In praise of Sir Roderick Spode

I spent the past month or so watching the complete series of Jeeves and Wooster on Hulu, and I proudly proclaim that my favorite character was Sir Roderick Spode, 7th Earl of Sidcup.

John Turner as Roderick Spode

Nevermind the fact that the character was patterned after Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley; Lord Sidcup is an inspiration to all would-be benevolent meglomaniacs who want to make the world a better place. Unlike Bertie Wooster, that useless fop, Spode held himself with dignity and honor (except when Wooster was blackmailing him with the mere mention of “Eulalie”) and sought to restore national pride in Britain. He even almost let his civic pride and duty to nation overcome him when he nearly cast aside his place amongst the Lords to run for Parliament, only through the manipulations of Jeeves (for the benefit of Wooster)  to be pulled back to his senses.

First, his vision. He knew what he wanted and worked toward achieving it. Before his elevation to the peerage, he sought out influential friends (Sir Watkyn Bassett) and established a source of income that allowed him the freedom to think on such noble causes such as British-made bicycles and umbrellas for all citizens.

Second, his influence. The Black Shorts were devoted to the cause of Spode. They donned the uniform, attended the rallies, and even fought the Communists in defense of their great leader. Granted, their membership was mainly young unmarried men in need of a hobby, and older men whose wives determined they needed a hobby.

Finally, his determination. As evidenced in the “Eulalie” fiasco, Spode was willing to do what it took to see himself reach the success that he desired. Any man who could design women’s underwear AND lead a small army of fascists is a true man indeed.

So to all my fellow Walter Mittys out there, seeking a resolute and determined role model, let us learn from Roderick Spode and keep our heads high, even when the poo comes raining down.

Woo-WHO

Not only can you watch Dr. Who on BBC America, those of us without cable or satellite can stream it online via Amazon.

Chubstr Man of the Week: Matt Smith:
Maybe it’s the hair… or possibly the bow tie (bow ties are cool, by the way) that makes this week’s Man of the Week, Matt Smith worthy of the title.

But, while the hair and the bow tie are certainly enviable, Smith’s appeal has mostly to do with the sonic screwdriver (that is not a euphemism). That’s right, if you hadn’t already guessed by now, Chubstr HQ is filled with Whovians. So, on the heels of the latest season premiere this weekend, we give a tip of the hat to the current Doctor.

The latest season of Doctor Who premiered with a bang—and a lot of Daleks—Saturday night on BBC America. We’ve been gearing up this season for awhile now, but we’re still not sure we’re fully prepared for the inevitable as season 7 promises, according to Smith, “a gut wrenching, heart wrenching,” goodbye to the Ponds (the Doctor’s latest companions).

Though heartbreak is inevitable, we’ve also been promised dinosaurs, weeping angels, a trip to New York, and of course, more Daleks. You can catch new episodes of Doctor Who each week on BBC America (check your local listings for times), and if you’re not yet a Whovian, there’s no better time than the present to hop on board.

As always, if you have suggestions for men you’d like to see featured in Man of the Week, be sure to let us know on our Facebook page.
(Photos Courtesy: The Mary Sue and Fanpop)
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Everybody kills Hitler on their first trip

Often times I post an entry on my blog for the sole purpose of giving myself a permanent bookmark on a particular theme and this is one: The Internet meme that everybody [who is a time traveler] kills Hitler on their first trip. This one is not necessarily new to me, but I keep forgetting it when I see it. After  flipping through all the episodes of Dr. Who on Netflix and seeing one titled “Let’s Kill Hitler,”  and today’s XKCD referencing it, I am compelled.

The premise is that every time traveller, when they make their first voyage, travels back in time to kill Adolph Hitler, and thus changes the course of human history and destroying life as we know it. Usually someone else follows behind him and subverts the assassination attempt to make right the course of history.

This post is apparently one of the first references online to the meme:
http://www.abyssapexzine.com/wikihistory/

Others have expanded:
Hitler’s Time Travel Exemption Act
Godwin’s Law of Time Travel

The source of the paradox, Robert Heinlein’s story By His Bootstraps, included in The Green Hills of Earth & The Menace from Earth.

Style Foul: Office Supplies as Menswear

First I’ll share the article from Style Girlfriend as a backdrop:

Style Foul: Office Supplies as Menswear:
Last week, we had a good chat here on Style Girlfriend about collar stays. Some folks were for the metal magnet kind, some were against, but I think we all agreed that a crisp collar is a good thing.
Maybe that’s why, when I met a friend of a friend recently, my eyes kept drifting to his blue dress shirt’s neckline as we chatted. The shirt itself was pressed and clean, if a little worn-looking, but at his collar point I could see the outline of…well, what was it anyway?
Finally, my curiosity – and my cover as an inquisitive fashion blogger (“Just searching for the straight facts, Jack”) (…okay, no I don’t really talk like that but I wish I could), I asked.
“Sorry, what’s that in your collar?”
“Oh,” he looked down towards his shirt, then back at me and blushed a little. “It’s a paper clip. The collar was getting a little rumpled so…”
A paper clip. A PAPER CLIP.
What I was looking at was the now-permanent outline in his collar point of a 2-cent office supply jammed into the fabric of his dress shirt.
“But…but…” I grasped at the words while trying to recompose my face like a Rubik’s cube, so that all the friendly, smiling parts were facing towards him. I wanted to seem – to be – helpful, while avoiding coming off like a complete jerk.
“You know they make collar stays, right? Like, you can buy them?”
“Yeah, I just don’t really care about this shirt, so…I mean, I should probably just throw it away, huh?”
So much about this sentence created a traffic jam in my brain. He cared enough to want the collars pointy. But not enough to reach beyond arm’s length on his desk for wardrobe support? I suppose I should be glad he didn’t staple the collar to stay in place? Or use scotch tape in place of a tie?
Because, and I’ve said it before, it’s the little things, guys! Details matter. Details like collar stays instead of office supplies. Girls notice these things. Everyone notices these things.
The good news? He promised me he’d throw away the shirt that night.
(image)



And now I share with you my award winning, hand-made, one-of-a-kind duct tape tie:

I made this for a April Fool’s Tacky Tie contest we had in the office a few years ago. By sheer force of absurdity, I won. Also note the electrical tape stripes. My boss seemed most amused by this part because I put them there just in case someone else wore a duct tape tie. Even a couple years later he seems amused by the fact that I would think there would be anyone else donning such neckwear. In my defense, I do work in a geeky environment, whether my coworkers will admit it or not.
I was so inspired by my victory that I planned to make a roadkill tie made of some animal pelt with zig-zags of ribbon to simulate tire treads as a sequel, but alas, the contest never saw a second year.

When Companies Become Countries

Being a geek, I really enjoy reading Scott Adams’s Dilbert Blog almost as much as I enjoy the comic strip.  The post below piqued my interest:

When Companies Become Countries: I wonder when the first multinational company will form its own country to avoid wars, government red tape, and corporate taxes. It feels inevitable. I assume it will involve seasteading.

The current notion of seasteading involves floating cities that are outside the control of existing nations. That concept has its appeal, especially as a way to test new forms of government. But existing corporations already have their own form of government called management, and despite its warts, it generally works.
Imagine, for example, that one of the world’s beloved companies such as Apple or Facebook someday decides to start its own country on the sea. The company’s existing management structure would need to add several functions, such as education, healthcare, and police. The corporate government would look a lot like the Chinese government. In other words, it would be efficient in terms of profit, while giving up freedoms that employees are already accustomed to giving up. For example, company employees don’t have freedom of speech when it comes to criticizing management. Somehow we live with that restriction and it doesn’t seem too onerous.

There would be no taxes for permanent residents of the company country. Public services would be funded from corporate profits. Every paid service in the country, from banking, to insurance, to groceries, would be company-run. The accounting would be transparent and the profits would flow to public services.

The big worry with this model is the “company store” abuse that was common during the early days of the United States. In some cases, an employer would take advantage of its monopoly on goods and services to gouge its employees, turning them into virtual slaves. But I think that risk can be addressed by accounting transparency, and by capping the compensation of top management to a multiple of the average employee pay. It also helps if employees can choose to leave whenever they want. That keeps management in line.
Wages in the company country would be low while still attracting top talent, so long as the cost of living islow, taxes are non-existent, and the lifestyle is awesome. Employees could earn less while saving far more, especially if they own equity in the company.

This prediction assumes that traditional governments continue to bankrupt themselves and strangle their own industries with red tape. That feels like a safe bet. But the main reason a company might want to form its own country is to attract the best minds, and the lowest cost of labor, from all over the world without any immigration issues.
Do company countries seem inevitable or unlikely to you?


To answer his question, I see one company in particular who already has the power to do this very thing: Walmart, and I don’t think that it would take seasteading for Walmart to accomplish this.

Walmart already has the means to support itself: a powerful central infrastructure, security forces, medical facilities, banking facilities, etc.; all that it lacks is housing for its employees. There would be other issues to work around, but it is already it is already the largest non-government employer in North America (http://www.articlesdeluxe.com/walmart.html). It also has trade relations with both consumer and producer nations. Walmart seems to be to be in the best position to pull of sovereignty.