The mayor of Fort Wayne is not a career politician, but a career consultant. (Pause to let snickers build.) Yes, and whoever said a consultant is a man who knows 150 ways to make love but can’t find a partner? Got that right. Fort Wayne Observed posts an interview with the mayor, who reveals he’s writing a book. A memoir? No. A crime novel featuring a ruggedly handsome Midwestern mayor who solves mysteries while riding astraddle half the fillies in town and ferreting out corruption in the police union? No. You ready?
“It’s a handbook on how mayors and county executives can use Lean Six Sigma to improve city government.�?
Try to contain your excitement.
I was in town when this guy was elected, and he was all Six Sigma-ing then. I did my research, and honestly, could never understand precisely what Six Sigma was other than some sort of management cult of excellence that boils down to “do the best job you can, and everything will work out.” The more research I do, the more confused I become. Just a random example: The “5 Laws of Lean Six Sigma” starts with zero and ends with four. Huh. It seems to sorta explain this with Law Zero:
Law 0: The Law of the Market – Customer Critical to Quality defines quality and is the highest priority for improvement, followed by ROIC (Return On Invested Capital) and Net Present value. It is called the Zeroth law as it is the base on which others are built.
No, I don’t know how this guy got elected, either, except that the first time out he ran against a scary Republican sheriff who had based his prior career on loudly proclaiming what a mess the city was, in comparison to the Eden of the surrounding county. Astonishingly, this didn’t play well with city residents when he finally rented an apartment within the city limits and declared his candidacy. After that, it was all about the incumbency. People in Fort Wayne like to find a rut and stick with it. A few might even understand Six Sigma.
I’m declaring today Joke Quote Day. Did someone claim June 15 for funnin’ and not tell me? How else to explain Britney Spears, following her long tradition of imitating celebrities bigger than herself, announcing she’s taking her pregnancy to Namibia? And this can’t be a real, verifiable statement, can it?
“Kevin has always been a fan of African-American culture, I’m sure he’ll feel at home there, rapping with all the natives. Besides, there’s lots of quiet unpaved roads where Sean Preston and I can go driving.”
“(Namibia is) on the ocean and there’s lots of sand. So if Sean Preston fell off his swing and landed on his head, there’s less chance he would be hurt and we’d have those snoops from child welfare up our butts all the time.”
And certainly not this?
“I heard that Namibia has laws that let celebrities say whether or not journalists are allowed in the country. That’s so important, even more important than getting the same villa that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt had.”
Even the Free Press is in on the fun. A bit local story here is about a 16-year-old from some upstate burg who disappeared a few days ago and turned up…in Amman, Jordan. She headed there to marry a man she met via MySpace. Guy calls himself Abdullah Psycho. She was stopped short of this willful entry into white slavery, and is now described as “in seclusion.” Fortunately for us, though, Abdullah Psycho’s mom speaks English and is giving interviews:
“She was going to sign a marriage contract as soon as she got here,” she told the Associated Press, adding that she told Lester to “bring a pink dress for the engagement party and a white dress for the wedding. She wanted to convert to Islam and wear the head covering and live with us and adopt our culture,” she said.
I ask you: How is a book about Six Sigma and better government going to sell in a media environment like this?
Finally, not a joke, but recommended: Emily Yoffe’s affectionate tribute to parenthood, in Slate: In our society parents do a wonderful job of portraying the difficulties of having children: the financial burdens, the time drain, the guilt, the exhaustion. But we do a lousy job of getting across something else about parenthood: It’s fun! When you are experiencing parenthood from the inside, there is an overwhelming pleasure in the funny, fascinating things your children do. When my daughter was 2, she put her arms around me as I was kissing her goodnight and said to me, “Mommy, you’re a wonderful husband.” That was better than any of the movies I hadn’t been to since she was born.
Yep. The other day I dropped an aggravated F-bomb — that is, the F was an intensfier for another obscenity — while talking of the day’s events with my husband, unaware Kate was not upstairs, but reading quietly in the next room. “Mo-om,” she said, disapprovingly. And yet still, I’m expecting a good report card. The little buggers are more resilient than we think — more good news!
A Lovely Week in June continues for the forseeable future, but I still have work to do. And the new cell phone arrived yesterday and I realized I have no idea how to use it. So I’m off for a bike ride and a briefing session at the Cingular store before school lets out for summer in…two hours. Best get moving.