Thursday, June 12, 2008

Q: What’s a bad idea?

A: The notion that there’s no such thing as a bad idea.

Don’t be fooled by the oft heard saying that there’s no such thing as a bad idea. Believe me, there are plenty of bad ideas to be had. I know. I've had more than my share of them.

I think that the worst idea that I ever had was to dress up as a giant frog in a Santa suit at the annual Christmas party thrown for the residents of a secure detention facility that I worked at in my late twenties. I still cringe when I think about it.

But, if this was my worst idea ever, it pales compared to other bad ideas running around, current and past. So in the spirit of sharing the wealth, here is my list of what I think are the best bad ideas of the recent ten years.

No down payment mortgages requiring stated income only.
Let's pretend that we are in the WayBack Machine and it's 2003. I just found out that I can buy a house...ah, I mean a home. All I gotta do is say that I made $200,000 last year. Don't have to prove nothin'. This guy says that I can afford a $500,000 house, no problem. Pay the mortgage? Hey, the guy says that all I have to do is pay the interest which is about $2000 a month. And NO MONEY DOWN! Jeepers! Where else but in America can you move into a brand new 3500 sq. ft. house for $2000 a month? Just signed the papers. I move in next week. Now all I gotta do is figure out how to make $2000 a month.

The Hummer and its noble competitors the Cadillac Escalade and the Lincoln Navigator.
So let me get this straight. An average person weighs around 170 lbs. A Hummer weights 6400 lbs. So, for every $4 spent on a gallon of gas 10 cents goes to moving the person and $3.90 goes to moving the vehicle. If this is not a bad idea, then tell me what is?

Rap music.
Being an obnoxious poet is really nothing new. Ezra Pound was spewing garbage along with the Cantos well before any young rapper was uttering endless rounds of “motherfucking bitches” and passing it off as musical innovation. Music can exist for only so long without melody. But then again, what can you expect from a culture that sells Dr. Scholls footpads by reciting “Gellin’ associations as poetry in action?

Blowing up the Twin Towers
Do I need to say more?

Trying to rebuild the Twin Towers
There are some memorials that should remain memories.

6 string basses
If I want to play something with 6 strings, I’ll buy a guitar. Basses have 4 strings. Cellos have 4 strings. Violins have 4 strings. Violas have 4 strings. There's a pattern here. OK, I like to go down to that low B as much as the next guy. If I am hot to go low, I’ll just restring the ax with heavier gauge strings and tune lower. And as far as going beyond the G string....hey it's called a BASS not An Instrument that Can Go Real Low and Sorta High. Anyway, when it comes to bass playing, I have a simple motto: what would Jaco do?

Sentencing guidelines
When I look at the evidence presented, I can easily believe that there is some guideline somewhere that instructs the judge to throw away the key if the guy is black.

If you want to use Microsoft technologies to do internet based development, first you learned ASP, which reduced you to procedural programming after years of leaning how to be a good object oriented programmer. Then MS tried to make it better, so you leaned ASP.NET which reduced you to writing bloated client side code after years of writing lean, stateless code like all the other guys. And now, after 5 years of finally learning how to optimize ASP.NET bloat, MS says, "hey wait a minute we have a better idea. We’ll just have you use MVC", which they really should have implemented under ASP years back. So, you can kiss your tools and experience from the last 5 years goodbye. Usually a better idea from MS is a bad idea for the rest of us.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
Baseball players go to the Hall of Fame. Football players go to DisneyWorld. Rockers come in the night and make good girls bad. Hall of Fame? Give me a break. Anyway, I wonder if John Cippolina is resting any better knowing that his rig is on display in Cleveland.

And the worst idea of the last 10 years:

Invading Iraq
I wish I could say something really funny about this, but it’s well beyond humor. The guys that thought this one up make Nixon look like a favored dinner guest. The transgressions are no longer political. They’re criminal. Our executive branch has become that which they say they are fighting: Extremists with no sense of humanity and no respect for the rule of law.