TMCG: Wiseman, Watchman I

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S5EP5-22Feb2011-Metal Detective

 

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
I wonder if there is a long con afoot in the Curious George universe. I no longer have any idea who is watching whom, who is the subject and who is the observer. To keep what remains of my sanity, I must believe that someone is in charge, that there is some sort of grand experiment being conducted, and that a Watcher in some sort of Foucaultian Panopticon is gleefully f*cking with his prisoners.
Is this God?
Am I God? Am I the Watcher? The nature of television seems to dictate that this is so, that I myself am the all-powerful, He Who Can End Misery With the Holy Clicker.
But I cannot end it. As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. A god would be able to stay away, and I am therefore a toad. I will therefore be a toad. Stoned like Stephen, still hanging onto ideology, so soaked with misguided belief that it would take a Crane to get it out. I am the prisoner, not the watcher.
So is there a simpler explanation? Is there an in-universe puppeteer who controls the destinies of all involved, so that my delusions of control and omnipotence are akin to someone reading about an experiment in a scientific journal and irrationally declaring his own hand in the results? If I am not around to hear Curious George chortle and shriek, does he make a sound?
Consider Yorbo. Yorbo is a robot, an ephemeral robot that exists for one episode only. He is dubbed George’s favorite toy by both the Man in the Yellow Hat (MYH) and George himself. If Yorbo has not achieved AI self-awareness, he is very close—Yorbo can understand George’s grunts and chitters as if they were a language, he follows complex commands, and he coherently answers questions. In my own universe, such a robot would be worth many thousands of dollars and exist either in the robotics lab of an American university or the lobby of a Tokyo car dealership.
Curious George takes Yorbo to the beach. When a storm rolls in, George and MYH rush into the house and leave Yorbo in the sand. When George suggests they need to get Yorbo, MYH says it is raining too hard. In fact, Yorbo the sentient robot is not even worth searching for until the storm is over, and by that time he has either been buried in the sand or washed out to sea.
MYH and George go out to look for Yorbo. MYH and George rake up all the seaweed and then just randomly dig holes. A passing beachcomber offers the use of her metal detector, but it soon runs out of batteries. What to do?

 

Deus ex machina. The Watcher, the Prime Experimenter, appears on MYH’s laptop screen. It is Professor Wiseman. She knows all. Wiseman has been watching. She knows there was a storm. She knows all about Yorbo, bewails his disappearance, and then instructs George on how to build his own metal detector by taping a calculator to an AM radio (I Googled this. It is not bullshit). Wiseman knows what drawer the calculator and tape are in; she knows what shelf upon which the radio can be found.
Wiseman is the panopticon. Her name is neither random nor ironic.

 

With the help of this gadget, Yorbo is unearthed. He is no worse for the wear, which is a stick in the eye for MYH, who had suggested earlier that water would rust a metal robot. MYH a damn fool. Yorbo jumps with glee at being found and hugs George; together, monkey and robot disappear over a sand dune, playing and living joyfully.
No one ever sees or discusses Yorbo again. Yorbo is Richie Cunningham’s older brother. Yorbo existed for George to love and lose, so that Wiseman might teach a lesson about electronics and engineering.

 

How do I know? Because friendships and robots and bit players are as impermanent as storms, but George does not forget a lesson. By the very next episode, Curious George is building his own machines.

 

 

-Professor Zac Showers

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TMCG: It’s Pronounced “Spaghetti”

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S3EP5-13Oct2008-The Amazing Maze Race/The Color of Monkey

 

The demeaning Italian stereotype that runs the local restaurant in Curious George’s universe is named Chef Pisghetti.

He too, is certifiably insane.

MYH, Professor Wiseman, and Pisghetti the racist caricature decide to go birdwatching.

They leave the restaurant, Pisghetti’s livelihood and raison d’etre, in the charge of two idiot children, Curious George, and a hyperactive black dog named Charkie because why tf not.

Buckets of paint are in the kitchen. As the birdwatchers stalk their quarry, MYH remarks that he is glad he left George at the restaurant, where he can stay clean.

Foreshadowing.

Curious George paints himself bright orange. Charkie paints himself blue and goes running through the restaurant splashing blue paint everywhere. George chases him, making the restaurant look like Carrie White loved the Gators.

When they return, nobody is mad. Curious George remains unbeaten and unkilled. Pisghetti lets George eat cake. They then have the great idea to paint George red and put him on the cover of a birdwatching magazine.

Because the bird they went looking for is red.

Why can’t I stop this?

 

-Professor Zac Showers

Young Fat Stupid Cops are Poor

 

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The standards to become a Law Enforcement officer are entirely too low. This is a problem in my opinion. The dangerous nature of the job makes it an unappealing one to most people who are qualified to do it. Although being higher in rank within the chain of command at any specific agency brings a more desired salary, the demanding schedule and workload of a rookie officer comes with sub-par wages and benefits. There is a clear correlation between standards and pay. There is a problem, at least locally, where departments are understaffed, because no one wants to be a cop. People don’t want to become a police officer because they don’t get paid enough, but I don’t know what to do about it.

 

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Maybe cops should get paid more. I’ve heard it said that military, law enforcement, teachers etc. should be paid like football players. Essentially swapping income between public servants/first responders and professional athletes. That would be dope. I’d love to make as much as Russell Westbrook, just cruising around arresting people. I’d get sued more often that’s for sure. Meth heads would be lining up to sue me for “violating their constitutional rights”. A more logical thing would just be to raise the pay in a way that is proper reciprocation for putting your life in danger. Maybe make all law enforcement a federal or state job with a pay scale like the GS (General Schedule). For sure needs to be a universal pay, regardless of location. I know cops who make $10/hr. and that is SAD. Those cops could get hurt or killed doing their job, obviously the chances are lower in less densely populated areas, but it doesn’t matter. The job we do is dangerous.

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Until the standards are raised to become a police officer the low pay will probably not change. Most police departments in the US have a minimum education requirement of a diploma or GED. I have a diploma and some college, and I sometimes still have trouble with constitutional law. Further education would obviously only help you in any career, but maybe the minimum requirement should be higher. As far as the fitness requirements those should absolutely be raised. In the state of Alabama the standard is a 1.5 mile run in 15:28 or faster, 22 push-ups in a minute, and 25 sit-ups in a minute. I am certain that my 3 year old niece could complete that with ease. There is also an agility portion of the test that involves; pushing a car, climbing a 6ft fence, walking on a balance beam, climbing through a window, and dragging a 165lb dummy. Most agencies don’t even test yearly to make sure that those standards are being kept up with after completing your certification. Some people think of cops as fat doughnut eating slobs who sit around and BS, only working when they are ruining your day by writing you a speeding ticket. I’ll tell you that there are absolutely some cops who fit that description perfectly. That will always be the case though, but the physical fitness part can be changed by raising the standards. Most agencies require a minimum age of 21 by the time you complete your POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certification. Maybe make that age 25? I became a police officer when I was 23 and will admit that I wasn’t mature enough for the job, but thanks to competent and caring supervisors I quickly changed.

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I don’t know how to change the standards, but they need to be higher that’s for sure. Until then I’ll keep doing my job, trying to affect change in people’s heart to do better, for less than desired wages.

 

getting better

wow

hmm

TMCG: Wiseman’s Hell

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S3EP1-01Sep2008-Ice Station Monkey/The Perfect Carrot

 

I am not sure what The Man in the Yellow Hat (MYH) does for a living.

Perhaps he is independently wealthy, since he has a Fifth Avenue penthouse and a summer house amongst locals who sound like they took elocution lessons from the Donnie Wahlberg school of Downeast Studies.

One of these friendly yokels helped MYH dig a hole in his backyard, the kind of hole Shia LeBeouf would dig to find lipstick.

Curious George filled the hole with water, and MYH said that was a good thing, because he dug the hole to make a pond. Yankee neighbor looked on approvingly, as if the pond would soon be filled with migrating trout.

A pond the size of a trampoline.

A pond that had disappeared entirely by the next episode and was never spoken of again.

Which was fine, because they had to go to Antarctica anyway.

Why does everyone enable MYH’s delusions? Why do they suffer the presence of Curious George?

Do they expect to be included in the will?

Indeed, MYH must be rich enough to have an entirely kissable ass, because the eminent Professor Wiseman lets him bring his monkey along to gleefully destroy whatever scientific project she pursues.

Curious George has been to space twice (so far) and to the bottom of the ocean. In Antarctica, Dr. Wiseman marooned MYH and Curious George on an ice floe, telling them to take pictures of penguins.

MYH was so prepared for Antarctic survival that he had to be reminded that he wouldn’t find any igloos.

I think the check had cleared, and therefore Dr. Wiseman was trying to kill them.

Complete plausible deniability. “They were taking pictures of penguins,” she’d say, wiping away tears, “How was I to know they would get trapped in an ice cave? Nobody expected Curious George to eat his face!”

Cue the madcap dash to the penthouse, where the will would most certainly be found.

But no. Curious George and MYH survived and brought back pictures of penguins, which were vital to science, since absolutely nobody could find pictures of penguins posted on the internet by the millions.

I could sense Wiseman’s disappointment. It was palpable. Her plan had failed, and she could see her life unfold before her, nothing but gratifying the whims of a rich madman and his pet monkey. Forever.

No doubt Professor Wiseman envies the dead.

 

-Professor Zac Showers

TMCG: Schopenhauer Meets The Man

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S2EP12-21Jan2008-Scaredy Dog/Say Goodnight, George.

 

In the latest episode, Curious George wants more playtime, and he notices how important clocks are.

Clocks tell time, and therefore they influence time. George believed his clock to be omnipotent, and by moving back its hands he would be reversing time itself, potentially giving himself an infinity to play ball in the street.

The Man in the Yellow Hat (MYH) only had the one clock, so George’s little plan caused him no end of exasperation and torment. He was late; he was early. He was bafflingly gaslighted by Dr. Wiseman as to the nature of his tardiness. He began to question the universe itself. What immortal hand or eye could frame that fearful cruelty? Why him?

It did not occur to MYH that the cause of his misery might be a certain asshole of a monkey.

MYH buys another clock, and a watch. George grabs the watch immediately and begins to fiddle with the knob, in his mind causing time to jump wildly from one moment to another. To come unstuck, as it were.

MYH at last puts two and two together.

He neither beats nor kills the monkey.

He does guilt the monkey, saying that he had been planning to take him on a blimp ride, but his little game with the clock had caused him to miss several meetings with the blimp guy.

MYH fixes the clock, and then takes George to Dr. Wiseman’s office, presumably to learn what other parts of his life were fevered lies. But the blimp guy is there. MYH apologizes to blimp guy and says he is sorry they could not ride in the blimp.

For the most golden of moments, George is about to suffer a consequence.

But then the blimp guy says he didn’t know it was for a monkey, and so he takes them for a blimp ride.

George is so content he sleeps through the blimp ride.

 

-Professor Zac Showers

Build Trust, Listen, and Learn.

One thing that has always intrigued me is the way people interact with each other. I probably should have been an anthropologist or psychiatrist or something because i spend too much time thinking about that kind of stuff. I’ve noticed in my line of work the importance of building rapport and having trusting relationships with the people i see in the streets. I think its important for everyone to have good, trusting relationships regardless of their work.

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If you take one thing from this blog let it be this; always practice open honest communication with everyone in your life. I know what you’re thinking, there are some things you can keep to yourself. Wrong. Especially in a situation where you’re starting a relationship, whether it be a business, personal, or just a friendship you need to go in with honesty. Make it your duty to make sure that the person knows with clarity and confidence what your intentions are and what you are trying to accomplish. Without them knowing what you want you start off behind. One way people make mistakes is being friends with or starting a relationship with someone for the wrong reasons. In a business setting it’s obvious that there are some times where one side will benefit more than the other, that’s going to happen. As long as both parties are aware of intentions it can be a healthy and trusting relationship that could grow and benefit both sides. People often choose influence or power to start building a relationship, talking about themselves and building up their brand or lifestyle to provide worth. This will do nothing for you, an intuitive person will sniff you out immediately. It may take a while for others but they will eventually realize that you’re using influence and feeding your ego and decide they don’t want anything to do with you or your plan. Try inspiration and facts for long term emotional trust instead of influence and opinion for a short lived positive emotion.

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I know because my wife-to-be told me, You need to be a better listener. Many people will laugh and say this is an obvious thing to do but you would be surprised just how many people are actually listening.  Truly listening to someone involves 2/3 shutting the hell up and 1/3 validation. It is instinctual to immediately have an opinion or statement pop into your head the second someone says something to you. Keep these opinions to yourself unless asked for them, especially if it sheds a negative light on what they said. Instead, ask yourself questions about why you think a certain way and make statements that build on their ideas instead of breaking them down. I realize that sometimes you will disagree with an idea someone has, but instead of immediately showing that disagreement try to understand how they came to that conclusion. Validating someone’s ideas does not mean you agree but it is more like seeking to understand their context to better understand their reasoning and help you with communicating and interacting with them. Try to build habits with listening, scrutinize every interaction you have with people and work off of your experience. In the army after a mission or action we had a thing called an AAR (after action review). It was a structured de-brief where we analyzed what happened, why, and how it can improve next time. Give yourself 3 points to sustain and 3 points to improve to better build your muscle memory to become a better listener. I know it seems like a lot of trouble to just become a better listener but it will improve your relationships tenfold. You can go as far as having labels and meanings for your plans of interaction with people, writing down things repetitively helps as well.

 

Ask positive learning questions. What i mean by this is when you’re interacting with someone you can tell by body language and general mood whether you’re getting anywhere with someone. If you’ve somehow been derailed in conversation and can tell that it is going nowhere fast, reorganize and bring it back to them. Ask questions that are centered around them instead of yourself. People are wired to want to feel valued and affiliated with meaningful groups. If you’ve proven trust and listened then you are a meaningful person to them so feeding that hard wire, by asking specific questions, will bring them back to you. Ask them how they came to a conclusion, or what life experience made them think the way they do. Some people tend to avoid personal conversation in a professional environment, which is understandable, it makes people uncomfortable. Instead, ask someone what they value most or what they consider themselves an expert at. This not only makes people feel valued but is a general topic that comes off as altruistic allowing them to be individualistic. It may seem like you’re being manipulative but it is beneficial for both parties. When you ask someone about their values and life it helps you better understand them. And as long as your agenda is pure and you’ve established your intentions, both parties can know that they are in a trusting atmosphere. The goal here is to make yourself an available asset for the success of everyone, including yourself, by establishing trust, listening, and asking questions to better discover someones context and help them meet their goals while accomplishing your own with solid relationships.

 

Lastly, Be Patient. Not everyone is an open book, and being respectful of peoples boundaries is a good way to build trust. Honoring someones decision to be private and not interact with you betters your chance of creating a relationship with them in the future. They will remember that you were respectful. Giving people the choice to trust or interact with you empowers them in a way, and that is helpful for you and for them. Patience IS a virtue but action and perseverance is a burden. Depending on the type of relationship and the context, patience may not be an option, but its all dependent on your circumstances. People are different, so always make sure your intentions are pure and you aren’t guided by ill-will, and things should work out well.

 

As this world gets more and more difficult to maneuver, socially and professionally, keep in mind that people, your fellow human beings, are important. You need people to achieve goals, and being a resource for someones prosperity means; building trust, listening and learning, to forge a reliable network of contacts to be successful in any aspect of life.