December 2012

The world seems upside down... four-star generals are giving new meaning to the term "embed" while disabled veterans continue to have problems collecting benefits. What's with FBI agents sending shirtless text messages? Who would stoop so low to do that?

Speaking of photos, it seems that Howard Stern claims to be a serious photographer these days. Guess he needs a second career after milking Sirius Radio for a the better part of a billion dollars. But everyone is a photographer these days. Here's one I snapped which requires a title and thus deserves respect and admiration. Email me for a signed, numbered print.

The Jelly Incident

First, a little holiday music

It's that time of year again, for holiday parties. Be sure to cue up Radar Love and Underneath the Radar at your Radar Department party, the lyrics and videos can be found here.

Trust me, no one gets sick of Christmas music before I do. Before we talk about The Cliff, how about a few Christmas songs that don't stink?

Louis Armstrong - Cool Yule, 1953.

Dig: Santa comes on big!



Oscar McLollie & The Honeyjumpers - Dig That Crazy Santa Claus, 1954.

McLollie was crossover between jump blues and early rock.



Drifters - White Christmas, 1954.

That's Bill Pinkney singing Bass, and Clyde McPhatter doing falsetto. Two of the best voices of the 1950s for sure. Even better, watch it here with a cartoon...



Marcels - Merry Twistmas, 1961.

Not their greatest song, but certainly a great video! You may be familiar with the Marcels' biggest hit, a doo wop version of Blue Moon.



The Crystals - Santa Claus is coming to Town, 1963.

Everyone is familiar with Springsteen's version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town. But you need to realize that it is an obvious adaptation of a Phil Specter's arrangement for the Crystals, including the sax solo. The only thing missing is Clarence Clemons singing bass. You might want check out the Pointer Sisters cover of the Springsteen cover of the Crystals arrangement, where Ruth sings that bass part, it is equally awesome and might give you goose bumps.



Beach Boys - Little Saint Nick, 1964.

Little Saint Nick os just one of five original songs from the Christmas album. It seems that only now Brian Wilson is getting full appreciation for being a musical genius who would have no peer today, albeit with all of the insanity-baggage of Nikola Tesla and the drug use of Howard Hughes. If you haven't heard the Smile album, you need to ask Mr. Claus for that, and enforce the "no talking" rule when you listen to it. Below the Beach Boys sing Little Saint Nick. Listen as the girls go wild when the camera pans to Dennis on drums... the only real-life surfer in the group, and he drowned at the age of 39. Still waiting for someone to post an actual video of The Man with all the Toys...



Election year wrap up

Republicans have lost five out if the past six popular votes in presidential election, and they are now reexamining some "core beliefs". Marco Rubio recently observed that the world is 4.5 billion years old. Sean Hannity has "evolved" (to a 3/8 inch brow?) and has called for immigration reform. Congressional Republicans are admitting that taxes on rich people must increase and loopholes must be closed. What happened to joking about free birth control by placing an aspirin between the knees?

The world is turning upside down!

Alas, some things don't change. Even before election day, Paul Ryan was forced to admit he "made up" his sub-three-hour marathon time. Now he is telling a fib about how he cares for poor people, a whopper that would break the most robust polygraph equipment.

By now we've all heard the comparisons of Obama and Santa Claus, because he gave away free stuff to win the election. Let's not forget that the previous president gave defense contractors two free wars, and also provided free support to cover up banking fraud, waste and abuse. Being December, there is that whole "Jesus versus Santa" thing that we have to suffer through each year, so try to forgive us for the following: about the most honest thing to come from the election is GOP Je$us, who speaks for all of his party:

Blessed are the rich, the reign of this world is ours. The rich rule the world, and the rest suffer and die, often in misery. Do not let this be you my brothers! Easier to use your riches to genetically engineer very small camels that can fit through the needle's eye…

Follow GOP Je$us on Facebook here.

Mitt Romney's incestuous campaign is now history. You can tell his days of running for president are over, as "Car Guy" just bought a brand new Audi Q7 to go with his "couple of Cadillacs". America's biggest losers are rich PAC contributors. Sheldon Adelson alone is out $150M with little to show for it, and vows to double-down on 2016 election. At 79 years of age and with $20B net worth, he must realize "you can't take it with you", but he will die trying to preserve his Bush-era tax cut. Sheldon and friends, get use to it: folks like you are just going to have to contribute a little bit more, one way or the other, if not both.

Did I just sit in the pie? I sure hope so!

Now what about that fiscal cliff?

More than a decade ago this day of reckoning was set up, and now it is time to deal with it. Like the boated bladder of a drunken sailor with an unobstructed urinary tract, sequestration is the catheter we need to get on the road to recovery. Will we actually all fall from a cliff? No, but we might have an interesting ride down a steep slope. Who's to blame? 53% of America now agree that this was set up by the Republican party, just as they deserve credit for our credit downgrade. But they had their share of help.

Over the coming weeks and months it will be fun to watch Congressional Republicans make their last stand for the rich people that contribute to the PAC funds that keep them elected. There's not much wiggle room there when everything you stand for forms a line in the sand.

But first, let's look at what happened in the 1990s.

Flashback to 1995

Back in 1995, a previous fiscal cliff was being navigated. At a company in Massachusetts, the CEO decided he would teach all his employees why they deserved a zero raise one year. The lesson plan was provided in a book, which was written by a professor at University of Tennessee. This defense contractor had a plant in Bristol (since closed) so you can imagine how the CEO met the professor up in first class section of a flight and discussed how they could work together. Here is how the conversation might have gone:

Don't you know who I am? I'm CEO of ()!

That's your factory over in Bristol, of course! I am a professor of Economics and Finance, but I like lucrative side jobs and dream to have my very own consulting group. Can I help you?

Yes, it would be great if you could help me hose my employees but teach them to be grateful for it.

Did I mention I wrote my thesis on hosing?

Stewardess, let's have two more drinks here pronto!

You can give your employees a "little gift" instead of a raise this year, I know just what they need. And save my phone number, it might come in handy in 2013 if we still use telephones! Now don't take this personal, but we should talk about changing your hair style for upcoming press-releases when you fulfill your destiny!

I like the cut of your jib! What did you say your name was?

The little gift...

The "Realities" booklet contains the warning that reproduction is strictly prohibited. That cover scan above could still be fair use, as I may or may not be just pretending I want to sell my copy of this masterpiece for $1000. Let me paraphrase some of the content for potential buyers:

The company faces massive cuts, government regulations, and increasing tax rates... spiraling health carte costs... the company does not have a "wait and see attitude". the company's peer group shows many examples of higher metrics such as business dollars/employee... in conclusion, the company plans to trim 4,400 employees over the next few years. We will someday return to profitability, as a stronger company... these are our darkest hours, so be grateful you have a paycheck and stop grumbling about a raise.

Indeed, defense companies roared back to profitability, starting on September 11.

Channeling Nostra Damus

There's a 1958 horror flick that can be summarized:

  • Man gets terminal brain cancer
  • Man meets with doctor that knows how to transplant monkey heads
  • Man steals Nostra Damus' head which is then brought back to life
  • Hilarity ensues


The Man without a Body, or Sponge Bob meets Nostra Damus

That outfit probably has its merits during overnight air travel... Below I will channel The Man Without a Body to predict what the fiscal cliff means to engineers at defense companies. Engineers at defense companies pretty much didn't participate in the recession, except in loses to net worth from real estate and the stock market. Until now.

During the 1990s there was a revolution in employee productivity due to the internet. Why did Company() need to publish a booklet in 1995? Because not every employee had access to a computer, the company intranet or email. It is unfortunate because you can't delete all the books the same way you can a web page.

Now it's deja vu all over again. What's different? All that efficiency due to the internet explosion has come at a cost of employees with time on their hands. This time the very tool that powered efficiency improvements will be exercised to remove slackers. Don't think for a moment that your boss doesn't know how many hours you spend on facebook, gmail, and youtube.

Right now, HR is making a list and checking it twice. Remember how your company filled in all those HR positions with minorities, so they can pretend to be a diverse business? Guess who is going to be keeping an eye on the layoff list... although no one is going to say this outright, the population of layoffs might be a little on the "white male" side. There will still be a fear of laying off more than two white male engineers in their 50s, as they are deemed most likely to conspire to bring class-action litigation.

What happens when a company loses 5%, then another 5% of its people?

  • Plenty of going away lunches... your chance for an upgraded cubicle or trade on your broken stapler or chair.
  • An outplacement center appears, where laid off employees can congregate even though they no longer have a badge that lets them, in the real, paying-part of the building.
  • There will be an official policy of zero raises/zero bonus for the survivors (except for stealth raises)

Eventually, plants will close and business will consolidate. At the same time, mergers will begin anew. And what of the stock price? Safe Harbor statement: if you follow the Unknown Editor's investment advice, plan on working for the rest of your life as your unearned income won't be covering the bills...

Don't sell your stock in defense companies, they have no where to go but up. The price might be approximated by a straight-line of layoffs: if you were able to lay off 100% of your company, the stock price would double. Investors wet their pants over layoffs, thinking that a company really has its $hit together if they are trimming the work force. As the company shrinks, it is ripe for a takeover.

If you are a middle manager and have been striving to show how well off and important you are, you might be joining the ranks of the shlubs and they won't be particularly friendly with you for a long while. As your bonus is cut and your wife's real estate "career" is floundering, you might have to let the maid service go and scrub your own toilet. That BMW you bought was a mistake, as you were banking on your salary to rise so that your paycheck actually puts cash in your pocket like it did five or ten years ago. Don't worry, for now you won't have to cut your lawn yourself, so long as you can lay low and survive the pink slip blizzard that you helped initiate.

Read all about the future by going to our Download area and grabbing a copy of GLOBAL TRENDS 2030: ALTERNATIVE WORLDS, a publication of the National Intelligence Council.


Check out the Unknown Editor's amazing archives when you are looking for a way to screw off for a couple of hours or more!