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    Entries in rankings (29)


    The Outsiders characters, ranked

    Over the weekend I caught the news that 'The Outsiders' by S.E. Hinton is 50, that is five-oh years old.

    A classic, and long a staple of middle school reading lists everywhere, I think a fitting honor for the book's 50th is a treatment on the VERY popular 'ranked' series here on the blog.

    Reminder, these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, subjective, ill-informed, and 100% accurate.

    Here goes - (Note: Character name is followed by the actor or actress who played that character in the 1983 movie)

    10. The rest of the nameless Socs (various)

    9. Bob Sheldon (Leif Garrett)

    8. Two-Bit Mathews (Emilio Estevez)

    7. Cherry Valance (Diane Lane)

    6. Steve Randle (Tom Cruise)

    5. Johnny Cade (Ralph Macchio)

    4. Sodapop Curtis (Rob Lowe)

    3. Darrel (Darry) Curtis (Patrick Swayze)

    2. Ponyboy Curtis (C. Thomas Howell)

    1. Dallas Winston (Matt Dillon)

    Of course you could disagree with these rankings but of course, you would be wrong.

    Stay gold, Ponyboy. Stay gold.

    Happy Wednesday.


    Terms that mean 'employee', ranked

    Lots of us are employees. But some of us work at places that don't refer to us as 'employees.' Somewhere along the line, (I am guessing in the late 1970s, but I really don't know for sure), it became trendy, if not fashionable for organizations to move away from the more formal sounding term of 'employee' and start referring to their, well, employees using other terms.

    Inspired by a weekend spent in heavy retail environments and overhearing an 'All available associates, please report to the front of the store' announcement, I started thinking about all the various terms that are now used by organizations to substitute for 'employee.'

    And then I thought it made sense to rank said terms.

    As always, this list is unscientific, unresearched, incomplete, subjective, and 100% accurate.

    Here goes -  Terms that mean 'employee', ranked:

    10. Worker - About as cold as it gets. Unless you go with 'peon' or 'serf'. Which don't seem to be used (much), any more.

    9. Co-worker - Slightly softer version of 'worker'. Still pretty cold though/

    8. Staff member - As generic as it gets. Best used when the organization hates taking any kind of a stand about anything.

    7. Teammate - Unless the 'team' is designed to kick a ball or run really fast, probably should not be used in the workplace.

    6. Team Member - A little less cloying than teammate. But still not great. But yay - we are on a team!

    5. Crew or crew member - Are you on a boat? Do you build boats? No? Then you are not on a crew.

    4. Partner - This is actually sort of dumb. Unless the company is just made up of actual partners. Then it's ok.

    3. Colleague - This actually would be the one I would choose if I had to choose. Rides nicely that fine line between 'touchy-feely' and 'we all just work here' that I like

    2. Associate - a solid move if you for some reason need to move off of 'employee', but want to stay appropriately distant, yet convey a (fake) sense of importance to everyone in the organization. 

    1. Employee - Call me old school, but I still think the simplest solution is the best. I don't think anyone is really offended by being called an employee. At least I don't think so.

    Did I forget anything? Hit me up in the comments.

    And as always, you could disagree with these rankings, but of course you would be wrong.


    Learn a new word; Word of the year finalists, ranked

    Earlier this week the good folks over at Oxford Dictionaries released their pick for 'Word of the Year' for 2016, and they went with 'post-truth', an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief."

    Seems like a fitting choice for the current social and political climate, where it seems that how you say something has become more important that what you are actually saying. You can read more about 'post-truth' and the reasons why Oxford tapped it as the 'Word of the Year' over at their site.

    There were nine other words that qualified as finalists for Oxford's Word of the Year for 2016 and taken together they paint a picture of a not-so-great year overall. 

    But as Fitzgerald suggested many years back, we beat on, boats against the current and all that...

    So let's end the week with some fun, and rank the Oxford Word of the Year finalists, and crown our own Word of the Year.

    As a reminder, these rankings are unscientific, unresearched, subjective, and 100% accurate.

    Here goes:

    Here are the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year shortlist choices, definitions, and my revised rankings:

    10. alt-right, n. (in the US) an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content. Find out more about the word's rise.

    9. Brexiteer, n. British informal a person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union.

    8. post-truth, adj. relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief 

    7. glass cliff,  n. used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high.

    6. Latinx, n. (plural Latinxs or same) and adj. a person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina); relating to people of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina).

    5. hygge, n. [mass noun] a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture):

    4. woke, adj. (woker, wokest) US informal alert to injustice in society, especially racism.

    3. chatbot, n. a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.

    2. adulting, n. [mass noun] informal the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult,especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

    1. coulrophobia, n. [mass noun] rare extreme or irrational fear of clowns.

    I have always been a little leery of clowns.

    Of course, you can disagree with these rankings, but as it turns out, you would be wrong.

    That's it from me - have a great weekend!


    Blues Brothers Band members, ranked

    Since I am on the way to Chicago for the HR Technology Conference this week, I thought it would be fun (and be a needed short diversion), to run a Chicago-themed Ranked post.

    And what says Chicago more than the Blues Brothers Band? Well, I suppose plenty of other things are more 'Chicago' than the Blues Brothers, but this was the first idea that came to mind. That, coupled with I only want to spend 10 minutes writing this sealed the deal.

    Quick clarification on the criteria for inclusion - the list is limited to the original lineup of the Blues Brothers Band and who appeared in the first Blues Brothers movie.

    As always the rankings on the blog are unresearched, unscientific, completely subjective, and 100% accurate.

    Here goes:

    10. Murphy 'Murph' Dunne (keyboards) - His role in the movie was meant to be Paul Shaffer's

    9. Donald 'Duck' Dunn (bass) - What are the chances two guys named 'Dunn(e)' would be in the same band? Weird.

    8. Tom 'Bones' Malone (trombone) - How many successful, mainstream bands have actually had a trombone player? Can't be more than 10 in the last 4,000 years.

    7. Willie 'Too Big' Hall (drums) - Played with the Bar-Kays for a while. (that is all I have for Wille Hall trivia)

    6. 'Blue' Lou Marini (saxophone) - Was for a time a member of Blood, Sweat & Tears. Which seems pretty cool.

    5. Matt 'Guitar' Murphy (guitar) - Pros - Doesn't let Aretha Franklin boss him around, Cons - boring nickname

    4. Steve 'The Colonel' Cropper (guitar) - Doesn't every 'military rank' nickname sound awesome? I want to be called 'The Colonel' or 'The General'

    3. 'Joliet' Jake Blues (lead vocals) - Probably should be #2. 

    2. Alan 'Mr. Fabulous' Rubin (trumpet) - Vaults way up the list due to his fantastic nickname

    1. Elwood Blues (harmonica) - Takes #1 because the harmonica is cool. And has the single best line in the movie with the 'It's dark and we're wearing sunglasses' bit

    There you have it.

    Of course you can disagree with the list, but of course you would be wrong.

    Happy Sunday and if you are out at HR Tech this week be sure to say hello.


    Over, Under, and Properly Rated #2 - Summer Olympics Edition

    My current favorite sports talk show is the Russillo and Kanell Show that airs nationally on ESPN radio. On the show, the hosts occasionally do a 'rated' segment where they categorize sports teams, players, and other aspects of sports and pop culture into one of three buckets. 'Overrated' for things they think are generally praised or valued more than they should be. 'Underrated' for the opposite - things that do not get enough attention or accolades. And finally 'Properly' rated, for the things that receive about the correct level of praise or derision.

    It is a fun segment, complete with sound effects, and in the spirit of running out of good ideas this week, I am going to steal borrow for this site. So here goes, the second installment, of 'Over, Under, and Properly Rated' (SFB edition). I am going with a Summer Olympics theme this time around, as I have caught just enough of the proceedings, (about 15 minutes a day), to render an authoritative evaluation of the spectacle and competition.

    So here goes...


    1. Opening Ceremony - Too long, too much nonsensical blathering by the commentators, and what essentially amounts to the the most boring parade of people wearing funny hats you've ever seen. Is it fun to see a few recognizable superstars milling about with the rest of the interchangeable rowers and team handball players? Sure. But on the whole, the opening ceremony is terrible. And overrated.  

    2. Rowing - If the entire sport consists of the activity you do to train for doing the sport, that adds up to a really uninteresting event. It really is not that far removed from watching a line of people on the treadmill at Planet Fitness. Side note: Ask the rower in your life about the classic movie, Oxford Blues sometime.

    3. Zika, deadly, bacteria-laden water, crime - In the run-up to the Rio games, much of the reporting was frightening in nature. Zika virus carrying mosquitoes were rampant, the waters for some of the competitions were horribly polluted and unsafe for the competitors, and if you strayed too far off course, you were likely to be mugged, or worse. Aside for a few, seemingly isolated issues, the games (so far) have been executed well, more or less.

    4. Judo - I watched one judo match. It lasted for four minutes, almost nothing happened, neither combatant scored a point, and the match was decided on the equivalent of 'yellow card warnings'. I've been at funerals that had more action and excitement.

    5. Golf and Tennis - Probably should not be in the Olympics, or perhaps should take a page from soccer and become Under-23 events, or something like that. The top tennis players and golfers in the word are colossally wealthy, and the source of their wealth has never been nor will ever be winning a medal at the Olympics. When the very best athletes at a sport don't really want to show up at the Olympics to compete in that sport, it is probably time to have a re-evaluation of the entire event.


    1. Rugby - I caught a fair bit of both the Men's and Women's Rugby (in the Olympics it is the 'Sevens' format), and just about every game was exciting, fast-paced, and blissfully over in about 30 minutes. Rugby Sevens might become the next big thing. After Tikka Masala flavored potato chips that is.

    2. Table tennis - Makes the underrated list as the top , 'I bet I could do that if I only had a couple of years to practice' Olympic sport. No, no, you can't. But it is still a really fun watch. Add a few red solo cups of cheap beer to the table and you have America's next great spectator sport. 

    3. Archery - Makes the underrated list solely for one reason - the cool as hell bucket hats that most of the archers wear.

    4. Javelin - Of all the 'throw this thing as far as you can' sports, the best has to be javelin. The USA would be better at this if the government hadn't banned lawn darts about 20 years ago. Lawn darts was how many an aspiring javelin thrower got their start as a 7 year-old. 

    5. Fencing - A lot of yelling, a lot of slashing at people with a sword, and a lot of normal-sized people competing that gives you at least a hint of (false) hope that someday you might be an Olympian too. I am all about the Fencing.

    Properly Rated

    1. Men's basketball - Pros: Most of the teams have several, or at least a few NBA players, and the overall talent level and competitiveness of the games has improved. Cons: It still is a little dull to watch the USA beat some over matched team by 45 points. 

    2. Swimming - Is it great as a USA citizen that we seem to win just about everything? Yes. Is it a little bit falling into Men's Basketball territory in that regard? Yes. And I hate the chlorine-heavy air that always seems to surround any indoor pool. And don't even get me started about what might be in that water.

    3. Team Handball - Sort of relatable because it seems like a combination of sorts between soccer and basketball. Sort of not relatable because after about 3 minutes you have no idea what is really going on. The one game I saw pitted Denmark v. Croatia who were wearing similarly colored uniforms and it was impossible to figure out who was who.

    4. Weightlifting - Would be on the 'underrated' list if not for the occasional gruesome injury. And it would definitely be on the underrated list if they somehow incorporated some of the classic 'World's Strongest Man' type challenges. It would be awesome if the Beer Keg Throw or the 'See how far you can pull a bus using a rope that you have to hold with your teeth' were Olympic sports.

    5. Race Walking - Ridiculous to look at on one hand, but on the other hand weirdly compelling.

    What do you think? Do I have it right? 

    Is this post itself over, under, or properly rated?

    Have a great weekend!