Anybody home?

You are surfing the Net and you land on a certain website; suddenly you need some information.
You start looking for a contact, a chat person.
You look under every available link and come out empty handed.
Nada, nichts, nothing, rien!
Yoo-hoo… anybody home?

Obviously somebody is home, but nobody wants to talk to you.
You came to this site and you can look at everything you want, but if you have any questions (or God forbids complaints), tough!
The gnomes pulling the strings of this website live in splendid isolation and don’t want to be bothered by any Tom, Dick or Harry.

Well my friends, this is a big mistake.
No matter how big you are you need to keep your ears close to the ground and stay in touch with your patrons.
You know these pesky little people who pay your salary, your extravagant bonuses, your Mercedes, your mistress’ upkeep.

Failing to listen has proved to be very detrimental to anybody’s financial health.
The arrogance of the powerful is often the seed to their downfall.
“Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” (let them eat cake)” supposedly said Marie-Antoinette.
A few years later her head rolled into a basket.

I am pretty sure that even Barak Obama (or some of his people) would acknowledge your letter if you wrote to him.
They might question you, but they will acknowledge you.

And that’s my point. You want to be heard.
Whether your goal is to praise or to complain, there ought to be an area on any blog or website where readers can communicate with the master of the castle.

Nothing infuriates an average Netizen more than a raised drawbridge.
If you cannot communicate with the people inside the fortress, you can lay a siege (not very practical) or take your business somewhere else.
Smart leaders keep abreast of changing trends and will modify their policies to accommodate malcontents.

The ground is littered with once mighty fortresses and lords who didn’t have the good sense to listen to their subjects.
Does anybody remember Kodak?
A good example of a complacent company that refused to listen to their customers and faded into oblivion.


PS: On this site, you can leave a comment by clicking on the blue link “Leave a reply” posted at the bottom of each article

Playing styles

The pétanque season just started and soon there will be a flurry of tournaments all over the Bay Area.

Pétanque is known to be a comradely game, but the competitive nature of some individuals can sometimes morph a debonair looking doctor Jekyll into a Mr. Hyde.

Unlike the easygoing doctor, Mr. Hyde is unwilling to concede a single point without a fight. He will insist on having each point assessed and authenticated, no matter how it looks.
It is his prerogative, but when this happens too often it can spoil the mood and the pace of the game.

Losing against friendly opponents never dampens anyone’s spirit and you are more than willing to shake their hands after a hard fought game.
The same cannot be said about contentious players.

Some individuals on the other hand, will always display a sunny disposition and allow for a friendly game.
This is my kind of people, because after all pétanque is only a game and the fate of the free world doesn’t depend on the outcome of a single game or a tournament.

I daresay that I am familiar with pétanque, and I am also acquainted with many players’ idiosyncrasies.

Some people need to carefully survey the field before committing to play.
They will scrutinize the ground, plug some holes and memorize every pebble. Does this elaborate preparation guaranty success? I doubt it!
So why strain everybody’s patience with unnecessary rituals?

Timid players don’t seem to be able to play without a lengthy consultation with their teammates. It reminds me of generals too fearful to launch an attack.
After watching these people, you feel like counterattacking with a bayonet charge.

Some puritan players will insist on absolute silence and a ban on walking when they officiate. I know that it is the polite thing to do, but are we in church or on a playground? Let’s remain cool about the whole shebang.

Rene Di MaioSome people will crouch and some will stand. Some will use a Zen-like concentration before shooting. Some will play long, some will play short and some will display an unintended Nazi salute after throwing their boules.

This is pétanque and it is fine and dandy, but winning is not everything.

What matters is the high that remains after the game is over.
And you cannot achieve this high without being surrounded by people who care more about the game than its outcome.

To paraphrase Woody Allen, winning is nice but “There are worse things in life than losing a game. Have you ever spent an evening with an insurance salesman?”


Screaming kids

Most of the time my cup runneth over with thoughts and opinions, but once in a while I hit a dry spell and reach for ideas about my next rant.

When consulted, my muses urge me to go a public place for inspiration.
When such is the case, I proceed to a coffee shop (preferably alone) and while pretending to read tea leaves, I furtively observe people and pass judgment.
Some people claim to never pass judgment. To this I say phooey!
Consciously or subconsciously you always form an opinion about people or events, and I think it is healthier to acknowledge your emotions rather than trying to suppress them.
Let’s call a spade a spade and stop this neutral baloney.

The human fauna comes in all sizes and shapes and offer plenty of fodder for my observations.
Some people are tall, fat, skinny, good looking and not so good looking.
I look and make mental notes.

Adults generally don’t disturb me as long as they keep their voices down, but screaming kids get my goat. Their high-pitched and piercing voices are extremely disturbing and set me (and probably everybody else) on edge.
The obnoxious little buggers shriek and imperatively demand to be obeyed.

Some parents look conditioned and meekly submit to these outbursts.
It doesn’t seem to cross their mind, that the little monsters are rude and disruptive and that they (the parents) could put an end to this rioting it by reaffirming their authority.
They prefer to quietly submit to the diktats of a two-year-old tyrant to keep the peace. Like Chamberlain in Munich!

I hate to think of what kind of teenagers and adults these pre-delinquents will become.

Some parents though fight back and come up with interesting counter-insurgency measures.
The other day, while shopping at a supermarket, I came across a young mother carrying a young child in a sling.
For some reason or the other, the kid started screaming.
The young woman immediately neutralized her kid shrieking’s by shoving a tit in his mouth.
The kid, totally taken aback, grabbed what offered and stopped fussing.
The woman, with her kid glued to her bare tit, continued her shopping undisturbed and for the edification of everybody around.

I am not suggesting that this is the only way to neutralize your kid, but this is a step in the right direction.

Don’t submit to kids’ bullying. You are still bigger and stronger than they are but it won’t last.

Nip the kids screaming in the bud before they become another Stalin or Pol Pot, because the unruly kids of today will be the tyrants of tomorrow.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.