t actually come with giblets. They are actually added to the turkey after-market. It started as some kind of New Deal subsidy to the giblet industry and just never went away. Damn lobbyists.

2. What’s this obsession with stuffing? Why are we grinding up stale Wonder Bread and jamming it into bird body parts our first instincts tell us to avoid? And what inspired the practice of adding things like chestnuts or oysters to this horror show? My private theory is that it originated as part of a Japanese Game show.

3. Should the turkey be free range? Fresh? Voluntarily euthanized? These questions used to vex me. After a careful study of the hardworking, thrifty Pilgrims that began this holiday, I’ve concluded that they too would have gotten their turkey, frozen and free, from Shop Rite. As God intended.

4. Thanksgiving is like the old Love Boat series for vegetables. Thanksgiving allows vaguely recalled vegetables like parsnips, rutabagas and turnips (the root vegetable equivalents of Charo, Dom DeLuise and Milton Berle) to have one more brief moment on the stage – I mean baking sheet.

5. While I appreciate your good intentions, I am not really interested in how your favorite Food Network personality would have me cook the turkey. Or, with apologies to Dr. Seuss:

I will not brine it in a pot. I will not tent it while it’s hot. I will not stuff it here or there, I will not stuff it anywhere. I will not consult Bobby Flay or his evil twin Rachel Ray. I will not abide by Alton Brown or contrive to cook it breast side down. No, I do not like T.V. chef advice.

I could go on. But Charo is saying that it’s getting too smoky.

Written by dcbarry

November 28, 2013 at 11:50 pm

The Family Christmas Letter

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Well, it’s time for those family Christmas letters to begin arriving in the mail! You know those lengthy letters that detail the many achievements of the Smith or Jones family. While the details offered in these letters vary, they have certain features in common. The children are extraordinary. All of them. The family’s activities are fascinating. Always.

The purpose of Christmas letters is, we all know, not simply to bring you up to date on the family’s activities of the past year. It’s important to remember that their real purpose is to make your life look petty and small in contrast.

As a public service, we have translated some of the more common Christmas letter phrases into plain, truthful English:

“John decided to take the plunge this year and scratch that entrepreneurial itch he’s always had”

Translation: He got laid off in June.

“Those of you who know John know that it wasn’t just about the money, but creating a better work-life balance”

Translation: He spends most of his day in his pajamas playing internet dominoes.

“Mary somehow continues to make sure the house runs smoothly, and that the kids and John are where they need to be.”

Translation: She’s drinking again, numbing the pain of her existence.

“John Jr. continues to be involved with just about every sports team at school”

Translation: He has the agility and speed of a Panda, but he keeps showing up so they can’t cut him.

“Little Mary has really matured this past year, and has quite the social life”

Translation: We hope she’s not pregnant.

“We’ve decided not to travel this year and have an old-fashioned, at home Christmas”

Translation: We’re broke and the car’s busted.

“We are trying hard as a family to dial down the crass materialism of Christmas and to remember the ‘Reason for the Season’ “

Translation: We’re broke.

“We would love to hear from you in the coming year, and hope you can find time to visit”

Translation: Hey buddy, can you spare a dime?

Written by dcbarry

December 13, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Llamas. And Doves, Crying.

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I’ ve been offline a while.

I’d like to tell you that it’s been spent in deep meditatation. That would be your basic lie.

Truth is, I’ve been busy. Nothing profound, just the flotsam and jetsam we call life.

But I’ve got questions.

Why do we spell Llamas with 2 Ls? Yes, they’re cute. But does that warrant a second L? No.

Why does our society lay down at the feet of artists, while admission to some art schools hinges on (( may be going back a decade or two) drawing Blinky, portrayed in ideal form on the inside cover of a matchbook?

And what, exactly, does it sound like when doves cry?

DCB

Written by dcbarry

September 5, 2010 at 11:48 pm

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President Obama’s Meeting With BP’s Tony Hayward

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The following is an unofficial transcript of the recent meeting between President Barrack Obama (“BO”) and British Petroleum President Tony Hayward (“TH”) regarding the Gulf oil spill response:

TH: Mr. President, thanks for agreeing to meet with me. I want you to know that BP is committed to doing everything possible to right this wrong.

BO: As I’ve said, repeatedly, it’s important that the American people know that this Administration has been fully engaged in the response to the tragic disaster in the Gulf from the very beginning.

TH: Well, I know how busy your schedule has been.

BO: It has been. But the buck stops here. My State Dinner honoring Snookie from MTV’s “Jersey Shore” and the University of Sheboygan’s “Chattering Chipmunks” Division III women’s lacrosse champions will just have to wait until later this evening. Because that’s what leaders do.

TH: Sir, I’m terribly sorry, but it appears that your teleprompter has knocked over the coffee urn. Let me get some towels to clean up this mess…

BO: Before we do that, let me make some things clear. First, I want to be clear that the buck stops with me. While I did nothing to cause that tragic urn incident, I accept full responsibility for the response to it…

TH: Sir, it will take me just a few seconds to get those towels…

BO: …And I want you to know that this administration is prepared to cooperate with you, and to coordinate the resources of the local, State and Federal governments to make sure you have the supplies, personnel and logistical support needed to respond to this spill…

TH: Well, that’s terrific, Mr. President. I’d like to simply pick up the urn now and perhaps create a little berm out of these towels to maybe prevent the coffee from reaching the precious antique Persian rugs over there.

BO: A berm may be the way to go. But before we waste valuable time and resources, I would like you to give some of our people in the Department of the Interior a chance to evaluate the matter. No I know there has been some concern about the culture there, but that was due to the lax oversight of the prior administration. We’ve really begun to turn things around there, especially in the Division on Interior Berms.

TH: Sir, the coffee is getting a little bit deep. Perhaps you can put your feet on the coffee table for a little bit…

BO: Allow me to be candid: I’m concerned about what appear to be some lax regulations around here regarding urn placement and the amount of coffee that an urn should be allowed to hold.

TH: To be honest sir, we’ve never had a coffee spill of this magnitude before.

BO: Why were there no contingency plans in place?

TH: Mr. President, excuse me for one second. I need to get more towels and a shop vac sent in.

BO: Before we go simply starting up that shop vac, I’d like some of our people to assess it’s emissions potential and the net carbon impact of your proposed actions.

TH: Mr. President, why don’t we go to the Board Room on the next floor up while this spill is taken care of?

BO: I won’t do that. That would simply be kicking the can down the road. I wasn’t elected to do that. I was elected to change the way things work.

But I must leave you now. I need to help Michelle mulch the White House garden to show our commitment in fighting childhood obesity and in support of the domestic mulch industry.

TH: Well, thank you Mr. President. It’s good to know that we have your leadership in these challenging times.

BO: Well, remember what I say: “Yes We Can!” And I’m sorry about those priceless antique rugs. Frankly, I think the previous administration should be held to account.

By the way, can you help me towel off my teleprompter?

Written by dcbarry

June 11, 2010 at 3:49 pm

The Top 10 Resume Phrases to Avoid

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Most people write resumes in a kind of “resume speak”. They use words and phrases that they believe make them appear smarter, more skillful, more sophisticated. The thought is that in so doing, they will get offerred the job they seek.

Nice theory. In practice, the use of “resume speak” makes you come across as a person speaking in a language in which you are not fluent. It makes it less likely that you will get that job. Unless the employer really, really values vague claims to non-specific skills leading to immeasurable achievements.

Here is our list of the top 10 phrases to avoid in your resume:

1. “Strong communication, customer service and organizational skills.”
This signals that your real skill is the ability to string vague claims together.

2. “Introduced new products.”
Did they hit it off? Are they a couple? Did they go on to produce little products? You must be so proud.

3. “Track record of success.”
That’s just great. And way more impressive than actually providing tangible achievements regarding specific products or services.

4. “Possess leadership, communication, motivational and inspirational skills.”
This phrase will really get their attention if the Tony Robbins organization or Billy Graham Crusade happen to be hiring. Other organizations, well, not so much. They’re more likely looking for specific, measurable achievements rather than the general grooviness you appear to be emphasizing.

5. “Go- to person.”
This phrase leaves unanswered the implied question: why? Why did someone go to you? For a laugh? For a good lunch spot? Was it because you always seem to have a lot of time on your hands?

6. “Team player.”
This phrase immediately establishes what you are not. You are not the team captain type. Instead, you have conjured up images of someone hoping that you won’t be the one picked last for dodgeball. Not the heroic image you intended to convey. Your cover letter might as well state that you are a cog, looking for a comfortable place in the wheel.

7. “Served as company spokesperson.”
Okay, so you answered the phone once or twice when no one else was around.

8. “Partner with others.”
As opposed to partnering with yourself? There are statutes against that kind of thing you know.

9. “Managed cross- functional teams.”
Just stop. Now you’re just making up random phrases. Unless that was your job function, in which case you have truly superior skills.

10. “Exceeded productivity goals.”
Translation: Very little was expected of me, and I delivered.

I hope this was helpful. I now have to go optimize my inter-personal achievement modalities across platforms.

Written by dcbarry

June 8, 2010 at 3:44 pm

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Lauren Leto

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WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

Darcie Cameron

Flow with an Open Heart

My Not So Humble Opinion

An occasional font of wit and wisdom.

Playing Your Hand Right

Showing America how to Live

Abby Has Issues

I have issues. So do you.

Mostly Bright Ideas

Some of these thoughts may make sense. But don't count on it.

The Good Greatsby

Paul Johnson's comedy blog: I didn't get into comedy to be rich or famous. All I've ever wanted was to be loved...by somebody rich and famous.

Lauren Leto

Book Porn for Nerds

Living Dilbert

Going Mad Slowly in the Corporate World

WordPress.com

WordPress.com is the best place for your personal blog or business site.

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