Thursday, December 18, 2014

Happy Holidays!

I stood in line behind a woman at The Dollar Tree. The girl who was ringing her up finished, and said "Happy Holidays!"  "Merry CHRISTMAS," snarled the woman in the true spirit of Christmas. "Er, Merry Christmas," the salesgirl agreed.

I know it's trendy to denounce "Happy Holidays" but I love saying it, even though I celebrate Christmas. Why? Because I have dear friends who also celebrate Hannukah. In fact, right now it's more appropriate to wish everyone a Happy Hannukah because it's currently happening, and goes through December 24th. Christmas doesn't happen until AFTER that.

I understand the "Keep Christ in Christmas" mantra and I completely agree. But this is not Santa vs. Christ, it's Christmas vs. all the other celebrations that happen this time of year and I think it's perfectly fair to say "HAPPY HOLIDAYS" to all of you!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dash it All

Then there's my colleague who called La-a and asked hesitantly "Is La Ah there?" The mother said "Yes, but her name is Ladasha. The dash isn't silent." 

I can't make this stuff up.

Add This to Reasons to Pick up Coffee on the Way Into Work

Yesterday I walked into the break room to see our beautiful young secretary angrily mopping the counter and muttering to herself. "What's up, hon?" I asked.
"People are SUCH SLOBS," she growled. "Some idiot made coffee and took out the pot and let it spill all over the counter and the floor, too." "That's awful," I agreed, as I reached for a coffee cup. She then bent over and wiped up the floor before she stood up once more and began to wipe down the coffee pots with the same rag.
I think I'll pick up Starbucks on my way in from now on.

Zoolander: Eat Your Heart Out

The guy who answered the phone snapped "We're not interested." "Whoa, whoa," I said. "You don't even know what I'm calling about! I'm not a telmarketer!"
"Modeling and acting, right?" the guy answered. "Er, yes," I said, startled. "We don't want it," he said and hung up.
Finally someone who really understands our subtle plans for world domination one runway model at a time.

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Should we stop flights from Ebola-torn countries?

Should we stop flights from Ebola-torn countries? Here's a reality check: The economic impact of Ebola, if it spreads in the US, is bigger than most people realize. We will find ourselves plunged into another Great Depression, with little way to recuperate from it in our lifetime. “How?” sputter the current administration’s apologeticists in righteous indignation.  Here’s how:

Our healthcare system, already plunged into chaos and financial difficulties due to new government mandates, will come to a staggering halt when faced with Ebola. The insurance companies that weathered the new standards of Obamacare will be faced with bankruptcy as medical costs soar for patients who must undergo expensive treatments. Many of these patients will die (50%, if statistics hold true, but I’ll even give you 40%) and they will not be able to pay their portion of those costs. Hospitals will also be bankrupted and strained beyond capacity. Some healthcare workers will quit, rather than have to work directly with such a plague.

Transportation will grind to a halt. Therefore, the supply of goods and services, even basic ones such as food and water, will be impacted.

Some people will refuse to go to work, but most people will continue to go to work, terrified on a daily basis but unable to afford to stay home. And if they did stay home, what then? They must venture out to get food, or have it delivered, and no one can ever be completely free of contact with the outside world. This trepidation will cause a decline in purchasing power. People will sit on their money and their savings, waiting until the dust settles.

So, can we afford to stop flights from Ebola-torn countries? We can’t afford NOT to.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sociopathy in Mankind

People are scandalized, and deservedly so, by the continued atrocities of the Muslim terrorists overseas. A third man was recently beheaded by sociopaths who are only too happy to do so.

This is not uncommon. We saw it in the Japanese, Germans, and Italians in WW2. To pretend we didn't is to do a disservice to history and the needless sufferings and deaths of many. Throughout history, it was repeatedly shown that murder and torture come easily. Because of that, I always avoid the term "humane", since it implies that humanity is, as a whole, kind and good by instinct. There is nothing further from the truth. Sociopathology is more prevalent than we'd like to admit, and we are all capable of it, as the infamous Milgram Experiment showed us.

Human nature is why so many of our ancestors were either the victims or the inflictors of various forms of torture and horrific deaths since the world began. There is only a thin veil between civilization and the primordial beast, and although we don't always understand why a sociopath chooses to step over to the other side, we know that they never return. If a pit bull, who's always been friendly, suddenly snaps and kills a child, we don't try to rehabilitate it. We put it to sleep. We know that the dog has crossed the line, and there is no turning back. Some decisions, whether by man or animal, are irrevocable.

The biggest mistake that we can do is to not study history, or take it seriously.  As George Santayana famously said "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Although we are horrified by the terrorists' actions, we should not be surprised. Nor should we be surprised to see the articles that discuss the terrorists' recruitment of US youth. The terrorists appeal to anyone with sociopathic leanings. You can whitewash their attraction with the labels "mesmorizing", "deceiving", "gullible", but the fact remains that every American knows what terrorists are and what terrorists do. If they are signing up for the program, it is because deep down inside there is a ravening bloodthirsty beast who wants to dominate, has no regard for the lives or feelings of others, and enjoys mayhem, torment, and subjugation.

If we are able to stop a recruit from going overseas to join the terrorists, they should immediately be locked up and put under psychiatric evaluation for that very reason. If you are willing to go to such lengths to become a terrorist, there can be no room for you in a civilized nation any more than there is room for fire ants at a picnic.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flying the Somewhat Friendly Skies

I fly. A lot. And as I was thinking of all the wonderful people and stories I've heard in airports and from fellow passengers, it hit me that I should start a compilation. Their observations and stories should be shared. They're tales of joy, hope, fear, and possibly finding love at the airport:

TSA Employees Need Better Customer Service Skills

I sat next to a young woman recently. She was bulging with a 7 month old baby (a.k.a. "fetus"), and happy to whip out her cellphone and share all the latest photos. Now that they're 3D (as opposed to the standard sonogram type we had in my era) the little girl really 'came to life' on screen. That is, with the exception of one unfortunate shot that made her look like Skeletor. I was quick to point that out and we had a laugh. But then the conversation turned serious.

The young mother-to-be told me that she'd been up against a TSA employee who kept insisting that she had to go through the scanner and she kept telling him that she couldn't because she was pregnant. "Oh nonsense," he scoffed. "That won't hurt the baby." Incredulous she asked for the supervisor, who allowed her to avoid the machine altogether. "But can you imagine what would've happened if he'd been talking to a young mother who didn't know any better?!" she said to me. Yup. Everyone would've had a chance to see Baby Skeletor. But, as it turns out, it probably would've been harmless to the baby. To read more about this, please see Jim's correction at the very bottom. If the TSA agents had taken the time to explain this to the young woman, she might still have opted out, but she wouldn't be spreading this as a tale of potential disaster.

Some TSA Agents Don't Know What Service Dogs Are

And in the small airport of backwater Little Rock, Arkansas, I had a young woman sit down next to me with the tiniest dog in her lap. Being a dog lover, I felt that I'd died and gone to heaven. I had just been subjected to intense scrutiny because I had a laptop and metal rivets on the pockets of my jeans. Another woman had the agents pull out every tiny bottle she had in her luggage and painstakingly swab each bottle. We were joking about how they were all in training and feeling that power rush when "Emily" shared her story. Her dog ChiChi is a service dog that alerts when she has seizures. The little dog goes with her everywhere. When she came up to the agents in Little Rock, they stopped her and told her that the dog had to be in a carrier. "No," she explained patiently. "It's a service dog."

They acted like they'd never heard of a service dog before. "Well you still have to have her in a carrier," the agent said imperiously. "No, I don't," Emily said patiently. She is a softspoken little thing. They went round and round for a while and finally she asked for a supervisor. She handed over the documentation to the supervisor but "I felt as if they were just play acting, you know, like if you give a toddler a book to read and they pretend to read it but it's upside down," she said. Eventually they gave up and waved her through. Without a patdown. Without residue screening. So let's hope no terrorists have service dogs in Arkansas.

The Snotty Baby

Most people tell me that when it comes to seat companions they have two fears: 1) They'll get someone obese who should've bought two seats but is cheap enough to try to squeeze into one and lap over into their neighbors, or, 2) they'll get a screaming baby.

I got the screaming baby, complete with, I am only guessing here...Ebola. OK, I'm exaggerating a wee bit, but this child was a mess. It also was completely undisciplined, so it was allowed to stagger about, whining and screaming, wiping copious amounts of snot everywhere, while the mother would speak coyly to him. She would loudly say things like "Oh come on, Dantainerius. No one wants to hear THAT," and then would look about the cabin for approval, as if to say "Oh isn't he PRECIOUS?!" Everyone would steadfastly avoid eye contact.

In between us sat a young man that could put Adonis to shame. My friend and co-worker, "Amber", was sitting in the next row in front of me and she kept gesturing to Adonis, who calmly put his headphones in, pulled his cap over his eyes, and appeared to sleep throughout the chaos as the little monster repeatedly snotted all over his knee caps.

It was a two hour trip. It felt like four.

Finding Love

My friend "Marcie" flies with me. She's wracked up so many frequent flier miles she could probably travel the world for free. Twice.  She's a gorgeous older woman in her late 60s with an ebullient personality, and madly in love with her husband. As I'm single, she gave me hope one day: "Don't worry, honey," she said. "You won't be single for long. You may not be looking for anyone, but there isn't a time that goes by that I'm not asked out by some guy I just met in the airport."

Don't forget I told you this story: Some day there may be a sequel.

A Correction

My friend, Jim, is an expert. He writes:

The body scanners don't use x-rays. The TSA agent was right, the woman is misinformed. The scanners use radio wave frequencies, somewhere between cell phones and infra-red. X-rays are above ultra violet. Visible light is above infrared and below ultraviolet. So nowhere close to X-ray. 

Oh another thing - you are exposed to about 50 times more "radiation" in one hour inside that metal tube flying at 35,000 feet. But nobody seems too worried about that.

The supervisor was also right. Anyone can opt out of the body scanners because various people made such a big deal out of "naked scanners". Also a lot of people don't understand the difference in ionizing radiation and light. Both are actually radiation, but one is not harmful. So they think that radio waves and cosmic rays are the same. Well they sort of are, in the regards that both have a frequency and wavelength. 

Anyway you can request to opt out and the TSA is supposed to say "ok", then send you to the "machine alert" line for a physical pat-down and/or hand held metal detector screening. Which is slower and more intrusive, thus the push to get people to use the machine. It is faster for everybody involved. 

But the passenger was still ill informed. But whatever the case, anyone can request to not use the machine. 

If you fly often apply for global entry. It gets you into pre-check.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Well Dressed

You know you are well dressed when men scramble to open the doors for you, and sales women come up to you to ask if you need anything. When I have no makeup and I'm in shorts and a t-shirt, the only human contact I usually have would be when a small child accidentally sneezes on me.

This reminds me of the time I was the manager in a major department store. One of my top clients was a local anchorwoman. When she wasn't on the news, you'd never recognize her. She had bags under her eyes and children in the stroller. She would limp along, looking harried and tired: A typical homemaker who didn't have time to brush her hair. She was a faithful client, because I knew her size and would always hold things for her to try on in her limited amount of time.

The biggest crooks I've met were usually the ones that would wear designer clothing to a mud wrestling contest. They are too obsessed with form and there's very little substance. In fact, there may be a correlation: After all, look what Lil' Kim wears.

Perhaps I have a solution, however. Have you seen those oversized t-shirts that obese women wear to the beach which have a skinny bikini-clad body printed on the front? Perhaps I need a tee with a large photo of me looking respectable, in a freshly pressed business suit. Under it, in large print, it will say "THIS IS NORMALLY WHAT I LOOK LIKE."

Oh who's kidding who. Most people can't read. I just need to put a model from Sports Illustrated on the front of it.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

If You're a Loser, You Can Still Find a Useful Idiot

I have an acquaintance who is still married but separated due to his wife being held in prison. I won't give out too many details here, as I don't want him identified for his childrens' sake. He periodically goes to visit his wife, when he's not having affairs, scamming chicks, or posting suggestive pictures on his Facebook page.

His justification for his lies and promiscuity lies in his claim that his wife had cheated on him many years before all this. Now that it's convenient for him to do so, he reasons, "no harm, no foul."

I can't hate him because he was there for me when I needed him during a rough patch in my life. However, what I didn't understand is that his support came with strings attached. When I realized he was hoping to worm his way into my bed, I backed away so fast I left a trail of dust.

In the past he has had a mistress. Now he is sleeping with yet another woman, while he whines to a friend of mine that he can't understand why she isn't interested in hooking up with him. At the same time, he keeps telling me that I should give him a chance and he recently sent me this creepy meme:

He lives in his own little world, imagining that women don't talk among themselves. And yet, he prides himself on supposedly being everybody's pal: The Counselor, The Shoulder You Cry On (until he can work his hand under your bra). He'll give you a hug, then cling to you for dear life as you try to wiggle out of a grip stronger than a straightjacket.

He has his technique down. If you hit on enough women, there will always be one that is desperate or dumb enough to go for it. So men: If you are a loser also, just keep asking. Eventually you'll find a Useful Idiot. Oh, and use that meme I just supplied you with. Perhaps you can do a mass mailing.