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Archive for February, 2011

A complaint about eye candy.

February 28, 2011 Leave a comment

Today I had lunch with friends at a restaurant where all the waitresses were wearing schoolgirl uniforms. It was a surprise to see that in what I thought was a family joint, but I wasn’t surprised that the service was bad. I have a lot of anecdotal evidence that suggests the better a restaurant’s view or the higher their waitresses’ hemlines, the more likely the service is to be poor.

I’m as much a fan of the female form as the next fellow but when I go out for coffee, I want COFFEE.

While I’m on the subject, what is the deal with scantily clad women in motoring magazines? When I look at a car with a woman draped over the hood I think, “get out of the way so I can see the car!” If I want to look at scantily clad women, there are magazines just for that; of course I’m speaking hypothetically, Janet.

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Excellent poster.

February 23, 2011 Leave a comment

I’ll write more about signs I’ve seen in shops over the years but for now will offer this:

Credit Policy

I found this example online, you can see the watermark in the upper left corner, but a friend had this exact poster on the wall of his auto repair shop in clear view of the register.

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Healthcare austerity measures

February 21, 2011 Leave a comment

When I hear a healthcare professional say that cutbacks will cost lives, it scares me. Not because they’re probably right, but because of the potential nocebo effect in patients who hear these assertions.

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My tool belt.

February 19, 2011 Leave a comment

I was thinking of how I came to own a tool belt. When I was 21, I was hired to work on a siding crew and showed up with my tools in a bucket. All that sort of work I had done before was for the family business and we hauled our tools in buckets; it was all I knew.

My new foreman asked me where my tool belt was and I explained that I didn’t have one; he shook his head and, leaving us to work, went to check on another crew. At lunch he came to check up on our progress and threw a new tool belt my way saying something along the lines of, “put this on and stop embarrassing me.” It still hangs on a nail in my shop; ready to go.

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Twenty years experience, eh?

February 15, 2011 Leave a comment

Every now and then I see marketing material that says something along the lines of, “over 60 collective years of experience at your service,” and it makes me chuckle; I imagine a single journeyman and an army of helpers working in a shop. Does that number include the experience of the office and cleaning staff?

I don’t have a problem with people just starting out or those who are proud of how long they’ve done something but think that what they’ve actually done is more important; the claim of having many years of experience might be specious.

Every now and then I run into someone who has done the same job with a narrow focus their whole life. A funny example is a welder who works in a booth welding assemblies together; he takes parts from bins and welds them together; that’s all he does; same process and position every time. He has credentials and might be a very skilled welder but the truth is that for most practical purposes he doesn’t have 20 years experience so much as has two years done ten times over.

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What’s in a title?

February 11, 2011 2 comments

My wife was in a discussion with a bunch of women started by one who complained about how her husband refers to her as, “the wife.” Apparently quite a few women share this title and don’t appreciate this too much either.

I refer to my wife as, “the wife,” all the time but, as I’ve often explained, that it’s not a wife, or that wife, but THE wife. I think that most people who hear me say it understand and appreciate that sentiment.

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Harry Pope, the Pareto principal, and living a balanced life.

February 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Sign posted in the shop of barrel maker Harry Pope ~1941:

NO DELIVERY PROMISED. TAKE YOUR WORK WHEN DONE OR TAKE IT ELSEWHERE. IF YOU MUST KNOW WHEN I WILL BE THROUGH WITH YOUR WORK THE ANSWER IS NOW. TAKE YOUR WORK AWAY. I DON’T WANT IT. I HAVE NO WAY OF KNOWING WHEN I WILL BE THROUGH. I WORK ELEVEN HOURS A DAY. DAILY INTERRUPTIONS AVERAGE ONE AND ONE-HALF HOURS. DARK WEATHER SETS ME BACK STILL MORE. THERE IS BUT ONE OF ME. I’M HUMAN AND I’M TIRED. I REFUSE TO LONGER BE WORRIED BY PROMISES THAT CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT ALLOW ME TO KEEP. YOU’RE A LONG TIME DEAD. IT IS TIME TO BEGIN TO LIVE.

A cranky old man inadvertently selling exclusivity. Lots of people utilize the Pareto principal to make the most of their energy; author Tim Ferriss has made quite a life for himself by promoting this rule of thumb.

I’ve read about the concept of selling exclusivity and, while I don’t personally have the time for it myself, don’t have a problem with people who make a conscious decision to do it; exclusivity for its own sake is always a contrivance and it doesn’t matter whether it’s the work of the buyer or seller.

What little I’ve read about Mr. Pope suggests he cared about nothing in life but marksmanship and the fine workmanship that facilitates it so it’s safe to assume that his exclusivity was created by his clients; honoured to own a fine weapon with a barrel fitted by the savant tool maker in his cluttered Jersey City shop.

The last sentence of the sign made me chuckle. As I said earlier, what I’ve read suggests his life revolved around his work and that he spent most every waking hour either building or using rifles; he apparently wouldn’t go home for days; I simultaneously admire and pity him.

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