BB #28: Bad Bubbles

fans behind announcersI gotta be honest: the retired life is wonderful! It’s interesting to see how my mood has changed. It’s not quite a winter to summer change, but there are definitely fewer clouds in my skies these days.  I’ve found that some things that always got under my skin don’t have the same power to piss me off they once did.

I noticed that first with regard to fans situated behind announcers mugging the camera. It bugged me producers would set up such distracting circumstances, and it bugged me the damn fans were distracting me from the announcers.  The other day I found myself grinning due to a young man aping for the camera from his seat behind the sportscasters.

But that doesn’t mean some things still don’t piss me off or bum me out!

disappointmentTruth is, my anger and disappointment with the world goes way back. (It’s with people, actually; I think the world is a fine place to hang out.)

These feelings go back at least as far as high school. One of my classmates there gave me the label, “Angry Young Man.”

The anger comes from the disappointment; I’ll write a lot about that in the days to come. The short version is simply this: Either I’m really exceptional or most of you aren’t trying very hard.

I don’t feel at all exceptional (in fact, in many regards I feel inferior and lame).

That leaves me feeling I live in a world where a lot of people aren’t trying very hard.

The result, either way, seems to be a huge amount of misery in the lives of so many. That upsets me, because I don’t think it has to be this way.

My message to the world is simply this: Be Better! Be Smarter!!


disappointment valleyA number of things have happened recently that have gotten under my skin.

I hadn’t really planned a Rant post, but the Bad Brain Bubbles reached a quorum, held a meeting and decided to demand air time.

I find it advisable to do what the voices in my head say, so here we go: Four items from my “Oh, World, You Disappoint Me (Again)” list.

First up: I got a letter from Amica Insurance telling me I may qualify for a reduction in my auto insurance.

Apparently I’m in a special group of “1 in 25 drivers” selected for this offer. [Math: about 195 million licensed drivers, so I’m in a small group of about 7.8 million or so. Always do the math!!]

There is, of course, the usual weasel wordage — “may save” and “actual savings may vary” and other fine print. Prominently, across the top, in bold print, I’m begged to respond by “Augut 24, 2013”.

oopsDown in the letter’s text, again I’m urged to call by “Augut 24, 2013”.

It’s pretty obvious what happened.

This is a form letter where someone needed to type in a date before generating the mail blast.

On this tiny task, correctly entering just 15 characters, they screwed up and made a typo. (Their error-rate is over 6%, which is pretty atrocious. The notorious “Six Sigma” seeks an error-rate of about 0.00035% (3 or 4 defects per million).)

That’s pretty careless, but we all make typos.

The real sin here is not checking and double-checking your work. The cost of not doing so is this public humiliation and that I would never buy insurance from such an incompetent company.



Actually, there is another sin here.

As a software designer, I deeply resent the choice they seem to have made that no one has a first name longer than eight characters.

Or that if they do, they won’t mind seeing their name truncated in a letter.

Wrong on both counts, assholes!

From a software design point of view, it’s inexcusable. Computers serve us, not vice-versa. There is no excuse. People do care about their names.

In fact, a good piece of business (and personal) advice is: Always take the time to get people’s names right, especially in print. It shows you care.


MLMOn the topic of selling stuff, the day after my last day at work, I got an email from a college friend.

We’d connected on Facebore after decades of no contact. For a while, we emailed a lot, got caught up, got into each others’ heads a bit…

And then the conversation kind of dried up.

That happens a lot when two people don’t really have all that much in common. In fact, we hadn’t emailed in a long time.

Anyway, her email has one sentence of congratulations about retirement followed by a paragraph trying to suck me into an MLM scheme. It even has the weasel wordage about how someone else (not her) makes $5,000 in commission and drives a BMW.

shoot me

Shoot me now.

I said we don’t have much in common (any more).

This email misses me on so many levels: Can’t stand MLM schemes; I think they’re evil.

She assumes I’m as materialistic as she is (in my world, the BMW is pretty much as asshole’s car… same with Rolex watches and all that other evil shit).

I’m not looking for more work or more money.

And the MLM is about a weight loss thing, and those are usually bullshit, too.

Given that my emotional response was, “Hey, go fuck yourself!” I thought my return email was extremely level-headed and strictly about my own view. (I learned a long time ago to avoid the word “you” in conflict discussions.

It’s rarely a good idea to ascribe feelings or opinions or character to someone else unless you’re really, really sure of your ground. And prepared for the fallout.)

I did point out that I was a bit offended at being considered a marketing opportunity by an old friend.

Her reply… well, let’s just say we won’t be communicating anymore, I think. Talk about escalating a situation! My, oh my.



“Boo! Boo!”

During the MLB All-Star Game, many of the fans booed when players they perceived as rivals were introduced.

I thought that was a sad display at the time — this is an exhibition game, a romp, a party, and there is no cause for booing.

East coast fans are known for booing; it’s part of the game for them.

That’s fine. It’s well-known that people on the east coast are assholes. (I was born in NYC, which is why I’m an asshole!)

Kidding aside, it did seem to me that booing at the ASG was inappropriate. But whatever.

I forgot about it until it popped up as a topic on MLB Now (which I’ve mentioned before) and then again on MLB’s Intentional Talk (with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar).

"Wild Thing" agrees with me!

“Wild Thing” agrees with me!

“Ah, ha!” I thought. “Now this topic will get some air time and everyone will agree how wrong it was to boo!”

Except both analysts on MLB Now were fine with it.

“Part of the game,” they said.

Then, on Intentional Talk, regular host Chris Rose was fine with it, but guest host Mitch Williams wasn’t.

Gee, I’m one for four!

Here’s the real irony: The reason it was a topic is that comedian (and huge Mets fan) Jerry Seinfeld tweeted about how mortified he was at the booing. That kicked off a lot of counter-reaction, and the whole thing rose to the level of discussion topic.

No soup for you!

No soup for you!

So Jerry Seinfeld and I saw eye-to-eye.

The irony is that I’ve never been much a fan of his comedy.

I respect the hell out of his comic ability and knowledge, though. He sat down with Bob Costas to analyze the comedy behind the great Abbott and Costello Who’s on First routine, and that was delightful!

But I just don’t care for his mode of comedy.

So much of it is based on the dumb things we do or the things we don’t understand. The problem is, I know the science behind those things, so the comedy falls flat for me.

Still, he loves baseball and he is a great comic.



Funny idea; awful movie!

Last up: I finally saw the movie, Ted, the other day.

I’d been looking forward to it.

I like both the actors (Wahlberg and Kunis), and the idea seemed pretty funny. I was certainly attached to my teddy bear as a kid (I still have it somewhere). I really wanted to like this movie!

I managed to get through about an hour before I had to turn it off.

Another damn stupid movie for stupid people.

An infantile, unwatchable, pointless piece of shit.

I think it’s official: I can’t stand Seth MacFarlane‘s work. In the future, I’ll know to simply avoid anything with his name on it.

It’s extremely uncommon for me to turn off a movie before the end. I try to give a movie every chance to redeem itself (and some have late in the game).  But after one hour of infantile bullshit, I had more than enough.  It says something that I don’t care at all how the movie turned out.

[blurp, blurp, blurp!]

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

8 responses to “BB #28: Bad Bubbles

  • reocochran

    I have to admit my rants and problems are always going to be different from yours, but can feel how it would be to see people aping for cameras when the serious game needs to be their focus! I also agree typos and poor technology work, situations where you know more, are irritating. And anyone on an email basis trying to sell you on an investment or tier sales pitch is definitely on my NOT friends list. I am not on face…. so I am not in that boat. Last, as far as these comments, I totally agree with you and Jerry Seinfeld, no booing ever! I get upset with folks who do this in a number of places where respect is needed. I have been very upset for months how people don’t know if they are sending prayers for the country it is okay if they are a Republican to pray for the president, too. Or at least show respect for him in conversation. It is so awful to see this happening on all levels of society… take care and glad retirement is helping you to smile more, enjoy life and ignore more. But, being an intelligent person, you have to become irritated with ignorance!!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      The fans waving to the camera during the game (you see them behind home plate) are a slightly different issue, but related and also irritating. They always have their cell phone glued to their ear, so you know they’re calling someone so they can wave to them on TV. I hate them too. 🙂

      I meant the ones behind announcers in pre- and post-game shows. The fans in the stands are at least more in the background. They often set up the announcers’ desk with fans close behind, so there isn’t much separation (in fact, the pic at the post’s top kind of illustrates how close the fans are).

      I’m glad you agree about the MLM and booing. I was beginning to feel alone out there!

      I totally agree with the disrespect shown the president. The Republican Party has lost its mind over this presidency, and I’ve lost any respect for Republicans I may once have had. I voted for Obama both times. The first time with joy, the second time with regrets. The longer his presidency goes, the less I’ve liked him, but he still commands the respect due the position. (And he deserves respect for his accomplishments, too. I just haven’t liked his presidency.)

      I want to be clear about something: Ignorance isn’t a problem for me. We’re all ignorant of much more than not. I do have a problem with willful ignorance, and I do have a problem with stupidity—a completely different thing.

  • Lady from Manila

    MLM used to be a business craze here, too, which some of my acquaintances had been foolish enough to join. Its vile existence plagued my social life in a way because some people I knew tried to remain in my good graces to be able to deliver their long, winding, scripted speech to me. Ouch. I usually ended up informing them it really was a scam. They wouldn’t budge at first. Then their heads would eventually get hit by something hard somewhere and they’d get to that aha moment in figuring out on their own how they had been simply feeding the bank accounts of the higher people in the pyramid.

    “I was a bit offended at being considered a marketing opportunity by an old friend.” I feel the same way whenever someone comes to me with a hidden agenda of selling something or including me on their networking list. It even happens here on our blogosphere. It makes me sad because I didn’t come here for that. I simply wanted to read and write. Gaining true blogging friends would be an added bonus, though.

    “Be better. Be smarter.” That’s challenging for me :-). But I’ll try to keep that in mind. Always.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Life is just filled with peddlers, isn’t it. Spammers on the web, telemarketing, junk mail and even former friends trying to make a buck off you. (Our greed may well be the end of us.) No doubt that MLM crap works great for those at the top. Classic pyramid scheme; it amazes me that so many buy into it.

      Being better and smarter is a challenge, which is why so few try. I hear it all the time, “I don’t wanna study that. It hurts my brain.” That’s fine. We’ll just mark you down as another one for the slave pens when the technocracy begins. 😐

  • Snoring Dog Studio

    Good for you for responding that way to your old “friend.” Her behavior was pretty reprehensible. I am not at all crazy about Seinfeld and I agree – his humor is just dumb, about dumb stuff. And he goes on and on about it, when most of us just observe the dumb and continue on with our lives.

    I’m glad you’re finding retirement so enjoyable. It is helping to clean out your brain and leave room for better things.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thanks! It’s nice to know I’m not completely out in left field on this. I was really surprised at all the baseball analysts who were fine with the booing. It’s nice knowing I’m not the only one who finds Seinfeld’s humor not to taste! (I gotta give him props, though. Seinfeld was an amazing show. The writing kept me watching despite my deep loathing for every character on the show. Given that I mainly watch TV because I like the characters, that says something about the writing.)

      As for my MLM friend, I’ve been wondering if I over-reacted. So far the opinions seem to be falling squarely on my side. (Which is both rare and sweet!) Thanks, again!!

      Yeah,… just loving retirement! It’s looking more and more like the financial part will work out okay (but it’ll be a little close), so I’m trying to completely wrap my head around the idea of never having to “go to work” again. (Meanwhile, my days seem to be as busy and filled with stuff I’m not getting done as they ever were! I’ve long imagined myself to be a “lazy idler” but it appears I’m totally not.)

  • reocochran

    I am now seeing what you meant by people being silly and apeing behind the announcers. That would be distracting, to say the least. I am glad you clarified ignorance, since I am (of course) “witless” at times! I am also, clueless, at times… The way the MLM is done like a game, tricking you, that is what I don’t like. So, do friends use tricks? I don’t think so as a ploy to get you to waste your time. My youngest went off on what she thought was a “job interview” with great potential of earnings! This misled her, seeing as she has thousands of dollars of debt, investing is not what she needs right now. I felt bad since she thought it would be over in an hour or less, she is a health and wellness coach and had to call her scheduled conference with a client due to lengthy and wearing session with the MLM purveyors…

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yep, it’s a scam where success depends on your ability to scam those “below” you in the pyramid. I would imagine that most people who get sucked into that scheme end up trying to leverage everyone they know!

      I thing that was kind of funny is that I’ve dealt with high-pressure salespeople before. They’re generally immune to insult, since they really want you to buy. My (former) friend’s reaction was so hostile that it guaranteed an end to (what remained of) our friendship, let alone any chance I’d change my mind about the MLM. A good salesperson would try to show me where my thinking was all wrong. If this was a demonstration of her sales ability, she’s not likely to be very successful.

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