Wednesday, March 16, 2005

The Sgt. Schultz Defense

Today was an improvement all around. It was slightly warmer outside, nearly 40 F. Lilly wasn’t well enough to go to school today, but she seems to be getting better, and probably will return tomorrow.

Also, our office subscription to the Wall Street Journal has been re-instated, and the first issue came today. I plan to scan it for real estate and retail articles, but it also offers other nuggets of interest. Today, in the various articles covering the conviction of Bernard Ebbers, his ill-fated defense was variously called the “it wasn’t me,” the “aw, shucks,” and best of all the “Sgt. Schultz” defense.

Schadenfreude is generally considered an evil emotion, and I guess it is, but sometimes it’s as satisfying as a cold beer on a hot day. Still, the psychology of such grand thievery puzzles me. You’re a multimillionaire running a multibillion-dollar company, so the thing to do is... steal more? Unless, of course, Mr. Ebbers really was like Sgt. Schultz, and knew nothing. In which case he ought to be punished for that.

Elsewhere, there’s an interview with the new Welsh-American gaijin boss of Sony, a marvel of executive placement in and of itself, but never mind. Note to Sony: Your products are substandard. At least, that’s my verdict on electronics that fail after less than 10 years. Our Sony video camera, a wedding present, didn’t last a decade, and my Sony CD player, bought in the late 1990s, gave out in the early 2000s, though the tape-deck component of the box still works. Other electronics around the house have lasted that long, and longer—some of my stereo components date back to the mid-80s, and they’re still chugging along. We like Japanese electronics here in this house, as you might think, but not Sony.



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