Jack TenneyExtra Point

by Jack Tenney, Publisher

August 2000

Gurus, czars and reliable sources

I am not hearing as much about new paradigms these days. For a time, human resource gurus, war-on-drug czars and countless reliable sources all touted new paradigms. A paradigm is a non-math algorithm, I think. Anyway, since so few people are talking about them, who cares?

Today, the new thing to consider is undoubtedly the old economy. The new economy is definitely maturing and seems to be collapsing around its own growth curves while the old economy is beginning to bloom like the Oregon cascades a couple of decades after Mount St. Helens went kablooie. It's as if the song is right, "Everything old is new again ..."

So let's do the math.

Used to be, little kids who were having their tonsils out and mothers with new babies stayed in the hospital three to five days. In today's high-tech world, angioplasty is an outpatient procedure. The result has been a tremendous reallocation of resources. A hospital room that annually cost $10,000 to run in 1950 costs $300,000 to replace and its utilization has decreased from 500 patient days to 100 patient days, yielding an increase in cost per patient day from $20 to $3,000. Solution: Out-source hospital rooms to Motel 6 and encourage more moms to have more kids and have all their tonsils and adenoids out by age six.

I know I'm old but believe me when I tell you the so-called Monkey Trial was before my time. Be that as it may, the American Civil Liberties Union finds it effective to rally folks to their side (contribute money) by running ads featuring a Bible with a headline "Some people think this is a science book." So that old monkey's uncle argument is back. Here's my suggestion for the ultimate proof that Darwin's theory of evolution is hooey.

"The theory is based on the argument that the surviving species are fitter than the preceding. So how come my parents' generation learned Latin and Greek, wrote beautifully and could spell, but my generation considered multiple choice questions tougher than true-false (complexity differentiation theory) and my kids are even dumber than me?" (Note: This argument might have more impact if the presenter were to say "more fitter" and "more dumber.")

Other recycled winners are (in no particular order): cruising bicycles, commuter passenger trains, porches, gazebos, gravy, high-top running shoes, dark beers, croquet, baseball, ballroom dancing, cocker spaniels and musical comedies.

Some old things that aren't back yet but they'll be here sooner than you think: wooden stuff -- bats, boats, rackets, skis, oars, golf clubs; hats with brims, not bills styled by gender; tonics in the form of pharmaceutical water (the side effects of some cholesterol controlling medications include increased bone density and reduction of some cancers); and cuffs (although they'll be called "turn-ups" as part of a whole "Up with England" movement).