Monday, February 26, 2007

Stevie Joe Watches the Oscars

The fine citizens of Junebug Holler came over to the Parker estate last night to watch the Oscars. I don't if that means that the State of the Union Affair has been forgiven or if after watching the Super Bowl at Junior's house folks felt that my place was the lesser of two evils. Personally, I feel it was my patented baloney salad sandwiches that tipped the balance.

None of the films nominated for Best Picture played on any screen within 50 miles of Junebug Holler. So, we were kind of lost when it came time to choose a favorite. Mostly we cheered the folks we liked and jeered those that we didn't. Most of the Junebug Holler gang loved Jennifer Hudson, but they are the type of folks (i.e. functionally illiterate) who like American Idol. I, on the other hand, did not want Jennifer Hudson to win because that would only encourage the American Idol folks. I have not seen Dream Girls, and it might just be that Ms. Hudson put on a noteworthy performance. I just wish that she hadn't been discovered on that awful, awful show.

Junior became upset at the number of foreigners who were nominated for awards. He said it was all the result of "Mexicans running over our borders and stealing our jobs." I had to explain to him that Helen Mirren was neither an illegal immigrant nor Mexican, but he wouldn't let it go. Junior did like the part where Melissa Etheridge kissed her wife, though.

All in all, it was a fun night, and Dickie Jensen refrained from running nekkid through the party.

I'd like to thank the academy,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, February 23, 2007

Stevie Joe Offers Gay Marriage Solution

Junebug Holler only has one openly gay resident, Danny Gualandi, sometimes known as "Danny G." Danny G is a hair stylist if you can believe that. Talk about your stereotypes. Anyway, Danny was at the Junebug Cafe this morning having some breakfast, and I thought it was a good time to start up a conversation about gay marriage.

The more cynical among you might suggest that I was just causing trouble, but that was not my intent. Rather, I knew that the other residents would be on their best behavior, at least when it came to their language, when discussing the matter in front of Danny. Still, I knew none of them would hold back their opinions no matter who was around. I like that about Junebug Holler folks.

Jimmy was there, and he said that it ain't right for a feller to marry a feller. It says right so in the Bible. Now, Jimmy is not exactly the church-going sort, but it sure helps to bring out the Bible to bolster an opinion, don't it? Prudy said that she didn't mind at all and what was the big deal. Danny G said that gay partners need to have the same rights as other committed couples when it comes to financial and legal matters. Junior said that he likes it when the hot girls do each other on the porn. This is why we often exclude Junior from such discussions.

I reasoned that there are really two components to a marriage: a spiritual component and a civil component. The spiritual component is the bonding of two souls under the guidance of God. The civil component is stuff like filing taxes together, hospital visitation rights, etc. My suggestion was to let the church handle the spiritual part and the state handle the civil part. The state has no business regulating or otherwise being involved in the spiritual part. The only type of union that the state should be concerned with is civil unions. Let the church handle the rest.

That seemed reasonable to most of the assembled citizenry. Junior wanted to know if anyone had any videos to "illustrate" the point.

Til death do I part,
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Stevie Joe Needs More Evangelists

News of Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life is rocketing around the virtual community, and that means the world is becoming a better place. However, progress is slow, and Stevie Joe needs your help to spread the gospel. I'm asking all you true believers to use this phrase wherever you might think is appropriate:

I'm Learning About Life with Stevie Joe:

The future of humanity might just be in your hands. Now, the presidential campaign is already upon us, and while I have no intention of running, I might not turn down a nomination if drafted. Certainly, it is premature for a "Draft Stevie Joe" movement, but getting the word out about Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life is a good start.

Thanks for your help. I'll be getting back to quantum physics shortly.

Your humble servant,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Stevie Joe's Participation in Dumbass Stuff

This morning over at the Junebug Cafe, I was confronted by Dickie Jensen (still sore that I pushed him down in the snow), Junior, and Pastor Luke. They pointed out that my post in yesterday's edition of Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life included a statement admitting my participation in certain "dumbass" events. They claimed that said participation might be seen as evidence that I was not so damn smart after all.

Well, fellow citizens, I am hear to explain that a smart, even brilliant, person can still enjoy some good old low brow fun. This is not an admission of stupidity. Rather, it's a willingness to try new things and find ways to amuse those not so cerebrally gifted. So, yes, I not only participated in but created the Great Nekkid Races of the Junebug Holler Winter Olympiad. There's nothing else that is quite as much fun with a couple of kegs of PBR, a snow-covered meadow, and a bunch of folks wearing nothing but their work boots.

At this point in the conversation, I reminded my companions that I knew of various deeds that they had performed in years past. These are deeds of which most of Junebug Holler had no knowledge but would cause great gossip today. Especially about Pastor Luke. Of course, Pastor Luke was not always a pastor nor was he always so virtuous. In fact, there was a certain party held the night before Luke headed off for the seminary . . .

The conversation was dropped.

On your marks, get set, get nekkid!
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, February 19, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Winter Mountain Climbers

It looks like they rescued those folks who fell on Mount Hood. You know, this is America, Land of the Free and all that. So, I think that it's great that people can go out and do whatever dumbass stuff they want. Heaven knows there has been a lot of dumbass stuff done in Junebug Holler over the years, and I will admit to participating in at least some of it.

However, if you decide that you want to climb a mountain in the middle of the damn winter, I think it's fair for the rest of us to say "See you in the spring!" if you fall down and go boom.

If anyone is considering such an expedition, let me explain some of the particulars to you. It will be damn cold. Just like when Dickie Jensen sprayed freon on his testicles except this will cover your whole body. It will be windy. Winds of over 100 miles per hour. That makes it colder, and it makes you fall down. There will be snow. Lots and lots of snow. It will be deep. And cold. It might even slide down the mountain and bury your ass.

So, if you decide to go ahead with this endeavor anyway, don't be surprised if you find your sorry self needing to be rescued.

It reminds me of the time that Junior designed his own parachute and decided to test it by leaping off of Pastor Luke's house (two stories plus attic). Nobody should have been surprised by the results, but Junior never saw it coming. If he had, he should have just called 9-1-1 before he leapt.

Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Three Little Experiments

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Hey, Stevie Joe, you said that you were going to unite the worlds of science and spirituality, but all you been talkin' about is science. Frankly, it's a bit boring. When are you gonna talk about Jeebus?"

Well, I'm here to tell you, brothers and sisters, that the road to truth and enlightenment is not an easy one, but it is well worth the trouble. It is full of drunken neighbors, dog poop, coffee controversies, and quantum physics. If it were simple, they'd stick it into the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

So, here is the story of the Three Little Experiments. The First Little Experiment was done by a scientist who got his jollies by shining light through various chemicals. He found that chemicals that caused cancer would block light at a certain frequency. He was eventually able to predict what might cause cancer with this little trick.

The Second Little Experiment focused on something called "photorepair." While it sounds like something that would be done at Walgreen's, it's actually a well-known scientific-like phenomenon. If you blast a cell with UV light so it is 99% destroyed and then transmit that light again at a much lower intensity, it will help repair the cell. The Second Little Experiment found that photorepair was most effective at a very specific light frequency.

The Third Little Experiment was the result of looking at the first two experiments. The key light frequencies in each experiment are the same. So, maybe carcinogens cause cancer by blocking the light energy that cells need to grow and divide correctly. The problem was, there was no light in the body. Or was there?

Scientists Fritz-Albert Popp and Bernhard Ruth came up with a machine that could measure photon energy inside the body. This machine creates the "aura" photographs you sometimes see. So, there was light inside the body. This allowed scientists to see the human body's energy field with much greater clarity. It became apparent that there were a number of energy "hot spots" in the body where electrical resistance is significantly lower than the surround tissue. These hot spots coincide precisely with the meridians used by the Chinese for acupuncture. Knowledge of these meridians is over two thousand years old.

Freaky, huh?

Let me hear you say "Amen!"
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe Answers Global Warming Critics

Junebug Holler is an outdoor-based community. We like outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, barbeques, backyard wrestling, and sitting in the kiddie pool while drinking margaritas. So, winter is often hard on us, this winter in particular. It's been damn cold in Junebug Holler.

To help cure the winter blues, several of us leading townsfolk declared that we would bundle up and go stand outside at Dickie Jensen's house and drink beer. It was Dickie himself who set me off when he asked, "Where's your global warming now, Stevie Joe?"

Dickie happened to be standing right next to his little boy's wagon (yes, Dickie Jensen, the man who once sprayed freon onto his testicles on a dare, has kids). With a gentle, but firm, push, I sent Dickie falling over backwards onto his ass. Argument over.

An inconvenient neighbor,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Stevie Joe's Ray Gun Plan

OK, so now that we know that all matter is really just energy arranged in some pretty darned complex ways, what the heck are we supposed to do with that tidbit of trivia? Well, it turns out if you pick up an atom, a rock, or Junior (careful, he's heavy), it will have its very own energy field, and that energy will have a specific pattern of frequencies and intensities. That pattern is its energy signature.

So, some scientist wondered if you could substitute the energy signature of some chemical for the chemical itself. We know that the drug atropine speeds up the heart, but will the energy signature of atropine do the same thing? It turns out that it does. If you can transmit the energy pattern of atropine to the heart in a certain manner, it will speed up the heart.

So, this begs the question, is Anheuser-Busch working on the Budweiser ray gun? Just point at your head, shoot, and it's party time! A ganja ray gun might also prove to be an effective tool for use in my Middle East Peace Plan. It might also be effective in sneaking your buzz past The Man.

Irie mon,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, February 16, 2007

Stevie Joe Takes on the Confederacy

Our friends in Virginny are so entertaining! Legislation establishing a commission to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Abraham Lincoln was recently derailled in the Virginia legislature. The celebration, part of a nationwide effort, apparently upset some folks who are still cranky about the Civil War.

Richard Lamb of Richmond is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He argued that those wishing to celebrate Lincoln suffer from "historical myopia and amnesia." He then added, "he sent armies into Virginia to lay waste to our land." Lamb suggested celebrating the birth of Jefferson Davis instead.

I have an idea. I've thought for quite a while that maybe we should just let Florida and Texas go. Florida can become North Cuba, and Texas can go back to being their own republic. I think that residents of both states will really be happier that way, and voters in US presidential elections will be forever grateful.

While it's probably not a good idea to let Virginia secede again, maybe Mr. Lamb and his buddies in the Sons of Confererate Veterans can just move to North Cuba or the Republic of Texas.

More info can be found on the Richmond Times-Dispatch website here.

With malice toward none,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, February 15, 2007

More Quantum Physics with Stevie Joe

It appears that the tensions have subsided down at the Junebug Cafe. Hopefully, the Great Coffee Controversy can be put into the past. I had lunch there today, and all seemed quiet. This peacefulness gave me the opportunity to ponder how to continue our discussion of the Zero Point Field. Here's what I figured:

In the world of quantum physics, there's this thing called the "observer effect." This refers to the notion that something exists in all of its possible states until it is observed. There is a classic example of this created by this feller named Schrödinger. See, Schrödinger was arguing with Einstein about some stuff and came up with this idea about an experiment with a cat in a sealed box. At the end of the experiment, the cat would either be alive or dead, but until someone observed whether the cat was alive or dead, it existed in both states: both alive and dead.

Now, we take things another step. Let's say you're down at the tavern, and you're spinning a quarter on the bar. While the quarter is spinning, you can't really say whether it's heads or tails. I mean, you have to stop the thing from spinning to tell, and then it's no longer a spinning quarter. So, a spinning quarter is both heads and tails.

When you break down all the sub-atomic particles to their smallest level, where you find Zero Point Energy, things are like that spinning quarter. Instead of heads or tails, things are either a particle or a wave, and you can't tell which until you pin the damn thing down to take a look. Until you do that, it's both a particle and a wave.

Well, so what? I'll tell you what, smart guy. If we take this concept to the next step, we start to question the nature of reality itslef. Since we are all made up of Zero Point Energy and it exists in all possible states until observed, maybe everything works this way. Like the riddle of the tree falling in the forest, if there is nobody there to observe the tree, not only will it not make a sound, it might not even exist! The forest exists only as potential until it is consciously observed by someone.

I tried to explain this all to Junior once, but it didn't go well. I mean, this gets all philosophical and stuff. That's not Junior's strong point (which raises the question of what the heck Junior's strong point actually is, but I digress). He sat and listened to my explanation and then told me that if I just ignore the poop in my yard from his dog, it won't exist.

OK, heck. I know this can get boring, but follow along with me, OK? The future of our civilization depends on it.

Still trying,
Stevie Joe Parker

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Stevie Joe's Favorite Conservative Comedian

Speaking of comedians, I listened to President Numbnut's press conference today. I couldn't watch on the TV because I was out piloting the Big Blue Wagon. The reason Shrub is funny is simple. He assumes that all opposition to his policies are the result of stupidity. See, folks just don't understand the hard thinking that went into his decisionering.

If people don't understand your explanation the first time, just say it again but slower and with more emphasis:

Q: Sir, why the troop surge now?
A: Well, if we pull out, we will hafta fight 'em here instead of fightin' 'em there.
Q: Are those the only two options? Surge or pull out?
A: Let me explain this in simple language - if we pull out now . . . we will have to . . . uh . . .fight them here. . .instead of . . . uh . . . fighting them . . . uh . . . there. See what I mean? You know, I'm the Commander . . . uh . . . in-Chief.

Talk down to me bad boy,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe and his Buddy Al Franken

Al Franken has announced that he is running for the US Senate representing Minnesota. Being a member of the liberal intellectual elite,* I like Al. Of course, it's not just his politics (not sure how good a senator he might be), but he's just darned funny. There seem to be more funny liberals than conservatives, and I mean being funny about politics. Patricia Heaton is both conservative and funny, but she doesn't include politics in her humor. Dennis Miller is a conservative who is funny about politics, but he was funnier as a liberal.

Anyway, Al's website can be found here.

*Regarding the "liberal intellectual elite:" why do conservatives consider this to be an insult? What is the alternative? The conservative moron elite?

Yours elitely,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe Ponders Selling Books

Mrs. Stevie Joe just got a new book. It's called The Complete Idiot's Guide to Organizing Your Life. It made me think that it must be hard to sell a product when your target market is made up of unorganized idiots. Won't they forget to buy the book or get lost on the way to the store? Maybe they'll get to the store but realize that they forgot their wallet.

Mrs. Stevie Joe managed to buy one, but she is neither unorganized nor an idiot. Which makes me wonder why she wanted it in the first place. Maybe the actual target market is relatively bright folks who are reasonably organized and seek better organizational skills. I imagine it would be hard to fit all of that on the book jacket.

No need for a guide to organize your life when you have Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Coffee Controversy

I went back over to the Junebug Cafe this afternoon when the crowd of regulars was gone. Prudence filled me in on the details of the morning's ruckus. Yes, it was true that the assembled mob was yelling all about Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life and my discourse on quantum physics in particular. However, that was not what they were mad about. Screeching about the blog and calling me a "snob" was just their way of lashing out at me. The real source of their anger was coffee.

Unbeknownst to me, a certain lady called on the Junebug Cafe on Monday while the whole gang was present. This lady was a representative from a coffee distributor, and she came to sell Prudy some coffee. It just so happens that this lady dropped by on account of old Stevie Joe. In some of my travels outside of the Greater Junebug Holler Metropolitan Area, I have become acquainted with a number of different folks. I met the coffee lady several months back and suggested that she drop by the cafe and talk to Prudy.

The lady sold mostly fair-trade organic coffee, and it's pretty good. Prudy's coffee is not bad, but it ain't exactly gourmet. Plus, I'm all in favor of that fair-trade organical-type stuff. So, it seemed like a good match.

Well, the coffee lady started out by telling Prudy that she could be making a lot more money on coffee. She said this within earshot of the citizenry who immediately assumed a price increase was on the way. She then spoke of how her gourmet brands were so tasty and would command a premium price.

Well, Dickie Jensen heard this and asked the coffee lady if her coffee had flavor crystals. His coffee at home had flavor crystals, and, according to Dickie, it was pretty darned good. He wanted to know what kind of "gourmet" coffee didn't have flavor crystals. Of course, the coffee lady didn't know what to say. By this time, the rest of the gang began to panic that their beloved Junebug Cafe was somehow going to change. It was going to get fancy and expensive. It will become overrun with yuppies in foreign cars. There might be a new rule against swearing. It was too much.

Just then, the coffee lady explained that a certain Stevie Joe Parker had encouraged her to come by. Well, that just did it. She might as well have said that I was suggesting replacing the omelets on the menu with snails or something. The whole place went up for grabs.

The coffee lady escaped unharmed, but the mob was unsatisfied. It just so happened that I walked directly into their wrath this morning. Sheesh. For all I do for these folks, you'd think that they would be grateful.

Good to the last thought,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe Encounters Unrest in Junebug Holler

I stopped in to the Junebug Cafe this morning and was greeted with much derision. It seems that some clever resident has figured out how to get on the internet and has been providing updates about Stevie Joe Parker's Guide to Life to the other folks. This was fine and dandy when I posted things that made fun of Junior because, well, we all do that from time to time. However, my latest discussion of science and spirituality has created a disgruntled populace.

After I agreed to buy coffee for everyone, folks backed off from the threats of physical violence and were able to express their discontent with a series of screeches and barking noises. As best as I can tell, they felt that my discussion of science and spirituality, and quantum physics in particular, was somehow a swipe at the entire Junebug Holler community. Perhaps, this reaction is similar to the one I witnessed when Junior watched the magic trick video. Because he could not understand or comprehend what he had seen, he became frightened. When a large group of people become frightened, they often become violent. The apes have found the obelisk and/or Coke bottle.

Maybe they thought that I was lording my massive intelligence over them. I don't know, but they were p.o.'d. I'll get back to my science and spirituality discourse shortly, but I have to go calm the natives right now. This might require beer (oh Lord help us then).

Keeping the faith and spreading the Gospel,
Stevie Joe Parker

Monday, February 12, 2007

Stevie Joe Continues to Unite Science and Spirituality

OK, I gave everyone a day or two to look up the Zero Point Field and do some reading. Now, Stevie Joe is a student of quantum physics, and this stuff is pretty exciting to me. It's a shame, really, that Junebug Holler has no particle accelerator because I'm just itching to try some of this stuff out. In any case, I understand that not everyone shares my level of enthusiasm. So, let me try to focus on the bits that are most relevant to our discussion here.

As you probably know, stuff is made up of atoms, and atoms are made up of things like electrons and protons. Those break down even further to various particles like quarks. As you are slicing stuff up into smaller bits, you eventually reach the point where there is no more left to slice. Then, you are left with energy. Yep, everything that exists is just energy. Matter is really just an illusion. It's actually a very complex pattern of energy. Pretty cool, and I ain't making it up.

Nearly a century ago, smart guys like Einstein and his buddies came across what is known as the Zero Point Field or Zero Point Energy. This is a low-level of energy that permeates everything. It gets its name from the fact that this energy continues to exist at Absolute Zero, the temperature at which all molecular activity stops.

This Zero Point Energy is some unique stuff. One cubic yard of air, or even the vacuum of space, contains enough Zero Point Energy to boil all of the oceans on the Earth. So, smart guys from NASA and other governmental entities have been looking at it for quite some time. If interstellar travel is possible, it will likely be powered by Zero Point Energy.

There are some other unique characteristics of this energy field. First, anything that happens, even down to the subatomic level, creates a "ripple" in the Field. These ripples last indefinitely which means that everything that has ever happened in the universe is recorded in the Zero Point Field. Decoding this information, of course, is another matter entirely.

Second, every ripple in the Field is transmitted instantly across the entire Field. Since the Field covers the entire universe, every time you swallow, fart, or make microwave popcorn, you are subtly affecting a galaxy on the other side of the universe. Neat, huh?

Anyway, as neat as all the stuff is, it's essentially old news to the quantum physicists. They've known about this for quite a while but haven't been too sure what to do about it. That's where Stevie Joe goes next. To be continued . . .

Beam me up,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Stevie Joe Unites the Worlds of Science and Spirituality

Well, I've already given my sure-fire plan to win peace in the Middle East, and I've explained how to reform the tax code. It's time to tackle the divide between science and spirituality. These two groups have been going after each other for some time. The spiritual folks think that the science folks are out to get them, and vice versa. It's time to clear the air.

Each side in this deal has run in the opposite direction of the other. Little did they know that they were going to smash into one another head-on. Now, they just need to recognize that they've been on the same side all along.

I should explain that I consider the "spiritual" camp to be much wider than just the organized religions. It includes all those things that people believe in despite any lack of scientific proof, like aliens, ESP, holistic medicine, and Cub fans.

On the science side, folks have been studying things that are bigger and bigger, like the universe or universes and the Big Bang, and things that are smaller and smaller, like string theory and quarks and whatnot. What they didn't know was that they were taking a look right at the same stuff the spiritual folks were.

Now, this all gets a bit complicated, and I'll explain more as we go along. For now, your homework is to Google the phrase "zero point field."

Uniting, not dividing,
Stevie Joe Parker

Friday, February 9, 2007

Stevie Joe Might Be Father of Anna Nicole's Baby

I'm just saying it's possible. Please don't tell Mrs. Stevie Joe (at least until I get a hold of that inheritance).

Keep warm,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Stevie Joe Reforms the Tax Code

I've been thinking about Shrub's tax cuts for the rich. He says that the cuts are needed to stimulate the economy. Let's assume for the moment that this is true. Why should the cuts just go to the rich? The neo-corns say that the rich pay most of the taxes. So, if you want to have a significant tax cut, that's where you have to do the cutting.

Stevie calls BS. If the taxes paid by the lower classes are so small, why not just get rid of them altogether? Why cut the taxes at the top? Cut 'em from the bottom up. Let's make the first $100K in income completely tax free! That would be a tax cut for everyone, not just the rich folks. Here are the benefits:

If an extra tax dollar goes to someone like Junior instead of Richie Fatcat, it will help the economy just as much, if not more. First, Junior is going to get the dollar working right now. If he's got it, he's spending it (probably on beer).

Second, Junior will add more than that dollar to the economy. You might have read that the country now as an average -1% savings rate. That means that folks are borrowing rather than savings, and the lower income folks are leading the way. Someone like Richie Fatcat will save ten cents of that extra dollar and spend maybe ninety cents. Junior, on the other hand, will not only spend the dollar right away, he'll borrow another dime and spend that, too!

Third, Richie Fatcat will get the dollar anyway. If there's one thing that rich folks know how to do, it's getting money away from the poor folks. Junior couldn't hold on to that dollar to save his life. He's buying booze with that dollar. Odds are that Richie Fatcat owns the liquor store or brewery. At least let Junior hold onto that dollar for a day or two before Richie gets it.

Fourth, Junior ain't spending that dollar on moving American jobs to China. That's what Richie Fatcat will do with it.

So, give Junior the tax break. He really needs it. For the really rich, like Richie Fatcat's uncle Rob R. Barron, how about a tax increase on all income over $10 million per year? Maybe 90%.

Yours in tax reform,
Stevie Joe Parker

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Glass Trick

Junior came over to the house last night, and I showed him this video. It's a guy doing a few magic tricks in Japan. You should have seen Junior's reaction. At first, he was amused, but by the end he was hiding behind the couch! The video is about 8 minutes long and worth it in my humble opinion. Check it out here.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Stevie Joe Watches the Super Bowl

I went and watched the Super Bowl over at Junior's house. I had invited the fine citizens of Junebug Holler over to the Parker estate to watch it in true High Definition widescreen clarity, but several declined because they were still mad about the whole State of the Union Address affair (in which some folks were apparently under the assumption that we were going to watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship). So, we all went over to Junior's to watch the game on his 19" TV that is so old that it still has knobs. Of course, he has no cable or satellite, just the rabbit ears which don't work so well out here in the boonies.

Juanita and Jimmy were there, and Prudence from the Junebug Café brought some of her trademark chili. Fortunately, there was enough Old Milwaukee to make us forget the taste and after-effects of said chili. We were all going to be sick come Monday morning. It wasn't going to matter whether the beer or the chili was the cause.

All in all, it was a typical Junebug Holler social affair. At one point, Dickie Jensen ran through the parlor wearing nothing but a jockstrap and a Colts helmet while carrying a football and a bag of Cheetos. Of course, that was to be expected. I don't really recall much of the game or even the commercials, which I am told are now more popular than the actual game. However, Prince managed to make the halftime show tolerable which is saying a lot because it usually makes me sicker than Prudy's chili.

Waiting for catchers and pitchers to report,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe's Guide to Success in Middle Management

Corporate America is beset by millions of middle managers who have no known skills other than a working knowledge of PowerPoint. Their primary mission is to present information to their superiors in short, easy-to-understand bullet points. Whether they can successfully manage a business is irrelevant. If the business is failing, all they need is an action plan made up of three or four bullet points on a colorful overhead slide. These points need not be in the form of complete sentences.

This is accepted by their superiors because they are looking for bullet points for their own presentations. It doesn't matter whether the action plan is ever implemented or successful. Constant reorganization of management means that nobody is ever held accountable for failure. By the time a business goes completely down the tubes, the manager responsible is three assignments down the road and safe from blame.

I've seen the PowerPoint phenomenon in action and up close. When I worked at the large multi-national corporation, I watched one particular fellow move from manager of a small division to CEO of the entire corporation despite the fact that he never, not once, managed a profitable business. In fact, he was really quite dumb. However, he was a whiz at bullet point presentations, and that's what he was judged by.

Of course, someone smart, like Stevie Joe, is unwelcome. Smart people have the unfortunate habit of pointing out when someone is full of crap. In Corporate America, this makes for a short career.

In retrospect, I'm actually fortunate. I was smart then but smarter now - smart enough to recognize the joy of hanging out here in quiet old Junebug Holler with my pals. Plus, the internet now allows me to make the world a better place while sitting in my underwear. Can't do that at the MNC!

Don't even ask me about MBAs,
Stevie Joe Parker

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Stevie Joe's Corporate Follies

I have to laugh whenever I hear a politician say that we need to run government more like a business, or whenever someone advocates privatizing some government function. The underlying assumption is that business runs more efficiently and with less bureaucracy. Having worked both in the corporate world and for government, I can say that's a bunch of crap.

As you might recall from an earlier post, I was born poor and stupid. Of course, I am now a damn genius, but there was a point in between when I was smart enough to get a job with a major multi-national corporation but dumb enough to take it.

One of my primary responsibilities at this MNC was to draw up the Strategic Plan for my product group. This entailed devising a detailed market analysis, projecting market trends, and forecasting sales. It was a big report, maybe a hundred pages or so, and it took months to prepare. When I was done, it went to my boss for review. He would request a few changes, like font sizes and such, which I would make so he could send it on to his boss. At each level of management review, there would be requests for more changes, but they were generally meaningless. It was all stuff like colors for the pie charts. Still, the Plan would go up and down the management ladder for several months.

At some point, a wise ass manager would decide to change my sales forecast. This was not based on any market data but rather the belief that it you force your staff to accept a goal higher than they think they can achieve, they might do better than they otherwise would. It was stupid, plain and simple, and it was usually accompanied by profanity. As in, "$50 million is complete bullshit! I want that forecast changed to $60 million by tomorrow morning or it will mean someone's job!"

Anyway, when it was all said and done, when all the fonts and chart colors were set, and when the forecast reflected some moron's management philosophy, the Strategic Plan was marked "Company Confidential" and placed into a locked cabinet where nobody was allowed to look at it. Not even me, the guy who wrote it.

I asked about the wisdom of locking away our Strategic Plan. I was told that the corporation could not risk it falling into the hands of our competition. I then asked about the risk of it falling into the hands of those who need to implement the plan. I was told that I was not being a team player.

I heard this often. Another time is when our department got us a new Mission Statement. The top managers went away for two weeks in Montana where they stayed in cabins, went whitewater rafting, did teambuilding exercises, and brainstormed about the Mission Statement. When they returned, there were several months of high-level meetings to massage and refine the Mission Statement.

One day, management was finally ready to reveal their glorious new Mission Statement. They called a meeting of our entire department, about 300 people. They had a big ceremony and unveiled a banner hung high over the factory floor that read:

We will leverage our core competencies to fully realize our optimal market penetration while maximizing customer value.

Of course, this was just about the stupidest thing I had ever heard. So, I raised my hand in front of all 300 people and asked, "How is this Mission Statement different from that of a donut shop?"

I was told that I was not being a team player.

Maximizing your reading value,
Stevie Joe Parker

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Stevie Joe Explains Chinese Trade to Junior

I didn't get to post anything yesterday because Junior came over in the afternoon, and we commenced to drinking. However, for the benefit of my readers and in the spirit of scientific inquiry, I decided to experiment with alternating stingers and screwdrivers. Based upon this exhaustive research, I can recommend that you never do this. Ever.

In any case, Junior was a bit bummed out over his current lack of employment. He has had a number of jobs over the years, and most of them were lost because Junior was being Junior. I mean, sometimes being a drunken moron has its downsides. Occasionally he was let go because he failed to show up for work because he was in jail. Other times, he let his brain get him into trouble. Like the time that he worked as a janitor over at the Flying J. He had to clean the truckers' showers which, as you can imagine, was not an enviable job. Constantly tormented by the stink, Junior got to thinking about ways to make the job go a little easier. This is when he came upon the idea of adding chlorine bleach to the ammonia. As you can imagine, the manager of the Flying J was not impressed by Junior's ingenuity.

The job market around Junebug Holler has gotten a bit tight over the past few years with the county seeing several major plant closings. That means that Junior must compete for the few available jobs against folks who are far better qualified. Junior just couldn't figure out where all the jobs were going since it seemed like folks were buying more crap than ever.

Back in the 80s, there was a lot of grumbling about losing jobs to the Japanese. This caused a lot of "Buy American" fervor, and a lot of American companies hunkered down to improve quality and efficiency. Now, however, we are losing far more jobs to the Chinese yet it seems like folks aren't saying much at all. Why's that?

I believe we don't hear much about it because of where the money is going. Back in the 80s, the American companies were losing, and the Japanese companies were winning. Now, it's the American companies that are winning since they are the ones running the factories in China. So, the corporate executives are making money hand over fist while the blue collar slobs are left out in the cold.

China is a corporate executive's wet dream. There's little or no need to worry about environmental or safety regulations, no unions, and wages are next to nothing. If anyone gets out of line, the government throws them in the can for you. Junior thought that things were getting better in China since trade had opened up. Even when drunk, I'm a whiz with Google. So, I was able to find our own State Department's Country Report on Human Rights for China. It's a doozy. Check it out.

For example, some 126,000 people died in industrial accidents in China in 2005. Can you imagine if we had that kind of problem here? One of my favorite lines was this reported "human rights problem:" monitoring of citizen's mail, telephone and electronic communications. Sound familiar?

Keep buying American,
Stevie Joe Parker

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Stevie Joe and the Christian Hypocrites

This morning at the Junebug Café, I was feeling mighty sick, and, this time, it wasn't from an undercooked Denver omelet. I was having a political discussion with some of Junebug Holler's smarter citizenry when the topic of illegal immigration came up. Someone mentioned some legislator or another proposing a new law that would make it a felony for anyone to knowingly provide support or assistance to an illegal immigrant (or "undocumented worker" or whatever the current politically correct term is). This included offering food, clothing, or a ride to the hospital. To most of the folks at the diner, this sounded like a pretty darned good idea. That's when the nausea first hit me.

Usually, I enjoy such discussions. I can argue with the best of them, and there are no hard feelings afterwards. We all tell each other that we're full of it and then move on. But this was a bit different. These folks were all regular church-going Christians. So, I asked them if it was very Christian to deny food to someone who was hungry or clothing to someone who was cold. They said that this wasn't about religion, it was about the economy and national sovereignty. Someone pointed out that the legislator proposing the law was born again, and it must be OK with him.

This really got me going. When a politician brings up being born again or otherwise religious, the implication is that a vote for them is a vote for Christian values. Well, it seems like the main reason a voter would be concerned about that would be to have the law reflect some of them values. Yet, here was a law being proposed that was going to do the opposite of what JC taught. As I said before, me and JC are pretty tight. He's OK by me, and it riles me up to see someone using his name and then doing something as unChristian as this.

Would Jesus keep undocumented workers from getting food, medical assistance, clothing, or shelter? Would He be big on keeping one group of folks over here and another group over there with a bunch of guns and fences in between to keep them apart?

I had to leave before I did something unChristian myself.

Keep up the Love,
Stevie Joe Parker

Stevie Joe Says Goodbye to Molly Ivins

Molly Ivins has passed away. She was funny, smart, and a good ole Texas gal. In her memory, I will try to refer to President Numbnuts as "Shrub" more often.

Goodnight Molly,
Stevie Joe Parker