Wednesday, August 4, 2004


One of the first classes I took at CSUH when I got back from Chile was history. I didn't have high hopes for doing well in it; it was to fulfill some of my last GE requirements, and I've always been bad with exact dates. The first thing the teacher did was have us turn to the two-page spread of the world-wide map at the beginning of the book and look at it. The map was unlike anything I had ever seen before, as the eastern hemisphere was on the left side of the page, and the western hemisphere on the right. For those of you keeping score at home, that's backwards.

The professor waited for us to notice, which not everyone did, then said, "If you learn nothing else in college, you must learn to become bullsh*t detectors." (He actually used the entire word -- my first indicator that I was no longer at BYU.) "Just because this map is in a textbook for which you have just paid $65 does not mean that everything in it is correct or accurate. You must learn for yourselves how to recognize truth and error."

I didn't do great in the class -- my lack of ability to memorize dates was a deterrent in doing well on the quizzes and tests, and I don't really even remember anything else from that class, other than the admonition to not only learn when the wool is being pulled over your eyes, but to do or say something about it.

This has served me well in life, although I still need the occasional reminder that just because something is written down does not make it true. That's a true statement, even if you did just stumble across it on the internet. It bears repeating. Just. Because. Something. Is. Written. Down. Does. Not. Make. It. True.

This holds true for the emails you get from your well-intentioned aunt or co-worker about the fire hazards posed by Glade plug-ins, or the warning to not smell perfume in parking lots. The best one yet -- don't fall asleep somewhere you don't know, because when you wake up, you'll be in a bathtub filled with ice and your kidneys will be missing.

For those of you who still feel the need to forward me the emails that your best friend's cousin's boss's mother-in-law just got from her son who knows someone who knows someone else that this seriously happened to and NO KIDDING! just forwarded it to 10 people and the flashing message appeared right afterwards, I offer this plea: Don't send it to me. I don't want it. It doesn't work. Bill Gates and Michael Eisner are not standing by to cut me a check for $5,000 or send me to Walt Disney World. They're just not.

Here are some other tips for you. Yes, you may have already received this in an email, but my truth sensors have detected it as truth, so here you go.

The Forwarders 12 Step Program

1) I will NOT get bad luck, lose my friends, or lose my mailing lists if I don't forward an email!

2) I will NOT hear any music or see a taco dog if I do forward an e-mail to 10 of my closest friends. No pop-up windows of any kind will ever appear. NEVER.

3) I will NEVER receive gift certificates, coupons, or freebies from Coca Cola, Cracker Barrel, Old Navy, or anyone else if I send an e- mail to 10 people.

4) There is NO SUCH THING as an e-mail tracking program, and I am not STUPID enough to think that someone will send me $100 for forwarding an e-mail to 10 or more people!

5) There is NO kid with cancer through the Make-a-Wish program in England collecting anything! If he ever existed, he is now either dead, or cancer-free and 25 years old. He DOESN'T WANT ANY MORE POST CARDS, or GET-WELL CARDS.

6) The government does not have a bill in Congress called 901B (or whatever they named it this week) that, if passed, will enable them to charge us 5 cents for every e-mail we send.

7) There will be NO cool dancing, singing, waving, colorful flowers, characters, or program that I will receive immediately after I forward an e-mail. NONE, ZIP, ZERO, ZILCH, NADA !!

8) The American Red Cross will NOT donate 50 cents to certain individual dying of some never-heard-of disease for every e-mail address I send this to. The American Red Cross RECEIVES donations.

9) I WILL NOT let others guilt me into sending things by telling me I am not their friend or that I don't believe in Jesus Christ. If God wants to send me a message, I believe the bushes in my yard will burn before He picks up a PC to pass it on!

10) Even if I try to justify it with my own personal tag-line of "I'm sure this won't work, but I have to try it just to see for myself!", I should not pass it on.

11) But...!

12) No.

Now, repeat this to yourself until you have it memorized, and send it along to at least 5 of your friends before the next full moon or you will surely be constipated for the next three months.

Okay, that last paragraph isn't true, but you should have figured that out by now using your own BS detector.

By the way, if you ever do get anything that looks like it holds even a granule of truth, don't forward it on without checking it out first. My recommendation on how to figure out which urban legend is true or not is to go to Use it. Make it your friend. Others will thank you for it.

My personal detector has also served me well when it comes to dealing with people. You know who the problem ones are -- you've met them at work or at school. Sometimes they're in positions of authority, so you think you're supposed to trust everything that person says. The worst is when the person is really nice so you think you should trust him because nice = truth. Only, not really.

In fact, what I have discovered, as a general rule and specifically regarding people I have worked with is that nice = dumb. They use the niceness to cover up the fact that their IQ is lower than the ground floor.

For example, a girl I used to work with is not the heaviest anchor in the harbor. For starters, I can still access her calendar to see her appointments. It's not even that I still have access to it, it's also that our entire department can access it at will. So, we do. Frequently. We all need a good laugh now and again. Here are some of the gems demonstrating her basic grasp of the English (her first and only) language.

Ventran's Day

Shriley's Retirement Lunchment

Candel Light Rehearsal What amazes me most about that is she got "rehearsal" right, but not "candle."

10 Year Anavrsary .... First Date!

Holiday Volenteering!

...and others. You get the general idea. Nice girl, but dumber than a box of hair.

Other Gems From Other (Nice But) Dumb People

Using the word "analytics" instead of "analyze." Or any other time a noun is turned into a verb.

"Are we in agreeance?" Yes, we are in agreement that you're too dumb to get into your car and drive to work every day.

Or the day that one of the managers, yes, MANAGERS -- you know, the person who's supposed to be in charge of other people -- had to test a bug fix when neither the developer or analyst was there. She took one of the test scripts that she herself wrote, executed the test, and it failed. So she tried it again and it worked. Her message to the analyst was, "Well I don't know why it failed, but it worked the second time I tried it. So it's tested." Sounds like she's ready for a promotion!

I work for Disney. As such, we are expected to know a certain amount about the animated characters -- the "people" who have made us who we are today as a company. One day, one of the girls on the other side of my cubicle wall was asking the general vicinity which movie the Evil Queen is in. "Who says, 'Mirror, mirror on the wall'? Is it the Evil Queen? From Snow White? What about Mafelicent? Where's she from? Come on, you guys! Mafelcent! Mafelicent! Is she from Sleeping Beauty? Come on, haven't you heard of Mafelicent? Aren't you guys supposed to be 'Brand Ambassadors?'" She's hollering this at her interns. Ah yes, the pinnacle of the Brand Ambassador herself. Only two of the most famous Disney villians ever, and not only do you not know what movies they're from, it's MALIFICENT, not MAFELICENT, dolt.

Here's the finale. Oh, except I should tell you, this person doesn't fall under the "nice" category. She's in a ball park all by herself. My former manager at the "old" place was as dumb as they come. Her joys in the workplace came from creating large project plans and printing them in color. It doesn't take a lot to entertain her. By the same token, it doesn't take a lot for her to entertain us, either, so it's a win-win situation. One day in the department managers' meeting she announced that her number one priority was to find a cute name for her archive project. Coincidentally, one of the other managers had just seen a television show called "Vault Disney," which is a bunch of old Disney shows pulled out of the vault (archive) that haven't been seen in forever. You, smart reader that you are, already see the play in words between "Vault Disney" and "Walt Disney," right?

So the manager who had seen the show recommended that as a project name to Dumb Manager. The vice president and other managers agreed that would be a great name. When presented to DM, here's how the conversation went:

Smart Manager: Hey (Dummy) - how about this for a name for your project? "Vault Disney."

Dumb Manager: Oh. The Disney Vault. That's good.

SM: No, "VAULT Disney," you know, like WALT Disney?"

DM: Oh. Well The Disney Vault is good.

After lunch the dumb manager went to the developer who is stuck working on the project with the idiot.

DM: Hey, Dave, I have a new name for the project: DAVe -- "Disney Archive Vault." So now that it's named after you, you have to take ownership of it.

Dave: (says nothing)

An innocent bystander: (catching on immediately to the CORRECT play on words) Hey that's good. Like Vault Disney. That's clever.

DM: That's what the Smart Manager said. But it's called The DISNEY Archive Vault.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

What I'm Reading: "Satellite Sisters' Uncommon Senses," by Julie, Liz, Lian, Monica and Sheila Dolan.

What I'm Watching: I saw "The Village" last weekend. It was okay. Waaaaayyy better than "Signs" and "Unbreakable," but nowhere near as good as "The 6th Sense."

Re-watched "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" last night. Fabulous movie. Except for the ending. I love it right up until the last three minutes.

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