Thursday, August 07, 2008


I can still create a post! After all this time!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Maybe it's time

Have been a little worn out lately. Perhaps blogging again might be fun. Sorry for absence.

Thursday, January 31, 2008


Found this whilst looking about on the Web. Clever stuff, and worth a look.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


The other day two co-workers and I were walking to the convenience store across the street from the paper. A tow truck was filling up at one of the store's gas pumps. Normally, I wouldn't have remarked about something so commonplace, but the name of the towing company grabbed my attention. "Sadisco Towing" was emblazoned on the truck's door.

Of course, it was a short leap into the gutter for me, and I began to speculate about the methods and motto of a towing company whose name is so close to sadism. I began to wonder whether the tow drivers carried riding crops with them. I began to wonder whether a typical tow contained this sort of dialogue: "So what seems to be the problem with your car?" "It won't start. I think the battery is dead." "That was very careless of you. You must be a bad driver ... a bad, naughty driver. And naughty drivers need discipline ... ."

And perhaps the motto could be something like "We're the tops in towing."

Well, maybe all that isn't such a good idea, but who knows? One day it might not be a big deal at all to see a car being hauled off somewhere, and instead of riding in the wrecker cab, the rescued driver is strapped to a St. Andrew's cross beside his car.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


It's not hard to believe that modern resume-writing started out as an offshoot of carny barking. There is an unmistakable whiff of hucksterism to the craft. Job seekers are urged to dress up their resumes with the patchwork finery of "action words" such as "facilitated," "conceptualized," "streamlined" and "revamped" in order to get potential employers to step into the tent ... where a lot of times what's inside is a pig wearing lipstick.

It's my belief that dark work is afoot when people stray too far from plain English, so I tend to flinch when I hear somebody say "strategized" instead of "planned." But I also think that no one is going to hell for using such a word on a resume. After all, the target audience is an HR worker who embraces such verbal shenanigans and might be offended by their absence, sort of like a Parisian waiter who spits in the food of a party that insists on speaking to him in English. Having your resume spit on is never a good sign.

Still, it seems like the whole resume business is taken far too seriously. It's usually not a completely accurate picture of a job seeker (people seldom disclose on a resume how many work hours a day they wasted on the Internet), and it breathlessly hypes the mundane. I can take all the "N" action words suggested by one Web site and make putting my nephews to bed sound like Wall Street drama. " I named a book to be read at bedtime (I chose a Harvard Business School case study, of course) and then negotiated a settlement that trended toward "The Runaway Bunny." I narrated the book's contents until I noticed my nephews had gone to sleep. I then nurtured a bottle of wine.

My employment prospects are hardly going to be enhanced by pointing such things out. Whether or not I like language of resumes, I had better become fluent in it. Who knows, it might even help with a resume as sorry as mine.

Let's see, I was a busboy in high school, but now that I think about it I was really a "Senior Manager of Table Maintenance." I boomeranged in the early '90s, and that's definitely a hole in the ol' CV. A little sleight of hand just might work here:

1990 - Repositioned to main offices of Parnell Inc. Orchestrated the acquisition of beer and junk food, oversaw their distribution and consumption and pinpointed when such assets had fallen to unacceptable levels. Notified superiors of urgent need to outlay capital for revitalization of stock.

OK, that sounds a little better. Now on to my time at The Telegraph. Perhaps I should reach here a little and mention an idea that I proposed.

Conceptualized and developed an advertising slogan that targeted female readers, an at-risk category. The slogan was "The Telegraph -- you know you want it." Rehabilitated slogan after consulting with executives, and eventually established slogan as touchstone for other ideas.

As in, "let's not ever let such a dumb idea see the light of day!"

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Random post

I recently received this e-mail at work:

Have much sex yours and her sex. women, love time with them a longer last you.

that your complaint Head First book, you know the academy's report. At the same time, we up a creek without It can help children

Clearly, we're not talking about English as a first language here, but the gist is pretty obvious. I'm not planning on purchasing the product being hawked. What I want to avoid most, however, is meeting the dark sorcerer of advertising who is able to unashamedly say, "Male enhancement -- it can help children."

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year

Each new year, we look to start anew. We look back at the past year and the sorry mistakes we made and we resolve to do better in the next. We tell ourselves and others (big mistake) that we will live healthier and more altruistic lives. And, of course, by February self-improvement has been buried under a pile of empty cigarette packs and beer bottles.

But some of us look to get a leg up the old-fashioned way: through superstition. Here in Middle Georgia, some folks try to rig the odds for the new year by performing a few folk rituals that are just plain odd. The following conversation I had with a co-worker a couple of years ago might best illustrate my point:

Me: So why do you have to have all your clothes clean for the new year?

Her: I don't know. I'm just supposed to have them clean.

Me: What about the clothes you are wearing New Year's Eve?

Her: I don't know. I guess I'm supposed to go around my house naked New Year's Eve.

Me: Anything else?

Her: Yes. A man has to be the first visitor to my house in the new year. It's supposed to be good luck. And the first meal I am supposed to eat is greens, black-eyed peas and pork.

Me: Why those three staples.

Her: I don't know. I think it's greens for money, black-eyed peas for luck and pork because ... maybe it's just because pigs are for killing. I don't know.

Me: So let me get this straight. This New Year's Eve, you are going to be in your house naked and at midnight you are going to let a man -- any man -- walk into your house and through every room while you are there in nothing but your birthday suit. The two of you will then sit down to eat collards, black-eyed peas and pork. I guess that is a good way to start the new year, because it can only go up from there. And suppose the guy who is traipsing through your house starts stealing everything that isn't nailed down; how is that supposed to bring good luck?

Her: I don't know. At least it would be a good excuse to buy new things. Now shut up, will you? We're about to blow deadline.

Monday, December 24, 2007

A parody of "A Visit From St. Nicholas."

This is a parody of "A Visit From St. Nicholas." It was written by James Thurber in the manner of Ernest Hemingway.

It was the night before Christmas. The house was very quiet. No creatures were stirring in the house. There weren't even any mice stirring. The stockings had been hung carefully by the chimney. The children hoped that Saint Nicholas would come and fill them.
The children were in their beds. Their beds were in the room next to ours. Mamma and I were in our beds. Mamma wore a kerchief. I had my cap on. I could hear the children moving. We didn't move. We wanted the children to think we were asleep.
"Father," the children said.
There was no answer. He's there, all right, they thought.
"Father," they said, and banged on their beds.
"What do you want?" I asked.
"We have visions of sugarplums," the children said.
"Go to sleep," said mamma.
"We can't sleep," said the children. They stopped talking, but I could hear them moving. They made sounds.
"Can you sleep?" asked the children.
"No," I said.
"You ought to sleep."
"I know. I ought to sleep."
"Can we have some sugarplums?"
"You can't have any sugarplums," said mamma.
"We just asked you."
There was a long silence. I could hear the children moving again.
"Is Saint Nicholas asleep?" asked the children.
"No," mamma said. "Be quiet."
"What the hell would he be asleep tonight for?" I asked.
"He might be," the children said.
"He isn't," I said.
"Let's try to sleep," said mamma.
The house became quiet once more. I could hear the rustling noises the children made when they moved in their beds.
Out on the lawn a clatter arose. I got out of bed and went to the window. I opened the shutters; then I threw up the sash. The moon shone on the snow. The moon gave the lustre of mid-day to objects in the snow. There was a miniature sleigh in the snow, and eight tiny reindeer. A little man was driving them. He was lively and quick. He whistled and shouted at the reindeer and called them by their names. Their names were Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen.
He told them to dash away to the top of the porch, and then he told them to dash away to the top of the wall. They did. The sleigh was full of toys.
"Who is it?" mamma asked.
"Some guy," I said. "A little guy."
I pulled my head in out of the window and listened. I heard the reindeer on the roof. I could hear their hoofs pawing and prancing on the roof.
"Shut the window," said mamma.
I stood still and listened.
"What do you hear?"
"Reindeer," I said. I shut the window and walked about. It was cold. Mamma sat up in the bed and looked at me.
"How would they get on the roof?" mamma asked.
"They fly."
"Get into bed. You'll catch cold."
Mamma lay down in bed. I didn't get into bed. I kept walking around.
"What do you mean, they fly?" asked mamma.
"Just fly is all."
Mamma turned away toward the wall. She didn't say anything.
I went out into the room where the chimney was. The little man came down the chimney and stepped into the room. He was dressed all in fur. His clothes were covered with ashes and soot from the chimney. On his back was a pack like a peddler's pack. There were toys in it. His cheeks and nose were red and he had dimples. His eyes twinkled. His mouth was little, like a bow, and his beard was very white. Between his teeth was a stumpy pipe. The smoke from the pipe encircled his head in a wreath. He laughed and his belly shook. It shook like a bowl of red jelly. I laughed. He winked his eye, then he gave a twist to his head. He didn't say anything.
He turned to the chimney and filled the stockings and turned away from the chimney. Laying his finger aside his nose, he gave a nod. Then he went up the chimney. I went to the chimney and looked up. I saw him get into his sleigh. He whistled at his team and the team flew away. The team flew as lightly as thistledown. The driver called out, "Merry Christmas and good night." I went back to bed.
"What was it?" asked mamma. "Saint Nicholas?" She smiled.
"Yeah," I said.
She sighed and turned in the bed.
"I saw him," I said.
"I did see him."
"Sure you saw him." She turned farther toward the wall.
"Father," said the children.
"There you go," mamma said. "You and your flying reindeer."
"Go to sleep," I said.
"Can we see Saint Nicholas when he comes?" the children asked.
"You got to be asleep," I said. "You got to be asleep when he comes. You can't see him unless you're unconscious."
"Father knows," mamma said.
I pulled the covers over my mouth. It was warm under the covers. As I went to sleep I wondered if mamma was right.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Mistletoe isn't the only thing that hangs over people's heads during the Christmas season. Sorrows such as loneliness, grief and financial anxiety can chase away holiday cheer faster than a ban on booze at the office Christmas party.

But there are ways to find a little holiday joy, despite the miseries that might attend the season. For example, I like to amuse myself by slipping locusts and other cash-devouring insects into the Salvation Army buckets.

I also like to talk to my nephews about the magic of Santa Claus. One of them recently told me what he had asked Santa for Christmas. He said it was a radio-controlled tank that could fire smoke pellets. I leaned back thoughtfully, rubbed my chin and replied, "Wow, that's a really special gift to ask for, and that explains a lot. You see, news from the North Pole is that Santa was working really hard to make a special gift for a boy your age, and his big, old heart just finally gave out and Santa died of a heart attack. So I guess we can say that you killed Santa. I hope none of the other kids at school find out, or else you're going to get your ass kicked seven ways from Sunday on the playground."

Such moments create a special, warm feeling in me that only the Christmas season can bring.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I like to think that I am a good friend -- loyal, caring, funny (in both its comic and unusual implications), low-maintenance. And so far, I haven't had too many complaints, other than people telling me that they have heard my diatribe against Titanic many times, and, frankly, they are tired of it.

Perhaps what is most agreeable about me is that I don't mind at all if my friends talk about me behind my back. As a matter of fact, I prefer it. I would rather they keep their theories and analyses of my shortcomings far away from me and let me hold on to my fragile self-esteem.

But sometimes a friend feels compelled to share the theories and analyses with me, and does so before I can burrow into the ground or otherwise thwart disclosure. Such a moment came about a week ago when a friend told me that conversation at a recent get-together had pounced upon my bachelorhood. Once that subject had been gnawed to the bone, he said, the reason that I am still single was as clear as the summer sun: I am tied to my mother's apron strings. And I am probably fearful of my father as well.

This to me was a deflating vote of no confidence. I mean, don't my friends know me well enough to believe that I am quite capable of screwing up my own life without leaning on my parents? I mean, c'mon; I take money from Mom and Dad, but not neuroses.

Still, it was not welcome news to learn that I am regarded as a mother-smothered wimp. So the first order of business is to dispel that notion. I figure if I land a haymaker or two on Mom's jaw the next time I see her, then the mama's-boy image would shatter like crystal in a marital dispute about drapes that goes a little over the top. Or maybe I should shoot at Mom's feet like she's the town drunk in an old Western movie. Whatever. It just looks like it's going to be a long day for the old broad next time I see her.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


My work life has begun to take on the contours of a failing marriage. I find myself sometimes talking like an unhappy husband who says things such as, "I don't hate my wife, but ... " After about 15 years, I am beginning to feel a similar warmth for working at newspapers. I don't hate it, but with each passing day an AmWay distributorship starts looking real good.

But before I start waylaying and blackmailing family and friends into joining a multi-level marketing venture, I think I should try to make an honest buck. Doing something that I enjoy. So I'm taking a stab at writing a screenplay.

Keith Demko, our very popular movie blogger, has enthusiastically lent his support to this project. I am running some ideas by him, and he is telling me what the screenplay is missing.

I'm trying to write a sci-fi thriller centered on a newspaper. It starts at night when the pretty young cop reporter who has just gotten engaged is sent out check on a report of an explosion in the sky and a large object falling to Earth. And by the way, I think that the reporter should be played by Jessica Biel. Anyway, when she comes back, she says there is nothing to report, but she is acting a little odd, a little stiff and mechanical. She says she is not feeling good and asks to go home.

During the next few days, her behavior becomes increasingly strange. She tries to eat her shoes in the newsroom , and she asks visitors to the paper whether they are in contact with "the mother ship." Her work attire goes from business casual to bikinis . The perpetually overcaffeinated assistant city editor grows suspicious, and those suspicions only deepen when the reporter turns in a P&Z article. It leads off with "The Center City planning and zoning board has approved a massive rezoning request for downtown that will create a new retail and restaurant district. City officials are predicting it will generate millions in new tax revenue, but the money will not save the wretched Earthlings from the wrath of the mighty Zardor and his astrofleet of destruction. The puny humans will get their urban renewal, Zardor-style."

The assistant city editor -- now twitching far more than normal -- decides to lay a trap for the oh-so-obviously pod woman. He tells that staffing levels mean she is going to have to work on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve. When she unhesitatingly agrees to do so, the editor falls upon her with fists flying and keeps shouting, "She's not human! She's not human!" The reporter takes the blows with no visible reaction until tentacles coil out of her mouth and decapitate the editor. This finally arouses the other reporters and editors, and once they finishing looting their fallen colleague's desk of stapler, notebooks, pens, tape dispenser, etc., they scramble to get exclusive interviews with the alien. Most of the questions are about pod woman's political ambitions, which are brushed aside with "I have no comment at this time, other than to say I am exploring several options."

Pod woman then goes to search for a smallish person who has a Ring of Power that ensures world domination. This person is friends with a dancing gopher. I haven't worked it all out yet, but you get the drift of it. But with the help of my good buddy Keith, this will be a classic.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Larry Craig has become the rarest of political figures: a man who would actually benefit from a mistress writing a tell-all about an extramarital affair. But in light of eight -- count 'em, eight -- men coming forward to say they had sex with the Idaho senator, Craig is going to need a lot more than one tattling concubine.

At the very least, he needs to brazenly declare his heterosexuality. He needs to walk into the U.S. Senate and give a speech from the floor while wearing a T-shirt that says "amateur gynecologist" on the front. He needs to be served with papers from a paternity suit while giving that speech.

He needs to make a sex tape with some starlet. He then needs to flood the Internet with it. He needs to hire Monica Lewinsky as a personal assistant. Failing that, he needs to get co-ed intern who likes to wear blue dresses. Then he needs to splash, like, a gallon of white paint on one of those dresses.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

One of the things I am thankful for today is the wit of others, especially those who share their gifts and allow a distracted blogger to bask in reflected glory. So, anyway, I thought this was funny. And to those who read this blog, I wish both of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Found this on the wire at work. I love the authorities' callousness.

Cows rounded up after trailer gate opens at McDonald¹s parking lot in
northern Utah
WEST HAVEN, Utah (AP) McDonald's? The burger joint? Stampede!
Eight cows escaped from a trailer when the rear gate opened as the driver
pulled into a McDonald¹s. It took about two hours to round them up Monday.
"Maybe they were going to ... hop in the freezer, save the middleman,"
Weber County sheriff's Sgt. Dave Creager said.
Lt. Kevin Burns had another theory: "They didn¹t like their future."
The roundup was called "Operation Hamburger Helper." A nearby resident
even hopped on his horse.
"I thought my eyes were lying," said Wayne Sanders, who was at a truck
stop next door. "I don¹t know where they came from, but I¹d say they¹d have
to weigh 800 pounds apiece and they were on a pretty good trot."

And this is a quick tip of the hat to SCTV, the best skit comedy show this continent ever produced.