Frontier Former Editor

February 15, 2009

Is Facebook making me more social or more anti-social?

Filed under: blogging, observations, societal niceties, writing — Tags: , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:27 am

I got bit by the Facebook bug about a month ago (along with a nip by Twitter) and I’ve left my blog abandoned.

 

Part of it was because I may have the germ of a teaching and consulting gig in PhotoShop. That’s not a bad thing.

 

The other part may very well be Facebook.

 

It’s getting addictive. I’m getting a little less literary (like I’ve ever been literary).

 

I don’t like it.

 

Being a former newspaper person, I was worried that blogging had made me even terser than I had to be for print.. But now, it’s quit being even terse.

 

I’ve got to do better.

At least I’m not doing this: www.thenadyasulemanfamily.com

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December 21, 2008

Workplace sanitation and Russian military aircraft

My current employer (‘a leader in solutions for the business community’) apparently hasn’t a clue when it comes to solutions for its community of workers.

Case in point: Restroom facilities.

On Friday, we had staffers from our client (‘a leader in solutions for bank customers that ISN’T getting bailed out yet’ – not a bad selling point these days) visit the site to see how well we can do the job at about 75% of the cost of the client’s regular employees. Of course, so as to not show the visitors what heathens and savages we are, we were barred from using the front restrooms so they could mess them up, have illicit sex in private, etc.

Perhaps more details is required here. The building has four restrooms: a mass facility each for male and female and each capable of handling about 8 simultaneous excretors (I don’t frequent of surveil the ladies room, so maybe Chuck Berry could come in handy here), and a one-holer for male and female up front. During daytime hours, the building has about 300 people working.

To add to the normal hilarity, maintenance will shut down one mass facility – usually during peak break times – for cleaning.

I won’t begin to address the age-old ‘potty parity’ issue here except to say that our corporation needs to revise its standard floor plan for new call centers.

Back to Friday.

In the midst of trying to impress our client, our computer link with the client’s customer service software crashed for three hours. I was on my extended midday break and missed that fun, but they saved some for me for my evening shift.

A sequence of two e-mails announced that the men’s mass facility would be shut down that day since the single water shutoff valve handled both mass rooms. Since the visitors had left, the two front one-holers would be men-only.

Five minutes later, the internal e-mail service announced that both mass facilities would be shut down for construction, leaving one one-holer for men and one for women that evening. Even with about 100 people on evening/night shift, the front plumbing was running pretty heavily.

That arrangement persisted all day Saturday., when about 250 people were on duty.  Now, applied probability and statistics pretty well guarantees that, even with just adults in the user group, someone’s going to have some sort of catastrophic or extended incident during their visit. And even more application makes it likely that someone having such an incident will not have the decency to clean up after themselves.

That held true. In euphemistic terms, if Lee Harvey Oswald had dropped about two or three mils on his sighting on John F. Kennedy, the lower interior of his limousine would have looked much like the adjacent floor and wall tiles of the men’s toilet.

Saturday was an interesting day. When the computer system crashed again across our building and our client’s main facility, it was a relief when several of us were given early outs. Missing two hours pay was worth it to get the hell out of there. Otherwise we might have been assigned in shifts to burn diesel oil on drums of human waste.

What of Russian military aviation, you might be asking? The site manager had sent out another e-mail Friday, congratulating us for suitably impressing the client delegation  and for the wonderful military-themed bulletin board honoring our client’s main customer base. As I was heading out the door, one photo on the board caught my eye since I’m a bit of  an aviation enthusiast.

Amid all those photos of American servicemembers sacrificing themselves and defending our freedom was a photo of a Sukhoi Su-27.

Do svidaniya

October 11, 2008

Small town surreality

Blogger’s log, earth date 10-10-08.

Walking the dog in the neighborhood park. The not-so-dark Dark One exercises her normal restraint when confronted by one of the neighborhood cats, staring at it as it sits on top of a storm drain giving NSDDO a dirty look. Both creatures leave it at that.

The neighborhood Mexican restaurant’s smells drift across the main drag, a block of houses and churches and into the park. I’d eaten there not an hour earlier, and the smell of carnitas (shredded, spiced pork roast) wafts across an unusually warm October night breeze. Incidentally, my order of carnitas was excellent.

(Note to Stiletto: I can have pork and you can’t.)

The sounds of the local high school Friday night football game halftime also blare across the rail yard and the main drag. Then comes the announcement.

“The Burton Raiders Marching Band plays the music of Danny Elfman!”

And not one Oingo Boingo song in the set. One would have expected at least “Dead Man’s Party.” If the Burton Raiders Marching Band is reading this, please consider modifying the set.

Blogger’s log, out.

Bobby May

After two years away from covering Southwest Virginia politics, it warms my heart to watch a late season election train wreck.

Except when you know some of the principals in the wreck. Then it’s a combination of laughter, cringing, headshaking, disgust, incomprehension, pity, anger, bemusement, lather, rinse, repeat.

Any of you who read the Los Angeles Times or watch MSNBC may already have digested the story of Bobby May from Hurley, Va..

I know Bobby May. I also know Earl Cole, the newspaper entrepreneur who printed Bobby’s discourse on Barack Obama.

The Los Angeles Times apparently broke the story, so go get a gander at it here.

Bobby is (and quite possibly was, if this little tempest runs its course) an entrepreneur whose stock in trade is political paraphernalia: buttons, signs, banners, stickers, key rings, change purses, pocket knives and just about any other promotional paraphernalia with political slogans or commercial advertising.

Covering politics, I got acquainted with Bobby and, I have to say, he was pretty entertaining and not all that bad a dinner guest. Of course he was a raging Reagan Republican but he came by it honest, unlike folks like Edwin Meese, Donald Regan, Newt Gingrich, Lee Atwater and a whole host of national Republicans in the Reagan, Bush pere’ and Bush fils administrations.

Bobby treated me relatively fairly, even if I was part of that mainstream media. But Bobby decided more than a few years ago that the mainstream media just didn’t get it, like many Republicans decided long before him.

And a few years ago, May got his crack at being mainstream media when Earl Cole started a little newspaper called ‘The Voice’ as his own way of being a gadfly to the political establishment of Buchanan County.

Especially the Democratic establishment.

I still enjoyed Bobby’s cracks at Democrats, if only because I knew Bobby was just being Bobby. But when someone called me over to their computer to show Keith Olberman’s meanest person in the world for Wednesday night, I – to crib a line from Charlie Daniels’ ‘Uneasy Rider’ – damn near died.

There was Bobby May of Hurley, Virginia with an honor typically reserved for Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter or some idiot congressman or Bush Administration figure.

Bobby had written his op-ed de grace. A sample:

The (clarified) platform of Barack Hussein Obama
The Voice
by Bobby May, bobbyleemay@yahoo.com

In response to criticism that I favor John McCain for president and only present “one side of the issues,” I am listing for your consideration the platform of Barack Hussein Obama as best as I can figure it out after venting all of the hot air, straining out the honey and removing the smelly substance similar to what the old bull left behind.

I think I’ve did (sic) a pretty good job of boiling his positions down to their very essence for the sake of clarity. . . .

REPARATIONS TO BLACK COMMUNITY:  Opposes before Election Day and supports after Election Day.

FREEDOM OF RELIGION: Mandatory Black Liberation Theology courses taught in all churches–raise taxes to pay for this mandate.  Put Rev. Jeremiah Wright in charge.  Condemnation of homosexuality from the pulpit will become a Class 1 Felony.

HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE:  Raise taxes.  And coddle sexual perverts.  Give tax breaks for NAMBLA membership fees. . . .

DRUG CRISIS:  Raise taxes to pay for free drugs for Obama’s inner-city political base. . . .

2ND AMENDMENT:  Under Obama will only apply to gang-bangers, illegal aliens, Islamo-Fascist terrorists, and Senator Jim Webb’s aide. . . .

FOREIGN RELATIONS:  Appoint Rev. Al Sharpton as Secretary of State, Jesse Jackson as UN Representative and let Bill Clinton handle all other “foreign relations” … as long as Hillary doesn’t find out!  And raise taxes.

THE WHITE HOUSE:  Hire rapper Ludacris to “paint it black.”  Taxes to be increased to buy enough paint to do the job plus spray-paint for graffiti.

THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES:  Raise taxes to send $845 billion, send most to Africa so the Obama family there can skim off enough to allow them to free their goats and live the American Dream. . . .

NATIONAL ANTHEM:  Change to the “Black National Anthem” by James Weldon Johnson.  And raise taxes. . . .

U.S. CURRENCY:  Updatephotos to reflect U.S. diversity; include pictures of “great Americans” such as Oprah Winfrey, Ludacris, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson(Obama’s new Secretary of the Treasury–50 Cent refused position after learning that he would lose his crazy check if he accepted the nomination).  And raise taxes. . . .

U.S. MILITARY:  Confiscate all weapons, substitute water pistols, pea shooters, and bows with suction cup arrows.  Replace U.S. flag on uniforms with peace symbols changing uniform color grom green to pink and abolishing the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, replacing it with “A queer in every foxhole and a camouflage sex toy in every backpack” requirement.  Condoms will be issued instead of bullets and brotherly love encouraged.  Barney Frank will be the new Secretary of Defence (renamed Secretary of Peace and Love) and Rosie O’Donnell, Ellen DeGeneres, Lindsay Lohan and Rick Boucher will be made 5-star generals.  And raise taxes. . . .

Whilst one part of me read it and thought, “Yep, that’s typical Bobby May,” another part of me thought of the four most dangerous words one can hear in the South: “Hey y’all, watch this!”

(Editor’s note, 11-12-08: The site where a facsimile of Bobby’s article resides, it should be noted, failed to include what accompanied it: a counterpoint piece by Ron Coleman supporting Obama’s campaign. Not that it necessarily makes Bobby’s piece any more palatable, but it should be included if only to put its appearance in context of what ‘The Voice’ was trying to present.)

If this had been all there was to the story, Bobby’s little essay might have passed relatively unnoticed. But that wasn’t all. Remember how Bobby was a diehard Republican? Well, Bobby’s beliefs not only complemented his business. They extended into his extracurricular life as the treasurer of the Buchanan County Republican Party and as the local organizer of Team McCain-Palin activities.

And the special sauce on this political hoagie? The Los Angeles Times happened to send a reporter to Buchanan County to sample the red state-blue state dynamic in Virginia last week – including the availability of a certain publication titled, ‘The Voice.’

And “watch this” the ‘mainstream media’ did. And, to Bobby May’s enduring discomfort, they did ‘get it.’ So did the McCain campaign machine, which officially dropped Bobby May from Team McCain-Palin.

Given the McCain machine’s rational for zapping Bobby May, however, I have to wonder why Palin is still on the ticket.

Does this mean that Southwest Virginia is a bunch of racist, stereotype-spouting idiots? No more so than any other geographic region of the Unites States. I certainly have my misgivings about Barack Obama, but they in no way are reflected in the satirical foray made by Bobby May.

But I have plenty of misgivings about John McCain, and I saw a glimmer of reflection of those in the story of Bobby May. How is what Bobby wrote fundamentally different from the stuff that has been spewed from the McCain campaign since the Labor Day weekend?

Bobby May might have been trying to be Jonathan Swift in his modest view of Obama’s political stances. He has a lot to be modest about now.

October 10, 2008

For Stiletto and Max

Watch your asses, Stil and Max!

September 23, 2008

Well, it does explain why I don’t get many dinner invitations . . .

Hard to believe its been almost 40 years . . .

Hard to believe it's been almost 40 years . . .

When I think of the Wall Street Journal and the word ‘health,’ I usually think of reports of stockbrokers leaping to their deaths after the closing bell, but the good folks at Rupert Murdoch’s new bitch seem to have something of moderate interest here.

“Certain regional stereotypes have long since become cliches: The stressed-out New Yorker. The laid-back Californian.

“But the conscientious Floridian? The neurotic Kentuckian?

“You bet — at least, according to new research on the geography of personality. Based on more than 600,000 questionnaires and published in the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, the study maps regional clusters of personality traits, then overlays state-by-state data on crime, health and economic development in search of correlations.”

According to this little piece of enterprise reporting, the lower 48, the upper 1 and the offshore 1 were rated on a scale of 1-50 (1= most, 50 = least) on five basic qualities. The Old Dominion’s rating on those qualities?

  • Extraversion: 45
  • Agreeableness: 44
  • Conscientiousness: 39
  • Neuroticism: 21
  • Openess: 11

So, if the slogan is true that Virginia is for lovers, then it’s for that sullen, uptight, careless, annoying, in-your-face girlfriend or that Robert DeNiro ‘Taxi Driver’-like boyfriend. The first four categories, however,  do go some length to explain some of our more notorious recent products, like George Allen and James Gilmore.

But, if you like living in a state where every spinster has the potential to have a dead boyfriend in their bed and a large bill for quicklime, then Mississippi may be your kind of place:

“Or take a cue from Ted Ownby, who studies Southern culture at the University of Mississippi. His state came up highly neurotic — and he suspects his neighbors would be proud.

“”Here in the home of William Faulkner,” Mr. Ownby said, “we take intense, almost perverse neuroticism as a sign of emotional depth.””

Yep, and all Virginia did besides mother a few presidents was to run Stephen Austin and Sam Houston out of the Commonwealth and to speculate on some real estate just north of the Rio Grande . . .

September 9, 2008

Okay, Palin’s thinks she’s on a mission from God, but maybe the rape kit story is a tad overboard

My enthrallment with Sarah Palin has shown an unusually short half-life, but even I have to lean toward the truth when a scumbag might be getting a bum rap.

Case in point: Eric Schmeltzer, a writer for The Huffington Post, unloaded both barrels at Palin and the town of Wasilla, AK, for defying a state law requiring local law enforcement agencies to pay for rape evidence kits for physical exams.

As Schmeltzer would have us see the situation:

“While the Alaska State Troopers and most municipal police agencies have covered the cost of exams, which cost between $300 to $1,200 apiece, the Wasilla police department does charge the victims of sexual assault for the tests.

“Wasilla Police Chief Charlie Fannon does not agree with the new legislation, saying the law will require the city and communities to come up with more funds to cover the costs of the forensic exams.”

What Smeltzer left out of his citings from The Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman article of May 23, 2000, though, was:

“In the past weve charged the cost of exams to the victims insurance company when possible. I just dont want to see any more burden put on the taxpayer, Fannon said.
According to Fannon, the new law will cost the Wasilla Police Department approximately $5,000 to $14,000 a year to collect evidence for sexual assault cases.
Ultimately it is the criminal who should bear the burden of the added costs, Fannon said.
The forensic exam is just one part of the equation. Id like to see the courts make these people pay restitution for these things, Fannon said.
Fannon said he intends to include the cost of exams required to collect evidence in a restitution request as a part of a criminals sentencing.”

Now, this doesn’t make the Wasilla PD or Palin look particularly nice, since Fannon obviously has a problem paying for basic law enforcement forensics equipment. And, by implication, Palin didn’t seem to have a problem with Fannon’s stance on this particular issue. But Fannon is expressing a just another iteration in a growing opinion among law enforcement.

But, yeah, Wasilla officials from that period look like a collective schmuck.

September 2, 2008

I’m having a Lewis Black moment . . . .

except that I’m not as lovable and funny as Lewis Black is when I’m stunned, dazed and ultimately pissed off.

What have I missed in the Republican Party in that black hole starting with Dubya’s nomination for President in 2000? The post 1970’s Republican Party has, of course, gone through an evolution where it has adopted pro-life principles, except of course, when it comes to lower-class people.

In that case, the Republican Party attempted to undo the damage wrought by a mutated Great Society welfare program by the simple expedient of doing everything possible to dismantle social welfare programs and tell zero-income people to get a job and low-income people to get a better job. Having watched this concept in action in Virginia – as implemented by a Republican legislature led by Virginia’s favorite racial schizophrenic George Allen – I can also add that critics of it constantly received two responses: Stop coddling welfare queens and frauds, and don’t worry because cutting welfare will mean lower taxes and greater distribution of wealth from the upper levels of the private sector.

What those responses always seemed to lack was the answer to another question: just how is the economy going to improve when you start getting thousands of people – after weeding out ‘welfare queens’ and ‘frauds’ who either can’t work or who have been unable to find a job – into gainful employment with a salary adequate to cover medical and child care expenses as well as food, shelter, heat and transportation to and from work, medical care and child care?

I won’t go into how well trickle-down economics worked during and after the Reagan administration, but suffice it to say that even Arthur Laffer admitted that he supported Bill Clinton’s economic policies.

In several cases I saw as a reporter, the resulting ‘workfare’ programs as often as not ended up with local and state governments subsidizing employment and training for participants as the economy shambled toward the conditions it now faces.

But back to the ‘pro-life’ portion of today’s post.

Sarah Palin’s minor daughter gets pregnant out of wedlock (and this is in no way a judgement upon her daughter) and Palin drones on about how her daughter and soon-to-be son-in-law are facing a tough choice but with the support and love of their familiy. Meanwhile, the Republican Party goes on with its pro-life call to arms without realizing just how economically frightening it has made this society as a place to survive and raise children. And, of course, there’s still the traditional stigma that modern conservatism (as practiced by modern conservatives like Rush Limbaugh et al) attempts to place on everyone else who has a child out of wedlock or before reaching legal adulthood.

Lest you think that I’m a big-time supporter of Lyndon Johnson’s ‘Great Society,’ I think it merely reinforces the saying about paving practices on the road to hell. But seeing a political party which blathers on about life and economic well-being but declares war on terrorists and then diverts its effort away from where the terrorists are?

Well, the Democratic Party has done damned little to inspire me this year, but the Republican Party in the form of John McCain, Sarah Palin and the Republican National Committee can take all their warm fuzziness about the sanctity of life, defense of liberty and recovering economic trends and blow it out their ass. I’ll say it now. Sarah Palin’s selection as vice presidential candidate was nothing more than a cynical trick similar to that of Iran’s president saying that ‘we only want to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.’ It does nothing more than place the Republican Party in the position of saying, “Why, some of my best friends are women . . .”

To those who would say, ‘Well, FFE, what about the Democrats choosing Geraldine Ferraro as the vice presidential candidate?’ I would say that Ferraro was not much more than a third-rate ward politician herself.

As big an idiot on applied foreign policy as Condoleeza Rice is, she’s far more qualified than Sarah Palin or John McCain. And as bad a taste as she leaves in my political mouth, Hillary Clinton is a better adapted political animal than Sarah Palin might hope to be in the next four years.

Hell, Lucretia Borgia was a better political animal than any of the afore mentioned women.

If the Republican Party wanted a qualified woman in a position of responsibility and power, they surely did it in a half-assed way.

August 8, 2008

News flash! White man has rhythm!

Filed under: 2008 election, dumbasses, humor, politics, societal niceties — Tags: , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 10:30 pm

John Edwards shares a talent seen only one other time (in that 1979 cinematic masterpiece, ‘The Jerk’) in my lifetime – the man claims to have rhythm, and it’s right here at CNN!

“He said that he has not taken a paternity test but that the timing of the affair rules out the possibility that he could be her baby girl’s father. A former campaign aide has publicly said he fathered the child.”

At least he admitted that he did have sex with that woman, and he didn’t come to his wife’s sickbed with a handy list on a legal pad.

July 8, 2008

You know you’re in America when . . .

Filed under: humor, societal niceties — Tags: , , , — Frontier Former Editor @ 11:08 pm

You go to the Wal-mart and see:

A) the couple in front of you at the checkout with the boxed collector’s DVD set of the Rambo movies and;

B) a doughy-faced teenage boy leaning out of the passenger window of a 2007 Mustang in the crosswalk and beseeching the teenage blond with “So, do ya want to hang out or something?” and the blonde replying “I’ve gotta be back at my grandmother’s” as she hangs out in front of afore-mentioned Wal-mart.

 

No wonder the dollar’s down against the euro and the Canadian dollar. At least the cherry coke afterward was good . . .

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