MISCELLANY

IS FAILURE FINAL?Thanks to the information revolution, you can say goodbye to the second chance. The computer is less forgiving [...]

November 1 1987 by Chief Executive


IS FAILURE FINAL?

Thanks to the information revolution, you can say goodbye to the second chance. The computer is less forgiving than the Pony Express, as well as more efficient. Would you give money to someone who blew the investors’ money last time round the track, if you were a loan officer at Grind It Out National Bank? The venture capitalists? They too want to bet on records of success and “mature management”-read: “those who kept their heads low in corporate bureaucracies”-rather than some Steve Jobs-like garage inventor. The likely outcome? The information revolution will continue to serve as handmaiden to a society hell-bent on judging people by credential and record, rather than by their ideas and willingness to take risks. It will accomplish what George Gilder calls the goal of left-wing elitists-capitalism without capitalists. As is the case with many changes, we don’t really see what the changes mean until they are irreversible. Enjoy the incredible fruits of the current entrepreneurial boom. You probably won’t get a second chance.

-Mark Pastin, Nation’s Business


KEEPING BASTILLE DAY SACRED

Some of the more unusual demands and requests job candidates make as conditions for accepting a position are: Several prospective employees demanded specific days off with pay, in addition to their birthdays. Among them: Elvis Presley’s birthday, the first day of the World Series, Bastille Day and, in every leap year, February 29th; insisted that any company hiring him pay to ship his prize-winning horses by air from Australia; asked for paid membership in the city’s zoo for entire family; asked that the firm’s medical plan cover visits to faith healer; said he wouldn’t take the job unless the corporation paid kennel boarding fees for his two dogs while he was traveling on business; and, wouldn’t accept a position unless the mailroom in a large company saved all foreign stamps on incoming mail so that he could find additions for his child’s stamp collection.

-Robert Half, Robert Half Inc.


WE KNOW THE FEELING

We have two kinds of press in India. Half is critical of the government and the other half is hostile to the government.

-Chinmaya Gharekhan, India’s permanent representative to the U.N.


TRADE FLOW

Senator Bob Kasten, Republican of Wisconsin, was sorting through some postcards at the Senate gift shop the other day when one caught his eye. Part of a series of patriotic images of America, it depicted the flag raising at Iwo Jima. Mr. Kasten flipped it over and saw that, down in the corner, in small print, it said, “Made in Japan.”

-The New York Times


TO MY SNIVELING RELATIVES, I BEQUEATH

There’s little point in spiting a spouse-nearly every state has “elective share” laws that provide a mate at least one-third of the assets, whether that was the deceased’s intention or not. Ever since Shakespeare left his wife his “second best bed,” there’s been no end of slaps to spouses and such, and perhaps none crueler than that of the German poet Heine, who left all to his wife on the condition that she remarry, “because then there will be one man to regret my death.”

-Intercorp


NO DEPOSIT, NO RETURN

“Who does Trump use?” he asked, referring to the millionaire developer. “The I.R.S. is on my tail,” said Mr. Croft, whipping out some correspondence from the agency to prove he is not just another street-corner prophet of paranoia. It is on his case to the tune of $11,486,072. The 50-year-old Mr. Croft-who lives in an abandoned building [in Manhattan] with no heat, light or water, who is unemployed and who eats in soup kitchens is dubious about his ability to come up with the money in a timely fashion. Mr. Croft was picking up bottles and cans, worth five cents each, to send to the collection division, Internal Revenue Service. He needs 229,735 cans.

-William E. Geist, The New York Times


NO IMPORTS

Senor Antonio Georgio Cara has been dismissed from his post as Minister of Agriculture after Liberty, Guatemala’s most influential magazine, revealed that he had ordered the importation of 10,000 tonnes of American excrement from a firm experts called Insultum.

Congratulating the government, Senior Mickel Primo, a congressman, said: “National dignity demands our sacred land does not become a sewage farm for the superpowers. Guatemala produces abundant excrement of its own.”

-This Week (Guatemala)


HAVE YOU FELLOWS SEEN TILTED ARC?

Interviewed beside an empty plinth, Mr. Lloyd Murphy, Curator of the San Jose Museum of Modern Art, said: “There’s extensive building work in this area, and we suspect members of the All American Art Association paid construction workers to blowtorch Bottini `Great Planes 7′ off its footing and turn it into scrap.”

“The AAAA repudiates Mr. Murphy’s suggestion,” said Mr. Auric Hurple, its chairman.

“Bottini and Murphy are communist subversives who erect ugly and meaningless objects to destroy our way of life. If they show themselves around here again, I will stun them with my Bible.”

-San Francisco Chronicle