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This page is State's Exhibit "A" to prove that, at many times in the past, Mike has had way too much time on his hands:

The New Chinese Zodiac
What Religion Is Your Computer?
A Business Alphabet
E-Mail with Spam
Sun of Jabberwocky (computer humor)
What Men Say...What Men Mean

The New Chinese Zodiac

Ever go to a Chinese restaurant and look at the place mats? Many of them feature the Chinese zodiac, a series of animals that rotate in a twelve-year cycle; the year you were born determines which animal you "are." These animals have attributes, mostly good ones, along with some lines of work in which you will supposedly excel, and a few famous people who were born into that sign.

Well, I think the Chinese zodiac is both outdated and unrealistic. Like the European-tradition horoscope, it always predicts good things for good people. How relevant is that to most people's lives? As a public service, I have taken it upon myself to make a realistic Chinese zodiac, which appears below. Find the year of your birth and see what it says about you, or check out your friends' destinies. All famous people were actually born in the year given.

The Aardvark
If it weren’t for your weird name, most people would not be aware that you even exist. You are bland, boring, and mind-numblingly dull at parties, which you rarely get invited to. Aardvarks do well as accountants, insurance salesmen, and role-playing gamers. Some famous Aardvarks: there aren't any.

The Manatee
Physically, you tend to be slow, shapeless, and grossly overweight. Mentally, the same thing. You often get run over by people moving at normal speed, who don’t even notice they’ve passed you by. Manatees make good mushroom farmers, beekeepers, and crash-test dummies. Some famous Manatees: Adolf Hitler, Dennis Rodman, Monica Lewinsky, Saddam Hussein.

The Wombat
You have a reputation for being cute and friendly, but you’re actually mean-spirited with a violent streak that comes out at random moments. No one can trust you, and no one really knows whose side you’re on, not even you. You would make a good baseball umpire, small-town sheriff, or super-villain if you had any talent; too bad you don’t. Some famous Wombats: Josef Stalin, Bernie Madoff, Lindsay Lohan.

The Sloth
You are apathetic, oblivious, and slow-moving to the point of being comatose. Your hygiene is so bad that moss grows in your hair. You like being alone, which is good, because most people are happy to leave you alone. Sloths should become window washers, street repair workers, or Catholic priests. Some famous Sloths: Lee Harvey Oswald, John Dillinger, Leon Trotsky.

The Mosquito
You are a small-minded, bloodsucking parasite who uses other people only for what you can get. Your friends derive a savage joy from slapping you. The sound of your voice irritates people. You naturally excel at being a tax collector, lawyer, or televangelist. Some famous Mosquitoes: Jim Bakker, Paul Reubens (Pee-Wee Herman), "Pretty Boy" Floyd, Iva Toguri "Tokyo Rose" D'Aquino.

The Mule
You are stubborn and unreasonable, with no sense of humor. You probably cannot reproduce, and that’s a good thing. You do have your uses, which mostly involve mindlessly moving heavy loads. Mules make good government bureaucrats, third-shift warehouse workers, and religious Pharisees. Some famous Mules: Mao Zedong, James “Whitey” Bulger, Rasputin, Charlie Sheen.

The Hyena
You are well-known for your irritating laugh and your bottom-feeding lifestyle; nothing else. You tend to move in packs with other Hyenas, which makes most people avoid you. You will do well as a graffiti artist, telemarketer, or mugger. Some famous Hyenas: Captain Kidd, Mike Tyson, Muammar Gaddafi, Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber).

The Slug
It is a mystery why the good Lord created people like you; it’s certainly not because you do anything useful. Your presence makes some people sick to their stomach, while others spend hours thinking of clever ways to kill you. You will probably make a good mime, used-car salesman, or one of those guys who waves a sign at political conventions. Some famous Slugs: Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Benito Mussolini,

The Opossum
You look like a large rat, without any redeeming social features. Your principal role in life is to become road kill, so don’t waste your time by aspiring to anything higher. Opossums make good janitors, welfare mothers, and vice-presidential candidates from lunatic-fringe political parties. Some famous Opossums: Caligula, the Marquis de Sade, Michael Vick, Sirhan Sirhan.

The Amoeba
Tiny and insignificant, you are best known for causing diarrhea in others. You tend to reproduce rapidly, which mystifies the people who know you, because nobody likes you. Your focus on small things will make you a superb IRS auditor, movie critic, or grammar Nazi. Some famous Amoebas: Benedict Arnold, Osama bin Laden, Britney Spears, Roman Polanski.

The Poodle
You are a yapping irritant whom people tolerate only for your borderline good looks. You think you’re a lot more important than you really are, and your attempts to bare your teeth and scare people usually make them laugh. Your natural roles are political activist, pro-wrestling referee, and assistant manager at McDonald’s. Some famous Poodles: John Wilkes Booth, Tonya Harding, Ted Bundy, Charles Manson.

The Vulture
Nothing makes you happier than taking advantage of the dead and the dying. You suck the joy and life out of any situation just by showing up. Babies cry when they see you. You will excel as an Elvis impersonator, death-metal guitarist, or zombie slayer. Some famous Vultures: Vlad the Impaler, O.J. Simpson, Al Capone, L. Ron Hubbard.

What Religion Is Your Computer?

Baptist computer:

Charismatic computer:

Catholic computer:

Eastern Orthodox computer:

Jehovah’s Witness computer:

Mormon computer:

Christian Science computer:

Hindu computer:

Buddhist computer:

Muslim computer:

Jewish computer:

Unitarian computer:

Atheist computer:

A Business Alphabet

A is for Acquisition

There was a small firm that was thrifty.
They made something novel and nifty.
....A big firm acquired them,
....And thereupon fired them —
Now wasn't that big outfit shifty?

B is for Business

"How's business?" he asked me, and what could I say?
....Accounting was driving our vendors away
By paying bills late and by withholding checks,
....With bean-counting games that were risking our necks.
Production was outsourcing forty-two jobs
....That used to belong to us corporate slobs.
The Quality Teams that were meant to empower
....Just made lots of wall charts and used lots of hours.
Our pay raises couldn't be seen with the eye,
....And some said a layoff was due by-and-by.
So what could I say? "Hey, business is fine!
....There's lots of black ink on the ol' bottom line!"

C is for Customer

A Customer! Oh, what a wonderful thing!
....The thought of a Customer makes my heart sing!
To get all His business, we'll do anything —
....We'll bow down before Him and then kiss His ring.

D is for Divisions

Divisions in a business are like mud pies on the ground.
....The Presidents, like kids, make more and more 'til they abound.
They make 'em and they break 'em and they mix 'em all around,
....So when it's time to fix the blame, the evidence can't be found.

E is for Employees

Employees are our most important resource.
....We say it's true; we know that these are facts.
But when things tighten up in the finances,
....Our most important resource gets the axe.

F is for Facilities

The boss toured our facilities, I'm sorry to relate,
....And found us unsafe, understaffed, and badly out-of-date.
"Now, how much will it cost to make us good enough once more?
....That much? Oh, no — just shut it down. We'll move to Singapore."

G is for Global

"We'll reach the global marketplace!" Vice-Presidents are yelling,
Too loud to hear the globe's reply: "We don't want what you're selling.
"We'll build it here for half the price and make jobs locally."
How rude, that they would spoil Vice-Presidential fantasy!

H is for Horizon

A thing that's far away.
....We're always reaching toward it.
But when we're close, they say,
...."Our budget can't afford it."

I is for ISO 9000

The rules are the bosses' assistant.
To keep them, we must be persistent.
....We don't care a hunk
....If the product is junk,
As long as the junk is consistent.

J is for Job

Your job is not the best around, there is no doubt about it.
But tell me this: do you think you'd be better off without it?

K is for Knowledge

Training and knowledge! Knowledge and training!
Both are so useful, there's no need explaining.
Where would we be without training and knowledge?
Leaning on co-ops who aren't out of college.
Where is the budget for training this year?
"Sorry, we couldn't afford it, I fear."

L is for Leadership

The CEO's and Presidents, directors and the bosses
....Are here to lead the company and minimize its losses.
They get the bucks and bonuses and other perks galore,
....To sit in comfy chairs and crank out memos by the score.
And if, by chance, they lose their jobs, their Golden Parachute
....Ensures they'll make an exit with a monstrous load of loot.
Though some aspire to "leadership," I'll call a spade a spade:
....I'd rather work an honest job and earn each cent I'm paid.

M is for Manager

This guy couldn't engineer a tack out of its hole in the wall.
He answered the phones in Customer Help and he fouled up every call.
We tried him in sales and he couldn't sell, no, not a single cent,
So where can he go? That's it — I know! We'll put him in Management!

N is for New

A brand-new division! Now that's what we need
....To make profits rise with an excellent speed.
A new vice-president! Yes, that's the thing
....That finally will make the bottom-line sing.
Let's add something new — maybe two, three or four,
....Although we did just fine without them before,
And don't really need them. Oh, yes, it's all true,
....But we still think we ought to have something that's new.

O is for Organization

This Organization is near desperation.
We're fighting inflation and new legislation.
Our profit quotation has bad aberrations,
And sales in the nation need much orchestration.
Our labor relations have caused indignation,
And plant operation needs much maturation.
Our anticipation is now resignation,
And all innovation has turned to stagnation.
Oh, what's the salvation for our situation?
I have inspiration! Reorganization!!

P is for Paradigm Shift

Mary had a paradigm, if you can get my drift,
And every time things got too slow, that paradigm would shift.
It shifted on the engineers, the managers and such.
It shifted left, it shifted right, and all without a clutch.
It made the President rejoice, for each new paradigm
Meant he could use that buzzword in a memo one more time.

Q is for Quality

American business, hail that which is new,
....And ought to be spelled with a capital "Q"!
We all will embrace it, achieve it, refine it,
....As soon as our high-paid consultants define it.

R is for Responsibility

When a new vice-president is put in charge of you and me,
....They send a memo naming his responsibility.
And when his business plan goes "plop," and people curse his name,
....Responsibility goes "poof" — subordinates get the blame.

S is for Stockholders

Jerry was an employee, and every word he had
....Was all about the Stockholders and why they were so bad.
"They siphon all our profits, skim the cream right off the top.
....There's nothing left for us, and soon this company will stop!"
But Jerry's had a change of heart and ceased his wayward talk —
....He finally saved enough to buy a thousand shares of stock.

T is for Teamwork

"We must work together," the manager said,
...."Or quite angry the new boss will be.
We all have to march on in lockstep ahead,
....For it's teamwork that he wants to see."
So we all got in step with the slowest of all,
....So we wouldn't leave any behind,
And our group's productivity slowed to a crawl,
....But our manager has peace of mind.

U is for Units

The managers were puzzled by the new VP's request.
...."He wants a new division, and he wants the very best
Of corporate resources and of senior personnel.
....But all of them have been assigned — he knows this very well —
To other folks' divisions, and if we should reassign,
....There'd be an awful ruckus and they'd make us all resign."
And then a wise old manager, he raised his hand and spoke:
...."I have a simple answer that will hide the truth in smoke.
Take everyone and everything the new VP preferred,
....But, rather than 'division,' we will use a different word.
We'll make a 'business unit,' though it's really just the same."
....And ever since, all new VP's have smiled and played the game.

V is for Vice-President

We have a new Vice-President, and everywhere he goes,
He asks where our resources went, and how the budget flows.
But when he gets two-fisted about where the money went,
We say, "Those facts aren't listed — ask the old Vice-President!"

W is for World-Class

To be a World-Class company!
....That's what we must aspire to be!
What does it mean? Do not ask me —
....I'm not a World-Class employee.

X is for Ex-

You used to work there? Yeah, I know, same with me.
....This region is crawling with ex-employees.
But who is worse off — us, with nothing to do,
....Or those still employed, doing work meant for two?

Y is for Year

Another year is starting, and the boss must have his say.
...."We'll do things very different than we did them yesterday!
We're going to boost our quality — get more productive, too,
....And kick our competition's tail from here to Timbuktu.
We'll budget for improvements, raise our process to an art,
....And overhaul your jobs so that you'll work, not hard, but smart.
We've got the changes in the works, so, brothers, have no fear!"
....He really ought to change his speech from what he said last year.

Z is for Zzzz

I held a Meeting yesterday, and no one said a peep,
For while I read the Minutes, half the group went fast asleep.
I brought up the Agenda, raised my voice like many roars,
For none could hear a word above the yawning and the snores.
I wrote upon the Whiteboard; my Conclusion I did share,
And found our senior engineer a-dozing in his chair.
I thanked them all for coming; as they left, I heard one say,
"Why are we all so sleepy by the ending of the day?"

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E-mail with Spam

That Spam-I-Am! That Spam-I-Am!
I do not like that Spam-I-Am!

Will you read e-mail with spam?

I will not read e-mail with spam!
I do not like it, Spam-I-Am!

Would you read it here or there?

I will not read it here or there!
I will not read it anywhere!
I will not read e-mail with spam!
I do not like it, Spam-I-Am!

Would you read it in IE?
Or in Netscape, just for me?

I would not, could not, in IE,
And not in Netscape! Let me be!
I will not read it here or there!
I will not read it anywhere!
I will not read e-mail with spam!
I do not like it, Spam-I-Am!

Would you click for on-line credit,
If your credit rating's had it?

I would not click for on-line credit,
Even if my rating's had it!
I would not, could not, in IE,
And not in Netscape! Let me be!
I will not read it here or there!
I will not read it anywhere!
I will not read e-mail with spam!
I do not like it, Spam-I-Am!

Would you click to see some smut?
College babe or nasty slut?

I would not, could not, click for smut!
I won't! No if's or and's or but's!
I would not click for on-line credit,
Even if my rating's had it!
I would not, could not, in IE,
And not in Netscape! Let me be!
I will not read it here or there!
I will not read it anywhere!
I will not read e-mail with spam!
I do not like it, Spam-I-Am!

Would you gamble on the Net?
Win some money with a bet?

I will not gamble on the Net!
That's a thought you'd best forget!
I would not, could not, click for smut!
I won't! No if's or and's or but's!
I would not click for on-line credit,
Even if my rating's had it!
I would not, could not, in IE,
And not in Netscape! Let me be!
I will not read it here or there!
I will not read it anywhere!
I will not read e-mail with spam!
I do not like it, Spam-I-Am!

Will you read it, just for me?
Try it! Try it! You will see.

And now I've read e-mail with spam,
I still don't like it, Spam-I-Am!
And now I'll write your server's boss
So your account will get the toss!
I'll flame your name across the Net
With warnings no one can forget!
I'll mail the Usenet so they'll know
Of you and all your tricks — oh, no!
Now I have sent e-mail with spam!
I'm just like you now, Spam-I-Am!

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Sun of Jabberwocky

'Twas midnight, and the Unix hacks
   Did gyre and gimble in their cave.
All mimsy was the MicroVax
   And the backups not saved.

"Beware the JabberSparc, my son!
   The flaws that hang the memory cache!
Beware the broken pipe, and shun
   The frumious system crash!"

He took his virtual sword in hand;
   The manxome code he single-stepped -
Then linked some C in a binary tree,
   And paused a while in grep.

And as an object class he browsed,
   The JabberSparc, with bytes of flame,
Came whiffling through the usr space,
   Umount'ing as it came!

Oh-one!  Oh-one!  And through the Sun,
   The virtual sword went awk-and-yacc!
He made it stop; with push and pop,
   He overflowed its stack.

"And hast thou crashed the JabberSparc?
   Come to my arms, my beamish spawn!
O frabjous kludge!  It's much too huge
   To let it go to cron!"

'Twas midnight, and the Unix hacks
   Did gyre and gimble in their cave.
All mimsy was the MicroVax
   And the backups not saved.

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A Guide to Translating Men-Talk

What Men SayWhat Men Mean
Uh-huh. Mm-hmm.I'm not listening.
Mind if I putter around in the garage for a while?I'll sulk around the house if I can't.
Anything good on TV?I'll surf through all the channels two or three times, just to be sure.
Have you seen the car keys?I never misplace things, so you must have lost them.
It's not broken that badly, I can fix it.Buy a new one unless you're willing to wait three years.
Where did all our money go?Where did you spend all our money?
I'll feel safer knowing I can protect you and our house.I just want an excuse to collect guns.
Size isn't what matters most in a diamond, right?I'm too cheap to buy a nice one.
I love you just the way you are.Don't spend one more penny on clothes, makeup, or the hair stylist.
If I could change anything about you, I wouldn't change a thing.Except your bra size, your hair length, your annoying giggle, your love affair with your charge cards, and that weird mole on your neck.
What's mine is ours, and what's yours is ours.What's yours is ours, and what's mine is mine.
Want some help with the dishes?Guess what I want to do tonight...
That's too heavy for you, let me carry it.Compliment me on how strong I am.
Okay, what's on your mind?I'm tuning you out already.
Hey, I love just sitting and talking to you!Hurry up, the pre-game show is almost over.
Are you wearing your hair differently?I never notice, but I'd better fake it now and then if I know what's good for me.
Two kids? Why not? Maybe three or four.You'll be taking care of them, so why not?
Hmm?You caught me not paying attention, and I'm bracing myself for the storm.
Where are my clean socks?I still haven't figured out how they get from the bedroom floor to the hamper, never mind how they get clean.
Want to go for a drive?I want to go to the hardware store again.
What's wrong?Please, God, oh please let it not be my fault!
Have an evening to yourself, I'll watch the kids.I'll spend the night staring at the boob tube, and the kids will still be up when you get home at 10:45 PM.
Did you have any plans for this weekend?Cancel your plans for this weekend, there's a great boat show on Saturday, and it's only 50 miles away.
Maybe we ought to get a sportier car this time.My midlife crisis is starting.
Do you see any gray hairs?If you do, lie.
At least you weren't hurt, that's all I care about.It will cost HOW MUCH to fix the car?
It's a guy thing, okay?I don't know why I did it, either.
Boy, this trash stinks, huh?You're supposed to notice how I remembered to take out the trash without being reminded four times.
I believe household chores should be divided fifty-fifty.You'll get both fifties.
Oh, well, live and learn.You were right and I was wrong, as usual, but I don't want to admit it.
Your folks can drop by any time.Just give me enough warning so I can start a project in the basement and miss half their visit.
Sniff! "Hey, whatever you're wearing, it smells great!"I hope it's not a brand-new perfume I'm supposed to be noticing. They all smell alike to me.
I think I'm coming down with something.Pamper me. And don't expect me to do any chores tonight.
Did that recipe come out of a cookbook?Tell me which cookbook so I can burn it.
Go ahead, I'm listening.Can't it wait until I'm done reading the comics page?
I just don't see the appeal of those soap operas.They aren't nearly as entertaining as a good fishing show.

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