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LinkedIn Updates

What’s happening with your connections on LinkedIn?

–*Dave Franklin has now become a corporate yes man at Bank of America after kissing up to people he can’t stand.

–*Marsha Weege has taken over grants and contracts from a woman facing charges for manslaughter.

–*Your ex-girlfriend is now the boss of you.

–*Nancy Montrose is now friends with Morris Shankton. Both of them worked with you in previous positions and they are your arch enemies. Together, they could destroy you. You must destroy them first.

–*Sol Myers is still a no-talent nimrod simp.

–*Joel Hardigan just got his Ph.D., which is all well and good, though that still doesn’t make him a good speller from your cramped perspective as his one-time personal secretary.

–*Marla Jacobs just got a promotion, probably for doing nothing, which is what she’s always been best at.

–*Jenny Fiedler is now a partner at Laslow and Banks. Her looks are no longer a threat to the old men there now that they’ve sucked the last bit of beauty out of her with 80-hour work weeks.

–*Sammy Wilder has carpal-tunnel-syndrome-workers-compensation-lawsuited his way up the corporate ranks at Sherman and Hawthorne.

–*You are now friends with someone named Angelina Jolie, but not the hot one from the movies, just someone you worked with at a shoe store 15 years ago.

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If you’re like me, you’re always looking for new ways to get people to visit your blog. It’s fun to create a community and get people talking about the important subjects of the day.

But many people are unsure how to get their blog seen and make sure their voices are getting heard. That’s where it’s helpful to know a few tricks of the blogging trade.

The secret is tags. These are the subject words that people search for–the things they are most interested in, and the items they plug into popular Web browsers like Google and Yahoo and Bing.

And the biggest secret of all is that you have to use the tag word “kittens” at all times, no matter what you’re talking about.

Let’s say that you’ve just done an excellent blog post on the state of the stock market. As we all know, it’s been a tough year. Stocks plummeted last September, and the American economy is largely thought to be in a tailspin because of the antics of a few no-goodniks such as those who sold bad mortgages and tried to palm off the bad debt on insurance companies and investment banks. Let’s say you’ve got a Nobel prize on the subject and you really want to get the word out that people were not paying attention to the market’s systemic risk when they looked for 10% annualized returns. You are biting your nails, because you are the only person you think in the world who understands that the algorithms just aren’t taking into account all the stochiastic random elements that cause markets to collapse. You worry that portfolios will be smashed and retirees rendered homeless.

Now say that out loud. You sound pretty dull, don’t you? Would you want to read that yourself? Probably not. It’s OK to laugh. We’ve all sounded like a self-important asshole at some time or another.

But that’s OK; fear not.

All you have to do is turn it all it around! If you had just added the word “kittens” to your tag, you’d have millions of people at your doorstep just dying to hear all about your dry “systemic risk” stuff.

Try this instead when you’re tagging: “derivatives,” “Lehman Brothers,” “Paulson,” “Goldman Sachs,” “conflict of interest,” “kittens,” “kitten in box,” “kittens with yarn.”

Or maybe you’ve got questions about the current health care plan in Congress, House Bill 3200: America’s Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009. Now health care is a confusing topic. Maybe you are a patient who has no insurance. Maybe you’re a doctor who is worried about out-of-control legal costs. Maybe you’re worried that too much government intervention would distort rational, efficient pricing of health goods and services. Perhaps you find it immoral that America is rated 37 on the World Health Organziation’s chart of best health care because of our lack of services to the impoverished.

Well, that’s all well and good, but … is that all you’ve got? Really? Is that your pitch? Where’s the hook? Where’s the sizzle that sells the steak? How do you ever think you’re going to fish in the kind of readership you want with a lot of fancy words that go over people’s heads? Aren’t you talking up your own wazoo a little bit here?

Try this on for size, and add these tags: “health care,” “Obama,” “socialism,” “kittens,” “Momma,” “meow.”

Why, before you know it, you’ll have millions of people coming to your blog to hear what your problems are with the new 1,000 word health care bill, or maybe they’ll just be looking for your kitten videos. You can offer them one or both. It doesn’t matter! All that matters is that you’ve engaged your potential readership with language they can understand and you’ve brought them important information on a topic that will be important to them in the future, if not right this second.

After all, most people are only thinking about what’s going on this second. The future is a scary place! Would you want to live there? No! In the future, we’re all dead. But right now, in this moment, we have to enjoy the little things, and what we enjoy most is bright, furry, cuddly, fuzzy felines.

Perhaps you have been following the latest gossip about Pakistan and its unsecure nuclear weapons installations, which are dangerously close to the front lines in a war against fundamentalist Muslim Taliban militants who have already begun making strikes against nuclear labs, perhaps in an effort to steal technology. You may have spent your entire life in the intelligence community and know more about the real dangers than almost anyone else. You spend so much time thinking about nuclear Holocaust that you can’t sleep and it’s making you crazy in a way that literally changes the color of your urine.

But in the end, doesn’t that make you kind of a smarmy know-it-all? I mean, if you’re going to bring passionate, thoughtful national security items to the forefront of our dialogue, you’ve got to know how to speak the language of everyday folk. And what could be more heartwarming than pictures of kittens nursing at mama cat’s milk-swollen belly?

Don’t believe me? Try these tags and get results: “Pakistan,” and “nuclear facilities,” “Wiki Maps,” “Taliban,” “nuclear stockpiles,” “rogue states,” “black market,” “terrorist groups,” “kittens,” “nursing,” “meow, meow,” “vomit,” “hairball,” “poop,” “Roomba fight,” “vacuum cleaner.”

See, aren’t you already starting to see how the right kind of tagging will get your blog instant validation and notoriety?

People love kittens with great passion–almost as much as they hate the threat of nuclear annihilation. What you’ve got to do as a blogger is pick up on the topics of the day if you want to become a tastemaker, a pace setter and a thought leader. But you’ll never get there if you don’t learn the tricks of the Web world. So stop sucking your thumb and start thinking like a Web champion.

Don’t think in abstractions your whole life, think in fun, vibrant tags, whether it be “cat,” or “kitten,” or even “warm pussy.” And soon you’ll be getting the drift.

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Disgraced money manager Bernard Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison on Monday for masterminding a fraudulent Ponzi scheme that lost billions of dollars for its investors over several decades.

His lawyers said that 12 years should be punishment enough, given that his crime was not violent. And yet the judge called Madoff’s actions “extraordinarily evil.”

To give the length of his incarceration some context, let’s look at what has happened in human history over various 150 year periods.

–*If Bernard Madoff’s first day in jail coincided with Napoleon Bonaparte’s victory at Vauchamps, his release date would be set for close to the same day that the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show.

–*If Madoff’s incarceration started on the same day that Great Britain conceded the American Revolutionary War, he would have finally been sprung around the same time Adolf Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany.

–*If Madoff had gone to jail on the same month that Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published, he would not have been released until about the same time Britney Spears dumped Justin Timberlake.

–*If Madoff had gone to jail during the same month gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill, launching the California Gold Rush, he wouldn’t have gotten out until the month Matt Drudge found journalistic “gold” by first reporting the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

–*If Madoff had gone to jail when the Panama Canal was opened, he’d still have 55 more years to go in prison today.

–*If Madoff had gone to jail when the Prophet Mohammed was born, he wouldn’t have gotten out until the Muslim Empire had already conquered Spain, North Africa, Persia and parts of India.

–*If Madoff were being released today, he would have originally been immured in 1859, when there were only 33 states and slavery was still legal in the south.

–*Madoff’s incarceration is set to last 34 years longer than the entire Tudor dynasty. That’s everybody— Henrys VII and VIII, Elizabeth, Bloody Mary and that sick little punter Edward.

–*Madoff’s incarceration will last 34 years longer than the Hundred Years War, but only because the war actually lasted 116 years. Historians are liars.

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(Originally posted Monday, January 05, 2009)

Bernard Madoff Confesses That Ponzi Scheme Was Motivated By Need To Make People Happy

New York (AP) Disgraced money manager Bernard Madoff admitted this week that his sole motivation in setting up a giant Ponzi scheme, one that defrauded investors of $50 billion, was just to make people happy.

“I love to see people smile, and nothing does so more than guaranteed 10% annual returns,” Madoff confessed. “Oh sure, it looks like a mistake now, but you should have been here when Gladys McKetchum of Woodmere, N.Y. got her first statement in 1999 and realized she could retire in style. Her smile was like riding a rainbow. I thought: making people gush with joy is why we got into this business in the first place, isn’t it?'”

Madoff is accused of setting up a giant scheme to defraud investors by paying off the returns of old clients with new investors’ proceeds. A bank call on his fund, however, eventually caused his scheme to unravel and he had to admit to federal investigators that most of the money was simply gone.

“At first, I was doing it just because I wasn’t sure what to invest in,” said Madoff. “Then after a while, I just liked the feeling I got when I told some widow or some endowment or some charity that’s trying to cure AIDS that their investment had hit the boffo 10% annual return yet again for another year. It’s like you are spreading sunshine and giving people hope. I’ve got to tell you, giving gives you such a good feeling, that whatever it is, they ought to bottle it.”

“I hope hell hounds spend eternity eating his bowels,” said Grace Trombley who lost her life savings with Madoff. “Now I’m working at 7-11 in the 11-7 a.m. slot cleaning toilets. I hope his face is eaten by a demoness whose lower extremities are made out of screeching dogs.”

Madoff said that he’s enjoyed making people happy for as far back as he can remember. Among other things, he likes to flatter and tell stories and regale people in his lush houses.

“I like to use what I call the think system,” he said. “I’ve always believed that if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.”

“I remember a time when we used to cover people like him with molten black pitch that would disfigure him and rip off flesh and hair,” said Leslie Williams, a 90-year-old pensioner from south Florida. “I don’t see why we should treat him any better today.”

As a crowd of seething investors ripped off by Madoff gathered to protest in December, his wife Ruth came forward.

“Shame on you people!” she said. “Don’t you remember what this town was like before Bernard Madoff came? Do you? And after he came. Suddenly there were things to do and people to see and people to go out of your way for.”

Madoff said that what he wants most to be remembered for is letting people know that there is something more important than money in this life.

“It’s about dreams, this business,” he said as he faced years and years in prison. “It’s not just about 10% guaranteed annual returns, because let’s face it–there’s no such thing. Instead, it’s about people being able to dream. To believe in things and have high hopes. It’s about the kid with a quarter in his pocket who wants to open a bubble gum factory. It’s about the man who wants to retire to Florida and buy a boat and spend his days fishing. It’s about the man who wants a better life for his immigrant family. That’s what I most hope I gave briefly to all of these people I so ably defrauded.”

FBI agent Laura Gunderson had a tear in her eye as Madoff read his statement.

“We all have to hold onto our dreams,” she said. “I think that’s the idea Bernie Madoff has given me more than anything else. But if you’ll excuse me, I have to take this sad sorry fucker to jail now.”

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