Do You Like Adelle?

Since most people have voted for the Adelle template, I switched it on. But I have to say, I don’t love it in the least.

How do you, folks, feel? Should I try switching on the runner-up?

I Want Movies!

Our local movie theaters are the worst. Here is what’s showing this weekend:

1. American Hustle – something typically Hollywoodian with FBI agents, crooks, and mafia.

2. Anchorman: The Legend Continues – this seems to be a TV show people confused with a movie.

3. Frozen – based on Andersen’s depressive Snow Queen.

4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – haven’t people had enough of the Hobbit already?

5. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire – another episode of yet another TV show that wouldn’t end.

6. Saving Mr. Banks – an inane glorification of Disney.

7. Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas – and another episode in another TV show.

8. Walking with Dinosaurs – would be fun if I were eight.

9. Out Of The Furnace – the only movie that is about the actual reality and the only one I wanted to watch. But there is only one showing, and that’s at 12 am.

Do notice how completely escapist the entire list is. Escapist and predictable, since everything is either Disney or is a sequel to something people have seen already.

I want to watch something but nothing new is getting released.

Franco Is Not Dead

OK, so do you want to know how our friend Treglown ends his book on the memory of Franco’s dictatorship in Spain? I couldn’t have come up with anything this obnoxious if I tried.

He tells a story of a young woman who has been searching for the remains of her great-grandfather. He was killed by the fascists during the Civil War and his body was dumped in one of the many mass graves created for Franco’s victims. In the last two sentences of his book, Treglown happily informs the readers that this young woman has had a baby and now has no interest in history, war, dictatorship, and her great-grandfather.

This is precisely the attitude Franco considered the only appropriate one for women.

Putin Pardons Khodorkovsky

Putin has let one of the major players in the bandit wars of the 1990s out of prison a few months early, and now this is suddenly big news.

Mikhail Khodorkovsky was one of several puppets who were hired by the KGB to pretend there were capitalism and democracy in Russia. Khodorkovsky was the most stupid among these pretty dim-witted “oligarchs”. He convinced himself that the money he’d been given was actually his and started giving himself airs of a businessman. Finally, Putin put this murderer and gangster in jail.

In the 10 years he spent in jail, Khodorkovsky kept giving money to a variety of Russian artists, writers, journalists, intellectuals, and human rights activists. In return, they created an image of him as some kind of dissident and victim of the regime. The whole thing was absolutely hilarious. The human rights organizations in Russia paid no attention to the many actual abuses committed in the country and, instead, created a huge campaign defending the billionaire’s right to lead a billionaire lifestyle in jail.

I’m guessing Khodorkovsky will now join his former employees in the UK. This is a country that harbors many gangsters who are on the run from justice in Russia. Why the UK is so intent on inviting as much of this human refuse from Russia as possible to stay is a mystery.

A Vision

Here is an example of what smart businesspeople who actually have a vision for taking their businesses further are doing.

My sister runs her own job recruitment agency that she built from the ground with a friend. The two business owners cultivate each of their employees like a hot-house orchid. They are paying for the employees’ health insurance (remember, this is in Canada where there is free healthcare for everybody, so my sister and her partner are paying for their workers to get a very special cherry on top of a good free cake), dental insurance, classes and seminars, and often even spa visits.

These are very bright businesswomen who are highly educated and whose philosophy of approaching the job market is based on long-term investment in each worker. They refuse the contracts for temp job searches that come their way and despise revolving-door companies that chew down temp workers only to spit them out in a couple of months.

And you know what? Within just a few years of existence they have a better reputation in the city than the agencies that have existed there for decades. They are a small business but they have been securing such lucrative and prestigious conracts that, as we say in my country, the big agencies can only nervously smoke in a corner.

Treating employees right pays off big time. A tenure-track/tenured professor will do more to attract students, raise the prestige of the school and build up the department and the school in such a way that not even a batallion of hassled, overworked, indifferent adjuncts will provide enough “savings” to counterbalance this.

How can this be not obvious?

I suggest we start seeing the increasing reliance on part-timers in academia and business as stealing. Our message to administrators / clerks who eliminate full-time jobs and hire part-timers instead should be: “You are stealing from our school. You are robbing the university. You want a business model? Here is a business model for you: you are depriving our school of cash, both short-term and long-term. This makes you a thief.”

And that’s my vision.

Can They Be That Stupid?

Can anybody explain to me the logic of substituting a crowd of full-time employees with two crowds of part-timers?

Yes, you can save on having to pay them benefits but the quality of service and / or product you put out will plummet and the company will lose all respectability. If customers have any sort of choice whatsoever, they will move away. The reputation will be destroyed.  How many companies / schools do you know that set on this path and have annihilated themselves? I know only too many.

Are people who making these decisions really that stupid and out of touch?