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Saturday, February 26, 2005
Crime Report

Here's something stupid that has been occupying my life in a small way for the past few weeks...

One of my jobs is at a place that operates 24 hours a day, and has four separate shifts. My group shares a workspace with the other three shifts, which is fine since there is very little overlap. Now, one of the workers on another shift had brought in a very nice Dilbert calendar at the start of the year, and hung it up. That's fine by me, I think Dilbert tends to be pretty funny.

The guy who brought in the calendar is not a guy I know very well. But since we work in the same area, I get a number of e-mails from him over the course of a week. These e-mails are invariably stunning from a visual standpoint. They have screenshots, and feature added circles and arrows to highlight whatever information the e-mail is referring to. I won't lie to you, I have no idea how to send an e-mail of this quality, and generally, I have no reason to. It's just as well, since I am easily the least qualified member of my team. Don't tell anyone.

As you might have guessed, e-mails of this type take awhile to put together, and the consensus among people in our area who know this guy better, is that this is what he does instead of actual work. So, while nobody wishes him dead, many of the women have nasty things to say about him. The men seem to mostly roll their eyes. So, my impression of this guy is somewhat skewed, but from other stories I hear, he's just kind of a needy dweeb. This is the kind of person whom I have a difficult time being congenial to. I'm kind of blunt, apparently.

So, about six weeks ago, I got one of these gorgeous e-mails. I sent it to the color printer, hung it up on the wall with the following note attached:

"Dear ___. We are planning to have this e-mail framed and matted, and we would appreciate it if you would please autograph it for us, to better serve as an inspiration toward excellence for us, your awed co-workers. We promise that it will not end up on E-Bay."

It went over pretty well with the people on my shift, but my supervisor, who is a good guy, took it down at the end of the week, because apparently, the target of my jab would have been shattered by my effrontery. I don't complain about it, since it was mainly for my own amusement anyhow.

Then, at the beginning of this month, the Dilbert calendar vanished. My initial thought was that a manager had seen it, found it contrary to the indomitable uplifting spirit of the many "Just Hang In There, Baby" cat poster variants you see in corporate boxopolises, and had taken it down. But realistically, said humorless manager would have asked a supervisor whose calendar it was and then sent a very bland e-mail to this guy asking him to remove it. That's how things work, I'm sure you've seen it in your workplace.

So, since a manager probably didn't take it down, the only other conclusion is that someone swiped it.

Again, people like the fuck with this guy, so the list of suspects is huge. And that's just within our work area. My guess is that others outside the group who have interacted with him probably are amused at the idea of sticking pins in this guy. Naturally, an e-mail ensues.

And it's so sad! No graphics, no bubbles, no arrows, not even his queer computer-generated cursive signature! Just, "if any one has seen my Dilbert calendar, please return it to a supervisor. Thank you." Naturally, we are in hysterics.

"Did you steal it?"
"No! Did you?"
"Don't be stupid. Maybe Kris took it."
"She says she didn't."
"Pretty fucking funny though."

So me, being helpful, I print out this very despondent e-mail, use a pen to draw up a very rudimentary February calendar in the space at the bottom, and hang it up where the calendar used to be. Problem solved!

From here, things actually improve. One of the women has a Marilyn Monroe calendar with some very nice black & white photos on it, and this month's shot is Marilyn holding a small dog. It's a lovely shot. My dear colleague Trina grabs the Sunday comics, cuts out the Dogbert character from the strip, and copies it on top of the Marilyn shot. The result is fucking hilarious, as she is now holding this cartoon dog. We hang it up where the Dilbert calendar used to be. I should take my digital camera to work so I can post a shot of it. It's just so damned stupid, but it's beyond funny.

From there, newspaper articles are altered to reflect the calendar theft, milk cartons are disfigured to show Dilbert on the side. It's rudimentary stuff, but as always, it beats the hell out of working. We don't get a lot of room for creativity at this place, although I work with some exceptionally smart and creative people. I'm not sure if they went wrong in the same way I did, but I'm still kind of new to the place. This is good for us, though, and I look forward to seeing what silliness the other shifts have wrought in my absence. They are a clever bunch mostly, although I'm not sure they have my taste for the jugular. But hell, nobody is perfect.

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posted at 9:51 PM


Thursday, February 10, 2005
Watch as I save Social Security

Lots of horseshit floating around about Social Security these days. The truth is, the only thing wrong with the system, is that it doesn't pay out enough. The "crisis" which will occur, if absolutely nothing is done before 2042, is that there won't be enough to pay full benefits at that point. I can solve the problem in one sentence:

Raise my Social Security tax a dollar a week.

There I did it. I'm not even going to suggest that rich people should pay more. I'd like to think maybe it would occur to someone with money to give up, hell two bucks a week, but I don't want to engage in "class warfare" by picking on the defenseless wealthy among us. I pity them so much.

A buck a week from all working people leaves Social Security solvent for another 200 years. My alternate solution is to start killing Baby Boomers.

What on Earth could make you say such a thing? Well, let's take a look back...

Right up until 1945, Americans had a trait called personal responsibility. We preferred to be left alone and not bothered by the government, domestic or foreign. But when it was time to step up, Americans sacrificed, shed blood, and did what was necessary to fight for our country. From the Revolutionary War, to the Civil War, World Wars I & II, and all the skirmishes in between, America sucked it up, and stepped to the plate, right up until Germany and Japan were defeated in 1945.

Then the soldiers came home, most of them still in their twenties, and they had earned some normalcy. They had done nothing less than save the world, and the time had come to live the American Dream. They got married, and they bought houses, and they started having kids.

What irony that perhaps the most selfless generation would give birth to the most selfish generation.

These children grew up during the rise of the economic fortune of the Middle Class. They went to school, they came home, and for most of them, life was pretty comfortable. That's pretty much life the way you'd want it.

These Boomers came of age in the 1960's, and they decided that this beautiful world that had been handed to them, still wet with the blood of the previous generation, wasn't good enough. And I'm not talking about the heroes of all shades who marched for civil rights or other just causes. I'm talking about the shiftless bastards who decided that being 18 or 25 or 30 didn't make them adults. Childhood had to be extended for these children, because they were soft. So, they spent ten or fifteen years high and or drunk. Of course, when they started having kids of their own, all they had for you was "Just say no!"

"Oh, sure, the 60s and Disco were great times, and the drugs were phenomenal, but make sure that you never EVER try them! Same thing with casual sex. Just because your parents were slutty trash didn't make it right."


And even when their war started, the ones from the "best families" all took a pass. So much prosperity had allowed this myopic generation to go to college, unlike most of their parents, and they clung to it, suddenly filled with the spirit of learning.

"Hmm, stay in school and get high, or go to Vietnam and fight for my country. Fuck it, let the poor kids do it."

Yeah, I'm talking about the goddamned President and Vice President of The United States. But I'm also talking about Bill Clinton and the thousands (millions) of other kids who skated because Daddy was a Senator, or Mommy came from a family that mattered. These people, to quote Dick Cheney had "priorities that lay elsewhere." So as usual, the working class and the poor got to go wade in the shit.

The 80s came along. Some sobered up a bit, but many weren't quite ready to quit the cocaine binges. Wall Street went crazy and this the progeny of great men and women decided to make greed a virtue. Get all you can, as fast as you can. If you can't get rich, you're stupid. By 1990, these spoiled pricks were in positions of power all through American government. They made deals with auto makers and oil companies, and SUVs happened. Finally, a 45 year-old woman living in the suburbs had a 400 horsepower vehicle that could scale a sheer cliff! The fact that it would never get any closer than three feet to a speck of dirt was hardly important.

Once again, it was all about them. Cut down trees, use up the oil, who cares? They realized they weren't going to live forever after all, so they may as well use up as much as they could. Locusts, nothing more.

They also found religion. And "morals." All those years of telling their parents how wrong their values were, and they ended up more conservative that their parents.

"God must love me. After all, he made me the center of the universe."

And now, the same kids who ran from war when it was their turn, have grown consciences, and wish to fight a Crusade against people who pray differently. And by the way, these 40 and 50-somethings are perfectly content to, once again, let the poor kids fight for them. And they have certainly seen to it that we have a huge supply of poor to go this time around. It's a long term strategy, and it's been in play for almost 25 years now.

And it's the same with Social Security. They know they won't need it. Boardroom thievery and sweetheart deals have allowed these miscreants to sock away huge nest eggs. Sure, a lot of people lost their jobs, their homes, or their medical insurance, but that wasn't important. The Boomers got theirs. They don't need a government pension, so they're going to take away yours. They plan to invest all of this money in the stock market, further enriching themselves and their cronies, regardless of the fact that it will undoubtedly be nothing more than a government-approved Ponzi scheme. You may lose all of your money, but the guys holding stock will be just fine, so don't worry.

These are greedy people who justify their avarice with the Bible. They are the worst kind. It is not enough that they already have theirs; they want what little you have for themselves as well. A solution that would cost them a dollar a week is too high a price to pay to ease the suffering of people they don't know, and don't care to know.

Look at it this way: Millions of working people get no medical care. Ultimately, their lives will be shortened as treatable conditions will become life-threatening problems. There will be no safety net. They will die, many before they reach 65. A good 21st century conservative would undoubtedly reply, "See? Problem solved."

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posted at 10:33 PM


Friday, February 04, 2005
Petty & Vindictive Inc.

I don't have many redeeming qualities, but if there is one thing I can say in my defense, it's that I am not afraid to piss people off, or be unpopular. Sometimes you have to say things that no one wants to hear.

For the past ten days or so, I've been getting a fairly constant stream of e-mails from some clown at one of my jobs who has set up his yearly Superbowl gambling pool. It's one of those deals where people buy squares, and people win based on the score at the end of each quarter, plus the final score. I like gambling now and then, but I don't participate in this sort of thing usually. I'd rather spend twenty dollars on food, to be honest.

Now, the industry I work in happens to have found itself under increased scrutiny in the past twelve months. I mean a lot of newly enforced regulations and other crap. Now, this will come as no surprise, but I am all for increased regulation all across the business community. After Enron, Worldcom etc, it's obvious corporate America is completely immoral. The regulation involving this particular industry isn't about accounting issues, or anything where people's livelihoods are at stake. The increased scrutiny I speak of has to do with free speech. But I don't want to go on and on about that issue. I just wanted to explain the climate I'm laboring under.

Now just this morning, I've already gotten three company-wide e-mails from this jackass about his Superbowl pool. I won't give you this guy's real name, but for sake of understanding, I'm going to call him James O'Brien. That is NOT his name, but we'll say it's ethnically similar.

Now, I suppose that people like a good Superbowl pool, but I don't live in Nevada, so I'll just have to take it on good faith that this falls under the auspices of illegal activity. It's no big deal, at least not to me, but again, being generally irritated, I have to be a cunt about it. So I reply company-wide with the following:

"I hate to be a wet blanket, but why is it my language in the workplace is under constant review, and yet we are allowed to use company e-mail to set up and run an illegal football pool? Unless O'Brien is a Native American name, I can only assume that we are treading on the ground of any number of federal regulatory bodies. My apologies for the ham-handed nature of this note, but I am unaccustomed to being the voice of reason."

Again, I send this out to everyone, because I don't give a fuck. I haven't gotten any replies yet, but since I work with people that are even bigger assholes than me, I'm sure I'll hear a number of things after lunch.

"You want the TRUTH? You can't handle the truth!"

My apologies to Jack Nicholson, but since he's a Lakers fan, fuck him too.

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posted at 11:13 AM

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