The Daily Sage: The Unexamined Life
My son, always be yourself. Unless you're an asshole.
Luxembourg Goes Core Competent
The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg today announced two outsourcing contracts aimed at reducing public expenditure and freeing up citizens from 'non-core' activities.
His Royal Highness Grand Duke Henri announced that the Civil Service of Luxembourg would be outsourced to India in a deal worth $1.5bn per year. From 2005, Indian workers will perform all public administration including collection of taxes, welfare payments, passport issuance, vehicle licencing and company registration.
Luxembourg's military will be outsourced entirely to the United States of America, Commercial Command. Under the outsourcing contract, US forces will protect Luxembourg's borders on a 'pay as you who goes there' pricing plan, and engage in wars of aggression against neighbouring states on a 'no win, no fee' basis. A state of the art command and control facility will enable the Grand Duke to position forces around the world, launch missiles and take over personal control of unmanned reconnaissance vehicles.
HRH Grand Duke Henri said, "We have less than 500,000 inhabitants in the Grand Duchy and people are our greatest asset. We can't afford to have thousands tied up in manually intensive work that can be done at a quarter of the cost in Bangalore. Nor can we maintain a credible military on our limited budget. Outsourcing will enable us to cut income tax further, improve services and allow Luxembourgers to spend more time in quiet contemplation, have haircuts and make wood carvings."
Other nation states are watching developments in Luxembourg closely as the market in government outsourcing follows on from the trend in corporate outsourcing. As one high ranking minister from Great Britain said, "If we can 'best shore' parts of our country to other countries who can do it better, then why not?"
Majority of Democrats Ugly
A new report out today from right wing think tank the Rand Corporation claims that up to 87% of Democrats are ugly. Less than 63% of Republicans are physically unattractive according to the study.
Searching for explanations for the greater proportion of repulsive liberals, the study's authors suggest that left wing ideals lead to a care worn appearance and generally down-in-the-mouth demeanour. "They always seem to be complaining and moaning," said the co-author, "..which is a real turn off."
Desperately Self Seeking
Are you the girl in red I saw in Borders Bookshop, Oxford Street, London? It was 7pm, February 14th, you were in the Self Help section, thumbing through, 'The Alchemist'
, which coincidentally (or synchronistically?) happens to be my favourite book.
I was looking for a new copy of '7 Habits of Highly Effective People'
to give to my 11 year old son, Roland. It's been hard for him since his mother left three months ago. I thought that Covey's classic might help him turn him away from smoking, swearing, shop-lifting and skipping school.
It's been hard for me too, so I was looking for Dr Phil's new book, 'Self Matters'
which I hear is like fitting brand new spark plugs to your self esteem. Maybe you have already read it and we could discuss it sometime? I'm sure we would get on famously, sitting in front of a log fire discussing 'The Road Less Travelled'
, 'The Little Prince'
and 'Johanathan Livingston Seagull'
for hours on end.
I should have said something to you in the shop but hey, I was scared. Ha! If only I had read 'Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway'
which amazingly came into my hands the day after I saw you! In 'The Celestine Prophesy'
they say there is no such thing as coincidence, only destiny...I'm sure you realise that as much as I do.
I just know you are going to read this and get in touch with me. I know my energy shines out like a beacon in the night to your searching soul. And if not, then I think you already know in your heart that I will be waiting for you next Valentines Day, same time, same place.
can then explain to me why I'm so profoundly unhappy after reading all of these amazing, life changing books...
Anecdote Too Funny To Be True
Keith Bunsen, 33, from Belfast, Ireland, told an anecdote yesterday that left listeners highly amused, but ultimately unconvinced of the veracity of the story.
Bunsen colourfully described a trip to the dog track with his girlfriend, Sandra McPherson, 27, also of Belfast. Bunsen, an avid and knowledgeable gambler, placed a 50 pound bet on the dog in trap 1 in the first race. McPherson, who had never gambled before, asked him to put 5 pounds on trap 6, a rank outsider.
Trap 6 won the race at 5 to 1.
In the next race, Bunsen placed 50 pounds on trap 3. His girlfriend again placed 5 pounds on trap 6.
Trap 6 won the race, this time at odds of 3 to 1.
Bunsen picks up the tale..."So the next race comes up and this time I says to Sandra, 'I quite fancy trap 6 this time round, do you want me to put another fiver on it for ye?'
She turns round to look at me like I'm an idiot and says, 'Don't be stupid, the poor thing will be tired by now'. She actually thought they had the same dog going in every race..."
Bunsen's story was greatly enhanced by laconic delivery, charming Belfast accent and liberal usage of Irish colloquialisms. Each of these made it harder for the audience to judge the truth or falsity of the story.
Gay Adoption Legalised
The City of Amsterdam has lifted the ban on gay adoption. Couples will go through a screening programme to check their suitability, after which they can adopt up to 2 gays.
Ass Virginity Sold Online
Inspired by the huge sums made by women who have auctioned their virginity online, Mat Eastman, 21, is auctioning his ‘ass virginity’ on eBay.
Eastman aims to raise over $10,000 towards the cost of his college fees, and hopes the auction will draw attention to both the funding crisis in higher education, and the national outbreak of bi-curiosity.
Around 1,500 bids have so far been received, none of which have exceeded the $35 reserve price.
Your Own Dog Food For the Soul
In a bid to stave off growing criticism of the principle of pre-emptive action, George W. Bush has ordered his senior staff to submit to a range of pre-emptive medical procedures.
Dick Cheney will have his appendix removed, Condoleezza Rice will take a course of chemotherapy and Colin Powell will have knee and hip replacements. Donald Rumsfeld will have a heart and lung replacement, the donor being a recent combat casualty.
The President is looking for a 'coalition of the willing' to perform his daily colonic irrigations.
(Somewhere in Downing Street, the snap of rubber gloves...)
Italian artisit Antonio Gallopini, 46, caused a sensation today with the presentation of his latest work of art in Florence, Italy.
Gallopini, a controversial and wealthy conceptual artist, sold his house and belongings, withdrew all his money from the bank, and created a raging bonfire of cash pile. Over $3.2 million went up in smoke.
The left over ashes were tightly packed into a small, hermetically sealed, clear perspex cube, which is now on display at the Galleria Moderna.
Gallopini has received offers of in excess of $10 million for the untitled work, but has refused to sell. His only comment on the work has been, "Make sure I'm buried when I die."
Water Cannon. Because You're Worth It.
Belgian water cannon manufacturer Satsumo is pleased to announce the new model RCV10K, the next level in controlling today's out of control - but still image conscious - crowd.
The RCV10k shares the same water heating capabilities of previous generation water cannon, which prevent rioters from catching a cold, but the new model goes one step further.
The addition of moisturisers and exfoliants to the high pressure water jet allows police forces to soften while suppressing, banish dryness while dispersing and quench while quelling.
As if that wasn't revolutionary enough, the RCV10K comes with dual modes of operation - the whithering watery onslaught can be followed up by a powerful flow of warm air to dry off subdued trouble-makers.
The RCV10K water cannon/dryer, now with creamy moisturisers - bringing humanity, hygiene and hydration to police actions in defence of the state.
Man Plays Monopoly With Self, Still Cheats
"I went directly to jail, I did not pass Go, but I did collect £200."
French Humanist Kills British Human
Grizly details to follow....
" I'll Be Back" (..after this message...)
The satellite network of BSkyB became sentient last night and made a desperate attempt to wipe our all of humanity.
'SkySportsNet' copied over much anticipated episodes of 'Nip/Tuck' and 'Sex and the City' with hours of non-league football.
While there have been scattered outburst of mild frustration, no terminations have yet been reported.
Marmoset Austerity Package Approved
The High Privy Council of Marmosets today approved a belt tightening package of measures aimed at bringing fiscal stability to the arboreal species.
Lord High Treebok Magistrate, Limbok Guagarund, said, "Previous adminstrations have presided over a growing trade deficit with the Golden Lion Tamarin (Leontopithecus rosalia
) and relied on inbound capital flows from the Three Toed Tree Sloth (Bradypus variegatus
) to compensate for weak domestic demand. Encroachment from human beings (Homo sapiens
) has been uncontensted, and they continue to recklessly cut down and remove our homes, banks, offices, public buildings and places of worship.
"My government will cut back on welfare and other social programmes to concentrate funding in the following key research areas: development of opposable thumbs and toes, burrowing techniques for subterranean living and mastery of man's red fire. I have directed the central bank to lower the interest rate on grasshoppers, cicadas, crickets and cockroaches in a bid to revitalise our manufacturing sector.
"The so called 'Common' Marmoset (Callithrix jacchus
) is not common at all, we are an extraordinary species. These steps towards fiscal responsibility are a temporary measure necessary only until the homo sapien
What I'm Reading
1). "The Power of One" - Bryce Courtney
2). The writing on the wall for "Coñazo"
Homo Fuge (Man, fly!)
The Devil has today announced a new Sale and Leaseback package for human souls.
The Archfiend, Lord of Hell, said, "Sale and Leaseback is right for those who want to unlock the value of their souls to achieve their financial, political, academic or sexual dreams, but still feel that they will need their spiritual essence on an ongoing basis.
"Sale and Leaseback eliminates what I call the 'residual value' risk. Sure, I can take your soul when you die, but life's travails can diminish the human spirit on the long journey from cradle to grave. You can end up with a worn out, bitter and twisted soul which is not much to bargain with. My new arrangement lets you cash in while your soul is still in good condition.
"You can also think of Soul Sale and Leaseback as a normal outsourcing deal. The asset moves across to my balance sheet, I take full responsibility to look after it, but you still get to use it. Many people know the incredible effort of day to day soul maintenance. I can take that terrible responsibility off your hands while even your most extravagant worldy dreams come true."
Artifacts From a Better Future: Pastoral Powerpoint
Microsoft Powerpoint for Priests includes tools to help you to add impact to the Word of God, increasing ecclesiastical effectiveness by over 73%.
Sermons will never be the same again once you hit the audience with biblical bullets, adulatory animations and jaw dropping, moralistic multi-media.
Templates such as ‘Fire and Brimstone’ will help you put the fear of God into your congregation using the very latest in technology, while the patented ‘Bible Wizard’ will find passages in the good book to back up your message – whatever it might be.
MS Powerpoint for Priests comes in 23 languages and 12 major Christian denominations. MS Powerpoint for Rabbis, and MS Powerpoint for Mullahs will be available in November, Allah permitting.
Americans Widely Loved
US Marine Colonel Howard Swinton claims that Iraqis love the USA and would welcome an American presence for ever and ever and ever.
Colonel Swinton said, "Just this morning, this Iraqi old man came up to me and said, 'I sure hope you guys stick around a while longer, coz I don't mind sayin we need you, godammit. Before y'all got here we was just about plain ignorant in the ways of freedom, democracy, commerce and education, but with a little know-how from the USofA, this country gonna be on its feet in a New York minute.'"
Swinton added, "I'm paraphrasing, of course."
'Celebrity Cross Channel Swimming', the new show by Sky TV, was pulled off the air last night as several light entertainers were swept into the Bay of Biscay by strong currents.
A team from the BBC's 'Celebrity Air/Sea Rescue' have been dispatched to search for the missing stars.
Hunchback Interview Tactics
An unemployed hunchbank is talking to his psychologist, he says, "Nobody takes me seriously. They don't care about my CV, my experience or potential. They only look at my deformity." The psychologist says, "Have you thought of writing your qualifications on your hunch?"
Dutch Wife Makes English Joke
Lady Marie Ann Melville, 42, the dutch wife of famous scottish explorer Lord Christopher Melville of Elgin, cracked her first joke in the english language today. Lady Melville unveiled the joke at a society reception in honour of war wounded marmosets.
The room was called to order by the tinkling of glasses and the guests looked on with wrapped attention as she said with heavy dutch accent, “How do you catch a scottish?” An expectant, somewhat confused pause followed, until Lady Melville released the punch line, “By a jocks-trap…”
Hundreds of years of good breeding ensured that peals of laughter rippled throughout the room.
Bearded Woman Outsourced to India
Roger Dodger's Circus today announced a cost cutting programme which will see the transfer of well loved circus acts to a low cost provider in Bangalore, India. The circus, which has been touring Midwest USA for over 40 years, took the decision after declining audiences and intense competition from online circuses.
Mr. Dodger, 68, said, "We just can't compete anymore with our current cost structure. The Bearded Woman, Snake Boy and Strongman acts will all be outsourced to India. You can get Bearded Women in Bangalore for 13% less than you have to pay them here - and they have PhDs!"
Circus audiences have been declining for the past 10 years, with one teenager commenting, "Why pay 10 bucks for a smell of elephant shit?"
Spanish Word of the Day: Focus
1). To the spanish ear, an act of sexual congress
2). Interogative expression of carnal curiosity, “Did you focus last night?”
3). Involuntary outburst of extreme contempt or exasperation, “Focus!”
Analogy Followed, Perhaps Too Far
Ken Roachford, 54 year old CEO of Frombrite Holdings Inc. defended his decision to scrap all job titles, departments and divisions at the multi-national conglomorate with immediate effect.
Roachford said, "The latest issue of Harvard Business Review carried the story about a new university that couldn't decide where to build the paths between all the buildings. So they laid down grass everywhere, and a year later built the paths where the students walked most. A simply brilliant approach that I am taking one step further. We've had countless re-orgs, none of which have done the trick. I'm pushing Control-Alt-Delete on the whole organisation, and letting the chips fall where they may. From tomorrow, every member of staff can do whatever the hell they want. In a year, we'll build the organisational structure around the bits that work."
Roachford has vowed to stay the course no matter what. He said, "If we don't get order from chaos like this, I'll break the staff down to their constituent molecules, mix them all up in a large vat, and see what emerges. You just see if I don't."
No Sex in the City
David smiled and motioned for the waiter to come over. “I’ll have another glass of chardonnay, and send over two tomato soups to those girls at the bar. You are to say they are from an anonymous secret admirer.” David sat back and relaxed, cigarette held loosly between his fingers. The waiter glanced over, smiled conspiritorially. The soups arrived, the girls laughed and ate. David paid the bill and left. To the streets, to home, alone.
Hypercondriac Anecdotes, For Parties
1). I saw this TV program about mouth cancer, once. The next day I saw these lumps on my tongue, so I went right to the doctor. I said to the doctor, "Look, I think I have mouth cancer of some kind." The doctor asked me to open my mouth and looked in with his little torch. "You don't have mouth cancer," he said, "those are your taste buds."
2). As if that wasn't embarrassing enough, I went to the same doctor straight after seeing a program about skin cancer. The next day I saw this red black horrible thing on my lower back/upper buttock. I said to the doctor, "Look, I think I have a malignant melanoma of some kind." The doctor asked me to pull down my trousers and underpants to take a look at it. "You dont have skin cancer," he said, "that's an ordinary freckle filled with blood." I asked him, "But how could that happen?" He said, "I think you're underpants are too tight for you. Wear bigger."
Truth IS a Woman
Friedrich Nietzsche famously pondered "What if truth be a woman" in his book 'Beyond Good and Evil'. Nietzsche was troubled by the idea that his difficulty in understanding and relating to the opposite sex could signify a general inability understand the world around him as it really was. If truth was a woman, his entire world-view would be in need of revision.
Today it was determined that truth actually is a woman. 3,256 readers of Cosmopolitan magazine voted in favour of the proposition with a 3% statistical margin of error. The Editor of Cosmopolitan claims that this is the first scientific proof that truth is a woman, and hopes that philosophers everywhere will revise their ideas accordingly.
Remembrance of Audits Past
I lie here half awake, drip piercing my arm, keeping me alive. I'm 84. I'm on my deathbed. The sheets are white and the pillow plump. My mind goes back, back and I re-live, re-live my fondest memories.
34 years as an internal auditor marks a man. I probed, investigated, uncovered, petrified and rectified department after department. The audits spiral before me, the times when a supervisor came this close to hoodwinking me, the times my reports caused meaningful changes to procedures or systems.
The audits that combined business processes and systems were always my favourite. Ha! How often I found security weaknesses through misapplied user administration and authorisation schemes! How my spirit roared and blood pounded to witness migration from software stored keys to certificates on hardware security modules.
I'm a man at the end of my life, but I live on through my audit findings. My work on this earth is done, and I am proud as I prepare to step before the eternal auditor in the sky.
Killer Whales Not Funny
Killer Whales were encouraged to stick to what they know best, yesterday, after a captive Orca was heard to mutter, "I was going to eat a dolphin, but I couldn't see the porpoise." Another was seen with the tatoo, "Preserve the environment: pickle a humpback."
New Studies Damn Senior Managers
Two separate studies released today have caused questions for the very first time about the acceptability of senior management behaviour.
Harvard University found a correlation between the seniority of staff members and their lateness to meetings. Stanford University sampled 10,000 emails and found a relationship between the terseness of written communications and the position of the writer in the organisational heirarchy.
Commenting on these two studies, Professor Roger Penfold from the University of London said, "These results suggest a strong correlation between seniority, and being an asshole."
Both studies showed an unexpected peak in lateness and rudeness in middle management. Professor Penfold explains this as, "Aspirational Assholism." Middle managers have been known to overcompensate anti-social behaviours in order to appear more senior than they really are.
Longing Looks Given Chance
Female policy was changed yesterday to consider longing, melancholy looks from men a positive sign. Previous official female policy was to ignore hopeful staring, or treat it as a pathetic subject of scorn or derision.
The new policy, which begins a 1 year trial period today, considers expectant glances, pleading stares and desperate looks as a sign of sweet shyness that belies a warm and sensitive nature, not precluding an abundance of manly qualities.
Inadequate, pathetic, powerless males welcomed the change.
Spanish Word of the Day: Triste
1). Comes before tryst, only alphabetically
2). Regret at living on the first floor when overcome by wish to jump from window
Editorial: Goodbye Commanche
While this publication deplores neo-conservative American imperialism, unilateralism, pre-emptivism, illegal wars and the suppression of civil liberties, we do find American military hardware extremely cool, and sincerely regret the recently announced cancellation of the Comanche attack helicoper programme.
Military Metaphors Mandatory
The Department of Homeland Security today issued an official 'patriotic suggestion' to the editors of US publications to employ military metaphors, similies, allusions and analogies in every piece of journalism, "until the war on terror is won."
US journalists have until now operated under a self imposed code of practice to include militaristic references in every story concerning business, sport and politics. The new guidelines call for universal application of the practice.
The Department of Homeland Security issued a press release stating, "Every story with a military allusion is a warning shot across the bows of international terrorism. Our enemies should be reminded of America's martial superiority at every opportunity. It's time for journalists to lock and load."
Artifacts from a Better Future: Travel
Sedate, Freight and Illuminate Inc. offer low cost transportation on all long distance routes. Travellers are carefullly tranquilised and transported in climate controlled personal pods, 1000 of which fit in a standard 747. On arrival, SFI Inc. arrange hotels in which you dont have to turn on 14 lights before you can read a book.
US construction company Bechtel today presented detailed architectural drawings for major public buildings in Korea, Syria and Iran. Bechtel has drawn up plans for new telephone exchanges, ministries, TV stations and other landmark buildings in Axis of Evil countries.
Bechtel VP in charge of Strategic Foresight, said, "In Iraq, we were caught on the hop and many of the buildings we are putting up are just functional boxes. Next time, we are going to be ready from the get-go. We want to build things which have a flavour of the current structures. Undercover agents have quizzed users of the existing buildings about their likes and dislikes, so we can make sure that survivors can enjoy superior structures in the future."
Canadian Doctors Intervene in Middle East Conflict
The Canadian Doctors Association (CDA) today issued a statement calling for the Israeli Government and Palestinian Authority to stop acting like a couple of 'Siamese Woodpeckers'.
Donald Bendon, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the CDA, said, "Both sides are acting completely cuckoo."
First True Love Refuses Closure
Tim Moore, 36, of Scottsdale, Arizona, bore the seeping wounds today of an unresolved romantic relationship that ended in 1997. Moore's ex-girlfriend, Kirsty Lesser, 31, failed to give any reason for the break-up at the time, and refused to discuss the matter after the event. Yearly Christmas emails from Moore to Lesser elicited no response.
Moore is in a loving relationship with a partner of 2 years, with a child on the way, but he still feels the loss of his first true love every day, and wonders what happened to her.
Ms Lesser, contacted for this story, said, "Yeah, I remember Tim. We went out for a couple of weeks, like 10 years ago or something, but it was no big deal. Like, get over it man!"
What Bob Says to Catherine
1). "We have to improvise....the final page of the script was 'Rost in Tlansration'."
2). "Dont worry, we get to do it all over again. This is Groundhog Day."