Zappos is Going to Have No Bosses, Say the Bosses



Let us assume they are serious, and this “holacracy” is their real intent as opposed to the kind of window dressing that small companies use to mask their transition to big companies. It’s still hogwash.

Labor is conditional upon employment: one works because one is paid. People whose work is unsatisfactory are thus a negative value for their employers. So any company must have the capacity to end employment for those who do not work to the company’s goals.

Ah, but who defines such things? Who decides what are the company’s goals and what is “satisfactory”? Not everyone, surely: such would mean an infinity of mission statements (the horror!), and eventually, collapse.

So only certain people are given the authority to a) decide the goals, and b) reward or punish those who meet, exceed, or fail these goals.

Whoever these people are, whatever their title, however carefully the iron fist is swaddled in dainty gloves of pre-war velvet, they are the bosses. Whoever isn’t a boss is a worker. Et voila! Hierarchy.


Let us Now Abuse Matt Yglesias

I am not among the woeful who spend their day reading Slate, so I must admit I have never truly savored Yglesias’ thumbless-monkey prose. But a despicable troll in the sub-cockle of my heart delights in literary takedowns, and has ever since he first read the beating Mark Twain administered on James Fenimore Cooper. So read CJ Ciaramella at the Federalist and delight:

At its best, Yglesias’ writing manages a simple utilitarianism reminiscent of an AP English essay. At its worst, it falls into an uncanny valley that makes readers wonder if the article was dragged two ways through Google Translate before being published.



Everyone who clicks on this video is going to Hell

You have been warned.

If I was a cynical man, I’d suspect that whatever intern at NSTB “confirmed” this decided that it was too funny NOT to go on the air. In any case, if you’re like me, you will laugh, and then despise yourself for laughing.

What makes it extra funny is the serious “journalist” voice that the anchor uses, and how carefully she pronounces “Fuk” so that it does not run afoul of Standards & Practices.

They have since retracted the names.

via Protein Wisdom.

Geek Heresy: A Consideration of Popular Fictional Universes That Bore the Living Hell out of me – Episode 1: Dr. Who Cares?

I’m old enough to remember when being a geek was a bad thing. I remember the days when kids who were into sci-fi, fantasy, and other forms of alternative literature hid that fact from others if they had any hope of fitting in. Hell, I remember when knowing how to work a computer was a sign that you were socially retarded and would thereby never enjoy romantic companionship of any kind. So I regard the rise of Geek Culture in all its forms with many emotions, but mostly bemusement.

I find it odd to see such things as Comic Book Conventions becoming not merely mainstream, but obligatory acts to retain a certain level of geek cred. For that matter, the very idea of “geek cred” raises the eybrows, especially as it increasingly becomes a synonym for “pop culture awareness.” I don’t know when all this happened, and I understand but little of it.

Cultural Diffusion. Always angsty.

Thing is, I’m not very good at being a geek. I know no programming languages. I got B’s in math. I only played Dungeons and Dragons a few times. My comic book collection is small and unimpressive. I’ve never even watched Firefly or Battlestar Galactica.

So it’s time to come clean. It’s time to cop to all the Geekery out there that I have no interest in. It’s time to admit that the word “geek” has lost all meaning, and may as well go back to referring to a carnie who bit the heads off chickens for nickels. Because if I can admit that I don’t care about the things I discuss below, and still call myself a “Geek” in my tagline, then anyone can.

So begins a limited series on all the incredibly geeky things that are important to Geek Culture, That I Find Unutterably Dull. These must be taken as my own opinions. I am not criticizing any TV Show or book for lack of quality or good storytelling. Being old enough to remember Geekdom’s Elder Days also means being grown up enough to know that something can be very well done and still not appeal to me. So if you are an ardent fan of what ever I happen to discuss in this series, assume that the fault is mine. Today, it’s Dr. Who.


Piers Morgan, Freedom Fries, and Other Jokes That Progs Don’t Get

Right now there’s apparently a White House Petition to get CNN jawflapper Piers Morgan deported to the that happy realm whence he came. Something to do with his flubbering commentary on Newton and the 2nd Amendment. I haven’t read it, and I certainly haven’t signed it. Because punishing idiotic speech is not what we do in America. Middle-Class Englishmen with tony accents are always welcome here, even if their understanding of American law, liberty, and culture is no better than your average working-class yob with a few pints of Newcastle in him (stereotypes: they never get old).

Unfortunately, Morgan himself doesn’t seem to know that:

Dear me, what a sticky wicket! Like to chuff one’s chips down the apples and pears! Narky! (I have no idea what I’m saying).

Now’s probably a good time to mention that none, or very few, of those who’ve signed the petition actually want Piers Morgan deported. And even if they did, almost none actually expect it to happen. Even if President Obama was terribly interested in checking the visas of European immigrants, he’s hardly like to expel a man for agreeing with him on what should be done in the wake of Newton. So Morgan need not worry. He’s got a home in the USA so long as CNN can pretend his ratings can only go up.

So why are we bitterclinging wingnuts bothering? Aren’t we just making asses of ourselves, diminishing the dialogue, making a big deal out of nothing?

Probably. But consider this:

This is what no one ever got about “Freedom Fries.” OBVIOUSLY French Fries weren’t really going to be renamed. OBVIOUSLY a Congressional resolution to rename the items on the Capitol Menu was an utter waste of a legislative session. OBVIOUSLY the whole thing was juvenile and stupid.

But what about the message that it sent? The disrespect to a valuable ally?

Every now and again, we on the right like to blow off a little steam, stick our fingers in the eye of whoever happens to be pissing us off. It doesn’t accomplish much, but it lets us find an outlet for the frustrations we suffer sharing a country with socialists and the useful idiots who love them. The French were being rather irritating back in 2002, so Congress found a creative way to remind those cheese-eating surrender monkeys that we hold them in as much contempt as they hold les laides americains. And unlike similar events in European history (War of Jenkins’ Ear, anyone?), nobody got hurt.

The effort to run Piers Morgan out on a cyber-rail is much the same. It will accomplish jack mixed with squat, but it gives us a way to be obnoxious to a man who drives us to drink every time he unbuttons the flap on his pie-hole. It reminds the triumphant progs that we are not quite dead yet. And it reminds those recalcitrant mopers who still can’t believe that Mittens lost that there are better targets for bitter japes than our fellow wingnuts.

And besides, as I tweeted to Piers:

Never let the redcoats get too comfortable.

Ride, Boldly Ride, to the End of the Rainbow

Not one of the best starts to the week. In fact, this is one of those mornings when you feel like telling all Creation in its wonder and splendor to go screw itself with a piece of lawn furniture. Overslept, rushed, unprepared. Making it to work on time was the only triumph. Fortunately Friday was a short class, so I could let those lessons absorb today. But I think the students know that this wasn’t me at my optimum, and that smarts. They start to lose respect for you when they think you’re only using half your posterior.

But, as with everything else, this I’ll get over. Because really, yesterday was pretty good:

The first John Wayne movie I ever saw, and still my favorite. AMC ran it yesterday morning, so I watched it while I folded diapers and Nora napped. I’ve seen Rio Bravo, and while there’s nothing wrong with it, El Dorado is an infintely better picture. For one thing, the elongated first act lets the characters breathe a little before they’re rushed into battle. For another, the cast is just better. Robert Mitchum’s drunk is drunker, meaner, and manlier than Dean Martin’s whiny Borrachon. James Caan’s snotty kid who’s quick with a knife but can’t shoot (“I hit the sign, and the sign hit him”) mops the floor with whatever the hell Ricky Nelson was doing. And just I’m gonna say it: Bull is funnier than Stumpy. Stumpy’s funny because of that Walter Brennan squeak; you’re constantly expecting him to start jabbering about his piles. Bull is just as nuts, but he’s actually useful in a fight, and the one-liners are better (“That way, if I get shot, you can bring back the food”).

The poem “El Dorado” that Mississipi (Caan) quotes is a good one, too. One of Poe’s shorter and less portentously treacly works.

Interestingly, Howard Hawks directed both pictures (and a third Sherrif-holeld-up-in-a-jailhouse film, Rio Lobo), and the screenwriter for both was Leigh Brackett, who also wrote The Big Sleep, Robert Altman’s satirized version of The Long Goodbye, and believe it or not, The Empire Strikes Back.


Behold, the Instagram Hypocrite. A few months ago I quoted Lileks authoritatively, as I often do, to damn Instagram from the loftiest heights. Something about manufactured nostalgia and all of that. But for some reason Saturday found me loading the app onto my iPad and snapping a few pictures.

Now, I’m old enough to have pictures of me taken in the 1970’s, and these pictures don’t look like that. I don’t know if casual-retro is really what Instagram’s about (kids born in the 1990’s don’t really have any particular feeling about the 70’s anyway). What I think people like about Instagram is it’s ability to wash the color of life up or down as we choose. Blues, yellows, and reds can be toned down or up, to hone in on the reality of the something we’ve captured. It makes what would otherwise be one picture among thousands a Precious Moment, already fading away.

Besides, as the sophomores in advisory tell me, the real reason the kids are on Instagram is because their parents are on Facebook. So if we really want to kill this trend, parents, I think we know what we need to do.

The Onion Reveals its Raaaaacism

Via The Anchoress, the Parodists of Record wrap a real story in a fake story, causing many to question their true commitment to progressivism:

The New York Times newsroom is reportedly still undecided on whether or not to print a recent letter received from Obama, in which the president threatens to kill another helpless citizen every Tuesday and “fill [his] heavenly palace with slaves for the afterlife” unless the police “stop the darkness from screaming.”

“President Obama’s letter presents us with a classic journalistic quandary,” executive editor Bill Keller said. “If we print it, then we’re giving him control over the kinds of stories we choose to run. It would be an acknowledgment that we somehow give the nation’s commander in chief special treatment.”

Added Keller, “And that’s just not how the press in this country works.”


Do Read the Whole Thing.

Taking Hope Behind the Barn and Killing it With an Axe.

You know it’s the silly season when campaign insiders and journalists (there’s a difference. I just know there is) start whispering about positive jobs reports. Even hardened old cynics like myself took pause. Why, maybe there’s a chance after all. Maybe the economy has finally found its headwind.

And true to form, the numbers weren’t bad. Actually up. Still north of 8%, but maybe enough, just enough, for Obama to make his essential case, his statesmanlike I-Didn’t-Burn-the-Whole-House-Down that emerged from the convention. Romney may have to worry.

Yeah, Mitt Romney is Fry.

Yeah, no. The unemployment rate is a blip above 8% instead of three blips because 368,000 people have left the work force since last we measured. That means more people than could fit into the DNC’s stadium in Charlotte (and way more than actually showed up) have been out of work so long that they have given up and started selling crack or collecting unemployment, sitting in a pit of despair trying to determine whether smoking crack or watching The View every day better expresses what is meant by “Rock Bottom.” If we had the same workforce participation rate as we did when this “recovery” began, the unemployment rate would be at 10%. Nothing’s changed. The economy is still in the ditch, and all the wheel-spinning in the world doesn’t make the damn thing move.

Stalag 17 FTW!

Sorry, proggies, but it’s starting to look like the eleventh-hour salvation isn’t coming. The Riders of Rohan are not en route. Obama’s got nothing to run on from now till November but paranoid fantasies about Mitt Romney raping Medicare after denying it birth control, and then dressing the unholy spawn in Magic Underwear spun from Lying Paul “The Liar” Ryan’s Lies.

Which might work. But if Obama clears this hurdle, his second term is going to make Bush’s look like George Washington’s. Everything will remain exactly where it is. No one will compromise, no budget will be passed, nothing will happen. 23% approval is going to look like the top floor of the Sears Tower from where Obama will be looking in January of  2017. And the rest of us will be boiling our socks for soup.

Hope is dead. Enjoy the autopsy.