What A Dumb Idea
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
I recently started subscribing to the Sunday paper. Actually, they don't just sell the Sunday edition, I had to buy the weekend delivery, which is Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I think I should get a job there, if they get a four day weekend as a standard! To tell the truth, I just wanted the coupons and the Sunday ads. Maybe the gardening section.

The Charleston Post and Courier is a sorry little paper - especially coming from Denver, where there are not one, but TWO big city papers.

Anyway, Sunday's edition gave me tons of blog fodder - had I known, I'd have subscribed months ago!

First up- Parade Magazine.

Parade magazine is in almost every American Sunday paper. They always feature a celebrity, feel good stories, random semi-useful health tips, weird recipes, and Marilyn Vos Savant, the smartest woman in the world who answers your questions. (I usually love her - this week, not so much. She claims that a married woman taking her husbands name steals her identity and damages her heritage. Because, you know, heritage is all about your name and not who you actually are.)

Feature article for March 25? Do You Have a Better Idea. The premise of the article is that great ideas are born from taking the current status quo and turning it on it's head. Unfortunately, the 6 featured ideas range from bad to mediocre. There ain't no cure for cancer here, folks - there's not a better mousetrap either.

Idea #1: Organ Transplants

The premise is that too many people die waiting for organ transplants (A snarky aside - how many is too many? If we hadn't killed 47 million Americans in the last 30 years, would there be a shortage? Huh? Okay, prolife rant over).

The solution? Copy Europe (Yeah. That's always a good idea) and have an opt-out system instead of an opt-in system. Currently, the organ donation system relies on people checking a box on their driver's license saying, sure, I'll give up my liver if I die. However, it's not enough. The author posits that if people had to check a box refusing organ donation, by default all of the lazy people who aren't paying attention will become organ donors. Sounds great, right?

Except...we live in America. The founding principles in America is that GOD gave US (not the State) the right to life, liberty, and happiness (and by extension, the right to our own body). The State does not own our "software" - we do. By going to an opt in system, it is basically turning the Constitution on its head; it is an attitude that the State owns our bodies but will deign to respect our wishes, should we want to opt out. Bad idea. (Another, related bad idea - SC is actually considering a bill that will take prison time off of inmates if they donate a kidney. Who comes up with this stuff?)

Idea #2 - Staying Motivated to Lose Weight
It's no surprise that in January and February lots of people head to the gym, pay a fortune for monthly memberships, registrations, and sign up fees. Then they sit at home and occasionally, wistfully gaze at their membership card while eating Twinkies and watching Desperate Housewives.

The author's solution? Overpay the gym, and have them give you a check or rebate every time you show up to work out. It's your money, they're just administering a financial incentive plan, funded by you.

Why is it a bad idea? The health clubs count on people paying money and not coming. Why would they want to encourage people to come and use the equipment? They already have your money. Health clubs are not in the feel good business of making the world healthier, sacrificing to make sure the poorest of the poor are able to exercise and donating treadmill time to disaster victims. They are a business - in the business of making money. If they can get your money without getting YOU taking up space and wearing out the equipment, bonus for them!

Not to mention, administering this program would be a nightmare (there's that inner office manager of mine surfacing again!). The sales tax filings alone would cause hours of administrative work, plus the cost of processing checks and employee training, all causing even higher membership fees.

Again, this is also a socialist thought process. We aren't capable of motivating ourselves or administering our own incentive plan. We need someone else to do it for us.

Idea #3 - Postage Stamps

When postal rates go up, you can use the same stamps. The stamps will all look the same, and the new rate will be charged for new purchases of stamps.

Actually, this isn't a bad idea, but I post it as mediocre - since the USPS has already published a month ago they'll be taking a vote on the matter. Not exactly cutting edge, there.

BTW, I'll be buying 200 rolls at current prices, then selling the rolls on eBay when the price goes up. Nothing like a neat, tidy profit to make writing a letter more enjoyable!

Idea #4 - People Talk Too Loudly On Their Cell Phones

That problem's self explanatory. The author's solution? A "traffic" light style warning in public places that will light up if you're too loud.

Okay, I guess. But who's going to enforce it? I'm guessing the consequences of talking too loud will be... a red light will appear. I don't think that's enough to deter anyone. Sometimes, there is a good reason for talking loudly - bad connection, someone is hard of hearing, your son calls you to ask which is better for his lip ring, stainless steel or gold...

This idea is mediocre at best.

Idea #5 - Taxes are too Hard to Prepare

The solution? If you are simply taking the standard deduction, let the government fill in the form for you and simply pay the bill.

First, if you are taking the standard deduction, taxes are not hard to prepare. Second, you really want the government filling out your tax forms? Give me a break!

Another snarky aside - all of you drooling at the proposition of Universal Healthcare administered by the government, next time you're at the DMV, reflect on whether you want a similar experience when you need a PET scan to determine if you have a spinal tumor, after a 6 month wait. Then call the Social Security Administration to ask a question, and relect upon whether you want a similar trip to voicemail hell the next time you need to access your benefits. There's a reason Canadians come to America and pay out of their own pocket for surgeries and medical treatment.

Idea #6 - Too Many R-Rated DVD's

The author posits that the solution to R rated movies is to buy versions produced for prudish, overseas countries like Saudi Arabia.

I've long thought it would be great if instead of "regular" and "wide screen" editions, the DVD's would include "Full Release" and "Family Release" versions. However, making a movie appropriate for children is more than just deleting a racy scene, or bleeping out a cuss word. R-rated movies are movies for adults - in theme, topic, references, and world view. Are they going to be able to cut the entire story line of the protagonist's wife committing adultery with the villain? The scenes where the hard hit hero slams down a drink to gather courage before battling the zombies? The zombies themselves? I mean, often they can't even make a 30 second trailer for these movies that is appropriate for children.

Let's call a spade a spade, and leave R-rated movies out of the lives of children altogether.

A better idea? If we really object to the violence, sex, and cursing so much we would watch a censored DVD, maybe we could NOT SEE THE MOVIE at the the theater and WRITE TO THE ACTORS, DIRECTOR, and STUDIO. Actors care about public image. If they got 10,000 letters from angry moms, they might think twice about starring in Tarantino's next film. The studios keep making these movies because they make money. That's your power - if you don't spend to go see it, they'll change. Stop whining that you have no choice - that's all that's showing. Skip the movie then! You won't die. Read the book it's loosely based on instead.

This wasn't an official idea, but it's mentioned in the conclusion of the article, and it's really, really dumb. Eating too many potato chips is bad. Why not take the Lay's slogan, "Betcha can't eat just one" and turn it on it's head? How about making a potato chip that you CAN only eat one of? (Sounds like a great way for FritoLay to make a profit, huh?)

Yeah. They have that. They're called brussels sprouts.

Do you have a better idea? Let's hear your ideas for changing the world.

Art for this post by Norman Rockwell. Veggies from morguefile.

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posted by Milehimama @ Mama Says at 3/27/2007 07:31:00 AM | Permalink | |