Hedging Our Bets

Bon Joli

We go to great lengths to ensure that our plans will progress smoothly and then come to fruition.  In fact, some of the things that we do to make certain that we get our way are down right silly.  For instance, recently a Major League Baseball player decided to start using performance enhancing drugs.  To make certain that he would get away with his plans:

He created a fake website…

That sold a pretend product…

That he claimed he took.

Then he claimed that the fake supplement tainted his test results.

Not only did he get caught taking the drugs, he got caught creating the website.  It was a humiliation on top of an embarrassment.

This type of deception isn’t limited to athletes, in a bizarre story that broke last week, book authors have been creating fake login names at online retailers for the the purpose of posting “glowing” reviews of their own books. One legitimately reviewed author in particular couldn’t leave well enough alone:

He created multiple fake ID’s…

Posted high reviews for his own works…

While tearing apart his rivals.

 

This kind of scheming and conniving is nothing new.  Even a cursory review of the Old Testament reveals that the earliest people spent a great deal of time setting up hedges against even their best bets.

Nobody was better at this than Abraham’s grandson Jacob.

Jacob was the younger brother who wanted the family inheritance. After going out of his way to receive it in a trade from his older brother he still decided to dress up as his brother so that he could decieve his blind father when the time came for the inheritance to be given.

Then he split town.

While on the run from his family he took a job working as a shepherd for his in-laws.  Desiring to increase his own personal wealth, he brokered a payment plan that would give him every spotted or streaked baby animal born to the herd he tended.  Genetically speaking, spotted and streaked animals are more common that those of a solid color, especially when they begin breeding with the solid color animals.

Jacob got rich quick.

What’s funny though is that the Bible records an absolutely ridiculous element to this story.  In efforts to produce more spotted animals, Jacob would make the animals look at spotted and striped tree branches while they mated.

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Summer Movies, What We’ve Learned

The Summer is officially over, and as we all head back to the routines that accompany fall, I’d like to just synthesize a few of the lessons we all learned from attending the movies this summer.  For humorous purposes only.

Before you turn an old board game into a movie:

1.) Remind yourself that Video Games don’t work as movies and they’re twice as exciting as board games.

2.) Think through all of the board games available before settling on “Battleship”.

3.) Don’t sleep on Candyland… I’m just saying.

If you’re hoping to remake a Schwarzzeneggar movie:

1.) Remember that the last one didn’t need MORE action.

2.) Try not to write a part into the movie where the bad guys let the good guy work at their top secret robot factory… and if he does, don’t let him work in the assembly division… because that’s just to easy a way for him to know how to break all of your robots.

3.) Don’t forget that we all rejected Colin Farrell the first time around

If you’re hoping to remake Spider -Man:

1.) Don’t try to convince us that Peter Parker is “uncool” by showing us that he’s a handsome, skateboarding, photography hobbyist.

2.) Make the characters college students if they’re going to have high-level internship positions at multi-national biological research firms.

3.) Let us forget the old one first.

If you’re trying to turn the 1980′s into a summer musical:

1.) Just release the soundtrack.

If you’re looking to set an all-time Box Office record…

…and you are making a movie with characters named Zoozie, Toofie and Goobie, the chances are that the record you will be setting is for the worst box office opening ever.  The Oogieloves did just that this summer, and here’s how they did it:

1.) They took everything that was bad about “The Teletubbies” and blended it with everything lame about “The Wiggles.”

2.) By encouraging children to sing and dance at the theater, they also encouraged everybody else to stay home… especially the parents who are needed to drive the kids to the theater.

3.)  They asked the question, “What bad things could happen if there were no bad guys?” and the answer was apparently “Jaime Pressly sings”.

If you’re making another Men In Black movie:

1.) Don’t forget that this is the year 2012.

2.) Remember that the public still hasn’t forgotten Hancock.

If you’re making a Batman movie:

1.) Don’t have the events of the movie take place over the course of a year.  As the snowfall begins you’re merely reminding us of how long we’ve been waiting for something exciting to happen.

2.) Don’t expect us to believe that a villain can build a secret lair underneath Batman’s secret lair, and nobody important is going to notice.

3.) Having an 11 year-old girl escape from your ultra-secure prison by climbing and jumping makes it LESS believable that grown men can’t do it.

Bonus tip: Punching the bad guy in his special mask is something that a quality Batman would try RIGHT AWAY, not just at the end of the movie.

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If you dress up as the Joker and go see a movie:

1.) Before going, make sure that it’s midnight, at the first showing available.  You don’t want to miss being with fans who will appreciate your efforts, plus when the movie ends fewer people will be creeped out at red lights on the drive home.

2.) Make certain that the movie you are seeing is a Batman film.

As a bonus tip: When the police ask you what your name is, don’t reply, “The Joker”… unless that’s the name on your drivers license… or your name is Steve Miller and even then it’s better to go by Space Cowboy, The Gangster of Love, or possibly Maurice.

As you suspected, drugs were mentioned in the arrest report.

If you’re making a Pixar movie:

1.) Try not to give us that Monster’s Inc. sequel you’ve been promising us.

2.) Do something current and modern.

3.) Take a stand on a social issue, something current, like girl power.

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If you’re making a movie about our most beloved President:

1.) Remember that the best way to really dishonor someone is to invent things about them after they’re dead.

2.) Try NOT to work a vampire subplot into it… we’re already full-up on that around these parts.

If you’re trying to make a funny movie:

1.) Don’t just assume that people will laugh at Will Ferrell doing dumb things.  He also needs to SAY funny things.

2.) Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, and Ben Stiller are all wingmen.  Putting them in a movie without an A-lister is as dumb as making a movie about the neighborhood watch… oh wait.

3.) No one wants to see *Natalie Portman and Steve Carrell in the same movie, unless he is her dad… or her boss.  See, I’ve already come up with a better plot.

If you’re making a good Summer movie:

1.) Get good writers, directors, and actors together and then let computers turn them into action heroes.

2.) Make us wonder if one of the heroes might actually die.

3.) Make the new secret agent as compelling as the last one.

4.) Keep the computer generated animals familiar but fresh.

5.) Make sure there’s humor and lightheartedness alongside the explosions.

6.) Make sure that Chuck Norris has a cameo.

 

Have a great Back to School weekend.

I’ll see you all at The Hobbit.

*I know that this was actually Kiera Knightley in the movie, but since they look like the same person, I tried to spice the movie up by putting the better actress into it.

People We Love To Hate

There are people that we love to hate.  Sometimes we dislike those people so much that we also enjoy seeing them fail.  Beyond this, it makes us angry when they succeed.

Consider the case of LeBron James, who America reviled for not winning a championship, and then despised for leaving his team for a championship, and then finally rooted against as he won a championship.

You non-sports types remember how we loved Jessica Simpson, rooted for her to get married, then found guilty pleasure in her divorce, and took secret delight in her obesity.

I don’t need to bring up Tom Cruise or John Mayer do I?

Most of us believe that we don’t judge people.  I like to think that I’m especially open-minded; but the truth about all of us is revealed when we watch the news though, isn’t it?

How we respond, internally or externally, to the news of other people’s profit or misfortune reveals whether or not we really believe in, or want the best for, other people.

But what about those situations where we are actually setting people up for failure?

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