Overrated: Willy Wonka


Overrated:  Grandpa Joe

I used to regard the Willy Wonka movie as slightly bizarre but still a decent story… and kids seem to enjoy it.  Then the other day, I’m sitting there innocently as someone upset my apple cart.  They suggested that the movie is not only no good for children, it is actually a terrible story of Grandpa Joe who basically is a barnacle on society.  Find it hard to believe… well, dig in here because I’m about to change your opinion of Grandpa Joe… who was actually a selfish, petulant, mean-spirited man and a poor influence to boot.

State’s evidence #1

So, here’s our Grandpa Joe… we are supposed to feel sorry for his bed-ridden, tired, obviously ill and incapacitated old bones.  But then we start to see the complaining.  While Charlie’s poor soul of a mom work hard for the cabbage soup that the family enjoys, Grandpa Joe complains.  Not that he wants to do anything about it.  He just wants more.  Apparently, cabbage soup is not good enough for ol’ Joe. And when Charlie shows up with a loaf of wonderful bread, who is selfishly impatient waiting for his bread?  You guessed it Grandpa Joe… no sense of gratitude to Charlie.  Just “gimme, gimme, gimme”

State’s evidence #2

Where did Grandpa Joe get the chocolate bar in the first place?  Was it a magic bed bug who brought it to him? Is he secretly leaving the bed at night?  Does he have an evil minion?  Perhaps he is blackmailing one of the other grandparents to get the chocolate bar?  This question still haunts me.

State’s evidence #3

Now this part, this part… shows Joe’s true character.  When Charlie does find the golden ticket and rushes home, Grandpa Joe, in a fit of jealousy accuses Charlie of lying, of not having a golden ticket.  When he sees it is the actual real mccoy, the selfish s-o-b, starts dancing around.  Out of bed in a snap, but not just that… taking complete credit for it.  It’s all about him!  “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket!!” It’s all about him but not about Charlie.  Once again!

State’s evidence #4

You notice when Willy Wonka gives a contract to all of the parents?  Some of the parents of the brats, question the contract.  You know… they wonder what they are signing.  Makes sense, right?  But not Grandpa Joe!  He very quickly signs away everything.  He doesn’t care about Charlie or what he is doing to Charlie.  It’s all about him!

State’s evidence #5

Now let’s flash forward to the Fizzy Lifting Drink scene.  While Charlie is wondering about what he should do and tempted by doing right vs. wrong, what does Grandpa do?  Why, of course, he encourages him to do the right thing, right?  NOPE!  He encourages our little hero to go ahead and drink it… to break the rules.

The bottom line is that Grandpa Joe was lazy, selfish and completely self-centered.  He wants his and couldn’t give a crap about his grandson or anyone else.

Overrated: Faith without Doubt

Don’t Be Afraid to Doubt It

I’ll start by saying: faith without doubt isn’t really overrated it is non-existent but that doesn’t fit with the theme, so thus it becomes overrated.  By definition alone, if you had 100% certainty about something, would it really be faith?  No, it would be a fact… invariably every bit of our faith is coupled in some degree with doubt.  Part of the problem is that we associate doubt with weakness and indecision. Doubt shouldn’t be associated with those words; it is most closely related to skepticism.  And my guess is that the vast majority of people don’t understand the proper definition of that word either.  Go ahead, look it up!

When most people associate doubt with a person, most immediately look to the Biblical character and disciple, Thomas (Didymus) aka “Doubting Thomas”.  I heard a talk recently about this and it really made me scratch my head.  Was Thomas miscast?  Is his legacy as a doubter uncalled for?  Think of these two pieces of information:

  1. Jesus appeared to the disciples shortly after his resurrection and the disciples were barricaded inside an area… probably scared to death… literally afraid that any public appearance could result in similar fate to what Jesus had encountered.  They were hunkered down… that is, all of them except for Thomas.  Thomas wasn’t there when Jesus appeared to the disciples.  Where was he?  Who knows… but he wasn’t with them, perhaps showing some courage to be “out and about”.  Anyway, all the disciples got to see Jesus in person and see the wounds and believe first hand but for some reason we think of Thomas lacking faith because he had to see for himself… but no more so than the other disciples did.  Wouldn’t you want to see in person, if you could?
  2. Not much is told in the Biblical accounts of Thomas however there is one previous account where Thomas, in true Braveheart fashion, says about returning to an area that they had barely fled with their lives <if Jesus is to die> “Let’s go with him and go to our death”

These two things lead me to believe we have misinterpreted Thomas’s doubt… and probably doubt in general. Doubt isn’t wrong… it is inherent with faith and co-exists with the things that we believe.  Each time that we sense doubt, it becomes an opportunity to grow and learn.  Don’t get me wrong, doubt can overcome some.  In business doubt can cause analysis paralysis.  It can cause indecision and generate fear.   In personal lives, doubt can cause worry and fear that results in lives that don’t become what they could.   Are you afraid of doubt?  If you push it away and don’t deal with it, you won’t be able to grow and, ironically, grow stronger in faith.

Overrated: Libraries

Unnecessarily weighing down the Earth

Overrated:  Libraries

This rant can be a little controversial.  I think we should get rid of all libraries.  Yep, just get rid of them!  I know there are great memories for some of you and even recent memories for some of the moms out there who took their kids to story time at the local library, but in today’s day and age libraries have become irrelevant and unneeded.  Ask yourself:  If they didn’t exist already, would we create them?  Of course not!

The census would show us that there are 38,000 libraries in the US (this doesn’t include school libraries).  If each of those libraries had a property value of $100,000 (a conservative estimate), we would raise $4 billion dollars. Just think how many flybys of NYC and photo ops could be done with the Statue of Liberty and Air Force One!  If you also took the annualized salaries of all librarians and office workers, plus associated costs it would save more money.  And it always seems like libraries are about 10 degrees cooler than need to be which brings up the point of the electric and overall HVAC costs.  In today’s economy can we afford this “luxury”?

So why do we have libraries?   Certainly, there is a strong argument that libraries are a dated concept that had merit from eight generations ago, but just like we don’t fund Blockbuster or other rental agencies, we should no longer fund libraries.  If they can be successful, they should stand on their own.  What would we lose?

  • Anonymous internet usage that is untraceable? Gee… there is something that terrorists and child predators would really miss.
  • The Dewey Decimal System – gosh how will we fill those hours of missed third-grade classroom learning
  • Library cards and fines
  • Evil glares, stares and guilt from librarians who won’t be able to shush people

While people may dispute these items, there is no doubt that libraries are seriously contributing to global warming.  When you take into account the carbon footprint of the heating and air conditioning burden these cause to our world and add in all the trees that cut down in the name of books, we are wasting our rain forests for books that are never even found by our beloved Dewey Decimal system.  Now, think about this:  the billion pounds of books have to be pulling us closer to the center of the Earth… really!  That strain on the Earth’s crust brings us closer to the magma at the center of the Earth and that creates a small increase in the heat of the surface.

As an example of how self-important libraries consider themselves despite their obvious irrelevancy, here is a town in NJ that is seeking federal stimulus package money to fund their frivolous endeavor.  I feel for you, taxpayer of West Milford… Maybe the government should just give out a free Kindle to everyone and call it a day?  http://www.suburbantrends.com/NC/0/2700.html   (link is no longer active but it was basically a begging request for funds to keep the library going)

Overrated: Scones

Mmmmm…. dry scones

Things That Are Overrated: Scones

Dry.  Brittle. Crumbly.  Four bucks at Starbucks.   People try to put fruit in them but the fruit just ends up tasting like those red and green things that people put in fruit cake.  Which would be another thing that is overrated, if anyone rated it highly to begin with.

Scones remind me of bland, tasteless, lifeless diet food but scones are worse.  They taste bad, make you incredibly thirsty and they are fattening.  Sound like a game plan?  I’ll meet you at Fourbucks for a cup of coffee and an orange/cranberry scone OR I can drop an anvil on your big toe and take $8.45 out of your wallet.  What do you choose?  Hey, if you take the anvil route, you’ll be $8.45 ahead of the game, thinner and even with a swollen big toe you’ll be able to cover enough ground at short-stop to be compared to Cal Ripken.

Overrated: Cal Ripken, Jr.

Cal Weeps

Cal Ripken, Jr. 

The famous rant that has cost me much derision, scorn & contempt…  I’m not sure what exactly being “much maligned” means but I think that I am that as well because of my stance on Cal Ripken.  So, now I will write words that will surely come back to haunt me.

Cal Ripken is overrated.  Not by me exactly… because I don’t rate Cal highly to start with, so the public perception of Cal Ripken, Jr. is much overrated.  Here’s the case:

  • 1) First, he is a Jr… Junior is ridiculous. Stand on your own. Don’t live off your father’s legacy. Be your own man.
  • 2) He is a lifetime .276 hitter. Wow. Does that jump out at you as a Hall-of-Fame credential? Perhaps… if the person jacked 600 HRs.
  • 3) He averaged about 20 home runs a season. Yawn.
  • 4) He grounded into more double plays than any other player in major league history, so he does own that record. That’s something.
  • 5) People will argue about his incredible fielding. This is the biggest joke going. He covered as much real estate at short-stop as I would with an ingrown toenail. His range was miniscule and therefore he didn’t boot the ball often. How impressive! The gold glove is another arbitrary award handed out on reputation.
  • 6) The thing he did so well? He showed up for work every day for 16 seasons. Impressed? Don’t be. An average (not batting average… just average) guy showing up for work…Work that consists of 3 hours, 161 times a year. Approximately 480 hours a year. That’s like a 12 week year for most of the working populous. I’ll give him this … he was good at not getting hurt.

Don’t get me wrong.  Cal was a good baseball player.  Easily liked.  Good role-model.  Arguably, because of that durability and longevity thing, he is even probably a hall-of-famer.  But clearly and obviously overrated.