Time to elevate the game: A list of dos and don’ts

Author: Saidas M. Ranade is a Houston, Texas-based engineer, author and standup comedian. This article illustrates why he is a still single and a market segment of one. For additional information please visit: www.surensol.org

I saw a commercial for a product called 5-hour energy. The spokeswoman talks about how they asked 3,000 doctors to review the supplement and how over 73% of those doctors said they would recommend a low calorie energy supplement to their healthy patients. Nowhere in the commercial does it say that the doctors recommended the specific 5-hour supplement.  However by clever play of words the advertisement hopes that many gullible TV watchers will equate what they hear with “Recommended by doctors.” Why do we permit such non-sense on TV and in the media? The rationale for these types of devious practices is that majority of them are permitted by law and by the overwhelming supposed need of our society to dumb things down, to keep it simple, to have fun and to present everything in 30-second sound bites. Thinking about the 5-hour energy commercial gave me energy to think about other types of nonsense and garbage being thrown at the commons and to propose a list of dos and don’ts:

  1. To Nature’s Path: When you call your cereal Pumpkin Flax Granola, we expect pieces of pumpkin in your cereal and not pumpkin seeds.
  2. Protein shake powder makers: Please do not say “Mixes Instantly.” Nothing mixes instantly.
  3. To all cereal makers: Do not take credit for milk and fruits like Kiwis or Mangos unless you have those items in your cereal boxes. It is like me showing Einstein’s photo on my resume.
  4. Vega One: When 7 people have similar symptoms of food poisoning after ingesting one of your protein powders please investigate the reasons and fix the problem.
  5. Someone please explain the idea of generics. So, there is Flonase and then there is a generic for it. They say it is exactly identical to Flonase but costs a fifth of the price. The generic is not called Flonase. Does it have 100% of the same ingredients as Flonase? I don’t get it. Someone please tell me how that works.
  6. To CVS Pharmacy: Do not push generics when a patient asks for a brand name drug.
  7. To Apple, Adobe, Mathematica and all software developers: Do not sell us .2 and .5 versions. Those used to be called updates. Please ask us to pay again only when you come up with a truly new upgrade or a new version. Apple, Inc, you started it. Please stop it.
  8. Chinese massage places: (My friends tell me!) The therapist must match the photo we saw in the ad.
  9. Adult movie sites: (My friends tell me!) Compilation and copy/paste from old movies does not make it a new release. Ethics is a universal value and one must abide by it even in the jungle.
  10. To Houston Chronicle: Please do not sacrifice reporting news at the cost of larger and larger photos. The half-life of the Chronicle is a day. It is not a book or a photo album. I buy Chronicle to get news. It is a newspaper. Please give me news.
  11. To ET: Just tell us the entertainment news. Do not spend 80% of the show time talking about what is to come next and what is to come next week.
  12. To Houston Police Department (HPD): Were you at Treasures disciplining strippers when someone broke into my car and my students’ cars and my friends’ cars?
  13. To HPD: During a thunder storm in Houston, street signal lights stop working. Drivers go crazy and cause traffic jams and
    accidents. I do not see you managing that traffic at those signal lights. Are you at Treasures when that happens?
  14. To Cable TV media folks: If you do not have any new news to report, please go dark. Please go silent. That is your opportunity to contribute to energy conservation and reducing noise pollution.
  15. To Cable TV media folks: When you say something is live, do not show pre-recorded loops.
  16. To Cable TV media folks: Do not keep showing “Breaking news” when it is not really “Breaking news.”
  17. Why is Cable TV obsessed with showing a stock market ticker at the bottom of the screen? The second-by-second stream of values has no real meaning for how companies are run unless you are a day trader or someone who “plays” the stock market. Who is stock ticker really helping? Summarize the numbers once a day. Use that screen space for something more important.
  18. Labor reports that talk about how employment went up or down are useless because they combine all jobs and all categories in to one number. Some things lose their significance when you aggregate them. It is like reporting average salary of normal people at a bar after Bill Gates walks into the bar. The labor report does not tell me what to do with the numbers. For example, I read in the Chronicle (below an unnecessarily large photo) that Houston area will add 36,000 jobs next quarter. Most of the Shale Play jobs are trades and crafts related job. The numbers do not mean much to a research engineer.
  19. President Obama in his 2012 Democratic convention speech mentioned followers of three religions: Christians, Jews and Muslims.  So what about the many Hindus, Buddhists, Baha’is, Sikhs, Parsees and atheists who also happen to be American citizens?
  20. To presidential candidates: Stop mentioning religion in your speeches. United States was built on the idea of separation of church and state. Let us keep it that way.
  21. To presidential candidates: Please do not bring your wives and children to political rallies and conventions unless they are elected officials or running for office. We are trying to elect you not your families.
  22. To presidential candidates: Please inject humor as often as possible. Please surprise your colleagues in your party by making unexpected and at times unpopular decisions. Please make more off-the-cuff remarks.
  23. To the US Government and the media: Please officially acknowledge the loss of many innocent lives by the US bombing and drone strikes. Telling a young girl who just lost her parents in a bomb blast that came from a US bomber or a drone that it is collateral damage or the cost of spreading democracy does not make any sense.
  24. To the US Government: Secure our borders. If you cannot do that, please call our immigration laws, immigration guidelines. Enforce the existing laws first. Then, talk about reform.
  25. To President Obama: Please tell the Islamic militants to chill! We are tired of their excessive violent reactions to any and every comment about their religion.
  26. I like women with a few extra pounds. A friend of mine likes very petite women. If you extend that process it is possible for a man to like and love another man and a woman to like and love another woman. I like Clint Eastwood but I do not have the desire to sleep with him. Being gay or being a lesbian is a natural phenomenon. So, President Ahmadinejad of Iran and other religious fanatics of all religions, can we just allow people to be who they say they are?
  27. President Obama or Governor Romney: Don’t tell Iran what they can and cannot do. Work with Iran to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. If they do not allow us to help them, based on clear evidence take the appropriate action at the appropriate time. And, take ownership for the consequences of your actions. Fifty years from now when oil is gone and people in Iran are dying because they do not have the needed electricity for a water treatment plant or for running a hospital, be prepared to explain that situation to your great grandchildren.
  28. President Obama and Governor Romney: Marginal reforms in public education should not be your main focus. Local and state governments are already addressing these incremental changes. What we need is a complete reengineering of how we teach and how students learn. Assemble a panel of experts. Study the problem in depth and then define the plan of action. Explain to the American people the plan and why it will work. In the meantime, stop blaming teachers alone for failing students.
  29. To all current and former Presidents of the United States: Please do not write books about what you did in the White House after your terms are over. Imagination is always better than reality. Writing a book demeans the Office of the President of the United States. We love you and admire you for what you have done. Leave it that way.
  30. President Obama, regarding the recent events in Egypt and Libya, it was appropriate to say that we do not agree or support denigration of anyone’s religious beliefs or a religion but it was also important to mention the United States’ commitment to defending every US citizen’s right to the freedom of speech.
  31. To the US government: It is believed that the Taliban have bombed and destroyed girls’ schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan. If that is a fact please explain why we are negotiating with the Taliban.
  32. FISA extension or the Patriot Act is totally against the founding principles of this nation. It is a slippery slope that has the potential to lead to a military dictatorship. Why are the gun toting, 2nd amendment fanatics not opposed to this encroachment on our fundamental human rights?
  33. To all spammers and hackers: You should be convicted of cognitive rape.
  34. Latinos in the United States: Stop selling arms to Mexicans in Mexico. Think about the ramifications.
  35. To the African-American community: You have a rich heritage, you add the much needed cultural diversity to the mix and have made great contributions. We are all equal. Quit framing every issue as a “race” issue. Your approach prevents the real racial hate crimes from being addressed.
  36. To all fellow Indo-Americans. You have the right to celebrate the great achievements of Indo-Americans. I am eternally indebted to India. But remember ethics and compassion are more important than intelligence. The list of Indo-Americans recently facing ethics related charges, scrutiny or convictions includes Rajat Gupta, Farid Zakaria, Kaavya Vishwanathan, Dharun Ravi, Vivek Shah. Anand Jon, Raghuveer Nayak, Sharanjit Kaur and Baljit Singh, Hoor Naz Jafri, Sachin Sharma, Dana Sharma, Madhur Thawani and Ankeet Patel, Kiran and Arun Sharma, Bhogesahwarananda Sharma, etc.
  37. To all folks against the voter ID laws: Remember, there are two issues. Those that might not be able to vote because they could not get a voter ID card but also those who will vote that are not Legal US citizens because of false identifications. The amount of money you spent in organizing speakers and rallies against the voter ID card laws could have been used to secure voter ID cards for all those you claim are disenfranchised by the proposed new law.
  38. India, when a foreign author living in India is threatened by Islamic jihadist and the author requests protection from the Indian Government, do not ask that author to move. Protect her at all costs.
  39. To the Indian Government: Address the exploding population issue. Use compassion but accept reality.
  40. To Indian business owners in the United States: Pay local sales taxes. Report all cash transactions. Your narrow short term perspective is hurting all of us. If you do not like how your tax money is being spent become politically active and work on changing the laws.
  41. To restaurant owners, especially Indian: When a customer leaves a tip for the wait staff it is for the wait staff; it is not for you!
  42. To Indian restaurant owners: If you are planning to serve green peas from a can plus milk (not cheese) please do not call it Mutter Paneer. And, at least stir and mix the ingredients as much as you can before putting the item on the buffet.
  43. To Indian restaurants: Raghda Patties is not mixed vegetable plus buns. Also, please cook the naans. That way we do not have to keep reminding you to make “extra crispy” naans.
  44. To all vegetarian Indian restaurants. Thanks for supporting a vegetarian diet. Make sure the bread you serve does not have eggs. If it does, that is fine. Just let the customers know that that some items on the menu or in the buffet contain eggs.
  45. China: Give autonomy to Tibet. It is a rich culture and we all can benefit by its preservation.
  46. Pakistan: please stop talking about resolving the Kashmir issue. There is no Kashmir issue. If you really believe in human rights how come you never talk about Tibet? Focus instead on a cooperative dialogue and exchanges on environment, education, energy and the basic necessities of life.
  47. Pakistan: Find and prosecute the folks who were responsible for 26/11 Mumbai attack. That is the best way to normalize relations with India.
  48. The US Government: An American has walked on the moon yet you are not able to simplify the tax code. I pay $90 for a tax program and spend many hours doing my taxes each year. Are these expenses and time adding value to humanity?
  49. Every time someone says they lied or cheated or falsified information or abused power simply to support their family it is a bunch of bull crap. Your family is extension of your genes. Your motives are selfish. Just accept you made a mistake or committed a crime.
  50. Humanity: Please stop manufacturing animals for food. Animals are sentient beings and experiencer pain. When anyone hurts we all hurt. Watch “Food Inc.”
  51. This has been said by others. Media, you are the fourth pillar of our society. You serve the truth. Do not embed with military units. Seek and share the real story.
  52. Media: Do not glamorize war with music and fighter jets taking off. Do not convert war to a theater. People are dying and lives are being destroyed.
  53. I cringe every time I hear someone say: “It is all about money.”  I think it is an insult to humanity when the whole experience of life is condensed in to a simple model.
  54. The US Government. Try Guantanamo Bay prisoners in the US. Show the world that our system works most of the time. Putting people in prisons and brigs without the due process is inhumane and unnecessary waste of human lives. If you think they are guilty, try them. If not release them.
  55. To all quantum physicists: We love what you do. But please stop writing books like “Quantum physics for dummies.” Einstein said: “Simple, not simpler.” You also tell us that if we assume not 11 but 12 dimensions, then we have a unifying model. Why do we need quantum physicists to tell us that? Caution: Your research is fast approaching faith-based practices.
  56. To all immigrants in the United States: Keep your real name. Teach everyone else how to say it. Names are like endangered species in the rainforest. Once lost they are lost forever. Note: I am officially initiating my move to take my name back to SAIDAS.
  57. To immigrants who have anchor babies: You are totally free to do that. Morally no one can and should compel you to have or not have babies. That is your right and your freedom. But, remember the details of how you are planning to raise the baby matter to the baby.
  58. Pro-choice does not always mean pro-abortion.
  59. To all seniors: Resentment, regret and bitterness are not good for you.
  60. To all young folks in the US:  Get your head out of the cell-phone (ass) and for a change have a conversation with other human beings.
  61. To all: Don’t judge people only based on their age, sex, race or weight. There are fat ass-holes and there are thin ass-holes. There are jerks of all age groups and all races.
  62. To Houstonians: Lately people seem to be on the edge. There seems to be an erosion of the sense of community that existed many years ago. Not everyone trying to talk with you or ask you a question is trying to steal from you or rape you or kidnap you. Relax, have a conversation. May be you might learn something valuable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *