Here’s an Onion link to get things going today:

Relationship Beats Second-Quarter Expectations

The article spoofs corporate earning releases and relationships at the same time. Let’s look at both, shall we? Corporations and investors live and die by the quarterly earnings report. Unfortunately, it’s this short term measurement that seems to get many companies in trouble. Long-term, strategic initiatives and investments often lose out to the short-term requirement to show results. The intense pressure to deliver results is what created some of the accounting scandals that surfaced over the past couple years. Oh, and lots of greed. I’m lucky to work in a company that has done a great job of balancing both long and short term needs of the business. Yesterday we reported our 100th consecutive quarter of revenue growth compared to the same period in the previous year, and our 71st consecutive quarter of profitability. What’s really amazing is that these results were achieved as we conducted a major reorganization of our field Sales and Service organization, and prepared to roll out a new accounting system in the company. It’s a credit to our management and employees.

Lying and cheating, like that contributing to companies getting in trouble was the subject of a movie I saw last night, “Closer.” It’s about the self-deception that fills people who allow a fleeting moment of infatuation, and perhaps short-term performance, to devolve into a disloyal affair. It was an interesting, but ultimately depressing film that left me hoping I never experience anything like it…again.

Finally, and even though Jeff has covered this particular ground, I must plug the film “Sideways.” One reviewer wrote Sideways is a “Comedy about wine, women and men’s inability to handle either is painfully funny.” If you’ve ever had the experience of touring wine country anywhere (Pal Dave and his wife Georgia actually toured wine country in Chile!), you’ll love this film. It brilliantly uses wine as a metaphor for life.

In my favorite scene of the movie, Miles, the downtrodden protagonist describes his favorite wine, pinot noir. He says pinot is “a hard grape to grow…thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early…Only when someone has taken the time to truly understand its potential can Pinot be coaxed into its fullest expression. And when that happens, its flavors are the most haunting and brilliant and subtle and thrilling and ancient on the planet.” His new acquaintance Maya responds by describing wine as a living thing, “constantly evolving and gaining complexity” toward its prime until it reaches its peak. The real beauty of the scene (besides Virginia Madsen as Maya), is that Miles and Maya are defining themselves. Go see “Sideways.”