This year I am deeply thankful for the earthly lives of my cats Eddie (l) and Felix (r) (nb., short “e” sound on Felix; he was named by Brazilians).We "lost" these two family members earlier this year, but
that’s not how it really works.Eddie was in many ways the best and closest friend I ever had.Felix was Jane’s best friend and guardian.You couldn’t ask for finer companions with nobler characters.
Andy,pictured below/right with Edie, is doing well a year after his last
back surgery.He is coming back all the way, I think, slowly but steadily and surely.With everything he’s been through, he doesn’t want to get ahead of himself
or overdo things.It’s a smart decision.
The rationality and good character of our so-called pets – our cats, dogs, birds and
fish – astounds me.They are a round-and-round-never-ending drama-comedy event rivaling all the news, science, pseudo-science, art & literature, and mysterioso conspiracy theory websites combined.Everything good in and for our family resides in this
all-of-us-together place, and as far as the bad & the sad go, we need perforce to take the bitter along with the better.Things once seemed easier, I think I recall, but I’m pretty certain
they’ve also been more difficult.
The last several days I've been mentally composing, discarding and recomposing my thoughts on the pertinent subject, "Defining
Incompentency Downward," which
comes to mind whenever I see or hear fresh news reporting about the Obamacare roll-out.
It seems that my entire life, especially following college, has been
spent trying to become competent at one thing
or another, and once I attained it, putting that competence to work.
It hasn’t been at all easy, but a long time ago in high school (where whatever natural aptitude and talents I had were still sufficient to get me through what I now realize was
"the audition") I first read Plato's admonition: “Hard is the good.”
I believe that, and although it isn't a total surprise to me that I was once able to achieve competence in the academic study of art history at a fine graduate school (I was, after all, interested enough in the subject to choose risking long-term penury by pursuing it deep down the rabbit hole), the fact that I was ultimately able to
become a competent lawyer staggers me because mystery, abstraction, and indifference reigned supreme for me in law school.
When I first heard President Obama say that key next steps in the Obamacare roll-out
included a “re-roll-out,”“rebranding” and “remarketing,” my initial thoughts were: a) how superficial; b)how expensive; and c) who's going to pay for this?
Throughout my career I’ve worked with skilled marketing and
sales executives extending all the way from junior trainees to CEOs.
None of these individuals were ever easy
on themselves. Most were financially astute
and hewed to the maxim “spend the company’s money
as if it were your own.”
I have witnessed and weathered
my share of corporate difficulties, even disasters, but until the Obamacare capers and fiascoes, I have
never seen such bottom-to-top incompetence and
complacency daily on display.Serious drug abusers I have known (ironically, all in IT jobs) did far better work with more pride and attention to detail.
N.b.: I am not forgetting the cur-like serial dishonesty (by-product of contempt, malevolence and perhaps sociopathy) attending the Obamacare incompetence, but that is a subject for another blog.
Addendum:An executive who formerly
worked as a senior marketer for Pizza Hut told me this story one night. At Pizza Hut, the biggest reluctantly pondered imponderable and existential internal corporate question was discerning why Pizza Hut made such lousy pizza.Long study and massive expenditure ultimately revealed the answer: they had an oven problem.
Pizza Hut ovens, which franchisees were
required to purchase, simply could not produce good pizza.The company devised a retrofitting plan, altering design, and solving the problem.
However, on a parallel track, the company also ran a cost/benefit
analysis comparing total re-engineering costs with the price of remarketing/rebranding; i.e., turning out the same vile product but simply promoting it (presumably) more effectively.
Pizza Hut's Remakers/Remodelers came out on top.
that is why Pizza Hut pizza is still beneath contempt.
My wife always says: "These are the Dark Ages, but even in the Dark Ages people lived enjoyable lives."