Monday, September 7, 2009

I Got Nuthin

I haven't posted in a long while, and it really bothers me. I want to write but nothing comes to mind. Actually, it's pretty scary. And of course I'm sure it bothers all my fans out there.

I wrote a piece that was a self-mock (after reading the self-mock) but it turned out to be a bit too personal. So I put that in the vault.

I wrote a piece about the cars that I have owned. But it just wasn't worthy. I may polish that turd someday and post it here, but not today.

My company just went through a re-org and I had some good stuff on that. But it just seemed like a bad career decision to post the details. Here's a sanitized version:

Step 1: Things in our division aren't going as well as hoped. Stockholders are angry.

Step 2: Fire the incompetent management. Good idea, but...

Step 3: Hire new management. Lots of new people at the top. People with new ideas. People who have no idea what we do.

Step 4: The new management changes the name of the division. How does this help? Our customers were still getting used to the previous name change.

Step 5: The new management produces a new logo for the division. At great expense. Oh yeah, that always works.

Step 6: The new management reorganizes. When in doubt, reorganize. I think we'll try the reverse matrix organization model. Do you want fries with that?

Step 7: Aside from the new empty suits and the new logo, nothing changes.

Step 8: Go to Step 1.

Or something like that. Gotta get ready for work.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Will Shortz is a Male Reproductive Appendage

I love crossword puzzles. I am fairly good at solving them. But living in SouthEast Asia has gotten me a bit off my game.

As of late, we have had a visiting engineer who gets the International Herald Tribune, for free, at his hotel. And he is nice enough to read the Tribune, then give it to me so that I can attempt to solve the crossword. The Tribune is a fine publiction, and it includes what I at first thought was an amusing crossword. Little did I know.

I imagine Will Shortz (the name jokes could fill an entire 'nother blog segment) was once an excellent puzzle producer. He has a "reputation" at The Times. But now he appears to be a heroin-addled poser who is trying to live off his "reputation". Here are some examples of the inexplicable hints that he is producing (from the July 23rd edition of the IHT):

1 Across: "Show-off". Will's answer - HOT. No really, I cheated and looked at the July 24 solution to the July 23 puzzle. Will actually thinks that HOT means "Show-off".

4 Across: "Manx cries". Will's answer - MEOWS. Manx's (sp?) don't meow. They rip your head off in the middle of the night while you are sleeping in your tent on the Appalachian Trail.

9 Across: "U.S. Marine". Will's answer - DEVIL. I had to look at this multiple times to make sure that I did not get it wrong.

16 Across: "Like some flocks". Will's answer - OVINE. Fine. Ovine. Why not just change the clues to read "A word". Or maybe Will could be more specific and say "An adjective".

42 Across: "Alexander _______, Russian who popularized a chess opening". Will's answer - PETROV. See, this is where you really can sense that Will has given up.

54 Across: "Plotted for urban uses". Will's answer - ZONED. I figured this one out, but the clue is not accurate. Zoning is not an urban action. It happens outside of the urb as well. For all I know it happens in Nebraska. I think Will is zoned...

4 Down: "With "the" and 32-Across, describing an old Matryoshika doll". Now you're just makin' shit up. Have another hit.

39 Down: "Cornwallis's schol". I don't care how well read you are, you did not know this off the top of your head. You looked it up.

63 Down: "Stone, e.g." Will's answer - PELT. I give up.

Will, please stop. Just stop. You are taking all of the fun out of it. Call The Times and tell them you need some time off. Go to the library. Get your ego removed. Learn English.

Otherwise, you suck.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

It is Lingering. Man is it Lingering.

I am sure that almost every person alive today (except Sean Hannity) has experienced the sensation of having a song "stuck in my head". Perhaps this did not occur in earlier times. I can't picture Attila the Hun walking around humming Hall and Oates "Your Kiss is On My Lips". But nowadays it seems to be perfectly normal.

For me, the sensation usually lasts a day or two. In really bad cases, I will actually play the song out loud and that will clear things. But currently I have had the same friggin' song lodged in my brain for at least THREE WEEKS! Linger by the Cranberries. Even now, the part where Dolores (rhymes with a female body part) "oooohs" her way through the intro. It keeps looping through my skull. God/Allah/Buddah, please make it stop.

So I have decided that the only way to make it stop is to mock it. I will mock Linger. Like nobody has mocked Linger since 1993.

First, the band name. What kind of lame band name is "The Cranberries"? I guess noun-based band names can be just about anything you want: "The Dot Matrix Printers", "The Custom Hubcaps", "The Herbaceous Perennials". Actually, these are all good band names. For bands that simply couldn't make the effort to formulate a real band name. Like "Jethro Tull" or "White Stripes".

Second, the band. Where do they rate in alt-rock-indie-post-punk-art-rock band pantheon? Top 100? Maybe top 50? Hard to tell.

Third, the concept of the song. Poor Delores is stuck in love with some douchebag who ignores her and treats her badly. There are literally millions of women who fall into this same category. Why should that stick in my head?

Third, the video. Have you seen this thing? Black and white, blurry shots, some scary German-looking peeping tom, Delores looking all bummed out, some Hasidic Jews. I guess I am not artsy-fartsy enough to process the images. The antique porno films are a plus, but not enough of a plus to explain this mess.

Fourth, the lyrics. Courtesy of, because I can't figure out what Delores is talking about half the time. "if you could return, don't let it burn, don't let it fade." What? I think this line was penned because return rhymes with burn. "If you, if you could get by, trying not to lie". Duh. The guy is lying to you. He is not going to stop. "Do you have to let it linger?" This line is repeated ad-nauseum. In the song and in my brain. For the last 3 WEEKS! Delores, I'm beggin' you to stop. And what does this line mean? Linger, like, what?

Fifth, the music. Actually, the music is fairly good. Not too art-house pretentious. Damn.

Sixth, Delores. Actually, quite fetching. But changing the hairstyle every week is a sure sign of mental health issues. Which I guess is the whole point of the Linger song.

There, Linger has been mocked. And it is still looping in my head. Please send helpful comments. This could go on for months, and nobody wants that.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Mess that is Texas

I was walking down the street today, enjoying the tourist rabble that infest, um, visit Danshuei every weekend, when a dude walked by with a "Don't Mess With Texas" t-shirt. WTF? I guess a lot of Taiwanese folk visit Texas because, I dunno. If you had to choose one state from the US of A, why would you choose Texas? Because it is an upgrade from Oklahoma?

Anyway, I found it odd, but also a challenge that required a response. Texas, I will damn well mess with you any time I like. What makes you so special? Folks from Delaware don't wear t-shirts that say "Don't Mess With Delaware". They wear t-shirts that say "Delaware? Where is Delaware?".

Texas can be messed with on several fronts. To wit:

1) In the beginning, you could not even decide which country you belonged to. "We are Mexican." "We are French." "We are Spanish." "We are American, but Confederate." Honestly, you are like a women picking out shoes.

2) The Alamo. You lost.

3) You are flatter than a mall parking lot. In fact, I believe the original mall parking lot was designed based on Texas specifications. I am sure the designers had a meeting and said "Just make it big and flat like Texas."

4) Your weather sucks. Or blows, I can't make up my mind. If it is not horribly hot and humid, then that means a hurricane is devastating the trailer parks.

5) I worked with a guy who had a big Texas flag hanging in his office. In Massachusetts. And he wore cowboy boots with his shirt, tie, and dress pants. OK, we get it. You are from the state that is flat with bad weather. Why does that entitle you to dress like an idiot?

6) The Dallas Cowboys. Back in the day, the Cowboys were America's team. Roger Staubach, Tom Landry, who can argue? But now you and Tony Romo are just tabloid fodder. What was your record last year. Hmm, gotta surf the Interweb to check this out. Wait a sec.... Oh, 9-7. That's like kissing your sister, but with tongue.

7) You have an inordinate amount of rednecks. I was working on a project in North Bumfuck TX, and I had a discussion with a gentleman who had decided that he needed to keep guns in his house because, if the US govmint collapsed, he could fight off the US military that were coming to rape his wife and children. Or some such.

8) One word. Waco.

Normally I would end this rant with a good ol' "Texas. You suck." But in reality, Texas, you're not that bad. Just a bit full of yourself. Get over it. And stop selling those ludicrous "Don't Mess with Texas" t-shirts. Especially to Taiwanese visitors who will wear any t-shirt that has an English language phrase printed on it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Grammar Police

Thanks to Shiny Rod for the inspiration for this blog entry.


There are those who take it upon themselves to tsk tsk at our grammatical errors. Even MS Word has a grammar checker (which is one of the signs of the apocolypse). To them I say “Take it down the hall to someone who gives a shit.”. If the meaning is clear, then get out of my grill. Here are some examples:

Good vs. Well:

This one is the gold standard of grammar. If you say/write “good” instead of “well”, you will be barred by the Grammar Police from membership in the Good Writers Club of North America. And that would be bad.

As I understand it, "good" is an adjective, meaning that it applies to nouns. As in good shot, good sex, and good bowel movement.

Whereas "well" is an adverb, meaning that it applies to verbs. As in you shot the ball very well Mr. Johnson, you pleasured me very well Mrs. Johnson, and well I hope Mr. Johnson does not find out about Mrs. Johnson's pleasuring me.

But there is a gray line. "Good" and "Well" are sometime used interchangeably. As an example: “I did good on the grammar exam.” vs. “I did well on the grammar exam.” Both of these statements are understandable. In fact, the former actually sounds better than the latter. The latter sounds like it was uttered by some dysfunctional rich kid from Chestnut Hill.

Double Negatives:

I can’t understand why the Grammar Police don’t stop complaining about this. There isn’t one example that doesn’t make sense. As the good Lord says, aren’t we supposed to not judge people? There is no way that I don’t violate this grammatical rule.

Ending Sentences with a Preposition:

I have no idea what this means. I looked it up on the web and apparently it is not that bad. From what I understand, it may lead to premature ejaculation, but that’s about it. But the Grammar Police will get you. Don’t end sentences with whatever prepostions are!


OK, I ran out of grammar rules. Because they suck and I am not that interested. But since I have already started this post, here are some more grammar rules that irritate the crap out of me. Courtesy of Home of the anal retentives.

Editor’s note: This is fun. Like shooting catfish in a barrel. Here’s more.

“Use only one space following periods, commas, semicolons, colons, exclamation points, question marks, and quotation marks.” Screw you, I will use as many spaces as I feel are appropriate. And. punctuation, marks; as: required!

“Who refers to people. That and which refer to groups or things.” That which I am writing about is a group of people who need to get out more often.

“Use a question mark only after a direct question.” WTF?

“Who vs. Whom: Use the he/him method to decide which word is correct.” Who farted in here? Can whom just take it in the other room?

“An en dash, roughly the width of an n, is a little longer than a hyphen. It is used for periods of time when you might otherwise use to.” No, I am not making this up. Check it out for yourselves.

“Use the colon after a complete sentence to introduce a list of items when introductory words such as namely, for example, or that is do not appear.” My colon is used for one thing, and one thing only: pooping, number 2, pinching a loaf, seeing a man about a horse, taking a shit.

Grammar police: you suck.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Middle Managers Managing

For those of you lower-middle managers who have dreams of being promoted to upper-middle management, but are impeded (that means "slowed down") by those pesky employees who are just ruining everything with their emails about cost/schedule problems and other, you know, "technical issues", here is a primer (that means an easy explanation that you have an outside chance of understanding) on how to deal with these troublemakers.

This primer is done in the form of a hypothetical question (that means a pretend question) and several recommended responses.

Pretend email:

Bob: There is no way we can install this update by July 5. We don't have the manpower, and the update requires three diskettes and a reboot. On 250 workstations. If you would like this update to be done on schedule, please arrange for additional manpower and weekend overtime. Regards, Fred

Response Recommendation #1: Ask a Lot of Questions.

Fred: How many more people do you need? When do you need them? Can we accomplish the install with fewer diskettes? What is a diskette? What is a reboot? When do you need me to arrange for more manpower? How many weekends will this require?

Response Recommendation #2: Go on a Tangent, but in a Managerial Style.

Fred, look we need to concentrate on low cost, high impact solutions. Our marketing department is targeting 50% increase in delivery of integrated systems. Let's look for a synergistic approach.

Response Recommendation #3: Accuse the initiator (that means the person who wrote the original email)

Fred: Can't you expedite this? This need to be done ASAP. Please do this on an urgent basis.

Response Recommendation #4: Out of Office Assistant

Works every time. We'll send somebody around your office to turn it on. Leave it on as long as you would like. Try to look busy in the mean time.

Response Recommendation #5: Forward to another lower-middle manager.

Bernie: Fred is having trouble with the software update. Can you lend a hand? I'll be out of the office next week...

Response Recommendation #6: You are having email problems,

Blame it on IT. And delete the email.

Response Recommendation #7: Ask for daily reports.

Fred: We need to get this update done as soon as possible. Please update my daily on the progress.

Middle managers - you suck.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mexican Hookers and a Donkey Show

Editor's Note: The title of this post does not, in any way, reflect the content of the post. It was inserted at the last minute in order to increase search hits. And it is pretty friggin' funny.

Before I launch into a particularly poignant and, if I might add, well written blog post about fireworks, youth, and a mangled toad, let me just say that the reason I am writing this post is because of the fine work of Greg Miller from Cleveland, OH. His 4th of July post is a must read. Go to "Nurse the Hate" and read it. Now. The link is just there, on the right hand side of the screen, under "Other Douchebags". Then come back and read the rest of this post. It's OK, I can wait.

(Humming the Star Spangled Banner....)

Welcome back.

I grew up in the great state of Massachusetts, where fireworks were clandestine on a par with Playboy and heroin. I was a kid when I was growing up, so I cannot remember the murky details of how we were able to get our hands on these precious pieces of packaged gunpowder, but when we got them, they were pure gold. The regular old firecracker was good. Bottle rockets were guarded like nuke-u-ler missles. M-80's were, well, let's just say that Tom Cruise in MI-2 would not be able to wring them from our grasp. Even if he had Ving Rhames working secretly behind the scenes. Because back when I grew up, you could not locate stuff on a laptop PC while traveling on a high speed train. You could only locate stuff using a CB radio. Sometimes. If you could get past the Smokeys.

In any event, we had to use our ammunition intelligently and productively. Not like Mr. Greg Miller, who appears to have had a connection to the fireworks kingpin. I can just picture him placing the order on the phone like Joan Cusack in Grosse Point Blanke - "No Goddammit, I said FIVE thousand M-80's".

One day we decided that the best use of our stash would be to blow up a frog. Yes! That would be the coolest thing ever! Imagine frog guts flying everywhere! We were sure that it would go down in kiddom as one of the best explosions ever.

Frogs were not that easy to come by. It took time and guile. But, after we got the blowing up a frog idea into our young craniums, we were not willing to waste time actually catching a frog. The expected results were too phantasmagorical. We had to act now. So we found a toad in the backyard. A rather small toad. Poor bastard.

Well this toad was not going to be able to swallow an M-80. So we stuffed a regular old firecracker down it's throat. I am pretty sure that this killed him. It was pretty gross. Then we lit the fuse and waited for the greatest backyard kid explosion ever. As you have probably already guessed, the results were disappointing. I still, to this day, feel bad for that toad.

But I got over it quickly back then. As Greg states in his post, and I am paraphrasing, kids back then were mentally retarded. We did the stupidest stuff, and we did it without plastic helmets. The fact that there is still human civilization is a testament to how hard it is for kids to kill themselves.

So give your kids fireworks. They rock! Let them go out by themselves on bicycles and try to jump that ditch. It's important! Let them throw rocks at each other. Let them ruin the neighbors new patio by walking in the wet cement because it feels weird. Don't get angry when they set the field behind the house on fire. Oops. Getting a little autobiographical.

As I have said before, the kids are alright.